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Scott Pianowski

Whisper to a Stream: Kyle Davies

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I admit that when it comes to deep mixed-league roto, I'm a tinkerer, an experimenter. I like to add and drop players, I like to keep churning the bottom 10-20 percent of my roster. I try to be aggressive with early-season pickups. And now and again, I'll steam a pitcher on a short-term contract, looking to get lucky with a long-term keeper.

Kyle Davies, come on down.

Okay, the shallow-league players can leave the room; if you're in a league with 10 teams or less, there's no reason to keep reading. But I've managed to talk myself into an angle with Davies, and I've signed him up for a trial on my Friends & Family Team Tuesday night (at home against Cleveland – and Carl Pavano – at 8:10 pm eastern). I'll track every pitch from my office, then write about it in the Tuesday evening Closing Time.

Here's what intrigues me about Davies:

He was once highly-touted, checking in as Atlanta's No. 4 prospect in 2005 (behind names you know, Jeff Francoeur, Andy Marte and Brian McCann). And Davies still held some street cred back in the summer of 2007, when the Royals moved Octavio Dotel for him. Post-hype sleeper? Could be.

Something clicked with Davies down the stretch in 2008, when most weren't paying attention. He won four of his five starts in September, and the full line was outstanding: 31.2 IP, 7 BB, 24 K, 2.27 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, just 1 HR allowed.

He was solid enough in spring training (3.82 ERA over 30.2 innings), and his first 2009 turn was outstanding (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K at Chicago). And heck, I'll chase a win now and then if Carl Pavano is hurling for the other side.

Willing to take the plunge with me, mixed-league mavens? Want to talk me out of it? Again, we're not looking for shallow-league sentiment in this spot, we're panning for gold in leagues where every safe starter is long gone. Every season has a handful of crazy breakthrough candidates that most of us didn't see coming, maybe Davies steps into that role for 2009. Keep an open mind on this; if there's one thing predictable about big-league pitching, it's the unpredictable nature of it, year to year.

I've said my piece, it's your witness now. Ready, steady, go.

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