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“65 Mustangs” Pick Your Spots: Week 4 Fantasy Baseball & DFS Spot Starting Guide. Get your Lefty Two Start Pitchers Here.

It was really warm in the Northeast this week and the weather had been great until yesterday when it rained. I managed to get the cover off my pool finally and better get some chemicals before it clouds up on me. This is too early for the pool but the wind blew it half off of the pool the other day so it was either take it off or let it fall in. Next, I have to start tackling the vegetable garden, but I have no idea when I am going to find the time. I may not be able to borrow my neighbor’s tiller this weekend so I may have to weed it and turn it over by hand. I can use the exercise. Speaking of exercise, this week, we not only have a bevy of two-start pitchers to choose from for spot starting but most of them, nearly all of them are left-handed, just like my manual tiller.

Due to the ebb & flow of the schedule and pitching rotations, some weeks have all aces as two-start pitchers while others have all back of the rotation pitchers getting two. Writing last week’s article was similar to this week’s in that there are plenty of lesser owned two start pitchers, and even some repeats. This week again most of the two-start pitchers are owned in less than 50% of leagues, and most are left handed.

What to expect in 2017: (If you read this part in last week’s article skip down to week 4.)

Criterion Used: Platoon splits, LH/RH, Day/Night, Month, Half, stadium splits, team against splits, metrics like GB/FB rate, K & BB rates, Babip, Trends, etc. Sources are Fan Graphs, Baseball Reference, Fantrax, ESPN and more.

Pitchers from the under 50% ownership group – I’ll list three or four pitchers, less than 50% owned who I believe are primed for a good start the following week, or better yet two good starts. I will make my decisions based on matchups, splits, recent trends and my own gut, which is not a measurable stat but gets me by pretty well.

Not for the faint of heart, pitchers from the abyss- I’ll list two or so pitchers that are less than 20% owned and look like a good choice based on the above criterion.

DFS Ace to avoid – This is great for both DFS, Roto, and to some extent H2H leagues and points leagues. Just because a pitcher is on your roster does not mean you are required to put him out there in a bad match-up. I’ll bet the guy who won your league last season knew when to sit down his ace. If you are a DFS fan, I don’t have to tell you what happens when the ace you spent 20% of your budget on gets bombed in the 2nd inning.

Match-up of the Week: If I see a match up that is too good to pass up, I’ll present the starter and explain why he should be in your lineup.

WEEK FOUR –  April 24 through April 30, 2017: The pitching is finally starting to normalize and now we have three weeks of data to draw from. Most starters have three or four starts in now.

Trivia Question: What pitcher has returned to the AL where he started as one of the most heralded rookies of this generation. He then nearly lost his career to injury and after a few years in purgatory turned himself into a decent strikeout pitcher. His rookie season has been a mythical holy grail for fantasy players for years trying to recapture the magic. He is now three wins shy of 100 at 97 for his career, a goal most doubted he would ever reach. He also has 1,500 K’s at the age of 33.

Spotters from the <50% owned crowd:

***TWO START PITCHER***Francisco Liriano, LHSP, TOR (23.9% owned ESPN, 77% Fantrax) @ LAA, MON 4/24 & @ TB SAT 4/29: I broke one of my rules as Liriano is owned in 77% of Fantrax leagues, but only 23.9% of ESPN. There is no way he should be on the wire at all this coming week. The free-swinging Angels are 3rd in the AL in K’s and take very few walks. They are slumping hitting .196 in the past week and .212 over the past two. They are only hitting .226 vs lefties with only seven R and one HR in 124 AB. Tampa, on the other hand, leads the league in K’s and by a lot, but they are 1st in the AL in runs and 2nd in HR. However, even though they are hitting .264 vs Lefties they have hit only four HR in 206 plate appearances vs LH pitching. Trivia Question Answer: Isn’t it hard to believe this pitcher is 33 and 12 years removed from that mythical 12-3 2.16 ERA season. His 9.287 K/9 is 11th best of all active MLB starting pitchers.

