Welcome to Week 11 (6/12 to 6/18, 2017) the week known as a pain in the neck. My personal pain in the neck is another groundhog chewing my vegetable garden seedlings and my wife’s flower garden buds, all the while laughing at us and looking up ways to get over on us on the internet. If you’ve read my articles since last season you know this is a spring ritual for me. Rototill the garden, plant the garden, the rodent eats the garden, catch the rodent (Have-a-Heart trap), take him far, far away, rescue (as in re-plant) the garden. But why does it happen every spring? Today my neighbor finally admitted he has a whole family of them every spring living in his overgrown yard. ($*&^%#@!!) When it gets crowded over there, one of them finds the accommodations under my shed quite splendid, especially with breakfast right outside the hole he dug under it. This reminds me of my disabled list in fantasy. Just when you think you have your staff back together, your neighbor shoos away another rodent to terrorize your garden, er, roster.
As for the other pain in the neck, yes, Dallas Keuchel again. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the garden, Keuchel goes down with a pinched nerve in his neck. The powers that be say he’ll only miss one start so they conveniently used that now beloved 10 day DL so they could bring up a player. Keuchel is 9-0 with 48 hits, 14 ER and 18 walks against 69 K’s in 75.2 IP for a 1.67 ERA and .872 WHIP. He’s having the year you hoped for when you drafted him this season, perhaps at a discount after an injury-plagued 2016. 2016 was a disappointing season after he won the AL Cy Young and almost the MVP (5th) in 2015. Such is life in 2017 – the year of the 10 Day DL. Another prominent injury was Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs. After pitching Quality Starts in 5 out of 6 games he threw a couple of clunkers and then went on the 10-Day with hand tendonitis. Ok, they say he’ll miss one start.
Some Returning Wounded:
We did get some of the injured troops back recently. Brandon McCarthy, David Price, Corey Kluber, James Paxton, and Chris Tillman all made starts over the past two weeks, and next week we should see Steven Matz, who pitched yesterday and won, Taijan Walker, the long lost Tyson Ross, James Shields, and Seth Lugo, but there is still no timetable for Danny Duffy, Nate Karns, King Felix, Cole Hamels, 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 11.)
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’ll list two or so pitchers that are less than 20% owned and look like a good choice based on the above criterion.
DFS Suggestions – I’ll pick out a few aces to avoid in DFS and a couple who should be in your lineup, especially if I see a great contrarian start.
WEEK ELEVEN – JUNE 12 through JUNE 18, 2017: I’ve been saying for a few weeks now that the minor league call-ups will start soon, and they have been, perhaps a bit early because of the DL Carousel. We’ll see some of them in this week’s article.
Spotters from the <50% owned crowd:
Jason Hammel, RHSP, KC (6.1% owned ESPN, 37% owned Fantrax) @ SF, WED 6/14: We know Hammel is not a stud but he has been one of the more durable starters in baseball averaging 30 starts per season for the last three years. He’s actually having one of his worst seasons statistically since he became a full-time SP in 2009, posting a 5.43 ERA & 1.45 WHIP. So, why am I recommending him? Since the calendar turned to June he has been pitching far better than he did in April and May with a 1-0 record and 2.63 ERA, .659 WHIP in 2 quality starts. Three of his last 4 starts have been QS in which he has 18/2 K/BB in 19.2 IP. He’s only on this list at all because of his poor start to the season, but his most recent start against the Astros at home was his best, tossing 7 innings of 4 hit, 1 run ball with 4 K’s and no walks. This coming week he gets the Giants in SF on Wednesday, where the Giants are hitting .226 with half as many HR as on the road. They are only hitting .234/.659 vs righties and in the past two weeks are hitting .194. They are 14th in the NL in runs scored, 13th in batting average and dead last in the NL in HR and OPS. No, I’m not excited either but if you are fishing for a QS here it is. Too bad their son got his looks from Dad and not Mom.
