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

BP Comment Quick Links

grandslam28

I'd like to know more about your thoughts on Liriano.

Jul 25, 2014 05:55 AM
rating: 0
 
kvamlnk

Seconded.

Jul 25, 2014 07:19 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

My thoughts on Liriano...how much time you got? He is what he is at this point in his career, and what he is is a wildly inconsistent starter. He's certainly figured out the Dodger lineup, but that's about the only feather in his cap this season. He's got four quality starts in seventeen turns now. It's quick and dirty, but that gives you an idea about what you're getting. At his best he's a guy that'll give you strikeouts over five or six innings at the expense of WHIP drain. At his worst he's a guy that eats your pitching staff's soul. I'll look at him as a start-by-start steamer if I'm hard up for whiffs, but committing to two straight - even when the matchups are reasonable like this week - is too rich for my blood.

Jul 25, 2014 07:20 AM
 
kvamlnk

Thanks for the comments. With Cain on the DL in a deep mixed league, we'll take our chances, and hope the staff soul survives.

Jul 25, 2014 11:24 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Yeah I think that's about the only context in which he's viable, I wish you good luck.

Jul 25, 2014 11:52 AM
 
JohnnyFive

Wilson, I finally believe in AJ Burnett the week that you say to only consider him. I BELIEVE!!!

Jul 25, 2014 07:37 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Ah! I love it. Burnett is my anti-Liriano, a guy for whom my trust is every bit as irrational as my inherent distrust of Francisco. I'd run him if I owned him, especially in the NL-only leagues. But the match-ups, while on the good side of neutral are not so overwhelmingly favorable as to suggest he should be started across the board.

Jul 25, 2014 08:15 AM
 
sldetckl16

CBS shows Iwakuma with two starts, 7/29 @CLE and 8/3 @BAL. He's a START no doubt, but just wondered if the projection is right....? Thanks

Jul 25, 2014 09:21 AM
rating: 0
 
sldetckl16

Loser of the speed reader challenge = this guy. I just noticed the intro - my apologies

Jul 25, 2014 09:22 AM
rating: 1
 
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Daily League Strategy:... (07/25)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (07/18)
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Next Article >>
The Prospectus Hit Lis... (07/25)

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