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J.A. Happ quietly showing improvement

J.A. Happ #30 of the Houston Astros throws

J.A. Happ #30 of the Houston Astros throws against the New York Mets. (May 1, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Part of having success in fantasy baseball is identifying players before the breakout and improvement comes. If you search the waiver wire in some leagues and see a pitcher with a 4.37 ERA and 1.51 WHIP, a pickup is not going to be made.

In a shallow league, you won't make the add for sure. In a deeper league, take note. The pitcher is Astros' lefthander J.A. Happ. Digging deeper, Happ is getting better. He has a 9.05 K/9 and has seen that mark increase every season since 2009. Walks have been an issue for him thoughout his career and the BB/9 is down to 3.43 this season.

One reason for the high ERA this season is a 1.56 HR/9. The home runs are a little bit surprising since his groundball rate has jumped from 33 to 46 percemt. Another reason is a high BABIP of .331, which should decline since his career mark is .281. An xFIP of 3.63 shows Happ has been better than the surface numbers show.

Happ is showing improvement and once the HR/FB rate of 16.1 percent normalizes, Happ's numbers should get better. If you're in a deeper league and need some pitching help, consider Happ. There's a lot of good pitching out there, so he's not an add in every league. I added him in a 12-team league with 30 roster spots and a 13-team league with 30 roster spots.

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