Randall Delgado, RHSP, AZ (6.1% owned ESPN, 26% owned Fantrax) @ PHI, FRI 6/16 or SUN 12/18: Delgado has been stretched out transitioning from long relief to starting over the past few starts and now gets a nice matchup next weekend in Philly. He may pitch Friday or Sunday depending on other rotation issues but is assured of a start. He had not given up more than one earned run until his most recent start where he gave up four, but since joining the rotation he has a K/BB of 44/9 in 46.2 IP. The Phils are 12th in the NL in OPS and runs, 13th in BA, 14th in walks, and have hit .222 over the past 4 weeks scoring only 3.1 runs per game. Delgado has a 2.87 ERA vs right handed batters in 2017 and the bulk of the Phils lineup is right-handed including Franco, Joseph, and Altherr. Another reason to keep him on your roster is his current girlfriend Larimar Fiallo, the former Miss Dominican Republic. Whatever, the yellow sunglasses are cool.
Jesse Chavez, RHSP, LAA (6.3% owned ESPN, 35% owned Fantrax) vs KC FRI 6/16: Chavez has been a very productive spot starter this season when used correctly. He has a 4.56 ERA backed up by an equally miserable 5.23 FIP and his nearly 2 HR/9 is the biggest culprit. He made my article last week as a two-start starter and pitched a pretty good game at Detroit where he gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings for a win missing a QS by one out. He gave up 7 hits and a walk while striking out 4 but he did give up another HR, which is his Achilles. He has given up at least one HR in 10 straight starts and 11 of his 13. He heads to Houston for a start today (Sunday) to complete his two-start week and then gets the KC Royals at home next week on Friday. The Royals are last in the AL in runs, OPS, and walks and 14th in HR and BA, so HR should not be a big threat there. The Royals are only hitting .239/.682 vs righties and .219/.648 away from KC, only scoring 3.37 runs per game away. He’s not a two-start pitcher but this Friday start vs the Royals is a no brainer.
Joe Biagini, RHSP, TOR (9.6% owned ESPN, 47% owned Fantrax) vs CHW FRI 6/16 Joe B has been sharp so far after being stretched out to start, hurling three QS against the potent offenses of the Yanks, Rangers,and now the Mariners, going 20 IP with 18 K’s and 6 earned runs, 1 HR, and four walks. He took the loss in all three games because his defense and lack of run support have given him little chance to win despite how well he’s pitched. He gets the ChiSox at home this week on Friday, which will be a bit of a break from the high-octane offenses he’s seen recently. The Sox are hitting .249/.710 away from CHI and .240/.684 vs RH pitching averaging only three runs per game. The Sox are 11th in the AL in runs, 12th in HR, 13th in OPS and 14th in walks. I’m still sold on this kid and so is the fantasy baseball community as his ownership is up to nearly 50% now in Fantrax. In 56 2017 innings, Joe has a 3.38 ERA and 1.018 WHIP. Like I said last week, I’m all in.
Tim Adleman, RHSP, CIN (10.7% owned in ESPN, 25% owned Fantrax) vs LAD SAT 6/17: Adleman has really turned his season around tossing three straight quality starts and lowering his ERA from 6.19 to 4.42 in the process. He averaged 7 innings pitched in the process. His ERA over the past month is 3.50, and he pitches better at home than on the road with a home ERA of 4.13, or close to a run less than on the road. Hitters are batting .225 with a .295 OBP against him in Cincinnati. Overall he is 4-2 in 9 starts with a 4.42 ERA, 1.189 WHIP and a 4.69 FIP which is also coming down. His 7.8 K/9 is only average but his 3.1 BB/9 and 1.5 HR/9 need to improve for him to sustain success. Friday he’ll get the LA Dodgers at home. Adleman pitches better vs lefties and the Dodgers regular lineup has six of them. The Dodgers are hitting .240/.701 away from LA, and batting only .225 in the past month averaging less than 4 runs per game over that time. This is the first week I may start him myself and his debut on this list.
