Archive for ‘Spot Starters’

Monday: 08.22.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 21 Monday-Friday

Trolling the Wire is back!  As we head down the stretch, inning caps and start caps are likely on the horizon for anyone who has been spot starting for most or at least significant parts of the season.  With that in mind, the Trolling picks the rest of the way will be more focused.  There will be less risk taking and the composite skills profile will be a bigger consideration instead of making significant tradeoffs (high strikeout guy with a less than stable skillset elsewhere).

Here are the week 18 results, which were an absolute abomination by the way:

MONDAY:

Erik Bedard (BOS @ TEX) – Texas remains a bit of a lion’s den, so this certainly doesn’t seem like a risk-averse pick, but Bedard has displayed strong skills there despite poor rates.  I would rather better on skills along with an increased chance for a win with the Boston lineup and defense than worry about an inflated ERA in a 26-inning sample.  (ESPN-52%, Y!-47%, CBS-86%)

TUESDAY:

Bartolo Colon (NYY v. OAK) – He has dominated the lowly A’s this year.  (E-44%, Y-46%, C-83%)

Mike Minor (ATL @ CHC) – Better late than never, right?  I pegged Minor for a big 2011 season, but I didn’t factor in his losing the 5th-starter job to Brandon Beachy, who ran with his opportunity.  Minor has looked strong in his return to the majors, especially with the strikeouts.  (E-3%, Y-9%, C-41%)

WEDNESDAY:

Tim Stauffer (SD @ SF) – The Giants lineup has been one to pick on all year even with pitchers far lesser than Stauffer.  (E-33%, Y-53%, C-76%)

Javier Vazquez (FLO v. CIN) – The Reds aren’t complete pushovers, but Vazquez has been dominant the last two months with a 2.45 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 70 innings.  His composite numbers look bad because of the horrid start, but he has been his 2009-self for a legitimate portion of the season.  (E-33%, Y-53%, C-76%)

THURSDAY:

Edwin Jackson (STL v. PIT) – He has a 4.45 ERA with the Cardinals, but it is almost entirely due to the sacrificial lamb outing in Milwaukee when he was left out there to take one for the team and gave up eight earned runs.  Apart from that start, he has a 2.88 ERA in four other starts.  I like him against the Pirates.  (E-24%, Y-44%, C-76%)

FRIDAY:

Ted Lilly (LAD v. COL) – It has taken him much longer than I anticipated, but he has finally had a nice stretch of starts commensurate with his skills (2.45 ERA, 0.85 WHIP in 26 Aug. IP).  Home runs have been his issue all year and throughout a lot of his career to be honest so if this game was in Colorado, I’d pass, but in Chavez-Ravine I like it.  (E-45%, Y-52%, C-58%)

Josh Collmenter (ARI v. SD) – Twice this season he had back-to-back ugly starts and both times he bounced back with a string of nice starts.  He was smashed to close out July and again on August 5th, but he has rebounded with two nice starts and I like him for a third this week.  (E-21%, Y-32%, C-43%)

Weekend picks later this week.

 

Sunday: 07.31.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 18 Monday-Friday

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.)

MONDAY:

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).

TUESDAY:

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.

 

THURSDAY:

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.

 

FRIDAY:

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.

Tuesday: 07.26.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 17 Monday-Friday

Way behind here.  I’ll have the Week 16 results out later.  In the meantime, here are this week’s picks:

TUESDAY:

Brandon McCarthy (OAK v. TB) – I could go a few strong innings in Oakland’s home ballpark

Vance Worley (PHI v. SF) – I don’t think he’s keeping a 2.02 ERA all year, but the peripheral numbers aren’t terrible.  Meanwhile, SF’s lineup is.

WEDNESDAY:

Cory Luebke (SD v. ARI) – Still widely available.  Still don’t know why.

Phil Hughes (NYY v. SEA) – :grabsdice: Yes, Oakland pounded him, but their offense is the ’27 Yankees compared to Seattle’s.  If they knock him around, I’m done with him at least for the remainder of this season.

THURSDAY:

Matt Harrison (TEX v. MIN) – Speaking of inept offenses…

FRIDAY:

Tim Stauffer (SD v. COL) – His ownership rates have dipped down for some reason lately.  Sign me up.

