One of the best value players sitting out there in the realm of fantasy baseball at the moment happens to be owned in just 13.7% of leagues, according to ESPN. He currently owns a 1-2 win-loss record, 3.05 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 4.50 K/BB, and a K/9 just a tick below 6.0. Want to know who he is? He pitches for Oakland, he was once a Chicago prospect, and no, his name is not Gio Gonzalez. He may not be that ace-caliber pitcher Baseball America once expected him to be (he was ranked the #49 prospect before the 2005 season), but after failing to catch on with the White Sox and Rangers, McCarthy is finally getting it done. It just figures that he figures it all out in Oakland, as if they needed any more quality pitching.
McCarthy probably isn’t going to get a whole lot of wins unless Oakland’s offense has a major turnaround or adds a major piece to their lineup. However, as his latest performance (6 shutout innings vs. Texas) suggests, McCarthy’s good start does appear to be for real. He’ll be lucky to keep an ERA around 3 all season (his career mark is 4.41), but with a good pitcher’s park in the Oakland Coliseum and a good defense behind him, anything can happen. The most encouraging aspect of McCarthy’s hot streak right now is that his ratios appear to be sustainable. He has a career K/9 rate is 6.0, which is basically equal to the 5.9 he’s posting right now. His career BB/9 of 3.2 wasn’t a very bad mark, so his step forward to 1.3 BB/9 so far this year seems otherworldly and has contributed greatly to a sparkling 4.50 K/BB rate. Since McCarthy is 25 some of that improvement could be real progress, but still you should expect a little regression as the season moves on. However, in the meantime we still have a pitcher with a hot hand who seemingly has the right variables in place (spacious stadium, good defense, good control) to keep it up. As mentioned before, he’s owned in less than 14% of leagues, making him a great value. His next start comes on Saturday May 7 against Kansas City.