Author Archive

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, September 3-5

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James Paxton

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Bumgarner @ Arrieta – Nice!

Keuchel @ Holland – Keuchel continues to be unpredictable but he’s pitching well of late.

Garcia @ Straily – Playing it safe and passing on both here.

Estrada @ Snell – Dangerous matchup for Snell.

Gant @ Velasquez – Favorable matchup for Velasquez.

Nelson @ Nova – I don’t trust Nelson and I don’t fully trust Nova.

Sabathia @ Gausman

Shields @ Santiago

Fernandez @ Bauer – Three straight quality starts for Bauer.

Roark @ Gsellman

Fulmer @ Ventura – Giving Ventura a mulligan for his poor outing at Fenway.

Shipley @ Chatwood

Porcello @ Neal

Skaggs @ Walker – Walker a borderline call.

Perdomo @ Hill

SUNDAY

C. Martinez @ Adleman

Happ @ Archer

Teheran @ Thompson

Ch. Anderson @ Brault

Pineda @ Miley

Ranaudo @ Albers

D. Norris @ Gee – Not a believer in Gee just yet.

Cueto @ Lackey

Musgrove @ Darvish – Musgrove strictly a deep-league option for this one.

E. Rodriguez @ Graveman

Bradley @ J. Gray

Shoemaker @ Iwakuma

Koehler @ Salazar – Both are far from sure things though.

Friedrich @ De Leon

R. Lopez @ Lugo – Tough matchup for Lugo. I’m sitting this one out.

MONDAY

Dickey @ Tanaka

Jimenez @ Andriese

Hendricks @ Davies – Not chancing it with Davies here.

Colon @ Stephenson

Eickhoff @ Esch

Kennedy @ Berrios

Weber @ Scherzer

J. Weaver @ Alcantara – Not buying into Weaver despite favorable matchup.

Wainwright @ Kuhl – Kuhl a viable option in deeper formats though.

Verlander @ Sale

Moore @ Bettis – Moore a little risky though.

Hamels @ Paxton – Challenging matchup for Paxton but his home ERA (3.25) is more than a full run lower than his road mark (4.37).

Pomeranz @ Jackson

Fiers @ Clevinger

Greinke @ Maeda

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Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 2

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Carlos Rodon

ZACH’S PICKS

Suarez @ Lester

De La Cruz @ Hellickson – Favorable matchup for Hellickson.

Guerra @ Taillon – Let’s see how Guerra fares in his first start back.

Green @ Bundy – Passing on both here.

Cashner @ Carrasco – Cashner pitching pretty well right now but this is a dangerous matchup.

Reyes @ DeSclafani – Reyes a little risky but I’ll give him a shot.

Stroman @ Cobb – The matchup can’t be much tougher for Cobb in his first start in almost two full years.

A.J. Cole @ Syndergaard – Cole a viable option in deeper formats though.

Fister @ Griffin – Fister somewhat risky here but he’s actually pitched very well versus Rangers this year (2.00 ERA in three starts).

Rodon @ Gibson – Rodon went 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA and 1.01 WHIP across five starts in August.

An. Sanchez @ Duffy – Anibal cannot be trusted.

Ray @ J. De La Rosa – Challenging matchup for Ray but he sports a 3.21 ERA since the All-Star break and you know you’re getting the K’s.

Price @ Triggs

Oberholtzer @ Miranda

Richard @ Urias – Urias a strong play here.

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Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 1

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Mike Montgomery

ZACH’S PICKS

Cosart @ Foltynewicz – Foltynewicz warrants consideration in deeper formats for this matchup.

Urena @ deGrom – Let’s see if the extended rest helps deGrom.

Samardzija @ Montgomery – Montgomery a fine source of K’s and the Giants are tied for 13th in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break.

Quintana @ Big Erv

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Waiver Wire Wisdom (8/31)

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Once again, 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.

