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Week 17 Fantasy Preview Featuring that Odrisamer Despaigne Guy

Cuban names are little different, and Padres right-hander and MLB ace of the moment Odrisamer Depaigne certainly has the kind of name spell check isn’t going to recognize.

He also threw 7 2/3 no hit innings against the Mets Sunday afternoon, improving his ERA to 1.31 in his first five major league starts and dropping his WHIP to .90.

Depaigne didn’t get the win; the Mets tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the eight, only to lose it in the ninth. (Giving the win to new Padres closer Joaquin Benoit.) The 27-year old Despaigne’s record remains at 2-1.

Despaigne defected from Cuba in 2013, making his way to the US earlier this year. He didn’t get big money like his country men Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes. In fact, all that his February showcase for big league clubs netted was a minor league deal with San Diego.

He’s quick jump through the Padres system had more to do with the big club’s injury problems and desperation. Despaigne’s numbers in Triple-A were actually atrocious — a 7 plus ERA and 2 plus WHIP in five starts. He did strike a lot of guys out on the farm, which is something he hasn’t been doing since the call up; he only has 17 Ks (against 11 BBs) in his 34.1 MLB innings.

All and all, it’s a very confusing profile. But the guy plays in PETCO, which’ll knock about a run off of any pitcher’s ERA. If you really need starting pitching, may as well grab him and see if he can continue to confuse on the Big League level. But if he gets completely wrecked in his next turn — which will be in Atlanta — don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Speaking of the Braves, the guy he is most likely to pitch against next weekend is rookie left-hander Alex Wood. Wood evened his record at 7-7 in his Sunday start against Philadelphia, limiting the increasingly hapless Phillies to three hits and one run over six, while collecting 8 Ks.

With a 3.24 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and about a K an inning, Wood has been pitching most of the year like a near-ace. Thanks to a mid-season trip to the minors — through no fault of his own — he’s also available in 25 percent of of Yahoo! leagues and should be immediately snatched up in every one.

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The aforementioned Benoit is now the man in San Diego, with Huston Street‘s trade to Anaheim. Benoit should have been owned before being named closer and should certainly be 100 percent owned now. Street’s move means Joe Smith is no longer the ninth inning man for the Angels and that¬†Jason Grilli never will be.

There is a good chance Benoit will also be shipped out of San Diego before the deadline, which probably means Dale Thayer gets the ninth inning job. The big right-hander certainly has the facial hair for it, and is good enough to be owned in anticipation of the move.

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was deemed un-tradable not so long ago, thanks to a declining fastball and an enormous contract. His 1.17 ERA and .83 WHIP for 2014 is beginning to make contenders with shaky bullpens think differently about MPH and dollars per inning, and punch-able Pap may well have a new address by the deadline.

Rookie¬†Ken Giles would likely man the ninth for the Phils if Papelbon gets shipped out. He’s a clean-shaven fellow, but can hit triple digits on the gun and has a slider that will remind Philly fans of World Series hero Brad Lidge. In his first 15 big league innings, the 23-year old has only allowed one run and three walks while K-ing 20. Like Thayer, he’s worthy of an anticipatory add.
Ken Giles

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