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Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, September 14

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Yordano Ventura

ZACH’S PICKS

Cobb @ Estrada – Tough matchup for Cobb but he pitched well versus Blue Jays in his season debut. Estrada struggling of late, so I’ll sit this one out in 12-team mixed leagues.

Lester @ C. Martinez

Perdomo @ Bumgarner

Kershaw @ Pineda – Kershaw will probably be on a strict pitch count again.

Gsellman @ Roark – Playing it safe with Gsellman in challenging matchup.

Brault @ Thompson – Brault worth considering in deeper formats though.

Gausman @ Porcello – Four straight quality starts for Gausman but this is a scary matchup. I’d still lean towards pitching him.

Fernandez @ Teheran

Guerra @ Adleman – Guerra has been a little shaky since his return but I’ll take a chance on him here.

Duffey @ An. Sanchez

Manaea @ Ventura – Ventura wasn’t great in his most recent start but he still holds a 3.03 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break and the A’s rank last in the AL in both runs scored and OPS.

Tomlin @ Rodon – Seven straight quality starts for Rodon.

Holland @ Musgrove – Hard to trust Musgrove in this matchup.

Hoffman @ R. De La Rosa

Iwakuma @ Chacin

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Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 13

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Matt Boyd

ZACH’S PICKS

Urias @ Sabathia – I’ll give Urias a shot here thanks to the strikeout upside.

Syndergaard @ A.J. Cole – Cole deserves the nod.

Nova @ Asher – Nova continues to astound.

Smyly @ Stroman – Smyly tough to trust right now, especially for this matchup.

Bundy @ Pomeranz – Passing on the inconsistent Bundy.

Esch @ Wisler – Wisler a viable option in deeper formats though.

Garza @ Straily

Gibson @ Boyd – Boyd has registered four quality starts in his last five outings and is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts versus the Twins this season.

Cotton @ Duffy – Keep an eye on Cotton.

Bauer @ Quintana – Favorable matchup for Bauer.

Griffin @ Peacock

Hammel @ Garcia – Bench Garcia until further notice.

J. De La Rosa @ Ray – Ray has struggled at home this year (5.02 ERA). Pitch only if you’re chasing strikeouts.

Walker @ Meyer – I need to see more from Walker before I can fully trust him again.

Richard @ Suarez – Both are intriguing deep-league options.

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Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/12

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Hey everyone,

Overall, the potential waiver wire two-start pitcher choices for next week are not particularly appealing. But there are still a few candidates who could prove to be difference makers for your squads as we head towards the finish line. Let’s get started.

Standard mixed leagues 

Jeremy Hellickson (vs. PIT, vs. MIA)

Although Hellickson was not at his best on Wednesday, allowing nine hits over six innings, he still managed to register a quality start versus a Marlins squad that he will face again next week. In fact, Hellickson has handled the Marlins rather well this season, pitching to a 2.59 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP across five starts. As for the Pirates, Pittsburgh ranks among the bottom seven teams in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS since the All-Star break. The Phillies righty makes for a fine two-start option in all formats.

Ervin Santana (@DET, @NYM)

Having allowed three earned runs or fewer in 13 of his last 14 outings, Santana has been one of the more reliable starting pitchers in the game for quite some time now. In addition to his 2.89 ERA in ten starts since the All-Star break, the Twins righty has managed to raise his strikeout rate from 6.6 K/9 in the first half to 7.9 K/9 in the second half. The Tigers and Mets both rank in the bottom third of the Majors in runs scored since the All-Star break, and in his one previous start against Detroit this season, Santana limited the Tigers to just one run over seven innings.

Dan Straily

Dan Straily (vs. MIL, vs. PIT)

Straily was far from dominant in Thursday’s start versus the Pirates, but he still holds a stellar 3.13 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 11 starts since the All-Star break. Even more noteworthy for fantasy purposes, the Reds righty has increased his strikeout rate from 7.1 K/9 in the first half to 8.1 K/9 in the second half. In seven combined appearances (six starts) versus the Brewers and Pirates this season, Straily has registered a 2.58 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. The 27-year-old is a viable starting option in the majority of mixed leagues.

