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July 25, 2014

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week 18

by Wilson Karaman


Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner! This is a hectic time of the season, as the trade deadline for both real and many fantasy baseball approaches. The NL will be on tap to showcase the greatest amount of two-start talent this week, as the schedule gods conspire to give NL-only owners 24 options to just 17 for the AL. As of press time the Mariners have not announced a starter for their Tuesday-Sunday slot, but my money would be on Hisashi Iwakuma taking the ball in Cleveland and Baltimore. If that’s the case, I like him as a start despite the less-than-ideal draws. Obviously with the deadline looming there are also likely to be some teams left in flux if and when deals are made, so this week will be an important one in which to keep up on the latest news before setting your lineup.

On to the nuts and bolts: Outside of the elites, two-start pitchers are often as much or more trouble than they’re worth. 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, high dollar auction bid, or significant haul of prospects. 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.

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.

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<< Previous Article
Daily League Strategy:... (07/25)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (07/18)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (08/01)
Next Article >>
The Prospectus Hit Lis... (07/25)

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