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“65 Mustangs” Pick Your Spots 2018 – Week 17 – Spot Starting Guide

Well, like the rest of you the injuries are piling up, and I’m just trying to make it through the next few weeks so I can get to the playoffs and then see what happens. I’m a Yankee fan as many of you know by now, so I am heavily invested in the DL list of Judge, Sanchez and the recent returnees like Torres, Hicks, etc. I’m also waiting on Syndergaard and had to finally give up on Cespedes. But you all have similar problems too, and we just have to cover our asses for 3 or so more weeks. Once we are in the playoffs it is up to fate and whatever other fantasy friendly gods you may believe in to see how far we can go. Getting there is the hard part and that is what we’ve been working toward all season. We are almost there.

Ok, so last week, Danny Duffy failed us. He gave up 7 runs in 5.2 IP for a loss last week against the Tigers. That is what I get for bragging about putting him in my last article. Since he is still only 49.2% owned in ESPN I can’t even graduate him out of my articles. If you keep it to yourself though I can tell you that he has another two great match-ups next week. I’m not putting him in my article though. This is just between you and me. He gets the Chisox in Chicago on Tuesday where they are hitting a wOBA of .280 with a .230 BA and a measly .116 ISO. That is a fantasy Must-Start. Then he gets the Twins in Minneapolis where they are hitting to a .306 wOBA and .257 BA with a .116 ISO and 25.6% K-rate. I’d use him for both starts but don’t tell anyone you heard it from me.

Anibal Sanchez, RHSP, ATL (45.9% owned in ESPN) Vs MIA TUES & @ NYM SUN: It makes sense that the NL was the place for Anibal to get back on the horse so to speak. So, Anibal gave up 4 earned runs against the dodgers last week. Who hasn’t? Sanchez did that after 4 straight quality starts and now has a 5-3 record and 3.00 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP for the season. Who would have thunk it? The Marlins have a .307 wOBA and .246 BA against righties on the road. The Mets have an even worse .284 wOBA and .215 BA against righties at home with only a .43 ISO and a 22.1% K-rate for Anibal to cannibalize. If you have not owned Anibal all season, as I have not, this would be the week to start believing. These are both Fantasy Must-Starts.

Luke Weaver, RHSP STL (42.7% owned in ESPN) Vs COL WED:  Weaver has had a roller coaster ride in his sophomore season, alternating between fantasy gems and unpalatable clunkers even earning himself a recent trip to the minors.  But, he is now rewarding those owners who gutted it out, or who are astutely picking him up now to use him for their stretch runs. Since the calendar turned to July, Weaver has pitched four fantasy friendly starts giving up eight runs in 21 innings with 24 K’s. In fact he has just hit 100K’s for the first time as he did not reach that mark in his rookie season last year. The Rockies are hitting to a wOBA of .294 with a .230 BA and 24.3% K-rate against righties on the road. Your league-mates may see COL on the schedule and run, but we know how poorly they hit righties on the road. Go ahead, see if he is still there. His wife wants him to stay in the Majors cuz she likes him so much better in the MLB uniform than the AAA one.

Junior Guerra, RHSP, MIL (37.6% owned in ESPN) Vs COL THU: Guerra has a start against the Giants Sunday night, a start he should do well in, and then next week, he gets the Rockies in Milwaukee on Thursday night. Guerra is having a pretty good season and it is a wonder that he is not more widely owned. He is 6-6 with a  3.13 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He has 100 K’s in 103.2 IP and maybe a few too many walks as well, but that number is coming down as he has not walked more than three batters in a game since mid=June. The Rockies are hitting to a wOBA of .293 and a .230 BA against righties on the road and also have a pretty gaudy 24.3% K-rate against righties.  So this would be a good week to use Guerra if he is not already owned in your league.

