Here are the weekend selections:
Jeff Samardzija (CHC) – He’s been excellent this year without question. I was skeptical when he debuted with a gem, felt justified for that skepticism when he followed it up with a pair of 5 ER outings, but now can’t help but be impressed by his last three outings during which he has yielded just 2 ER in 21 innings. He also has 23 strikeouts in those three starts with a pair of wins. (@ MIL)
A.J. Burnett (PIT) – He followed up his disastrous outing against the Cardinals with eight strong (2 ER) striking out 10 and walking just one. He was left out to dry in that meltdown, but I don’t think it completely ruins his season. Not only can be useful for your fantasy team the rest of the way, but it isn’t a stretch to suggest he finishes the season with a sub-4.00 ERA. Let’s say he’ll go about 175 innings this season after missing a pair starts at the outset. He’d only need to be a 3.64 ERA pitcher in his remaining 151 innings to finish with a 3.96 ERA for the season. He’ll be fine. (vs. HOU)
Edwin Jackson (WAS) – If you participated in Trolling last year, then you aren’t surprised to see Jackson here. He was the most often recommended spot starter here last year. To read/hear some write/speak about him, I can’t help but find him underrated. You would think he has had a 4.50 ERA in the last three years as opposed to two sub-3.80 seasons along with a 4.47 one. And in that latter one, he surged late posting a 3.24 ERA in 11 starts with the White Sox. This year he has his best peripherals ever with a 7.9 K/9 and a 2.1 BB/9 which is a major improvement over anything he has ever done. (@ CIN)
Jonathon Niese (NYM) – A pair of 4 BB starts bookend his 6 outings thus far raising his walk rate, but otherwise his peripherals are still sharp while his xFIP continues to suggest his ERA should be lower. A trip into the cavernous Marlins Stadium seems like a nice remedy to get back on track after an OK start in Philly.