Sunday, April 09, 2006

Mark Hendrickson: Tampa Bay Fool's Gold

The plate umpire must have called everything possible in Mark Hendrickson's favor during his complete game shutout last week, and not even warned him you're not allowed to do it with mirrors. All that glitters is not gold is an expression that should be kept in mind as numerous internet monitoring services show thousands of fantasy leaguers rushing to pick up the 6-foot-9 Tampa Bay lefty. Though Hendrickson gave up only three hits and a walk in his remarkable victory over Baltimore, it should be noted that the Orioles are packed with solid fastball hitters and Hendrickson depended almost entirely on a curve that was working exceptionally well for him for the day. Also, Hendrickson's fastball barely topped 88 mph for the whole game. Hendrickson has had some success against lefties over the years, perhaps accounting for the 11 victories that led the Devil Rays last year. But the 30-year-old veteran projects as an end-of-the-rotation starter at best, and won his job this spring with no better than a 5.14 ERA. Though Hendrickson's ERA sits at 0.00 for now, it very likely could top 5.00 by the end of the season and Hendrickson will be considered fortunate if it falls anywhere below 4.50.