Not for the faint of heart. Pitchers from the abyss:
Buck Farmer, RHSP, DET (18.8% owned ESPN, 23% owned in Fantrax) vs AZ TUE 6/13: Buck made my cover photo this week as the most added pitcher in fantasy. In two 2017 starts he is 2-0 and has not yet given up a run in 13 innings with 16 K’s to 3 walks and no HR. Walks and homers, though, like many young pitchers are his bugaboo, though he has always had high strikeout rates in the minors. Arizona is one of the better offenses in the NL but is also 3rd in the NL in strikeouts. They are hitting .239 over the past two weeks and are slashing .219/.648 away from the desert, averaging 3.6 runs per game on the road. Too bad he has already passed his rookie eligibility.
Christian Bergman, RHSP, SEA (3.2% owned ESPN, 20% owned Fantrax) @ MIN TUE 6/13 The young right-hander continues to impress, giving up 2 runs or less in his 3rd straight start, and his third straight week on this list. Since a blowout at the hands of the Nats, Bergman has lowered his ERA from 6.30 to 4.03. He’s been missing more bats as of late, notching 13 swinging strikes over his five innings vs the Twins and racking up six strikeouts for a second straight start. He gets a rematch with Minnesota at Target Field next Tuesday where the Twins are hitting .250 this season. They are only hitting .241/.670 over the past week and scoring 3.42 RPG vs righties. The Twins are 12th in the AL in runs and 11th in HR. Ride the wave. I am, I own him for next week in two leagues.
***TWO START PITCHER***Bronson Arroyo, RHSP, CIN (.8% owned ESPN, 9% Owned in Fantrax) @SD, MON 6/12 & vs LAD SUN 6/18: Remember him? As you can see there are not a ton of two-start spotters to chose from for week 11. I already picked up Arroyo yesterday for next week. The lowly Padres are a favorite target in my articles for obvious reasons. They are last in the NL in runs, 13th in walks and 2nd in strikeouts, and for the season are slashing .225/.667 with a .290 OBP. It gets worse though as they are only scoring 3.25 runs per game, and 2.77 RPG vs righties with a .230/.681 slash. Finally, they are hitting .220/.658 at home averaging only 3 RPG. Sunday he’ll get the LA Dodgers at home. The Dodgers are only averaging 3.5 runs per game vs right-handers, hitting .240/.701 away from LA, and batting only .225 in the past month averaging less than 4 runs per game over that time.
DFS PLAYERS: I sincerely hope no one listened to me and purposely did not use Volquez. I have to take a hit on that call. However, the show must go on and you may want to rethink starting:
Jake deGrom, RHSP, NYM vs CHC MON 6/12: Speaking of pains in the neck, try owning deGrom, or any Met SP this season.
Jeff Samardzija, RHSP, CHC @ COL FRI 6/16: He’s been on an absolute roll lately and we all need the strikeouts which he delivers in spades. However, being homer prone and a fly ball pitcher means you should keep him grounded next Friday in the mountains.
DFS PLAYERS: Match-ups of the week: I have three for you this week and one has two good starts next week. Yes, I realize they are all Yankees. It is a Yankee extravaganza week.
CC Sabathia, LHSP, NYY @ LAA 6/12 MON & vs OAK SAT 6/17: The A’s and Troutless Angels are two of the weakest AL offenses the past few weeks, and CC gets one of each in week 11.
Michael Pineda, RHSP, NYY @ LAA TUE 6/13: See above.
Luis Severino, RHSP, NYY vs OAK THU 6/15: See above.
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 eleven, 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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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday June 11th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #90 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Mark Bloom better known in the industry as Dr Roto of scoutfantasy.com. He also hosts a show every morning Monday through Friday on Sirius from 7-9am EST on the Fantasy Sports Radio Station XM 87/Sirius 210.