Deeper mixed leagues

Matt Boyd (vs. MIN, @CLE)

Following a shaky outing at home versus the White Sox on August 29th, Boyd bounced back nicely on Tuesday in his rematch against the Pale Hose, tossing seven innings of two-run ball. In ten appearances (nine starts) since the All-Star break, the Tigers southpaw is 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 8.1 K/9 rate. His matchups next week are not particularly favorable, as the Twins and Indians rank among the top three teams in the AL in both runs scored and OPS in the second half. But Boyd sports a combined 1.62 ERA versus Minnesota and Cleveland this season. He’s worth the risk in all deep mixed leagues and even some standard formats.

Robbie Ray (vs. COL, vs. LAD)

By now, fantasy owners know what they’re getting with Ray. The Diamondbacks lefty offers an elite-level strikeout rate (11.3 K/9 this season) at the expense of ERA and WHIP. But Ray has allowed three earned runs or fewer in five of his last six starts, so perhaps he is finally developing into a consistent all-around pitcher. That said, he’s more of a deep-league option for next week, as the Rockies and Dodgers rank 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the NL in both runs scored and OPS since the All-Star break. Plus, both of Ray’s starts will come at home, where he holds a 5.02 ERA this year compared to a 3.98 ERA away from Chase Field. Standard mixed league owners should consider him only if they are chasing strikeouts.

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Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, September 10-12

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Jon Gray

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

E. Rodriguez @ Happ – Happ has been shaky lately but I’ll stick with him.

Lackey @ McHugh

King Felix @ Graveman – Four straight quality starts for Graveman. Let’s go for it.

Archer @ Tanaka

Stephenson @ Hutchison – Stephenson worth considering in deeper formats.

Eickhoff @ Scherzer – Eickhoff a little risky though.

Jimenez @ Zimmermann – Bench Zim until further notice.

Clevinger @ Santiago – Playing it safe with Santiago.

Volquez @ Shields

Hill @ Koehler – Koehler has registered eight quality starts in his last nine outings.

Lugo @ Gant – Lugo is on a roll and this is a favorable matchup.

Ch. Anderson @ Wainwright

Cueto @ Bradley – Bradley pitching better of late but I’m still leery of starting him in 12-team mixed leagues.

J. Gray @ Friedrich – Gray coming off mediocre outing versus Diamondbacks but I’m expecting him to bounce back here as he sports a 2.25 ERA in three starts versus the Padres this season with 30 strikeouts across 20 innings.

Hamels @ D. Wright

SUNDAY

Andriese @ Cessa – Cessa more of a deep-league option.

Buchholz @ Ar. Sanchez – Tough matchup for Buchholz.

Tillman @ Verlander – I don’t have a lot of confidence in Tillman right now.

Maeda @ Urena

Finnegan @ Vogelsong – Favorable enough matchup for Finnegan.

Colon @ W. Perez

Morgan @ G. Gonzalez

Kluber @ Berrios

Kennedy @ Sale

Davies @ L. Weaver – I’ll take a chance on Weaver here.

Lewis @ J. Weaver

Paxton @ Alcantara – Promising matchup for Paxton.

Moore @ Greinke – I’m still a believer in Moore.

Bettis @ Jackson – Bettis not a bad gamble in deeper leagues for this matchup.

Arrieta @ Fiers – Dangerous matchup for Fiers.

MONDAY

De Leon @ Mitchell – De Leon worth considering in deeper leagues.

R. Montero @ Latos

G. Cole @ Hellickson

Odorizzi @ Liriano – Challenging matchup for Odorizzi though.

Miley @ Price

Big Erv @ D. Norris

Cashner @ Foltynewicz – I don’t trust Cashner right now regardless of the matchup. Foltynewicz an intriguing deep-league option.

Peralta @ Sampson – Keep an eye on Peralta though.

