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July 19, 2013

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week 17

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 17 slate…


AUTO-START: Max Scherzer, Chris Sale, Yu Darvish, Matt Moore, and Jarrod Parker

Parker joins the auto-start ranks and you may look at his 3.95 season ERA and wonder why, but it really boils down to a tough start in April that elevated the overall ERA. He was terrible in his first three and four of his first five before running off a 2.88 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in his last 14 starts spanning 90 2/3 innings along with an 18 percent strikeout rate and seven percent walk rate. If you boil it down to just his last 11, he has an even-better 2.33 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. In short, he’s been excellent after a tough start.


Ivan Nova

at TEX, TB

Alexi Ogando


Hector Santiago


Rick Porcello


Tommy Milone


Samuel Deduno

at LAA, at SEA


  • Nova has been on fire since the returning from the disabled list with a 2.45 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in three starts and a long-relief outing totaling 29 1/3 innings. He has a 25 percent strikeout rate and five percent walk rate during that time, too. The trip to Texas isn’t fun, but I can’t see pulling him out of the lineup right now.
  • Ogando threw seven strong innings for Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday night in his final tune up before activation from the DL. The Rangers get Darvish and Ogando back on consecutive days. While their offense is what has been hindering them, these returns certainly don’t hurt at all.
  • Porcello vs. LAA: 28.80 ERA in five innings; Porcello vs. everyone else: 3.53 ERA in 94 1/3 innings.
  • Milone is a home-only guy in almost all instances, but I think a trip to Houston is a calculated risk worth taking.
  • Deduno makes the Planner for 92nd week in a row! Okat, actually it’s the third. The first got bumped. Then, he pitched his two starts last time, and the All-Star break sets him up for another double-outing week. He came out of the last one decently enough as the Rays got to him a bit, but he shut down the Yanks in seven strong innings. He’s maturing before our eyes and that will contain some growing pains, but I like this West Coast swing in two friendly ballparks ,even though the Angels can be tough on pitchers.


Dallas Keuchel


Jarred Cosart


Kyle Gibson

at LAA, at SEA

Josh Johnson



  • Keuchel was on a hot run before derailing a bit in July, but in fairness it was against Tampa Bay twice and Texas once. And the one in Texas wasn’t too bad, as he went five innings, allowing two runs and pulling off a win. It’s a tough slate, though, so I would be careful.
  • Cosart was sharp in his MLB debut against Tampa Bay, but it was one start, he only fanned two, and he walked more than he struck out—so it wasn’t all peaches and unicorns (mmm, peaches!). Anyway, he makes the consider pool only for you Hail Mary-ers out there. You know the type, you’re wallowing in the middle of your standings with an outside shot at the title, but it’s fading fast so you need to start getting some unexpected performances. Cosart skating through an OAK/TOR slate would be pretty unexpected given his inexperience and minor-league track record, but he is immensely talented and maybe the brightest lights will suit him best.
  • I’m off of Johnson overall, but a week involving a Houston start is always enticing, especially if you’re desperate for strikeouts. Consider this more for you Cosart-starting folks.


Scott Feldman

at KC, BOS

Ryan Dempster

TB, at BAL

Jason Hammel

at KC, BOS

Joe Blanton


Ubaldo Jimenez


Phil Hughes

at TEX, TB

Roberto Hernandez


Wade Davis


Bruce Chen


Todd Redmond


  • Feldman and Dempster aren’t special, but they usually avoid the no-go pool. However, they have to face each other’s teams which is enough to back off of them for a week and Dempster adds a Tampa Bay outing while Feldman at least gets a trip to KC to offset some of the potential damage Boston is likely to inflict.
  • You might think you’re watching a rerun of the Home Run Derby when seeing Hughes’s starts this week.


AUTO-START: Patrick Corbin, Jose Fernandez, Shelby Miller, and Julio Teheran


Matt Garza

at ARI, at SF

Dillon Gee


Tony Cingrani

at SF, at LAD

Chris Capuano


Andrew Cashner

at MIL, at ARI

Dan Haren


Gerrit Cole

at WAS, at MIA

Tim Lincecum


Charlie Morton

at WAS, at MIA

Bronson Arroyo

at SF, at LAD

  • And the dance continues… we wait eagerly to see if Garza makes his next start with the Cubs, let alone both of them.
  • Gee has a 2.67 ERA in 60 2/3 innings over his last nine starts with 52 strikeouts and a 5-1 record. It’s not an easy slate this week, but his run of nine starts includes a pair against Washington and another against Atlanta during which he posted a 1.69 ERA in 21 1/3 innings of work.
  • Capuano has either been excellent terrible since returning from the disabled list. He has three scoreless outings and two during which he allowed five earned.
  • Haren had a sharp two-start week last week and he gets another pair of favorable outings this week. I’m rolling with him again after recommending him last time, too.
  • In addition to the no-hitter, Lincecum has a 3.16 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over his last eight starts including 57 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings of work.
  • Despite a seven-earned-run outing, Arroyo has a 2.96 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over his last eight starts spanning 51 2/3 innings. Despite the similarities to Lincecum elsewhere, Arroyo has just 28 strikeouts.


Carlos Torres


Hyun-Jin Ryu


Kris Medlen


  • Medlen is just giving up too many hits and a bout against St. Louis doesn’t seem like a very good remedy. He’s allowed 60 hits in his last 49 innings along with eight walks, yielding a 1.39 WHIP. The Mets start helps, but he was close to being a “sit” altogether.
  • Since his big April with a 30 percent strikeout rate, Ryu has a 14 percent strikeout rate and his 2.96 ERA is a bit misleading when you consider the accompanying 1.30 WHIP.


Jhoulys Chacin


Tom Koehler


Tom Gorzelanny

SD, at COL

Donovan Hand

SD, at COL

Jonathan Pettibone

at STL, at DET

Drew Pomeranz



  • As I covered earlier this week, you don’t want to mess with Chacin at home, even with a start against Miami.
  • Pettibone has a 2.79 ERA in his last five starts, but trips to St. Louis and Detroit are terrifying.
  • The rest of the crew offers nothing of value this week.

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

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