Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 19

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets

ZACH’S PICKS

Paxton @ Fister

Keuchel @ Jimenez

Kuroda @ Redmond – Not giving up on Kuroda.

Tillman @ Lackey – Tillman a borderline call this late in the season but he’s dominated the Red Sox this year (3-0, 1.42 ERA in four starts).

Darvish @ Moore

Correia @ Straily – Good matchup for Straily.

Kennedy @ Cole – Every time I say pitch on Kennedy, he blows up, so I’d pass unless you’re chasing K’s.

Bumgarner @ Niese

Arrieta @ Lohse

Wacha @ Oswalt – Playing it safe on Wacha at Coors.

Nolasco @ Miley – Nolasco coming off disaster outing, so if you’d like to sit him here, that’s fine too.

Alvarez @ Strasburg

2013 All-Surprise + All-Disappointment Teams

Hey everyone,

On today’s penultimate podcast of the 2013 season, we unveiled our annual All-Surprise and All-Disappointment teams. Here are the rosters with some honorable mentions thrown into the mix. And as always, feel free to post your own choices and I’ll be sure to either approve of them or tell you that you’re crazy!

One final podcast will be coming your way next week. We’ll share our All-Fantasy team but will dedicate most of the show to you, the fan. So send in all of your questions, keeper related or not, and we’ll be able to get through a ton of them.

-Zach

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers

                                                                                                                                        ALL-SURPRISE TEAM

C – J. Castro

1B – C. Davis

3B – J. Donaldson (honorable mentions to Miggy and C. Johnson)

2B – M. Carpenter

SS – J. Segura

OF – D. Brown, M. Byrd, N. Schierholtz (honorable mentions to Y. Puig, B. Moss, R. Ibanez)

SP – J.Fernandez, Colon (honorable mentions to F. Liriano, H. Iwakuma, M. Leake, J. Lackey)

CL – E. Mujica

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks                                                                                                                               ALL-DISAPPOINTMENT TEAM

C – J.Montero (honorable mentions to M. Montero, S. Perez)

1B – I. Davis (honorable mention to P. Konerko)

3B – C. Headley (honorable mention to W. Middlebrooks)

2B – D. Espinosa (honorable mention to R. Weeks)

SS – S. Castro (honorable mention to J-Roll)

OF – M. Kemp, J. Hamilton, B.J. Upton

SP – CC Sabathia, Y. Gallardo (honorable mentions to M. Cain, R.A. Dickey)

CL – J. Axford (honorable mention to T. Wilhelmsen)

Pitching Musings from Monday

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Detroit Tigers

Zach here,

Just a few pitching notes from last night’s games to keep you entertained until tomorrow’s big All-Surprise/All-Disappointment team podcast…

-After limiting the Mariners to one run on five hits over six innings last night, Rick Porcello is now 7-2 with a solid 3.93 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break. Keep in mind that he’s still just 24 years of age, pitches in a favorable ballpark for a very good team and is a former top prospect. There’s certainly room for growth here. Add Porcello to the post-hype sleeper list for 2014.

-Matt Garza began his Rangers tenure in impressive fashion, with back-to-back stellar performances against the Yankees and Angels. Since then, he’s been a headache for his fantasy owners, posting just one quality start in nine tries. Garza’s final two projected starts (@KC, vs. LAA) aren’t all that favorable, and the bottom line is that he cannot be trusted outside of deep mixed leagues. Depending on your categorical needs, I’d lean towards benching him in 12-teamers.

-Andrew Cashner’s one-hitter last night marked his fifth straight start of allowing two runs or less while pitching at least seven innings. Better yet, he’s whiffed at least seven batters in five of his last six outings. Cashner turned 27 last week, and coming off a successful first season as primarily a starter, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he delivers a career best season in 2014. He won’t be dirt cheap on draft day, but there’s still plenty of profit potential.