Detwiler @ Gee

Carrasco @ M. Gonzalez

M. Perez @ Fister – Fister has been struggling for awhile now.

Hendricks @ Leake

T. Anderson @ S. Miller – Anderson 2 ER or fewer in each of his last three starts.

Miranda @ Nolasco

Clemens @ Samardzija

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Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 9

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Tyler Chatwood

ZACH’S PICKS

Adleman @ Brault

Thompson @ Roark

Snell @ Pineda – Snell a little risky but the strikeouts are nice.

Porcello @ Estrada – Tough matchup for both though.

Gausman @ Fulmer

Kershaw @ Fernandez – Gotta go with Kershaw despite the long layoff.

Gsellman @ Teheran – Gsellman has been solid so far and this is a great matchup.

Lester @ Musgrove – Dangerous matchup for the inconsistent Musgrove.

Salazar @ Duffey

Ventura @ Rodon – Ventura coming off strong bounceback outing.

Nelson @ C. Martinez

Bumgarner @ Shipley

Iwakuma @ Mengden

Darvish @ Skaggs – Passing on Skaggs here.

Chatwood @ Perdomo – Chatwood somewhat risky but he’s 6-1 with a 1.82 ERA in ten road starts this season and the Padres rank 27th in the Majors in OPS at home.

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Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 8

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Derek Holland

ZACH’S PICKS

Paulino @ Bauer – Four straight quality starts for Bauer.

Straily @ Nova – I’ll give Straily a shot here despite his recent inconsistency. Nova is 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in six starts since joining the Pirates.

Asher @ A.J. Cole – Favorable matchup for Cole.

Cobb @ Sabathia – I trust Cobb already.

Guerra @ Garcia – Guerra still needs to shake off the rust. Tough to trust Garcia right now.

Hoffman @ Richard

Holland @ Walker – Three straight quality starts for Holland since coming off the DL and the Mariners rank 12th in the AL in OPS since the All-Star break.

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Waiver Wire Wisdom (9/7)

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This week’s waiver wire article, courtesy of Fred Zinkie:

Could your fantasy team use more power? What about steals? Runs, RBIs or wins?

Regardless of your holes, the fantasy waiver wire has a plug or long-term fix to pick up today. Check the following 10 men — all sitting in waivers in many leagues, and all ready to help you win.

Ryan Schimpf, 2B/3B: Schimpf is a great option for owners who are comfortable with their team’s batting average and need to boost their home run standing. Using an outstanding mix of power and patience, the 28-year-old has compiled 17 homers in just 208 at-bats since joining the Padres on June 14.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada, second baseman: Having recorded a .407 on-base percentage with 15 homers and 45 swipes in the Minors this season, Moncada has the skills to be a major fantasy difference-maker if handed a regular role at the hot corner. Plenty of roto-league teams could make a notable move in the standings during September by adding a speedster who also has the potential to post a solid batting mark. Moncada could also score a handful of runs as part of the highest-scoring lineup in baseball.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Ender Inciarte, outfielder: Since July 30, Inciarte has hit .393 with 32 runs scored across 164 plate appearances. The speedy sparkplug could be part of a surprisingly productive lineup down the stretch, as Atlanta ranks fifth in baseball with 176 runs scored since Aug. 1.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Randal Grichuk, outfielder: One of the most powerful outfielders in the National League, Grichuk should surpass the 25-homer mark despite a pair of demotions to the Minors this season. Having slugged eight homers across 67 at-bats since being recalled on Aug. 19, the 25-year-old is a fine lineup addition for owners who are searching for outfield power.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Byron Buxton, outfielder: With a lifetime .262 on-base percentage across 379 plate appearances, Buxton has tested the patience of many fantasy owners. Still one of the most talented youngsters in baseball, the 22-year-old has hit .455 with three homers, nine RBIs and eight runs across 23 plate appearances since being recalled on Sept. 1. Even owners with strong outfield depth may wish to add this potential impact player to their bench.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Robbie Ray, starter: With an 11.0 K/9 rate in ’16, Ray is the perfect waiver-wire target for owners who are focused on making late-season gains in the strikeouts category. The left-hander has recently become a multi-category contributor (3.81 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP since the All-Star break) by combining his swing-and-miss stuff with improved control (two or fewer walks in 13 of his past 15 starts).

