Here we are again… It seems like the weeks just go by faster and faster, and while time hasn’t sped up fantasy baseball isn’t just a once a week endeavor. You can’t just pop in, pick up players, set your lineup and be done with it. As soon as one FAAB cycle ends, preparation for the next one has to begin. One of those areas, where an advantage can be gained, is pitchers who are taking the mound twice. Let’s jump right into how our options for this week:
- Chris Sale – Boston Red Sox – vs. Texas; at Baltimore
- Hyun-Jin Ryu – LA Dodgers – at LA Angels; vs. Chicago Cubs
- Charlie Morton – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Oakland; vs. LA Angels
- Trevor Bauer – Cleveland Indians – vs. Cincinnati; at Detroit
- Masahiro Tanaka – NY Yankees – vs. NY Mets; at Chicago White Sox
- Mike Minor – Texas Rangers – at Boston; at Cincinnati
- Chris Paddack – San Diego Padres – at San Francisco; at Colorado
- Jose Quintana – Chicago Cubs – at Colorado; at LA Dodgers
- German Marquez – Colorado Rockies – vs. Chicago Cubs; vs. San Diego
- Chris Archer – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Atlanta; at Miami
- Yu Darvish – Chicago Cubs – at Colorado; at LA Dodgers
- Dakota Hudson – St. Louis Cardinals – at Miami; at NY Mets
- Mike Foltynewicz – Atlanta Braves – vs. Pittsburgh; vs. Philadelphia
- Griffin Canning – LA Angels – vs. LA Dodgers; at Tampa Bay
- Spencer Turnbull – Detroit Tigers – at Kansas City; vs. Cleveland
- Joe Musgrove – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Atlanta; at Miami
- Anibal Sanchez – Washington Nationals – at Chicago White Sox; vs. Arizona
- Martin Perez – Minnesota Twins – vs. Seattle; vs. Kansas City
- John Means – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Toronto; vs. Boston
- Jason Vargas – NY Mets – at NY Yankees; vs. St. Louis
- Sandy Alcantara – Miami Marlins – vs. St. Louis; vs. Pittsburgh
- Jerad Eickhoff – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. Arizona; at Atlanta
- Jon Duplantier – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Philadelphia; at Washington
- Daniel Mengden – Oakland A’s – at Tampa Bay; vs. Seattle
- Shaun Anderson – San Francisco Giants – vs. San Diego; vs. Milwaukee
- Jake Junis – Kansas City Royals – vs. Detroit; at Minnesota
- Mike Leake – Seattle Mariners – at Minnesota; at Oakland
- Kevin Gausman – Atlanta Braves – vs. Pittsbugh; vs. Philadelphia
- Ariel Jurado – Texas Rangers – at Boston; at Cincinnati
- Dylan Covey – Chicago White Sox – vs. Washington; vs. NY Yankees
- Trent Thornton – Toronto Blue Jays – at Baltimore; at Houston
- Taylor Clarke – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Philadelphia; at Washington
- At the start of the season I was not expecting to be writing this article in June and touting Mike Minor as one of the best options of the week. Here we are, and it’s not just due to a lack of other available choices, as the southpaw has been having solid campaign. In his last three starts Minor’s ERA is 2.16, and for the season it’s 2.54. With a 1.22 WHIP the left-hander isn’t allowing too much traffic on the bases, and he has 87 strikeouts in 81.1 innings so he has shown the ability to work out of trouble. To this point he has benefiting from an 87.2% strand rate, so as that regresses it is possible that his ERA trends up towards his 3.39 FIP or 3.96 xFIP. Compared to last season Minor is doing a better job of keeping the ball on the ground, 42.3% compared to 34.4% last season, with a corresponding decrease to his fly ball rate. Overall, while I’m not buying into Minor’s ERA at the level it’s at now I still feel confident in rolling him out each week. Boston will be a tough match-up, but at the worst the strikeouts provide a nice floor.
