Last full week of May arrives with a bounty of two start pitching options for fantasy owners, especially in the middle tier. Once again, a few new inclusions to the top tier, so I will give that set a bit of ink/bandwidth that I usually avoid. Prepare yourself for a long discussion of the middle tier pitchers, though.
I would start any of these pitchers no matter the match up or venue. We do see some new faces this week, notably Buehrle, Weaver, Hughes,Hudson and Samardzija.Buehrle could suffer some regression, but it is difficult to leave the AL leader in wins off the top tier. I have never trusted Weaver, and I really wish he could strikeout more batters, but as far as steady production goes, he cannot be ignored. Same thing with Hudson, lack of Ks is offset by his reliability.Samardzija is hurt by the team he plays for, at least in the win column, but he is another rock for the peripherals and does give you decent K/9 numbers (I expect those ratios to rise from his current 7.15 K per nine to something approaching his traditional strikeout per inning pitched soon).
First sub tier starts with Lynn and runs through Hutichson. Lynn is usually good for a QS if he can go six innings or more, with just enough Ks to go with his limited free passes to be extremely effective, even if he doesn't give you all the wins you expect. I had my doubts about McCarthy when he went to Arizona, but he has been stellar this season, Lohse has tossed seven consecutive QS, although the strikeouts are variable. The walks aren't though, as he has allowed one or none in his past six outings. Ross not only provides Ks, but he also is twirling QS this season, with four straight through Wednesday. Lester had a recent meltdown against Toronto, but Toronto has been hot and the Red Sox have not be playing well at all. He is still an ace, and Boston is due to start helping him out a bit more, I foresee. Hutchison has been riding the Bule Jays' success, and his 59:18 K/BB ration coupled with a 3.45 ERA and 1.18 WHIP are reasons to roll him out for each of his two starts this week.
Bedard has been simply excellent, and should be owned in far more leagues, but I guess the "once burned, twice shy" adage can explain fantasy owners' reluctance to buy in.Still, a streak of five games where he yields either one or none in terms of earned runs makes me want to ride his hot streak. Simon is another guy that was dropped until his recent two wins changes that trend. Being ranked ninth in ERA in the NL tells me he is doing something right.
The next sub-tier runs from Ventura to Tillman. Ventura is experiencing some up and downs with his control, but when he racks up the Ks, he is effective. Five of his last six starts have been of the quality sort, and the other was only disqualified because he left after five innings of shutout ball. Smyly like other Tiger starters during their recent slump was ineffective due to control problems, but I fully expect him to straighten things out in this week on the road. Evoladi had a poor recent start at San Francisco, but rebounded nicely (well, he did allow 10 hits) at home against Philly. He may be a regression candidate if he keeps trending upward with his walks, but he is a good start at home, given how well the Marlins play in Miami. Quintana has been showing very good control, and keeps his team in the game by limiting runs, but suffers losses because of his team. The Ks fluctuate,but he is generally a safe option if you don't get nicked for losses in your league. Tillman ended a good run y getting lit up at Pittsburgh in his last start, and he was questionable for his two starts with a slight groin irritation, but as of writing he looks good to go. I like his chances in Houston, not so much at Milwaukee.
The next two Atlanta hurlers have both stumbled recently, Santana worse than Harang, but enough to land them mid-tier. I wouldn't cut either of them, but would hesitate to start them automatically. Look to the matchups, and this week, I like their chances against the Red Sox at home, not so much in Miami.
Roark starts my next sub-tier, which ends with Niese. Roark has been stable, aside from one blow up in his last seven starts, but it would be nice to see him pitch deeper in games to rack up some additional strikeouts. Chen was on a nice roll until the Indians came to town and hung five earned runs on him in his last start. With his control, look for him to rebound, at least against Houston in his second start. Elias has slipped a bit but did bounce back against the Astros, pitching well without coming away with a victory. He pitches at home this week, but the match ups are sketchy so be careful (or desperate) if you use him.Tepesh has put together a couple of strong starts, and with the Rangers still playing well despite their injury issues, if he can put up good K numbers while limiting base runners he is usable on the road. Milone has his moments, but then he also stumbles occasionally. If you like his match up, then rely on his last three fine outings and start him. Plus, he is available in nearly 80% of leagues. de Grom has pitched will, but has only two losses to show for it. He also had some long ball issues in his last start against the Dodgers at home, and if that trend continues, he will likely drop out of the middle tier. Use him with discretion.Tomlinpitched in relief this week, but is still on track for his two starts. With his control intact, he is a nice option against the White Sox, and not bad facing Colorado at home Niese has nice peripherals, but has also allowed three earned runs in each of his last starts. I would expect him to continue to be a good option, especially with two winnable starts this week.
Our final sub-tier, beginning with Chacin and ending with McHugh, contains pitchers I wouldn't necessarily drop to the bottom tier, unless they continue to provide substandard performances. Chacin and Miley are the most dependable of the five, and while Skaggs has a higher ownership percentage, I find his inconsistency less than attractive. The Astro pair at the bottom, Feldman and McHugh, could be decent options if their team picks up the pace, but don't hold your breath. Use either of them only in desperate situations.
Cain is here because of concerns about his health. If his hamstring isn't 100%, I don't want to take the chance he drops out early. Kendrick is not pitching horribly, but he is supremely unlucky this season. The rest of the bunch are too inconsistent to trust for two starts. If you are in dire need of a starter, check the match ups and pick accordingly. Actually, Guthrie facing Houston in his first start is the one I would target here.
Should you have questions regarding fantasy baseball, especially starting pitching, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org to continue the discussion.