April 2014

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, April 22

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets

CORY’S PICKS

Shields @ Salazar – I’ll stick with Salazar and his dominating stuff
M. Gonzalez @ Dickey – bench but don’t cut struggling Dickey
Leesman @ Verlander
Tanaka
@ Lester
Gibson @ Price – not buying in on Gibson just yet
Martinez @ Milone – Milone is a solid play at home
McHugh @ E. Ramirez – sticking with Erasmo at home vs. weak offense
Skaggs @ Jordan
Cueto @ Volquez
Fernandez @ A. Wood
Wainwright
@ Gee – Gee is HR-prone but he’s at home and Cards aren’t crushing (yet)
McCarthy @ Hammel – I expect McCarthy to get on a roll but will bench him ‘til he does
Kennedy @ Gallardo
Bumgarner
@ Morales
Burnett @ Ryu

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 4/21

Zach here,

Back with another round of two-start pitcher notes. This latest installment isn’t nearly as pessimistic as last week’s version, as there are a number of intriguing candidates that could easily be available on your league’s waiver wire. So let’s get to it.

PITCHES

Ian Kennedy (@MIL, @WAS)

At this point, there’s no reason why Kennedy should be on any league’s waiver wire. Pick him up now! Look, it’s clear that 2011 was an outlier, but 2013 was an absolute disaster and I’m not expecting a repeat. Kennedy’s chief nemesis has always been the longball, but he’s given up just one home run through his first four starts this season to go along with a superb 23-to-5 K/BB ratio. Plus, pitching his home games at Petco Park should help considerably in his quest to lower that home run total. I’d feel totally comfortable pitching Kennedy in all but the toughest of matchups. Next week’s schedule does not fit that description.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers

Wily Peralta (vs. SD, vs. CHC)

Peralta is hoping that this is the year he finally puts it all together. So far boasting a 1.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, he’s off to a promising start. Oh, and the Padres and Cubs rank last and next to last respectively in the NL in runs scored.

Zach McAllister (vs. KC, @SF)

McAllister has been a Fantasy 411 breakout candidate for a couple of years now, and he’s coming off two consecutive gems, one of which was against a tough Tigers lineup. The Royals rank near the bottom of the AL in runs scored and AT&T Park is always a favorable place to pitch. Outside of shallow mixed leagues, feel free to start McAllister next week.

Dan Straily (vs. TEX, @HOU)

Straily’s 5.40 ERA through three starts is skewed by his particularly poor showing vs. the Angels on Tuesday. And even though he allowed seven hits and one walk in just 3 2/3 innings, his overall WHIP still stands at a solid 1.20. Pitching Straily at home vs. the Rangers is a borderline call, but I like him so much for the @HOU start that I’d be willing to take a chance on him for the two-start week in mixed leagues of 12 teams or more.

DITCHES

R.A. Dickey (vs. BAL, vs. BOS)

It seems like every time I say to ditch on Dickey, he goes out there and turns in a dominant performance, but I don’t like R.A. for next week. He’s allowed at least five runs in three of his four starts this year and has issued at least five free passes in two of those outings. The bottom line is that the former Cy Young award winner is too erratic to trust from one start to the next, and although the Red Sox and Orioles have had a tough time consistently scoring runs in the early going, I’m not expecting their struggles to continue for much longer. There’s too much talent in those lineups.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers

Garrett Richards (@WAS, @NYY)

After struggling with inconsistency through parts of three seasons in the big leagues, Richards has opened 2014 with two terrific outings and one mediocre performance. I’m a believer in Richards and his strikeout potential, and I like his chances of earning permanent roster status in 12-team mixed leagues by year’s end, but in a weekly league, I’d be hesitant to pitch him for this pair of starts. I did recommend to play him @WAS but the @NYY matchup scares me, as the Yankee offense has finally woken up. Also keep in mind that Richards’ two strong starts this month came against the Mariners and Astros, not exactly offensive juggernauts.