Josh Collmenter (ARI @ LAD) – I’m on the Collmenter Train.  He’s not great, but he’s not a complete fluke, either.

Friday: 07.22.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 16 The Weekend

Quick hits on this weekend’s spot starter recommendations.

SATURDAY:

Scott Baker (MIN v. DET)

Own rates: E-55%, Y!-60%, C-88%.

Career best strikeout rate (8.5 K/9), ERA (3.01) and WHIP (1.175) yet he’s getting less respect from the fantasy community than in the last three-four years.

I like him more as a pickup & hold than specifically for this matchup.  His career isn’t great against the Tigers, but he needs to be on a team, regardless of format.

Tom Gorzelanny (WAS @ LAD)

Own rates: E-1%, Y!-4%, C-9%

He’s held the strikeout gains shown last year (8.1 K/9) while improving his walk rate (from 4.5 to 2.9 BB/9)

Dodgers are 27th-ranked offense in terms of runs scored and 24th in terms of OPS

Josh Collmenter (ARI v. COL)

Own rates: E-27%, Y!-34%, C-41%

Becoming a believer thanks to increased strikeout rate (6.9 K/9 in 55 IP spanning 9 starts) as it pairs with an excellent walk rate to produce a 3.2 K/BB

Rockies have fewest runs in baseball on the road with their team OPS dropping from .807 to .663

Edwin Jackson (CHW @ CLE)

Own rates: E-13%, Y!-38%, C-65%

Offers pretty consistent strikeouts with 5+ Ks in five of his last seven starts

In the other two, he went 15 innings with a 1.20 ERA & 1.33 WHIP (17 H, 3 K, 3 BB) including a shutout v. Detroit

Indians lead the American League in strikeouts

SUNDAY:

Bartolo Colon (NYY v. OAK)

Own rates: E-31%, Y!-41%, C-80%

The Rays were a nice remedy for the struggling Colon (1 ER in 6.3 IP w/9 K on 7/19 in TB), but the A’s are an even better remedy for staying hot

Felipe Paulino (KC v. TB)

Own rates: E-13%, Y!-38%, C-65%

He has 7+ Ks in each of his last four starts and a 8.7 K/9 in eight starts since joining the Royals

This guy just works better as a starter for some reason & the Royals seem to recognize that finally

 

Thursday: 07.14.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 15 Friday-Sunday

Did you read my mind & pick up Aaron Harang for a spot start today?  No?  Wow, that was dumb of you.  He was the only guy I really liked today, but didn’t have time to post my picks as I was busy with the day job.  As of this writing, he has thrown five scoreless at home against the Giants.  Of course, halfway through the season, hopefully you would be able identify an under-owned Harang against a weak offense in the best pitcher’s park in the world as a viable spot start option.

For those still wanting the assistance, I am here to help so let’s take a look at some picks for the weekend (I’m one of those who lumps Friday in with the weekend, it should be a day off anyway).  But first, we will look back on the bloodbath that was week 14.

Not even the good fortune of picking Harang & Rubby de la Rosa who had dueling no-hitters through five innings and each went on to throw six shutout innings apiece could erase the carnage of Carlos Carrasco’s two starts along with the implosions of Edinson Volquez and Bartolo Colon.  By the way, Colon pitched in Toronto tonight and was dominated for eight runs in two-thirds of an inning.  Mercifully for his fantasy team managers, only three runs were earned, but the eight runners allowed is going to sting.

FRIDAY:

Justin Verlander (*checks ownership rates*… What??? How is he on 105% of teams??  Nevermind.)

Vance Worley (PHI @ NYM) – This kid has been great in his second go-round with an 0.72 ERA in four starts since coming back up on June 18th.  You would like to see his 6.5 K/9 tick up a bit, but it is passable.  Meanwhile his 3.6 BB/9 is inflated by one outing where he walked four in six innings.  He has walked two in each of the other three outings.

Doug Fister (SEA v. TEX) – The Mariners hate him for some reason so there is virtually no chance that he logs a win, even if he goes nine and allows two runs, but the chances of a quality outing at home are very strong.

