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“65 Mustangs” Pick Your Spots: Week 6 Fantasy Baseball & DFS Spot Starting Guide.

Welcome to Week 6, almost a quarter of the way through the long season already. If you are in an H to H league you are past the quarter mark. Doesn’t it seem like we just drafted? We must be having fun, well, unless you own one of the pitchers in the next paragraph. The injury bug has claimed some big names already and in some bizarre ways. There was a dirt bike accident, a torn lat muscle after a refused MRI, and many more. Hopefully you have not been affected yet.

WEEK SIX –  May 8 through MAY 14, 2017: Last week I saidThe pitching is finally normalizing as we have four weeks of data to draw from. Most rotations are up to five starters now and some have as many as five or six starts in the books.”  Every fantasy player knows that the moment you think your team, or in this case starting rotation, is set for the long haul it is time to worry. Actually, it is or was time to prepare. It should always be time to prepare. The three guarantees in life are death, taxes and the fantasy players you are relying on WILL get hurt. The first big wave of injuries has just kicked us right where it hurts. Dropping like flies were Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner, Corey Kluber, Cole Hamels, Aaron Sanchez, Ian Kennedy, James Paxton, Sean Manaea, the King, and more.  More will come so start watching the wire, watch for call-ups and watch for returning rehabbers like Jake Odorizzi,  Chris Tillman, and Sonny Gray.

No one dropped David Price but maybe they’ll listen to offers if they’ve lost more pitchers since then. If you pick up a spotter who does well, do some research before dropping him again. Perhaps he is worth rostering. No one will care if you start crying about all the pitchers on your DL, and if you rush out to trade for one you will be taken advantage of.  I own Syndergaard and the low-ball offers are streaming in for him.  Anyway, I think I picked some quality options for this coming week and maybe some are worth hanging on to.

What to expect in 2017: (If you read this part in last week’s article skip down to week 6.)

Criteria Used: Platoon splits, LH/RH, Day/Night, Month, Half, stadium splits, team batting 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 SIX: 

Spotters from the <50% owned crowd:

***TWO START PITCHER*** A.J. Griffin, RHSP, TEX (5% owned ESPN, 35% owned Fantrax) @ SD TUE 5/9 & Vs OAK SUN 5/14: In his last two games he’s posted 10.18 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9. For the season Griffin is 3-0 with 23k’s to 5 walks and only 15 hits in 20.1 IP.  His ERA sits at 3.54 with a .984 WHIP, but is still using 90+ pitches to 5 or 6 innings. The Padres are one of the worst hitting teams in the MLB, last in the NL with a .217 BA, 13th in the NL in runs and even worse with a .300 wOBA against right-handers. The A’s are 14th in the AL in runs, 13th in BA and 3rd in strikeouts. They’ve hit .231 vs righties, .225 away from Oakland and in the last week have hit .202 averaging less than 3 runs per game. Their wOBA vs righties is .311, good for 21st in the MLB. Unless something goes horribly wrong AJ should come out of next week with two wins/QS and a bunch of strikeouts.

***TWO START PITCHER***Matt Andriese, RHSP, TBR (3.1% owned ESPN, 54% owned Fantrax) Vs KC TUE 5/9 & @ BOS SAT 5/13: Kansas City is by far the worst hitting team in the majors. The Royals are hitting .187 away from KC and are dead last in the AL for runs (82 or 1/2 the Yanks total that leads the AL), last in BA (.212) and last in walks. Couple that with the fact that Andriese pitches better at home than on the road and this is a no brainer. The Red Sox will likely be a little tougher, and if you don’t need the 2nd start for the week feel free to pass. The Sox are 3rd in the AL batting .271 and seldom strike out so Andriese will have to keep it on the ground. This is his 3rd straight week on my short list and he has not disappointed. Last week he rewarded any of us who spotted him against Miami going 7 shutout innings on 5 hits and a K/BB of 8/3. He now has 4 QS and a 3.09 ERA with a 1.286 WHIP. He is 27 now and I still say we could see his best season if he stays in the rotation. Soon he’ll be gone from the wires too so get him while you can in front of this primo KC match-up.

