Despite just four wins in 11 starts, the picks from last week went well. All but three went 6+ innings and of the ones who didn’t, two didn’t allow any runs and the third won his game and struck out six batters. In case you missed last week’s picks, I mentioned that as we approach starts and innings limits in leagues these picks will become more selective.
Obviously some teams are protecting ERA and WHIP and while it is hard to move them much this late in the year, one risky blowup can be costly. Sure it is costly to have an 8 ER, 2 IP outing in June, too, but you have three-plus months to fix it. Not only are we running out of time, but moving the needle on these rate stats is tough unless your league’s standings are incredibly tight.
If I do make any riskier than usual picks, I will make sure they are denoted so you can assess it based on your league and your standings. I have one in mind which is why I even make this point in the first place.
Doug Fister (DET v. KC) – If you are in a fierce strikeouts race, I would pass on this one, but otherwise he has been golden since joining the Tigers. Or maybe not. He has notched 17 strikeouts in his last three starts (19.7 innings). I still wouldn’t blindly trust a three start stretch over the rest of his career which shows him as a pitch to contact, control artist. If you are looking for solid rates and a solid win potential, then make the move for Fister.
Javier Vazquez (FLO @ NYM) – If you are in a fierce strikeouts race, I would pounce on this one, but otherwise Vazquez has been an ERA and WHIP asset with wins in short supply as a part of the pathetic Marlins. He has a 3.00 ERA and an 0.94 WHIP in 33 August innings.
Programming Note: This has nothing to do with spot starter picks, but Felix Hernandez and Dan Haren are going toe-to-toe in Seattle on Wednesday and it should be a great watch.
Ted Lilly (LAD v. SD) – He’s been on fire of late, especially in August (2.20 ERA, 0.80 WHIP in 33 IP) so let’s ride the hot hand against a weak team.
Josh Collmenter (ARI v. COL) – I didn’t believe at first, but then he started missing some bats and the success was a lot more believable. He has had some misses just as any pitcher will, but otherwise he has become a reliable mid-rotation arm.
Jacob Turner (DET v. KC) – This would be the risky selection for the week. It’s a boom or bust pick, but the boom would include everything: strikeouts, 6-7 innings and a chance at a win. It is merely his second MLB start so this pick isn’t for the faint of heart or the teams with tenuous holds on their ERA & WHIP spots.
Chien-Ming Wang (WAS @ ATL) – Some may find this one risky, but I think it’s a WYSIWYG type of pick. He won’t strike many batters out, but he can help your ratios.
PASS – some potentials like Ivan Nova, Ross Detwiler & Aaron Harang, but all too risky for September
Mike Minor (ATL v. LAD) – I’m riding this train the rest of the way out. The win and strikeout potential combined with the ratio floor not being too low is worth rolling out throughout September. The only downside in this particular start is that it is against Clayton Kershaw which limits the win potential a bit.
Brandon McCarthy (OAK v. SEA) – Solid arm with a few bumps in the road, but up against a weak opponent at a friendly home park.
Anibal Sanchez (FLO v. PHI) – Another risk pick in addition to Turner. His talent is immense, but he has struggled mightily since the break (5.05 ERA) despite a strikeout per inning and a 4.6 K/BB in 46 innings.
Kevin Slowey (MIN @ LAA) – Close out the week with one more riskbox. I am a huge Slowey fan, but he has slowly (no pun intended… OK, it kinda was) worked his way back having only returned on August 19th. The Yankees and Orioles knocked him around, but he dominated the White Sox. The Angels don’t really scare me as an opponent, but with Slowey working out the kinks there is inherent risk with this start. If you’re desperate in the final day of your H2H league, go for it.
Other Sunday Hail Marys for H2H Only – Randy Wells, Erik Bedard, Edwin Jackson and Freddy Garcia. I would only recommend these guys if you need to make up ground in the last day of your H2H match. Bedard and Jackson are Trolling regulars, but they have tough matchups which is why they are listed here instead of regular recommendations.
I’ve got the top 10 pitchers of the 2012 top 15 left and another piece on starting pitchers near completion for later this week.