- After a strong start to the season, things have slowed down for Chris Paddack and I’m not sure how I feel about him for this week. While two bad starts, nine runs in 9.1 innings, don’t make a season or erase his early season success, he isn’t exactly entering this week in the best position. What troubles me slightly is the fact that he is struggling and has to make his second start in Coors Field. As far as his overall numbers go, it’s really hard to get much better than a 2.97 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. What might be the most impressive thing, more than his 66 strikeouts in 60.2 innings, is the fact that Paddack has walked just 12 batters in 11 starts.
- Another pitcher who isn’t exactly entering the week in the best position, is German Marquez. In the case of the Colorado right-hander, both of his starts this week come in Coors Field where he has a 4.93 ERA this season, compared to 3.33 on the road. Based on where he was drafted, and it’s not like Coors Field was a secret on draft day, benching him likely isn’t an option. Things have slowed down for Marquez, as after posting a 2.93 ERA in the first month of the season his May ERA checked in at 4.12 before allowing eight runs over 5.1 innings in his first start of June. The one positive I can take away is the fact that he is walking just 1.79 batters per nine innings while he is also improving his ground ball percentage from 47.3% to 53.5%. However, when things go bad there really is nothing you can do, but his 3.40 FIP also generates some optimism; hence the pre-season draft position. It is clear that Marquez is talented and you drafted him for a reason, so don’t let the struggles spook you too badly.
- Speaking of pitchers who have struggled this season but are better than what they have shown, let’s take a look at Mike Foltynewicz. The Atlanta right-hander battled some injuries earlier in the season, and after making his first start of the year May 2nd his ERA is still a robust 5.89. If we take his first start out of the equation, two runs in 4.2 innings, his results have been split down the middle in his six starts. So based on the law of averages his week should even out in the worst case scenario, but we really can boil his troubles down to one thing; the home run. To this point Foltynewicz has allowed an eye popping 3.05 home runs per nine innings, and that is never going to lead to success. It also helps to explain his 6.62 FIP, but his 4.91 xFIP does provide some solace. Despite the fact that one of every four foul balls he allows leave the park, it is a good sign that he is walking under two batters per innings (1.83). We have seen what Foltynewicz is capable of, on both counts, so roll him out at your own risk this week.
- I really have tried to resist John Means, but all he keeps on doing is having success. Pitching in Coors Field, five innings of three run ball (it could have been worse), facing the Red Sox (just one run in seven innings of work) or anything else we could use to knock him down has just been checked off his list. In fact he has only allowed more than three runs in a start once this season (four runs against the White Sox), so the left-hander also has consistency working for him. He clearly made some adjustments and improvements this off-season, and they have been put to good use resulting in a 2.67 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. While he isn’t going to overpower you, 50 strikeouts in 60.2 innings, there is enough production to feel good about. Of course there is the 4.04 FIP and 4.98 xFIP to deal with, so while I wouldn’t exactly look to target him in a trade you could do worse. Facing the Blue Jays should prove to be successful and we have already seen him tame Boston once, so while streaming a pitcher against the Red Sox may seem to be odd you could do worse if it is innings you are after.
- It’s not an exciting option, and last season was ugly, but at 12% ownership in CBS leagues Jason Vargas requires your attention. Forget about the fact that he has been one of the most reliable Mets pitchers this season, they are letting him pitcher deeper into games and the southpaw has been delivering. The match-ups could be better as he faces the Yankees and the Cardinals, but it’s nothing that will cause me to run in the opposite direction. In his last three starts Vargas’ ERA is 0.86 and he has struck out 17 batters in 21 innings. It really is hard to ask for much more than that. Through 10 games, nine starts, Vargas’ 3.57 ERA and 1.35 WHIP don’t look terrible. We do have to add the caveat though that his complete game shutout in his last start did come against the Giants and his xFIP still sits at 5.00, but it’s also hard to argue with the recent success.