JC Ramirez, RHSP, LAA (7.2% owned in ESPN, 44% FANTRAX) Vs DET THU 5/11: Last week I said: “If you are in a deep league and need to really search for a starter, how about a reliever who is only 8% owned in Fantrax.” Overnight his ownership rate jumped to 44% after one good start, so I am leaving him on this list for the 56% of you who have not

found a spot for him yet. If your league has roster limits by primary position, a reliever primary who is tossing QS is a valuable spot start. Last week I recommended him against the ‘Stros even though they were 2nd in the AL in BA and OBP, and NONE of the splits were in his favor. What did he do? He only went 6 innings giving up 8 hits, no walks, 9 strikeouts and one run. In his other game last week he pitched 5.1 innings of 2 run ball with another 9 strikeouts. This week, his 2nd on my short list, he gets to face the Tigers at home. The Tigers are 4th in the AL in runs and 5th in batting average so I’ll need him to keep this run of dominance going, and it would be nice if he could pitch a bit deeper into games. Either way, he is averaging one K per inning and now has an ERA of 3.74 with a 1.167 WHIP.  Hurry and grab this guy before his ownership rate spikes again. How many pitchers off the wire give you 9 K’s per game? The exciting thing here is that before this season Ramirez pitched 111 straight appearances as a reliever.

Trevor Cahill, RHSP, SDP (16.5 % owned in ESPN, 50%26% owned Fantrax) @ CHW FRI 5/12:  Trevor Cahill kept up his strong strikeout rate to start the season by fanning seven batters last week vs zero walks in six shutout innings vs Colorado. Cahill has struck out an impressive 37 batters in 30 innings against only 11 walks and two HR bringing his ERA down to 3.60 with a 1.167 WHIP. His FIP has jumped all the way down to 2.64 after I warned it might show regression coming, and I guess it still could, but I’m not ready to get off the bus. He also has an impressive 1.65 GB/FB rate which should keep his HR’s in check. Three of his five starts have been on the road, with his most successful again coming at home in Petco. May has always been Cahill’s best month with a lifetime May ERA of 2.95. He gets the White Sox in Chicago next week where they are hitting .217 vs righties and have scored less than four runs per game in the last week. The Pale Hose are 12th in the AL in runs scored and next to last in taking walks. Cahill is also reliever primary in most leagues.

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

***TWO START PITCHER***Luis Perdomo, RHSP, SDP (2.1% owned ESPN, 27% owned Fantrax) Vs TEX TUE 5/9 & @ CWS SUN 5/14: Perdomo has a 4.03 ERA but a 3.09 FIP shows it may have some room to come down. He doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts but his 2.42 BB/9 and low HR rate keep him out of trouble. The HR rate is partially fueled by a whopping 69.17 GB% stemming from a very heavy sinker that comes in with good velocity. He gets a couple of primo matchups at home vs TEX who at .296 has the 22nd road wOBA in the MLB, and at the Chicago White Sox whose .270 wOBA vs righties is last in the MLB. Texas is 14th in the AL with a .220 batting average, 2nd in the AL in strikeouts. They are hitting .228 vs righties, the same number as Elfin’s home BA against. Over the past week, they are hitting.217 with a .283 OBP. The Sox are 12th in the AL in runs, 11th in BA and hitting .217 vs RH. A classic perfect storm 2 start spotter.

Zack Eflin, RHSP, PHI (34% Owned Fantrax) Vs SEA TUE 5/9: Eflin, 23, is back for a second go-around with the Phillies in 2017 after a less than spectacular rookie season. When he first came up I decided to wait and see with him but now he has four starts under his belt. The last three starts have each been seven full innings with no walks and only one start giving up more than two runs. His ERA sits at 2.42 and he has a .846 WHIP. I guess it is time to pick him up now if you are not already ahead of me. His 12/3 K/BB is impressive, but not because of the strikeouts. He’s only given up three walks and three HR in 26 IP. One word of caution is that he is pitching to a Babip against of only .200. He is a good ground ball pitcher when he is on and has cut both his walk rate and HR rates in half since his rookie campaign. Next week he gets the Mariners who are 2nd in runs and 4th in BA in the AL, however their batting average away from Safeco is .230 and Eflin’s home ERA in Philly is 3.58.

