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June 15, 2012

Weekly Planner

Week 12

by Paul Sporer

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One start in for most of last week’s Weekly Planner picks and there have been some bumps in the road for American League hurlers: Brandon Morrow succumbing to injury, Felipe Paulino hitting the DL before the week even got started, and Josh Beckett, Wei-Yin Chen, and Alex Cobb all getting batted around.  While they weren’t necessarily difficult choices, I was pleased to have led you down the right path with the AL sits. 

Bud Norris, who is clearly ailing with a bum knee, was the only failure in the NL starts.  There were some sits who had palatable outings, but they were wait-and-see (Chris Young) or prove-it-to-us (Randall Delgado) guys anyway.  Josh Johnson did not disappoint in his return to “auto-start” status. 

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Auto-Starts: David Price, C.C. Sabathia, Jake Peavy

Three studs here, though Sabathia’s ERA has been a tick higher than expected, especially in light of his excellent skills, which include a career-high 9.0 K/9.  Peavy has been a tad wobbly of late, but it’s nothing to panic about. 

Start
Clay Buchholz (vs. MIA; vs. ATL)
Scott Diamond (@ PIT; @ CIN)
Matt Harrison (@ SD; vs. COL)
Tom Milone (vs. LAD; vs. SF)

I have never been much of a believer in Buchholz, but he has been excellent of late, so I checked out his last two starts and saw some really nice things.  He has a 2.61 ERA in 41 innings over the last calendar month, and that includes a five-earned-run outing in five innings at Baltimore.  He shut them out on June 7, however, as a nice little payback. 

Diamond has four walks (!) in 45 innings.  That is excellent and makes his 5.6 K/9 a lot more palatable and puts his K/BB at 7.0—it’s always nice when your K/BB is higher than your K/9.  It is time to buy in if you haven’t already.  The 25-year old is a prototypical Twin control artist and has been nothing short of amazing all year, including his six starts at Triple-A. 

Consider
Jerome Williams (vs. SF; vs. LAD)
Jake Arrieta (@ NYM; vs. WAS)
Hector Noesi (@ ARI; @ SD)
Rick Porcello (vs. STL; @ PIT)
Kyle Drabek (@ MIL; @ MIA)

Williams had been pitching well but has been rocked in back-to-back outings against Seattle and the Dodgers, but his 13-to-3 K/BB in those 13 innings of work is a nice silver lining.  He is quite hittable (9.2 H/9), which leaves him susceptible to blow-up outings, even against weaker opponents.  Still, he has some value in deep mixed and AL-only leagues.

Sit
Derek Lowe (vs. CIN; @ HOU)
Jonathan Sanchez (@ HOU; vs. STL)

What happens when you’re toting a 2.15 ERA despite a 2.3 K/9 and a sub-1.0 K/BB (0.8 K/BB thanks to three more walks than strikeouts)?  Regression is bound to bite back, and hard.  Over his last four starts, Lowe has an 8.55 ERA, but at least his K/BB ratio has eclipsed one (1.6 in 20 innings). 

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Auto-Starts: Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, R.A. Dickey, Matt Garza, Lance Lynn

First off, welcome Lynn to the auto-starts.  I think he has earned it after giving up more than three earned runs just once in his 13 starts and coming off of outings with 11 and 12 strikeouts.  Meanwhile, Hamels and Garza are looking to rebound from shaky outings on Wednesday; both failed to take part in the Day of the Pitcher that included Cain’s perfecto, Dickey’s near-no-no, and Lynn’s 12 K outing. 

Start
Mat Latos (@ CLE; vs. MIN)
Wade Miley (vs. SEA; vs. CHC)
Aaron Harang (@ OAK; @ LAA)
Mark Buehrle (@ BOS; vs. TOR)

Latos is the most talented of the bunch, but he has been terribly inconsistent.  I like the matchups for him despite Minnesota’s sneakiness as a middle-of-the-pack offense.  Miley has been excellent this year and gets two great matchups, so he is an easy go. 

Meanwhile, Harang has quietly strung together eight outings of 2.37-ERA ball in 49 innings.  In just one of those starts has he allowed more than three earned runs, and he has gone six-plus in six of them.  The Angels are surging, so that isn’t the nice matchup it was earlier in the year, but a trip to Oakland is always great.

Buehrle’s strikeout rate is fantasy repellant for me personally, but you cannot deny his great ERA and WHIP both this year and over the course of his wonderful career.  That gives him fantasy viability in plenty of leagues.  He built his reputation in the American League, so facing Boston and Toronto isn’t totally terrifying. 

Consider
J.A. Happ (vs. KC; vs. CLE)
Randy Wolf (vs. TOR; @ CHW)

I love Happ’s strikeout rate (9.4 K/9), but he is just too inconsistent to blindly trust even with a pair of outings against bottom-10 offenses (as ranked by OPS).  Also note that they are also the two hardest teams to strikeout in all of baseball.

Wolf tends to post a couple of hot streaks per year and could be starting one after allowing just a single run in 14 innings (0.66 ERA) against the Cubs and Royals in his last two outings. 

Sit
Mike Minor (@ NYY; @ BOS)
Chien-Ming Wang (vs. TB; @ BAL)
Kevin Correia (vs. MIN; vs. DET)
Jason Marquis (vs. TEX; vs. SEA)
Josh Outman (@ SF; @ TEX)

Minor is the only one who I almost bumped into the consider pool, but in the end, those two outings and his tendency to yield home runs was just too terrifying, even after a great outing against the Yankees his last time out (1 ER in 7 1/3 IP).  I wouldn’t consider any of the other four, even in NL-only leagues.

COMPOSITE RANKINGS
Auto-Starts

Price, Hamels, Cain, Sabathia, Dickey, Peavy, Garza, Lynn

Starts
Buchholz, Diamond, Harrison, Latos, Miley, Milone, Harang, Buehrle

Considers
Williams, Arrieta, Noesi, Happ, Wolf, Porcello, Drabek

Sits
Minor, Wang, Lowe, Sanchez, Corriea, Marquis, Outman

Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Paul's other articles. You can contact Paul by clicking here

Related Content:  Josh Outman

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