It is Sunday, time once again to pick some spot starters for next week. We had another pretty good week last week, other than one big mistake that I wish i could take back. I hope no one listened to me and picked up Bartolo Colon last week. I made a judgement error thinking that his quest to topple Juan Marichal as the top Dominican Pitcher on the W’s list would carry him through last week. But, no. He burned us adding eight runs to our ERA’s. He is still second on the Rangers in innings pitched, and gets the Royals as the first start of a two start week, but I’m not going there. Marichal already has a statue. I’m not sure there is enough brass left in the world for a Colon statue.
I’m also not going to talk much about the battles I’m having with chipmunks eating my newly planted vegetables. This is a family oriented article, and some of the thoughts I’m having about chipmunks cannot be spoken in front of children. Yeah, they are cute, but I like having fresh veggies in the summertime. I didn’t plant them for you guys out there in the ground. Varmints. Here is one that practiced his slide into home (his home) when I chased him this morning.
Let’s pick some spotters.
Kyle Freeland, LHSP, COL (42.4% owned in ESPN) Vs NYM THU: This is not the first time that Freeland has headlined my article. That Freeland is still barely 40% owned is baffling to me. And as long as he is 50% owned or less I’ll be spotting him and writing about him, even at Coors Field where he seems unaffected by the altitude. I’ve talked about Freeland a lot the past few weeks, both in these articles and on the radio. Eight of his last nine starts have been quality starts, and the 8th one would have been as well had he gotten two more outs. Last week he spotted the D’Backs four runs but struck out eight in Colorado, and then gave up only two runs to the Rangers in Texas. Freeland, age 25 this season, is doing two things I love to see in a young starter, both increasing 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%. He has walked one or fewer batters in six of his past nine starts, and that will keep you fairly safe even in the thin air of Colorado. Nearly all his other ratios remain unchanged from his rookie season. The lefty threw 70 of 106 pitches for strikes in his longest start in over a month and kept Texas off the board until tiring in the the seventh, recording his ninth quality start of the season. Freeland will take a 3.59 ERA into his next outing Thursday at home against the Mets. The Mets are hitting to a wOBA of .272 and a BA of .213 against lefties away from home, next to last in the MLB.
CC Sabathia, LHSP, NYY (33.7% owned in ESPN) @ TB FRI: Old reliable has a fantasy must-start next Friday in Tampa. CC is 4-1 3.27 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 47 K’s in 63 innings pitched. In his last three starts he’s given up a total of five earned runs over nearly 18 innings of work coming home with 2 Wins in the process. He’s only had one bad start all season, and when healthy has been one of the Yanks most reliable SP. Next week he gets the Rays in Tampa where they are 27th in the MLB with a wOBA against lefties of .279 with a .201 BA at home. As I said, this is a fantasy must-start, and if the big guy is on your wire scoop him up for this start.
***TWO-START PITCHER***Jaime Barria, RHSP, LAA (18.4% owned in ESPN) Vs ARI MON & Vs TOR SUN: Barria is quietly solidifying a spot for himself in LA’s rotation that has been riddled with injuries. He has pitched a quality start in three of his past six starts and has a sparkling 2.61 ERA and 1.11 WHIP on the young season. His last start was a solid outing for the 21-year-old, as he allowed two or fewer earned runs for the seventh time in eight big-league starts. With a 32:9 K:BB and 2.61 ERA over 41.1 innings, he is not going to net you a ton of K’s, but he’ll keep you in the ballgame every time out it seems. The Diamondbacks are 24th in the MLB against righties with a .293 wOBA and .214 Batting Average against righties on the road. That is a fantasy must-start even though Paul Goldschmidt is starting to heat up. The Jays are doing a little better, but still hitting only .306 wOBA with a .250 batting average against righties on the road.
Chris Stratton, RHSP, SFG (18% Owned in ESPN) Vs SD FRI: Last week I said that Stratton had two must-start fantasy match-ups this week so I’ll be looking on the wire for him myself. He has not disappointed so far, posting a 7-inning QS giving up three runs against the Marlins in Miami. He still has a game against the Dodgers today in LA, but then gets a third must-start in a row, facing the Padres in San Francisco on Friday. The Padres are near the bottom of all MLB baseball with a .282 wOBA away vs right handers. If Stratton is around, bring him aboard for Friday’s start. He needs to keep this up so he can afford to buy his wife a new pair of jeans already.
