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July 18, 2014

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week 17

by Wilson Karaman


Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner! The first full week of the second half is always a tough one for two-start pitching, as the abbreviated prior week coming off the All Star Break tends to manipulate the schedule in such a way as to leave bottom tier rotation options lined up for two-start status. Lo and behold, that’s exactly where we find ourselves this week. There’s a grand total of two auto-start options in the entirety of Major League Baseball, and only a handful of straight “start” recommendations on top of that. The good news is that the following week, Week Eighteen, we should be on track to boast a strong number of top shelf two-start options, and that’s always fun. Only two teams, the Rays and Cardinals, will play five-game schedules this week, so in terms of sheer volume of options there are plenty. But when the quality is this poor, sometimes the quantity just doesn’t matter all that much.

I’ll also note that as of press time a handful of teams (Cleveland, Atlanta, the Cubs, Miami, and Milwaukee) have yet to announce their full rotation plans beyond the weekend, so as those probable starters begin to post please feel free to request feedback on the match-ups in the comments section below.

On to the nuts and bolts: 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 number two starter with a tough week of matchups in Cincinnati and Colorado. Or 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.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The View from the Loge... (07/18)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (07/03)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (07/25)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (07/18)

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