Jenrry Mejia (vs. STL, vs. MIA)

Mejia bounced back nicely from a shaky performance vs. the Braves to fire five shutout innings against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. The 18 K’s over 16 innings are nice. The 11 walks? Not so much. Keep a close eye on Mejia going forward, but for now, he’s strictly an NL-only option.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, April 19-21

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Oakland Athletics-Game Two

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Buehrle @ Kluber – Buehrle not a terrible choice but major stat correction bound to happen soon.

Wilson @ Scherzer

Norris @ Doubront

Correia @ B. Chen

Oberholtzer @ Kazmir

Nova @ Archer – Nova’s last start very encouraging.

Quintana @ Lewis – Tough challenge for Quintana but he’s been dominant so far. Keep an eye on Lewis.

Lynn @ Zimmermann

Cingrani @ Villanueva

Garza @ Wandy – Haven’t given up on Wandy but he’s a ditch for now.

Big Erv @ Colon – Colon is risky though.

Elias @ Alvarez – Elias a decent deep mixed/AL-only play.

Boisinger @ Haren

Kendrick @ Lyles

Hudson @ Stults

SUNDAY

Morrow @ Carrasco – Need to see a bit more from Morrow.

Santiago @ Porcello – Still a fan of Santiago but this is a terrible matchup.

TBD (NYY) @ Ramos

Hughes @ Ventura

E. Johnson @ R. Ross

Peacock @ Chavez – Great matchup for red-hot Chavez.

Jimenez @ Peavy

Hale @ Wheeler – Hale worth a shot here in rematch vs. Mets.

TBD (SEA) @ Slowey

S. Miller @ Strasburg

Estrada @ Cole

Bailey @ Jackson – Sticking with Homer.

Collmenter @ Beckett – Beckett not trustworthy right now.

Lincecum @ Erlin – Tiny Tim coming off solid outing.

R. Hernandez @ Nicasio

MONDAY

W. Chen @ Buchholz

Guthrie @ McAllister – McAllister is on a roll.

Danks @ An. Sanchez – Danks impressive so far but playing it safe here.

Darvish @ Straily – Straily roughed up in his last start and this isn’t a good matchup.

Keuchel @ King Felix

Leake @ Liriano – Leake is pitching well.

Richards @ Roark – Richards a blue-plate special.

Koehler @ Teheran – Kudos to Koehler but this matchup concerns me.

Lyons @ Mejia – Mejia deserves our attention going forward though.

Arroyo @ T. Wood

Cashner @ W. Peralta – This could be Peralta’s breakout year.

Vogelsong @ De La Rosa

Lee @ Maholm

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, April 18

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Cincinnati Reds

CORY’S PICKS

Hutchison @ Masterson – one trending up and the other down, play it safe on both for now

Weaver @ Smyly

Tillman @ Lackey

Kuroda @ Bedard

Paulino @ Perez – Paulino worth watching, but not using right now

Nolasco @ Vargas – yep, you read that right

Cosart @ Gray

Simon @ Samardzija – Simon in a groove and Cubs are not

Wacha @ G. Gonzalez

Lohse @ Morton

Harang @ Niese – great matchup for red-hot Harang

Young @ Eovaldi

Pettibone @ Chatwood

Miley @ Greinke

Cain @ T. Ross – still plenty to like about both

***ZACH SAYS “I’d pitch Eovaldi without much reservation at home against a below average Mariners offense. One mediocre outing isn’t going to change my belief that he’s a prime breakout candidate. Agree on rest.”

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, April 17

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

CORY’S PICKS

Salazar @ Verlander – over/under on combined K’s: 18?
Dickey @ Gibson (Gm 1) – keep an eye on Gibson
McGowan @ Pelfrey (Gm 2) – blue-plate gamble on McGowan if you’re feeling bold
E. Ramirez @ Scheppers
Sabathia @ Price – sorry, not trusting CC right now
Lester @ Sale
B. Chen @ Feldman
A. Wood @ Burnett
Ryu
@ Bumgarner
Morales @ Kennedy – Kennedy’s K’s and velocity are back up
Wainwright @ Jordan
Gallardo @ Volquez

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, April 16

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

CORY’S PICKS

Hammel @ Tanaka (Gm 1)

T. Wood @ Pineda (Gm 2) – both Wood and Hammel deserve the shot based on results to date

Price @ Tillman

Salazar @ Smyly – could see a combined 18 K’s in about 11.2 IP

King Felix @ Darvish - OMG

Buchholz @ Danks – keep an eye on Danks

Dickey @ Pelfrey

Guthrie @ Keuchel – blue-plate special!

