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May 9, 2014

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week Seven

by Wilson Karaman


Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner! Every Friday this season, I’ll be taking you through all of the two-start options for the coming week to help you decide who to start and who to sit. Outside of the elites, two-start pitchers are often as much or more trouble than they’re worth, as rare is the week in which the stars align to offer your starters not just one but two consecutive tasty matchups. As a result, you’ll notice that sometimes the better starters will find themselves in the “Consider” category, because they might have one good matchup, but a second tough one. And similarly, less-talented hurlers might just meander their way into “Start” territory on account of a plum schedule. The pitchers will be split by league, and then by categories:

Auto-Starts – These are your surefire fantasy aces. You paid a handsome sum for these guys, either with an early draft pick or high dollar auction bid. These are the top 20 or so starters in baseball, 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, unless a player has just moved up or is in imminent danger of moving down.

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 the decider here. A pitcher in this category can be your no. 2 starter with a tough week of matchups in Cincinnati and Colorado. Conversely, 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 even though he might not be. Your particular league settings will have a lot to say here; 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 staying away from this week. They will range in talent from solid to poor. With mixed leagues larger than 10 teams my default position for all two-start pitchers who rank outside of the top 60 or so is to sit them unless the matchups dictate otherwise. Additionally, mid-rotation starters who face a couple tough draws will find themselves in this category more often than not.

As always the standard disclaimer applies to these match-up previews that all start schedules are subject to change on account of rainouts, injuries, managers arbitrarily shuffling their rotations, etc.

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18 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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DanDaMan

Gerrit Cole?

May 09, 2014 04:04 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Yeah, the Pirates shifted their rotation yet again to keep Morton on his originally scheduled turn Sunday, so he finally, mercifully gets his two-start week this week. Cole gets the tough draws @MIL and @NYY, but he's an aut-start far as I'm concerned.

May 09, 2014 07:38 AM
 
jmtromp

"Hideki" Kuroda?

May 09, 2014 04:37 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Discussed above, recommended starting.

May 09, 2014 07:39 AM
 
carlbrownson

I believe he was trying to remind you that his name is Hiroki, not Hideki (Irabu), who is definitely a "sit".

May 09, 2014 08:13 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Ah! That error tells you three things: 1) I haven't written about Kuroda in the nine month lifespan of my current laptop, likely because of his boring consistency. 2) My auto correct is a racist. 3) I should be more thorough in editing my pieces, what with a racist auto correct and all.

May 09, 2014 08:42 AM
 
Masshole

I can't pick when to start Salazar to save my life. Started him every time he's been lit. Sat him every time he's been passable.

May 09, 2014 07:25 AM
rating: 0
 
Llarry

Ok, you tell me to consider Travis Wood, and to sit Cesar Ramos, and then don't elaborate in any way. Can I get some details? Wood has been killing me, and Ramos' last start wasn't too bad (which should tell you how bad the rest of my pitching is -- almost a half run worse than anyone else in the league...).

May 09, 2014 08:55 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Wood got lit up last time out as you well know, but has pitched quite well overall on the year (3.42 FIP). He's been getting unlucky on balls in play, with a BABIP 70 points above his career norm. And he gets one offense that's been mediocre recently and against left-handed pitching (MIL) and one that has been absolutely atrocious against left-handed pitching.

Ramos has a walk rate over five, a mediocre whiff rate, and both a FIP and xFIP knocking on the door of five. He gets two road starts, one against a Seattle offense that's finally showing significant signs of life over the past week, and one against Anaheim, which is a terrifying offense. I don't like those odds one bit.

May 09, 2014 09:19 AM
 
Llarry

Thanks for the reply. The FIP and splits on Wood do give me some hope...

May 09, 2014 11:33 AM
rating: 0
 
Menthol

Sorry, I'm not with you on Lincecum. As a Giants fan, I wish I could be, but he's just too unreliable.

May 09, 2014 10:27 AM
rating: 1
 
Tynan

I'm in this camp. His walks are down, but his command within the zone is completely out of whack, resulting in a ton of hittable pitches.

May 09, 2014 14:48 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

Hector Santiago was moved to the pen today, not that anyone was considering him anyway.

May 09, 2014 14:35 PM
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Yeah, was sorta surprised by that given the lack of depth to cover that slot. Shoemaker and Alvarez are really their only options on the 40-man, and they're maxed to the full 40 currently. So unless they make a move it's probably one of those two? Regardless I wouldn't invest in either for a two-start week.

May 09, 2014 14:48 PM
 
Lyle Shotts

Thoughts on Drew Smyly? @ Baltimore and @ Boston. I shouldn't even be considering him, should I?

May 10, 2014 04:28 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Depends on your league settings, he's a consider for me despite the road-road. He's pitched well thus far and Baltimore's offense is still a paper tiger. The Sox have been much better against LHP since Victorino got back and Pedroia moved into the leadoff spot. In AL-only and H2H leagues where bulk stats are valuable I'd consider him as a moderately risky but viable option.

May 10, 2014 21:34 PM
 
brooksp

Thoughts on Josh Beckett. Back to being good or a mirage? Thanks.

May 11, 2014 11:48 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Not entirely buying it, though I do see him as a decent #5 starter in mixed leagues and maybe a 4 or very weak 3 in NL-onlies. His velocity has returned post-injury, which is a good sign, but he's having trouble fooling people out of the zone and is working in the zone a bunch more. Despite a higher contact rate and more contact on pitches in the zone the league's managed just a .225 BABIP against him (career .290). That's the result of a ton more infield pop-ups than he's ever gotten and a dramatic decrease in hard-hit liners. The major difference in his scouting report so far is a significant ramp up of curveball usage, and the league is hitting just .111 against his deuce. That number's on par with his ACE years when he was throwing 96 and beating the world, and I wouldn't expect it to continue as the league adjusts to his new approach. He's got a solid schedule upcoming, with Miami at home next week and then he'll be set up for a decent two-start the following week @NYM and @PHI. Probably worth starting both weeks in most formats.

May 11, 2014 12:15 PM
 
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