2014 Fantasy BaseballAndrew Miller

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Week 7 Two-Start Pitchers and Streamers

Must-starts

  1. Adam Wainwright – Tue vs. CHC, Sun vs. ATL
  2. Cliff Lee – Tue at LAA, Sun vs. CIN
  3. David Price – Tue at SEA, Sun at LAA
  4. Felix Hernandez – Mon vs. TB, Sun at MIN
  5. Jordan Zimmermann – Mon at ARI, Sun vs. NYM
  6. Gerrit Cole – Tue at MIL, Sun at NYY
  7. C.J. Wilson – Mon at TOR, Sat vs. TB
  8. Hiroki Kuroda – Mon vs. NYM, Sat vs. PIT
  9. Marco Estrada – Tue vs. PIT, Sun at CHC
  10. James Shields – Tue vs. COL, Sun vs. BAL

The first six here are pretty obvious, but I like Wilson even with two upper middle-tier teams against lefties. His strikeout and ground ball rates are career-bests as a starter, and his walk rate is nearly a career best. In four of seven starts he’s gone at least seven innings. Kuroda has two below-average teams against righties, and his rates are as good as ever. His FIP and xFIP suggest his ERA is close to a run higher than what it should be. Estrada has had some trouble with allowing home runs this year, and his walks and strikeouts have regressed from his past two years. Even so, he’s 5-for-7 on quality starts, with one of those starts being a 5.2-inning, one-earned run performance. Pittsburgh and Chicago rank 21st and 24th, respectively, in Isolated Power against righties. Shields has the first and 13th-ranked teams in wOBA against righties, but the Rockies rank just 13th in road wOBA. Except for one hiccup Shields has been really good all season, and you should roll with him.

Start in 12-teamers

  1. Dan Haren – Mon vs. MIA, Sun at ARI
  2. Zack Wheeler – Tue at NYY, Sun at WSH
  3. Jesse Chavez – Mon vs. CWS, Sun at CLE
  4. R.A. Dickey – Tue vs. CLE, Sun at TEX

Haren is 6-for-7 on quality starts, with the lone exception being a 5.2-inning, three-earned run start. Miami ranks fifth in wOBA against righties, but it has the worst strikeout rate against them. Haren did report a back injury in his last start, so keep an eye out especially in weekly leagues but as long as he’s healthy you should start him. Wheeler has walked at least two batters in six of his seven starts, but his strikeout, home run and ground ball rates are phenomenal. Both his opponents rank in the bottom half against righties. Chicago and Cleveland rank 11th and 29th, respectively, in wOBA against righties, and even though Chicago has a .162 Iso against right-handers Chavez induces 48 percent ground balls and only allows 30 percent fly balls. His home run rate is very good, too. Dickey has posted four straight quality starts, and his whiff per swing rate on his knuckler has gone up since his first four starts.

Deep-league starts

  1. Danny Salazar – Tue at TOR, Sun vs. OAK
  2. Mike Leake – Tue vs. SD, Sun at PHI
  3. Ubaldo Jimenez – Tue vs. DET, Sun at KC
  4. Bartolo Colon – Mon at NYY, Sat at WSH
  5. Rick Porcello – Mon at BAL, Sun at BOS
  6. Andrew Cashner – Tue at CIN, Sun at COL
  7. Tyler Lyons – Mon vs. CHC, Sat vs. ATL
  8. Travis Wood – Mon at STL, Sat vs. MIL

Salazar has a 3.44 ERA in his last three starts, and he has gained velocity on pretty much all of his pitches over the first few weeks of the season. His whiff percentage has also risen throughout his first few starts, too. He has two tough matchups, but I think he’s turned the corner a bit and should be started in 14-teamers or deeper, at the least. Leake‘s outings are nothing special, but he’s on his fourth straight year of solid performances and he’s got two very good matchups – the eighth-worst and worst offenses against righties. He’d be a good streaming pick this week. There’s not much to analyze for Jimenez, I believe, but in deeper standard leagues he’s startable material. Colon has two below-average teams against righties, and he’s 5-of-7 in quality starts. Similar to Leake, you know what you’re getting from Colon – it’s nothing special – but in deeper leagues he gives you a chance to compete every week.

