The guy can’t catch break. Going into the season, some even predicted that Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb would overtake David Price at some point in 2014 as the best starting pitcher on the staff. In order for that to happen, Cobb needed to stay healthy. However, the right-hander strained his left oblique muscle, and the ailment is expected to keep him sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
Fear not, fantasy baseball addicts — there are options moving forward:
SP Jesse Chavez, Oakland Athletics: The A’s boast MLB‘s second-best pitching staff with a team ERA of 2.08. Chavez is a big reason why. After early injuries to A.J. Griffin and Jarrod Parker forced manager Bob Melvin to do some re-shuffling, the 30-year-old has helped make Melvin look like a genius.
Through three starts and 30 IP, Chavez has a minuscule ERA of 1.35 with a K/BB of 11.00. Grab him while you can as it appears he has a fresh arm for his age and plays home games in the spacious confines of O.co Coliseum. He is unowned in 65 percent of Yahoo leagues.
SP Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels: According to Fangraphs.com, Richards’ fastball has averaged 96.1 mph so far this season, and opponents are hitting only .071 against that pitch. The 25-year-old throws smoke, and could be considered a poor man’s version of Tony Cingrani in the AL. Ride the wave if you can, as he’s unowned in 49 percent of Yahoo leagues.
SP Ervin Santana, Atlanta Braves: It took a while for the ex-Royal to find a home in 2014, but it certainly did not take him long to find his mid-season form. Forgotten about by some, Santana made a few warm-up starts in the minors before getting called up and starting his first game against the New York Mets on Apr. 9. He hurled eight innings of no-run ball and picked up the win.
Last night, he doubled his quality starts in as many tries and struck out 11 hitters through six innings, allowing only one earned run. The fact that he is still unowned in 17 percent of Yahoo leagues is almost inexcusable.
SP Edinson Volquez, Pittsburgh Pirates: Volquez was once a major piece in the 2007 trade that moved Josh Hamilton from the Reds to the Texas Rangers. A quiet signing by the Pirates in the 2013 offseason for one year at $5 million, Volquez has registered a quality start in one of his first two starts this year. Allowing only a combined two earned runs in those efforts, he has struck out eight and walked only three.
Command was always a concern of his. Volquez was at one time a prized prospect in the Rangers’ system. At 30, maybe he has finally figured things out and will be able to log a few All-Star worthy campaigns under his belt before hanging up his cleats. He is unowned in 92 percent of Yahoo leagues.