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MLB Today: Stick a Fork in Jeff Suppan

May 31, 2012 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Jeff Suppan is back to being useless for the San Diego Padres.
Oh, man… I’m going to get battered tonight!

Most people were probably unaware that Jeff Suppan was still playing when the Padres brought him up a few weeks ago to supplement their ravaged rotation.

So imagine the surprise when he was actually useful for three starts (16 IP, 14 hits, three earned runs, one homer, five Ks, four walks and a 2-1 record).

Well, we can all relax now. The world is not going to be stop spinning on its axis. Suppan is back to being useless. In three starts since that trio of nice efforts he’s gone 0-2 and, in 14 2/3 IP, he’s been tagged for 20 hits, 15 runs, three homers and nine walks while striking out just three.

Last year, we assumed that Suppan’s lack of appeal would give Danny Duffy plenty of chance to establish himself in the Royal rotation. And sure enough, Suppan didn’t see a day of action in the bigs in 2011.

He actually used to be a pretty decent innings eater, which is a back-handed compliment if we’ve ever heard one. We’re talking about a dude who is striking out 2.05 batters per nine.

Clearly, the Padres are desperate for anyone who can start. Hell, they just signed Jason Marquis to a minor league deal. And as pathetic as that sounds (and is), Marquis will likely wind up taking the rotation spot of Suppan or perhaps Eric Stults.

Obviously, if you took a flier on Suppan in your NL-only league after his surprising start, you should have cut bait by now.

Quick Hits

  • Heading into the season, we had Alex Gordon pegged as a top 25 outfielder. Um, not so much. He hasn’t even been a top 75 flyhawk through the first two months of the season, but Gordon could be a good buy-low candidate as he’s showing signs of life lately. On Wednesday, he helped key the suddenly hot Royals with his second straight multi-hit game, including a double, a run and a RBI. Gordon now has a modest four-game hit streak and looks a lot more comfortable at the plate since returning to the leadoff role a few days ago. This is where he spent most of his breakout campaign in 2011, so it’s a smart move by Manager Ned Yost to move him back to the top of the lineup to try to get his bat going.
  • In a battle of awful teams, the Cubs swept the Padres this week and were very much helped by an impressive showing from Darwin Barney, who went 5-for-10 with two homers, two doubles, six runs, five RBI, two walks and a steal over the series. Barney’s walk-off homer Wednesday was a first (at any level) for the purple dinosaur. This is a player that we slightly undervalued this year. We expected him to be a top 25 second baseman, but he’s probably been among the top 15 at the position, and the way he’s playing now, we can see Barney as a decent low-end No. 1 keystone corner option in standard leagues. He’s really flashing more pop now, with 13 extra-base hits in May alone and, with six RBI in the past four games, Barney is starting to produce at a clip we never thought he’d be capable of. We’ll have to see more before completely jumping on the bandwagon, but for now, we would definitely put him forth as a fine pickup in NL-only leagues and even someone to consider in deeper mixed leagues. Second base is a shallow position, and Barney not only plays every day, but he’s producing.
  • Okay, so it was only against the Oakland A’s (the worst hitting team in the AL and one that’s been struggling something fierce lately), but how promising was Francisco Liriano’s return to the rotation Wednesday? We didn’t have massive expectations for Liriano this season, ranking him 66th among all starting pitchers heading into 2012, but given that he’s barely been a top 225 starter, it’s been a complete disaster. Most Fantasy owners had long since cut bait given that he’d be demoted to the bullpen, but a few – to their credit (or desperation?) took another shot on Liriano when he was moved back into the rotation this week. He sure rewarded the brave and crazy, tossing six shutout frames with just three hits and two walks allowed against nine strikeouts for his first win of the season. Again, we remind you that these were the A’s, but it’s still a damn impressive performance from a dude the Twins were going to farm out in an effort for him to get his shit together. And for a team as desperate for starters as Minny is, the fact it was considering that drastic move speaks volumes about the failures of the 28-year-old lefty. Liriano faces a much stiffer test against the Royals Tuesday. Right now, he looks like a nice speculative addition in AL-only leagues; if Liriano looks good again next week, we’ll upgrade that to must-own AL-only and worth considering in mixed formats.

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