Pitch or Ditch for Monday, July 18

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Orioles Jays Baseball

ZACH’S PICKS

Gausman @ Nova – Gausman has pitched to a 0.64 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in two starts vs. Yankees this season.

Fernandez @ Nola – Taking a wait and see approach with Nola. I haven’t given up on him though.

Matz @ Lester

Wisler @ Finnegan – Finnegan worth considering in deeper formats thanks to favorable matchup.

Nolasco @ Boyd

Kluber @ Volquez

Friedrich @ Leake – Leake deserves the nod.

Smyly @ T. Anderson – Keep an eye on Anderson.

Fiers @ Graveman – Decent matchup for Fiers, but I still wouldn’t trust him in standard-sized mixed leagues.

Griffin @ Tropeano – Tropeano too risky here.

Sale @ LeBlanc

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Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Sunday, July 16-17

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Rockies Yankees Baseball

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Darvish @ Hammel – Tough matchup for Darvish in his return, but I’ll pitch him anyway.

E. Rodriguez @ Sabathia – Sabathia struggling of late.

Dickey @ S. Gray – Playing it safe with Sonny here.

McCullers @ Iwakuma – Both are a little risky though.

Tillman @ Moore – Moore a toss-up, but I don’t like this matchup.

Verrett @ Eickhoff

Cole @ Roark

Bauer @ Duffey

Bettis @ Foltynewicz

Duffy @ Pelfrey

Nelson @ Lamb

Koehler @ Wainwright

McCarthy @ Bradley – I need to see more consistency from Bradley.

Samardzija @ Perdomo

Shields @ Shoemaker – Shields still scares me, but he’s allowed 3 ER or fewer in each of his last four starts.

SUNDAY

Bundy @ Odorizzi – Challenging matchup for the inconsistent Odorizzi. I’ll sit this one out.

Ventura @ Fulmer

Davies @ Straily – Both are decent deep-league options though.

J. Gray @ Teheran – Gray, fresh off back-to-back quality starts, is worth a shot versus lowest-scoring offense in the Majors.

deGrom @ Eflin – Eflin deserves consideration in deeper formats.

Kuhl @ Scherzer

Tomlin @ Gibson – Tomlin is so unpredictable, but this matchup is favorable enough.

Conley @ Wacha – Conley not a no-brainer though.

Hamels @ Lackey

Turner @ Weaver

Happ @ Hill

McHugh @ Montgomery

Maeda @ Ray – Despite excellent K rate, Ray is too disaster-prone for my liking.

Cueto @ Jackson

Price @ Tanaka

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Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 7/18

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Hey everyone,

Hope you all enjoyed the four-day break from obsessing over box scores, because you won’t get another one until the evening of October 2. Anyway, the first post-break installment of the two-start pitcher series will be exclusive to the blog, so let’s get started.

Junior Guerra

Standard mixed leagues

Junior Guerra (@PIT, vs. CHC)

Sporting a 3.06 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 7.9 K/9 rate through 13 starts, Guerra should be owned in all leagues by now. But the Brewers righty is still available in some shallower formats, and mixed league owners may be hesitant to pitch him next week, as the Pirates and Cubs both rank in the top-5 in the NL in runs. That said, the 31-year-old has pitched well enough this season to deserve the nod in all two-start weeks. Plus, he registered a quality start versus the Cubs back on May 19, his lone outing against the highest-scoring club in the Senior Circuit.

Mike Leake (vs. SD, vs. LAD)

Coming off a mediocre performance against the Pirates, Leake bounced back in a big way in his last start, holding the Brewers to one run across seven innings while racking up a season-high 10 strikeouts. Although the Cardinals righty is unlikely to post consistently high strikeout totals going forward (6.2 K/9 rate this season), the 28-year-old has a knack for limiting free passes (career 2.2 BB/9 rate). This is a big reason why he continues to be a reliable fantasy asset in the ERA and WHIP departments. Being that the Dodgers and Padres rank 25th and 26th, respectively, in the Majors in OPS, owners in most league formats should feel comfortable starting Leake next week.

Kevin Gausman (@NYY, vs. CLE)

Consistency continues to be a challenge for Gausman, but the Orioles righty has proven to be a valuable fantasy asset this season thanks in large part to his high-end strikeout ability (8.5 K/9 rate). The 25-year-old makes for a fine starting option next week. In two starts this season versus a Yankees team that ranks 14th in the AL in OPS, Gausman has allowed just one run across 14 innings. While the Indians rank 6th in the AL in OPS, Cleveland places only 13th in the Junior Circuit in OPS on the road, and Gausman boasts a 2.79 ERA at home.

Brandon Finnegan

Deeper mixed leagues

Brandon Finnegan (vs. ATL, vs. ARI)

Finnegan’s first full season in the big leagues has been one of mixed results, and the 23-year-old has struggled over his last two starts, allowing a combined 13 runs across 7 1/3 innings. But both of next week’s outings will be at home, where the Reds lefty has notched three straight quality starts, and the Braves rank last in the Majors in runs scored, batting average and OPS. As for the Diamondbacks, despite ranking a solid 9th in the Majors in OPS this season, the Arizona offense has cooled off lately, ranking 21st in OPS this month. Finnegan might be a little too risky for 12-team mixed league purposes, but in deeper formats, he’s an intriguing two-start choice.