Milone @ Skaggs – only using Milone at home

Liriano @ Cueto

Kelly @ W. Peralta

Gee @ McCarthy – Both are due for some positive regression on BABIP and HR/FB

Teheran @ Burnett

Roark @ Fernandez

De La Rosa @ Cashner

Maholm @ Vogelsong

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, April 15

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

CORY’S PICKS

Odorizzi @ M. Gonzalez – sticking with Odorizzi for now
Hammel @ Tanaka (PPD) – Hammel’s first two starts were excellent and Yanks are mid-tier offense
McAllister @ An. Sanchez – playing it safe with McAllister
Beavan @ R. Ross
Peavy @ E. Johnson
Morrow @ Hughes – good matchup to roll the dice on Morrow
Ventura @ Harrell
Straily @ Richards
Hale @ Lee
Cole @ Leake
Strasburg
@ Koehler
S. Miller @ Estrada
Mejia @ Arroyo
Nicasio @ Erlin
Beckett @ Lincecum – toss-up on both. I’d rather live in the now

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 4/14

Hey everyone,

The theme for next week is simple. If you don’t already own a viable two-start pitcher candidate, don’t stress over finding one on the waiver wire, because there aren’t a whole lot of appealing options.

Now that I’ve hammered that point home, let’s take a look at some of the borderline calls.

-Zach

Tim Lincecum (vs. LAD, @SD)

I own Lincecum in one of my leagues, and I’m already regretting it. Yeah, the strikeouts are nice, but the former Cy Young award winner is just too inconsistent from one start to the next, and he’s already served up four homers. I guess I can give him some slack as both of his starts this season have come against the Diamondbacks, a club that can score runs in bunches, but would you really feel comfortable starting Tiny Tim next week against the Dodgers? The @SD matchup is tempting though, and I’d pitch him for that one in a daily lineup league. But in a weekly, I’d play it safe and ditch for this pair of starts.

Jake Odorizzi (@BAL, vs. NYY)

Although owners in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only formats should have Odorizzi on their radar due to his stellar minor league track record and strong showing in limited big league action last season, I wouldn’t trust him yet in a 12-team mixed league. We’ve seen one dominant performance and one terrible outing from him thus far, and next week’s matchups are not favorable to say the least. Ditch Odorizzi for now, but don’t forget about him.

Brandon Morrow (@MIN, @CLE)

By now, it seems like we’ve been waiting forever for Morrow to break out, but a lot of the blame for his disappointing career can be attributed to injuries. The last time he pitched close to a full season (2011), Morrow racked up 203 strikeouts. The problem was that those 203 strikeouts were tied to a 4.72 ERA. Since converting to a full-time starting pitcher back in 2010, Morrow has posted a sub-4.00 ERA just once. His first two starts this season have been OK but not great. Like Odorizzi, Morrow is a guy who mixed leaguers should monitor closely, and I might even pitch him @MIN, but for the two-start week, I’m passing. I need to see a little more.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Minnesota Twins

Jesse Chavez (@LAA, vs. HOU)

Two starts, a 1.38 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 13 strikeouts in 13 innings. What’s not to like about that? Chavez also pitched well for the A’s last year in a relief role, so the sample size is greater than 13 innings. I view Chavez as a must-add in AL-only leagues, and I’d even think about using him in a 12-team mixed. A stat correction is bound to happen at some point, but these matchups are promising, so I don’t think it will happen next week.

