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05-19

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9

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 8
by
Mark Barry

05-15

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0

The Buyer's Guide: Nate Karns
by
Eric Roseberry

05-12

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4

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 7
by
Mark Barry

05-12

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3

Fantasy Freestyle: Selling Low on Two Pitchers
by
Matt Collins

05-05

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11

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 6
by
Mark Barry

04-28

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13

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 5
by
Mark Barry

04-21

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17

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 4
by
Mark Barry

04-17

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0

The Buyer's Guide: Jason Vargas
by
Eric Roseberry

04-14

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4

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 3
by
Mark Barry

04-14

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5

Fantasy Freestyle: Three Surprising Strikeout Surgers
by
Matt Collins

04-07

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14

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 1
by
Mark Barry

04-06

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30

The Stash List: 2017 First Edition
by
Greg Wellemeyer

12-09

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12

Baseball Therapy: What Happened to the Complete Game?
by
Russell A. Carleton

07-19

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 247: Derek Lowe's Rare Career Path/Matt Garza and the Rangers
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

03-18

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14

Baseball Therapy: You Gotta Keep 'Em Separated
by
Russell A. Carleton

12-21

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 107: Edwin Jackson, the Cubs, and Qualifying Offers
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

09-28

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3

BP Unfiltered: Tim Lincecum and the Worst Regular Seasons By Playoff Starters
by
Ben Lindbergh

09-12

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 40: The Phillies' Return to 500/A Modest Bullpen Proposal
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

08-10

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13

Overthinking It: What Happens When Starters Get Sick
by
Ben Lindbergh

08-09

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3

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 17: Manny Comin'
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

08-07

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 15: Cat Fight
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

08-01

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0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 11: Train Crossing
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

07-20

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2

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 3: Thunder
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

06-28

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24

On the Beat: Picking the All-Stars
by
John Perrotto

06-15

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2

The Stats Go Marching In: Reaching Back for a Little Extra, Part Two
by
Max Marchi

03-23

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5

The Stats Go Marching In: Exploring Starter Conversions
by
Max Marchi

03-15

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2

Overthinking It: Free the Bench Bats!
by
Ben Lindbergh

03-12

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7

Overthinking It: The Once and Future Starters
by
Ben Lindbergh

11-18

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15

Baseball ProGUESTus: Why Having a Quick Hook Helps
by
Mitchel Lichtman

09-20

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13

The Asian Equation: The Future of the NPB Import Market
by
Michael Street

09-01

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8

Resident Fantasy Genius: The Fool's Quest
by
Derek Carty

05-25

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8

Aging Hurlers
by
Michael Jong

03-03

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6

Overthinking It: Opening Acts
by
Ben Lindbergh

07-14

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10

Ahead in the Count: Three Eras of All-Star Voting
by
Matt Swartz

06-23

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7

Changing Speeds: Soft in the Middle
by
Ken Funck

03-09

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23

Fantasy Focus: NL Starting Pitchers
by
Marc Normandin

03-08

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39

Fantasy Focus: AL Starting Pitchers
by
Marc Normandin

12-11

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9

Checking the Numbers: On the Swing
by
Eric Seidman

10-05

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32

Prospectus Today: Madness
by
Joe Sheehan

07-13

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57

Prospectus Idol Entry: A Brave New World of Pitcher Usage
by
Ken Funck

06-11

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0

Prospectus Preview: Wednesday's Games to Watch
by
Caleb Peiffer

05-09

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0

Prospectus Preview: Friday's Games to Watch
by
Caleb Peiffer

04-01

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0

Prospectus Preview: Tuesday's Games to Watch
by
Caleb Peiffer

03-31

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0

Prospectus Preview: Opening Day's Games to Watch
by
Caleb Peiffer

03-26

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0

Fantasy Beat: Fantasy Draft Day
by
Marc Normandin

02-07

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0

Can Of Corn: Six-Man Rotation
by
Dayn Perry

12-01

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0

Crooked Numbers: Plop Plop Fizz Fizz
by
James Click

06-17

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0

Prospectus Notebook: Friday Edition
by
Baseball Prospectus

04-29

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0

The Many Routes to Pitching Success
by
Mark McClusky

10-14

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0

Starters vs. Relievers
by
James Click

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May 19, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 8

9

Mark Barry

In the NL, Gerrit Cole gets the band back together, and Jon Lester remains steady if less spectacular than the 2016 version. In the junior circuit, Carlos Carrasco and Dallas Keuchel are must-plays.