Tyler Anderson (vs. TB, vs. ATL)

Since making his big league debut last month, Anderson has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his first six starts while posting a 32-to-6 K/BB ratio over 35 2/3 innings. For now, the Rockies southpaw should only be considered in deeper leagues due to his limited track record. But Anderson could reward his fantasy owners with a pair of quality outings next week, as the Rays and Braves both rank among the bottom five teams in the Majors in runs scored.

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Pitch or Ditch for Friday, July 15

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Reds Braves Baseball

ZACH’S PICKS

M. Perez @ Hendricks

S. Wright @ Pineda – Too tough of a matchup for Pineda.

Colon @ Hellickson – Four straight quality starts for Hellickson. I’ll take a chance on him here.

Liriano @ Strasburg

Gallardo @ Archer – Pitch Archer at your own risk.

Kennedy @ Verlander – Kennedy a little risky though.

Garza @ DeSclafani – DeSclafani has been solid for awhile now and the Brewers rank in the bottom third of the Majors in runs scored, batting average and OPS.

J. De La Rosa @ Harrell – De La Rosa is on a roll and this is an enticing matchup, but he’s still more of a deep-league option.

Carrasco @ Big Erv – Dangerous matchup for Erv. I’ll play it safe and sit this one out.

Chen @ Garcia – Both have been inconsistent this year but I’ll go for it.

B. Norris @ Corbin – I don’t fully trust Norris and I don’t like this matchup.

M. Gonzalez @ Santiago – Santiago worth a try in deeper formats.

Stroman @ Mengden – Favorable matchup for the improving Stroman.

Fister @ Paxton

Bumgarner @ Cashner

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Midseason All-Surprise + All-Disappointment Teams

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Happy All-Star break everyone!

In keeping with 411 tradition, here are my picks for the Midseason All-Surprise and All-Disappointment teams. There were certainly plenty of tough calls, which is why I included in parenthesis at least one honorable mention at each position. Note that I’m using preseason expectations/rankings as the basis for my choices, and for the All-Disappointment team, I have left off guys who missed a considerable number of games due to injury.

Feel free to comment and share your own picks. Are there any other players that need to be included on these rosters? Let me know.

-Zach

Daniel Murphy

ALL-SURPRISE TEAM

C   Wilson Ramos (Derek Norris)

1B  Mike Napoli (Wil Myers)

2B  Daniel Murphy (Jonathan Schoop)

SS  Jonathan Villar (Eduardo Nunez, Danny Espinosa)

3B  Jake Lamb (Nick Castellanos)

OF  Adam Duvall

OF  Melvin Upton Jr.

OF  Jackie Bradley Jr. (Michael Saunders, Rajai Davis, Carlos Beltran)

SP  J.A. Happ

SP  Steven Wright (Drew Pomeranz, Tanner Roark, Chris Tillman, Rick Porcello)

CL  Jeanmar Gomez (Jeremy Jeffress)

Athletics Astros Baseball

ALL-DISAPPOINTMENT TEAM

C   Yan Gomes (Stephen Vogt)

1B  Prince Fielder (Adrian Gonzalez)

2B  Kolten Wong (Brandon Phillips)

SS  Ketel Marte (Alcides Escobar)

3B  Trevor Plouffe (Matt Duffy)

OF  Carlos Gomez

OF  Justin Upton

OF  Yasiel Puig (Ben Revere, Jason Heyward, Andrew McCutchen)

SP  Matt Harvey

SP  Dallas Keuchel (Chris Archer, Sonny Gray, Marcus Stroman, Francisco Liriano)

CL  Trevor Rosenthal (Shawn Tolleson)

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Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Sunday, July 9-10

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Orioles Astros Baseball

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Boyd @ Ar. Sanchez

Teheran @ Quintana

C. Martinez @ Ch. Anderson

Ray @ Peavy – Peavy worth a try here. Six quality starts in his last eight outings. Pitch Ray only if you really need the K’s.

Tropeano @ Gallardo

Moore @ Porcello – Moore has been solid lately but this is a very dangerous matchup. Porcello is no sure thing but I’ll take a chance on him.

Lamb @ Conley – Conley has been inconsistent of late but the matchup is favorable enough.

Sabathia @ Salazar

Graveman @ McCullers – McCullers has allowed 3 ER or fewer in seven of his last eight starts with well over a strikeout per inning and the A’s rank last in the AL in OPS.

Miley @ Volquez

Lester @ Kuhl

Perdomo @ McCarthy – Gotta pitch McCarthy.

Scherzer @ Verrett

Eickhoff @ T. Anderson – I’m a big Eickhoff fan but I’ll sit this one out.