***TWO START PITCHER*** Nate Karns, RHSP, KC (23.9% owned ESPN, 31% Fantrax) @ TB MON 5/8 & Vs BAL SAT 5/13: Karns made me proud last week with 6 shutout innings vs the White Sox in KC where he gave up one hit, one walk and seven K’s for a win. This gives him a 3.81 ERA through his last five starts and in his last two games he has 12 K’s with one lone walk. His overall 4.97 ERA is inflated by a four-run one inning relief appearance in his first game of the season, and four of his six HR allowed also came in one game. He was supposed to get two starts last week but his second was pushed back to Monday which gives him another shot at a two-start week. First, he gets Tampa whose 25.2% K-Rate vs righties is 3rd in the league, which is pretty good considering they are 1st in the league in K’s overall. The Rays also walk a lot and are 5th in the AL in runs scored. However, they have only hit .206 during the past two weeks. Then he gets Baltimore at home. The O’s wOBA vs righties is .319 which is only 18th in the league and their road wOBA is only .314. His 61.4% ground-ball rate shows that when he keeps the ball down he’s extremely effective but unfortunately if he drifts up in the zone at all he gets punished as evidenced by his 30% HR/FB rate.

REALLY REACHING: Don’t try this at home.

***TWO START PITCHER*** Kyle Freeland, LHSP,  COL (5.2% owned ESPN, 47% Fantrax) Vs CHC TUE 5/9 & @ LAD SUN 5/14: This is a contrarian high risk/high reward two-start spotter to pick up for sure. He is pitching one of his starts at home vs the Cubs and then goes to LA for the dodgers. Both the Cubs and Dodgers are middle of the pack in the NL in most offensive categories, but the Cubs are batting .225 in the last seven games and LAD hits .227 vs lefties. What has Freeland done to get on this list? He is now 3-1 with a 2.65 ERA and 1.324 WHIP and has cranked out four QS so far with the last one coming at SD last week where he gave up three hits and two walks with four K’s but only allowed the Padres to score one run. He’d given up one run or less in 5 of 6 starts this season after giving up six in his first start. He has a 3.66 FIP and a 4.35 XFIP pointing to possible regression but his extreme 64.2 Ground Ball percentage keeps him out of trouble. He will need that in the mountains where the Rockies seem to be getting better at developing pitchers that may succeed in the thin air.

You may want to rethink starting him:

Jake Arrieta, RHSP, CHC @ COL MON 5/8: The Rockies have hit .520 against Arrieta in Colorado and .280 in total. His ERA in the mountains is 16.20 reflecting his struggles there and is 4.50 total in his career. They strike out a lot and seldom walk, but they are hitting .270 at home with twice the number of HR at home as on the road. Arrieta has also not found his magic yet this season, with an ERA of 4.63 even though he has a 4-1 record. Leave him home on this road trip.

Match-ups of the week: I have two for you this week.

Chris Archer, RHSP TB Vs KC WED 5/10: Archer has his strikeout pitches working early this season with a 48k to 16 BB ratio in 45.1 innings. This has lead to a 3.51 ERA and 1.213 WHIP in the explosive AL East. He now has 4 QS on the young season and has only given up 4 HR though he is still inefficient throwing about 110 pitches to hit 6 innings. This week he gets to face off with the Royals at home. The Royals are hitting .187 away from KC and are dead last in the AL for runs (82 or 1/2 the Yanks total that leads the AL), BA .212 and walks. They do seldom K but haven’t faced Archer yet this season.

Jose Quintana, LHSP CHW Vs SD FRI 5/12: Last week I said, “If you want to go contrarian, your opponents will likely pass on Q due to his 1-4 record and 5.22 ERA.” This is changing quickly as last week in KC he tossed 8 shutout innings on 4 H, 2 BB and 7 K’s getting his ERA down to 4.10 with a 1.31 WHIP. He shaved a whole run off his ERA in that one start. I hope you used him last week.  After 5 starts he has 4 QS. In his last 2 starts he had gone 14 IP with only one R, 4 BB and 17 K’s. Welcome back command Q. Next week he gets the Padres at home on Friday. The Padres have hit .188 in the past week with a .271 OBP, and they’ve been hitting only .197 with a .263 OBP vs lefties in 2017.

Thanks for reading and good luck in week six, 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.

joseph.iannone021@gmail.com          @JoeIannone2 Twitter

 

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Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join guest host Andrea Lamont, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 30th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #85 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 guest this week is Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, a 5 year veteran in MLFB leagues, and a really handsome guy. His articles publish every Sunday. He helps “Pick Your Spots” for the coming week.

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 Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday May 7th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #86 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 guest this week is Bryan Luhrs. Bryan is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, and the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports.

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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