As we head into the second week of the 2014 Baseball Season, it is time to start figuring out which pitchers can provide the best results for your fantasy squads. Particularly which starting pitchers slated to go twice next week give you the best possibilities for superior stats and fantasy performance. As I have done over the past few seasons, the pitchers are grouped into three tiers, and I have ranked them roughly in the order I would want to pick them up.
As the title to this tier suggests, I would insert these seven starters into my lineup and not think twice. I especially like Cingrani this season, and drafted him wherever I could, much as I treated Scherzer last season. That worked out well, as we all would agree.
The top five starting pitchers in this tier just miss being part of the upper level pitchers. I like Hudson a ton, although he will not give you much in the way of strikeouts, but the peripherals are all very good. If you are looking for Ks, Kazmir, Kluber and Ross are all nice options, and Morton with his curveball should not be available in 47% of leagues, but since he is, you would do well to make space for him on your roster.
The next group for me runs down through Haren. All are roster-worthy, and Colon, Nova, Buerhle and Haren will be dependable starters, putting up decent numbers on a consistent basis. Scheppers had a bad initial outing, but he is a fine pitcher and I would not put much stock in his early struggles. Quality will out. I see Doubront as a sleeper this season, and expect his 37% ownership to rise dramatically when he puts together a couple of quality outings.
The youngsters Cahill, McAllister and Quintana are matchup starters. McAllister is the one I like best, as I have seen Cahill struggle on and off, especially last season. I don't like Quintana's home park much for his stat line, but it is difficult to argue with his 2013 success and his home/away splits last season belied the hitters' tendencies of "the Cell." Lohse and Lackey round out this sub-tier, and both are coming off good first starts which gives me hope that they will prove to be dependable starters for much of the season.
The bottom of the tier-Alvarez, Jiminez and Harang-can be useful SPs, and Harang looked especially good in his first start as a member of the Braves' rotation. I do worry about Jiminez pitching in Balitimore and I wonder if he will not question his choice of a new home as the season rolls on and he sees the ball leave Camden Yards when the weather heats up. Alvarez is the No. 2 in Miami, and suffers by comparison to the ace of the staff, Jose Fernandez, but he has long been a streaming option for me, back to his Toronto days, and I suspect I will turn to him in various leagues again this season, when the matchup looks favorable.
Of the bottom tier, I would not roster any of these pitchers until they can demonstrate some usefulness to me this season. Especially the Houston and Minnesota starters, as I don't like their offenses. I have to say, I am not overly enthused about what the Phillies are trotting out onto the field, either.
Should you have questions regarding fantasy baseball, especially starting pitching, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org to continue the discussion.