Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, July 9

MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Mets


Greinke @ Scherzer – yes please!
@ Wilson
@ Norris
McCarthy @ Tomlin – bad matchup for McCarthy’s pinstriped debut
Sale @ R. De La Rosa
Ventura @ Cobb
Keuchel @ Darvish – Keuchel is regressing
Gibson @ Elias
Stults @ Jurrjens
Eovaldi @ Collmenter
Beeler @ Simon
Big Erv @ Gee – tough matchup for Gee’s return, but I’m going for it
Cumpton @ Lynn
R. Hernandez @ Lohse
Hammel @ Cain – nice matchup for Hammel’s A’s debut

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, July 8

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Tampa Bay Rays


Tanaka @ Bauer

Ryu @ Verlander

Danks @ Workman – just when I started to trust Workman, he gets blown up by the Cubs

Vargas @ Hellickson – good spot for Hellickson’s return

Peacock @ Irwin – Peacock has skills but isn’t reliable enough yet

Dickey @ Skaggs – Dickey hasn’t been great on the road, but good enough

Bumgarner @ Gray

Hughes @ Young – most improbable double-pitch of the day… maybe of the year?!

T. Wood @ Cueto (Gm 1)

Wada @ Holmberg (Gm 2)

Norris @ Fister

Teheran @ deGrom

Kendrick @ Peralta

Worley @ C. Martinez – might as well roll Worley while he’s hot

T. Ross @ Morales

Hand @ Nuno

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

MLB: Miami Marlins at Texas Rangers


Tom Koehler (@ARI, @NYM)

Yeah, Koehler did experience a regression period following his red-hot start to the season, but the regression period really wasn’t too bad. Regardless, he’s clearly back on track now, as he boasts a 1.89 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 9.9 K/9 over his last three starts. Slowly but surely, I’m starting to become a long-term believer in this guy. The @ARI matchup is a tough one, but Koehler has absolutely dominated the Mets this year, registering a 2.70 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in three starts against the Amazins. All in all, I think the reward here outweighs the risk.

Jason Vargas (@TB, vs. DET)

Vargas has been a quality start machine this season, reeling off 14 of them in 18 tries. Although he won’t help you much in strikeouts, his ability to limit free passes (2.7 career BB/9) often gets overlooked. While the Rays offense has improved of late, Tampa Bay still ranks 13th in the AL in runs scored. On paper, the vs. DET matchup might seem unfavorable, as he got roughed up the last time he faced the Tigers at home. But in his two other starts against Detroit this season, he allowed a combined three earned runs over 14 innings. Pitching Vargas next week is far from a no-brainer, but in mixed leagues of 12 or more teams, I’d give it a shot.

Trevor Bauer (vs. NYY, vs. CHW)

Despite Bauer’s mediocre ERA and WHIP, there’s still reason for optimism, as he sports a solid 8.2 K/9 and has significantly improved his control, lowering his BB/9 from 8.5 over four starts last season to 3.4 through 10 starts this year. And remember that the kid is still just 23 years of age. The Yankee lineup has been wildly inconsistent this season while the White Sox are coming off a month of June in which they scored the second-fewest runs in the AL.


Phil Hughes (@SEA, @COL)

Since limiting the Red Sox to two runs over eight innings back on June 17, Hughes has seen his ERA rise from 3.09 to 3.95. His most recent start, in which he allowed seven runs to the Yankees, was by far his worst outing of the season. Further regression could be in store for Hughes next week, as the home run prone righty travels to Coors Field to face a Rockies club that leads the Majors in runs scored at home. Meanwhile, the once inept Mariners offense isn’t as much of a joke anymore, as they now rank in the middle of the pack in runs scored. If Hughes manages to get through next week unscathed, maybe I’ll hop back on the bandwagon. But for now, I’m ditching.

