Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (51) pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
Let's leave aside the obvious, that Wandy Rodriguez will likely have more opportunities to win while playing for a good team than a bad one. Chasing wins rarely gets you anywhere, anyway, especially with all of the random luck, good and bad, associated with this game, never mind when talking in two-month stretches. There's plenty more to discuss, though, as Rodriguez, while not leaving the NL Central, still has a massive change in environment to deal with.
That change is in Wandy's favor, though, as he's moving from the hitter-friendly Minute Maid to the pitcher-perfect PNC. His old home boosts home run production, but his new one cuts down on it, for both lefties and righties -- especially righties -- and that will be good for Rodriguez, who has seen his strikeout stuff diminish a bit, forcing him to rely on contact more as of late.
Rodriguez is averaging nearly 6-1/3 innings per start, and has a 106 ERA+, 2.8 K/BB, and an FIP (3.79) that lines up with his ERA (3.77). Despite the drop in strikeouts, his peripherals actually look better than last year's, if FIP is any indication -- he was at 4.17 in 2011, thanks to a loftier walk rate and lower grounder rate.
He's not going to win your league for you on his own, just like, by himself, he's not a massive difference maker for the Pirates. Much like with Pittsburgh, though, as a piece of the puzzle, Wandy presents plenty of value, as he's reliable and durable -- need more innings and opportunities for wins without ruining your numbers? Wandy's capable of helping with that.
Of course, I'm not telling you about some undiscovered product here. Rodriguez is owned in 88 percent of both ESPN and CBS leagues, which, in a way, means that if one of you is in one of those 12 percent of leagues ignoring him, you might want to get on it. There's never been a better time, contextually, to own Wandy Rodriguez.