Nick Hundley

Nick Hundley, catcher: Since he joined the Rockies at the outset of 2015, Hundley has posted an .852 OPS at his hitter-friendly home park in comparison to a .772 mark on the road. Currently in the midst of a nine-game homestand, the 32-year-old could provide a valuable short-term boost for those in their head-to-head playoffs. For owners who have the flexibility to look ahead, from Sept. 12-21 Hundley will bat at homer-happy Chase Field before enjoying a six-game stretch at home.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Yoan Moncada, second baseman: With their sights set on winning the American League East, the Red Sox may soon turn to Moncada as an upgrade over the combination of Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill (combined .188 batting average in the second half) at the hot corner. In a regular role, the 21-year-old could compile many runs and steals in September by using the patient approach (.411 on-base percentage) and fleet feet (45 steals) he showed in the Minors this season.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Chris Owings, 2B/SS/OF: With fleet feet and multi-position eligibility, Owings is a terrific target for those who need late-season swipes. Hitting .276 with 15 steals, the speedster will provide owners with a small batting-average boost while adding to their steals total down the stretch.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Melvin Upton Jr., outfielder: One of just two players to have compiled at least 19 homers and 24 steals this season, Upton fell to waivers in many mixed leagues after struggling during his initial weeks with the Blue Jays. But since Aug. 10, the outfielder has worked his way into a full-time role with Toronto by hitting .262 with three homers and four steals across 71 plate appearances. With the explosive skill set to stuff the stat sheet in various ways, Upton should be owned in most leagues.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Hunter Renfroe, outfielder: Hitting .307 and ranking second in the PCL in both homers (28) and RBIs (102), Renfroe has proven to be a multi-dimensional offensive asset that is ready for the Major Leagues. Even though a 111-to-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio gives some cause for concern, the 24-year-old has the potential to give mixed-league teams a power boost if he gets a full-time September role on a Padres club that has little outfield depth.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Luis Cessa

Luis Cessa, starter: Teammate Chad Green has generated more fantasy buzz, but Cessa could be the better fantasy option among rookie hurlers on the Yankees. After posting a solid 3.03 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in Triple-A this season, the right-hander has allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks across 12 innings during his past two outings. Following his upcoming outing at pitcher-friendly Kauffman Stadium, Cessa could be a major fantasy factor during a scheduled two-start stanza in Week 23.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Julio Urias, starter: An unpredictable schedule due to an innings limit has prevented Urias from having the necessary stretch of dominance that gets a talented rookie hurler onto most mixed-league rosters. But the left-hander will head into an upcoming favorable matchup with the Padres having allowed just one run across 12 innings in his previous two starts.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Matt Moore, starter: A near no-hitter against the Dodgers on Aug. 25 could be the turning point for Moore’s tenure with the Giants. The left-hander posted a 4.78 ERA across his initial four outings with San Francisco after logging a 1.99 mark in his final six outings as a member of the Rays. Moore could post low late-season ratios while enjoying the benefits of pitching for a winning organization with a pitcher-friendly home park and an excellent defensive catcher in Buster Posey.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Ivan Nova, SP/RP: The owner of a 4.90 ERA when he joined Pittsburgh at the Trade Deadline, Nova has posted a 2.87 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and a 22-to-1 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: 12-team mixed leagues

Alex Reyes, SP/RP: After initially joining the Cardinals as a reliever, Reyes is going to work in the rotation while Mike Leake spends time on the disabled list. The 22-year-old will need to demonstrate improved control in order to be a ratio asset in mixed leagues, but his lifetime 12.1 K/9 rate in the Minors shows that he has the potential to make a major fantasy impact.

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, August 31

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Drew Smyly

ZACH’S PICKS

Sale @ Verlander

Smyly @ S. Wright – Tough matchup for Smyly but he’s 4-1 with a 3.44 ERA in eight starts since the All-Star break and tossed eight scoreless innings versus the Red Sox at Fenway earlier this season.

King Felix @ M. Perez

Detwiler @ Fiers – Favorable matchup for Fiers.

Stripling @ T. Anderson (Gm 1)

Hill @ Hoffman (Gm 2)

S. Miller @ Moore

Finnegan @ Nolasco – Finnegan is on a roll.

Ar. Sanchez @ Gallardo

G. Gonzalez @ Morgan

Esch @ Colon

Dean @ Kluber

Clemens @ Wisler

Vogelsong @ Hammel

L. Weaver @ Garza – Weaver coming off strong outing versus A’s and the Brewers rank 24th in the Majors in runs scored.

Cessa @ Kennedy – Continue to keep an eye on Cessa though.

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Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, August 30

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Seth Lugo

ZACH’S PICKS

Happ @ Jimenez

Scherzer @ Eickhoff – Challenging matchup for Eickhoff but I’ll go for it.

Ranaudo @ D. Norris – Norris was solid in his most recent outing.

