Welcome to Week 10 (6/5 to 6/11, 2017). What the hell happened? Did everyone else have the same experience this past week? Every single SP I trotted out last week got bombed for at least 6 runs. So, I had a pretty miserable week for my article and an even worse week for my teams. It ran the whole spectrum as well, from Tanaka and Harvey to the lowest guy on the bench. My teams all have ERA’s near 7 so I’m just throwing everyone out there to gather counting stats since my ratios are shot. I could have done just as well with all spot starters, and maybe I will this week.
Here is how my SP did in just 2 of my 4 leagues: Quintana (23.63), Tanaka (11.12), Tyler Anderson (10.80), Pat Corbin (9.00), Hellboy (5.06), Cobb (16.20), Harvey (10.80), Norris (5.40), Mentgen (7.71), Shipley (7.20). I’m ashamed to say two of those were in last week’s article. I took it on the chin ths week. At least in a Head to Head league next week we start over. On the articles I’ve been averaging 70% QS so I was due for a clunker. Let’s pick some good ones this week.
Some Returning Wounded:
All the following made starts in week 9 with mixed results: Brandon McCarthy, will pitch 6/1 @ STL next week; David Price 5/29 @ CHW & 6/3 @ BAL; Corey Kluber 5/31 vs OAK (If he does it makes the Hot Mike Clevenger iffy for a start this week); James Paxton 5/31 vs Colorado; Taijan Walker 6/3 @ MIA; Tyson Ross 6/3 or 6/4 vs Houston (likely pushing back Cashner or Perez and his 2nd start); Tyler Matz 6/4 vs PIT; Nate Karns 5/30 vs DET; and if these guys are actually on your DL, Jeff Locke 5/29 or 5/30 vs AZ; Tommy Milone 5/30 or 6/1 vs MIL; & Phil Hughes 6/1 @ LAA.
Notable injuries include: Danny Duffy is out with a Grade 1 oblique strain sustained covering 1st base on a grounder and Amir Garret who went on the DL with a hip issue. Jesse Hahn went on the DL for a shoulder issue, and there was talk Kendall Graveman may need a stint as well but for now they are hoping he’ll make his next start. Jharel Cotton was called up to start 5/29 vs CLE and 6/3 vs WAS but that is not a very attractive 2 start week.
We may soon see King Felix and Cole Hamels both scheduled to start rehab assignments next week. But we will still be without the likes of Noah Syndergaard & Madison Bumgarner for the foreseeable future.
What to expect in 2017: (If you read this part in last week’s article, skip down to week 9.)
Criteria Used: Platoon splits, LH/RH, Day/Night, Month, Half, stadium splits, team batting against splits, metrics like GB/FB rate, K & BB rates, Babip, wOBA, FIP, Trends, etc. Sources are Fan Graphs, Baseball Reference, Fantrax, ESPN and more.
Pitchers from the under 50% ownership group – I’ll list three or four pitchers, less than 50% owned who I believe are primed for a good start the following week, or better yet two good starts. I will make my decisions based on matchups, splits, recent trends and my own gut, which is not a measurable stat but gets me by pretty well.
Not for the faint of heart, pitchers from the abyss – I’ll list two or so pitchers that are less than 20% owned and look like a good choice based on the above criterion.
DFS Ace to avoid – This is great for both DFS, Roto, and to some extent H2H leagues and points leagues. Just because a pitcher is on your roster does not mean you are required to put him out there in a bad match-up. I’ll bet the guy who won your league last season knew when to sit down his Ace. If you are a DFS fan, I don’t have to tell you what happens when the Ace you spent 20% of your budget on gets bombed in the 2nd inning.
Match-up of the Week: If I see a match up that is too good to pass up, I’ll present the starter and explain why he should be in your lineup.
WEEK TEN – JUNE 5 through JUNE 11, 2017: We are starting to see the call-ups start trickling in. Some are journeymen minor league starters who either have some MLB experience or are generally considered ready though not quite good enough to make a rotation out of Spring. The studs are often still waiting for the Super Two deadline to go by usually in early to mid-June.
Weekly Trivia Question: Over the past two weeks 11 major league starting pitchers had ERA’s of at least 10.00 during those two weeks. (min 2 starts made). Which MLB starting pitcher had the worst ERA over those last two weeks? Hint: I thought it would be Tanaka but he was not even close. Answer below.
