Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, July 26-28

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays



Hutchison @ Greene – I don’t fully trust either.

Norris @ Young – Norris not a bad gamble in deeper leagues though.

McAllister @ Guthrie

Sale @ Gibson – Gibson very erratic of late.

Koehler @ Cosart – Koehler has five quality starts in his last six outings.

Lackey @ Hellickson – Lackey appears back on track. Keep an eye on Hellickson.

Gray @ Tepesch

Verlander @ Shoemaker – Riding it out with Verlander.

Miller @ Arrieta – Not completely giving up on Miller though.

G. Gonzalez @ Cueto

Collmenter @ Lee – Collmenter an intriguing deep mixed/NL-only league option.

Niese @ Peralta – Peralta 14 IP, 1 ER since disaster outing vs. PHI.

Despaigne @ Teheran – All aboard the Despaigne bandwagon!

Locke @ Matzek – Playing it safe with Locke at Coors.

Kershaw @ Vogelsong – Not a great matchup for Vogelsong but he does have a 3.04 ERA at home.


Happ @ Whitley

Peavy @ Archer – Peavy has a 5.87 ERA on the road and Rays hitting has improved.

Salazar @ B. Chen – Nice matchup for Salazar, who pitched pretty well in his return on Tuesday.

Carroll @ Pino

Turner @ McHugh – McHugh is fading.

Porcello @ Santiago – Santiago worth monitoring going forward but this matchup is too tough.

M. Gonzalez @ Elias – Gonzalez has been dominant over his last three starts (1.90 ERA, 0.93 WHIP).

Kazmir @ Mikolas

Fister @ Latos

Nuno @ R. Hernandez

deGrom @ Nelson – Nelson worth a shot here.

Wainwright @ Hendricks

Volquez @ Morales

Stults @ Minor

Ryu @ Petit


Dickey @ Buchholz – Could be 2-1 or 10-9. No thanks.

Lohse @ Odorizzi – Tough matchup for Odorizzi but he’s earned it.

Phelps @ Darvish – I’m a fan of Phelps, but not here.

Chavez @ Oberholtzer – Chavez hasn’t been as sharp lately, but the K’s are still there.

Lane @ Big Erv

C. Anderson @ Bailey – Homer has been a lot better lately.

Burnett @ Colon

Zimmermann @ Eovaldi – I’m quickly losing confidence in Eovaldi.

Flande @ Wada

Worley @ Bumgarner – Worley a borderline call but in a 12-team mixed, I’ll take the conservative route.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, July 25

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Texas Rangers


Buehrle @ Kuroda – I’m off the Buehrle train

Lester @ Price – last start with their current teams for both??

Hammel @ Williams – good matchup for Hammel to rebound

Tomlin @ Ventura

Danks @ Correia – Danks has 10 starts this year with 0-2 runs but four with 6+ runs!

Hand @ Keuchel – Keuchel 33 hits in his last 16.0 IP

Smyly @ Skaggs – I guess I’m a lot more bullish on Smyly than the 411 community J

Gausman @ King Felix

Kelly @ T. Wood

Miley @ Kendrick

Roark @ Simon

Hahn @ A. Wood

Wheeler @ Gallardo

Morton @ B. Anderson – playing it safe on Charlie in Coors

Greinke @ Lincecum

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, July 24

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at New York Yankees


R. De La Rosa @ Stroman – good matchup of talented young arms
Lewis @ McCarthy – McCarthy is revitalized since returning his cutter
Feldman @ Samardzija
Kluber @ Duffy
Noesi @ Hughes
Scherzer @ Richards – yes please!
W. Chen @ Iwakuma
Hudson @ Hamels
@ HarangAlvarez was too good for too long to jump ship yet
T. Ross @ Jackson
Gee @ Garza

Updated PoD Category Chart (7/22)

Hey everyone,

With the unofficial second half of the season underway, it’s a perfect time for an updated Pitch or Ditch category chart.

POD Chart 7-22

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the chart, this is something we started doing a few years ago (special shout out to longtime 411 fan Big Barry for the framework of the idea) to help guide you not only in your Pitch or Ditch decisions but also in knowing whether or not dropping a certain pitcher would be a mistake.

We’ve divided all of the current starting rotation pitchers into five groups: Aces, Grads, PoD, DTM and Indifferent.

Aces: Fairly straightforward. Elite starting pitchers with the track record to prove it.

Grads: Not ace-caliber but also not worth dropping under any circumstances. Grads should always be started, regardless of the matchup.

PoD: These pitchers do not quite deserve a permanent roster spot but should be picked up and started in favorable matchups. If their next matchup is not so favorable, feel free to drop them. Some PoD guys could earn Grad status if they string together several consecutive strong outings.