SATURDAY:

Cory Luebke (SD v. SF) – This kid’s ownership rates should be skyrocketing after each of his starts, but he might get the Tim Stauffer treatment whereby he has to prove himself for three months before he will finally be trusted.  Hopefully that is the case, that will leave us spot starting fans a gem to use every fifth day.  Luebke’s numbers aren’t just built off of his 39 relief innings.  He has a 1.06 ERA and 0.65 WHIP in 21 innings along with 11.1 K/9 and 7.0 K/BB rates.  He is an auto-start right now, especially at home.

Rich Harden (OAK v. LAA) – One good start at home, one rough start in Texas.  The latter was an easy layoff, but I am comfortable trotting him back out there for this home start against the Angels.  The Angels don’t have an overwhelming lineup and that home ballpark always helps.

Jonathon Niese (NYM v. PHI) – One of the unnoticed bright spots for the Mets has been Niese who has allowed more than three runs just once in his last 10 starts.  During that stretch he has a 2.73 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 rate.  His 3.8 K/BB rate is quite impressive, too.  The 24-year old just continues to improve and I am surprised to see that he is on just 13% of ESPN leagues right now.

SUNDAY:

Ted Lilly (LAD @ ARI) – I think he is going to have a big second half.  His skills have produced an xFIP nearly  a full run lower (3.99) than his 4.79 ERA through 107 innings.  He doesn’t walk anyone (1.9 BB/9) and his 6.6 K/9 is pretty good, though a full strikeout under his rate from the last two years.  He has always been a huge flyball pitcher so that isn’t a major concern and I expect him to regress back toward his mean over the remainder of the season.  He could also find himself dealt by July 31st and his destination would play a role in his value of course, but for now I’m buying.

Homer Bailey (CIN @ STL) – Most head-to-head leagues aren’t just going with a four day week.  However, if yours is and you are protecting an ERA and/or WHIP lead, I would pass on Bailey, but if you have all next week to go still he is a solid gamble especially for some strikeouts.  He, too, could be instrumental down the stretch as his big second half in 2010 (3.55 ERA, 9.2 K/9 in 58 IP) earned him sleeper value coming into this season.

 

Friday: 07.8.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 14 The Weekend

Quick rundown of the weekend Trolling picks…

SATURDAY:

Rubby de la Rosa (LAD v. SD) – de la Rosa is starting to round into form.  His command is starting to show in these starts and he is going deeper into games.  He was really struggling right around the fifth inning of most of his June starts, but looks like he might have turned a corner in the last two going seven strong in both allowing a total of four runs (2.57 ERA) striking out nine, but more importantly walking just three (1.9 BB/9).  Let’s see if he keeps it going against a weak Padres offense.

Also, from a long-term standpoint, his place in the rotation is all but guaranteed barring a collapse as Jon Garland is now scheduled for slated for season-ending surgery next week.  de la Rosa is a spot starter in most mixed league formats right now, but he could definitely play himself into a permanent role so if you have the open space and need a strikeout pitcher, you might want to start considering him for the long-term in mixed leagues with more than 10 teams.

Aaron Harang (SD @ LAD) – While his home-road ERA splits are egregious (3.28/4.84), his road peripherals are actually much better as he has posted 8.5 K/9 and 3.0 K/BB rates against 5.3 and 1.9 marks at home.  I think both sides or at least either side of the matchup is worth a spot start.

SUNDAY:

Carlos Carrasco (CLE v. TOR) – His bombing against the Yankees has scared some back off of the bandwagon, but I’m pressing on.  He had just ripped them in seven innings in Yankee Stadium so I’m chalking the thrashing up to just one of those games.  He remains a useful spot starter.

 

Monday: 07.4.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 14 Monday-Friday

This piece is slightly delayed today as I kind of forgot that there would be day games because of the holiday and the fact that they have already started render my Monday pick irrelevant.  It is OK because it was/is Brandon McCarthy coming off of the DL and I have learned recently that a lot of people don’t have the stomach or desire to start a guy off of the DL, even the best guys.  Upper tier guys (my 1s & 2s) I am starting without question and I go with the gut on everyone else often leaning toward starting him.

