With the trade deadline week as well as end of quarter at my day job, I was hyper-busy and didn’t get a chance to put out any weekend spot starters. I didn’t want to rush some poor picks and end up burning people. If the picks are going to be poor, then I want them to be thoroughly researched so I can at least stand behind them confidently.
Let’s take a look at how the last two weeks have gone for the spot starter picks:
There was a nice stretch there last weekend to close out week 16, but the damage was done as Dempster, Holland and Vazquez gave up a combined 18 runs in 13 innings. The only silver lining to my worst week of the season from an ERA & WHIP standpoint is that the picks struck out 7.9 batters per game, the highest mark since week 11 when the picks had the same rate. It’s better than nothing, but that’s perfume on a turd, the week still stunk.
Week 17, with just seven picks, ended up pretty strong everywhere but strikeouts so it was sort of a mirror image of week 16. The week could have been quite exceptional had Collmenter not imploded to cap off the shortened week. For the season, I am still quite happy with the results of 3.65 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 6.8 K/9 and 2.5 K/BB rates.
Let’s take a look at week 18…
(remember, these are ranked in order of preference on each day so if you only have one spot then pick the first guy listed if you want who I am most confident in.)
Cory Luebke (SD v. LAD) – Back-to-back losses aren’t dissuading from this bandwagon, especially at home. Strikeouts remain elite (30 K in 30 IP during July) and he doesn’t walk anyone either (6.0 K/BB in July).
Bud Norris (HOU v. CIN) – After being snapped up from most waiver wires earlier in the season, he is now appearing in free agent pools despite his 8.9 K/9 and 3.39 ERA. What is the problem exactly? Buy.
Paul Maholm (PIT v. CHC) – He is a low strikeout guy for the year (5.9 K/9), but had two 8 K outings in July. Rates have been strong and Cubs are hardly imposing.
Blake Beavan (SEA v. OAK) – Pass if you are in dire need of strikeouts and/or have an innings cap (4.1 K/9).
John Danks (CHW v. NYY) – Been excellent in 2 starts since DL return; even more brilliant since a 4 IP/9 ER outing to close out May: 0.98 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 8.5 K/9 & 5.0 K/BB in 37 IP. Always dangerous to go against NYY, but this is more about picking up and holding Danks the rest of the way (E-53%, Y!-51%, C-81%) than it is this one start.
Rich Harden (OAK @ SEA) – Only rough outing has come in Texas (unsurprisingly) and he’s allowed 3, 2, 2 & 2 in rest of his starts. Outside of last year with Texas, he’s been great when healthy and this year is no different (9.2 K/9, 3.0 K/BB).
WEDNESDAY: (random note – Doug Fister & Charlie Furbush both start on Wednesday for their new teams)
Edwin Jackson (STL @ MIL) – Looked sharp in his first outing with the Cardinals and there is no reason to bet on that continuing. He is another guy I like as a permanent pickup even if this start in Milwaukee doesn’t go exactly like his 7 IP/1 ER outing against the Cubbies.
Tim Stauffer (SD v. LAD) – If you’ve been following Trolling for amount of time this year, you know how much I like Stauffer. I have no reason why he isn’t heavily owned in ESPN & Yahoo! leagues, he’s available in 21% of CBS leagues.
Gavin Floyd (CHW v. NYY) – He is perennially better in the second half and he is tracking that way again with an 0.81 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and 5.3 K/BB in 22 IP spanning 3 GS since the break. Like Danks, it’s tough to go against the Yanks, but this is more about the rest of the way.
James McDonald (PIT v. CHC) – Getting knocked around at Philly isn’t a major crime, but just the second time he’d given up more than 3 ER since April 27th.
Brett Cecil (TOR @ TB) – Welcome back to the big leagues, Mr. Cecil. Under the radar he went off in July posting a 2.19 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 37 IP along with 6.6 K/9 and 3.0 K/BB rates. That includes two outings against the Rangers (one in Texas) and another in Boston. Oddly enough his worst outing of the month was a 7 IP/5 ER start against the Seattle Mariners.
Derek Holland (TEX v. CLE) – Holland has appeared in Trolling three times, but unfortunately none of league-leading four shutouts (tied w/Cliff Lee) have been picked. It has been feast or famine in July with three of those shutouts and six scoreless innings in another outing during the month while in his other two starts he went a combined six innings allowing 12 earned runs. His opponent for his first shutout of the year? Cleveland.
Jeff Niemann (TB v. OAK) – Has been excellent since his return from injury back in late June: 1.88 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.6 K/9 and 3.4 K/BB in 43 innings across seven starts. That includes outings against the Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals and Brewers so a start against the Athletics is a no-brainer.
Rick Porcello (DET@ KC) – Bounced back from a dismal June (6.97 ERA, 1.81 WHIP) to have a really strong July (3.06 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) including very healthy 6.7 K/9 and 4.8 K/BB rates.
More trade analysis pieces coming out throughout Monday & Tuesday, too.