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, September 18

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers

CORY’S PICKS

Diamond @ Danks – I’m done with Danks

Vargas @ Griffin – Just FYI, A’s and Angels are 3rd and 4th in MLB in OPS in September

Holland @ Archer – Dutch having a very poor second half for fading Rangers

Hughes @ Happ

Iwakuma @ Verlander

W. Chen @ Peavy

Salazar @ B. Chen you’ll only get ~80 pitches from Salazar but they’ll probably be good ones!

Reynolds @ Peacock – high risk/high reward on Peacock, chase K’s if necessary

A. Wood @ Ohlendorf

Eovaldi @ Miner

Ross @ Morton – do you trust Ross after his last meltdown? Pirates O is improved

Cain @ Harang

Rusin @ Thornburg

Wainwright @ Chatwood

Fife @ McCarthy – Fife gets the start in place of resting Kershaw… McCarthy much better at home

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 17

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals

CORY’S PICKS

Pettitte @ Dickey

Maurer @ An. Sanchez

Feldman @ Dempster – don’t trust either in this matchup

Tepesch @ Hellickson

Pelfrey @ Quintana

Kluber @ Ventura

Leake @ Lyles

Richards @ Griffin

Minor @ Haren (Gm 1)

F. Garcia @ Roark (Gm 2) – Roark hasn’t allowed a HR yet; Braves lead NL in homers… who do ya got??

Flynn @ Halladay

Stults @ Locke

Petit @ Wheeler

Samardzija @ Estrada – Shark is running on fumes, I’ll pass

Kelly @ Nicasio – Kelly has a 2.28 ERA in 13 starts, good enough for me

Greinke @ Corbin – tough call on Corbin, who has faded somewhat and has a tough matchup

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, September 14-16

MLB: New York Mets at Cleveland Indians

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Sabathia @ Lester – Sabathia risky here but he’s been a lot better over his last two starts.

Colon @ Darvish – Bartolo has a 3.00 ERA in three starts vs. TEX this season.

Tillman @ Rogers – Tillman is 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA and 8.51 K/9 since ASB.

Big Erv @ Fister

Jimenez @ Rienzo – Ubaldo is rolling. 1.94 ERA since ASB!

Moore @ Albers

Weaver @ Oberholtzer

Bailey @ Hellweg

Alvarez @ Matsuzaka (Gm 1)

Turner @ Torres (Gm 2) – Great matchup for both.

Hamels @ G. Gonzalez

Baker @ Cole

Erlin @ Medlen

Paxton @ Wacha

Oswalt @ Miley

Lincecum @ Nolasco – Tough matchup for Tiny Tim but he’s been solid lately, for the most part.

                                                                                                                                                SUNDAY

M. Gonzalez @ Buehrle – Gonzalez not a bad choice in deeper leagues though.

Guthrie @ Scherzer

McAllister @ Sale

Price @ P. Hernandez

Williams @ Clemens

Parker @ Perez – Perez a borderline call.

Nova @ Buchholz – I don’t trust Nova vs. BOS.

Koehler @ Gee

Smith @ Teheran

Cloyd @ Zimmiermann

T. Wood @ Liriano

Arroyo @ Gallardo – Gallardo has righted the ship.

E. Ramirez @ S. Miller – Bad matchup for Erasmo.

Vogelsong @ Volquez

Chacin @ Delgado – Delgado should get back on track here.

                                                                                                                                               MONDAY

Saunders @ Porcello – Good matchup for Porcello.

Garza @ Cobb – Not giving up on Garza just yet.

Hendriks @ E. Johnson

Kazmir @ Shields – Kazmir’s control has improved significantly in the second half.

Cueto @ Bedard

Wilson @ Gray

Minor @ Haren – Haren a dangerous start here.

Dyson @ Lee

Cashner @ Burnett

Jackson @ W. Peralta – Peralta very inconsistent but I’ll give him a shot.

Lynn @ McHugh – Disaster alert for Lynn.

Ryu @ Cahill

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/16

Hey everyone,

Today marked our final phone guest show of 2013, and we had a good one in Paul Sporer of Baseball Prospectus. Be sure to catch the podcast when it comes out later, as Paul and Cory will discuss most of these two-start pitchers in addition to answering a bunch of listener questions. But here’s my take on some of next week’s tougher two-start pitcher decisions.

