Welcome to Week 17 (Monday 7/31 to Sunday 8/06).
I haven’t seen my groundhog in a week, just as we’re getting to be friends. Also, after a couple of rainy, chilly days my swimming pool is quite cold, making cleaning it less important than picking all the tomatoes, peppers, cukes and squash my garden seems to be suddenly spewing forth. I’m still waiting on the tomatillos, and edamame, my new experiments for this season. All that being said, none of this is as important as picking my spot starters for next week.
A couple of important injury notes:
Some bad news: David Price of Boston hit the DL again with some forearm stiffness, for the 2nd time this season. The Sox are saying that it is not as bad as the last time and that he “should pitch again this season”. I don’t call their comments optimistic. Another pitcher of note, Aaron Sanchez, is dealing with blisters, again.
On the trade front, a couple of SP likely are on the move this weekend. Sonny Gray is still out there, linked to several teams, most notably the Yankees. I’m not a huge Gray fan, but the Yanks do need some arms, ligaments, tendons, and obliques. Hopefully, for whoever gets him those parts are still intact. Jamie Garcia did go to Minnesota, (EDIT: and then to the Yanks a day later for Zack Littel and Dietrich Enns.) and Colon is still invited to stand on a mound, at least for now. I don’t think I’m starting Colon anytime soon, though it would be not unlike him to spin a gem on any given start. Yu Darvish has been announced as most definitely available by GM John Daniels of Texas, who also said they would like to explore re-signing him in the Spring. The Yanks and Dodgers were reported as most likely destinations though the Yanks say they have “mild interest”. (Ranger info from Jeff Todd, MLB Rumors.com) All of those respective rotations are now subject to change. A few other SP trades include Jeremy Hellickson to the Orioles for Hyun Soo Kim and a prospect, Tampa traded swingman Erasmo Ramirez to Seattle for Steve Cishek.
WEEK SEVENTEEN: 7/31 to 8/06: Like the past few weeks, some pitching schedules are subject to change.
Last week I said it was the week leading up to the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline. Well, that deadline is Monday and there still could be major trades this weekend, like Sonny Gray, etc.
At least two of my two start pics from last week lost their 2nd start. The good news is some of them get the two-start week this week instead.
If you play DFS, don’t forget to look at my picks at the bottom of the article.
Spotters from the <50% owned crowd:
Brent Suter, LHSP, MIL (20% owned ESPN, 45% Owned in Fantrax) vs STL, WED 8-2: What does this guy have to do to get owned? Only 45% of Fantrax owners and half that many in ESPN have Brent Suter on their roster. What else does he have to do? I went out on a limb and ran him out against the Cubs in last week’s article and all my teams and what did he do? He scattered four hits and a walk over seven scoreless innings in Friday’s 2-1 win over the Cubs, striking out five. Against the Cubs, he threw 54 of 82 pitches for strikes. In five starts, all in July so far, he is 2-1 with four of those being quality starts, a 1.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, & 25/5 KBB in 30 innings. In the next few weeks, both Garza and Anderson should be back from injury. If Suter ain’t broke don’t fix him. I can’t see them putting him in AAA or the pen. Next week he’ll take the mound Wednesday at home against the Cardinals. The Cards have a wOBA of .320 vs lefties away from STL. This is what I said last week about the Cubs matchup: “The Cubs are 3rd in the MLB in wOBA vs lefties away from Wrigley (.366), 7th in BA (.280), and 6th in ISO at .202. Those are some scary numbers so if you roll out Suter you are in the high-risk high-reward neighborhood.” The Cards are not as scary, coming in at .295 wOBA vs Lefties away from home coupled with a .253 batting average.
Jhoulys Chacin, RHSP, SD (23% owned in ESPN, 68% owned Fantrax) vs MIN TUE 8-1: This is Chacin’s third week in a row on this list and he is still available in more leagues than he is not. His 2nd start for week 16 got bumped until Tuesday so he lost two start status and likely will again this week due to off days. Had Chacin gotten two more outs he’d have a quality start in nine of his last ten starts, including his most recent at home vs the Mets where he went 5 1/3 innings giving up two earned runs on four hits and three walks, striking out five. He gained a win and four K’s while not letting any pitches land in the seats for the 4th time in his last seven starts, in which time he only has three. He is now one of the league leaders with a 10-7 record with a 4.22 ERA, yet his Fantrax ownership only increased 7% to 68% since that last start. Over his past eleven starts, he has not given up more than three earned runs and is one inning shy of all but two being QS. In fact, May 23 is the last time he gave up more than three runs. Over that ten start run, he is 5-3, 2.73 ERA, 1.12 WHIP with 47 K’s in 56.1 IP. If he is on your wire and not part of your rotation you better have a damn good rotation. Either way, he needs to be universally owned next week. He gets the Twins at home and they are hitting worse on the road than at home with a .323 wOBA.