Spotters from the <50% owned crowd:
***TWO START PITCHER***Jaime Garcia, LHSP, ATL (16.5% owned ESPN, 57% Owned in Fantrax) vs PHI, TUE 6/6 & vs NYM Sunday 6/11: Garcia is having a pretty good season for a pitcher stuck at 50% ownership (Fantrax), even after giving up only one run total in his past 3 starts. Six of his eight starts have been QS, and he owns a 2.45 ERA in the past month with a 0.42 WHIP to boot. He may be due for a bit of a correction as his 3.18 ERA and 1.251 WHIP are not supported by his 4.36 FIP and .243 BABIP. Also, his K’s and walks are both trending in the wrong directions. This week, however, he gets two pretty good home starts, where his ERA is one run lower than anywhere else. First, he gets a Phillies team riding the worst current batting slump in the MLB, hitting .182 over the past two weeks with only 22 runs scored and 8 home runs in 12 games over that span. That is less than 2 runs per game. They are hitting .223 vs lefties which is 25 points lower than their home stats, and .230 away from Philadelphia, 22 points lower than at home. Next, he gets the Mets in Atlanta and while they are hitting better on the road (.269) than at home, they are only hitting .234 vs lefties.
Jordan Montgomery, LHSP, NYY (15.8% owned ESPN, 52% owned Fantrax) Vs BAL FRI 6/9: Monty is here mainly because of how reliable he has been and how much he has contributed to the success of the Yankees this season. Overall he is 3-4, with a 3.67 ERA, down from last week’s 4.30 ERA and 1.278 WHIP. His K per inning pitched is now up to 53K/56 IP though walks have hurt him, including 5 walks in his last 10 IP. Today he went 6 shutout innings against a hot Toronto team giving up only 3 hits, but also 3 walks. This week he gets the O’s at home where they have hit .240 over the past two weeks while averaging less than four runs per game. This may not be an ideal matchup, but I’m running him right out there and am surprised he is only owned by 52% of leagues in Fantrax.
***TWO START PITCHER***Dinelson Lamet, RHSP, SD (15.2% owned ESPN, 53% owned Fantrax) @ AZ TUE 6/6 @ vs KC SUN 6/11: Right? I had never heard of this 24-year-old Dominican native before this season either. So far in his limited exposure, he has registered a whopping 14.4 K/9, with only a 2.7 BB/9 to complement it, though he needs to cut back on HR allowed. Overall he is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.100 WHIP and with a 3.64 FIP, his inevitable correction may have a soft landing. He showed good chops in the minors, especially in 2016 when he hit all three upper levels going 12-10 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.247 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and 158 K’s in 150 IP. Like most young pitchers the walks are high, but the rest of those numbers shine. Next week he is playing in Arizona where the D’backs have hit .233 over the past two weeks, barely averaging 4 runs per game. They are hitting 36 points better against righties at .271, and 90 points higher at home than on the road, but I’m rolling with him. KC, on the other hand, is the AL’s patsy, plus they have hit only .236 vs righties and only .219 away.
***TWO START PITCHER***Mike Fiers, RHSP, HOU (3.7% owned ESPN, 33% owned Fantrax) @ KC MON 6/5 & vs LAA SUN 6/11: Fiers gets little attention in fantasy circles as he is not likely ownable in most formats. That helps us to be able to find him on the wire when we need him. His 4.96 ERA, 1.500 WHIP, and frightening 6.94 FIP, plus sky high HR/9 of 3.1 and BB/9 of 3.40 do not inspire confidence, but these matchups just might. As bad as his first 7 starts were, and they were very bad, putting him at all time worsts for WHIP, Homers, walks and K’s per 9, his last 3 starts were quite the opposite. Two of the three were QS, and he only gave up 2 HR and 5 walks in those starts, lowering his ERA by a full run in the process. It is more about what have you done for me lately than what did you do last month. First, he is in KC Tuesday where they are hitting .236 vs righties and .245 at home, but then he gets to play against the Angels at home in his 2nd start. LA is hitting .234 vs righties, with no power, and .255 at home with little power. Now, subtract Mike Trout from the equation and you have one of the perfect match ups. Fiers is pitching to a batting average against of .258 away and 5.70 ERA, but .308 at home with a 3.97 ERA. I’m not going to worry about some of those negative numbers, just like Mike and his girl Ava do not appear too worried about it either.
Not for the faint of heart. Pitchers from the abyss:
***TWO START PITCHER***Jesse Chavez, RHSP, LAA (4.5% owned ESPN, 35% owned Fantrax) @ DET TUE 6/6 & @ HOU SUN 6/11: Chavez has been a very productive spot starter this season when used correctly. He has a 4.68 ERA backed up by an equally miserable 5.26 FIP and his nearly 2 HR/9 is the biggest culprit. He’s got two on the road this week, the first at Detroit where the Tigers are hitting .239 over the past two weeks and they hit .272 at home overall, but they have been scuffling with injuries and now Kinsler can be added to the list of injuries. Then he heads to Houston where the ‘Stros are hitting 30 points lower than on the road.
