Only part of Homer Bailey‘s awesome on Wednesday can be attributed to the Pirates fail.
Bailey had the hype for years and ended 2009 — 35 Ks in 37 innings with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in September — like a potential keeper. He played like that again on Wednesday
Bailey scattered four hits in a complete game shutout for his first win of 2010. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out six, lowering his ERA to 5.66 and his WHIP to 1.55.
He was not good in April, but in three May starts Bailey nearly halved his ERA to 4.12, cut more than .60 off his WHIP (1.85-1.22) and batters are hitting more than 100 points worse against him.
Only 24, Bailey — who has probably been drafted in your league every year since 2007 — is not a total bust yet. Like Johnny Cueto, who we profiled yesterday, he could go back to being the inconsistent pitcher he has been, or the switch could turn on. Bailey is even more available — he’s on the free agent list in 95% of Yahoo leagues — than Cueto, so if you have dead weight on your bench, stash Bailey.
If he starts streaking now like he did in late-August through the end of the season in 2009, you’ll want him on your roster.
On a day jammed full of games — thanks, rain — there were a ton of great performances, far more than will fit in 10 spots. But you know the Top 10. You love the Top 10. Consider this just a little more than the top 10:
Rick Porcello — He’s been unlucky. He’s available in 45% of Yahoos, and after scattering four hits in seven shutout innings to win his third game of the season, that luck might be starting to turn. He struck out two and walked three, but lowered his ERA to 6.08 and his WHIP to 1.70.
Brett Gardner — Who needs Austin Jackson? For that matter, who needs Curtis Granderson? Gardner went 3-for-5 to improve his .337 average, scored twice drove in a run and stole a base.
Phil Hughes — With his win, Hughes became the last Yankees pitcher since Whitey Ford to begin the season 5-0. Ford went 9-0 to start the 1950 campaign. The way Hughes is pitching, look out Whitey. On Wednesday, Hughes scattered five hits and one walk in seven shutout innings. He struck out eight, lowering his ERA to 1.38 and his WHIP to 0.92.
Roger Bernadina — Deserves his own post, but this will have to do for now. He hit a pair of homers (solo and two-run) Wednesday. Understand that is not his game. He already has two steals. He had a pair of 40-steal seasons in the minors and his career high in homers was 12 in 2005. In 118 career major league at-bats, those two dingers were Nos. 1 and 2. It’s like Starlin Castro, only Bernadina is older and has less hype on him.
Brooks Conrad — Another player that deserves his own post… Conrad nearly made the top 10 yesterday. He’s been filling in for Chipper Jones and made the most of it Wednesday, belting a two-run homer and a double in a 2-for-5 day while driving in four runs. He’s only hitting. 258 and a breakout at 30 years old is unlikely, but hitters on a hot streak can be beneficial to injury-plagued fantasy teams.
Jason Heyward — Back-to-back Top 10s for Heyward, this time he only went 1-for-3, but scored three times, drove in a run and stole a base.
Travis Snyder — Belted a two-run homer and drove in another run in a 2-for-4 day.
Shaun Marcum — Scattered two hits and one walk over seven shutout innings to improve to 2-1. Marcum struck out six and lowered his ERA to 2.78 and his WHIP to 0.96. Some promising young arms in Toronto.
Miguel Olivo — Went 5-for-5, but it was his leadoff solo homer in the 10th inning that beat the Phillies. He’s hitting .274.
Jered Weaver — Had an interesting stat line in a loss. Weaver allowed four runs, but only one was earned, and eight baserunners (two walks) in seven innings. He struck out 12 and improved his ERA to 2.47.
Josh Hamilton — In a 3-for-5 day, Hamilton scored twice and hit a two-run homer. A recent surge has his batting average up to .285.
Derek Holland — Another player deserving of his own post, Holland made his season debut Wednesday and dominated like the top prospect he is. Holland struck out seven and allowed six baserunners (one walk) in six shutout innings to win his first game. He struggled in the majors last season (8-13 in 138 innings, 6.12 ERA and 1.50 WHIP) but his minor league record shows 10+ K/9 potential along with low ERA and WHIP. He’s available in 91% of Yahoo leagues. There are worse pitchers on dynasty rosters out there. I’m not calling him a must-own, but if you have the roster flexibility, stash-and-hold.
Jeff Keppinger — Drove in three runs, scored twice and doubled in a 2-for-4 day. He’s hitting .260.
Jerry Hairston — Stole a pair of bags in a 2-for-2 day and drove in a run. He’s hitting .223.