Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Forgotten Man

And the best part, he's still mostly unnoticed after one start off the DL.

The man I'm referring to is Hiroki Kuroda, the Dodgers opening day starter who made one electric appearance, then landed on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle that just wouldn't heal.  Fast forward 2 months, Kuroda dropped by most fantasy teams that had the pre-season gumption to draft him in the first place, and returning to the big club off a pair of uninspired rehab starts.  Kuroda went 5 (we'll call them) decent innings against the Diamondbacks, allowing 2 runs on a limited pitch count.

The coverage on Kuroda, even for Dodger fans, has been pretty mild.  Jason Schmidt, dead to rights for the last 2.5 years, seemed to get more media attention even though his chances of contributing a single Major League pitch are still terribly low.  I'm not really sure why Kuroda has flown so far under the radar.  I know what you're thinking, but he's a pretty good pitcher.  He got no real attention last year, and after closing the year on a vicious tear that propelled the Dodgers to a successful postseason for the first time in 20 years, nobody cared.

Well, now's the right time.  Kuroda is getting his pitch count up, loosening that right arm, and getting ready to slip into the number-two starter spot in a rotation desperately in need of some veteran leadership, even if that vet doesn't speak English.  Plus, if you needed any numerical reasons, take a look at the Dodgers Major League-best overall record.  The bullpen isn't great, but for a starter like Kuroda they'll do just fine -- he can generally go 6 or more innings, which means the 7th and 8th are the only question marks, and nice surprises Ronald Bellisario and Ramon Troncoso have handled those situations with aplomb.

We're at that point in the fantasy season, just about 1/3 of the way through, where it's time to cut ties with starters that just aren't cutting it.  Kuroda would be a reputable and tested replacement that should post an ERA in the high 3's, serviceable numbers across the board with a bonus in the wins department on a damn good team in a pathetic division.

Always remember, you can't win money at this site, but you CAN at Baseball Fan Nation.com...

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