***Two Start Pitcher***Ervin Santana, RHSP, MIN (29.6% owned in ESPN) @ Vs CLE MON & VS KC SUN:  Santana has just come off the DL. Sure, most leagues have some guy who stashed him since draft day hoping for this moment to come along. If you are in one of those leagues you are out of luck, but if not you should take a look and see if he is out there. I don’t have to tell you why he is worth grabbing do I? This is a split week recommendation, as I might not trot Santana out there for the Indians match up, but I doubt you can leave him on the wire another couple of days if he is still out there. So, if you can grab and stash for the Indians game and then use Ervin against the Royals it would be a good idea. The Indians are hitting to a .359 WOBA and .279 BA against righties on the road. The Royals are my favorite team to pick on and now are without their best hitter after trading  the Moose to Milwaukee. The Royals are hitting to a .298 wOBA and .224 BA against righties on the road and a a 22.3% strike out rate. Santana will only go on from there to help your team win a championship. Someone will grab him, why not you? Yeah, so who can argue that chicks dig the high hard one?

Clay Buchholz, RHSP, AZ (25.5% Owned in ESPN) Vs SF, SAT: Buchholz is having an awesome season so far, proving all his doubters wrong. Since he came off the DL, he is 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA and 0.99 WHIP with a 36/9 K/BB in 45.1 innings pitched. He made a believer out of me last week when he beat the Cubs on six hits and one run with seven K’s going nearly seven innings in the process. It was his fourth Quality Start in his last in his last seven, and only in one of those seven games did he give up more than two runs when he gave up five to the Pirates. In the other six starts he gave up one or less runs. The Giants are hitting to a wOBA of .305 with a .253 BA against righties on the road. They also have only a .131 ISO and 24.5 K-rate against righties on the road. So Buchholz my rack up a few K’s as well as pitch a QS. Good luck seeing if he is still available in your league. We’ll wait right here if you want to go check. His girlfriend might let you borrow him for a week.

Carlos Rodon, LHSP, CHW (25.3% owned in ESPN) @ TBR SAT: Last week I said: If you are in one of the 85% of leagues where Carlos Rodon is still a free agent, then stop reading this article and figure out how to add him to your roster for next week. His ownership has already jumped over 10 points since his first start this past week and now he goes Sunday in a must start against the . He will not be under 50% owned for long and if you are in a very competitive league he is likely already gone. Next week he gets the Rays in Tampa where they have a .311 wOBA and .248 BA against lefties. They also have a piddling .141 ISO and 23.6% K-rate vs lefties giving Rodon a chance at some lofty K numbers as well.

Reynaldo Lopez, RHSP, CHW (15.5% owned in ESPN) Vs KC THU: Lopez last four starts have not gone well, and you are wondering right now if I am crazy writing about him in this article. But the art of spot starting is knowing when a pitcher has a good enough match-up that even if he is in a rut, he will gut out a good start. Lopez will be the blind squirrell next week against the Royals, plus I believe in his stuff. Sure enough, while i was researching for this article, the best player in my best league picked him up for next week’s start right after I grabbed King Felix for myself. I watched the smoke rising from the waiver wire as it was happening. His biggest problem is the walks, so if he can keep those in check he should have a good game. The Royals are hitting to a wOBA of .289 with a .239 BA, .132 ISO and 21.5% K-rate and that is even before they traded away Mike Moustakas.

From the Abyss: Players less than 10% owned in ESPN Leagues who could help you in Week 15:

Mike Montgomery, LHSP, CHC (10.7% owned in ESPN) Vs SD THU: Yeah, so he is 10.7% owned which does not qualify him for the Abyss portion of my article. But it is my article so there he is. I wrote a lot about Monty in the first half of the season when he seemed poised for a career year once he started filing in for Yu Darvish in Chicago. Then, around mid-June he hit the wall and has been mediocre at best since then. But nothing cures pitching ills like running into the Padres at home in Chicago, and like I said earlier about Reynaldo Lopez, it is knowing when to start a guy like this that counts. The Padres are hitting to a .278 wOBA and .220 BA against lefties on the road, which is dead last in the MLB and have a 24.8% K-rate against lefties to help Monty pad his stats.

