Good Morning Spot Starters. Happy Sunday! While our non FBB friends are cutting their lawns and planting veggies or vacuuming the pool, we are planning for next week. And, honestly, what else would we rather be doing?
Be honest. How many of you started Clay Buchholz last week? Did you really? Or did you stare at him sitting there on the wire wondering if you should pull the trigger or let someone else take the risky start? Maybe you read my article last week where I said, “If there were ever a time to use Buchholz……….”. And when you can make a living hurling a baseball you don’t need to dress well to land a swimsuit model for a wife. He better keep it up.
My most recent graduate is Tyson Ross, who is now owned in 55% of ESPN Leagues, a number which will surely grow sooner rather than later. I’m actually surprised it took this long. No, I didn’t discover Tyson Ross, but I have been promoting him all season so far, and he has a roster spot on most of my teams now.
My success from two weeks ago also continued with another good week of spot start picks. I’ve been looking deeper into the lesser owned starters and it is paying off.
As for the guys who came back last week, Alex Reyes came back with a flourish and ended up on the DL again right away. I didn’t look, I just dropped him. In all but deep keeper leagues my patience has run out after holding him for two months already. Carlos Rodon has not pitched yet but will soon, and Nathan Eovaldi only went six no-hit, one-walk innings in his first start back. Too bad he gets the Nats next week or he would be in the article below. Anthony Anthony Desclafini, who is written up below is due back this coming week. There are less good 2 start choices this week as many of them had two starts last week.
WEEK 10 TRIVIA QUESTION: What AL Starting Pitcher, owned in only 27% of ESPN Leagues, leads his team with 6 Wins? He has gone 3-0 over his last four starts, giving up but one earned run in 26 innings over that stretch. He was a rookie in 2017, and was traded mid season from the NL for the immortal Tyler O’Neill.
***Two Start Pitcher***Kyle Freeland, LHSP, COL (37.1% owned in ESPN Down 4% from last week) @ CIN TUE & Vs AZ SUN: Last week I said “This may be your last chance to pick up Freeland before he is owned in most leagues”. But, his ownership actually went down instead, at least in ESPN. Good for us, he may still be out there and now he has a primo two-start match-up. Perhaps it is the Colorado factor, as last week I said I almost never recommend Colorado SP at home in my articles but, Freeland is either perfect for that stadium or fearless or both. He ended up going 5.1 innings giving up 8 hits, no walks, 3 k’s and gave up 3 earned runs. That was good enough to earn him a W, even if he did not get the QS. Does that make him a good spotter last week? You bet it does. His ERA over the past month is 2.43. Freeland is 25 this season and he is doing two things I love to see in a young starter. This season he has increased his K Rate from 15.6% in 2017 to 21.1% this season and at the same time has reduced his walk rate from 9.2% to 8.5%. Nearly all his other ratios remain unchanged from his rookie season. For the doubters, last week I did say he has a 3.77 FIP and a low .265 Babip, so perhaps a tad of regression is coming. This week he gets to pitch @ CIN TUE. The Reds are hitting to a wOBA of .302 and a BA of .203 against Lefties at home. Then he gets to pitch against the Diamondbacks, in Colorado Sunday. Yes, I am recommending that start and am all in on it. The D’backs are hitting to a wOBA away of .318 with a .234 average against lefties. Over the past 14 days the D’backs have posted a .207/.276/.382 slash. I don’t fear the D’Backs against Freeland in the Mountains.
Trevor Cahill, RHSP, (36.5% owned in ESPN) Vs KC FRI: There is no way to get off this train now. I apologize if he is already owned in your league. Cahill is likely the most talked about waiver wire add in the MLB for the past couple of weeks. But, in 64% of ESPN Leagues he is still out there. He was a bit of a mixed bag last week, hurling 8 shutout innings against the Rays before giving up 4 runs in 4 innings to the Royals yesterday (Saturday) This week coming up he gets the lowly Kansas City Royals again, at home in the spacious Oakland Coliseum. The Royals are playing to a wOBA of .299 against righties on the road, although the BA against is .260 which is not shabby. Cahill will have to rely on his 1.51 GB/FB rate and career best walk and strikeout rates to keep the Royals at bay this week. Be careful as a regression could come soon. His .236 Babip is also a career low, although a 3.13 FIP suggests a lot of this is real. Ride the wave. If he stays healthy this could be a career year for the righty.
Marco Gonzales, LHSP, SEA (27% owned in ESPN, up 20 points from 6.6% owned) @TB FRI: Last week I said that Gonzales had a Must-Start against the Rangers and a much tougher start against the Rays for his 2nd start. Marco went ahead and aced them both increasing his ownership in ESPN by 20 points. He went a combined 13.1 IP, giving up only 9 hits and 1 earned run. His 10/6 K/BB was not impressive, but he also kept it on the ground and did not give up the long ball. Gonzales is the answer to the Week 10 Trivia Question, as he has been one of the best pitchers in the AL over his past four starts. Marco gets another date with the Tampa Rays, this time in Florida on Friday. The Rays are batting to a wOBA of .291 and a BA of .234 against lefties at home. His command has improved tremendously after a rough patch earlier in May. In his last start several starts, Gonzales is throwing each of his four pitches for strikes with regularity He needs the ability to change speeds and rely on each different pitch for strikes in different counts, as his fastball sits in the low-90s and can’t be a swing-and-miss threat without breaking and off-speed pitches to keep hitters off balance. He recently got to marry his high school sweetheart Monica. Poor Derek Jeter had to wait until he retired to find the right one.