-Zach

Lance Lynn  (@COL, @MIL)

There’s no way around it. Coming off an impressive first full big league season, Lynn has been a disappointment this year. And even though his last start was his best one in a long time, Lynn had allowed at least four runs in each of his previous five outings. His home/road splits are extreme (3.00 ERA at home compared to 5.59 ERA on the road) and @COL is about as tough as it gets from a road matchup perspective. I wouldn’t hesitate to draft Lynn next year if the price is right, as most of his peripheral stats haven’t changed much from last year, so luck might be playing a factor in his elevated ERA. But for the rest of 2013, you’re better off staying away unless the matchup is ideal. And these matchups are far from ideal.

Dan Haren  (vs. ATL, vs. MIA)

I wrote about Haren yesterday, declaring him both YPNM and DTM. Has my opinion changed over the last 24 hours? Ah, no. Chances are he’ll fare better against the Marlins than he did in his most recent bout with The Fish, but he’s been the model of inconsistency all season, so who knows. Yeah, Haren was excellent vs. the Braves when he faced them back in early-May (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), but the reality is that Atlanta ranks 1st in the NL in home runs, and the longball has been Haren’s chief nemesis throughout his career. And he’s yet to beat it (26 homers allowed in 27 starts this season). Plain and simple, he cannot be trusted. Ditch.

Andy Pettitte  (@TOR, vs. SF)

Although Pettitte’s days of being a high-end starting pitcher are long over, he’s very quietly having a solid season. The 41-year-old southpaw is on a nice roll right now, having strung together six consecutive quality starts, and neither the Blue Jays nor Giants boast top-tier lineups. Next week is as good a time as any to trot Pettitte out there.

Scott Feldman  (@BOS, @TB)

Like Pettitte, Feldman isn’t exactly an intimidating prescense on the mound. But he’s gotten the job done this season, particularly of late (3 ER or less in each of his last six starts). As far as next week goes, the good news is that the Rays rank dead last in the AL in runs scored since the All-Star break. The bad news is that he gets the Red Sox at Fenway. The bad news outweighs the good news. Ditch.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays

Rick Porcello  (vs. SEA, vs. CHW)

Starting Porcello is always risky, as he’s liable to blow up at any moment. But overall, he’s putting up decent numbers this year, especially the 3-to-1 K/BB ratio. The Mariners and White Sox rank next to last and last respectively in the AL in runs scored this season, and in five starts vs. the Pale Hose, he’s 4-0 with a 2.02 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. In mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, I’d lean towards pitching Porcello.

Scott Kazmir  (@KC, vs. HOU)

After opening the season in roller-coaster fashion, Kazmir has settled down nicely in the second half, registering a 3.67 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 9.17 K/9 and 2.17 BB/9 over 10 starts since the Midsummer Classic. The @KC matchup is of medium difficulty but the vs. HOU start is plenty tasty. Ultimately though, Kazmir’s greatly improved control combined with his high strikeout upside would lead me to pitch.

Wily Peralta  (vs. CHC, vs. STL)

Predicting what this guy is going to do from one start to the next is pretty much impossible, but Peralta has been effective more times than not this season. The problem is that I tend to bench any borderline pitcher who’s facing the Cardinals, especially a pitcher who sports an 8.44 ERA vs. the Cards in three starts this year. Would I pitch Wily vs. the Cubs? Absolutely. But I’ll take the conservative route and pass on starting him for this two-start week.

Juan Nicasio  (vs. STL, vs. ARI)

Even though Nicasio has pitched fairly well of late, this is a similar situation to Peralta in that the vs. STL matchup would scare me off. In two starts vs. the Diamondbacks this year, Nicasio is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA, so you’ve got to like him for that one. But a great performance vs. ARI would be all for naught if he gets torched by the Cardinals. That’s why I’m ditching Juan in all mixed leagues.

