Each week, Collin Hager uses his HVaC Scoring System to let you know whom to start and drop this week in head-to-head fantasy baseball leagues. This week’s must-starts:
After a few rough outings, owners are growing impatient with Giants right-hander Tim Hudson, whose ownership has dropped 21 points over the last week across ESPN leagues largely because of his last four outings. While he has had two quality starts in that span, he has given up 13 runs in his last 17 innings. Do not let this scare you off.
Hudson has never been a strikeout pitcher, so the lower numbers there in that category simply need to be accepted and understood.
The rest of Hudson’s numbers are well in line with his career marks. Hudson has generated a strong HR/FB ratio and kept his ground balls well in line. Better for owners is that his ERA and FIP are close enough that it should not force his ERA to deviate too far from his current 3.03 mark.
Hudson checks in as the No. 64 pitcher in the HVaC. His strikeout numbers keep him lower than he otherwise would be, as his WHIP and ERA are strong enough to put him inside the top 50 when normalized.
Norichika Aoki, RF, Royals
Hard to believe, but Aoki checks in as a fringe starter and the No. 64 outfielder in the HVaC. Owners are starting to react and he has seen a jump in ownership by 29 points in ESPN leagues. He is on pace to steal another 20 bases this season, which will be his third year in a row reaching that mark. Aoki’s BABIP and H/PA marks keep him right in line with the positional marks. With a strong balance in runs, speed and average, Aoki can help down the stretch.
Oswaldo Arcia, RF, Twins
Arcia is on the verge of being a starter and checks in at No. 62 among outfielders. In leagues playing five outfielders, that means he should at least be on most rosters. The power and RBI totals he can provide should far outweigh the issues that come as a result of the lower average. While his strikeout totals are alarming, his ISO is similar to what he has done in the minors and his contact rates have not deviated much from the limited sample we saw last season in similar plate appearances.
Coco Crisp, CF, Athletics
With a 12-point drop in ownership, Crisp seems to be on the outs with owners. But he stays on the positive side of the bell curve in terms of home runs, runs and steals the rest of the way. He still registers as a top 50 outfielder so the adjustment in his August numbers should not serve as a deterrent. Given his ISO, low strikeout rate and consistent BABIP over the last few seasons, Crisp should be added while others are dropping him.
Phil Hughes, RHP, Twins
Hughes was being dropped for a while, but now owners seem to be willing to go back to the well. They never should have dropped him in the first place. Hughes actually has an ERA a run worse than his FIP and that should provide some correction down in that regard. Add in a strand rate that is sustainable based on his past and you have a pitcher who should provide benefit to owners and justify his top 30 ranking.