Every Friday we preview the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Hopefully that will give enough insight to make educated lineup moves and FAAB decisions over the weekend. As the old wrestling promoters would always say, “Card Subject to Change," because lots can happen between the time this goes up and first pitch. Unfortunately: weather, injuries, and tinkering managers make this less than a science. I’ll do my best, though, and should new information present itself, we can go over it in the comments. We’ll crowdsource this as well, so if you hear anything, feel free to comment and we all can offer our takes, hot or not.

Here’s how this works. The pitchers will be split by league using these categories:

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May 15, 2017 6:00 am

The Buyer's Guide: Nate Karns

0

Eric Roseberry

Karns is striking out more and walking fewer than ever for the Royals. Is it time to pick him up?

The Buyer’s Guide is a weekly column designed to help fantasy owners assess a player who sees an increased level of interest during a given week. This column focuses on players who generally have lower than 40 percent ownership rates across various leagues.

Every fantasy roster could always use another quality starting pitcher. Injuries already have taken their toll on several starters, and the frequency with which teams are using the 10-day disabled list has left fantasy owners scrambling. As you look to fill out your rotation for the coming week, is it possible that Nate Karns is now worthy of your attention?

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May 12, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 7

4

Mark Barry

You might be uncertain as to whom to start, but Dirty Harry, Zack Morris, Pete Campbell and Slim Shady know.

On Fridays, we preview the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Hopefully that gives enough insight to make educated lineup decisions and FAAB decisions over the weekend. As the old wrestling promoters would always say “Card Subject to Change"—because lots can happen between the time this post goes up and first pitch. Unfortunately, weather, injuries, and tinkering managers make this less than a science. I’ll do my best, though, and should new information present itself after this gets posted, we can go over it in the comments. We’ll crowdsource it as well, so if you hear anything, feel free to comment and we all can offer our takes, hot or not.

Here’s how this works. The pitchers will be split by league using these categories:

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Fantasy article. To read it, sign up today!

May 12, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Selling Low on Two Pitchers

3

Matt Collins

Julio Teheran and Kevin Gausman have been disappointing in 2017. Rather than waiting for a rebound, perhaps it's time to cut bait on both for this season.

Buying low and selling high is the most basic strategy in fantasy sports. Everyone knows to do this, and identifying the proper players whom to buy low or sell high is among the keys to any successful fantasy season. It’s a little more complicated than just looking for players either playing below their capabilities, or those who are playing over their heads. Sometimes, players playing poorly aren’t going to get better, or players who are off to hot starts really aren’t going to slow down.

Conversely, figuring when to buy high or sell low can be just as important as the most basic tenant of fantasy sports. Today, I’m going to look at a couple of pitchers who came into the season with relatively high expectations and have been bad to this point. Generally, with the samples still being small, these are guys you want to buy or hold. In these specific cases, though, the value could very well get worse, and selling now instead of hoping for a turnaround could be the best call.

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May 5, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 6

11

Mark Barry

Jacob deGrom, Carlos Martinez and Max Scherzer qualify as must-starts in the NL, with Carlos Carrasco Justin Verlander joining them in AL. Conversely, do everything you can to sit AJ. Griffin and Wily Peralta.

