“65 Mustangs” Week 6 Spot Starting and Closer Guide. Is it still early this late?
I don’t pretend to be the All-Time Guru of spot starting by any stretch, but I had to laugh hard (or LMAO as they say) when a good friend and colleague of mine, and the owner of this site, picked up Jonathan Niese to start this week vs the Cubs May 3rd. He either didn’t read my last article or didn’t agree when I said, “Don’t start Niese this week.” Damn I wish my team was playing him. I was also excited when two of my picks had great first starts this week – Chris Tillman of the O’s, who I have not yet dropped back to the pool, and Tyler Chatwood of the Mountain Goats, who nearly pitched a no-no. I’m not sure how to roster Chatwood in a league with small benches and position roster limits, but he is making me proud this week and his manager is telling him what to do to be the Rockies Ace, as dubious a title as there may be in sports.
The parade of prospects and 1st round phenoms has started as well. The question is which ones are ready to contribute consistently in 2016 and which are just here for a cup o’ coffee. Berrios, Stripling, Blair, Snell, Fulmer, Manaea, Stephenson, Glasnow, Taillon, etc. Exciting times if you like young pitchers. You know who you are.
The scary part of mid-May is deciding who should stay and who should go. At what point does “patience” (the unspoken, but extremely important fantasy skill) finally run out so changes can be made? Tyler White? Shelby Miller? Phillip Hughes? Any Yank pitcher not named Tanaka? CC Sabathia put us out of our misery when after a very good start, his best in two years, he pulled a groin and went on the DL. How many people would have been tempted to start him next week, ahem, or recommend him in their spot starting article?
The inevitable injury occurrences that can derail a fantasy season have started as well. Just yesterday it was announced that Garrett Richards was done for the season due to a torn flexor requiring TJ surgery. Richards owners are not finding much on the wire now.
Meanwhile, we need a spot start or two, so on we press. There were not as many obvious two-start starters as last week, so we’ll have to reach deeper. Here are more choices than usual.
SPOT STARTS – Still some good 2 start pitchers:
- Dan Straily, SP, CIN (1.7% to 22% owned) vs PIT MON and @ PHI SUN: Maybe more of a gut hunch than scientific analysis here, but I think Straily is going to have a good week, and may thrive in the NL. He is 27 years old and has had success in the MLB before. He is walking too many (3.7 BB/9), but his minor league history suggests he is just not yet in command (1.8 BB/9). He’s always sported a K-rate between eight and nine per nine innings. In his last start he went 6 IP with 5 hits and 2 ER with 5 K’s, 3 walks, and a homer. Yes, the walks and HR’s are a bit scary right now. You could skip him Monday vs PIT and go for @ PHI later in the week, however, Straily has a 3.52 ERA in Cinci and a 3.38 ERA career vs PIT. The PHI start is a no brainer, as the Phils are hitting .208 at home vs .241 on the road, and only hitting .227 anyway. While Staily may be prone to walks, the Phils are not prone to getting them, being 2nd to last in the NL with 74 this season.
- John Lamb, SP, CIN (1.3% to 13% owned) @ PHI SUN: A perfect storm, as PHI is hitting .199 Vs lefties as well as the previously mentioned .208 avg at home. The 25-year-old lefty, who had a 10-3 K/BB in 10 effective 2015 starts, did walk three in his first start this season against only four strikeouts, but also gave up only one run on six hits. His minor league career sported a 8.5 to 2.9 walks to strikeouts. I’ll use him this week.
- Tyler Wilson, SP, BAL (1.7% to 19% owned) – MON @ MIN & SUN vs DET: This 26-year-old righty does not have an MLB track record to draw from, but so far has a 3.05 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 2016. He walks very few batters and has a nice 1.16 GB/FB ratio. In the minors his K/BB was 8/2.5. I’m using him vs MIN and then will decide on using him against the Tigers, which will be at home.
- Tyler Duffey, SP, MIN (1.7%) @ CLE FRI: The 25-year-old righty is trying to build on his 2015 success when he went 5-1 with a 3.10 ERA in 10 starts. He has a 8/2 K/BB so far in two starts, in which he only gave up two earned runs against the tough Tigers and Nats. I’d trust him at home vs CLE and then we’ll see where he is.
- Doug Fister, SP, HOU(11.4% to 53% owned) vs CLE WED: The 32-year-old righty has not had an easy time of it the past two seasons. He appears to be healthy now, and at 3-3 seems to be assured a role in the rotation. He’s only given up 4 runs in his last 2 starts after a bit of a rough start to 2016. It was only 2 years ago when Fister was 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA in 2014. Good pitchers don’t forget how to pitch. If he is on your wire it is the last chance to get him.
- Jesse Hahn, SP, OAK (12.6% to 36% owned) @ TB SAT: We know Hahn is a decent and popular SP, and he got roughed up a bit Saturday, but he is facing the Rays in Tampa on Saturday. In the start before that, he gave up no runs in 6.2 innings with 3 hits and 2 walks Vs Houston. He’s given up no HR and has a good K/BB ratio. The Rays, on the other hand, are dead last in the AL, hitting .228 and next to last in runs scored.
- NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART:
- Ivan Nova, NYY (.7 to 15% Owned) vs KC MON and CHW SUN: He gets to start with CC Sabathia out and has had success as a starter for NY in the past. He does not get a ton of K’s but also walks no one, and induces a ton of grounders when he is on. He is a cheap, low risk two start pitcher with decent, though not great matchups at home. If the Yanks don’t find their bats, it will be tough to get a W. He’s surely on your wire still, though.
- Michael Fulmer, SP, DET (10 % to 53% owned) @ WASH TUE: The same can’t be said for Fulmer, who is owned in over half the Fantrax Leagues, and won’t be on many much longer. He’s a work in progress command wise, but was a stud prospect in the minors, sporting a consistent 10/3 K/BB. He is one Mike Napoli three run HR from having good ratios on the young season.
- Aaron Blair, SP, ATL (6.4% owned) vs PHI THU: Another rookie SP who may not be on the wire much longer. Blair has logged three adequate starts in 2016, one going long enough to be scored a QS, and has a 3.31 ERA. Like many young pitchers, he needs to get the walks down and strikeouts up like they were in the minors, but if you had to pick a week to finally give him a shot, give him the Phils at home this week.
Almost made the cut: Jr. Guerra, MIL (5%) vs SD; Nick Tropeano, LAA (38%) @ SEA FRI; Jhoulys Chacin, ATL (27%) vs PHI WED; Bartolo Colon, NYM (17.4% to 51%) @ LAD THU.
Apologies to the Phils for recommending so many pitchers against them next week.
Don’t Start: This section is for you Corey!
- Tyler Chatwood, COL (5% to 35%) – vs ARI Mon and NYM SUN; @ SD WED: After the week Tyler had, the temptation is to ride the new Rockie’s “Ace” for a two-start week. But he is at home against two very good offenses next week. This is why I said last week Chatwood is hard to own.
- Jon Niese, PIT @ CIN MON and CHC SUN: 2 Start nightmare, huh Corey? I think Niese has been distracted since getting married.
- Trevor Bauer, CLE @ HOU: Still walking too many and giving up too many dingers. Why is he 48% owned?
- Matt Cain, SF vs TOR TUE: Like you were going to anyway, LOL.
- Sean Manaea, OAK @ BOS TUE: He’s good, he’s raw, he’s not ready for me to trust at Fenway.
- Zack Greinke, LAD WED; Colin Rea, SD; Rubby De La Rosa & Robbie Ray, AZ MON and TUE @ COL: Yeah, maybe the altitude won’t affect them. Let me know how it turns out.
Matchups of the Week: Good matchups plus a rhyme or two.
- Jordan Zimmerman, DET @ WAS Scherzer, WED: A bittersweet reunion.
- Jose Fernandez, MIA @ WASH Stephen Strasburg, SUN Evening: Tanner Roark gets the first game. Maybe Fernandez and Strasburg could start both?
- Marcus Stroman TOR @ SF Madison Bumgarner, WED: Come get some!
- Gerrit Cole, PIT @ CHC, Jake Arrietta, THU: You can’t miss this and say you like baseball.
- Finally, Smiley Vs Miley. Drew, TB @ SEA Wade, TUE: C’mon you’ve gotten them mixed up in your Queue before, I know you have. LOL!
A lot happened this past week in the closer ranks and set-up ranks.
- Aroldis Chapman, NYY could be activated as soon as Monday or Tuesday. All three Yank fireballers are owned, so it’ll be interesting to see how the dominoes fall.
- Drew Storen, TOR got himself a save the other day when Bobby Osuna was unavailable. Storen is still volatile, but stay tuned to see what develops, as he is still the CLEW of choice there. I had dropped him and now am looking for him again. Shame on me.
- Zack Britton, BAL is back on the hill after a few days to recover from a minor injury. The CLEWS are back to waiting.
- Jeanmar Gomez, PHI got nailed in a three run blown save last night in Philly. Gomez has been effective enough in his first 10 saves that he should have some leash, but the Andrew Bailey CLEW countdown has started. But wait! A new name has surfaced in Hector Neris, now talked about as next in line. Chase your tail as you will. I have Gomez, and if he fails he fails. If you have room, stash Bailey and/or Neris. but are the saves in Philly worth a lot going forward?
- Tony Cingrani, CIN is no longer “Saveless in Cincinnati.” No one has locked down the closer battle with Caleb Cotham, etc., but I’d own Cingrani, and do. The rest is not worth owning.
- Kyle Barraclough, MIA is on my CLEW radar and I’ve picked him up in a few leagues. If nothing else he is a K and Holds machine lately.
- Brandon Maurer, SD, CLEW: Maurer is climbing the ladder in San Diego and the guy at the top of the ladder is Fernando Rodney. Do the math. Pick him up. *CLEW= Closer en Waiting
See you next week. Thanks for reading.
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