Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 15

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Hector Santiago (66)

ZACH’S PICKS

Santiago @ Pelfrey – Three straight quality starts for Santiago but he still holds a 5.04 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 11 starts since the All-Star break.

Clevinger @ Shields

Kuhl @ Eickhoff – Kuhl worth considering in deeper leagues though.

Snell @ Gallardo – Scary matchup for Snell.

Tanaka @ E. Rodriguez – Rodriguez pitching well lately but I still don’t trust him.

Mengden @ Volquez

Nelson @ Montgomery – Montgomery a decent deep-league option but a pitch count limit hurts his chances for a W.

Hill @ Bradley

Happ @ D. Wright

Wainwright @ Cueto

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Waiver Wire Wisdom (9/14)

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Time for another waiver wire article, courtesy of Fred Zinkie:

Could your fantasy team use more power? What about steals? Runs, RBIs, saves 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.

Travis Shaw, 1B/3B: By hitting .375 with nine RBIs across 24 at-bats this month, the third baseman has reclaimed his starting job from touted prospect Yoan Moncada (.211 batting average). Shaw could use his regular role in a lineup that leads the Majors with 805 runs scored to help mixed-league owners with RBIs and runs down the stretch.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Jose Peraza, 2B/SS/OF: With strong plate skills (.320 batting average) and fleet feet (15 steals), the 22-year-old is the perfect replacement for injured speedster Billy Hamilton in both the Reds’ and fantasy lineups. Even when Hamilton returns later this month, Peraza could continue to use his versatile fielding skills to find regular work at a variety of positions.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Jung Ho Kang

Jung Ho Kang, 3B/SS: Kang was dropped in many mixed leagues when he hit .182 with zero homers during July. But the 29-year-old has found his top form by hitting .483 with four homers and 10 RBIs across 29 at-bats since returning from a brief disabled-list stint on Sept. 5. He should be the top target for those who are in search of late-season power numbers.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Yulieski Gurriel, third baseman: Hitting .328, the 32-year-old is delivering on the lofty projections that were made when he signed a lucrative five-year deal with the Astros in July. Gurriel’s small sample of Major League success should combine with his remarkable long-term production in the Cuban National Series to earn him a spot in mixed-league lineups.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Dansby Swanson, shortstop: By hitting .303, the 22-year-old is changing the minds of fantasy owners who doubted his big league readiness when he made the jump from Double-A on Aug. 17. Swanson could help deep-mixed-league teams as part of a suddenly productive Braves lineup that ranks fourth in the Majors with 208 runs scored since Aug. 1.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Terrance Gore, outfielder: With six steals across zero plate appearances since being recalled on Sept. 2, Gore is clearly on the Royals’ roster for the sole purpose of picking up swipes as a pinch runner. Owners who are in a tight steals race and can afford to put a one-category speedster into their lineup can likely get a couple steals from the 25-year-old each week.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Albert Suarez, SP/RP: Available in virtually all mixed leagues, Suarez has produced a 3.12 ERA when working at his pitcher-friendly home park this season. The right-hander will pitch at home in two of his final three starts, with one outing coming against a Rockies lineup that ranks 23rd in the Majors with a .703 OPS on the road. His other start is scheduled against a Padres lineup that ranks last in baseball with a .675 OPS vs. righties.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Jose De Leon

Jose De Leon, starter: De Leon struck out 12 batters across his initial two big league starts 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 was bypassed in the rotation last week but will likely hold a regular starting spot on the contending Dodgers until they lock up a postseason berth.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Ubaldo Jimenez, SP/RP: With a 5.98 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP this season, Jimenez is not a waiver-wire option for the faint of heart. But the wildly inconsistent right-hander seems to have found his form by posting a 2.83 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP across his past four starts. Owners who need to take chances with their September rotation could hope that Jimenez stays hot when he faces a strikeout-prone Rays lineup in his next scheduled start.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Andrew Bailey, reliever: Due to second-half trades (Joe Smith, Fernando Salas) and injuries (Huston Street, Cam Bedrosian), Halos manager Mike Scioscia has been left with few reliable options in his September bullpen. The skipper has opted for the 32-year-old Bailey over younger ninth-inning options, and Bailey has responded by compiling three saves in as many chances since Sept. 4. Owners who are desperate for stretch-run saves should give the right-hander a lineup spot despite his track record of inconsistency and injuries since the outset of 2012.

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 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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