Every Friday we preview the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Hopefully that will give enough insight to make educated lineup moves and FAAB decisions over the weekend. As the old wrestling promoters would always say “Card Subject to Change," because lots can happen between the time this goes up and first pitch. Unfortunately, weather, injuries and tinkering managers make this less than a science. I’ll do my best, though, and should new information present itself after this posts, we can go over it in the comments. We’ll crowdsource this as well, so if you hear anything, feel free to comment and we all can offer our takes, hot or not.

Here’s how this works. The pitchers will be split by league using these categories:

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

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April 28, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 5

13

Mark Barry

Noah Syndergaard is an auto-start (unless he's not). So it's going to be one of those kind of weeks.

Every Friday we preview the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Hopefully that will give enough insight to make educated lineup moves and FAAB decisions over the weekend. As the old wrestling promoters would always say “Card Subject to Change," because lots can happen between the time this goes up and first pitch. Unfortunately, weather, injuries, and tinkering managers make this less than a science. I’ll do my best, though, and should new information present itself after this posts, we can go over it in the comments. We’ll crowdsource this as well, so if you hear anything, feel free to comment and we all can offer our takes, hot or not.

The pitchers are split by league using these categories:

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April 21, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 4

17

Mark Barry

Amir Garrett steps forward, Matt Cain moves back on the radar, and welcome back, Dallas Keuchel! (And maybe King Felix, too.)

Every Friday I’ll be previewing the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Hopefully that will give enough insight to make educated lineup moves and FAAB decisions over the weekend. As the old wrestling promoters would always say “Card Subject to Change," because lots can happen between the time this goes up and first pitch. Unfortunately, weather, injuries, and tinkering managers make this less than a science. I’ll do my best, though, and should new information present itself after this posts, we can go over it in the comments. We’ll crowdsource this as well, so if you hear anything, feel free to comment and we all can offer our takes, hot or not.

Here’s how this works. The pitchers will be split by league using these categories:

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

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April 17, 2017 7:50 am

The Buyer's Guide: Jason Vargas

0

Eric Roseberry

Vargas is off to a hot start for the Royals and has become a wanted man in fantasy league. How much value might he sustain for fantasy owners?

By Eric Roseberry

The Buyer’s Guide is a weekly column designed to help fantasy owners assess a player who sees an increased level of interest during a given week. This column will focus on players who generally have lower than 40 percent ownership rates across various leagues.

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April 14, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 3

4

Mark Barry

Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish and Michael Fulmer represent the "Auto-Starts" this go-around. As for Steven Wright: Sit!

Every Friday I’ll be previewing the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Hopefully that will give readers enough insight to make educated lineup moves and FAAB decisions over the weekend. As the old wrestling promoters would always say, “Card Subject to Change"—because lots can happen between the time this goes up and first pitch. Unfortunately, weather, injuries, and tinkering managers make this less than a science. I’ll do my best, though, and should new information present itself after this posts, we can go over it in the comments. We’ll crowd source this as well, so if you hear anything, feel free to comment and we all can offer our takes, hot or not.

Here’s how this works. The pitchers will be split by league using these categories:

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

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April 14, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Three Surprising Strikeout Surgers

5

Matt Collins

Where did these whiffers come from?

J.A. Happ

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April 7, 2017 6:00 am

Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 1

14

Mark Barry

Figuring out which SP's to start and which to avoid in the coming week.

Esteemed prognosticator Greg Wellemeyer passed the Planner torch to me for this season, so hopefully we can adequately fill his shoes and provide some quality pitching assistance. Every Friday I’ll be previewing the hurlers scheduled for two starts in the upcoming week. Hopefully that will give enough insight to make educated lineup moves and FAAB decisions over the weekend. As the old wrestling promoters would always say “Card Subject to Change," because lots can happen between the time this goes up and first pitch. Unfortunately, weather, injuries, and tinkering managers make this less than a science. I’ll do my best, though, and should new information present itself after this posts, we can go over it in the comments. We’ll crowdsource this as well, so if you hear anything, feel free to comment and we all can offer our takes, hot or not.