Brent Suter, LHSP, MIL (12.2% owned in ESPN) @ PIT WED: Last week I said Suter is a five inning starter who seldom gets blown away and has a recent knack for picking up W’s, as he has done in five of his last seven starts. Well, he did one better than that, hurling a QS going seven innings against the Phils, giving up one run on six hits and a walk, and racking up another W giving him 6 wins now in his past 8 starts. And, as I keep saying, wins are still a category in most leagues. You have to get them somewhere. Zack Davies won 17 games with this same Brew-Crew last year, and there is no proof he is that much better a pitcher than Suter. He is also picking up about a strikeout per inning and walking very few. Next week he has a date with the Pirates in Pittsburgh where they have a wOBA at home vs lefties of .334. Speaking of dates, Suter married his high school sweetheart Erin. Don’t they just look like the couple next door too, not so much pro athletes?
***Two Start Pitcher***Mike Montgomery, LHSP, CHC (13.8% owned in ESPN) Vs LAD TUE & @ CIN SUN: Since being inserted into the Cubbies rotation after the Yu Darvish injury, Montgomery has made Cubs fans wonder who the heck Darvish was anyway. Monty is 2-1 and has a 1.14 ERA after four starts with a 0.76 WHIP and a 14/3 K/BB. He’s given up only three runs in that stretch and all four would be QS had he gone 1/3 more of an inning in one of them. Granted, two of those starts came against the weak hitting Pirates and the other against the suddenly anemic Mets, but isn’t that what a spot starter is for? Pick your spots to use him, then take it to the bank. Mainly, you want a spotter who will not walk a lot of batters and keep the ball in the park for five or six innings. That has been Monty so far. My good friend and fellow fantasy writer Kyle Amore recommended Monty to me weeks ago and he was spot on. Hopefully you read his article last week about Mike Sorotka and pounced on that band wagon. He knows his pitchers. Next week he gets the Dodgers at home in Chicago. The Dodgers are hitting to a wOBA of .319 with a .246 average against lefties on the road in 2018, only 18th in the MLB. Then he goes to Cincinnati for a game against the Reds poor offense. The Reds have a 2018 wOBA of .311 with a .222 BA against lefties at home, 19th in the MLB. Like I said last week, Yu, Who?
From the Abyss: Pitchers below 10 percent owned in ESPN Leagues who can help you in week 12:
Domingo German, RHSP NYY (9.5% owned in ESPN) Vs SEA TUE & @ TBR SUN: I’m starting to buy into this guy. Not only is he pitching for the Yankees, who give their starters a much better chance to gather a W than most teams do, but German is beginning to show some signs of domination going 19/2 K/BB over his past two starts combined, snagging his first MLB win in the process. He does still have an ERA over 5.00 but has walked three or fewer batters in his past 9 starts, while striking out 9 or more in three of those. Next week, he gets the Mariners at home in Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. The Mariners are holding their own against righties on the road so far in 2018, hitting to a .321 wOBA and .252 BA against righties away. Then he travels to Tampa for a fantasy must-start against the Rays, where they are hitting to a 22nd place in the MLB .297 wOBA with a .244 average at home vs righties. I like him for both games and not because I am a Yankee fan. I was late to the German party this season. He should continue to pitch as long as Tanaka is out, but may have snatched the 5th starter spot either way.
Tyler Mahle, RHSP CIN (6.8% owned in ESPN) Vs DET WED: Mahle has a been a frequent flyer for me all season here. Last week I said, “The good news is Mahle goes at least five innings in nearly every start. The bad news is that he seldom goes more than five innings either, but that is OK from a spot starter if he still gets you a W and a few K’s and protects your ratios.” Once again, Mahle went one better, giving us 6.1 IP and no runs on three hits and two walks. He did only log one K but he scratched out another W for us. Over his two previous starts he had a 1.80 ERA and an 11/4 K/BB over 10 IP. Mahle is profiling as a true match-ups pitcher, and I can see him staying on the wire most of 2018 due to his lack of innings, K’s and consistency. I like the W’s though, and will never hesitate to use him in good match ups if he is out there. He is clearly one of my 2018 go-to spotters so far. Next week he gets the now Cabrera-less Tigers at home in Detroit where they were already having trouble with righties even with Miggy in the line-up. The Tigers are hitting to a .285 wOBA and .236 BA against righties. 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, and lately every week.
Thanks for reading. Good luck this week Picking Your Spots. Until next week, I’ll be on the Reddit r/fantasybaseball Sub all day Sunday talking spot starts and all things fantasy.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday June 17th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #125 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.
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts, and Jeff Nelson live June 14th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #82 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. This is our kick of show for the 2018 fantasy football season. We will hit free agents, rookies, and fantasy football as a whole for each team for 2018. This week we will discuss everything AFC West!
Jeff is a defensive coach from White Hall who was on the coaching staff while first round pick Saquan Barkely was there and Freedom H.S. football teams. He may be taking the year off from coaching, but will be joining us on our football shows from time to time throughout the year.