Chad Bettis - SP, COL
He's a relatively unknown pitcher whose home mound is in Coors Field, and this has limited his fantasy relevance, but Bettis is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.
The righty was called up to Colorado in mid-May, and initially it looked like he'd serve in a long relief role, but instead he has jumped into the rotation, where he has made four starts and looked better each time out. His best outing came this past weekend, when Bettis took a perfect game into the seventh against the Phillies and finished with eight shutout innings. In total, he struck out seven, walked none, and allowed two singles.
Philly's offense is far from good, but that's still a gem that stands out, especially from a guy who had fired 8 1/3 innings of two-run ball against the Giants in his previous turn.
Bettis has been awful during two previous stints in the majors, accumulating a 6.88 ERA and 1.83 WHIP in 37 appearances (eight starts) for the Rockies between 2013 and 2014, but his sterling work in the minors has always hinted that better things might be on the horizon. Formerly a second-round draft pick in 2010, Bettis has gone 26-16 with a 3.03 ERA and 389-to-102 K/BB ratio in 389 minor-league innings.
Pitching in Coors Field is obviously a detriment for any pitcher, but Bettis could be more immune to its effects than most. He keeps the ball down and has done a good job of limiting home runs in the minors (just 26 in 389 innings). This year he has faced 110 hitters in the majors and still hasn't allowed one over the fence.
Bettis is effective enough at limiting walks and hits that if he's keeping the ball in the yard he stands a good chance at strong results. That's exactly what we've seen thus far since his call-up. Although he won't maintain a sub-3 ERA, his success isn't necessarily a mirage and deep-leaguers should be taking notice at this point.
Adam Warren - SP, NYY
When it came to putting a quality rotation together this year, the Yankees knew they would have their work cut out for them after losing free agents Hiroki Kuroda and Brandon McCarthy, who were both highly effective contributors in 2014. Making matters worse, Masahiro Tanaka has continued to struggle with arm problems and CC Sabathia has turned into a hittable mess.
Yet, despite all the setbacks, New York has managed to hang atop the AL East for the first two months. One big reason is Warren rising to the occasion.
The 27-year-old right-hander has been very good out of the Yanks bullpen for the last two seasons, posting a 3.18 ERA over 103 appearances, but his experience pitching in a big-league rotation amounted to three total starts entering this year.
But Warren won the fifth starter job this spring after putting up a 2.70 ERA in Grapefruit League play, and his outings have been increasingly effective as the season has progressed.
The most noticeable change for Warren is that he has begun pitching deeper into games consistently. He failed to complete six innings in any of his first six turns, but has worked at least into the seventh in each of his past four -- all quality starts. During this current stretch, he has posted a 2.70 ERA and held opponents to a .202/.250/.383 hitting line. Overall, he has registered a 3.75 ERA and 1.21 WHIP across 10 starts, and those are very nice numbers for a hurler who calls hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium home.
Warren's grasp on a spot in the New York rotation is quite secure now that Chase Whitley is gone for the season following Tommy John surgery. He doesn't get tons of strikeouts or grounders, but he has proven over the last three years that he can get outs in the majors, and he figures to keep getting run support from a solid New York offense that has thus far averaged nearly five runs per game behind him.