Here’s how this works. The pitchers will be split by league using these categories:

Auto-Starts: These are your aces, your studs, and your guiding lights. You paid big to acquire these guys, whether via early draft pick, high-dollar auction bid, or hefty trade package. You’re likely starting these guys anywhere, anytime, on a train, and on a plane. You get it. The list is fluid, and guys can pitch their way into or out of this category. You know all about these guys, so there won’t be as many notes associated with this group.

Starts: As the name suggests, this group won’t quite be as much of a slam-dunk decision, but I’m still recommending you give them the ball. Some will still be easy decisions due to pedigree, but others will be based mostly on favorable matchups that you can take advantage of.

Considers: This category will be populated by guys that are really tweeners, and your league settings and position in the standings will be a key factor in your ultimate decision. These pitchers can range from an SP2 or SP3 with a week of tough matchups to No. 5 starters pitching against bad teams in good ballparks. Your league context will be important here; if you are in a shallow mixed league, you probably have better options, and don’t need to take the risk. However, in an AL- or NL-only league, these guys could provide a nice opportunity to log some innings at a cheaper price.

Sits: These are the guys I want no part of this week. This group will run the gamut from mid-rotation starters with tough matchups (or trips to Coors Field), to just flat-out uninspiring options.

At this point of the season, the majority of these recommendations will be based on a combination of ADP/auction price and PECOTA projections for opponent strength. As the season progresses and we get more concrete data points for how the pitchers themselves and their opponents are actually performing, the formula will gradually evolve into a performance-based projection.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Auto-Start

Jake Arrieta

LAD, PIT

Jacob deGrom

@PHI, @MIA

Two pretty good matchups land deGrom into the Auto-Start category to kick off the season. The Miami lineup poses some threat, but he has the luxury of that outing coming at cavernous Marlins Park.

You probably spent a pretty penny on Arrieta, so you’re starting him. Having said that, his velocity was down four ticks from this time last year in his first start. He was obviously still good, so it might not be a cause for concern, but it’s a situation to keep an eye on.

Start

Matt Moore

ARI, COL

Tanner Roark

STL, PHI

Jeff Samardzija

ARI, COL

Jameson Taillon

CIN, @CHC

Moore cruised early in his first start against the Diamondbacks, but an error and that vaunted third time through the order scrambled a pretty line. The good news: Moore sat above 94 mph, which was his best average velocity since 2012.

We’re approaching the point where Roark is just a solid, if unspectacular, must-start hurler. He’s getting two manageable offenses this week, both at home, where he produced a sparkling 2.72 ERA a season ago.

Hoping for a reemergence of the shining strikeout numbers from The Shark might be a lost cause, but he should still provide solid rates and innings, especially when pitching at AT&T Park.

Taillon went toe-to-toe with Chris Sale in his first start of the season and lived to tell the tale, tossing seven shutout innings. He’ll get a chance to test his mettle again this week against another stacked offense on the North Side (although Wrigley sneakily played really tough last year, especially against left-handed hitters). He’s also pitching against the Reds.

Consider

Jerad Eickhoff

NYM, @WAS

Brandon Finnegan

@PIT, MIL

Matt Harvey

@PHI, @MIA

Adam Wainwright

@WAS, @NYY

Taijuan Walker

@SF, @LAD

This category could very well house some of the week’s strongest starters, however there are very real questions lingering with each one. Eickhoff is good, not great. Finnegan looked awesome in his first start of the season, but it was against the Phillies and he’s had trouble limiting baserunners in his career.

The Curious Case of Matt Harvey. It’s hard to project what exactly he’ll be coming off thoracic outlet surgery, so the smart thing is to probably wait and see. If you can. If you can’t, Godspeed, at least the matchups are decent.

I think projecting the downfall of Adam Wainwright is greatly exaggerated, but he’s got two really tough matchups on the road this week, so let’s be careful out there.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Walker looked dominant in spring and this will be the year he breaks out and reaches his full potential. He’s been a yo-yo performer thus far in his career, which means he’ll probably give up seven runs against the Giants and then fan 10 Dodgers.