***Two Start Pitcher***James Shields, RHSP, CHW (7.4% owned in ESPN) Vs KCR, TUE & @ TBR SUN: Shields has been fairly inconsistent for a couple of years now, but he is good at beating up on the weaker offenses in the AL, and this week he gets two Fantasy-Must Starts against the Moose-less Royals and the weak hitting Rays. His overall record of 4.53 ERA and 1.30 WHIP with 104 K’s is not horrible for a spot starter, and is inflated by a few bad blowouts against the league’s elite offenses. But, the Royals are hitting to a wOBA of .289 with a .239 BA, .132 ISO and 21.5% K-rate and that is even before they traded away Mike Moustakas. The Rays are hitting a bit better than the Royals but are also in the midst of purging good players. Right now the Rays are hitting to a .325 wOBA and .266 BAA against righties at home, but also have a 21.7 K-rate and .131 ISO which should give Shields some room to work.

***Two Start Pitcher***Dan Straily, RHSP, MIA (6.3% owned in ESPN) @ ATL TUE & @ PHI SUN:  Straily had thrown 5 straight quality starts before missing a 6th straight by 1/3 of an inning against the Washington Nats the other day. The Braves are hitting to a wOBA at home of .314 with a .234 BA against righties and a whopping 25.0% K-rate. The Phills are batting to a wOBA of .303 with a .247 BA and a .134 ISO at home vs righties. I’m not saying Straily is owneable in standard leagues as he is too inconsistent with K’s etc., but if you need a quality start or two this week, here is your man.

Matt Boyd, LHSP, DET (7.4% owned in ESPN) @ OAK SUN: Last week I said,“I’m not going to tell you that Matt Boyd is a really good pitcher. He probably never will be, but in his last start he only gave up one run on three hits to a red hot Red Sox team.” Well, he did one better for us last week knocking out a weak hitting Royals team and getting us a W. He went six innings, giving up two runs with seven K’s for the W and this week gets another easy matchup. The A’s are hitting to a horrible .279 wOBA vs lefties at home with a .213 BA and 25.4 K rate against lefties as well

Dylan Covey RHSP, CWS (2.3% owned in ESPN Leagues) Vs KC TUE:  We know the deal with a borderline MLB pitcher pitching in the AL. He destroyed the Mariners in a gem of a start going 8.1 shut out innings only to get destroyed by the Angels in his most recent start giving up 6 runs in less than 5 innings. Well, the Royals are hitting to a wOBA of .289 with a .239 BA, .132 ISO and 21.5% K-rate and that is even before they traded away Mike Moustakis. How many times have you heard me say that so far today?

Homer Bailey, RHSP, CIN & Sal Romano, RHSP, CIN (.5 and 1.4 % owned in ESPN) @ DET, TUES & WEDS:  Anyone who knows me knows that at some point, Homer Bailey would end up in my article this season as long as there was a week where he was alive, breathing and still throwing a fastball. Yeah, he is one of my boys, so I combined him with Sal Romano to avoid being laughed at in the boys locker room. In Bailey’s last start, he went nearly 7 innings with 7 K’s and only 2 runs scored for his best start of the season. Romano matched him going 6 innings against the same Cardinals with 7 K’s. Romano even has a recent HOLD as he has been shuffled back and forth to the pen as well. Detroit’s fully depleted offense is hitting to a .301 wOBA and .246 BA against righties at home with a .148 ISO and 20.7% K-rate, giving both of these guys a fair chance at netting us a good start if we are in that deep of a league where we have to dig this far.

That’s it for WEEK 17. Thanks for reading, and as always, I’ll be on Reddit today talking spot starts and all things fantasy baseball. Or you can email me directly at or Tweet me at @joeiannone2

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday July 29th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #131 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.

Our guest this week is Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with His articles publish every Sunday and he focuses on spot starting pitchers for the coming week.

Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts and James Wilk live Thursday July 26th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #86 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. We will hit free agents, rookies, and fantasy football as a whole for each team for 2018. This week we will discuss everything  NFC North!


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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