April 2011

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, April 19 + Hughes Thoughts

Hey everyone,   

Before we get to Pitch or Ditch, some thoughts on Phil Hughes:

Don’t get me wrong, I think Hughes has a bright big league future. He showed that during the first half of last season when he went 11-2 with a 3.65 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 101 innings. That said, I also thought that he was overvalued coming into this season, primarily due to the 18 wins and the Yankee factor. There are a lot of Yankee fans in this world (including myself) and even the experienced fantasy player sometimes makes the mistake of letting their emotional ties get in the way of a well-informed decision. I personally never let my real team allegiance overtake me on draft day. If I end up with a few Yankees, great. But If I don’t, that’s OK too. Don’t forget that Hughes was merely mediocre following the All-Star break last season, and he never looked right this year. His velocity was way down and even the outs he picked up were mostly on hard hit balls. Hopefully, this DL stint will give him the opportunity to get back on track, both physically and mentally. The good news for Hughes owners is that, for the time being, they won’t have to worry about him ruining their ERA and WHIP. He should be back soon enough, and I do expect him to figure things out. But wouldn’t you have rather spent your pick on someone like Jaime Garcia a couple of rounds later? To borrow the cliche, hindsight, of course, is 20/20.




Danks @ Shields – Shields much better last time out.
Pavano @ Arrieta – Would like to see more consistency from Arrieta before starting him.
Burnett @ Drabek – Either sit both or start both…I’ll do the latter.
Palmer @ Lewis
Gomez @ Chen – Chen working on 14 scoreless innings streak…collapse could happen at any moment.
Lackey @ Anderson – If Lackey can’t pitch well here, I’d be extremely concerned.
Coke @ Fister – Did I mention that the SEA offense is pretty bad?
Wolf @ Halladay – I don’t expect the Phils to greet their former SP very kindly.
Galarraga @ LeCure
Wandy @ Niese – Great opportunity for Wandy to get back on track.
Maholm @ Volstad
Moseley @ Russell – Moseley is hot.
Lannan @ Westbrook
J. Sanchez @ Jimenez
Beachy @ Kuroda

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, April 16-18

Anibal Sanchez has given up 20 hits in just 10 1/3 innings this season.



Guthrie @ Tomlin – I like the matchup for Guthrie, who has been very impressive so far.

Holland@ F. Garcia – Holland working his way towards grad status but I’m sitting him for this one.

King Felix @ O’Sullivan

Reyes @ Beckett – Is Beckett back? We’ll find out.

Chatwood @ Floyd

Baker @ Niemann – Losing patience with Baker but I’ll try him vs. erratic Rays offense.

Verlander @ Braden – Braden a little risky but coming off strong outing.

Gallardo @ Marquis

McDonald @ Volquez – I don’t have a problem if you sit Volquez here.

Pelfrey @ Jurrjens – Let’s see how Jurrjens does in season debut before starting him.

An. Sanchez @ Hamels – I think Anibal will bounce back from slow start but I’m not taking any chances in Philly.

Latos @ Figueroa

Coleman @ Hammel – Starting Hammel a toss-up but we can afford to take more risks early in the season.

Zito @ Saunders

McClellan @ Kershaw



Bergesen @ Talbot

Litsch @ Lester

Duensing @ Hellickson – I like what I’ve seen so far from Duensing.

Haren @ Buehrle – Buehrle so unpredictable but I’ll give him a chance here.

Pineda @ Francis – Francis hot and M’s offense woeful.

Penny @ Cahill

Ogando @ Sabathia – Wouldn’t blame you if you play it safe and bench Ogando for this one.

TBD @ Leake

Volstad @ Blanton

Estrada @ Livan – I follow the bench Livan no matter what approach.

Young @ Hanson – Young to the DL is inevitable but it hasn’t happened yet!

Richard @ Myers – I’ll take a chance on Richard, even on the road.

Dempster @ Al. Johnson – Dempster struggling but still racking up the strikeouts.

Bumgarner @ Enright – I’m letting Bumgarner work out the kinks in unappealing matchup.

Carpenter @ Billingsley



Romero @ Dice-K – Matsuzaka worse than DTM right now.

Jackson @ Price – Maybe Edwin will throw another no-no @ TB. Maybe not.

Liriano @ Tillman – Not concerned about Liriano.

TBD @ Wilson

Carmona @ Davies

Scherzer @ Vargas

Marcum @ Halladay

Correia @ LeCure – This has disaster written all over it for Correia @ Cincy.

