Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 4/20
***NOTE: If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to this blog by hitting the Follow button on the right panel. You will then get an e-mail as soon as each new post goes up.
CLICK HERE to listen to our latest podcasts (Thursday, 4/9 is most recent)
Plus, our overrated and underrated teams for 2015
And finally, Cory’s article on the evolution of fantasy baseball
Here’s the second installment of my two-start pitcher notes. Going forward, I’ll be aiming for three pitches and three ditches every week, and remember that I’m focusing on the borderline calls, not the obvious ones.
Jonathon Niese (vs. ATL, @NYY)
Despite the 1.59 ERA, Niese hasn’t been great over his first two starts, as he’s allowed 16 hits across 11 1/3 innings while recording only six strikeouts. But he’s still a solid back end of the rotation type fantasy SP who will give you a quality start more times than not. The vs. ATL matchup is an especially appealing one. Why? Niese is coming off a season in which he posted a 2.74 ERA and 1.18 at home and a 2.61 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in three starts against the Braves, and that was a far superior Atlanta lineup than the one they’re trotting out this season. And Niese pitched fairly well against them last week. As for the @NYY matchup, it might seem a bit scary but the Yankees simply aren’t hitting on a consistent basis. In mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, I’d give Niese a shot.
Brett Anderson (@SF, @SD)
When healthy, Anderson belongs on the vast majority of fantasy rosters. The problem is that Anderson hasn’t been healthy all that much over the past several seasons. Well, he’s healthy right now, boasting a 3.27 ERA and 1.18 WHIP throughy his first two starts of the 2015 campaign. Road matchups against the Giants and Padres aren’t as golden as they used to be, as the two lineups are much improved. But both AT&T Park and Petco Park remain pitcher-friendly venues. I don’t see a whole lot of risk in starting Anderson next week.
Hector Santiago (vs. OAK, vs. TEX)
Santiago makes for an intriguing option in deep mixed/AL-only formats. I’ve always been a fan of this guy thanks to his consistently high strikeout rates (8.3 career K/9) and the fact that fantasy owners are still underrating him, probably because he has yet to make more than 24 starts in a season. But he’s still just 27 years of age, and if he can finally stick in the rotation for an entire season, he should continue to carry mixed league value. The key will be limiting the free passes, and he’s done a nice job of that so far this season (three walks in 12 1/3 innings). Even in a 12-team mixed, I’d be open to pitching Santiago next week, despite the so-so matchups. There’s a decent chance that he’s on your waiver wire.
Wei-Yin Chen (@BOS, vs. BOS)
I actually like Chen. He’s been a popular two-start pitcher/pitch or ditch pick of mine for quite some time now. But next week is certainly not the time to start him. In 11 career starts against the Red Sox, Chen sports a mediocre 4.24 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. In seven career starts at Fenway Park, he’s registered a 4.99 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. All it will take is one poor outing for his two-start week to be ruined, and really, what are the chances that he posts back-to-back quality starts against this team? By the way, the Red Sox are currently tied for 2nd in the Majors in runs scored.
Nathan Eovaldi (@DET, vs. NYM)
The hope was that the Yankees coaching staff could help the hard-throwing Eovaldi become a more reliable pitcher. So far, not so good. It’s great to be able to consistently reach 95-plus on the radar gun, but if there isn’t an effective secondary pitch besides the heater, the overall consistency will be lacking, and that pretty much sums up Eovaldi’s career up to this point. The 4.35 ERA isn’t awful, but 16 hits allowed through his first 10 1/3 innings simply doesn’t cut it. The Tigers lineup is always dangerous and the Mets offense, while far from elite, is no longer a pushover. In mixed leagues, you’re better off staying away from Eovaldi for the time being.
Wade Miley (@TB, @BAL)
Miley’s AL experience now includes one decent start and one disaster outing. The bottom line is that he’s extremely difficult to trust for mixed league purposes unless the matchups are especially favorable. Next week’s pair of matchups don’t exactly fit under that category, particularly @BAL. I’ll be ditching Miley in all mixed leagues.