DTM: An old 411 acronym for “dead to me”, DTM pitchers are guys that we might have once liked but have repeatedly let us down to the point where we’ve had enough of them. It takes a lot to become DTM, but once you become DTM, it’s very tough to escape that category!

Indifferent: Pitchers who are just not that good and should not be rostered.

***Note that this chart is geared towards standard 12-team mixed leagues.

Here are the changes we’ve made since our last version from early-June.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at San Francisco Giants                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


Lester grad to ace

Teheran grad to ace

Quintana PoD to grad

Arrieta PoD to grad

Simon PoD to grad

Lincecum PoD to grad

Alvarez PoD to grad

Smyly PoD to grad

Porcello PoD to grad

Bailey PoD to grad

  MLB: Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Buehrle grad to PoD

Peralta grad to PoD

Haren grad to PoD

Whitley PoD to indifferent

Lewis PoD to indifferent

And as always, feel free to comment below.


Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, July 23

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates


Bauer @ Gibson

Shields @ Quintana - Quintana is very quietly having an outstanding season

Colon @ Walker

Darvish @ Phelps

Buchholz @ Dickey

Tillman @ Weaver

Peacock @ Chavez – But, Chavez 4.98 ERA in his last four starts…

Leake @ Lohse – Leake is rarely terrible, but too much risk here

Strasburg @ J. De La Rosa

An. Sanchez @ Cahill – keep an eye on Cahill once the schedule gets easy

Bumgarner @ Burnett – A.J’s last outing as a Phillie?

Haren @ Liriano – risk/reward on both but I’ll sit this one out

Eovaldi @ Big Erv – Eovaldi 2.95 ERA in his last 18 road starts

Cobb @ Lynn

Kennedy @ Wada

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, July 22

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians


Martinez @ Whitley
Peavy @ HappPeavy’s getting it together and Jays are not at full strength
B. Chen @ Carroll
Salazar @ Pino – tasty return matchup for Salazar
M. Gonzalez @ Santiago
Oberholtzer @ Kazmir
deGrom @ E. Ramirez – good place to gamble on Erasmo if categories warrant
Petit @ R. Hernandez – good gamble on Yusmeiro, too
Beckett @ Worley
Turner @ Minor
Stults @ Hendricks
Bailey @ Nelson – Reds have not been a scary matchup this year
Odorizzi @ Wainwright
@ Flande
Porcello @ C. Anderson

Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 7/21

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at New York Mets


Jacob deGrom (@SEA, @MIL)

Over his last five starts, deGrom boasts a 1.65 ERA and 1.16 WHIP to go along with 38 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. Next week, he gets to face a Mariners team that ranks in the bottom half of the Majors in runs scored, home runs and batting average in a pitcher-friendly park. The @MIL matchup is a challenging one, but deGrom’s recent performance has convinced me to pitch him.

Ryan Vogelsong (@PHI, vs. LAD)

Although Vogelsong’s 2014 stat line doesn’t exactly jump off the page, he’s usually a safe bet for a quality outing. The Phillies rank 11th in the NL in runs scored and 13th in batting average and while the vs. LAD matchup is a little scary, note that Vogelsong’s ERA at home this year (3.04) is more than two full runs lower than his road mark (5.18).


Collin McHugh (@OAK, vs. MIA)

There’s a small chance that McHugh won’t make the @OAK start, but all indications are that he will be activated from the DL in time. Regardless, I’d be very wary of pitching him next week, as the A’s and Marlins both rank in the top-4 in their respective leagues in runs scored and McHugh hasn’t been nearly as dominant as he was during the early part of the season. In a league with daily lineups, I might consider pitching him against the Marlins if he does well against the A’s. But in a weekly, I think you’re better off ditching.

Shane Greene (vs. TEX, vs. TOR)

Greene has no doubt been a nice story, but let’s not overlook the fact that his entire big league body of work spans a mere 13 2/3 innings and his career minor league numbers are really nothing special. The bottom line is that I need to see a lot more before I can trust Greene in any mixed league and I don’t like these matchups at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few weeks, the tale of Greene looks a lot like that of Chase Whitley. The wheels could fall off in a hurry.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, July 19-21

MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees



Simon @ McCarthy

Lewis @ Stroman – Stroman no sure thing but Rangers a mid-pack offense this year.

Kluber @ Ray (Gm 1) – Ray expected to be sent back down after this start.

Salazar @ Scherzer (Gm 2) – Ditto for Salazar but he has slightly better chance of sticking around.

Duffy @ R. De La Rosa – Taking a chance on Rubby versus so-so offense.

