Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 23

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Jon Gray, Jason Motte, Tom Murphy

ZACH’S PICKS

Leake @ Arrieta – Leake has actually pitched pretty well versus the Cubs this season, but this is still too dangerous of a matchup.

S. Miller @ Gallardo

G. Gonzalez @ Taillon – Gio very inconsistent of late but I’ll stick with him.

Mitchell @ Liriano – I still don’t trust Liriano.

Wisler @ Cashner – The same can be said regarding these two guys.

Pomeranz @ Archer

M. Gonzalez @ Bauer – Gonzalez worth considering in deeper formats though.

Duffy @ Fulmer

Hellickson @ Ynoa

DeSclafani @ Davies

Meyer @ Fister

Paxton @ Gibson

Hamels @ Graveman – Scary matchup for Graveman.

J. Gray @ Kazmir – Gray coming off a masterpiece and he’s registered a 3.27 ERA in four starts versus the Dodgers this season. Kazmir a toss-up. I’ll pass.

Suarez @ Jackson – Suarez a decent deep-league option.

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Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 22

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Twins Mets Baseball

ZACH’S PICKS

Price @ Tillman – Tillman is risky though, so if you’re in a tight ERA race, you might be better off benching him.

Collmenter @ Urena

Vargas @ Clevinger

Cessa @ Snell – Snell has been very erratic of late.

Morgan @ Lugo – Lugo 3 ER or fewer in each of his first six starts this season and the Phillies rank last in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS.

Verlander @ Big Erv

Nolasco @ Fiers – Fiers too inconsistent to trust.

Vogelsong @ Ch. Anderson

Chatwood @ B. Anderson

Samardzija @ Friedrich

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Waiver Wire Wisdom (9/21)

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Another dose of waiver wire advice, 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.

Brandon Drury, 2B/3B/OF: Hitting .404 with five homers across 47 at-bats since Sept. 9, the reigning co-NL Player of the Week is among the hottest hitters in baseball. As part of a lineup that ranks fourth in the Majors with an overall .774 OPS since Aug. 1, Drury could be involved in plenty of run scoring during the final days of the season.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Jose Peraza, Andrelton Simmons

Jose Peraza, 2B/SS/OF: With strong plate skills (.320 batting average) and fleet feet (16 steals), the 22-year-old is the perfect replacement for injured speedster Billy Hamilton in both the Reds’ and fantasy lineups. Peraza may be a lineup regular for the rest of the season, as Hamilton has not made significant progress in his quest to return from the disabled list by the end of the campaign.

Consider in: 10-team mixed leagues

Joey Wendle, second baseman: With Jed Lowrie out for the rest of the season, Wendle has been assigned the second base job in Oakland down the stretch. Hitting .302 with a pair of steals across 69 plate appearances and getting regular work out of the leadoff spot, Wendle could be a valuable late-season contributor in deep-mixed formats.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Scooter Gennett, second baseman: Gennett owns notable lifetime splits, with a .781 OPS against right-handers in comparison to a .491 mark vs. lefties. The second baseman — who is hitting .400 since Sept. 11 — could thrive when the Brewers face a string of right-handed starters in the coming days.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Ryon Healy, third baseman: After posting an impressive .326/.382/.558 slash line in the Minors this season, Healy has hit .307 with 11 homers across 225 at-bats since joining the A’s on July 15. Hitting .413 since Sept. 10, the 24-year-old is a terrific target for those who are looking for a red-hot hitter.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Domingo Santana, outfielder: With Keon Broxton out for the season and Kirk Nieuwenhuis dealing with a lower abdominal strain, Santana should receive regular playing time in the coming days. The powerful outfielder (17 homers across 379 career at-bats) could rip his share of late-season round-trippers when the Brewers finish their campaign with a steady stream of contests at hitter-friendly venues.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Robert Gsellman

Robert Gsellman, starter: Gsellman has quickly become a key part of a surging Mets squad by posting a 2.86 ERA across four September starts. The right-hander could continue to help New York’s postseason pursuit when he wraps up the regular season with a pair of scheduled outings against a Phillies lineup that ranks 29th in baseball with a .691 OPS against righties.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Joe Musgrove, starter: Musgrove has had an inconsistent debut campaign, but his 51-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio shows that he has a solid skill set. The rookie could finish his season on a high note when he makes his final two scheduled starts against a top-heavy Angels lineup that ranks 27th in baseball with an overall .692 OPS since Aug. 1.

Consider in: 12-team mixed leagues

Ricky Nolasco, starter: Owners who look past Nolasco’s full-season 4.78 ERA will notice that he has produced a 2.25 mark across his past four starts. The right-hander could be a valuable source of stretch-run strikeouts when he makes his final two scheduled outings against an Astros lineup that ranks third in the Majors with 1,369 whiffs.

