Archive for Strategy

Two-Start Pitchers 2014: September 22-28: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

This is it. After a long, interesting and exciting season we have reached the end. If you aren’t in contention for a top spot then your focus has likely shifted to football and next season, in no particular order. If you are still sweating out every strikeout and walk, then this is certainly no time to relax. The problem is that much like fantasy owners, aside from the teams that still in playoff contention Major League teams have begun to shift gears towards 2015.

So with one week left, let’s take a look at the pitchers slated to make two starts this week as you look to maximize your lineup for the last time. Read more

Two-Start Pitchers 2014: September 15-21: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

We are now one week closer to end of the marathon known as the 2014 baseball season. Don’t take anything for granted as the season draws to a conclusion as every strikeout and earned run is critical. If you are looking to make a bold move, here’s one to consider:

  • Have I gone crazy? Am I really advocating going with a rookie pitcher on the Rockies that is making two starts at home? Yes that is correct, if Tyler Matzek is not owned yet in your league he should be, and he is someone worth starting this week. His ERA for the season sits at 4.23, but he has a second half ERA of 3.76 and also sports a 3.64 mark in Coors Field. The rookie, as illustrated by his 1.36 WHIP and 40 walks in 106.1 innings, does have control problems but they haven’t stopped him from having success. He is working on a streak of five straight quality starts, and his last start was a complete game shutout against the Padres where he allowed three hits and one walk while striking out six. That is enough for me to take a shot.

Now let’s take a look at all the pitchers who are making two starts this week and how they rank: Read more

Two-Start Pitchers 2014: September 8-14: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

Just because football is here, that doesn’t mean you stop paying attention to baseball. Well, at the least that statement stands if you are in contention to finish in the top part of your standings. You have worked hard all season; this is not the time to let those efforts go to waste.  This week offers a few intriguing opportunities, including a returning Michael Wacha:

  • Depending on the format of your league, it is possible Michael Wacha was forgotten about while he was on the disabled list. Now that he is back, there is no reason why he shouldn’t owned in all leagues. Before he got hurt he was having the dominant season expected from him as takes a 2.80 ERA and 1.13 WHIP into his two starts this week. Yes, I know he only pitched three innings in his last start, and first start back, but it is understandable that the Cardinals would want to work him back slowly and carefully. In those three innings Wacha did look good, allowing one run on three hits and one walk while striking out three batters. This week the matchups are also in Wacha’s favor and, even if he is maxed out at about 12-13 innings between these two starts, I think the strikeouts will be there and he should also be in contention for a win in each start.

Let’s take a look at everyone who is taking the mound twice this week to help you plan your lineup: Read more

Two-Start Pitchers 2014: September 1-7: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

And it’s down the stretch we come!  It’s more important than ever to make smart decisions when streaming pitchers, as each start feels more important (and we are starting to face the risk of pitchers being shut down).  Who do we trust?  Which gamble should we take?

On pitcher who has made himself interesting has been Carlos Carrasco:

Carrasco has been inconsistent and disappointing so far in his career, but are the tides starting to turn for the 27 year old? It is hard to ignore a pitcher who consistently averages 93-plus miles per hour with his fastball and is now starting to see some real improvement in his control since returning from the minor leagues and the bullpen. In his last four starts, spanning 24.2 innings, Carrasco has struck 23 batters while allowing just two earned runs and three walks. That performance should not be ignored, especially as he takes the mound twice this week at home against the Tigers and White Sox.

Let’s take a look at all of the two-start options for the coming week: Read more

Two-Start Pitchers 2014: August 25-31: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It feels like the season just started, doesn’t it?  Yet we have a mere few weeks left and it’s time for fantasy owners to either put up or shut up.  This week could yield ample opportunities to roll the dice, depending on your risk tolerance.  For instance:

Jake Peavy is not an exciting option, but he is a veteran who is owned in just 51% of CBS leagues who is making two starts this week under favorable conditions. Both of his starts come in his pitcher friendly home park against two offenses that do not provide much in the way of a threat. The Rockies are missing their two best hitters in Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki, plus they are away from Coors Field. While the Brewers do have some offensive firepower, Peavy should be able to tame them at home. Under other circumstances there might be too much risk involved, but Peavy is also coming off back to back starts of seven innings each, allowing three runs. Any owners in head to head or points leagues would certainly sign up for two starts just like that, and if you are looking to chase wins you can do worse. As head to head leagues begin their playoffs, the value of getting two starts from even just an average pitcher like Peavy cannot be overstated as volume without overwhelming risk is important.

Where else could there be value?  Let’s take a look at the rankings: Read more

Two-Start Pitchers 2014: August 18-24: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

At this point in the season owners need to weigh if the risk of starting a streaming two-start pitcher is worth the reward.  While there aren’t a ton of options this week, there are plenty of young pitchers who have upside.  Are they worth it, though?  Here’s one example, where the risk likely outweighs the reward:

Allen Webster is a young pitcher who has struggled early in his major league career, but he looks closer to figuring it out. So far he is 3-1 in his four starts, and he showed improvement in his last two outings notching a quality start in each of them. So far in the small sample size Webster has a 4.79 ERA and 1.45 WHIP but you could see a progression. The strikeouts are not there yet, 10 against 16 walks, but I would expect to see those increase as Webster gets more comfortable. He gets the Angels and Mariners at home this week and, depending on your team and the standings, he might be worth the risk. It does appear that there may be another week or two of growing pains, so even though he has the minor league numbers Webster likely should be passed on for another week.

How do the rest of the rankings look?  Let’s take a look: Read more