April 26, 2013
Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner
Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner. Each week I will cover the pitchers are who slated to make two starts and help you decide who you should start and who you should sit. Sometimes guys will be in the “consider” where they might have one good start, but a second tough one and then your league settings might determine whether or not you should go forward with him. The pitchers will be split by league then by categories:
Auto-Starts – These are your surefire fantasy aces. You paid a handsome sum for them either with an early draft pick or high dollar auction bid so you’re starting them anywhere, anytime. Guys can emerge onto or fall off of this list as the season evolves. There won’t be many – if any – notes associated with these groupings each week. We are starting them automatically so why do I need to expound on how awesome they are and will be in the coming week?
Starts – These are the guys I’m recommending you put into your lineup this week. Some will be obvious, but not quite auto-start excellent while others will be waiver wire fodder who find themselves with a pair of favorable outings that you can take advantage of in your league. There will be accompanying notes supporting the decisions.
Considers – As mentioned earlier, these guys will be on the fence and your league settings and position in the standings will really be a decider here. If the Minnesota Twins fifth starter is slated to face the Astros at home followed by an interleague trip to San Diego, he will appear on this list because the matchups are great though he isn’t and if you are in a 10-team mixed league you probably don’t need to take the risk, but a 10-team AL-only leaguer might see it as a nice opportunity to log some quality innings from a freely available resource.
Sits – These are the guys I’m getting away from this week. They will range in talent from solid to poor. Rarely will you see a really good pitcher here unless he gets an “at COL, at TOR” slate. Speaking of the fateful “at COL”, any mediocre talent with a trip to Coors Field will be a sit until further notice. If they turn the humidor back on, I’ll reconsider, but after last year there is just no reason to throw any non-stud in that park.
And with that, here is our week five slate…
How bad was Halladay’s start? He had logged 21 innings in his last three starts (75 percent of his season total) with a 1.71 ERA, and yet his composite ERA is still 5.08 because of his first two outings. Ready to snuggle up with a nice wet blanket? Halladay’s three outings have come against three of the league’s worst offenses by True Average: the Marlins (30th), the Cardinals (22nd), and the Pirates (20th). It is at least worth noting that the Cards have the fifth-most runs, though. He’s a start this week, even facing the Indians (seventh in TAv).
The only thing that could make Kennedy’s week better is if the Giants start was in AT&T Park. The San-San Two Step™ in AT&T and Petco is the best setup an NL West pitcher can get in a given week.
Estrada has given up homers in every single one of his starts, and he is lucky to have a 3.86 ERA despite his 17.5 percent HR/FB. But he faces the 22nd- and 23rd-ranked teams in home runs this week, so I’m sticking by him. Plus, he strikes out plenty of batters and walks very few, which lessens the potential damage of the long balls.
There are enough good things in E-Jax’s game early on that make him worth sticking by, especially with a Padres start mixed into his week. He is fanning 22 percent of the batters he faces, he has a 59 percent ground-ball rate, and he’s not allowing homers (0.32 HR/9). He needs to stop walking so many, and if he does, his ERA will plummet.
Slowey is healthy and off to a great start. My continued support of him is finally paying off. He could be missing a few more bats, especially since wins will be tight with the Marlins, but I’ll take the quality ratios, as he walks nobody. His homer issue plays down in Miami, too.
Fernandez will go six if you’re lucky, putting the chances of a win in serious peril, given his supporting cast both in the lineup and bullpen. So, if he’s not missing a ton of bats (42 percent strikeout rate in his debut, 17 percent in 15 innings since) then he has little use in most formats. If you have a starts limit in your league, he is doing more harm than good, as he eats precious starts with little return.