Stauffer @ Russell

Lincecum @ Jimenez

T. Hudson @ TBD

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, April 15

From Cy Young contender to DTM in just two years.


Britton @ Masterson

Harrison @ Nova

Cecil @ Buchholz *Cecil scuffling right now

Blackburn @ Davis *Not a huge Blackburn fan b/c of lack of Ks but he’s been very good and rays lineup is awful.

Weaver @ Humber *Humber just an AL only play right now.

Bedard @ Hochevar

Porcello @ McCarthy *McCarthy has been decent so far and those were road starts now he gets to pitch at home. Blue plate special.

Narveson @ Gorzelanny

Vazquez @ Oswalt *Vazquez couldn’t handle Astros so he’s pretty much DTM.

Morton @ Arroyo

TBD @ Lowe

Harang @ Happ *I can’t recommend Happ but Padres are lowest scoring team in NL so it’s at least enticing, He also has more walks than strikeouts.

Garza @ Chacin *I admit I’m chasing the Ks here with Garza. 20/3 K/BB but 20 hits in 12.2 IP.

Cain @ D. Hudson

Lohse @ Garland *Lohse has been very good, cost me a win in NL only H2H when I went up against him last week so he owes me one.

The Return of the PoD Category Chart!

Hey everyone,

After receiving rave reviews last year, the Fantasy 411 Pitch or Ditch category chart is back for the 2011 season.

PoD chart 4-15-11

For those of you who are new to the blog, here’s how it works.

In an effort to help you make those all important Pitch or Ditch decisions, the 411 tribunal of Mike, Cory and I have divided all the starting pitchers in the Majors into four groups: Aces, Pitch or Ditch graduates, Pitch or Ditch guys and DTMs (players you shouldn’t even think about starting right now). Keep in mind that these classifications are geared towards 12-team mixed leagues. We will be updating the chart frequently throughout the season so stay tuned.


Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, April 14


Pavano @ Shields

Arrieta @ Hughes

Fister @ Chen

Coke @ Gonzalez

Reynolds @ Dickey

De La Rosa @ Capuano

Wolf @ Maholm

Lee @ Zimmermann

Nolasco @ Beachy

Moseley @ Norris

J. Garcia @ Kuroda

***ZACH SAYS “Moseley is risky on the road versus a team that scored 11 runs last night but I’m fine with pitching him.”

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, April 13

James Shields has served up 37 homers over his past 35 starts dating back to last season.


Bush @ Scherzer

Davies @ Liriano

Anderson @ Danks

Drabek @ Vargas

Carrasco @ Big Erv

Tillman @ Burnett – not trusting Burnett just yet

Shields @ Lackey – not sure either are trustworthy right now

Wood @ Stauffer – last chance for Stauffer, let’s see some K’s

Halladay @ Lannan

Marcum @ Correia

Johnson @ T. Hudson

Rogers @ Niese – Rogers’ track record of 6+ ERAs leaves me skeptical

Zambrano @ Wandy

Westbrook @ Kennedy

Lilly @ J. Sanchez

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, April 12


Is Esmil Rogers for real?


Wilson @ Penny

Tillman @ Burnett – not trusting Burnett just yet

Price @ Lester

Francis @ Duensing – good matchup for Francis while he’s pitching well

Cahill @ Jackson

Carmona @ Haren

Romero @ Pineda – I’ll roll with Pineda at home

Marcum @ Correia – don’t trust Correia just yet

Blanton @ Livan

Rogers @ Niese – Rogers’ track record of 6+ ERA’s leaves me skeptical

Volstad @ Hanson

Russell @ Myers

Carpenter @ Galarraga

LeCure @ Richard – gotta go with Richard at home, always!

Billingsley @ Lincecum


***SIANO SAYS “I’m saying pitch on Burnett & Rogers. I want to way ditch on Pineda but won’t cause he is home.”

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, April 9-11

When will the Red Sox bats erupt?



Nova @ Buchholz *Nova gets through this one he will be on the graduate radar but a very risky start.

Chen @ Coke *Coke some sleeper potential and a decent bet at home but his first start of the year so not sure what to expect. In AL-only I trot him out.

W. Davis @ Humber

Harrison @ Arrieta

Gonzalez @ Blackburn

Cecil @ Kazmir

Masterson @ Fister

Oswalt @ Beachy *Beachy a graduate if you pitch him here. I’m waiting and seeing.