Consider in: 15-team mixed leagues

Martin Perez, starter: Having produced a 4.14 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP this season, Perez is sitting on waivers in most mixed leagues despite having two favorable matchups to finish off his schedule. The left-hander will first work at pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum against an A’s lineup that ranks 25th in baseball with a .692 OPS against lefties before facing a Rays lineup that ranks fourth in the Majors with 1,367 strikeouts. The Rays also rank 24th in baseball with a .659 OPS against lefties since trading away right-handed hitters Brandon Guyer and Steve Pearce at the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline.

Consider in: 15-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 21

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Collin McHugh

ZACH’S PICKS

L. Weaver @ Marquez – Not chancing it with Weaver at Coors.

McHugh @ Mengden – The A’s are the lowest-scoring team in the AL and McHugh tossed six shutout innings in his last meeting with Oakland back on August 30.

Ar. Sanchez @ King Felix

Buchholz @ Jimenez – Scary matchup for Buchholz.

Sale @ Eickhoff

Weber @ Colon

Kennedy @ Kluber

Tanaka @ Cobb

Scherzer @ Koehler – Tough matchup for Koehler but he’s actually pitched well versus the Nats this year (2.12 ERA over three starts).

Stephenson @ Lackey

J. Weaver @ Holland

Farmer @ Berrios

Kuhl @ Nelson – Kuhl a viable deep-league option. I don’t trust Nelson.

Greinke @ Perdomo

Moore @ Maeda

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Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 20

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Joe Musgrove

ZACH’S PICKS

E. Rodriguez @ Gausman – Gausman is on a roll. I’d pitch him despite the tough matchup.

Shields @ Thompson – Thompson worth considering in deeper formats.

Teheran @ Gsellman – I trust Gsellman enough to pitch him in this matchup.

Volquez @ Tomlin

Pineda @ Smyly – Smyly far from a sure thing though.

Roark @ Fernandez

J. Smith @ Lester

D. Wright @ Griffin

Boyd @ Santiago – Giving Boyd another chance after he let me down his last time out.

Brault @ Garza

Wainwright @ J. De La Rosa – Playing it safe with Wainwright at Coors considering his inconsistency this season.

Musgrove @ Manaea – Two straight quality starts for Musgrove versus tough Cubs and Rangers lineups. The A’s, on the other hand, rank last in the AL in both runs scored and OPS.

Bradley @ Clemens – Bradley too unreliable lately.

Cueto @ Hill

Happ @ Iwakuma

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Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/19

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Hey everyone,

The penultimate two-start pitcher article is here! With only two and a half weeks remaining in the season, chances are you can accurately determine from looking at your league standings whether or not taking a chance on some of the riskier two-start pitchers as opposed to a safer one-starter is worth it. So, here’s the latest handful of intriguing choices, as always broken down by league size.

Standard mixed leagues

Carlos Rodon (@KC, @CLE)

Rodon struggled against the Indians on Wednesday (5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER), and he faces Cleveland again next week, so he might seem like a risky two-start option. But prior to his last outing, the White Sox southpaw had registered seven straight quality starts, so consistency has not been a problem for quite some time. Rodon, who sports a 5-2 record, 3.27 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 8.5 K/9 rate in nine starts since the All-Star break, deserves a pass for Wednesday’s performance, and owners in all leagues should feel comfortable starting him. The 23-year-old pitched well in his two previous starts versus Cleveland this season (2.92 ERA) and in four starts against the Royals, Rodon boasts a stellar 2.28 ERA.

A.J. Cole

A.J. Cole (@MIA, @PIT)

Cole has yet to record back-to-back quality starts since his big league call-up last month, and he needs to do a better job of keeping the ball in the park (six home runs allowed through five starts). But there is still a lot to like about the 24-year-old righty, most notably his strong strikeout rate (9.7 K/9). Cole is an ideal two-start choice for owners in need of some extra whiffs, and he certainly has the potential to help in other categories as well, as the Marlins and Pirates rank among the bottom seven teams in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS since the All-Star break.

Joe Musgrove (@OAK, vs. LAA)

Since his shaky performance on the road against the Rangers on September 3rd (4 1/3 IP, 8 H, 5 ER), Musgrove has delivered two straight quality starts despite facing a pair of teams (Cubs and Rangers) that rank among the top-5 in the Majors in runs scored this season. The young righty will have the benefit of two favorable matchups next week, as the A’s and Angels rank among the bottom three teams in the AL in both runs scored and OPS since the All-Star break. Musgrove’s high-end strikeout ability (47 K’s in 49 2/3 IP this season) only adds to his two-start appeal.