Sit

Trevor Cahill

@COL, @ATL

Tyler Chatwood

SD, @SF

Rookie Davis

@PIT, MIL

Wily Peralta

@TOR, @CIN

Antonio Senzatela

SD, @SF

Dan Straily

ATL, NYM

Cahill is a Padre starter going to pitch in Coors Field. No thanks. That said, he could rack up some whiffs in Atlanta.

Even though Chatwood and Senzatela will face a limited Padres lineup before going to San Francisco, neither inspires too much optimism this week.

Davis is still, um, a rookie (I must be the first one to make that joke) and he’s got two tough matchups this week.

Peralta looked great in his season debut against the Rockies, but Toronto and Cincinnati are tough places to pitch, especially for guys that have had homer issues.

I’ll pass on Straily, thanks.

(Editor's note: Rich Hill was listed as a "Start" in an earlier version of this post, but he has been placed on the disabled list because of a blister on his left middle finger. It's all part of the Rich Hill Experience.)

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Auto-Start

Carlos Carrasco

CWS, DET

Chris Sale

@DET, TB

Carrasco hasn’t been great historically against these division foes, but he’s likely one of your aces, so you’re starting him.

Chris Sale is good at pitching. Start him always.

Start

Cole Hamels

@LAA, @SEA

J.A. Happ

MIL, BAL

Ian Kennedy

OAK, LAA

James Paxton

HOU, TEX

Justin Verlander

BOS, @CLE

Hamels is about as consistent as it gets, and he’ll take the ball in two of the better pitcher’s parks in the American League.

At some point, we’re just going to have to come to terms with the fact that Happ is good now. I’m just as uncomfortable with it as you are. I don’t love his matchups this week, but his track record over the past couple of seasons keep him in this category.

I admit, it feels weird to recommend starting Kennedy, but he was under-the-radar pretty good last year, striking out a batter per inning en route to an ERA under 3.70. He’s getting two vulnerable offenses at home, where fly balls go to die.

Everyone’s favorite wide-awake sleeper heading into the season, Paxton did nothing in his first start to temper expectations. He ran his fastball up to 98 mph and got 16 swinging strikes against a tough Astro lineup.

Only matchups against two of the best offenses in the American League keep Verlander from the Auto-Start category.

Consider

Dylan Bundy

@BOS, @TOR

Jharel Cotton

@KC, HOU

Charlie Morton

@SEA, @OAK

Michael Pineda

TB, STL

Eduardo Rodriguez

BAL, TB

Hector Santiago

@DET, CWS


Look, I’m here for the Bundy resurrection. He was filthy in his first start of the season, garnering 17 swinging strikes on his way to eight strikeouts in seven innings against the Jays. That said, he lost a couple ticks off his fastball by the end of the outing, a trend that will need to right itself before we start Bundy with supreme confidence in dangerous AL East environments.

Cotton wasn’t great against the Angels last week, but he still possesses the tools (that changeup though) to get major-league hitters out. He’s young and will probably need time to grow into his role, making him a tough one to advocate for this week.

Morton was throwing 95 mph sinkers in his first start of the season, but he’s still Charlie Morton, so there are inherent risks (mostly injury related) involved. Speaking of inherent risks, Pineda remains one of the more perplexing pitchers in the game. He’ll strike guys out, limit walks, and give up homers. Sometimes he’ll put it together, but sometimes he won’t.

Rodriguez dealt with injuries for much of last season, ultimately earning him a demotion to Triple-A. He was really good in the second half, though, posting a 3.24 ERA while striking out over a batter per inning. He’ll face tough competition this week, but he’s an interesting option for strikeouts and wins.

I’ll admit, I don’t always know what to do with Santiago. He always seems to walk more and strike out fewer than you’d like, but then still somehow posts decent starts. I would imagine this week will be no different.

