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September 5, 2014

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week 24

by Wilson Karaman


Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner!

By now most head-to-head leagues are squarely into playoff territory, and that’s an unfortunate thing pitching-wise, because the pickin’s are slim this week for quality two-start options. Just three auto-starts and six straight “start” recommendations between both leagues, and the NL is particularly buried in difficult options. Even owners in shallower league are going to be forced to make tough choices this week, which will inject some unwanted indecision into the playoff picture. As far as standard abnormalities go, the White Sox have not announced a starter for Monday or Tuesday at this point, and both will be lined up for two-start status, albeit with tough draws at U.S. Cellular against the A’s and Twins. The Giants have also yet to announce who will take the slot most recently occupied by the MLB record-holder for most consecutive batters retired, and it is that slot that will line up for two starts next week. Whether it remains Yusmeiro Petit or defaults back to Tim Lincecum, it’ll be a start worth considering, as it’ll be a home-and-home set involving the hapless Diamondbacks. And finally, the Cubs will be switching to a six-man rotation down the stretch, as they work some of their young arms into September looks and play it safe with the workloads of others. It’s a strategy I wouldn’t be to see more from out-of-contention teams given that two-fold benefit.

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 cakewalk 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 no. 2 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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13 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

DanDaMan

CBS has Chris Tilman with 2 starts next week, are they right? If so, would you start him over 1 start from Shields, Kluber and Kennedy? I need W's and K's right now. Thanks

Sep 05, 2014 03:51 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Yeah, the O's rotation lines up a little wonky, as they play a double-header against the Yankees on Friday. They haven't named a starter for the second game yet, but it would make some sense to bump Norris up a day and, in turn, line Tillman up for Sunday. I'd start him easily over the Shields @DET one-start, especially given your particular needs. Even if he stays a one-start guy I'd take his @BOS start over that Shields match-up regardless.

Sep 05, 2014 10:00 AM
 
BPKevin

What do you think is the probability of a Charlie Morton return displacing Jeff Locke's second start?
Also, appreciate your thoughts on whether MIL goes to a 6-man rotation or Jimmy Nelson goes to bullpen.
Thank you

Sep 05, 2014 04:43 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Nothing would make me happier than Charlie riding in on his white stallion for a two-start wek next week, but it doesn't sound like that's likely. Latest I've heard is that he's not all the way healed, though Pitt has him scheduled for a side session Thursday and another sim game next Tuesday for a hopeful return the following weekend. That may even prove optimistic, however, given how the injury is lingering.

Sep 05, 2014 09:53 AM
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Also re: the Brewers they haven't set anything in stone. Per our resident Disciple of Uecker J.P. Breen the six-man option has been discussed 'round the campfire, but nothing has been decided as yet.

Sep 05, 2014 09:54 AM
 
qbroda

Anything to sway me one way or the other on Archer? My one start options aren't great either (Gee, Kennedy).

Sep 05, 2014 08:21 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

Man, talk about a young pitcher doing frustrating young pitcher things. His velo has ticked up a notch over his last two starts, but all the added oomph has done is straighten out his slider and make him more hittable. He's pitched well in two starts against NY this season, more of a mixed bag over five looks at Toronto. I'd probably roll with him given the uninspiring other options, though if WHIP is a danger zone for you and you can afford the one less Win opportunity Kennedy's a legitimate fallback option.

Sep 05, 2014 10:09 AM
 
WisBrave99

If Y.Petit gets the 2 start week would he be a better option than M.Stoman?

Sep 05, 2014 13:42 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

I prefer Stroman there. Despite the MLB record run Petit's a tough guy to bank on start to start. He's taken a legitimate step forward over the past season and a half with his curveball, and he's both deploying it more often and getting significantly better results with it as his top secondary. But he's still far too prone to leaving balls over the middle of the plate, and when he gets hit he gets hit hard (see his last start). Stroman's hit or miss enough to warrant standard rookie concerns about consistency in a two-start week, but his match-ups are very solid and I like what I've seen out of him the past two weeks against poor offenses.

Sep 05, 2014 14:17 PM
 
abskippers

Looks like Hector Santiago has 2 starts next week, @ TEX and vs. HOU. Would you use him over a 1-start Cashner or Shoemaker?

Sep 06, 2014 08:19 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

I like Santiago quite a bit as a reliable mid-rotation arm. This all depends on what you need. If you're looking for bulk counting stats (W, K) I'd run Santiago, probably at the expense of Shoemaker. That's tough to stomach given how well Shoemaker's pitched lately, but Texas isn't a big strikeout team and Cashner has a very strong career track record against the Dodgers. If rate stats (ERA, WHIP) are more important to you I'd probably lean more towards the one-starts. Both Shoemaker and Cashner have strong match-ups overall and are the better pitchers, and I think I narrowly like the odds of those two producing strong ratio value over 13-14 innings more than what I'd expect Santiago plus one to do over ~20 innings.

Sep 06, 2014 12:41 PM
 
timjrohr

Vargas is my only two-starter this week in my 6x6 (K, QS) 16-mixed H2H heading into the playoffs. Bleh. Should I start him or Gausman (v. NYY)?

Sep 07, 2014 04:59 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Wilson Karaman
BP staff

I'd start Vargas, I think. Your format with the added counting stat category tips the scales in exactly the manner I alluded to in the Vargas write-up towards quantity. It is indeed a "bleh" decision, but probably narrowly worth the risk of that Boston start for the possibility of added bulk to your stat line.

Sep 07, 2014 23:06 PM
 
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