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Ivan Nova

Ivan Nova, SP/RP: The owner of a 4.90 ERA when he joined Pittsburgh at the Trade Deadline, Nova has posted a 2.89 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and a 28-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio with the Pirates. Working with Bucs’ pitching guru Ray Searage may allow the right-hander to replicate the success that J.A. Happ experienced (1.85 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) as a member of the Pirates down the stretch in ’15.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Chad Kuhl, starter: Possibly overshadowed by touted teammates Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow, Kuhl is a strong option for owners who are chasing late-season stability in their rotation. Allowing more than three earned runs in just one of his 10 big league starts, the right-hander owns a solid 3.38 ERA since the All-Star break. With the Pirates desperately trying to stay in the Wildcard race, Kuhl should take his regular turn down the stretch.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Jose De Leon, starter: De Leon struck out nine batters in his big league debut on Sept. 4 after posting a 2.61 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP and an 11.6 K/9 rate across 16 starts in Triple-A this season. One of the most talented young pitchers in baseball, the right-hander would warrant attention in every league if not for an uncertain upcoming schedule due to the expected return of Clayton Kershaw and possible returns of Scott Kazmir, Alex Wood and Brett Anderson. Still, the possibility that De Leon will receive additional opportunities down the stretch makes him worth a roster spot in most formats.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Seth Lugo, SP/RP: Like De Leon, Lugo deserves a roster spot in many leagues despite having an uncertain immediate future due to the injury status of multiple rotation mainstays. With a 2.19 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP across four starts since joining the rotation on Aug. 19, the right-hander has given Mets management reason to keep him in the rotation when Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz are ready to return.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB

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Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, September 7

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Jeremy Hellickson

ZACH’S PICKS

Syndergaard @ DeSclafani

Bundy @ Smyly – Both are a little risky though.

An. Sanchez @ Quintana – Anibal remains more of a deep-league option.

Meyer @ Cotton

Foltynewicz @ Strasburg

Leake @ Taillon – Three straight quality starts for Leake prior to his DL stint.

Stroman @ Mitchell

Fister @ Carrasco – Fister should be benched until further notice.

Hellickson @ Cashner – Hellickson boasts a 2.13 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in four starts versus the Marlins this season.

Montgomery @ Garza

Duffy @ Gibson

Suarez @ J. De La Rosa

Price @ Cosart

Ray @ Stewart – Sticking with Ray.

Griffin @ Miranda

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Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 6

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Luke Weaver

ZACH’S PICKS

W. Perez @ G. Gonzalez

L. Weaver @ Vogelsong – Weaver sports a 3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over his last two starts to go along with 17 strikeouts across 12 innings and the Pirates rank last in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break.

Ar. Sanchez @ Cessa

Gallardo @ Odorizzi – Odorizzi is 6-0 with a 1.89 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break.

Peacock @ Kluber

R. Montero @ Finnegan – Finnegan is on a roll.

Morgan @ Urena

Hammel @ Peralta

Boyd @ M. Gonzalez – Boyd a borderline call. I’ll say pitch.

Gee @ Big Erv – Not buying into Gee.

Samardzija @ T. Anderson – Samardzija is risky though. I’m back on the Anderson bandwagon.

Nolasco @ Neal

S. Miller @ Stripling

Buchholz @ Clemens – Buchholz a decent option in deeper formats.

M. Perez @ Paxton – Paxton moved from Monday to Tuesday. I’ll pitch him for the same reason I mentioned in the previous PoD post (check out the home/road splits).

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Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/5

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Hey everyone,

I don’t know of any fantasy league that uses a trade deadline later than August 31st. So, no longer can you upgrade your pitching staff via trade. Now you must focus solely on the waiver wire. As for next week’s two-start pitchers, there are actually plenty of quality choices for various league sizes. Let’s get to it.

