2015 Fantasy Baseball: Week 12 Two-Start Pitchers
Fantasy pools are underway and owners are gearing up for a long summer of ups and downs. A fantasy owner’s best friend is the waiver wire — where finding value can make the difference between a great week and a very disappointing week. Most pitchers see the mound once a week, but if you want to maximize the number of starts per week, it’s important to look for pitchers pitching twice and exploit favorable matchups if they exist. With that, let’s take a look at some pitchers you should be starting this week and some you should just leave on your bench.
Madison Bumgarner | San Francisco Giants
My favorite play of the week is definitely Bumgarner. The southpaw gets the free-swinging Padres in his first start and should be able to rack up the strikeouts. The Padres are striking out 8.5/G, so it could be a very long night for Justin Upton and company. His second matchup will be against the Rockies, who have been striking out a ton in the month of June (8.15 K/GP, 3rd in MLB). Bumgarner gets the positive park factor pitching at home in both games, so roll him out there this week and every other week.
Clayton Kershaw | Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw hasn’t been himself this season, but he still remains one of the best pitchers in baseball. The 27-year-old has 32 strikeouts in his last three starts and will get the Cubs in his first start—a team that’s averaging 9.5 Ks/GP this season. The Cubs have had some success against lefties, but Kershaw isn’t just any lefty, and I expect him to dominate from start to finish. As for the Marlins, they too have been successful against lefties (.275 AVG), but I’m confident he’ll find a way to work around a very good Miami lineup.
Johnny Cueto | Cincinnati Reds
Opponents: Jeff Locke (PIT), Jonathan Niese (NYM)
Max Scherzer completely dominated the Pirates in his no-hit performance, and now it will be Cueto’s turn to wreak havoc on the Pirates terrible offence. He could easily rack up double-digit strikeouts and finish with a 7 IP/12K/1ER line by the time it’s all said and done. His second start is also a great one against a Mets team that is ranked 26th in team batting average (.240). The Mets offense is below average, averaging 3.7 runs per game, and poses no real threat to an opposing pitcher. Cueto is an excellent start in both yearly leagues and in daily leagues.
Felix Hernandez | Seattle Mariners
Felix has been exceptional this year, but he’s had two terrible outings in his last four starts. He got lit up in Houston for eight runs in just 1/3 of an inning but rebounded in his next start to go eight innings of scoreless baseball. If the recent trend stays the same, Hernandez is likely to have a difficult outing, and that could be possible against a very good Royals team that doesn’t strike out very often (5.75 K/GP) and has the best team batting average in the league (.274). His second start against the Angels is much more appealing to fantasy owners, but if you have to lock him in for the week, take the risk and go with him because he’s just too good to bench.
Tommy Milone | Minnesota Twins
Milone is my sneaky add of the week. He doesn’t strikeout batters (25 Ks in seven starts), but he gets a very bad White Sox team and a Brewers team that has been better of late but remains a below average hitting team this season. The 28-year-old won’t blow you away with his stuff, but if his team can provide him with some run support, and that’s a big if, he could be in line for two very good starts this week. For fantasy owners who need the help, he’s worth a shot.
Carlos Martinez | St. Louis Cardinals
Martinez has been very good this season. The rookie has given up just four earned runs in this last three starts while pitching at least six innings in each start. Since May 15, the 23-year-old has lowered his ERA from 4.73 to 2.80, and despite having to face two good hitting teams in the Cubs and Marlins, he has all the weapons necessary to rack up the strikeouts and pick up two wins. He could get roughed up in both starts, but the likelihood of that happening is very low, and I’ll be starting him in all my leagues where I own him.
Kevin Correia | Philadelphia Phillies
Outside of Cole Hamels, you should never be starting a Phillies pitcher, ever. The Yankees destroyed the Tigers on Saturday night, and Washington’s Bryce Harper is going to take him yard at least once in that game. He’s available on the waiver wire, but he’s not fantasy relevant and fantasy owners who need a starting pitcher for the week should look elsewhere for help.
Joe Kelly | Boston Red Sox
Kelly has a 5.32 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP this season. Why anyone would consider using him is beyond me. The Red Sox have a 4.84 team ERA, and Kelly is part of the problem. He shouldn’t be on anyone’s roster until he figures out how to be a decent pitcher, which may not happen this season. I expect both his starts against the O’s and Rays to be very difficult starts and probably blowout losses, so stay away from him and let someone else figure that out the hard way.
Jeff Samardzija | Chicago White Sox
Last time Samardzija took on the Tigers, he was crushed for six runs on 10 hits in 7.1 innings. His ERA is a terrible 4.67, and let’s not forget that he plays for the White Sox — a team that’s hitting .206 in the month of June. If Chris Sale can’t pick up a win striking out 12 and allowing one run, Samardzija has no chance. Even against a Twins’ team that hasn’t been great in June, I still don’t trust the righty to get the job done. For fantasy owners who are stuck with him, it may be time to consider parting ways with him or tying to ship him in a trade to a manager who is in desperate need of some pitching.