Climate change is a hoax. Bwahahahhahahahahha. This week started with more snow-outs and rain-outs, wreaking havoc on pitching staffs and schedules for owners in even the shallowest leagues. It has been stormy to say the least. Try to convince a single fantasy owner that climate change is not real. I bet you have a better chance of dating Stormy Daniels right about now. But we press on. There are plenty of gems in the under 50% owned (in ESPN) group of free agent scheduled starting pitchers next week. I just can’t predict that their starting dates will remain the same or if the Two-Start Pitchers will remain as such. A single rain-out or snow out, as early as tomorrow, could bump a pitcher back to Monday of next week. But we press on. After my favorite featured starters will be a short list of a few more players who have good two start match-ups coming up and are worth a look as well. Sometimes those last minute pick ups work out for you. I grabbed Mike Fiers today and he got me a W. If you chose all my picks for this week and they all get a Win, you Win a date with Stormy. Yes, of course I can make that happen. 😉
And I’m doing my own yard work this week, no supervising like last weekend. I need the air and the exercise and it is gorgeous out. But first, let’s see who is on the wire who may help us this week. There are still some veteran quality starting pitchers hanging on the wire, barely owned, who just might be the guy you pick up in April and never throw back to the pond. There are guys coming off the DL faster than we can drop players to make room for them, and there are rookie SP who are getting recalled now as they pass the Super Two Deadline. Your roster will need to remain fluid for a couple more weeks. Then, there are the Mets. We’ll save them for last. And if I don’t see her first, say high to Stormy for me. I realize she is busy right about now, but we still have a league to win.
***Two-Start Pitcher***Zack Davies, RHSP, MIL (20% owned in ESPN) @ KC TUE & @ CHC SUN: I’m a Zack Davies fan since last season. Sure, he is prone to the occasional blow out, but who isn’t when we are talking about SP under 50% owned? But, he is also prone to collecting Wins, and you will always hear me say that Wins are still a category in most leagues, so you need them. His last start, a great match up against the Reds ended in a W for both Davies and the Brewers. He went 6.1 IP with only 3 hits and 2 walks, but only 2 K’s. The most important stat though is that he did not give up any runs. He may not win you the strikeouts category but in 2017 he was close to leading the NL in Wins. The Royals are an AL Patsy so far, so Davies gets them at just the right time. The Royals are hitting a .296 wOBA and .221 BA against Righties at home so far in 2018. The Royals game is a must start in fantasy. The Cubs, on the other hand have a .347 wOBA and .266 BA vs Righties at home so far in 2018. You may want to sit Davies for the Cubs game, I am.
***Two-Start Pitcher***Brandon McCarthy, RHSP, ATL (10.5% owned in ESPN) @ CIN MON, & @ PHI SAT: Yes, McCarthy is still available in 90% of ESPN Leagues. Why? I own him in any league I was able to get him. People forget how good he is when he is healthy. So far he is 3-0 on the young season with an 18/8 K/BB in 21 2/3 Innings. He just came off a stint with a partially dislocated Left Shoulder (non pitching arm) injury which did not land him on the DL, and didn’t miss a beat against Philadelphia where he threw 16 1st pitch strikes out of 21 hitters faced. McCarthy gets the Reds in Cinci on Monday where they have a .270 wOBA and .210 BA vs RHSP at home. The Phils, on Saturday may be a tougher match-up as they are hitting a .323 wOBA and have a .249 BA so far in 2018 vs Righties at Home in 2018. I’m starting him in both games but would understand if you skipped the Phils. McCarthy’s pitching arm has been healthy so far, so ride him while he is healthy. His lingerie model wife, Amanda is waiting for him at home so the DL temptation is always there for him.
***Two-Start Pitcher***Tanner Roark, RHSP, WAS (47.9% owned in ESPN) @ SFG TUE & Vs AZ SUN: Yeah Roark is only owned in 47.9 % of ESPN Leagues so far. Good for us, as he gets the Giants in SF and then a tougher match vs the D’Backs in AZ SUN. Roark is 1-1 so far in 2018 but he has knocked down 24K’s in 25 IP so far with a 3.24 ERA and .940 WHIP after walking only 9 and giving up 14 hits. The teams he’s faced so far have been the Rockies, Braves and Mets (twice) so it is not like he is facing weak competition. The Giants have a .293 wOBA and .254 BA vs Righties at home so far in 2018. The D’backs are a little tougher, hitting a .327 wOBA and .235 BA at home so far vs righties. I’d use him in both games if i had to but in a daily league you may want to find someone else later in the week instead of this AZ game. If I pick him up off the wire I’m starting him in both games. I guess Roark and his wife go to different parties than the McCarthy’s do.
Sean Newcomb, LHSP, ATL (18.6% owned in ESPN) @ CIN WEDS: I don’t think Newcomb will stay less than 20%
owned much longer. He is having a little bit of a command issue so far in the early going, but is also sporting an 11.3 K/9 which showcases his potential. I wrote about him in my first article this season, and have used him twice this season already. So, I’m pegging him for week four now as well. The Reds are last in the NL with 56 runs scored and 12th in the NL with a .223 average so far in 2018. The Reds are also hitting only .217 at home vs lefties and in their last seven games are hitting .209. They only have 14 runs scored so far in 5 games vs lefties. This is a fantasy Must Start.