***TWO START PITCHER***Wei-Yin Chen, LHSP, MIA (5% owned ESPN, 50% owned Fantrax) @ PHI TUE 4/24 & Vs PIT SUN 4/30: The Phils seldom walk and are 4th in the NL in K’s. They are also 11th in HR. They hit better at home than on the road, but have only hit .240 during the past two weeks. It gets worse as they are only hitting .225 vs Lefties. Pittsburgh’s offense has been terrible. They are last in the NL in runs, 14th in HR and seldom walk. They’ve hit .194 vs Lefties, .218 away from Pittsburgh and .217 overall the last week. Chen’s lifetime ERA in April is 3.35, by far his best month. He is not a big strikeout pitcher but he also will not kill himself with walks. A minor issue is Babip is at .245 vs his career .300, but again,  April is his best month.

***TWO START PITCHER***Patrick Corbin, LHSP, AZ (7.2% owned in ESPN, 43% FANTRAX) Vs SD, TUE 4/25 & Vs COL SUN 4/30: Why don’t more people own Mr. Corbin? How many weeks have I been asking that question? So far this season he had a somewhat rusty first start vs SF and then shut out the Indians for six innings of four-hit ball. After two games he is 1-1, 11 hits in 10 innings with only four walks and 4 K’s, 1.80 ERA but a 1.50 WHIP because of the game one walks. I think the K’s will come back with the command. Now 27, I own him in three leagues. It gets better though as next week he gets the Padres at home in Arizona on Tuesday.  As mentioned earlier, the Padres are last in hitting in the NL and hitting .201 so far vs lefties with a .260 OBP. They are hitting.207 away from Petco. They are also 14th in the NL in runs and have only hit .213 in their last 7 days. Colorado is surprisingly 12th in the NL in runs and they seldom walk. They are hitting .218 over the past two weeks, .251 vs Lefties and .233 away from Coors.

***TWO START PITCHER***Wade Miley, LHSP, BAL (16.5 % owned in ESPN, 33% owned Fantrax) Vs TB TUE 4/25 & @ NYY SUN 4/30: As mentioned earlier, Tampa leads the league in K’s and by a lot, but they are 1st in the AL in runs and 2nd in HR. And they are only hitting .218 away from Tampa. However, even though they are hitting .264 vs Lefties they have hit only four HR in 206 plate appearances vs LH pitching. The hot starting Yankees are surprisingly 2nd in R & BB and 3rd in HR & BA in the AL, but they are only hitting .209 with three HR in 107 plate appearances vs Lefties. If you decide to only grab him for the Tampa game I would not fault you at all. The Yanks are on fire right now.

Jaime Garcia, LHSP,  ATL (5.2% owned ESPN, 45% Fantrax) @ MIL, FRI 4/28: Garcia appears fully healthy again, after posting a 3.20 ERA in Spring Training and has a chance to be a big part of a rejuvenated Braves team in the NL East. He is a lefty so he will always get his chances.  His first 2017 start resulted in a loss as he gave up four ER in six IP on six hits and two walks.  In 2016 his HR rate spiked and his normally extreme GB/FB rate cratered. To me, that sounds like a command issue that he will correct with more reps.  April has always been his best month, and next week he gets the Brewers in Milwaukee. This is not a slam dunk as Milwaukee is hitting .296 vs lefties and are 1st in HR and 2nd in R in the NL, but are also first in K’s by a lot. They are hitting only .229 at home so far. In 21 games vs the Brewers, Garcia has a 2.88 ERA and they have hit .231 against him.

 

Not for the faint of heart. Pitchers from the abyss: 

***TWO START PITCHER***Matt Cain, RHSP, SFG (2.1% owned ESPN, 15% owned Fantrax) @ LAD MON 4/24 & VS SD sat 4/29: The Dodgers offense is middle of the pack, but they lead the league in walks so Cain cannot afford to be wild. They only hit .217 in the last week, but they are hitting .271 vs righties on the season. The Padres are 14th in the NL in R and 5th in K’s, and are only hitting .222 vs righties and .207 away from Petco. They are also hitting only .213 in their last seven games.