Wandy Rodriguez (@CIN, vs. MIL)

I’ve always been a big fan of Wandy, and although his stat line through two starts doesn’t look too good, let’s remember that he missed most of last season due to injury, so maybe this is simply a case of him shaking off the rust. The 11 strikeouts in 11 innings are encouraging, and despite the tough @CIN matchup, I’d pitch Wandy for the two-start week. Since 2011, Rodriguez sports a 3.38 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in four starts at Great American Ball Park.

Hector Santiago (vs. OAK, @DET)

I’m very optimistic about Santiago for this season, as he’s a 26-year-old lefty who has struck out a shade under a batter per inning through his first 234 big league frames. But he’s struggled with his control so far and his pitch counts have been way too high. He’s a sit until further notice, and next week’s matchups aren’t exactly inspiring.

Josh Beckett (@SF, vs. ARI)

I’ve taken a “your problem, not mine” approach with Beckett over the past couple of seasons, and it’s worked out quite well. He deserves somewhat of a pass for last year’s dreadful stat line, as he battled injuries throughout the season. But even when he was relatively healthy in 2012, he registered a 4.65 ERA, and he’s no longer a dependable source for strikeouts. Don’t be fooled by the name. Beckett’s days of dominance are long over, and he couldn’t even make it past four innings in his 2014 debut. He might earn mixed league relevance at some point this year, but not now.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, April 12-14

MLB: Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Lackey @ Kuroda

Masterson @ Paulino – Paulino still worth monitoring though despite poor start @COL.

Shields @ Nolasco

Hutchison @ Norris

Cosart @ Scheppers – Hard to trust Scheppers until he puts together a few good outings.

Niese @ Weaver – Niese a borderline call but at least it’s in a pitcher’s park.

Gray @ E. Ramirez – Playing it safe with Erasmo, who got roughed up by these same A’s his last time out.

Cobb @ Simon

Villanueva @ Wainwright

Anderson @ Cain – Anderson not a bad play in deeper leagues for road starts.

Eovaldi @ Pettibone – Very impressed by Eovaldi so far.

Volquez @ Gallardo

Jordan @ A. Wood – Not in love with this matchup for Jordan but Braves offense has underachieved in the early going.

Greinke @ Miley

Verlander @ Kennedy – Tough matchup for Kennedy but at least it’s at home.

SUNDAY

Buehrle @ Jimenez – Not a favorable matchup for either.

Kluber @ Quintana – Taking a chance on Kluber here but he scares me a bit.

Vargas @ Correia

Oberholtzer @ M. Perez – Nice matchup for Perez.

Colon @ Wilson

Kazmir @ Young

Doubront @ Nova – Only start Nova in deeper formats. I’d ditch in a 12-team mixed.

TBD (TB) @ Cingrani

G. Gonzalez @ Harang – Not sold on Harang yet.

Alvarez @ Kendrick – This could be 2-1 or 9-8.

Morton @ Lohse

Jackson @ Wacha

Chatwood @ Hudson

Scherzer @ T. Ross – Pitching Ross at home but there’s definitely some risk here.

Haren @ Cahill

MONDAY

Archer @ W. Chen

Elias @ Lewis

Chavez @ Santiago – Chavez lights out through two starts. Taking a break from Santiago.

Big Erv @ R. Hernandez

Wandy @ Bailey – Not a good matchup for Wandy.

Zimmermann @ Hand

Lynn @ Garza

Wheeler @ Collmenter

Lyles @ Stults

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, April 11

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

CORY’S PICKS

McGowan @ Norris – keep an eye on McGowan

Lester @ Sabathia – yes, that’s a ditch on CC

Feldman @ Darvish

Carrasco @ Sale

B. Chen @ Gibson

Gee @ Skaggs

Milone @ King Felix – only using Milone at home

Fernandez @ Burnett

Price @ Cueto

Roark @ Teheran

Liriano @ W. Peralta

Samardzija @ Kellynot much conviction on Shark, though

Ryu @ McCarthy

Porcello @ Cashner

De La Rosa @ Bumgarner

***ZACH SAYS “I know Cory is a fan of McCarthy, but he’s gotten roughed up twice in a row now and faces a tough Dodgers lineup, so I’d ditch. Agree on rest.”

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