After spending 60 days on the DL, Rich Harden of the Oakland A’s finally got to show his stuff in his “season debut” against the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday night, going six strong innings allowing just 2 earned runs, 4 hits while striking out 6.
In most ESPN leagues that good for about, oh I don’t know, 40 points or so.
But can you really trust Rich Harden, or is this another one of those fantasy baseball instances where it’s better not to be fooled.
If we go back into Rich Harden’s history, there is plenty to get all giggly over.
Rich Harden has a career .622 winning percentage (56-34), a stable 3.62 ERA during that time and an explosive 9.1 K/9 rate that has been his staple from the get go.
From a fantasy baseball perspective, a stellar win/loss record with a great ERA and the ability to throw the heat?
What’s not to love, right?
Well the problem with Rich Harden is his incredibly risky side that scares the bee-gees out of most fantasy owners shopping for a quality pitcher.
It almost seems as if every time Harden starts to heat up (usually after five games or so) something goes terribly wrong, and he winds up on the DL.
He’s never had a true stable season.
So what do you do with a guy like that? How do you justify a player’s talent if there is an elevated level of overhead associated with him?
I say you take the chance, that’s what.
If every fantasy baseball manager spent his or her entire season being tentative because of worries, there wouldn’t be a single winner above .500!
Take the chance; reap the benefits.
If you look at your waiver wire right now, chances are it has been wiped clean due to major activity or the growing list of injured arms on ice right now.
If you look at your league, chances are the race is still pretty tight, perhaps with one or two teams beginning to pull ahead—probably managed by someone who wasn’t afraid to take a chance here and there.
Adding a pitcher who can rack up the strikes could be a huge difference maker right before and after this season’s 2011 All-Star Break.
Harden is currently slated to face the Seattle Mariners, and then possibly the Angels—combined Rich Harden is 11-5 with a 3.09 ERA and a 8.2 K/9 rate versus these two teams.
If you’re in the market, I would take the chance on Harden now, because if he heats up anymore everyone and their mother will be making a run at the wire to add him.