Reynaldo Lopez, RHSP, CHW (41.3% owned in ESPN) @KC FRI: This is another Must Start in fantasy. The Royals are hitting a .296 wOBA and .221 average against righties at home so far, and have one of the worst offenses in baseball after letting most of their lineup walk away this past off season, and losing Sal Perez for an extended period as well. All Lopez has done is toss 3 consecutive quality starts to start the season, though he is only 0-2 to show for it because his offense is not so prolific itself. But he also sports a 1.42 ERA and 1.00 WHIP after three starts with 21 K’s in 19 IP. His 11 walks are a bit troublesome, and his 3 quality starts were against the offenses of the A’s, Tigers and Blue Jays. Based on that I don’t think KC is going to hurt him, and if he can harness the walks and the command he will not be owned in less than 50% of leagues much longer.
Andrew Cashner, RHSP, BAL (13.4% owned in ESPN) Vs DET FRI: Here is another Must Start in fantasy for next
week. Cashner is off to a great start in 2018, with three of his first four starts being Quality Starts, and a 3.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. He has a 21/11 K/BB with those 21 K’s coming in 24 innings pitched. He gets the lowly Detroit offense on Friday. The Tigers are hitting a .258 wOBA with a .195 BA so far against righties on the road. Again, this is a must start and if you haven’t looked already go see if Cashner is on your wire.
From the Abyss: Digging deep for quality starts among barely owned pitchers: Rapid Fire – Plenty to chose from!!
***Two-Start Pitcher***Matt Boyd, LHSP, DET, (7.1% owned in ESPN) @ PIT TUE & @ BAL SUN: The Pirates have a .238 wOBA vs lefties at home so far in 2018, and the Orioles have a .298 wOBA and .171 BA against lefties so far at home in 2018 as well. All Boyd has done so far in 2018 is give up only one run in each of his first three starts, all quality starts, though he is only 0-1. His 1.40 ERA and .67 WHIP will help you out though even if he dies not get the W. He may lose his 2nd start as they have talked about bumping his first start back to Wednesday. I’m picking him up either way.
Mike Fiers, RHSP, DET, (5% owned in ESPN) @ BAL SAT: I picked him up Saturday (today, as I write this) for his start against KC and he rewarded me with a Win. He gave up 10 hits and logged no strikeouts, but he only walked one and gave up 2 runs in earning the W. The Orioles have a .298 wOBA and .171 BA against lefties so far at home in 2018 as well.
Check these out as well: Two Start Pitchers with at least one cream puff match up:
***Two-Start Pitcher***Chad Bettis, RHSP, COL (31.7% owned in ESPN) Vs SD MON & @ MIA SUN
***Two-Start Pitcher***Mike Leake, RHSP, (21.5% owned in ESPN) @ CWS MON & @ CLE SAT
***Two-Start Pitcher***Trevor Cahill, RHSP, OAK (2.3% owned in ESPN) @ TEX MON & @ HOU SUN: Texas is hitting a .281 wOBA (25th in the MLB) and hitting .207 vs righties at home and the Stros are hitting a paltry .207 with a .277 wOBA vs righties at home or 26th in the MLB. Yes, those Stros. Get them both before it gets hot in Texas.
Back to the Mets: What happens when Jason Vargas comes off the DL and is ready to step into the rotation?
Zack Wheeler, RHSP, NYM (16.3% owned in ESPN) @ SD SAT – This is also a must start game in fantasy next week. Wheeler gets the Padres in San Diego where they have a .291 wOBA against RHSP at home in 2018. At the moment the Padres are 28th in the NL with a .207 average vs righties, along with a 26% K-rate so far in 2018. It is starting to look like Matt Harvey may be the man out of a job when Vargas comes back. His poor pitching is one of the main conversations on NY area talk radio. The Dark Knight may be wearing out his welcome finally in NY. He is a free agent after this season, and the Mets still have a minor league option on him. He’d have to approve that, and likely won’t. When asked if he would accept a stint in the pen untill he got straightened out, he merely said, “I’m a Starting Pitcher!” Well, Matt, maybe you were. I’m still cautious here though as Steven Matz has not yet solidified his hold on a rotation spot yet either. Jason Vargas is likely a week or so away from a big league start, and they did not sign him to be a middle reliever. There has been some talk of a 6 man rotation, but we know how that goes. they are just afraid to make what will be a tough decision. This is why a team can NEVER have enough pitching.
I’m expecting week Four to give me a better idea of what my teams really are for 2018. We’ll be a month in at that point and early season trends will either be fact or fiction. Only then can we come up with strategies to fix our teams. Good luck in week four, and as always I’ll be on Reddit all day Sunday talking spot starts and all things fantasy baseball. Or you can reach me directly at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @joeiannone2