Reynolds @ Morton

Vazquez @ Wandy *If you don’t pitch Vazquez here just cut him.

Garza @ Narveson

Gorzelanny @ Capuano

Arroyo @ D. Hudson *Arroyo coming off very solid start vs. Brewers. I’m like Dusty right now…high on vets.

Kuroda @ Moseley

J. Garcia @ Cain *Still care about Garcia’s spring stats?


***CORY SAYS “Pitch on Narveson, who has good K potential, and Nova, because the Red Sox really are awful right now. Agreed otherwise.”




Hochevar @ Porcello

Holland @ Guthrie – Guthrie still questionable here, ditch him even if he starts

McCarthy @ Baker – it’s early, so I’ll gamble on Baker at home

Niemann @ Floyd

Reyes @ Weaver

Tomlin @ Bedard – enjoy Bedard while he lasts!

Sabathia @ Beckett – that’s correct, ditch Beckett

Marquis @ Young

Hamels @ Lowe – cash in your profits on Lowe

Chacin @ McDonald – I’ll gamble on McDonald for a few starts this early

An. Sanchez @ Happ

Coleman @ Gallardo

Kershaw @ Harang

Lohse @ Zito

Leake @ Saunders



Ogando @ Verlander

Hellickson @ Matsuzaka

Braden @ Buehrle – Buehrle at home vs. the A’s early in the season, go for it

Talbot @ Haren

Litsch @ Pineda – Pineda was impressive his first time, go for it at home

Hammel @ Pelfrey

Dempster @ Figueroa

McClellan @ Enright – McClellan very impressive first time, roll with it

Volquez @ Stauffer – the leash is getting short on Stauffer, but he’s home…

Billingsley @ Bumgarner



-I can’t endorse Bedard, momma didn’t raise me that way.

-The Harangatang earned a start at home vs. LA after shutting down SF.

-Agree on rest for Sunday. Lots of ditches on name guys, should be interesting to see who gets back in the good graces of the 411.

-For Monday, I agree on all except Stauffer. Not sure which guy will show up so ditch. Ogando a sleeper but Tigers lineup kind of better than M’s, no?

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, April 8

Just one start into his big league career, is Britton a Pitch vs. Texas?



Hughes @ Lackey – not worried about Hughes… yet

Davies @ Scherzer

Anderson @ Blackburn

Lewis @ Britton – I think Britton is the real deal

Shields @ Danks

Drabek @ Santana – Drabek is the real deal too

Carrasco @ Vargas – I think Carrasco is legit too, and he gets a great chance to prove it!

Zimmermann @ Dickey – Dickey earned this off last year

Westbrook @ J. Sanchez

De La Rosa @ Ohlendorf

Nolasco @ Wandy

Lee @ T. Hudson

Zambrano @ Wolf

Wood @ Kennedy – this could be a 2-1 game or a 12-11 game

Lilly @ Richard – love Richard at home, the ultimate home/away PoD pitcher


Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, April 7 + Closer Thoughts

Be patient with Marcum.


Lester @ Carmona

Cahill @ Romero

Liriano @ Burnett – not sold yet on AJ’s resurgence

Price @ Jackson

Penny @ Tillman – don’t trust either

Myers @ LeCure

Rogers @ Maholm

Hanson @ Marcum – Marcum was rusty first time, but 7 Ks                               tell a story, too

Niese @ Halladay

Lannan @ Johnson

***SIANO SAYS “I’m OK with Burnett vs. Twins.”


Less than a week into the season, we already have messy closer situations. First we hear that Sean Burnett, not Drew Storen will, at least for now, be the ninth inning man in Washington. But the bigger news comes out of Hollywood, where Jordan Walden has supplanted the awful Fernando Rodney. The Angels say the move is temporary but we all know better. As long as Walden continues to get the job done, he will continue to close. Note that Rodney sports a mediocre 4.30 career ERA and 1.45 career WHIP. His habit of walking the ballpark (3 BBs in 1/3 of an inning on Sunday) simply doesn’t translate well to the closer role.

The 411 draft strategy regarding closers is clear: Draft elite guys early so that you won’t have to deal with the constant turnover throughout the season. But the opponents of this strategy do have a point. Rather than spending a 5th round pick on Mariano Rivera, use that pick on a top-tier hitter and be the first to snatch up the Jordan Waldens and Sean Burnetts. Don’t expect this debate to go away anytime soon! Now let’s get to Thursday’s Pitch or Ditch.