Heading into June, it is a good time to reassess what your team is doing vis a vis your opponents. Pumping up your pitching stats is always a nice tweak, especially in head to head leagues, and fortunately there are plenty of options to explore this week, especially in the middle tier below.
As I say every week, I would start any of these pitchers no matter the opponent or venue. Anibal Sanchez is pitching extraordinarily effectively since coming off the DL, and with his command and control, is much better than the normal number three starter. If you can acquire him for a reasonable cost, you should do so immediately. Shields needs to pick up his game to continue their residence in this tier, so keep an eye on him as June rolls on.
The first group or sub-tier here begins with Archer and runs through Miller. Archer has been walking too many for my taste, but his results and the K potential puts him at the top of the list. De la Rosa keeps validating my early faith in him, as does Garcia who was a late round pick that sat on my bench for weeks. Lincecum has recovered his mojo, and while I still don't trust him entirely, he is a fine option if he keeps up his current production, beu beware of his walk rate. Some bailed on Bailey, but he has righted his ship of late and is a pitcher I would trust going forward. Likewise, Miller, who is coming off two bad outings that has led to him relying on his curveball more, which I project as an important choice that should result in a return to effective pitching. You may disagree, but don't drop him just yet.
Our second sub-tier runs from Quintana to Morton. Quintana has had some poor support that results in a lack of wins, despite allowing three or fewer earned runs in seven consecutive starts. Dickey suffered a hiccup, but overall his production has been very good, making up for his stumbles in 2013, plus his team is playing well behind him. Kuroda keeps plugging along, although he has not been pitching deeply into games his last two starts, where his Ks have been down as well. Still, he is the number two for the Yankees, and is a decent SP3 for your team. Wheeler is due to have the occasional ripple, but that happens with rookies. Especially in keeper leagues, he is someone to target for long term production. Alvarez scared his owners with elbow stiffness in his last start, so keep a watch on his status, but if he can go, I like both his match ups this week. Colon has been sharp his last two outings, especially his 7.1 inning outing against the Pirates where he racked up 9 Ks. The Mets are in disarray, but their pitching is not the reason to worry. Phelps and Hernandez, and Morton too for that matter, have been pitching effectively recently, although both Morton and Hernandez have been a bit too free with the walks. Of the three, I'd go with Phelps if I had my druthers.
The next sub-tier ends with Arrieta, who suffers from lack of support but does give decent strikeout numbers to his owners. Garza, at the top of the sub-tier, has the occasional bad outing, but is overall a decent option, providing decent K totals in most starts. Bedard was due to regress and did so in his last start, but he has been spectacular before that, so it is worth a shot to see if this is a new trend or just a hiccup. Must confess I don't really like his first start this week in Miami, but the second start is a good spot to put him back into your roster. Anderson and Buchanan are both more than likely available on the wire, and are both coming off back to back excellent starts, so what I am saying is, if you need a pitcher, consider snagging one or both while the getting is good. Might want to avoid using Anderson at Coors Field, though. Norris is up and down like a yo-yo, but if you get him on the right day, he can be very useful in terms of peripherals and Ks. Just be wary of the blow up starts.
The bottom five in this tier are desperation picks. Dedundo is coming off a bad start at home vs Texas, but has been good overall. His second start against the Astros looks good. Gallardo is another yo-yo pitcher, and you just have to weigh your risk if you start him. Zimmermann has not been living up to his early season expectations, and with limited Ks and occasional double digit base runners in his starts, I don't trust him right now, but you may feel differently. Note though his tumble from usual top tier status to the bottom of the middle tier. Saunders looked good against the Twins at Target Field, but with only two starts on the season (one great, one short and bad), and last year's debacle looking me in the face, I am waiting before I consider using him yet. Stauffer has two home starts, and that is favorable,but he is also coming off a disastrous one third of an inning start where he was charged with seven earned runs, so I am not sold on his potential. Then again, two starts are Petco make him the foundation of this tier, and not a resident of the third tier.
I would not start any of these pitchers until they get things together on the mound. Masterson has been spectacularly disappointing, as it appears that last season's brilliance was his ceiling, and his current owners are suffering through his floor in 2014.
Should you have questions regarding fantasy baseball, especially starting pitching, you can reach me at email@example.com to continue the discussion.