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
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
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.
After receiving rave reviews last year, the Fantasy 411 Pitch or Ditch category chart is back for the 2011 season.
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.
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.”
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
CORY’S PICKS (SIANO’S COMMENTS BELOW)
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.”
SIANO’S PICKS (CORY’S COMMENTS BELOW)
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.”
CORY’S PICKS (SIANO’S COMMENTS BELOW)
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?
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
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.