Keuchel @ Noesi

Price @ Correia

King Felix @ Richards

W. Chen @ Hammel

Greinke @ Kelly

Garza @ G. Gonzalez

B. Anderson @ Morton – Rockies a mediocre at best offense away from Coors.

Hamels @ TBD (ATL)

Hudson @ Alvarez

T. Wood @ Miley – Miley has struggled at home but he’s hot.

Gee @ T. Ross


Cueto @ Kuroda

Tepesch @ Buehrle – Buehrle’s been a lot more hittable lately.

Tomlin @ Smyly – Both too risky.

Ventura @ Lester

Cosart @ Danks – Danks worth a try here.

Archer @ Hughes – Hughes 5 ER or more in four of his last five starts.

Young @ Skaggs – Not completely sold on Young but you can’t argue with the results. Skaggs a decent play vs. Mariners club that ranks last in AL in runs scored this month.

Gausman @ Gray

Lincecum @ Hand

Kendrick @ TBD (ATL)

Gallardo @ Fister – Not liking this matchup for fading Gallardo.

Matzek @ Locke – Locke has been outstanding of late and as mentioned above, Rockies can’t hit on the road.

Wheeler @ Despaigne – Nice matchup for both.

Arrieta @ Collmenter – Collmenter a solid play in NL-only leagues though.

Kershaw @ C. Martinez – Martinez still has some kinks to iron out


Mikolas @ Greene – Need to see a little more from Greene before I can fully trust him in a 12-team mixed.

Lackey @ Hutchison

Guthrie @ Sale

House @ K. Johnson

Norris @ Shoemaker

Niese @ Elias – Favorable matchup for Elias but he’s been terrible over his last three starts (10.05 ERA).

Vogelsong @ Lee – Vogelsong has done just enough this year to deserve the nod.

Ryu @ Volquez

Koehler @ Teheran

Latos @ Peralta

Fister @ Morales

Verlander @ Nuno – Not overly confident in Verlander though.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, July 18

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals


Leake @ Phelps – Taking a chance on both.

Darvish @ Dickey – Dickey 2 ER or less in each of his last three starts.

Bauer @ An. Sanchez – Bauer a real toss-up though.

Shields @ Buchholz – I’ll never recommend pitching Buchholz.

Feldman @ Quintana

Cobb @ Gibson

Iwakuma @ Weaver

Tillman @ Samardzija – Tillman seems to be back on track but I’ll play it safe in tough matchup.

Lohse @ Strasburg

J. De La Rosa @ Liriano

Bumgarner @ Eovaldi

Burnett @ Big Erv

Haren @ Lynn – Haren fading badly lately.

Jackson @ Cahill

Colon @ Kennedy

NL Fantasy All-Star Team

Zach here again,

Yesterday, I unveiled my AL Fantasy All-Star Team. Today, let’s move over to the Senior Circuit. Remember that I’m filling a standard fantasy starting roster of 14 hitters and 9 pitchers while following the All-Star Game rule requiring at least one representative from each MLB team. Here’s the National League roster.


C   Jonathan LuCroy

C   Devin Mesoraco

1B  Paul Goldschmidt

2B  Dee Gordon

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies

SS  Troy Tulowitzki

3B  Todd Frazier

CI  Anthony Rizzo

MI  Daniel Murphy

MLB: Miami Marlins at St. Louis Cardinals

OF  Giancarlo Stanton

OF  Andrew McCutchen

OF  Charlie Blackmon

OF  Billy Hamilton

OF  Carlos Gomez

UT  Hunter Pence


SP  Johnny Cueto

SP  Adam Wainwright

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers

SP  Clayton Kershaw

SP  Zack Greinke

SP  Stephen Strasburg

SP  Tyson Ross

RP  Francisco Rodriguez

RP  Craig Kimbrel

RP  Jonathan Papelbon

As for the notable snubs, there’s no shortage of them.

Evan Gattis – Mesoraco vs. Gattis was incredibly close, but I ultimately chose Mesoraco as the #2 catcher due to the slightly higher AVG.

Yasiel Puig – His numbers are certainly All-Star worthy but I needed a Giants representative, so Pence got the last available hitter spot.

Julio Teheran - Unfortunately for Teheran, I needed a Padres representative (Ross).

Alfredo Simon – His non-elite strikeout rate was the difference.

Jason Hammel – I simply couldn’t justify picking him over any of the other starting pitchers on the roster.

Josh Beckett – See above.

Rafael Soriano – Lowest ERA of any closer (1.00) but he’s striking out less than a batter per inning and I needed a Phillies representative (Papelbon).

Anthony Rendon – I’ll save the biggest snub for last. Had him as my MI until I realized that the Mets were not represented, and Murphy is really the only reasonable choice out of all the Amazins.

As always, your feedback is more than welcome.


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