Ryan Vogelsong (@OAK, vs. ARI)

I’ve been impressed by Vogelsong’s overall performance this year, but I would stay away from him next week. The A’s are the highest-scoring team in the Majors and he will be facing them on the road in an AL park. Vogelsong’s home/road splits are dramatic, as he carries a 3.06 ERA and 1.09 WHIP at home as opposed to a 5.20 ERA and 1.65 WHIP away from AT&T Park. The good news is that he will be making one home start, but the @OAK matchup makes pitching him not worth the risk. Plus, he has not been sharp against the Diamondbacks this season (7.20 ERA, 1.60 WHIP).

Chris Tillman (@WAS, vs. NYY)

After winning 16 games last year and establishing himself as a reliable middle of the rotation fantasy starter, Tillman has given his owners fits this season, mainly because you never know what you’re going to get from one start to the next. He did post a stellar 3.10 ERA in June but his first outing this month was mediocre at best (5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). Both the Nationals and the Yankees have struggled to score runs this year, so maybe Tillman will use next week’s schedule to his advantage. Then again, the Nats just got Bryce Harper back and the Yankees are at least starting to show some signs of life at the plate. But most importantly, my confidence in Tillman will remain limited until I see more consistency.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, July 5-7

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Dodgers



M. Gonzalez @ Lester (Gm 1)

Jimenez @ Lackey (Gm 2)

King Felix @ Quintana

Phelps @ Pino

Archer @ An. Sanchez – Archer good enough of late to trust.

Guthrie @ House

Feldman @ Santiago

Buehrle @ Kazmir – All-Surprise team face-off!

Heaney @ Miller – Playing it safe with both.

Samardzija @ G. Gonzalez

Buchanan @ Volquez

Bolsinger @ Harang – Bolsinger not a bad NL-only option though. Harang too unpredictable for mixed league purposes.

Garza @ Bailey – Tough to bench Homer coming off CG SHO.

Haren @ J. De La Rosa – Dan Haren + Coors Field = Scary

Tepesch @ Colon

Hudson @ Despaigne – Keep an eye on Despaigne.


Duffy @ Kluber – Duffy is on a roll.

Gausman @ Peavy – Not a good matchup for either.

Kuroda @ Nolasco

Walker @ Noesi – I’ll give Walker a shot here.

McHugh @ Richards – Wheels might be starting to fall off for McHugh and I don’t like this matchup.

Hutchison @ Mills

Price @ Porcello – Back-to-back shutouts for Porcello. Wow.

Gallardo @ Latos

Lewis @ Wheeler – Wheeler too inconsistent to trust right now in less than ideal matchups.

Miley @ A. Wood – Miley has been excellent on the road this year.

Arrieta @ Zimmermann

Burnett @ Locke – Burnett’s walk rate is concerning but he’s usually good for a quality start.

Alvarez @ Gonzales

Lincecum @ Hahn – Solid matchup for both, which probably means a 10-9 final.

Beckett @ Flande


Greene @ Masterson

Carroll @ Buchholz – Buchholz too erratic to rely on.

Shields @ Odorizzi – Decent matchup for Odorizzi.

Cosart @ Mikolas

Happ @ Weaver

Vogelsong @ Chavez – Too tough of a matchup for Vogelsong.

Correia @ Iwakuma

Tillman @ Strasburg – I have my doubts about Tillman.

Jackson @ Leake – Leake far from automatic lately but I’ll give it a try.

Minor @ Matsuzaka

Hamels @ Estrada – Estrada showing some signs of improvement but home run ball continues to plague him.

Morton @ Wainwright

Kennedy @ Matzek – Not a promising matchup for Kennedy though. Feel free to ditch in shallower formats.

Koehler @ C. Anderson – Anderson fading of late.

2014 Midseason All-Disappointment Team

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers

Hey everyone,

As promised, here’s my midseason All-Disappointment team. Remember that in choosing these players, I’m focusing primarily on draft day cost relative to performance, so just because you drafted Jose Veras in the 17th round (as I did) thinking that he could serve as a solid #3 closer only to see him lose his job in April without recording a single save doesn’t mean that he belongs on the All-Disappointment squad because, well, you didn’t exactly invest heavily in him.

