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“65 Mustangs”: Pick Your Spots. Week 13 Spot Starting & Relief Pitcher Guide

When I recommend starting pitchers in my “Pick Your Spots” articles, I feel an obligation to pick up the same players I recommended on my own teams. That is usually easy because I believe in what I write, and the research I do tells me those are the guys I should use anyway. Sometimes a player I didn’t expect to be on the wire looks too good to pass up, or none of the pitchers I wrote about are available. In those cases, if I need a start, I’m grabbing from what is there, of course.

This week I took a spin in Daily Fantasy Sports, Friday night. I don’t have a lot of experience in that realm, so I don’t include specific advice for it in my articles, but I always knew the same analysis and research that I do here would help me there. I joined a private league, assembled my lineup and picked my 2 pitchers, then realized I was about $4k over budget. As much as I wanted both Max Scherzer and either Kyle Hendricks or Masahiro Tanaka, I could not afford it, so I had to go with plan B. Based on my research for last Sunday’s article, there was only one pitcher who fit my budget and would still give me a chance to win some cash.

I went to bed at about [11:00] PM and was in about 8th place, needing to finish in the top three to cash in. My only hope was if my #2 pitcher pitched a great game, as most of my offense was already done for the night. Jake Peavy’s right arm alone got me all the way to 2nd place and into the cash, pitching 7 innings of 2 run ball, only getting 4 K’s but he got the all important W. Risky? Damn straight, but I have to believe in what I write about. This time it worked.

I also have believed in Zack Davies, SP, MIL for a few weeks now, and sure enough I can’t write about him anymore, as his ownership is now 50%-75% owned. I still get to enjoy him, though, as I own him on at least half my own teams. Good luck Zack.

Closer Merry-Go-Round:  Not much new this week, but some updates:

Carlos Estevez, RP, COL was the surprise choice to close while McGee is out. In AA in 2015, Estevez esteves.jpegsaved 24 games with 82 K’s in 67 innings pitched. It appeared to have been a good choice as he cleanly saved his first four chances giving up no hits, walks or runs in doing so. Then he ran into the Arizona D’backs and promptly blew 2 saves, earning a loss in each. He seems to have a little leash still so far, but this is his chance to show he can do the job.  Jason Motte, RP, COL, who has closing experience, is listed as #2.

 Shawn Kelly, RP, WAS was named closer when Jonathan Papelbon, RP, WAS got hurt. Kelly converted his first two save opportunities flawlessly, but then blew a save the other day. Before we all say, “what now?,” know that the runs scored mainly because of bad defense and not Kelly’s pitching.

Brandon Kintzler, RP, MIN was named closer in MIN last week, and now reports out of Twins camp are that Perkins is done for the season following surgery to re-attach his labrum to the bones in his shoulder. Own Kintzler if you need saves, just don’t expect a ton of them.rodney arrow

Fernando Rodney, RP, SD gave up his first earned run of 2016 a few days ago, but has already closed two scoreless games in a row since then. I still think a meltdown will happen, not necessarily losing him his job, but it could lose you your week. I have no scientific reason for that, other than pessimism I suppose.

Trivia Question  – What journeyman NL pitcher, hardly owned at all in fantasy baseball, recently reeled off nine quality starts in a row and only gave up one HR in those nine starts?  Answer below.

It’s time to add players for next week, let’s go:

SPOT STARTS –   Borrowing last week’s theme, the Old and the New:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                THE OLD:                                                                                                                                                              