Matt Andriese, RHSP, TBR (3.1% owned ESPN, 26% owned Fantrax) @ TOR SAT 4/29: Tor is surprisingly 14th in the AL in HR, 13th in R, 2nd in K’s and have an extremely low BA. In fact, their 12 HR are half that of the league-leading Rangers. They are worse against righties, hitting .207 and also at home hitting .221. This sounds like a perfect storm. Get them while they are down, in the wrong house and facing the wrong sided pitcher. We can’t blame the departure of Edwin as he is also off to a slow start in Cleveland as well. There is likely some regression on the horizon as his 3.31 ERA is not supported by his 4.51 FIP. He is 27 now, so we should see his best season if he stays in the rotation.

Jesse Hahn, RHSP, OAK (1.9% owned ESPN, 22.0% Fantrax) @ LAA THU 4/27: Hahn is pitching to the same levels as he did in his first two seasons before he hit bottom last season in nine starts. In 3/4 seasons he’s sported a low 3’s ERA and sits at 3.00 right now. The Babip is a bit low still and he is never going to lead your team in strikeouts though his K rates are back to pre-2016 levels as well. He is 27 now and should be ready to establish who he is now at the MLB level. He is especially tough on right-handed batters and LAA only has two lefties in their order with the big bats all right handed. The free-swinging Angels are 3rd in the AL in K’s and take very few walks. They are only hitting .196 in the past week and .212 over the past two. They are only hitting .239 vs righties, averaging less than three runs per game. If you are digging he is only 2% owned in ESPN leagues.

 

 

You may want to rethink starting him:

Steven Strasburg, RHSP, WAS @ COL, TUE 4/25: This is an absolute no-brainer. I don’t need to explain right? But if you like to play contrarian in DFS, stay in bed that day. Strasburg has never given up a HR in the mountains, however, he has a 7.20 ERA in Colorado and the Rocks have hit .313 against him there.

Match-up of the week:

Clayton Kershaw, LHSP LAD @ SF TUE 4/25: This is an absolute no-brainer. I don’t need to explain right? But seriously. Spend the money that day. Check out these splits. In 36 career games vs the Giants Kershaw has a 1.61 ERA and .805 WHIP .183 ERA. The Giants have hit .183 with a .220 OBP and .474 OPS. Right, an OPS that sounds more like a slugging percentage. This is his best line against any other National League team in his career. (The Mets are close though) Want more? It gets better on the Bay. At SanFran, in 18 games against him, the Giants have hit .170 with a .457 OPS, and his ERA there is 1.36. His 10 wins at Giants Stadium are the most at any ballpark other than the 74 at Dodgers Stadium. His 18 overall wins vs the Giants are 2nd only to his wins vs Colorado. Better research some bargain offense because Kershaw will cost you but you have to have him in your lineup.

Thanks for reading and good luck in week four, especially with your pitching. If you have a question about these or any other SP match-ups next week don’t hesitate to leave a message in the comments, write me, or check out my “Pick Your Spots” thread every Sunday on the /r/fantasybaseball Sub-Reddit where I’ll talk starting pitching all day Sunday.

joseph.iannone021@gmail.com          @JoeIannone2 Twitter

 

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Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 16th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #83 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.

Our guests this week are Lenny Melnick and Kyle Klinker. Kyle is an MLFB champion and a veteran of MLFS leagues. Lenny is an FSWA Hall of Famer, the co-host of the Sunday morning fantasy sports show from 7-10am EST with Craig Mish on Sirius, and the owner of lennymelnickfantasysports.com. Check his shows out on his site every morning through out the week at 9am EST.

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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(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 23rd, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #84 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.

Our guests this week are Andy Macuga and Ron Shandler. Andy is the head football and baseball coach for Borrego Springs H.S. in southern California. Ron is a FSTA Hall of Famer and a fantasy baseball pioneer.

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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