Also note that I avoided players who were injured for a significant portion of the first half, so no, Prince Fielder isn’t the starting first baseman even though from a pure stats relative to draft position standpoint, he clearly belongs on this squad.

OK, onto the roster.

C    Brian McCann

1B  Joey Votto

2B  Dustin Pedroia

SS  Everth Cabrera (Honorable Mention: J.J. Hardy)

3B  Evan Longoria

OF  Shin-Soo Choo

OF  Domonic Brown

OF  Alfonso Soriano

SP  Justin Verlander

SP  Homer Bailey (Honorable Mention: Matt Cain)

CL  Joe Nathan

Brian McCann’s counting stats aren’t too bad, but a .224 AVG from a career .274 hitter? Not good. He did homer yesterday, however, so maybe his bat will finally heat up as the weather heats up and he could take advantage of that short right field porch at Yankee Stadium. I was very high on him going into the season due to his power potential and remain cautiously optimistic. I’d be very surprised if McCann is a member of the end of season All-Disappointment team.

Unlike McCann, Dustin Pedroia’s batting average (.282) is acceptable. But outside of runs scored, his counting stats are brutal. Four homers and two steals through 83 games is unacceptable. Although I haven’t lost all hope in him just yet, as he’s been one of the most consistent fantasy producers over the past five-plus seasons, I have no idea what’s going on with this guy. Don’t forget that after a typical Pedroia first half last season, he faded in the second half, so this downward trend has been an issue for quite awhile now.

Back in March, no one was mistaking an aging Alfonso Soriano for an elite fantasy outfielder, despite the 17 homers he hit in only 58 games following his trade to the Yankees last season. That said, a 25-home run campaign was a reasonable expectation, and the draft day price wasn’t exactly exorbitant. But the fact that he’s currently on pace to finish the 2014 campaign with 12 homers and 45 RBI and has now been relegated to platoon duty earns him a spot on this team.

As always, your feedback is welcome. Are there any players who are better candidates than the ones I selected?


Pitch or Ditch for Friday, July 4

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Boston Red Sox


M. Gonzalez @ Lester (PPD)
Whitley @ Gibson
Stroman @ Milone – tough challenge for Stroman but he’s found his groove
Cobb @ Smyly
@ Tomlin – have to go with Tomlin, right?
Elias @ Sale
Keuchel @ Wilson
@ Roark – Hammel’s last start as a Cub?
R. Hernandez @ Cole
Cain @ Stults
Lohse @ Simon
Darvish @ Niese
Eovaldi @ Lynn – I still respect the Cards’ offense, results notwithstanding
Collmenter @ Big Erv
@ Jurrjens

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, July 3

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays


Baker @ W. Chen
Bedard @ Scherzer
Tanaka @ Hughes
Dickey @ Gray – tough matchup for Dickey, I’m playing it safe
Oberholtzer @ Shoemaker
C. Martinez @ Bumgarner
Kendrick @ Hand
McCarthy @ Worley – McCarthy could be a Pirate soon enough but I’ll pass for now
Greinke @ Morales

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, July 2

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Atlanta Braves


Peralta @ Happ – Peralta is slowly regressing and the Jays can rake… proceed with caution

Odorizzi @ Nuno

Chavez @ Verlander – only because Verlander was better last time out, but I’m not optimistic…

Vargas @ Correia

Young @ Peacock

T. Wood @ Workman

Mikolas @ Tillman

Skaggs @ Danks – medium risk/medium reward on both… let your categories be your guide

Bauer @ Ryu

Cueto @ Ross – matchup of the night

Matzek @ Fister

C. Anderson @ Morton – love Morton at home

deGrom @ Teheran

Hamels @ Koehler – 10-of-13 QS for Hamels but only 2 wins… yeesh

Wainwright @ Vogelsong

***ZACH SAYS “I’d take the conservative route and ditch Peralta, who is coming off a so-so June (4.22 ERA). To me, the risk of pitching him versus a top-notch offense in an AL park far outweighs the reward. Agree on rest.”