As for the week 13 results, it was another big week for Trolling.  Back in week 11, a season low ERA and WHIP of 2.45 and 1.08 were set along with a new of 4.7 K/BB as 11 pitchers (pure coincidence) put together 70 very strong innings, though the quality only work netted four wins.

We nearly saw all three records bested in week 13 as 13 starters (another coincidence) combined for 90 innings with a 2.51 ERA, 0.95 WHIP (!) and 4.9 K/BB.  A new weekly high of eight wins was also reached by the group.

Unfortunately we lost Brandon Beachy, as I suspected we might, because his ownership rates shot up after a strong week in his return from the disabled list.  We still have several of the week 13 performers available in a lot of leagues, though, so expect to see them again.

MONDAY:

Brandon McCarthy (OAK v. SEA) – It’s been about a month and a half since we have seen McCarthy (May 18th), but eases back into thing with a start against Seattle at home.  I would like to see more than is 5.2 K/9, but the 1.4 BB/9 helps make up for it.

TUESDAY:

Carlos Carrasco (CLE v. NYY) – He went into New York back on June 13th and threw seven shutout innings allowing five hits, walking three and striking out seven in a huge 1-0 win.  That was the second start of a streak during which he has been amazing with a 0.98 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 5.6 K/BB in 37 innings (4-1 record).  He is still available in a decent number of leagues, but the streak has definitely upper his reputation.  I have included four options for Tuesday because both he and our next guy are starting to finally get some respect and they may not be around in your league anymore.

Tim Stauffer (SD @ SF) – Two of the NL’s least supported starters go toe-to-toe in a game that might be 0-0 for 15 innings before someone can finally plate a run.  Stauffer and his opponent, Matt Cain, are among the bottom 15 in run support in the NL.  Stauffer is getting a barrage runs at 5.2 compared to Cain’s 4.7.

Felipe Paulino (KC @ CWS) – Paulino was placed in rotation on June 1st shortly after joining the Royals (he had one relief appearance) and he has been great for them posting a 3.58 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 38 innings spanning six starts.  He has a healthy 7.8 K/9 rate along with some nice command that has yielded a 3.3 K/BB rate.  I don’t know why Colorado insisted on making him a reliever as he is the rare pitcher who is significantly better in the rotation as opposed to the short bullpen stints.  For his career he has a 9.15 ERA in 32 relief appearances compared to a 4.87 ERA in 40 starts.  He has a huge arm (career 95.4 MPH fastball never going below 95.1 in any of his four seasons) and I am interested to see how he does if the Royals just leave him in the rotation the rest of the way, even if he hits a roadbump here and there.

Edinson Volquez (CIN @ STL) – A strikeout per inning is always nice from a starter, but a walk every other inning isn’t quite so nice.  He is a ridiculously talented arm, but he just needs to get his command in order before he will ever get back to his 2008 season or better.  I like him in a spot start situation, especially if you need strikeouts.  If you have a spot where you can stash him in hopes that he irons things out, I might consider it.

WEDNESDAY:

Jason Vargas (SEA @ OAK) – Four of the five Seattle starters are among the bottom 14 in run support this year.  And Erik Bedard isn’t exactly flush with runs as he is still in the bottom 30.  Vargas is getting just 5.0 runs which puts him 14th.  Of course when spot starting, we aren’t chasing wins, we are chasing quality innings and Vargas can deliver those in spades as evidenced by his three shutouts.  I didn’t buy into him after last year, but he has proven me wrong by improving or matching all of his key metrics again this year including a modest jump in Ks to a more palatable 6.0 K/9.  How is he owned in 23% of ESPN leagues?

Edwin Jackson (CWS v. KC) – After a solid June (2.81 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), he was a bit wobbly in his first start of July (4 ER in 6 IP v. the Cubs), but he is a nice strikeout arm who doesn’t get the credit he deserves in my estimation.  His season numbers are weighed down by a pair of starts during which he gave up 13 ER in 10 IP to end April.  Since May he has a 3.36 ERA in 64 innings.