  • Jake Peavy, SP, SF (23% to 37% owned) – @ OAK, WED:  Still only 37% owned inpeavy Fantrax and even less in ESPN, Peavy is out there in roughly 2/3 of all leagues. That is hard to believe, considering he just had a date with the Phils, and next week has a date with the A’s in Oakland on Wednesday. Even if you don’t think of him as roster material, he is gold in these starts against soft offenses. All but two of Peavy’s last eight starts have been quality starts, giving up 2 runs or less in every one of them. His season GB/FB rate is over 1.0 and his HR/9 is less than 1.0. That, along with a K/9 of 7.2 vs a BB/9 of 2.7, shows Peavy is getting it done even though he no longer has elite velocity. As hard as it may be, one has to ignore his high ERA and WHIP, which were crafted in April & early May.
  • Tom Koehler, SP, MIA (19% to 44% owned) – @ ATL, THU:  Koehler’s string of ninekoehler straight quality or near quality starts (starting in early May) came to an end against the Cubs on Friday. He gave up four runs in Miami on 7 H, 2 BB and 7 K’s. He gave up a pair of HR which helped do him in. He had only given up 1 HR total in those past 9 QS games, but it was the Cubs, after all. The numbers don’t show it yet, but Koehler is having a pretty good season, if not one of his best, and he gets the Braves at home next Thursday. Yes, that was the trivia question answer there.
  •  Yovanni Gallardo, SP, BAL (7.5 to 36% owned) – @ SD, WED: gallardo.jpg Last week I said, regarding Gallardo, “Caveat:  Don’t Fall in Love!” And I didn’t, but I still love his matchup this week in San Diego. He pitched OK last week at home vs Tampa in a game the O’s won 6-3. He was a bit inefficient, reaching 96 IP in the 6th when he was pulled, but only gave up three earned runs on seven hits with only two walks and one HR. He only struck out three, limiting his value further. He may no longer be a rosterable fantasy SP, but when match ups like this come along, you have to at least look at the veteran pitchers. They don’t forget how to pitch and have enough guile to fool most hitters. I’m going to repeat this from last week in case you missed it. “Did anyone notice that in 2015, while pitching for the Texas Rangers, Yovanni Gallardo had the best ERA and HR/9 of his career (13-11, 3.42 ERA, .70 HR/9)?”   
  • Jeff Locke, SP, PIT (6% to 34% owned) @ OAK, FRI:  Overall, Locke is an average MLB locke ball 2SP at best. We all agree there right? But, sometimes you know when a pitcher may have something against a particular opponent, and OAK is one of those. After Locke’s magical run last month, including a 9 IP CG Shutout, he hit the inevitable wall hard, giving up 18 runs over 8 IP spanning 2 starts vs the Rockies in COL and against the Mets in NYC. Since then he’s had two QS at  home vs the Dodgers and Giants, only allowing 1 R in over 13 IP, with no walks or HR in either game. This FRI he gets the A’s in OAK and that is another quality match-up for Locke.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         THE NEW:                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • Tyler Wilson, SP, BAL (21.0% owned) – @ SEA, SAT:  I recommended Wilson for a two start week this past week, so he still has a Sunday game to go. He did put up a QS in the first game of the week against the Padres at home, though he did give up 9 hits, a HR and a walk in surrendering 3 runs to the Padres. Next week he gets to go to Seattle for a start on Saturday. Let’s make sure he comes out of Sunday’s start against the Rays well enough before grabbing him for Seattle. IF you need a start today, see if he is still out there.
  • Matt Andriese, SP, TB (24.0% to 48% owned) – Vs DET, THU:  I feel bad for Andriese. He pitched pretty well in his first stint starting in the MLB, only to get pushedandriese back into the pen when the rotation got healthy. At least they kept him on the Big Club, as if they knew he’d be needed again soon, and he is. He pitched well in relief, giving up no runs until his last relief stint, when he gave up 2 meaningless runs in a game the Rays lost to Cleveland 6-1. In his first start back this past week against Baltimore, a start I recommended and picked him up for myself, he gave up 2 runs, but only lasted 4.2 innings with 5 hits, 2 walks and 5 K’s in a game the Rays lost 5-0. Here is the deal with Andriese. I think he is good enough to be owned in Fantasy, so I’m not dropping him unless he really tanks. I’ll roll him out vs the Tigers Thursday, and if he pitches well I’m going to think of him as one of those starters that you don’t throw back to the pool. The fact that he is RP primary is golden in leagues that use Position Limits like mine do.
  • ***TWO STARTS***Dan Mengden,  SP, OAK (10% t0 41% owned) @ SF, MON & Vs PIT, SAT:  He tossed a QS vs the Brewers this week, even though he took  a loss,mentgen stash.jpg givirollie fingersng up 3 runs in 6 innings of a game the A’s lost 4-2. What I took from that game was his 8 strikeouts vs 1 walk. That is after showing great control in 45 AAA innings this season with a 39/10 K/BB ratio leading to a 1.39 ERA and .84 WHIP. His minor league K/BB after 37 starts is 8.5/2.7, so it seems he is mature beyond his 23 years from a control and command standpoint. He is already owned in all my leagues, but is still out there in 60% or more of leagues.  He still has some work to do on that mustache if he wants to look like this A’s pitcher Rollie Fingers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART:  MORE OLD STANDBY SPOT STARTERS                                                                                                 
  • Jorge De La Rosa, SP, COL (21% owned) – @LAD, FRI:colorado-rockies_Jorge-De-La-Rosa-bobblehead_8-23-2015  Last week I said, “With 81 Wins, De La Rosa is now the Rockies all-time leader in Wins.”  He’s now got 83. He beat the Marlins in MIA, going 6 IP with 5 H and 2 BB vs 3 K’s, giving up 3 ER on 3 solo HR. That is about the only way to give up 3 HR and get a QS, but he did it nonetheless, and then yesterday he beat the D’Backs in Colorado, giving up only 1 run on 6 hits and an alarming 5 walks vs 6 K’s. His “stuff” still seems intact, but he is struggling with command, control and efficiency, accruing an average of 100 pitchers per 6-inning game. The 50 runs his league mates scored in the past 4 games, all De La Rosa wins, has not hurt. He’s got the Dodgers on the road in LA next Friday, and I don’t see a reason to cut him just yet, at least until he pitches in the mountains again.
  • **Two Starts** Robbie Ray, SP, AZ (9.1% to 49% owned) – Vs PHI, MON & Vs SF, SUN:  Ray got to pitch in Toronto last week vs the Blue Jays and gave up 4 R in 5.1 IP on 2 HR, but also struck out 8 Blue Jays. Now he gets the Phils again, who he just beat handily on June 9th, and then the Giants come to AZ for a series at the end of the week. As I usually say, pick Ray up for the Monday start against the Phils and then decide if you want to hang onto him for the 2nd game on Sunday.