Koehler @ Lugo – Lugo has been impressive since moving into the starting rotation and the Marlins rank last in the Majors in runs scored this month.

Albers @ Tomlin

Jackson @ Teheran

Odorizzi @ Pomeranz

Kuhl @ Hendricks – Dangerous matchup for Kuhl.

Paxton @ Hamels – Ditto for Paxton.

Graveman @ McHugh – Both are borderline calls but I don’t fully trust either.

Wainwright @ Peralta – Not overly confident in Wainwright though.

Tanaka @ Volquez

Hill @ T. Anderson (PPD)

Adleman @ J. Weaver

Greinke @ Cueto

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Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 8/29

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Happy Friday to all,

Time for another blog-only full version of my weekly two-start pitcher article. And good luck down the stretch.

38 days to go…

Standard mixed leagues

Matt Shoemaker (vs. CIN, @SEA)

Fresh off a stellar performance on Wednesday in which he held the high-powered Blue Jays offense scoreless over six innings, Shoemaker has now notched four quality starts in his last five outings. In eight starts since the All-Star break, the Angels righty has registered a 3.13 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Expect Shoemaker to continue pitching at a high level next week, when he faces a Reds team that ranks 28th in the Majors in OPS on the road. As for the Mariners, although Seattle ranks a respectable 11th in the Majors in runs scored this season, they place only 20th in runs scored since the All-Star break.

Dan Straily

Dan Straily (@LAA, vs. STL)

After tossing six shutout innings versus the Rangers on Tuesday, Straily has now allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last ten starts dating back to the beginning of July. Although the Reds righty cannot be relied upon to consistently deliver in the strikeouts category (7.3 K/9 this season), this extended period of effectiveness is enough of a reason to start him next week. The Angels rank last in the AL in OPS this month but Straily’s second matchup of the week, against a Cardinals squad that ranks 4th in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS, is much tougher. The good news is that the 27-year-old will be making this start at home, where he boasts a 2.94 ERA this season compared to a 4.27 ERA away from Great American Ball Park.

Tom Koehler (@NYM, @CLE)

Having recorded six quality starts in his last six outings to go along with a 1.62 ERA and 0.85 WHIP, Koehler has been a model of consistency for quite some time now. The Marlins righty heads into a two-start week with one favorable matchup followed by one challenging matchup. While the Mets rank 28th in the Majors in runs scored, the Indians rank among the top seven teams in both runs and OPS. The potential for a subpar outing in Cleveland makes the Marlins righty somewhat of a risky play for next week. But the very favorable opening matchup combined with his recent results makes starting Koehler a risk worth taking.

Zach Davies (vs. STL, @PIT)

Following two straight poor performances, Davies bounced back nicely on Wednesday versus the Rockies, firing six innings of one-run ball while racking up eight strikeouts. Despite his so-so 4.06 ERA, the 23-year-old has enjoyed a largely successful first full season in the big leagues, highlighted by his solid 10-6 record and 2.3 BB/9 rate. The Brewers righty is a fine starting option for next week. Davies will first take the mound against a Cardinals offense that he blanked across eight innings back on June 1st before facing a Pirates lineup that ranks last in the NL in OPS since the All-Star break.

Deeper mixed leagues

Matt Boyd (vs. CHW, @KC)

Over his last three starts, Boyd is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, and two of those outings came against the Red Sox and Rangers, two top-tier offenses. Next week’s matchups are not nearly as tough, as the White Sox and Royals rank among the bottom six teams in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS. Boyd carries a relatively thin big league track record (132 innings) and he mostly struggled prior to this year. But he’s still only 25, and his minor league numbers are impressive. The Tigers southpaw deserves the nod in all deep mixed leagues and even some 12-team formats.

Joe Musgrove (vs. OAK, @TEX)

Through his first three big league appearances (two starts), Musgrove sported a shiny 1.47 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. But the 23-year-old has now gotten roughed up in two straight starts, allowing a combined 13 runs across 9 1/3 innings. Musgrove’s recent results in addition to next week’s matchup on the road versus a dangerous Rangers offense relegates him to deep-league two-start pitcher status. But the Astros righty did toss seven innings of one-run ball in a home start against Texas earlier this month and the A’s rank 14th in the AL in runs and 15th in OPS. And perhaps most importantly, Musgrove’s ability to rack up strikeouts at a high rate (25 K’s through 27 2/3 IP) automatically makes him an intriguing two-start pitcher choice.

