Shane Greene - SP, NYY
The rash of injuries that struck New York's starting pitching corps has largely been bad news for the Yankees, but it's been good news for hurlers like Greene, who might not have otherwise gotten the chance to show his stuff. Greene was never a high-end prospect but the 25-year-old has stepped in when needed for the Yanks and has made the most of his opportunity thus far.
Initially called up in early July to replace Vidal Nuno -- who himself was an injury replacement before being shipped to Arizona -- Greene has thrived during his first exposure to the big leagues, as he's 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA in seven starts.
There's not much to dislike about the righty's performance up to this point. In 43 innings as a starter, he has held opposing hitters to a .238/.298/.317 hitting line, with an outstanding 38-to-11 K/BB ratio and only three home runs allowed. That last number is particularly impressive for a rookie pitching home games at Yankee Stadium, but Greene has made it happen with a stellar 55.6 grounder rate.
Almost every peripheral backs up Greene's strong performance so far, but there's still reason to hesitate on buying into the young starter -- namely, his track record. The former 15th-round draft pick has been very unremarkable in the minors, with a 29-43 record and 4.39 ERA across six seasons. This year, in Triple-A, he had a 4.61 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in Triple-A before being called up.
So, obviously what we've seen in the majors is a far cry from the mediocrity that comprised much of his minor-league career, helping explain the lack of fanfare that accompanied his arrival and the lack of buzz surrounding his early success. Still, there's no denying that Greene has been extremely impressive across the board so far, and at the very least he should be able to keep getting ground balls and strikeouts at a decent rate.
If you need a starter to plug in the rest of the way, he's a solid bet.
Joe Kelly - SP, BOS
Kelly's first two seasons with the Cardinals were shockingly strong, as the righty compiled a 3.07 ERA in 231 innings while splitting time as a starter and reliever.
Some of the numbers that came along with that shiny ERA -- namely, a pedestrian 1.93 K/BB ratio -- suggested that ultimately some regression was in store, and we've seen that play out a bit this year. Kelly made only seven starts in his first four months with the Cardinals, missing significant time with a hamstring injury, but had registered a 4.37 ERA.
On deadline day, Kelly was sent to the Red Sox in exchange for John Lackey, and his first two starts with Boston were both quality. But things fell apart in Kelly's third start, where he was pummeled for seven runs in four innings against the Astros.
In spite of that ugly outing, and a crummy 9-to-13 K/BB ratio overall in three starts with his new team, Kelly warrants consideration in deeper leagues where he's available. It's hard to ignore his extended record of success in St. Louis prior to this year, and Kelly was also an effective pitcher in the minors, helping explain why he was up in the big leagues for good at age 24, just three years after being drafted in the third round out of college.
Though he has never racked up tons of strikeouts, Kelly has always induced plenty of ground balls and that should serve him well at Fenway Park. Additionally, most AL hitters are unfamiliar with him, and that ought to help him stay on top of opposing lineups the rest of the way this season.