Deeper mixed leagues

Robert Gsellman (vs. ATL, vs. PHI)

Although Gsellman was not viewed as a top prospect upon his big league debut last month, he has acquitted himself rather well to the Majors. The 23-year-old carries an impressive 3.08 ERA through five appearances (four starts), and next week’s matchups are promising. The Braves offense, despite showing significant improvement in the second half (5th in the NL in runs scored), still ranks 14th in the Senior Circuit in runs and 13th in OPS for the season. As for the Phillies, they rank last in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS. Gsellman’s lack of a major league track record and pedestrian minor league strikeout rate (6.5 K/9) mostly limits his fantasy value to deeper leagues. But for next week in particular, he could even be a useful addition in some standard formats.

Yordano Ventura (vs. CHW, @DET)

Over his last two starts, Ventura has allowed a combined nine runs across 11 1/3 innings, so he is likely too risky to trust in standard 12-team mixed leagues. But owners in deeper formats who decide to take a chance on him for next week could be rewarded. Even after his latest two outings, the Royals righty still holds a 3.47 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break. Plus, the White Sox and Tigers rank 11th and 13th, respectively, in the AL in runs scored in the second half. And there’s more! In five starts versus Detroit this season, Ventura is 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA.

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Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, September 17-19

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Pirates Phillies Baseball

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Taillon @ DeSclafani (Gm 1)

Williams @ Finnegan (Gm 2)

Mitchell @ Price

G. Gonzalez @ Collmenter

Davies @ Arrieta – Tough matchup for Davies though.

Verlander @ Carrasco

Urena @ Hellickson – Hellickson has pitched to a 2.59 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in five starts versus the Marlins this season.

Andriese @ Tillman

Big Erv @ Lugo – Lugo has been very impressive since moving into the starting rotation.

M. Gonzalez @ Vargas

Alcantara @ Darvish

Stewart @ S. Miller

Jackson @ J. Gray – Gray has struggled lately.

Leake @ Samardzija – Leake a borderline call. I’ll go for it.

Liriano @ Nolasco

Fiers @ Paxton – Fiers is intriguing but he was terrible his last time out. Not overly enthusiastic about Paxton.

SUNDAY

D. Norris @ Bauer – Challenging matchup for Norris though. I don’t trust Bauer right now.

Gibson @ deGrom

Nova @ Straily – Nova 2 ER or fewer in each of his last five starts.

Cashner @ Asher – Cashner maddeningly inconsistent.

Odorizzi @ Miley

J. Ross @ Wisler – Ross will reportedly be limited to around three innings, so there’s not much appeal here.

Quintana @ Duffy

Peralta @ Hendricks – Dangerous matchup for Peralta.

Detwiler @ Lewis – Lewis worth considering in deeper formats though.

Stroman @ Meyer

Reyes @ Suarez – Reyes hard to trust in 12-team mixed leagues until he shows improved control.

Fister @ Miranda – Miranda a viable deep-league option.

De Leon @ Ray – Pitch Ray if you’re chasing K’s. Otherwise, I’d pass.

Cosart @ Bettis – Not buying into Bettis for 12-team mixed league purposes.

Sabathia @ Pomeranz

MONDAY

Rodon @ Ventura – I have faith in Rodon. I’ll take a chance on Ventura here.

Porcello @ Bundy

Blair @ Syndergaard

A.J. Cole @ Chen

Adleman @ Hammel

Chacin @ M. Perez

C. Martinez @ T. Anderson – Sticking with Anderson.

Peacock @ Cotton – I like what I’ve seen from Cotton thus far.

Shipley @ Richard

Bumgarner @ Kershaw

Estrada @ Walker – Playing it safe with Walker in this matchup.

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Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 16

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Tom Koehler

ZACH’S PICKS

Ch. Anderson @ Lackey

Koehler @ Morgan – Koehler boasts a 1.29 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in four starts versus the Phillies this season.

Archer @ Jimenez

Fulmer @ Kluber

Berrios @ Colon

Cessa @ Buchholz

Vogelsong @ Stephenson – Stephenson needs to show more consistency.

Scherzer @ Gant

Graveman @ Hamels – Dangerous matchup for Graveman.

Sale @ Kennedy

Friedrich @ Chatwood – Tempting to pitch Chatwood here but he’s too risky when at home.

Maeda @ Greinke

Dickey @ J. Weaver

McHugh @ King Felix – McHugh too unpredictable to trust.

L. Weaver @ Moore – Weaver has been solid for the most part.

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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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