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August 9, 2013

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner

Week 20

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 19 slate…

AMERICAN LEAGUE

AUTO-START: Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish, Chris Sale, Hiroki Kuroda, Doug Fister, and Bartolo Colon

START

Danny Salazar

at MIN, at OAK

Garrett Richards

at NYY, HOU

Miguel Gonzalez

at ARI, COL

Hector Santiago

DET, at MIN

Bruce Chen

MIA, at DET

Samuel Deduno

CLE, CWS

Brett Oberholtzer

TEX, at LAA

Notes:
  • Interesting set of starts here in the AL as they are clearly about two tiers below the Auto-Starts. We don’t have any of the Felix Doubront or C.J. Wilson types this time around. Salazar only has two starts in his MLB career, but he’s been incredibly impressive against a pair of strong offenses (TOR and DET). He gets his first two-start week in a pair of friendly environments.
  • Richards has brought some starting pitching help for the Halos, but it’s a little too late for them. That doesn’t mean he can’t help your team, though. He gets the two worst teams in OPS against righties and both are bottom four in the entire league.
  • Santiago gets the Tigers for the third time in five outings, but he hasn’t been too bad. The defense failed him in the first and he was great in the second, though he took losses in both. He sputtered a bit in his latest against the Yanks, but I still like him here even with another outing against the Tigers.
  • Chen has been pitching really well since returning to the rotation on July 12th with four straight six-inning outings during which he’s allowed two or fewer in all of them. Perhaps most impressive are his 24 percent strikeout rate and 7.0 K:BB ratio. As with Santiago, the Detroit outing is a bit scary, but his recent performance and a bout against Miami is enough to endorse the start.

CONSIDER

CC Sabathia

LAA, at BOS

Chris Archer

SEA, TOR

Tommy Hanson

at NYY, HOU

Notes:
  • Oh, how the mighty have fallen. You can’t judge Sabathia purely on name value anymore.
  • Archer falls down here because of the forearm tightness that pulled him from his last start after just 1 2/3 innings.
  • Hanson is essentially an “auto-sit,” but these two starts are just enough to consider him if you’re desperate.

SIT

Ryan Dempster

at TOR, NYY

Josh Johnson

OAK, at TB

Dan Straily

at TOR, CLE

Wade Davis

MIA, at DET

Andrew Albers

CLE, CWS

J.A. Happ

BOS, at TB

Aaron Harang

at TB, at TEX

Notes:
  • Dempster, Johnson, and Straily are names you might feel like you’d want to start, but they’ve all just been brutal lately and only Dempster’s outing with the Yankees sets up as favorable among the six.
  • Albers had a solid MLB debut against the Royals, but he’s not some up-and-coming prospect. The 27-year-old was having a great season at Triple-A, too, but I need to see more before trusting him. The Indians crush lefties, so even with the White Sox waiting at the end of the week, it might all be damage control from a rough first outing.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AUTO-START: Mat Latos, Madison Bumgarner, Gio Gonzalez, Cole Hamels, Julio Teheran, and Homer Bailey

START

Shelby Miller

PIT, at CHC

Wade Miley

BAL, at PIT

Ricky Nolasco

NYM, at PHI

Travis Wood

CIN, STL

Jenrry Mejia

at LAD, at SD

Jhoulys Chacin

SD, at BAL

Tom Koehler

at KC, SF

Notes:

  • Miller is tentative here after taking a shot off the elbow just one batter into his latest outing on Wednesday night. But if he does end up making the starts, he has a great chance to finally snap his streak of 11 outings where he has failed to go more than six innings. June 1 was the last time he eclipsed that mark.
  • After a big July, the Mets have gone cold offensively, giving Nolasco two great matchups here. He’s been solid this year—far from special, but reliable.
  • Mejia’s been great in his three starts with a 1.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 24 percent strikeout, and 6.0 K:BB. The former top prospect is still just 23 years old with plenty of upside. Heck, he’s put up these numbers with bone chips in his elbow that will require offseason surgery.
  • Koehler has been inconsistent this year, but most of his bad work is confined to a few outings including a nine earned run thrashing at the hands of the Cardinals. He has a 3.52 ERA and 26 strikeouts in his four outings and 23 innings since the All-Star break.

CONSIDER

Marco Estrada

at TEX, CIN

Randall Delgado

BAL, at PIT

Notes:
  • Estrada was great against in the Giants in his return from the DL, but the Rangers and Reds are much better than them and he only went five innings.
  • Despite giving up eight runs in his last two outings to the Red Sox and Rays, Delgado still has a sharp 10-to-2 K:BB in his 11 innings. Homers have been the issue, as he’s allowed three in the two outings. The Orioles are my concern here, because they absolutely mash righties.

SIT

Eric Stults

at COL, NYM

Edinson Volquez

at COL, NYM

Charlie Morton

at STL, ARI

Notes:
  • Stults and Volquez are huge risks in Colorado, and the Cards are the only team to get to Morton this year. I have to pass on all three.

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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