THURSDAY:

Bartolo Colon (NYY v. TB) – He is still heavily owned in CBS leagues (84%), but just 50% in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues so for we can take advantage.  I suspect another big start (he threw six shutout innings on Saturday) will push his rates up higher at the other two outlets and may take him out of Trolling consideration.

Cory Luebke (SD @ SF) – His numbers are essentially built on some great bullpen work as he has only had two starts, but those two starts have yielded 11 shutout innings with 13 strikeouts and just five baserunners.  Throw in the Petco bonus and he is a must-own in just about any format right now.

Doug Fister (SEA @ LAA) – He is the least supported of the Mariners discussed earlier and not only that, but he is also the least support starting pitcher in baseball by a significant margin.  His 3.2 runs/game trails Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm by 0.4 so despite a 3.02 ERA and even better 3.1 K/BB rate, he is 3-9.  He hasn’t won since May 30th despite posting a 2.68 ERA over 47 innings in five June starts and one July start.  Wow.

FRIDAY:

James McDonald (PIT v. CHC) – He is my NL version of Edwin Jackson.  His April was even worse as he needed six shutout innings on April 27th to finish the month with a 7.66 ERA.  Since then he has a 3.21 ERA and 7.9 K/9.  However, it’s not all rainbows & unicorns for McDonald as his WHIP has been an issue due mostly to walks.  He has walked 3+ five of his last six yielding a 24 to 21 strikeout-to-walk count during that time.  That is why, for now, he remains simply a spot starter.  The Cubs aren’t exactly imposing so McDonald should be able to survive.

Saturday: 07.2.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 13 The Weekend

Just a quick rundown of the weekend picks.  Some of you may have already noticed that I had James McDonald slotted in for Saturday on the Trolling sidebar entry.

One note from Friday’s game, if you need an arm and have a roster space with the rash of DL moves late this week, go with Rich Harden.  Apart from last year’s meltdown in Texas, he has been Bedardian (who just hit the DL) in that it’s always been about health, not talent.  He looked pretty good on Friday going six strong with six strikeouts and most importantly ZERO walks against Arizona.  He will be in next week’s Trolling I’m sure because he will still be around in most leagues even after the big start.

For this weekend we have:

SATURDAY:

McDonald (PIT @ WAS) – I have been going with McDonald a lot lately and he hasn’t disappointed and I see no reason not to stick with him against Washington.

Andrew Miller (BOS @ HOU) – He has been usable in his first two games, also against weak offenses, so let’s utilize him against another weak opponent and then see how he fares about better competition.  Facing San Diego, Pittsburgh and Houston is not a bad way to ease back into the big leagues.  I remain heavily skeptical on him in general, but this feels like a safe spot.

Cory Luebke (SD @ SEA) – Recently added to the rotation, Luebke has put up some great numbers this season, but most of them come out of the bullpen.  I wouldn’t expect a 10 K/9 as a starter, but he should still be pretty useful.  Seattle is still an offense to pick on so let’s take advantage here.

Doug Fister (SEA v. SD) – Both ends of this game look like nice plays given that the offenses are two of the more inept in baseball.  Fister has been really sharp this year and lately he has been going really deep into game.  He has gone 7 + innings in eight of nine and 8 innings in five of those.  He can’t get any love from fantasy managers despite a strong first half.

SUNDAY:

Gavin Floyd  (CHW @ CHC) – It has been a rollercoaster ride with Floyd this year, but let’s see if he can string two nice starts together after seven strong in Colorado earlier this week.  I wish he was striking out a few more (6.1 K/9 in 101 IP), but the 2.6 K/BB is impressive and this is a guy who can get on a run for weeks at a time.  He could be a pivotal arm down the stretch not only for the White Sox, but for your fantasy team.

Freddy Garcia (NYY @ NYM) – I wouldn’t bet on Garcia keeping that 3.28 ERA all year at all, but he can hang on in this venue against this offense.  If you are in a league where you own him, you might want to look to flip him as soon as possible.  Admittedly, you’re not going to fetch a mint, but that’s OK because regression is going to be a bitch and if you can get something of consequence to get out from under that risk, it will be a net win by October.