Lance Lynn, RHSP, MIN, (15.6% Owned in ESPN) Vs LAA FRI: Last week I said, “This may not be scientific, but I am ready for Lance Lynn”, and that based on his prior success in the MLB I’m not sure I’m going to drop him if he truly is putting it back together. Lynn may have found a home on my teams going forward. This coming week he gets to face the LA Angels in Minneapolis. The Angels are batting to a .316 wOBA and .242 BA against righties on the road. Last week Lynn won two games, going 12 IP and giving up 8 hits and 3 earned runs. The 10/8 K/BB is scary, but Lynn held the Indians at bay, stranding all 10 of the runners he allowed to get in scoring position. He needs to keep the ducks off the pond though against the Angels to continue the three start roll he is on. I think he will, as command tends to be the last thing to come after an injury.
Tyler Chatwood, RHSP, CHC, (23.7% Owned in ESPN) Vs PHI THU: I’ve been waiting all season for this guy to get on track, and thought his was a great signing by the Cubs in the off-season. He seems to be rounding into form, other than the horrific walk rates he is posting, and gets a nice match-up next week in the Phillies at home in Wrigley. In his last start against the Mets in NY, Chatwood gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in 5.1 IP of a no-decision. He did put 4 ducks on the pond with free passes but held the Mets in check otherwise. His 4.02 ERA is not horrendous by today’s standards and his 47 K’s in 53 innings pitched is far better than average. However, his 49 walks and 1.73 WHIP tell another story. The Phils are playing to a .292 wOBA and .227 average against righties on the road. Sure, there is risk here, but I’m banking on Chatwood getting it together sooner rather than later.
Jordan Lyles, RHSP SD (9.0% owned in ESPN) Vs ATL TUE: Lyles put up a couple of clunkers after his near no-hitter earlier in May, a fairly predictable occurrence even with far better pitchers. But, last week, Lyles went seven innings giving up only six hits and a walk with seven K’s and a W only giving up two earned runs against the Marlins in San Diego. This week he gets the Atlanta Braves at home on Tuesday. The Braves are playing to a .314 wOBA and .249 average against righties on the road, giving Lyles a good shot at a QS and a W. Lyles will never be an ace, but when the match-up looks like this one we know what he can do. No, his wife still has not turned around for us yet.
From the Abyss: Pitchers below 10 percent owned in ESPN Leagues who can help you in week 8:
Anthony Desclafini, RHSP, CIN (1.9% Owned in ESPN) Vs COL TUE & Vs STL SUN: I seldom recommend SP fresh off the extended DL, but I have a lot of trust in Desclafini. He has not pitched for the Reds since 2016, and I’ve had him stashed in a couple of leagues, which I think will pay off. He got the pitch count up to 95 in his last re-hab start, and though he has given up some HR of late his command has looked pretty good considering what he has been through. The Rockies are putrid on the road against righties batting at a .271 wOBA and .201 BA against righties on the road, good for dead last in the MLB. Then he gets the Cards on Sunday who are hitting to a .304 wOBA and .240 BA against righties on the road. This lines up to be a perfect storm for prospectors. This could be a mid season pick up that is worth hanging on to. He is available in nearly all leagues. The 1.9% ownership in ESPN is likely his mother and myself. I’m taking the plunge.
Tyler Mahle, RHSP CIN (8.2% owned in ESPN) Vs COL WED: Last week I said Mahle had been recently mediocre, but now we are looking for one good start. He got it, holding the Padres scoreless over 5 innings. Mahle is profiling as a true match-ups pitcher, and I can see him staying on the wire most of 2018 due to inconsistency. Next week he gets the Rockies at home in Cinci where they are accumulating a .271 wOBA and .254 BA against righties on the road. Mahle has not burned me yet, never giving up more than four runs in any start since his 2nd start of the season. If you are in a deep league he is worth a pickup next week.
Dan Straily, RHSP MIA (9.2% owned in ESPN) Vs SD FRI: By now we know who Dan Straily is. He is a journeyman RHSP who when the match up is right will give you a quality start. He got off to a late start in 2018, but in his last four starts he has 20 K’s in 23.2 IP, and has a 2.72 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, giving up 7 runs in 23.2 innings. He has given up 9 walks in those starts but none in his most recent one. He gets the Padres in Miami Friday, and the Padres are hitting to a wOBA on the road vs righties of .295 with a .245 BA.
Wade LeBlanc, LHSP, SEA (8.3% owned in ESPN) @ HOU WED: As Leblanc gets stretched out, and thus exposed, his numbers should regress back to his mean. In the meantime though, Leblanc has a 2.70 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. The last time he gave up more than two runs in a game was 4/23 when he gave up four. This may not last, however, Leblanc does two things that a non dominant pitcher must do. He keeps the walks down and does not give up many HR even as a fly ball pitcher. His margin for error is low though, thus the 10% ownership. He has the luxury of facing Houston on Wednesday at home where they are batting to a wOBA of .300 with a .246 BA against lefties at home, their one Achilles Heel. If you have a better match up on your roster use it. If not, this one is likely still out there.
Thanks for reading. There are definitely a lot of good match ups to pick from this week, but not nearly as many as last week especially in the two start category, so get on it early. Until next week, I’ll be on the Reddit fantasybaseball Sub all day Sunday talking spot starts and all things fantasy.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel and Kyle Amore live on Sunday June 3rd, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #123 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 discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.