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Fantasy Baseball: Should You Be Looking at Hisashi Iwakuma?

SEATTLE, WA - JULY 30:  Starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma #18 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays at Safeco Field on July 30, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Ryan LesterSenior Writer IAugust 4, 2012

Hisashi Iwakuma turned heads in his last start, striking out 13 batters en route to a 4-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s three straight solid outings for the righty as he has gone 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP with 23 strikeouts in 19 innings against the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Rays.

His recent success has allowed him to lower his ERA over a full point from 5.13 to 4.10, very impressive considering he was facing two of the top scoring offenses. In his five starts he’s also faced the Orioles and Rangers and has managed to go 1-1 with a 3.41 ERA.

Iwakuma is a streaming candidate based on his home-road splits. On the road he is 0-0 with a 6.30 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. He’s a totally different pitcher at home though, where he’s 2-2 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.

Over the past four years Iwakuma has combined to go 51-19 with a 2.58 ERA and 1.11 WHIP to go along with 523 strikeouts in 690-2/3 innings. Unfortunately the WHIP (1.38 on the year) is probably real and the recent strikeout binge is probably not. He still has some use for fantasy owners.

Iwakuma is barely owned in fantasy leagues, but that number will change if he continues to baffle the opposition. His next start is Sunday on the road against the Bronx Bombers. Despite handling Toronto’s high-powered offense in his last outing, I’d hold off on adding Iwakuma for now. He should be considered for home starts though.

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