How are your teams doing as we near the 1/3 mark of the 2014 fantasy baseball season? Are you scuffling along in your leagues, or are you killing it every week? If you need some pitching to pick up your efforts at the end of the scoring period, read on for some suggestions that should be available in most leagues, as these pitchers are owned in less than 50% of leagues as of this writing.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Nick Martinez TEX @ MIN Ricky Nolasco
Matt Shoemaker LAA @ SEA Brandon Maurer
Ryan Vogelsong SF @ StL Jaime Garcia
Martinez picked up the win Saturday against Detroit, despite handing out a whole boatload of hits, eight to be precise, over six innings. Don't expect a lot of Ks, but the opponent is beatable in this instance and that counts for something, too.
Shoemaker is more of a strikeout pitcher, although he also was generous with the safeties on Saturday, also yielding eight hits to the Royals. In his last three starts, he has allowed two, one and two earned runs, and also exhibited good control. Maurer is not a scary opponent on the mound, either, so that is a point in his favor.
Vogelsong continues his resurgence this season, and has been very stingy with the earned runs with the exception of the four runs he allowed to the Braves on May 13th. He is also the owner of 46:19 K/BB ratio on the season, which makes me wonder why he is owned in less than half of fantasy leagues. I would strongly suggest you roster him until the resurrection ceases.
Friday, May 30, 2014
Miguel Gonzalez BAL @ HOU Scott Feldman
Juan Nicasio COL @ CLE Corey Kluber
Facing Houston is a nice matchup, and Gonzalez looked good in his most recent start as a member of the rotation against Pittsburgh last Tuesday. The seven strikeouts were a nice indicator of his value, falling in line with his 42:15 K/BB ratio on the year.
Going up against Kluber isn't the best matchup, but if you are in need of help, he has the ability to provide some Ks, although he has been pitching better at home this season than on the road, so keep that in mind. This is a pickup for the desperate or lucky fantasy player, because Nicasio can give you a gem or damage all aspects of your pitching line.
Saturday May 31, 2014
Collin McHugh HOU vs BAL Chris Tillman
Tommy Milone OAK vs LAA Tyler Skaggs
Jake Odorizzi TB @ BOS Clay Buchholz
Andre Rienzo CHW vs SD Tyson Ross
Nick Tepesch TEX @ WAS Doug Fister
Jacob deGrom NYM @ PHI Kyle Kendrick
We have a bounty of choices on Saturday. McHugh is a good source of strikeouts, and manages to keep his peripherals in line, by limiting walks and generally keeping the hit totals down. Not pitching at Camden Yards but rather at home is also nice.
Milone has been exceptional at home this season, posting a 1.80 ERA and 0.95 WHIP at the Coliseum. Plus, he has limited opponents to a measly three earned runs over his most recent three starts. Only mediocre strikeout numbers, however, so don't get your hopes up too high in that regard. Like Vogelsong, I would roster him for the short term to see how things play out.
Odorizzi is a good source of strikeouts, but beware his road/home splits, as he has been less than average on the road. He's a good young pitcher, though, and if he can continue his trend of relying more on his off-speed pitches, good things are in store for him. In fact, you might want to target him as a injury fill-in or a back of the rotation starter before his ownership numbers rise.
I am not a big fan of White Sox pitching this season, with the exception of Chris Sale, but Rienzo facing off against the Padres is not a bad matchup. Of course, his opponent, Tyson Ross, is a very good SP, but he is not pitching to him. He has been lucky, as his control is not great, and he is below average in K/9 ratio. Luck is good though, and continuing his good fortune against the worst hitting team in the major leagues seems like a decent wager.
Tepesch has tossed two strong starts since joining the Texas rotation, and while he is not a great source of Ks, he generates tons of groundballs which is good for his peripherals and avoiding big innings. He looks to stick in the rotation with all of the Rangers' injuries, and pitching in a pitcher-friendly park is an added benefit this start.
deGrom may miss out on this start, depending on what goes on with Dillon Gee and his return from the DL, although it looks like that will take place in June, not at the end of May. He did surrender three homers to the Dodgers in his last start, but also has tossed two QS in his limited time as a major leaguer. Watch how he fares in his next scheduled start against Pittsburgh before adding him to your team.
Sunday, June 1, 2014
Erik Bedard TB @ BOS Jon Lester
Jhoulys Chacin COL @ CLE Josh Tomlin
Josh Tomlin CLE vs COL Jhoulys Chacin
Wei-Yin Chen BAL @ HOU Jarred Cosart
Wade Miley ARI vs CIN Alfredo Simon
Chase Whitley NYY vs MIN Phil Hughes
What woke up the fantasy star in Bedard? He has been essentially untouchable in his last five starts, yielding a miniscule three earned runs over 28 innings. He has also been cranking up the strikeout totals, whiffing six in his last start. The wheels have to come off this cart at some point, to be sure, but I am willing to take the ride until he falters.
Chacin and Tomlin face off on Sunday and while both are poor selections if you are looking for Ks, they also are pitching effectively. Tomlin before his recent three inning relief stint had posted three consecutive QS, and Chacin came one out away from duplicating that performance. Can't choose between them? Start 'em both and hope for a 1-0 game until they are pulled for a reliever.
Chen continues to put up good numbers for his owners, at least until his recent troubles against Cleveland, when he gave up five earned runs over 6.2 innings. Mediocre strikeouts, but excellent control are his trademarks, as are both QS and wins. Facing the Astros can be viewed as opportunity for further fantasy goodness.
Miley is up and down, both with how many runs he allows and how many batters he can whiff. His effectiveness at home this season is less than stellar (it stinks), but he is a ground ball pitcher and with Arizona waking up now that Tony LaRussa is on board, he could be a decent desperation pickup. Key word there is desperation, though.
Our final option, Whitley is not going to give you a QS as he is on a limited pitch count, and if he continues to get pulled in the fourth inning, then wins are not in his future, either. The peripherals are excellent to date, 1.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, but you have to know those will not last. Still, he looks capable on the mound, and if you just need a start with a potential for limited damage, he is worth a shot.
Not so much to choose from until Saturday and Sunday, but then the bounty hits. Select wisely and you can prosper, but realize that any individual pitching matchup is a gamble. Sometimes, unless your league setting demand that extra start or additional innings to qualify for the week, it is best to stand pat and avoid the potential damage a spot start can bring to your stat line.
Should you have questions regarding fantasy baseball, especially starting pitching, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org to continue the discussion.