Nolasco @ Lohse

SUNDAY

An. Sanchez @ Dickey – Dickey pitching well right now but I don’t like this matchup.

Reed @ Koehler – Koehler a decent deep-league option though.

Tanaka @ Carrasco

G. Gonzalez @ Matz

Lackey @ Niese

Lincecum @ Tillman – Not overly optimistic about Tillman going forward. I just don’t trust him.

Odorizzi @ Price – Benching the erratic Odorizzi at Fenway.

Foltynewicz @ Shields – Ultra-favorable matchup for Shields, who seems to be finally righting the ship.

Manaea @ Keuchel – Four straight quality starts for Keuchel.

Leake @ Guerra – Leake a close call but I’ll pitch. How can you bench Guerra right now?

Montgomery @ Gee

Milone @ Griffin

Eflin @ Chatwood – Chatwood not quite 12-team mixed league worthy.

Friedrich @ Maeda

Bradley @ Bumgarner – Tough matchup for Bradley.

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Pitch or Ditch for Friday, July 8

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Hisashi Iwakuma

ZACH’S PICKS

Arrieta @ Liriano

Shoemaker @ Jimenez – I’ll pass on Shoemaker here.

Pelfrey @ Happ – Happ has earned it.

Straily @ Fernandez – Straily a decent option in deeper formats though.

Green @ Kluber – Not sold on Green just yet.

Archer @ O’Sullivan – Risk outweighs reward with Archer at Fenway.

Strasburg @ Syndergaard – Matchup of the night!

Gibson @ Hamels

Wisler @ Sale – Keep an eye on Wisler going forward though.

Mengden @ McHugh – Nice matchup for McHugh.

Velasquez @ J. Gray – Playing it safe with Velasquez at Coors. Gray is tempting but the Phillies offense has actually picked it up of late.

Wacha @ Nelson – Nelson a toss-up but I’ll sit this one out.

Iwakuma @ Ventura – Iwakuma has been inconsistent lately but the Royals rank last in the AL in runs scored this season.

Cashner @ Kazmir – Cashner strictly a deep-league option for the time being.

Corbin @ Samardzija – Outside of particularly favorable matchups, I’m not comfortable pitching Corbin right now.

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Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, July 7

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Trevor Bauer

ZACH’S PICKS

Santiago @ Snell – Snell has been too inconsistent.

Glasnow @ Wainwright – I’m comfortable pitching Glasnow immediately.

Verlander @ Hutchison

Nova @ Bauer – Bauer 3 ER or fewer in each of his last eight outings and the Yankees rank 13th in the AL in runs and 14th in OPS.

Giolito @ Colon

Harrell @ Hammel – Nice bounce back opportunity for Hammel.

Duffey @ C. Gonzalez

Hill @ Fister – Fister coming off one of his worst outings of the season, but this is a favorable matchup.

Paxton @ Duffy – Sticking with Paxton.

Morgan @ Bettis

Pomeranz @ Ryu – Let’s see how Ryu does in his first start since October 2014.

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Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, July 6

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Jeremy Hellickson

ZACH’S PICKS

Fulmer @ Tomlin – Tough matchup for Tomlin but he’s earned it.

Jenkins @ Hellickson – Hellickson has registered a 2.37 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over his last three starts and the Braves still rank last in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS.

Nicolino @ deGrom

S. Gray @ Big Erv – Sticking with Gray. Erv a decent option in deeper formats.

DeSclafani @ Warren – DeSclafani has been outstanding lately but I’ll play it safe in this matchup.

Gausman @ B. Norris – I don’t trust Norris here.

Garza @ Roark

Kennedy @ Stroman – Disaster alert for Kennedy. Need to see a bit more from Stroman.

Weaver @ Smyly – Strikeouts aside, Smyly is too risky right now.

M. Perez @ S. Wright – Passing on Perez at Fenway. Wright far from a must-start here.

Pineda @ M. Gonzalez – Pineda has been solid for awhile now, but for 12-team mixed league purposes, I’m still not convinced.

LeBlanc @ Fiers – Fiers a toss-up.

Locke @ Garcia

Rea @ S. Miller

J. De La Rosa @ Cueto

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Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, July 5

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Wei-Yin Chen

ZACH’S PICKS

Finnegan @ Lackey

Foltynewicz @ Eflin

Davies @ G. Gonzalez – I’m still a believer in Gio.

Young @ Dickey

An. Sanchez @ Carrasco

Lincecum @ Odorizzi

Chen @ Matz – Playing it safe with Chen, who pitched to a 6.47 ERA in six June starts. Matz a borderline call but I’ll go for it.

Griffin @ Price

Brault @ Leake – Leake worth a try here.

Tanaka @ Rodon – Rodon a consistent source of K’s and the Yankees offense has been erratic all season.

Manaea @ Milone – I don’t trust Manaea.

Walker @ Keuchel – Keuchel has been better lately but I still need to see a bit more.

Friedrich @ Godley

Tillman @ Maeda

Chatwood @ Bumgarner

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