Sit


Matt Boyd

BOS, @CLE

Alex Cobb

@NYY, @BOS

Garrett Richards

TEX, @KC

James Shields

@CLE, @MIN

Boyd was fine in his 18 starts with the big club last season, but I don’t envy his matchups next week.

Cobb looked pretty good embarking on his first full season back from Tommy John, but matchups at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park aren’t optimal for any pitcher. It’s also very likely that he will be kept on pitch count, putting quality starts in jeopardy.

Eschewing surgery looked to be agreeing with Richards (knocks on wood), as the righty touched 99 mph in his first start of the season. Then he left the game with bicep cramping. Ugh. He says everything is fine and isn’t going for an MRI, but I’d be nervous starting him this week.

Even though Shields looked ok in his start against the Tigers this week, he still walked way too many guys. I’m not sold yet. At this point, I’d have a hard time advocating for Shields in almost any situation. It’s a bummer.

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April 6, 2017 6:00 am

The Stash List: 2017 First Edition

30

Greg Wellemeyer

Fantasy prospects who were hiding in plain sight all along!

Half-a-week’s worth of major-league games are behind us. What better time to speculate wildly about the arrival of the game’s top prospects, to parse medical reports (and teams’ misdirection regarding those reports), and to hypothesize irresponsibly about who is on the brink of a closing gig. It’s the return of the Stash List!

In case you’re not familiar from years past, here are the four types of players eligible for inclusion:

  • Minor leaguers: anyone currently in the minors.
  • Major leaguers on the DL: anyone currently on the disabled list who is owned in fewer than 25 percent of ESPN leagues. The restriction is there to exclude obvious players like Steven Matz.
  • Closers-in-waiting: any reliever who is not actively getting saves and is owned in fewer than 25 percent of ESPN leagues. This excludes pitchers who are in committees, and setup men who are widely owned, such as Nate Jones for example.
  • Others-in-waiting: any other player who is not currently active in the role that would net him the most fantasy value. This includes pitchers who are in line for a rotation spot but are not currently there, and position players who are not receiving regular playing time. This excludes players like Javy Baez who would surely benefit from a full-time role, but who already receive enough playing time to be relevant in all leagues.

And with that out of the way, let’s get on with the list:

1. Julio Urias (LHP)—Los Angeles Dodgers

The prevailing line of thought a few weeks ago was that Urias would head to extended spring training when camp broke. Instead, the Dodgers optioned him to High-A. He isn’t expected to pitch there and will instead open his season at Triple-A Oklahoma City at a time to be determined. Urias missed a couple of weeks in mid-March with strep throat and hasn’t yet thrown three innings in an outing. Expect him to come down with strep throat another time or two in the coming weeks as he attempts to accomplish the dual goals of stretching out away from the majors and saving his arm for October 2021.

2. Yoan Moncada (2B)—Chicago White Sox

The top fantasy prospect in the game will start at Triple-A Charlotte, and Tyler Saladino isn’t going to stand in his way for long. I do have concerns about Moncada’s swing-and-miss denting his near-term value, especially given his lack of experience at the upper levels. His game-changing speed and power on contact balance that risk with a potentially substantial reward.

3. Jorge Soler (OF)—Kansas City Royals

Soler is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list on April 9, but will require more time than that since he hasn’t swung a bat since Feb. 26. Given his injury history and the fact that oblique injuries can linger and/or recur, it’s fair to be concerned. Soler will be the Royals’ everyday right fielder as soon as he’s ready to come back. At just 25 years old, he still has a tremendous amount of untapped potential and the Royals are hoping regular playing time will draw it out.

4. Michael Conforto (OF)—New York Mets

Thanks to a .300/.323/.500 triple-slash this spring and a Juan Lagares injury, Conforto made the Mets’ Opening Day roster, even if nobody told the Citi Field PA guy. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere for him to play, which is a bit of a problem in a game where scoring is based on accumulation of statistics.

