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June 14, 2013

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week 12

by Paul Sporer

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Welcome to the Weekly Pitching Planner. Each week I will cover the pitchers are who slated to make two starts and help you decide who you should start and who you should sit. Sometimes guys will be in the “consider” where they might have one good start, but a second tough one and then your league settings might determine whether or not you should go forward with him. The pitchers will be split by league then by categories:

Auto-Starts – These are your surefire fantasy aces. You paid a handsome sum for them either with an early draft pick or high dollar auction bid 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. We are starting them automatically so why do I need to expound on how awesome they are and will be in the coming week?

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 a decider here. 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 though he isn’t and 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 getting away from this week. They will range in talent from solid to poor. Rarely will you see a really good pitcher here unless he gets an “at COL, at TOR” slate. Speaking of the fateful “at COL”, any mediocre talent with a trip to Coors Field will be a sit until further notice. If they turn the humidor back on, I’ll reconsider, but after last year there is just no reason to throw any non-stud in that park.

And with that, here is our week 12 slate starting with the NL…

AUTO-START: Yu Darvish, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, James Shields, and Jon Lester

START

Jarrod Parker

at TEX, at SEA

Jason Vargas

SEA, PIT

Dan Straily

at TEX, at SEA

Ubaldo Jimenez

KC, MIN

Jose Quintana

at HOU, at KC

Bud Norris

CWS, at CHC

Jordan Lyles

MIL, at CHC

Notes:

  • After Thursday’s outing, Parker now has seven straight outings in which he has allowed three runs or fewer. He has a 2.40 ERA in 48 2/3 innings during the run.
  • The set up doesn’t get much better for Vargas: a two-pack at home against a pair of modest offenses.
  • Straily’s last trip to Texas (seven shutout IP) spurred his current run of five starts during which he has posted a 2.20 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in 32 2/3 innings, along with a 20-to-4 K:BB.
  • After three starts, Jimenez had a 11.25 ERA thanks to back-to-back seven-earned-run outings, but in the 10 since he has a 3.40 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 55 2/3 innings. Outside of a couple shellackings from Detroit, he’s been great. If you’re not going to use him here, then when?
  • Quintana and the Astros have all been pitching well and have some great matchups.

SIT

Nick Tepesch

OAK, at STL

Jason Hammel

at DET, at TOR

Dylan Axelrod

at MIN, at KC

Phil Hughes

LAD, TB

Aaron Harang

at LAA, OAK

Jeremy Bonderman

at LAA, OAK

Jeremy Hellickson

at BOS, at NYY

Chien-Ming Wang

COL, BAL

Mike Pelfrey

CWS, at CLE

Notes:

  • Tepesch isn’t too bad, but he’s very hittable and both of these lineups can do damage. I’m more afraid of the Cardinals, but I’d avoid the whole week.
  • I saw what Harang and Bonderman did against the Astros, I’m unmoved. I realize Harang is tied for the league lead in shutouts with two, and yet you couldn’t pay me to put him in my lineup for a guaranteed two starts. I would start both over Hellickson at this point, though.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AUTO-START: Adam Wainwright, Mat Latos, Matt Harvey, Jeff Samardzija, Shelby Miller, Patrick Corbin, and Matt Cain

START

Travis Wood

at STL, HOU

Mike Leake

PIT, at ARI

Andrew Cashner

at SF, LAD

Paul Maholm

NYM, at MIL

Hyun-Jin Ryu

at NYY, at SD

Tim Hudson

NYM, at MIL

Jorge De La Rosa

at TOR, at WAS

Dillon Gee

at ATL, at PHI

Francisco Liriano

at CIN, at LAA

Barry Zito

SD, MIA

Ross Detwiler

at PHI, CO

Notes:

  • Wood has been unreal this year. He’s giving up the fewest hits in the NL and while fly-ball pitchers tend to have lower BABIPs, he’s taken it to an extreme with a .214 mark buoyed by a 14 percent infield fly-ball rate, the ninth highest in baseball. His 46 percent fly-ball clip is far and away the highest of those top nine.
  • Leake has given up more than three runs just once in his last 11 starts, with a 2.07 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 4.4 K:BB in 69 2/3 innings over the surge.
  • Maholm has bounced back from every rough start with a handful of good ones and I expect the same after his weak effort in San Diego.
  • Hudson had a solid April, but then a wretched May before bouncing back in June with a great trio of starts thus far, including his two best starts all year. He’s given up just four earned runs in the month in 21 2/3 innings (1.66 ERA) with a 16-to-2 K:BB.
  • Speaking of trios, Gee has ripped off a trio of his own spanning May 30 through June 12, during which he has a 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 31 percent strikeout rate, and 8.7 K:BB in 21 innings of work. He has really straightened himself out after a terrible run to start the season.
  • The Pirates destroyed Zito this week, but this is a great set up for him. Despite better road skills, Zito’s home ERA is 1.94 compared to a frighteningly bad 11.28 ERA away from AT&T Park.

CONSIDER

Alfredo Figaro

at HOU, ATL

Jacob Turner

at ARI, at SF

Notes:

  • Gambling here with Figaro even on the consider list, as his only good start was against the Marlins, but his fastball is averaging 95-96 mph as a starter and his slider can miss bats, too. He’s facing the top two strikeout teams in baseball, so if he’s on, we could see some big strikeout totals. I’m thisclose to slotting him as a “start.” I’m intrigued.
  • We’ve seen some strong work from Turner in his first three starts of the season, but his skills leave plenty to be desired thus far, so I’m not overwhelmingly confident about starting him, particularly in Arizona. For you mixed leaguers, where Turner is on the wire and you can make daily transactions, I do like the idea of streaming him in San Francisco.

SIT

Edinson Volquez

at SF, LAD

Dan Haren

at PHI, COL

Jeff Francis

at TOR, at WAS

Kevin Slowey

at ARI, at SF

Charlie Morton

at CIN, at LAA

Notes:

  • Hats off to Volquez for a big outing against Atlanta, but I need another three or four before I’d trust him.
  • This pains me. I had to include two of my long-time favorites the “sit” list, but I just can’t recommend the use of Haren or Slowey in good conscience.

Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Paul's other articles. You can contact Paul by clicking here

Related Content:  Fantasy,  Jarrod Parker,  Dan Haren,  Travis Wood

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