Zach Steinhorn is a fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ZachMLB

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Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, August 27-29

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Mike Leake

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Bundy @ Green – Tough matchup for Green. I’ll play it safe.

J. De La Rosa @ A. Cole

Big Erv @ Stroman

Hammel @ TBD (LAD)

Duffy @ Price

Chacin @ Fulmer – Fulmer should bounce back here.

Hellickson @ Syndergaard – Hellickson is 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break.

Taillon @ Nelson – Nelson coming off strong outing but he needs to show more consistency.

Richard @ Urena

Miranda @ Quintana

Snell @ Keuchel – Control issues continue to plague Snell. He’s a bit too risky right now. Keuchel is no sure thing either but I’ll go for it.

Neal @ Leake – Leake coming off one of his best outings of the season and the A’s rank 28th in the Majors in runs scored since the All-Star break.

Carrasco @ Griffin

DeSclafani @ Godley

Foltynewicz @ Peavy

SUNDAY

Gausman @ Sabathia

Gibson @ Dickey

Skaggs @ An. Sanchez – Anibal worth a try in deeper formats though.

Velasquez @ Gsellman – A matchup against the Mets should cure whatever is ailing Velasquez.

Perdomo @ Cashner – Cashner a decent deep-league option for this one.

Bettis @ TBD (WAS)

Nova @ Ch. Anderson

Walker @ Rodon – Walker a little risky but I’ll take a chance on him. Rodon has been on a roll.

Archer @ Fister

Triggs @ Garcia

Salazar @ Holland – Benching Salazar for the time being. Keep an eye on Holland.

Whalen @ Bumgarner

Lester @ Stewart

Bailey @ Bradley – Both are hard to trust right now.

Ventura @ E. Rodriguez – Ventura has been very good for quite some time but this matchup makes me too nervous.

MONDAY

Pineda @ Gee

Estrada @ Miley – Sticking with Estrada.

Roark @ Thompson

Andriese @ Porcello

Santiago @ Bauer – Bauer a toss-up. I’ll pitch.

Shields @ Boyd – Three straight quality starts for Boyd.

Fernandez @ Montero

C. Martinez @ Davies – Davies’ last start was encouraging.

Iwakuma @ Darvish

Brault @ Arrieta

Manaea @ Musgrove – Musgrove a borderline call. Pitch in deeper formats.

Maeda @ J. Gray

Straily @ Shoemaker

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Pitch or Ditch for Friday, August 26

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David Phelps

ZACH’S PICKS

Gallardo @ Cessa

Hoffman @ G. Gonzalez

Dean @ Liriano – Liriano too hard to trust from one start to the next.

Kennedy @ S. Wright – Wouldn’t blame you for benching Kennedy here.

Nolasco @ Verlander

Morgan @ Colon – Colon sports a 2.04 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in three starts versus Phillies this season.

Cosart @ Phelps – Phelps has registered a 1.31 ERA and 11.3 K/9 rate in four starts this month and the Padres rank last in the Majors in OPS this month.

Kluber @ M. Perez

Vogelsong @ Garza

King Felix @ Sale

Smyly @ Fiers – Smyly is 4-1 with a 3.50 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break. Fiers a decent option in deeper formats.

Detwiler @ L. Weaver

Finnegan @ Shipley – Finnegan has been solid of late but I don’t like this matchup.

Montgomery @ B. Norris – Pitch count restrictions limit Montgomery’s appeal.

De La Cruz @ Samardzija

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Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, August 25

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Mariners Rays Baseball

ZACH’S PICKS

Pomeranz @ Odorizzi – Odorizzi is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in seven starts since the All-Star break.

D. Norris @ Berrios – Norris giving up a lot of hits this season.

Jimenez @ Scherzer

J. Weaver @ Happ

Volquez @ Koehler – Six straight quality starts for Koehler and this is a favorable matchup.

Lugo @ Wainwright – Tough to bench Wainwright here, despite his inconsistency.

Tomlin @ Hamels

Kuhl @ Peralta – Kuhl a viable option in deeper formats though.

Paxton @ Ranaudo – Paxton a little risky in his return from injury but the White Sox rank last in the Majors in runs scored since the All-Star break, so I’ll go for it.

Wisler @ Ray – Ray has been impressive of late and the Braves are the lowest-scoring team in the Majors.

Moore @ Stripling

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