5. Collin McHugh (RHP)—Houston Astros

Tools are fun and all, but responsible stashing includes taking value wherever your league mates give it to you. McHugh’s ERA and WHIP have worsened in both of the two years since his out-of-nowhere 2014 breakout, which I suppose is driving his way-too-low 16 percent ownership rate. He’ll strike out a shade less than one batter per inning and should win double digits. That’s back-end value even if the ratios don’t correct, and I think they will. McHugh is slated to pitch Opening Day in Triple-A as he works his way back from dead arm this spring. That his arm perished is no surprise considering his extraordinary breaking ball usage.

6. Jose Berrios (RHP)—Minnesota Twins

Berrios was atrocious in the big leagues last season, yes. You don’t hear much about the 2.51 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 10.1 strikeouts per nine he tallied in 111.1 Triple-A innings, though. Maybe Berrios’ 2016 season is evidence that demonstrates the gulf between Triple-A and the majors, or maybe we just shouldn’t weight a 58.1 inning sample so heavily. If he can correct the rumored pitch tipping and throw a first pitch strike more often than 55.2 percent of the time – 29th lowest among 328 pitchers that threw at least 50 innings – I like his chances at a useful fantasy season. Berrios didn’t pitch much this spring because he represented Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him in Minnesota as soon as he can get in the requisite reps in Rochester.

7. Reynaldo Lopez (RHP)—Chicago White Sox

8. Lucas Giolito (RHP)—Chicago White Sox

I still like Giolito more as a long-term option because of the upside. This ordering reflects my opinion that Reynaldo will be up first in 2017. At 23 years old, Lopez is hardly a finished product, but we have a better idea of what he can be since his stuff is in tact and his development is forward-moving. Giolito, on the other hand, enters a hugely important developmental year seeking to settle on some consistent mechanics and recover fastball velocity that went missing last season. The White Sox have no incentive whatsoever to rush Giolito through that process, or to make him attempt it against major-league hitters.

9. Martin Prado (3B)—Miami Marlins

Prado was the 18th-most valuable third baseman in 2016 according to ESPN’s player rater. If he hits in the top third of a top-heavy Marlins offense again, the counting stats should be there to complement his usually excellent batting average. Prado currently is on the 10-day disabled list but has been cleared to resume baseball activities.

10. Wilson Ramos (C)—Tampa Bay Rays

11. Tom Murphy (C)—Colorado Rockies

12. Devin Mesoraco (C)—Cincinnati Reds

Unless you own one of a small handful of options, you should be buying lottery tickets at the catcher position. Can I interest you in one that’s disabled? Ramos hit the 60-day version and won’t return until June at the earliest. It’s been three weeks since Murphy fractured his forearm on Anthony Rizzo’s bat. The recovery period was quoted as 4-6 weeks at the time, so it shouldn’t be too long before he’s back on the field. How often is an open question, given the Rockies’ apparent affinity for Tony Wolters. Mesoraco will begin 2017 in Double-A and Reds manager Bryan Price suggested he’d have to catch back-to-back nine-inning games before being activated. I acknowledge that these are all dubious investments for both injury and performance-related reasons, but catcher is such a wasteland that all three are worth an aggressive placement on this list.

13. Austin Meadows (OF)—Pittsburgh Pirates

Have you heard that the Pirates tried to trade Andrew McCutchen this offseason and might attempt to do so again depending on how he and the team play? If and when that happens, Meadows will be an immediate five-category contributor. He impressed this spring, hitting .333/.423/.556 in an extended look while all three of the Pirates’ starting outfielders played in the WBC.

14. Jose De Leon (RHP)—Tampa Bay Rays

De Leon will open on the minor-league disabled list with “forearm muscle discomfort,” whatever that is. Non-medically speaking, it is an issue for a pitcher who hasn’t yet thrown 120 innings in any of his three full professional seasons. The Rays, as usual, have incredible starting depth in the major leagues and upper levels of the minors. De Leon is at risk of moving down or off this list if he doesn’t return to action quickly, and in full form.