Tuesday: 06.28.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 13 Tuesday-Friday

Do you ever have those nights were fatigue just catches up and you just go out like a light well before you planned and there is no amount of Red Bull that will keep you going?  That was me last night.  I not only fell asleep much earlier than planned, but I slept in my desk chair for most of the night.  This wasn’t alcohol induced or anything crazy like that, I just passed out.  My body had enough and said, “I’m done for longer than the 4 hours (or less) you have been giving me.”

Thus the Tuesday-Friday spot starter picks I promised did not go up.  Here they are now.  I’ll include Tuesday’s just for posterity.

TUESDAY:

Clayton Richard (SD v. KC) – Just playing the home split with Richard.  He has a 2.25 ERA in Petco with 5.2 K/9 and 1.8 K/BB rates, but outside his ERA balloons to 5.85 with 4.3 and 1.1 rates.

WEDNESDAY:

Tim Stauffer (SD v. KC) – Oh my jeezorz, everyone hates this guy.  Every week he throws a gem or two and I think his ownership rate will soar or at least move to a point where I can no longer use him because he won’t be on as many waiver wires, alas every week it does NOT happen and so here he is again.  Enjoy.

Carlos Carrasco (CLE @ ARI) – He has allowed a whopping two runs in his last four starts spanning 30 innings (0.61 ERA).  He also has a healthy 6.3 K/9 in that time so don’t let his season-long 5.5 mark dissuade you.  This is a three-time top 54 prospect according to Baseball America growing up before our eyes.  He and Justin Masterson give Cleveland a 1-2 punch that offers them more legitimacy than they had when they were riding the coattails of Josh Tomlin.  The Shin-Soo Choo injury is a killer, but pitching can cover a lot of hitting woes.

THURSDAY:

Brett Cecil (TOR v. PIT) – Rolling the dice here.  Cecil had a terrible start to the season and actually got demoted to AAA.  He was actually doing really well in the hitting-heavy PCL until a recent stretch that included an 8 ER bombing in just 3.3 innings.  He managed 7.2 K/9 and 2.6 K/BB rates in 79 innings.  Picking on the Pirates a bit, but let’s see what he can do in his return.  One caveat: if you’re protecting a strong ERA and WHIP in a head-to-head league, I would probably pass here.

FRIDAY:

Edwin Jackson (CHW @ CHC) – He has pitched to a 3.09 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.3 K/BB rates to back it up since May.  His June has been pretty strong too as he has gone six-plus in every outing and notched eight strikeouts in each of his last two outings.  He needs to pitch around Carlos Pena who is in the midst of one of his huge streaks, but otherwise he should be fine with the Cubs lineup.

Jason Vargas (SEA v. SD) – He has been a bit inconsistent putting virtually even splits home and away, but even though he has struggled a little bit in June he still has two complete shutouts and he has gone seven or more innings in all but one of his five outings for the month.  An average pitcher who has shown the ability to go off for a big game is a must-start against the Padres.

Sunday: 06.26.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 13 Monday

Oof, ugly week.  On the heels of the best week of the season, Trolling turned in the 2nd-worst of the year with a 4.25 ERA.  Five of the 15 picks performed well so hopefully you picked some or all of those.  I realize most people don’t use every pick during a given week so I just hope on the down weeks that you got in on a few of the favorable results so I didn’t totally sink your pitching for a week.

I remember on Saturday seeing Washington with a goose egg into the 7th and I was excited that John Danks was helping salvage the week, but alas he went out with an injury after just 1.7 innings.  In fact, he ended up on the disabled list shortly thereafter.  Had he gone seven shutout innings, the week would have been right at 4.00 ERA.  Oh well, time to regroup.  There is a light slate on Monday and I only have one choice, so I’ll share that now and then post Tuesday-Friday by Monday afternoon.

MONDAY:

Brandon Beachy (ATL @ SEA) – Came off of the disabled list with a bang striking out 11 Blue Jays.  He gets a worse team in a better ballpark and there is no reason to stick with him, especially as his ownership rate sits well below where it should be as he was cut a lot while injured (Y! 49%, ESPN 68%, CBS 88%).  He won’t be available everywhere and especially in really active leagues, but definitely check just to make sure.  If he throws another gem on Monday, he will almost certainly be snapped too much for Trolling.