Location. Location. Location.
Not only does location make for great real estate pitches but it also makes for great baseball pitches as well. Location, in baseball, can be really good (ie Roy Halladay) or really bad (ie Joe Saunders). But, for this article, we will use yet another meaning of the word "location".
Is your team's pitching staff depleted with injuries? Could you use another closer? Or are you just trying to bolster a team that's floundering between 4th and 7th place?
Well, if you are (and I'm sure you are because you're obviously still reading this) then there is only one location you need to visit right now: Minnesota. Here's a list of five pitchers who might still be available (except for one guy) and who all have ties to Minnesota. In no particular order:
1. Nick Blackburn, Minnesota, SP. We all know that the Minnesota Twins churn out quality, young arms like the Octo-Mom churns out babies and Blackburn is no exception. However, Blackburn may be having the quietest run to stardom of any Twin. He only has a record of 4-1 but has yielded one earned run or less in four starts this season and three earned runs or less in six of his last ten. Granted, the K / 9 ratio of 4.55 could be higher but he's a groundball pitcher (1.29 GB / FB ratio). In fact, in his last four starts, he has still been in the game long enough to sing along with the seventh inning stretch!
2. Kevin Slowey, Minnesota, SP. If Slowey is a free agent right now, grab him and then finish reading! There aren't a lot of pitchers with a 7-1 record still on the market. Well, in my league, Bro-Yo is still available but he broke my heart two years ago during a season and our relationship just never recovered. Anyway, Slowey has already racked up 44 K's while handing out only 5 walks. That's ridiculous! The only downside is a less than flashy 4.11 ERA. However, the 6'3 "195 lb Slowey performs best under pressure with a WHIP of 1.37. And isn't that what all fantasy managers want? A player who does his best when the game's really on the line?
3. Matt Garza, Tampa Bay, SP. I know he's not available but he is obtainable in a low-cost, low-damage trade. He makes the list for that reason and because he started his career as a Twin.
4. Latroy Hawkins, Houston Astros, RP. Got saves? Need more? Then grab Hawkins. He has flourished in the closer role for the 'Stros since Jose Valverde went down. He now has snagged 7 saves and a win while posting a 3: 1 strikeout to walk ratio. However, unlike Jack in the Box, he won't be available 24/7. Valverde will be back within a month. And yes, he too was drafted by Minnesota. But, I guess you already figured that one out.