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, July 1

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Minnesota Twins


Estrada @ Hutchison – Estrada out of the circle of trust, for now at least

Martinez @ McFarland

Price @ Kuroda

Mills @ Porcello – tough test but Porcello may have finally broken through

Jackson @ Buchholz

Richards @ Noesi (Gm 1)

Weaver @ Carroll (Gm 2)

Shields @ Nolasco

Iwakuma @ Cosart – hang with ‘em

Friedrich @ Strasburg

Miley @ Locke

Matsuzaka @ Minor – hang with ‘em

Burnett @ Alvarez – Marlins are tough at home but A.J. is in a groove

Masterson @ Beckett

Leake @ Kennedy

Gonzales @ Lincecum

Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 6/30

MLB: San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants


Tim Lincecum (vs. STL, @SD)

As frustrating as it is to own Lincecum, due in large part to his unpredictability from one start to the next, regardless of the matchup, it’s awfully tough to bench a guy who is coming off a no-hitter. The vs. STL matchup might seem like an unfavorable one, that is until you realize that the Cardinals lineup has vastly underperformed this year, with the club ranking 12th in the NL in runs scored and dead last in homers. Plus, Tiny Tim is 4-2 with a 3.19 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 10 home starts this season. As for the @SD matchup, well, the Padres happen to be the team Lincecum just no-hit, and this time he gets them at Petco. Listen, I’m not a huge Lincecum supporter, but even I would feel comfortable pitching him next week. Count on him being more than just a source of strikeouts.

Rick Porcello (vs. OAK, vs. TB)

Porcello is another guy who I’ve been very skeptical about over the past few years, but 2014 has easily been his best season to date, and remember that he’s still just 25 years of age. Next week will be an interesting one for Porcello as he will face both the highest scoring and lowest scoring teams in the AL. Yeah, the vs. OAK matchup is unsettling, but considering that Porcello has allowed three earned runs or less in 11 of his 15 starts this season and factoring in his ultra-favorable matchup at home against the Rays, I think pitching him next week is a risk worth taking.

Jake Arrieta (@BOS, @WAS)

Check out Arrieta’s last four starts: 3-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.56 WHIP, 36-to-2 K/BB ratio. That’s pretty much all you need to know. I don’t really care that these matchups aren’t the greatest. Arrieta is a former top prospect who had a hard time making the transition to the big leagues. Until now.

Wade Miley (@PIT, @ATL)

I own Miley in a couple of leagues this year and definitely expected better than a 4.78 ERA through 17 starts. Although 17 homers allowed in 17 starts is simply unacceptable, Miley has posted a career-best strikeout rate. Also, he’s allowed more than four runs in a start just twice, so there isn’t a huge risk of a disaster outing. But the key for next week is that both of his starts will come on the road, where he sports a solid 3.63 ERA, this compared to his 5.64 mark at Chase Field. In a shallow mixed league, there are probably better two-start options available on the wire, but Miley is someone who I’d consider spot-starting in mixed leagues of 12 or more teams.


Dan Haren (vs. CLE, @COL)

Haren is a longtime favorite of mine, so it’s pretty depressing to come to grips with the fact that he’s no longer a top half of the rotation caliber fantasy SP. But he has pitched well enough to remain mixed league relevant, though the drastic strikeout decline is concerning. I’ve been starting Haren every week so far in the two leagues where I own him, but next week, he will be taking a seat for the first time. Considering that Haren has always had trouble limiting the longball, even in his prime years, the @COL start has disaster written all over it. And even though he will be facing the Indians at home, Cleveland actually ranks in the top-5 in the AL in runs scored. The bottom line is that in mixed leagues, the risk outweighs the reward.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Mets

Zack Wheeler (@ATL, vs. TEX)

So he teases us yet again. Less than a week after shutting out the Marlins, Wheeler took the mound at Citi Field and got lit up by the A’s. He shouldn’t feel too bad though, because many pitchers have gotten lit up by the A’s this year. Hopefully, you didn’t start him for that one. And I wouldn’t start him next week, even though the matchups aren’t particularly tough. For Wheeler, the consistency just hasn’t been there, especially of late.


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