Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ Paying Dividends

Apr 25, 2012

 
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By Jordan Hall
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The Philadelphia Phillies have one of the best rotations in baseball. Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Worley; the Phils have it put together when it comes to their starting five. Nobody questions the process that they went through to get themselves into such a dominating position in the NL East.
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The process did cost them however. While it has taken some time, the jewels of trades that brought them Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt, have started to figure things out. Far out of the spotlight, two young pitchers have worked themselves into a spot where they can start paying dividends for the clubs who believed in them enough to pull the trigger on such noteworthy deals.
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After being sent north of the boarder to complete the Doc Halladay trade, Kyle Drabek’s career looked in doubt at many points over the past two seasons. Bouts of inconsistency, immaturity, and lack of command tarnished his prospect to the point where he had almost been written off.
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Three starts into 2012 though, he has all of the cynics eating their words as he appears on the cusp of a breakthrough.
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J.A. Happ took less time to make a name for himself after being traded; unfortunately it was not for good reasons as he struggled to live up to the Astros trading of Roy Oswalt for him. Parts of two disappointing seasons of left him as nothing more than a reminder of what the Astros once had. Suffering through a season with an ERA over 5 left him completely off the fantasy radar.
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That is until now. While his start has not been world beating, it certainly points towards growth; something both the Astros and your fantasy team should take note of.
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Kyle Drabek has always had the stuff. He can dial it up and buckle a hitter. It was always the poise in question. Things seem to be working themselves out nicely in this regard. He seems to have dialed back on his fastball, trading velocity for command; the mark of a maturing pitcher.
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Through his first three starts, he has posted more than useful fantasy numbers. His ERA of 2 and a WHIP of 1.28 are certainly usable. He’s striking out nearly a batter per inning at this point. He has walked an alarming 10 batters in his first 18 innings but he’s missing bats so regularly that it’s fairly easy to overlook.
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J.A. Happ has not posted as gaudy numbers this season as Drabek but he is proving to be a useful commodity in his own right. His peripherals are useful, he’s striking out a healthy amount of batters, and seems to be improving with each start. 7 walks over 16 innings is also a good sign.
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The biggest obstacle to Happ’s immediate value is his team. The Astros are obviously not providing him with a lot of run support. The offense is sad as all get out and it doesn’t appear that help is on the way. Couple that with the terrible bullpen giving away victories and Happ seems to be a fish out of water.
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Drabek and Happ share many characteristics, the least of which is not their minor league pedigree. Both came up as highly touted prospects, oozing tools and promise. That kind of talent doesn’t just bail on a player. It can be forgotten on misused, but it never leaves. Both of these players still harbor the talent that made teams give up their centerpieces for them. This is something that they have obviously never forgotten and neither should you.
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Is it safe to say that Kyle Drabek and J.A. Happ have turned the corner and are on their way to superstardom? Absolutely not. What is safe to say however, is that they are off to hot starts and have given reason to believe that they, at their best, are quality pitchers.
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Sooner or later, somebody in your league is going to pick these guys up and ride their breakouts to success. I firmly believe that these two players are on their way to greatness. These are guys that can easily round out your rotation for this year and quite possibly could anchor your staffs in coming years. They have risen from the ashes to reclaim their stars, you may want to give them a chance to do it for you.
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I would be happy to answer your fantasy questions or give advice. Drop me a line at www.twitter.com/lefthandsmoke23
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