Standard mixed leagues

Bartolo Colon (@CIN, @ATL)

The owner of a 12-7 record to go along with a 3.35 ERA and 1.24 WHIP through 28 appearances (27 starts) this season, the 43-year-old Colon is still getting the job done. After a shaky July (5.51 ERA), the Mets righty rebounded nicely in August to the tune of a 2.61 ERA across six starts. Don’t be surprised if Colon carries over his August success into the early part of September, as he will be rewarded with a pair of favorable matchups next week. Both the Reds and the Braves rank in the bottom third of the Majors in OPS and in two starts versus the Braves this season, Colon boasts a 0.60 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.

Reds Cubs Baseball

Brandon Finnegan (vs. NYM, @PIT)

Wednesday’s dominant performance against the Angels marked the third straight start in which Finnegan has tossed at least six innings while allowing two or fewer runs and recording at least eight strikeouts. Perhaps more importantly, it marked the third straight start in which the 23-year-old has issued two or fewer free passes. Consistently throwing strikes has been a challenge for Finnegan this season (4.2 BB/9 rate), so maybe the talented southpaw is finally taking the next step in his development as a big league pitcher. Finnegan is a strong two-start option for next week, as the Mets rank 27th in the Majors in runs scored this season while the Pirates rank among the bottom four teams in both runs scored and OPS since the All-Star break.

Tyler Anderson (vs. SF, @SD)

Through 15 big league starts, Anderson carries a 3.43 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 8.3 K/9 rate. Pretty good for a pitcher who calls hitter-friendly Coors Field home. In fact, the 26-year-old southpaw has pitched better at home than on the road, posting a 3.11 ERA at Coors compared to a 4.21 ERA away from Colorado. And Coors Field is where he will open next week, versus a Giants offense that has struggled since the All-Star break, ranking 13th in the NL in runs scored. As for his other opponent, the Padres are fresh off a month of August in which they ranked last in the Majors in OPS and 27th in runs. Owners in all mixed leagues should not hesitate to start Anderson next week.

James Paxton (vs. TEX, @OAK)

With one tough matchup followed by one favorable matchup next week, Paxton is a true borderline call in 12-team mixed leagues but a quality option in deeper formats. The bad news is that over his last two starts, the Mariners righty has posted a 6.30 ERA and 1.70 WHIP, and the Rangers rank 4th in the AL in runs scored. On the other hand, the Texas offense has cooled off since the All-Star break, ranking only 8th in the Junior Circuit in runs. As for the A’s, they rank last in the AL in both runs scored and OPS this season.

Deeper mixed leagues

Luke Weaver (@PIT, vs. MIL)

Weaver’s exceptional minor league numbers (1.78 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 8.7 K/9 in 38 starts) hint that he is big league ready. The fact that he’s coming off back-to-back quality starts for the Cardinals in which he has racked up a combined 17 strikeouts across 12 innings proves hat the 23-year-old is big league ready. And he should continue to pitch well next week, when he faces a Pirates team that ranked 27th in the Majors in OPS in August followed by a Brewers squad that placed in the bottom half of the NL in both runs scored and OPS last month. Weaver’s thin major league track record (four starts) relegates him to deep mixed league status for the time being, but he could be worth adding in 12-team formats sooner rather than later.

Chad Kuhl (vs. STL, vs. CIN)

Kuhl has opened his big league career by recording six quality starts in nine tries. Although the Pirates righty is unlikely to contribute significantly in the strikeouts department, his ability to limit free passes (2.4 BB/9) will serve him well going forward. For owners in deep mixed leagues scouring the waiver wire for some pitching help, Kuhl just might be the best available option, irrespective of his two-start status for next week. Still, the two-start factor certainly adds to his appeal. As for the matchups, the Reds rank 13th in the NL in OPS on the road, and despite ranking 3rd in the NL in runs scored this season, St. Louis places only 9th in the Senior Circuit in runs scored since the All-Star break.

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