Bleacher Report: The game's luckiest pitchers

BY foxsports • June 22, 2009

Earlier in the week I took a look at the 10 worst hitters' BABIPs to see who could be in line for a drastic improvement. Today, let's take a look at starting pitchers who've been succeeding and potentially are sell high candidates, thanks to a tremendous BAIBP (I'm setting it with a 40 inning minimum).

Keep in mind all statistics given are through Friday.

Chris Carpenter (.202)

His comeback trail's been impressive, but this number tells us a regression could be in his future, and that's independent of his strand right, currently at 82.8 percent. His career BABIP is at .304, having never posted a number better than .282.

It's not like we're talking about a small sample, either, as he made his major league debut in 1997. He's got talent, there's no doubt about that, and he's certainly a great story for the first few months of the 2009 season.

There really is just no way he can continue to succeed the way he has in the early going, however. Last season, the best BABIP for a pitcher who qualified was .245. Needless to say, something's going to give. Now may be the time to cash in on the hot start and see if you can get a lot for him.

J.A. Happ (.219)

He got off to a very good start, but over his last two outings he's allowed nine earned runs on 13 hits and 10 walks over 11 innings. Needless to say, the bloom may already be off the rose. If you have already bought him, it may already be time to sell.

Edinson Volquez (.231)

It's odd, considering his impressive BABIP hasn't translated into either a great ERA (4.35) or WHIP (1.33).

Walks have been his major problem, carrying a BB/9 of 5.80. Last season, he was at 4.27, so an improvement should be coming there, which will help to offset a regression in the BABIP. He's going to continue to produce, so I wouldn't sell him unless you're overwhelmed.

Dan Haren (.238)

One of the best pitchers in 2009, period. Obviously, he's not likely to maintain this, or his miniscule 0.82 WHIP. Over his career, opponents have hit .254 against him, including a .251 mark in his first year in the NL, so it's hard to imagine him being able to continue at a .197 stretch.

Right now, you're likely able to get whatever play you want in exchange for him, so selling him isn't an unreasonable idea. Still, it's not something I'd say is a must do by any stretch, since he should continue to be successful.

Josh Outman (.243)

This mark is low, and I don't see it likely that he can continue. He has value in deeper formats as a pitch-and-ditch option or as a short-term fill-in, but there are more dependable options available to you. He's given up 1.20 HR/9, and when his luck turns it could get ugly.

Jered Weaver (.245)

We've all been waiting for him to pitch like this, but a 2.08 ERA and 1.00 WHIP is better than any of us could have imagined. Back in February, I had listed him as one of five potential late round WHIP options, and he's lived up to that billing.

Those who took the gamble are getting a nice reward, but it's likely to regress. Keep in mind, he's also sporting a strand rate of 85.2 percent. It's tough to imagine him continuing to be this lucky for long, so a blow-up is likely to come.

Now may be the time to cash in your chips, does anyone imagine his value ever getting any higher? (He got rocked yesterday, giving up six runs on 10 hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings, so the regression may already be coming.)

Scott Feldman (.245)

He's pitched well, but considering he's been lucky and is still sporting a 4.02 ERA, it makes you wonder what may happen.

He does have solid control, but he doesn't strikeout many (4.90 K/9), putting more pressure on his defense. Sooner or later the balls are going to find holes. In fact, two of his last three outings have been less then stellar. Don't be counting on him.

Johnny Cueto (.247)

Jimmy Hascup wrote a piece on him about a week ago. Like Jimmy, I agree that now is the time to get the best deal on Cueto, who's in store for a regression. His strikeouts are down significantly and his strand rate is at 81.4 percent.

His average fastball this season is at 92.7 percent, down from last season's 93.4 percent. He's got tremendous long-term potential, but for this season things are going to turn. (He gave up five runs on 10 hits in just 4 2/3 innings yesterday.)

Andrew Bailey (.247)

Right now, he's closing for Oakland and relief pitchers have the ability to maintain a lower BABIP. His value is for his saves, anyways, so it's not worth discussing.

Shairon Martis (.249)

He was a hot name for a while, but that's died down a lot. He strikes out next to no one and walks too many. He's getting lucky, yet is sporting an ERA of 4.76 and a WHIP of 1.36. Granted, his strand rate is below average, at 67.5 percent, but the rest of the numbers are simply too ugly to even consider him.

If you can get something for him, he's a definite sell, especially with a weak defensive team behind him. They play more balls into hits then most teams in the league.

What do you think of these pitchers? Who do you think should be sold now? Who would you hang onto?

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