15. Blake Swihart (C)—Boston Red Sox

It wouldn’t be real Stash List without a Blake Swihart appearance.

16. Bradley Zimmer (OF)—Cleveland Indians

Man alive I’m ready for the minor league season to begin so I can begin quoting you small-sample minor-league stats instead of small-sample spring-training stats. Alas, it hasn’t, so allow me to tell you that Zimmer raked to the tune of a .358/.424/.660 line with three bombs and four steals this spring. More importantly, he only struck out 13 times in 58 plate appearances, a potential sign of progress after he struck out 171 times in 130 Double-A and Triple-A games a season ago. If Zimmer can carry the spring trend into the regular season, he’ll be up before long. Even with a healthy Michael Brantley, the Indians are giving outfield at-bats to the likes of Abraham Almonte and Austin Jackson.

17. A.J. Reed (1B)—Houston Astros

18. Joey Gallo (3B)—Texas Rangers

19. Pedro Alvarez (1B)—Baltimore Orioles

20. Dan Vogelbach (1B)—Seattle Mariners

Reed is the Berrios of hitters, a highly regarded prospect whose disastrous major league stint in 2016 overshadowed a dominant Triple-A performance. I like him the best of this group of mashers by a comfortable margin, but there’s nowhere for him to play in Houston presently. A five-year, $50-million contract says that Gurriel gets a long leash, though I’m not a believer in the 33-year-old Cuban as a first-division regular. Gallo is up with the big club while Adrian Beltre’s calf heals. He gave us the full Gallo in the season’s first two games, walking once, striking out four times, and hitting a baseball approximately 794 feet. That Pedro Alvarez had to take a minor-league deal on a team with, like, seven Pedro Alvarezes already on the roster seemed like a market overcorrection to me. The path to playing time is impossibly cloudy. His ability to destroy righties is not. I like players with strange dimensions as much as the next guy, and I like prospects who are proximate to the bigs. That’s about all I’ll say about Vogelbach, lest I anger the entire rest of the fantasy staff.

21. Archie Bradley (RHP)—Arizona Diamondbacks

Hooooo boy, I know we’re not supposed to overreact to one appearance, but did you see Bradley in relief on Tuesday night? That beard is glorious. Oh, and the stuff was too. Seven of the 10 outs Bradley recorded were by way of strikeout, and he had his heater up to 99. The bullpen is probably the right place for him, but don’t count him out as a starter just yet.

22. J.P. Crawford (SS)—Philadelphia Phillies

I’m not convinced that Crawford has an impactful fantasy profile. I am convinced that Freddy Galvis isn’t going to keep us from finding out before the summer heat settles in.

23. JaCoby Jones (OF)—Detroit Tigers

24. Aaron Altherr (OF)—Philadelphia Phillies

I like both of Jones and Altherr as power-speed options with potential for expanded roles in the near future. Jones’ path is clearer, as all he has to do is outperform Tyler Collins and Mikie Mahtook to earn the bulk of the center field reps going forward. Altherr, whose work with Matt Stairs led to a big spring, has a tougher road. He’ll have to displace one of Howie Kendrick or Michael Saunders, well-paid veterans brought in this winter. Ultimately, it makes far more sense for a rebuilding Philly club to see what they have in the younger, controllable Altherr. It just might take some patience while they arrive at that conclusion.

25. Roman Quinn (OF)—Philadelphia Phillies

If it’s difficult to find time for a guy already on the major-league roster, it’s even harder to figure how Quinn gets enough at-bats to matter. He has impact speed if a spot opens up. Until then, he’ll be in Triple-A trying not to get hurt.

Honorable Mention: Jorge Alfaro, Tyler Beede, Cody Bellinger, Carter Capps, Matt Duffy, Delino DeShields, Dilson Herrera, Ketel Marte, Francis Martes, Jesse Winker

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