Musings from Wednesday’s Games

MLB: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics

Coco Crisp hit his 19th home run (yes, 19th!) of the season last night, and he’s done it in just 116 games. Crisp’s previous single-season career high was 16 back in 2005, and that was in 145 games. Is this power surge for real? I’m not buying it. An inflated 9.6% HR/FB ratio (this compared to his career 5.5% HR/FB) coupled with the fact that he entered 2013 with only three double-digit HR seasons to his record suggests that luck is playing a factor here. Be careful not to overrate Crisp in drafts next year. Draft him for his speed, not his power. But also keep in mind that at least one trip to the DL is likely. Personally though, I’m staying away. He’ll be 34 in November and isn’t even running as much this season as in years past.

After getting roughed up by the Reds yesterday, Jeff Samardzija has now allowed five runs or more in each of his last three starts. He’s tailed off big time since the All-Star break (5.09 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) and simply cannot be trusted down the stretch, especially since two of his final three projected starts will come against the Braves and Cardinals. Unless you’re desperate for strikeouts, feel free to cut “The Shark” in all non-keeper formats.

Continuing on the frustrating starting pitchers theme, Dan Haren delivered a gem last night vs. the Mets, this after getting pounded by the lowly Marlins. So in the one league where I own Haren, guess what I did? Yep, I started him against the Marlins and benched him last night. Look, Haren has been a longtime favorite of mine, but I give up trying to predict what he is going to do from one start to the next. He’s both YPNM (your problem, not mine, for those of you unfamiliar with this legendary 411 acronym) and DTM.

Jose Fernandez clearly has some growing up to do when it comes to his on-field behavior, but when it comes to the rookie’s on-field performance, he’s been nearly flawless. Last night, Fernandez ended his inaugural big league campaign in impressive fashion, dominating a strong Braves’ lineup and even hitting his first career homer for good measure. Can we just give him the NL Rookie of the Year award right now? I’m very curious to see where Fernandez gets taken in drafts next spring. I’m a believer in him, but chances are his price in redraft leagues will be way too high for my liking being that I usually wait until at least the 7th round in a 12-team mixed league to take my first starting pitcher and I wouldn’t feel all that comfortable with Fernandez as my ace. But this is all a mute point, as the chances of Fernandez even lasting into the 7th round are minute.

An all-new podcast will be coming your way tomorrow with the special guest being Paul Sporer of Baseball Prospectus.

Until then,

Zach

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 13

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Texas Rangers

CORY’S PICKS

Salazar @ Santiago – Salazar a good source of K’s even with pitch limits

Hammel @ Redmond – Redmond has good K potential but blow-up risk vs. O’s

B. Chen @ Verlander

Kuroda @ Lackey – Kuroda is slumping and it’s a brutal matchup… base your decision on your category needs

Straily @ Holland

Archer @ Correia

Vargas @ Keuchel – decent matchup for Vargas, who hasn’t shown much home/away split this year

Kendrick @ Strasburg

Arrieta @ Morton – assuming Morton’s foot is healthy

Hand @ Niese

Kennedy @ Hale – bad matchup for HR-prone Kennedy

Latos @ Lohse

Iwakuma @ Wainwright

Chatwood @ McCarthy – McCarthy’s last 5 home starts: 1.66 ERA, 0.82 WHIP

Bumgarner @ Kershaw

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 12

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Philadelphia Phillies

CORY’S PICKS

Hughes @ W. Chen
Griffin @ Diamond – Griffin’s K’s and solid WHIP, and win potential, outweigh so-so ERA
Richards @ Happ – Richards somewhat erratic but Jays aren’t that scary
Peavy @ Hellickson – anybody’s guess what Hellickson will do
Kluber @ Danks – Kluber’s remaining schedule: at CWS, at KC, vs HOU, at MIN… NICE
Garcia @ Flynn
Roark @ Harang
Ross @ Halladay
Rusin @ Locke
Thornburg @ Kelly
Cain @ Greinke
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