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September 6, 2013

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week 24

by Paul Sporer

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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 24 slate…

AMERICAN LEAGUE

AUTO-START: Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish, Chris Sale, Jarrod Parker, Ervin Santana, and Jered Weaver

START

Ivan Nova

at BAL, at BOS

Chris Tillman

NYY, at TOR

Martin Perez

PIT, OAK

Ubaldo Jimenez

KC, at CWS

Notes:
  • Nova was knocked around by the Red Sox on Thursday night, and they are on fire right now, so I don’t necessarily love the trip to Fenway, but Nova has owned the Orioles this year with a pair of complete games against them including a shutout back on August 31.
  • Tillman was originally slated for a two-pack last week, so refer to that piece for my thoughts on him.
  • Jimenez certainly feels out of place with that list, but he’s on fire of late with a 2.22 ERA since the All-Star break and 53 strikeouts in 48 2/3 innings along a pair of 10-K games in his last three.

CONSIDER

Zach McAllister

KC, at CWS

Notes:
  • McAllister has been trashed three times in his last nine: twice against Detroit and once against Baltimore. I don’t generally crush pitchers for rough outings against those teams, but two of those poor outings were McAllister’s most recent, so he’s on a downturn at a point in the season when any continuation of that streak can be quite detrimental to a fantasy team. Thus, I’d be cautious with him.

SIT

CC Sabathia

at BAL, at BOS

Ryan Dempster

at TB, NYY

Jeremy Hellickson

BOS, at MIN

Miguel Gonzalez

NYY, at TOR

Jerome Williams

at TOR, at HOU

Todd Redmond

LAA, BAL

Liam Hendriks

OAK, TB

Pedro Hernandez

LAA, TB

Notes:
  • The two best guys here talent-wise are Sabathia and Hellickson, but they both have the Red Sox and they’ve been brutal this year, so I’m not about to dive in there. Meanwhile, Dempster has allowed fewer than three earned just once in his last six outings.
  • Of the rest, only Gonzalez and Williams deserve even the slightest consideration for those who are just streaming to get as much quantity as possible down the stretch.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AUTO-START: Francisco Liriano, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Julio Teheran, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Shelby Miller, and Dillon Gee

START

Kris Medlen

at MIA, SD

Ricky Nolasco

ARI, SF

Gerrit Cole

at TEX, CHC

Bronson Arroyo

CHC, at MIL

Jhoulys Chacin

at SF, at ARI

Ryan Vogelsong

COL, at LAD

Robbie Erlin

at PHI, at ATL

Carlos Torres

WAS, MIA

Notes:
  • After giving up at least seven hits in each of his five July outings (yielding a 14.2 H/9), Medlen has rebounded to give up more than six just once in his last six starts, good for a 7.7 H/9 rate. Additionally, he has stifled run scoring with a 2.72 ERA while also posting a masterful 7.8 K:BB ratio in his 43 innings of work. In short, he’s been great. This two-start week against terrible opposition is a huge boon for those who stuck it out with him when cracks showed in July.
  • Arroyo has rebounded from every one of his horrible outings with a gem the next time out. I was worried about that trend continuing when he was roughed up in Coors Field followed by a date with the Cardinals, but he allowed just two earned in seven innings. He has dominated both the Cubs and Brewers this year with a 2.10 ERA in five starts.
  • Vogelsong’s 4 2/3 IP, four-run hiccup on Thursday was his first stumble since returning from the disabled list, as he coasted through August with a 2.93 ERA in five starts totaling 30 2/3 innings, including outings against both Boston and Baltimore. The Dodgers won’t be easy, but getting the Rockies in San Francisco definitely helps.
  • Torres has been sharp in his return to the rotation with a pair of solid outings against the Mets and Braves. The one caveat is that his only poor outing this year was a three-inning, eight-run destruction at the hands of the Nats back on July 28. Feeling lucky?

CONSIDER

Randall Delgado

at LAD, COL

Notes:

  • Delgado is having a solid year, but he’s creeping up on a career-high in innings and his opponents aren’t exactly a cakewalk. I haven’t seen anything from the D’backs suggesting they would curb his innings, but young arms are always subject to limits. Plus, in September, it is much easier to slot someone in for a start so watch out for that with just about any non-star in this week’s pool of two-start arms. My biggest reason for dropping him to this tier is the competition.

SIT

Tim Lincecum

COL, at LAD

Jeff Samardzija

at CIN, at PIT

Edwin Jackson

at CIN, at PIT

Wily Peralta

at STL, CIN

Henderson Alvarez

ATL, at NYM

Ethan Martin

SD, at WAS

Tom Koehler

ATL, at NYM

Notes:

  • Wow, some names we certainly didn’t expect to see in here. Lincecum has been in here before, but Samardzija is the real surprise. If you need strikeouts and can afford a potential hit in ERA or WHIP, then he’s an easy start. But any other standings consideration, whether it’s the need for wins or the protection of ERA and WHIP, puts Samardzija on the outside.
  • Peralta hasn’t been too bad against the Reds, but he’s given up 22 hits in two starts against the Cardinals, so if you have to use both or none, I choose none.

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:  Fantasy,  Two-start Pitchers

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