by Ray Kuhn
In leagues where there are no innings limits, it is important to maximize your innings. However, you do not want to do that at the expense of poor performance. Quality is better than quantity.
Each week during the season we will break down the pitchers scheduled to make two starts in the upcoming week. Just like when assembling your rotation, we will break the pitchers down by tier. In all formats every pitcher within the first two tiers should be owned, no questions asked. Pitchers in the third and fourth tiers are likely owned in all formats, but some could be borderline starting decisions depending on the league structure and your roster composition. The fifth tier has pitchers who will likely be available in most, if not all leaguesm and could be either the deepest of sleepers or do the most damage to your ratios.
Within each tier, the pitchers are also ranked. Starting decisions should be made accordingly.
Here are the Week 7 Two Start Pitchers:
|Tier||Pitcher||Opponent #1||Opponent #2|
|Tier 1||Felix Hernandez||@ NYY||@ CLE|
|Jordan Zimmermann||@ LAD||@ SD|
|CC Sabathia||vs. SEA||vs. TOR|
|Tier 2||Anibal Sanchez||vs. HOU||@ TEX|
|Matt Moore||vs. BOS||@ BAL|
|A.J. Burnett||vs. MIL||vs. HOU|
|R.A. Dickey||vs. SF||@ NYY|
|Doug Fister||vs. HOU||@ TEX|
|Lance Lynn||vs. NYM||vs. MIL|
|Jake Peavy||@ MIN||@ LAA|
|Tier 3||Justin Masterson||vs. NYY||vs. SEA|
|Mike Minor||@ ARI||vs. LAD|
|Wade Miley||vs. ATL||@ MIA|
|Andrew Cashner||@ BAL||vs. WAS|
|Derek Holland||@ OAK||vs. DET|
|Homer Bailey||@ MIA||@ PHI|
|Jake Westbrook||vs. NYM||vs. MIL|
|Kyle Lohse||@ PIT||@ STL|
|Dan Haren||@ LAD||@ SD|
|Travis Wood||vs. COL||vs. NYM|
|A.J. Griffin||vs. TEX||vs. KC|
|Barry Zito||@ TOR||@ COL|
|Tier 4||Jason Vargas||vs. KC||vs. CHW|
|John Lackey||@ TB||@ MIN|
|Hector Santiago||@ MIN||@ LAA|
|Chris Tillman||vs. SD||vs. TB|
|Bud Norris||@ DET||@ PIT|
|Jeff Locke||vs. MIL||vs. HOU|
|Justin Grimm||@ OAK||vs. DET|
|Ricky Nolasco||vs. CIN||vs. ARI|
|Tier 5||Josh Beckett||vs. WAS||@ ATL|
|Marco Estrada||@ PIT||@ STL|
|David Phelps||@ CLE||vs. TOR|
|Dillon Gee||@ STL||@ CHC|
|Joe Blanton||vs. KC||vs. CHW|
|Juan Nicasio||@ CHC||vs. SF|
|Jeremy Hefner||@ STL||@ CHC|
|Jeff Francis||@ CHC||vs. SF|
|Pedro Hernandez||vs. CHW||vs. BOS|
|Luis Mendoza||@ LAA||@ OAK|
- The strength of this week’s options lies in the third and fourth tiers and in its depth. There are some solid starters on this list that should be ranked higher, but are not due to some early season struggles. More importantly, for those owners looking to gain an advantage this week, in most leagues, there should be a few serviceable options available on the waiver wire.
- Anibal Sanchez has become a strikeout machine this season, and now he gets to face the Astros. He has 58 strikeouts in 45.2 innings and in this scoring period you get two starts from him. The fact that one is against the team that strikes out the most in the major leagues doesn’t hurt. Do not be scared off by the fact that he enters the week sporting a 3-3 record as he has a 1.97 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. The Tigers are a strong offensive team, so he shouldn’t have a problem with support on a consistent basis.
- This was not the follow up to a CY Young season that RA Dickey had in mind. Granted he has had some health issues, but that does not make his 5.06 ERA any more palatable for your fantasy team. However, four of his last seven starts have been quality starts (though in two of those starts he gave up seven runs, which obviously is a cause for concern). That is not enough to stop me from starting him this week. It seems to be taking him a little longer than expected to get comfortable throwing his knuckleball in the American League and in a dome, but he will get there. However you might have to slightly downgrade your expectations.
- In keeping with the theme of pitchers who have changed addresses and are not living up to expectations,; let’s take a look at Dan Haren. While he is not the innings eating horse that Washington expected, he has won three games in a row. Despite that fact, he enters the week with a 5.17 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. If you are looking for some optimism, Haren has only walked six batters on the season. As of late he has gotten away from throwing his fastball as much and is starting to look more comfortable on the mound. This could be the week that he puts it together and helps owners to forget his early season troubles.
- Under normal conditions he flies under the radar, but this year Kyle Lohse signed very late in the offseason. With a 3.53 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, he has not disappointed. Both of his starts are on the road this week (in Pittsburgh and St. Louis), but that should not matter too much. There are always going to be options with more upside, but there is less risk here.
- It seems like a lot of people have forgotten about John Lackey after the last few years he appears to be healthy and has been pitching well so far this season. In Tampa Bay and Minnesota, Lackey has two opponents who should not give him too much of a problem. He has struck out 24 batters in his four starts (22.1 innings), and if he truly has put his woes of the last few seasons behind him he could prove to be a very good addition (owned in 29% of CBS leagues).
- Yes he pitches for the Astros and wins are at a premium, but that also means that Bud Norris could provide some hidden value. Aside from a six run outing against Oakland where Norris only last 0.2 innings, he has been a good pitcher this season. Limiting the Angels to only one run over eight innings in his last start did not hurt, but on the season his ERA is only 3.40. Where has gotten into trouble is that he has not been efficient with his pitches and allows a lot of base runners (his WHIP is 1.49 and Norris has walked 17 in 45 innings). That is something to be concerned about, but his last few starts have been a little more efficient.
Side note from The Rotoprofessor – I am a lot more concerned about Norris this week given his struggles on the road both in 2012 (6.94 ERA) and in 2013 (5.93 ERA). With one of his starts coming in Detroit, I would be extremely cautious in using him.
- Try not to get attracted by the name recognition of Josh Beckett. Other than his third start of the season, where he pitched 8.1 innings against Arizona, he has not pitched more than 6 innings in any of his other starts this season. You are right for expecting more out of Beckett than a 5.13 ERA and 1.49 WHIP, but there has not been much indication of an improvement.