Joe Biagini, RHSP, TOR (6.0% owned ESPN, 37% owned Fantrax) @ SEA FRI 6/9: Joe B has been sharp so far after being stretched out to start, hurling two QS against the potent offenses of the Yanks and Rangers, going 13 IP with 13 K’s and only 3 earned runs, 1 HR and two walks. He took the loss in both games because his defense and lack of run support gave him no chance at a win despite how well he pitched. He goes to Seattle to face the Mariners on Friday facing another squad fighting against the injury bug. Biagini is pitching to a .210 BA vs lefties this season, and the Mariners big hitters, except for Nelson Cruz are lefty. (Cano, Seager, Dyson, Gamel) I’m in. I like his makeup.
Eric Skoglund, LHSP, KC (11.6% owned ESPN, 26% owned in Fantrax) @ SD FRI 6/9: The Padres are hitting .239 over the past two weeks, .200 vs lefties with a .599 OPS, and .216/.649 at home, so it seems like a good match to give Skoglund his debut appearance in Pick Your Spots. Skoglund was called up to replace Danny Duffy who is down with a grade 1 oblique strain that could sideline him for 6-8 weeks. He did not disappoint in his first start, hurling 6.1 innings giving up only 2 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts picking up a W. In the minors he was good if not spectacular, and seldom did himself in with huge innings. He averaged 8 K/9, 2 BB/9 and less than one HR/9 over five years. With Duffy out and Karns still out Skoglund has a chance to establish himself in the MLB rotation.
DFS PLAYERS: You may want to rethink starting:
Edinson Volquez, RHSP, MIA @ PIT THU 6/8: I never start a pitcher in his next start after a No-No.
Corey Kluber, RHSP, CLE @ COL WED 6/7: Kluber has never played in Colorado, but has his worst lifetime ERA’s in HR prone stadiums like Tor (6.10), Det(5.66), Bal (4.21), & Bos (3.96). He has career worsts this season in HR% (3.9%), HR/FB (12.5%) and
HR/9 (1.5) and has always been a flyball pitcher (.85 GB/FB in 2017). Not a good recipe.
DFS PLAYERS: Match-ups of the week: I have three for you this week and one has two good starts next week.
Chris Archer, RHSP, TBR vs CHW TUE 6/06 & vs OAK SUN 6/11: Two DFS worthy starts for next week. Sox are hitting .236/.674 vs righties, .246/.700 Away. Oak is batting .227 over the past two weeks, .233/.747 vs righties and .221/.667 away. They are also 2nd in the AL in strikeouts. Archer is on his game. You’ll get your K’s but the W’s may be harder to come by.
Dallas Keuchel, LHSP, HOU @ KC WED 6/7: I’m picking on the Royals lately. Keuchel has given up more than 2 runs only once this season leading to a sub 2.oo ERA. KC has the worst offense in the AL and are hitting .222/.640 vs lefties.
Ervin Santana, RHSP, MIN @ SF FRI 6/9: Do you believe in the magic? There have been a few lemons in the past 5 weeks or so but he is still solid most of the time. The Giants have hit .230 over the past week, .230/.648 vs righties and .229/.617 at home. Plus Santana won’t have a DH to worry about.
Trivia Question Answer: Jose Quintana ended the past two weeks with an ERA of 19.29, 7 more than the next worst ERA (Zack Eflin: 12.27). What the hell is going on?
My crusade for 2017/2018: Pitchers and other players seem to be getting injured so fast that most leagues don’t have enough DL spots to accommodate them all. Roster limits force tough decisions which are a good thing for competitive league balance and showcasing owner skills, but this season’s overcrowded Disabled-Lists have proven to test traditional capacity at times. I think it is a combination of pitchers being more injury prone, but also the abundant use of the new in 2016 7 day concussion DL, and the new in 2017 10 day DL rule that has MLB teams easing their own roster limitations at the expense of our fantasy limitations and resources. In light of the 7 day & 10 day DL rules, I recommend any owners who have 2 to 4 DL spots to petition the League Manager to increase the number of DL spots to whatever is appropriate for that format. Most good LM’s won’t change rules or settings once the season starts, and rightly so, but at least it will be in place for 2018. Don’t feel victimized by the new rule. Adjust to it.
Thanks for reading and good luck in week ten, especially with your pitching. If you have a question about these or any other SP match-ups next week don’t hesitate to leave a message in the comments, write me, or check out my “Pick Your Spots” thread every Sunday on the /r/fantasybaseball Sub-Reddit where I’ll talk starting pitching all day.
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