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August 1, 2014

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week 19

by Wilson Karaman


Welcome to a very special Trading Deadline edition of the Weekly Pitching Planner! Because this is going to press in the wake of a whole bunch of significant deadline deals our usual disclaimer regarding rotation plans being subject to change goes double this week. As of this writing the Cardinals, A’s, Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, Astros, and Marlins have all made deals that potentially shake up their starting rotation slotting heading into next week. While the moves in some cases shouldn’t affect scheduled starters for Monday/Tuesday, in some other cases they will. I made my best guesses based off the current information I had, but obviously if and when things move around to accommodate the new depth charts, you can feel free to inquire on two-start options below in the comments.

Right now, it looks like Lester will slot in for Oakland’s Monday-Saturday starts, which is unfortunate news for Jeff Samardzija owners, as Shark was set up for a strong two-start week. Lester’s an “auto-start” if this plan does indeed proceed as scheduled. It also appears as though John Lackey will jump right into a two-start schedule if he takes over Joe Kelly’s normal slot, and that would put him at the top of the “consider” pile in the NL with starts at home against his old squad followed by a trip to Baltimore. And for the Sox I’ll go all-in with a full “start” recommendation for Bill “Spaceman” Lee’s triumphant return to the bump. The Braves and Padres will each only play five this week, so no two-start options will be found in either rotation.

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.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (08/01)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (07/25)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (08/08)
Next Article >>
Barbecue State of Mind (08/01)

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