2015 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2015 Fantasy Baseball, Week Three Two-Start Pitchers

Photo Credit:  Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images North America
Photo Credit: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images North America

Fantasy baseball season back! 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.

Elite

Carlos Carrasco—Cleveland Indians

Opponents: John Danks (CHW), TBA (DET)

It was a scary week for Carrasco owners—who took a line drive off the side of his face and managed to not get seriously injured. The Indian’s starter is my top play of the week, despite having to play a very good Tigers team in Detroit. The righty is 1-1 this season with a 10:1 K/BB ration and is facing a White Sox team that has scored only 37 runs in 10 games. As for Detroit, well, they are a good team to say the least—with a 9-2 record so far this season. The Tigers have yet to name a starter for their game Sunday, but I believe the 28-year-old has the stuff to strikeout some of those high power bats in the middle of the lineup and should pick up two wins this week.

Matt Shoemaker—Los Angeles Angels

Opponents: Kendall Graveman (OAK), Colby Lewis (TEX)

I may be a little biased here because I own Shoemaker in a few leagues, but he really has a nice matchup this week against both teams. Oakland is a better team than their record indicated—currently second in baseball in runs scored per game (5.4 R/GP), but Shoemaker has the stuff needed to strikeout those Oakland bats—sporting a very nice 12:1 K/BB ratio after two starts. His second matchup is where I like him the most against the Rangers, who will see Colby Lewis on the mound. Texas is hitting a combined .201 as a team heading into Sunday (30th in baseball), so I expect Shoemaker to have his way with the Rangers lineup and rack up the strikeouts. It’s a good week to start to the 28-year-old and I expect him to win both his starts this week.

Jake Arrieta—Chicago Cubs

Opponents: A.J Burnett (PIT), Anthony DeSclafani (CIN)

The Cubs righty rounds out the elite pitchers for next week. Let’s start with the Pirates—who are currently fourth in the N.L Central at 5-6. Pittsburgh is a below-average hitting team so far this season—hitting only .221 as a team through 11 games. Arrieta was great in both his starts, but the Cubs have only named to score two runs combined in both his starts, forcing Arrieta to be almost flawless. The good news is that he’s almost flawless, and Burnett isn’t the pitcher he use to be, so the Cubs bats should be able to pick up some hits and hopefully some runs to support their pitcher. For the Reds, well they’ve come back down to earth. After starting the season 4-0, the Reds have lost six of their last eight and haven’t been good. They currently sit 25th in the league in team batting average hitting .218 and are averaging 3.27 R/GP. I don’t expect the Farmington, MO native to have it easy next week, but he will be elite in both games.

Other Must Start Pitchers: Drew Pomeranz, Jonathan Niese, Chris Archer

Mediocre

Gio Gonzalez—Washington Nationals

Opponents: Lance Lynn (STL), Dan Haren (MIA)

Gio just missed out on being a must-start this week, mainly because the Nationals have been pretty bad to start the year. The 29-year-old hasn’t been terrible to start the season, but his first matchup against the Cardinals isn’t great. Lance Lynn has been very good to start the season—sporting a very nice 1.64 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP, and the Cards as a team are hitting .260 this season (8th in MLB). It should be a tough matchup for Gio, but it’s very possible that he pitches well and picks up the win. His second matchup is much better as he gets the struggling Marlins in Miami Sunday. The fish are 3-9 this season (1-5 at home) and sit last in the N.L East. Outside of Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins are not an offensive threat to score runs—scoring 3.6 R/GP. Dan Haren has been lights out his first two starts—going 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 0.69 WHIP, but he only has seven strikeouts in two games, and if the Nationals can find their swing as a team, Haren become very hittable. Gonzalez is worth the start, but I would keep my expectations in check for next week.