***TWO START PITCHER***Patrick Corbin, LHSP, AZ (21% owned in ESPN, 69% owned Fantrax) @ CHC, TUE 8/1 & @ SF, SUN 8/6: Let me get this straight. At least 40% of you have no use for an LH starter that K’s nearly a strikeout per inning, has the D’Backs behind him scoring runs, and has been pitching pretty well lately? Go grab him for this week already. The Cubs are 14th in wOBA (.324), and 24th in BA (.234) vs lefties at home, I’m not saying it will be easy, especially if he doesn’t have his strikeout pitches working. SF should be easier as they are dead last in wOBA at .265 against lefties at home. I might be able to pitch that game too. I’m relaxing my usual red flags for Corbin this week as he is a bonafide MLB SP in my mind, not your run of the mill spot starter. I own him in nearly all my leagues. In each of his past nine starts, he has given up three or fewer runs.
Chad Kuhl, RHSP, PIT (4.6 owned ESPN, 29% Owned in Fantrax) vs CIN, THU 8/3: The Reds have one of the worst offenses in baseball but at vs right handed SP, away from Cinci, they are 8th in the MLB with a .323 wOBA. Kuhl has been pitching pretty well lately. In his last start he gave up four runs in six innings pitched, but that was in the thin air of Colorado. In his last six starts he has four quality starts and was 1/3 of an inning shy of a fifth, Colorado being the lone exception. In that stretch, he has gone 27.2 IP, with a less than sparkling 21/11 K/BB, but a 3.31 ERA.
Not for the faint of heart. Pitchers from the abyss:
Parker Bridwell, RHSP, LAA (6.5% owned in ESPN, 39% owned Fantrax) vs PHI, THU 8/3: He’ll face the Phillies the day after his 26th birthday. During most of his minor league career, he walked far too many, averaging about 5 BB/9 until AA ball in 2015. Since then he has trimmed that to a MLB ready 2.2 BB/9. His K rates are still trying to catch up with his lofty minor league K rates, and will likely come back as his command improves. So, what have you done for me lately? Somehow when no one was looking, Mr. Bridwell has gone 5-1 with a 2.83 ERA and 1.185 WHIP as a starter for the Angels. Five of his last starts ended in a QS for Parker, and during that stretch, he is 4-1 with a 26-7 K/BB in 39 IP. The one wart on his 2017 resume so far has been a propensity to give up HR’s, something he seldom did in the minors. Again, I believe as his command improves, so will his ratios. On Thursday he gets to face the Phillies at home in LA. The Phils are 24th in the MLB with a .299 wOBA vs righties away. I might be able to pitch a quality start there, except I’m a lefty.
Adam Conley, LHSP, MIA (14.4% owned ESPN & 31% owned Fantrax) @ ATL, FRI, 8/4: Conley has been a consistent streamer option for a few years now and until 2017, a frequent flyer in my articles. Welcome back, Adam. After a stint in the minors, he has come back strong by going 2-0 in three quality starts, sporting a 15/4 K/BB and only 2 HR. Both numbers are significant as his downfall has always been the double whammy of too many walks and HR. However, in 2015-2016 Conley started 36 games and posted a 12-7 record, so he is not a novice by any means. When someone asks me my goal with a spot starter, my pat answer is a quality start. Conley is exactly that. He won’t win you strikeout and ERA titles, and he likely won’t lead your team in wins, but in the right matchup, Adam Conley is a quality start waiting to happen. Next week he gets the Braves in Atlanta where they have a .303 wOBA vs lefties at home, good for 23rd in the MLB. His wife was smiling when she heard he would be in this weeks article.
DFS PLAYERS: You may want to re-think starting him:
Chris Archer, RHSP, TB @ HOU, TUE, 8/1: The ‘Stros are 4th in wOBA at home vs RHP with a .358 wOBA. No thanks.
Yu Darvish, RHSP, TX @ MIN, SUN, 8/6: MIN has a .323 wOBA against RHP at home. By then Darvish may have a new home as well.
DFS CONTRARIAN MOVE: Scary Contrary, Don’t let your kids try this at home:
Jake deGrom, RHSP, NYM @ COL, THU 8/3: Are you a gambler? The Rockies are 4th in the Majors at home vs righties with a .355 wOBA. But, deGrom has been just about the best SP in the majors for the past month and a half. Don’t push your luck unless you can handle the stress.
DFS PLAYERS: Match-ups of the week:
Gerrit Cole, RHSP, PIT vs SD, FRI, 8/5: The Padres are one of the worst teams in the MLB vs Righties away with a .300 wOBA.
James Paxton, LHSP @ KC FRI 8/4: KC is 26th in the MLB in wOBA vs LHP at home at only .293.
What to expect in 2017: (If you read this part in last week’s article, skip the next few paragraphs.
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.
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 Fourteen, 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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