As we wrap up April with the upcoming fantasy period number 5, there are still some certainties that we can rely upon in setting our lineups, but as happens every season, some new shining lights have appeared in the fantasy firmament. Let us take a look at who can provide our teams with that extra start this week, and help us move on to victory.
None of these pitchers should be benched, no matter the opponent, the venue or the opposing lineup. Wind them up and let them go.
When I set up this middle tier, I sort the pitchers here according to how I would rank them were they all available to me on the wire. That being said, I still look at them as being in sub-tiers and any pitcher in a particular sub-tier is nearly as valuable as any other guy so ranked. The first sub-tier, for example, ends with Vargas. All nine of these starters have been pitching very well their last three starts at least, and should be used to their full abilities this week. Lohse has tossed 3 consecutive QS with a 19:3 K/BB ratio in those starts. Samardzija has FIVE consecutive QS, and while his K rate isn't as wonderful as Lohse's, he still has managed a 3:1 K/BB ratio, which most fantasy owners would love to have at their disposal. Ross had a bit of a blow up in his last appearance, but had been superb until then, and pitching at SF and against the Diamondbacks leads me to think he has a good chance to bounce back. Gallarado is once again pitching like an ace, and like Samardzija, has put together a 5 game QS streak, but I would like a few more Ks to move him up this sub-tier. The Cincinnati kids, Simon and Cingrani, both had a spot of trouble in their last outings, where the Pirates took 5 free passes from Simon, a rare lapse in control, and handed Cingrani his first start where he gave up more than 5 hits (it was only 6, but broke the string). Niese has been excellent for the Mets, who continue to outperform expectations. Part of that is Niese's ability to limit base runners, although he has had some bad luck trying to scrape up a win. Sabathia has pitched well his last two outings, allowing only 3 earned runs while returning to his strikeout per inning ways. Vargas has not allowed more than 2 earner runs in his last 5 starts, where he has gone 2-0. The strikeout totals aren't exactly eye-popping, but he is also prolly available on your waiver wire, at least in shallower leagues.
The next sub-tier begins with Morales and goes down through Young. Morales has two wins in his last two starts, and pitches well both at home and on the road. He is also prolly available to grab right now, with about 22% ownership in leagues.Masterson has bounced back from a bad couple of games early in the month, tossing 2 QS and posting a 15:3 K/BB ratio. Quintana had a poor outing against Texas in Arlington, but bounced back to his QS ways against Detroit. His big problem, for me, is the inconsistent K numbers. Young is a pitcher I don't often think about when perusing the waiver wire, and with limited strikeout numbers, and a propensity to allow earned runs, I think he has possibilities as a bench starter that you can plug in based on match up, such as in his second start against Houston.
Our final sub-tier kicks off with Lackey, who I want to believe in but cannot based on his his two starts before he tossed a gem against the Yankees. In those other two starts, he gave up 6 earned runs in each game and had limited success missing bats (obviously). His last start saw him limit the Yankees to one earned run and rack up 11 Ks as well, so it might be time to trust him again. Or not. Miley, like his teammates, continues to under perform. He has his moments, but pitching in Arizona doesn't help his stat line, and his team's offensive struggles don't help his cause, either. Chatwood has an excellent offense to back him, but is prone to allowing numerous earned runs in his starts. With the hits he allows and his occasional inability to find the strike zone, he is too unpredictable for my taste. Morton was an early season favorite of mine, and while I expected some regression from his very good 2013 performance, I also did not foresee an increase in ERA to 4.36. I would bench him until he comes around to be the pitcher he can be. or cut him if you can find a better free agent option.
I cannot in any good conscience suggest that you pick up one of these guys from the wire, or if you own them already, that you insert them into your starting lineup. Doom and misery is sure to follow if you ignore this bit of advice. Do keep your eye on Odorizzi, as I generally like Tampa Bay SPs.
Should you have questions regarding fantasy baseball, especially starting pitching, you can reach me at email@example.com to continue the discussion.