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August 8, 2014

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week 20

by Wilson Karaman


Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner! A moderate haul of 39 two-start candidates this week, as the White Sox, Indians, Angels, and Giants will be playing only five games this week, so there are no two-start options coming out of those teams.

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

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MPC203

This has been a huge help all year. My 2 pickup/wk H2H team that has no SP depth greatly appreciates the advanced noticed on under the radar two start guys.

Aug 08, 2014 06:11 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Awesome, thanks for the kind words

Aug 08, 2014 08:33 AM
 
DanGot

What about Shelby Miller?

Aug 08, 2014 08:26 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Miller's in an awfully interesting place right now. Since returning to the rotation on the 26th he's strung together three strong outings for the first time in...well I can't remember at this point. Most notable about the stretch is the grand total of one walk he's issued over 18 2/3 innings. On the flipside, he's still not striking anybody out. I didn't think it was possible, but he's actually become even MORE fastball-dependent, and is now throwing his four-seamer a staggering 77% of the time. I still question how viable that is going forward, but his match-ups are pretty decently in his favor this week, and for the first time in a while he's a legitimate consider.

Aug 09, 2014 04:13 AM
 
grandslam28

With regard to no waivers, how do no trade clauses work? Can you place someone on unrevocable waiver if they have a no trade clause?

Aug 08, 2014 10:19 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

I'm actually not sure if a team can place a player with a full no-trade clause on irrevocable waivers. I would assume not, since the binding nature of those claims would seem to run into an inherent conflict with the player's no-trade rights. But perhaps someone more versed in these things can chime in. For what it's worth for several years now I've referred to Jeff Aberle's spectacularly comprehensive examination of waivers here:

http://www.purplerow.com/2009/2/19/762532/mlb-transactions-part-thre

Aug 09, 2014 04:29 AM
 
kristopherjhoff

Any advice on Drew Smyly?

Aug 08, 2014 10:32 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Yeah, Smyly's another one where workload issues will be playing an increasingly prominent role in decision-making for his owners. He's 35 innings over last year's tally already, and with the Rays' playoff odds growing increasingly long (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/odds/) it's reasonable to expect the Rays to be careful with him down the stretch. The stuff doesn't appear diminished as yet, and the match-ups are relatively neutral. He's a straight "consider" for now, somewhere in the Verlander/Hutchison range.

Aug 09, 2014 06:49 AM
 
Nacho999

Nothing wrong with Drew Smyly even though you weren't asking me, but it's the Tampa offense and the matchups you need to monitor the rest of the year...Is he facing Felix Hernandez or Scott Carroll?...You can't avoid all the best teams and big names, but in a two start week you weigh the pros and cons...Smyly is plenty capable if anybody could hit behind him...Sincerely, Alex Cobb and Jose Quintana owner...

Aug 08, 2014 14:20 PM
rating: 0
 
dodrill81

Are 2 starts from Lyles better than one start from Colon against the Nationals? Colon has been a solid 5th SP option for me this season and I'm really on the fence as Lyles didn't look that sharp in his first start back. Wins and Ks don't matter in our scoring - positive points earned for innings pitched and negative points for bases allowed, runs allowed, and BBs. Thoughts?

Aug 10, 2014 19:10 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Man, that's a reeeaally tough call. I suppose it depends on how many points you get for innings, as the volume of negatives in the format you describe would seem on the surface to cancel out the value of two-start innings. If the value is great enough from bulk innings I'd go with Lyles anyway, as the match-ups couldn't be much better for him, despite the shaky return.

Aug 10, 2014 20:08 PM
 
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