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August 14, 2013

Sporer Report

September Scheduling

by Paul Sporer


We have just a month and a half left in the season, so teams have between 40 and 45 games left. As the sand in the hourglass that is the season drains, our ability to gain an edge drains with it. One area I believe remains exploitable, at least for a marginal edge, is scheduling—particularly in September. This can have value in all formats, too. What I did was look at every team’s schedule to find those with the most favorable setups as it relates to pitching so these teams will be facing the weakest offensive teams in high volumes. If you want to take advantage of this you can either trade for the front-liners on these teams or plan to scoop the backend guys as streaming options. I’ve got five teams to target.

ATLANTA BRAVES
Much has been made of their light schedule from the All-Star break on, with Buster Olney the first I can recall jumping on the point. A pair of series against the Cardinals is really the extent of their tough battles throughout the entire second half (“half,” as it were, just being a point of demarcation for the All-Star break, and while it’s never split at 81 games, this year wasn’t even close).

The Braves get a final month featuring five games against the Marlins, three against the Mets, Padres, Cubs, Brewers, and Nats, plus seven with the Phillies. Those are all bottom-half teams in OPS with the Brewers highest at 17th, though they are sinking fast, as their team makeup has changed since the departure of Ryan Braun. They are 20th since the break and just 26th in the short August sample.

Most of the Braves rotation is rostered in most formats with Alex Wood the most likely to be available. Brandon Beachy might come cheapest via trade with a 5.00 ERA in his three starts and his only good outing against the lowly Marlins. As he rounds into form, he should sprint to the finish. There is a chance that a sixth, currently unknown, starter emerges for the Braves, as Julio Teheran sets a new career innings mark in six outs. Even if they let him go, Kris Medlen set an innings record of his own on Tuesday night. One or both could be gassed by Labor Day; thus, Mike Minor, Beachy, and Wood are the primary targets.

DETROIT TIGERS
Despite impressive recent streaks, neither the Royals nor the Indians gained much ground on the Tigers as they matched their two division foes almost win-for-win and then pulled away with a four-game sweep of the Indians in Cleveland. Catching the Tigers was never going to be easy, but a September setup featuring just one problem series—three in Boston—bodes well for the defending AL champions. The four against the Mariners in the middle of the month are more challenging now than they appeared back in April, but it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to line your fantasy pockets with six against the White Sox and Royals, and three against the Twins and Marlins to close out the season.

All five Tigers starters are rostered in just about every league with Rick Porcello being the only one potentially available, though he hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his last seven starts, posting a 2.62 ERA in 44 2/3 innings since June 30. So, your route to benefitting here is trade, and they won’t come cheaply. Justin Verlander has risen a bit from the value trough he was in a few weeks ago, but he still doesn’t cost JUSTIN VERLANDER prices, so he is probably your best bet when it comes to acquiring someone to take advantage of this schedule without decimating your roster. In fact, if the schedule holds as-is the rest of the way, then he will get six September starts, dodging that trip to Boston.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (08/14)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Sporer Report: Seven S... (08/07)
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Fantasy Article Sporer Report: Looking... (08/21)
Next Article >>
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (08/14)

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