Dan Straily, SP, CIN (56% owned) vs CHC, MON & @ WAS, SAT.

Ivan Nova, SP, NYY, (32% owned) vs Tex, MON. ( He does have a more favorable start next Saturday in San Diego if you can pick him up later in the week.)

*”CLEW” = Closer En Waiting

** IRS + H = Inherited Runners stranded plus Holds

See you next week. Thanks for reading.


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Major League Fantasy Football Weekly: Join Lou LandersZak Sauer, and Coach Jeff Nelson live Saturday June 25th, 2016 from 1-2:30pm EST for episode #24 of Major League Fantasy Football Weekly. We will run our show on Saturday until August 27th, and then move back to Tuesday nights from 8-10pm EST on September 13th. This is a live broadcast and we do take callers at 323-870-4395. We will discuss the AFC West  from a NFL and fantasy football perspective.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”


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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday June 26th, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Every week we will do a quick recap of Fr-Sat games, and a forecast of Monday through Thursday’s games.

Our guests this week are Joe Iannone, and Nick DeSisto. Joe is a writer with MLFS, frequent show guest, and a key contributor to the MLFS community. Nick is an owner in our leagues and a frequent guest on our shows this year.

“You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

I'm an accountant and an amateur writer of fiction and sports commentary, mostly baseball. I've been a student of the game of baseball since the Dinosaurs roamed the earth, or at least since a few years before the world knew what a designated hitter was. Otherwise, I like "antique" cars of the 60's and 70's and have been a fantasy baseball fanatic since my first draft many years ago. I live in CT with my wife Megan of 25 years, our daughter Caitlin and their (their) cats. I'm also the better looking of the two guys in the the photo.

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