Wei-Yin Chen—Baltimore Orioles

Oppnents: Justin Masterson (BOS) X2

I would never recommend Chen as a great starting option, but he gets such a beautiful matchup against one of the worst pitchers in baseball right now. Masterson is terrible—sporting an ugly 7.59 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. His one win this season was against the Phillies, so that’s hardly an accomplishment, and his loss was to the Nationals—where he was lit up for seven runs on eight hits in 4 2/3. Baltimore is 7th in the majors in team batting average (.267) so I expect Adam Jones and company to have a field day with Masterson. The Taiwan native is going to be average at best, but if you need two guaranteed wins next week, it doesn’t get easier than Chen.

Francisco Liriano—Pittsburgh Pirates

Opponents: Travis Wood (CHC), Jeremy Hellickson (ARI)

Liriano is my value play of the week. If it wasn’t for the Pirates being a below-average hitting team, I would have had him in the Elite category, but his team has been unable to score runs for him and that hurts. So far this season the lefty is 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP, and that alone is reason to start him. The 31-year-old gets two very good matchups against the Cubs and Diamonbacks, and if the Pirates can somehow find a way to just score some runs, Liriano is in line for two wins.

Tyler Matzek—Colorado Rockies

Opponents: Brandon Morrow (SD), Tim Lincecum (SF)

Not everyone will agree with me here, but Matzek is almost a must-start this week (I’m completely sober I promise). The Rockies are off to a very good start this season—sitting second in the N.L Went at 7-4, but they are exceptionally good away from Coors Field (shocking right?) with a record of 6-2. Both games next week are away from Coors Field at pitcher friendly ballpark, which makes Matzek a sneaky good play for fantasy owners who need to stream a pitcher (1% owned in Yahoo! leagues). The Cali native has a very nice 1.80 ERA after two games, and with his team one of the best in team average (.281, 4th in MLB), he could easily outduel both his opponents next week. Add him if you need to stream a pitcher.

Other Pitchers to Consider: Lance Lynn, Wade Miley, Bud Norris, A.J Burnett, Dan Haren, Wiley Peralta, Alfred Simon, Brandon Morrow, Brett Anderson, Mark Buehrle, Jason Vargas.

Bench

C.C Sabathia—New York Yankees

Opponents: Alfred Simon (DET), Matt Harvey (NYM)

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Once a great pitcher in baseball, Sabathia is almost an after thought in baseball now. As if his 0-2 start and 5.68 ERA wasn’t enough to convince you to bench him, he gets to face Matt Harvey on Sunday in a inter-league matchup. I want nothing to do with Sabathia till he figures his stuff out, and it doesn’t look like he will. The Yankees can score runs (5.36 R/GP), but it not because they are a good hitting team (18th in team batting average at .228). The Yankees are a hit or miss team, and so far this season they’ve been lucky to score that many runs, in large part thanks to A-Rod looking like he’s back to being a 57HR-142 RBI guy. The 14-year veteran is slowly fading away into the sunset, and fantasy owners should leave him on the waiver wire for next week.

Justin Masterson—Boston Red Sox

Opponents: Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) X2

If you’re starting Masterson next week, you have some serious pitching injuries, and even then, that’s not a reason to start him. If you need more reason to not start him, just go back and watch the highlights of his last game and that should convince you. There’s no reason to start him this week, or any other week, until he figures out his control issues and gets his game back on track.

Trevor Cahill—Atlanta Braves

Opponents: Jonathan Niese (NYM), Jerome Williams (PHI)

Cahill is like Masterson, but worse. His first start was absolutely brutal—lasting only 2 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits, walking three and striking out two. At this point, I’d rather start Jerome Williams over him, and if I was really stuck, I probably would. Cahill isn’t good, so I’m staying away from him and targeting every pitcher that matches up against him every outing. You should probably do the same.

Other Pitchers to Avoid: Hector Noesi, Asher Wojciechowski, Anthony DeSclafani, Hector Santiago, Jerome Williams, Jason Marquis

 

Stats and references provided by www.MLB.com and www.ESPN.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Josh
    April 19, 2015 at 8:29 pm — Reply

    Hey man hate to break it to you but it seems that Matzek has both starts in Coors field. So i’m not so sure hes still streamer worthy….

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