Porcello hasn’t carried over last year’s strikeout gains, but his walk rate is at a career low. Several of his pitches have seen an increase in whiffs per swing in his last few starts, and he gives you a good shot at a win, at least, every time out. Cashner has two very tough starts and should be sat in most standard mixed leagues. Lyons has done just fine in his three starts this year; he’s got a strikeout per inning and a good walk rate. Now he gets the two whiffiest teams against lefties. Pick him up to stream in daily leagues. Wood‘s opponents rank just 18th and 26th, respectively, against lefties, and while Wood won’t be confused even with teammate Jeff Samardzija anytime soon he has seen a huge increase in strikeout rate and a nice drop in walk rate this season.

AL-/NL-Only starts

  1. Felix Doubront – Tue at MIN, Sun vs. DET
  2. Tom Koehler – Mon at LAD, Sat at SF
  3. Tim Lincecum – Mon vs. ATL, Sat vs. MIA
  4. Jake Arrieta – Tue at STL, Sun vs. MIL
  5. Ricky Nolasco – Tue vs. BOS, Sun vs. SEA
  6. Mark Buehrle – Mon vs. LAA, Sat at TEX
  7. Colby Lewis – Mon at HOU, Sun vs. TOR
  8. Ryan Vogelsong – Tue vs. ATL, Sun vs. MIA
  9. Bud Norris – Mon vs. DET, Sat at KC

In Koehler‘s last two starts he has 15 innings, zero runs and a 9:3 K:BB. The Giants rank just 24th in wOBA against righties. The Twins rank just 21st in wOBA against lefties, so Doubront could be a solid pickup for that start. The Mariners rank 25th against righties, and Nolasco is pitching well lately – two starts, 15 innings, 15 Ks, 3.60 ERA. The Astros rank 26th in wOBA against righties, with the second worst strikeout rate. Lewis should be started against them, but not Toronto. Buehrle‘s opponents, the Angels and Rangers, rank seventh and third, respectively, in wOBA against lefties.

Pitchers to avoid

 Top streaming options available in at least 50 percent of ESPN leagues

Jorge De La Rosa – Tuesday at Kansas City – The Royals are the worst team against lefties, per wOBA, and De La Rosa has a 2.70 ERA in his last five starts. The Royals are also the worst team – by far – against lefties in ISO. You’ve got to like his chances of getting a W with this Rockies offense.

Matt Harrison – Tuesday at Houston – Houston ranks 26th in ISO and 25th in wOBA against lefties, and in such a lopsided matchup Harrison also has a good chance at a win.

Jordan Lyles – Saturday at San Diego – Lyles won’t help you in strikeouts, as he has just 5.2 per nine so far, but his ERA is in the mid-2’s and his WHIP is just above 1.00. He’s been very consistent this season, and San Diego ranks dead last in wOBA and walk rate against righties, as well as in total runs.

Ryan Vogelsong – Tuesday vs. Atlanta – Vogelsong has allowed just two earned runs in his past three starts and 20.1 innings. Atlanta ranks 28th in wOBA against righties, and pitching at home will help Vogelsong.

Tyson Ross – Thursday at Cincinnati – I’m not too worried about Ross pitching in Cincinnati, especially when the Reds are without Jay Bruce. Ross is posting a 58 percent ground ball rate and has struck out at least seven in four of eight starts.

Henderson Alvarez – Friday at San Francisco – Again, the Giants rank just 24th in wOBA against righties. Alvarez’s peripherals aren’t pretty, but he’s shown us that he knows how to pitch well without a high strikeout rate. However, he’s striking out and walking batters at career-best rates so far this year, and he’s been quietly, consistently pretty good this season.

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