Wow. As I was writing my article yesterday I realized that there are precious few starting pitchers who are more than 50% owned. Sure, there are teams like the Astros and Dodgers where all five starting pitchers are more than 50% owned but they are few and far between. There are plenty of teams where all five healthy starters are less than 50% owned and in some cases even less than 20% owned. Watch out in Tampa though where Tyler Glasnow is now going to be the starting pitching staff, along with a good chunk of their bullpen. Most teams fall right in between, with one healthy starter over 50% owned, maybe a closer, and then the rest of the staff is barely owned. The good news is that this gives us a lot of SP to choose from this week. The bad news, and there is a lot of it, is that a lot of pitchers are on the DL, and that there are pitchers in the Big Leagues that are not ready to be on a Major League mound yet. Let’s see if we can sort them out so that we only pick up and rely on some pitchers who really have a
Last Week, a couple of guys made me proud by exploiting what I called Must-Start fantasy starts. Anibal Sanchez got a W and 9 k’s in 5.1 innings against the Mets, allowing only one run on two hits and 2 walks. That got his ownership up to 51.2% and a graduation card from me and the missus. Two White Sox pitchers, Carlos Rodon and Reynaldo Lopez pitched a combined 15.2 IP only four earned runs and 10 K’s in a pair of Quality Starts (QS) before Rodon followed that up Saturday with six shutout innings on 3 hits and 4 K’s though he did cough up 5 walks in the contest. The Chisox offense is so putrid that none of these 22 innings of effort netted either pitcher a W. On the lower rungs of the ownership ratings Matt Boyd gave us 8 innings of shutout ball with 7 K’s and a W and Homer Bailey, who I added almost as a nostalgic poke at myself gave up only two runs in 8 innings with 7 K’s. Both of them will make a repeat appearance in this week’s article. The rest was the usual mixed bag with only Weaver, Shields and Straily disappointing.
Based on last week’s showing I was going to make Carlos Rodon my poster boy for this week’s article. But, he is not likely owned anymore in most competitive leagues, Rodon has now jumped 30 points since I first wrote about him 2 weeks ago. Next week he just does not have a good match-up going against the Cleveland Indians. The Indians are hitting to a wOBA against lefties on the road of .328 with a .264 Batting Average and a very low K percentage (18.1%) However, he is still only 45.8% owned in ESPN Leagues, and THAT has earned him my cover pic on today’s article. I’m starting him but you are on your own.
Let’s “Pick Some Spots” for Week 18:
***Two Start Pitcher***Luke Weaver, RHSP STL (42.0% owned in ESPN) @ MIA MON & @ KC SUN: Now it is time for Weaver to put up or shut up. He’s not a shiny new toy anymore and his last start going only into the third inning was greatly disappointing. This week he gets two Fantasy Must-Starts, and I will bravely roll him out to see if he has what it takes in a pennant race. First he gets the Marlins in Miami where they have a .297 wOBA and .252 BA against righties at home. That also comes with a 21% walk rate and .131 ISO. The Royals are hitting to a .295 wOBA at home vs righties and a .229 BA. The .131 ISO and 20% K rate gives him the opportunity to miss some bats while keeping it in the park. These are TWO FANTASY MUST STARTS.
Zack Wheeler, RHSP, NYM (42.0% Owned in ESPN) @ MIA FRI: All Wheeler has done over his last four starts is post 4 wins. Over the last three he has given up two runs over 20 innings pitched with 19 strikeouts. Did you see what he did last night in arguably his best start of the season? OK? OK. Next week he gets the Marlins in Miami. Miami is putrid against righties at home hitting to a .297 wOBA and .252 Batting average against. They are also dead last in the MLB in ISO vs righties at .109. Add a 21% K rate and Wheeler could pad your stat sheet. I’ll say it again. I own Wheeler on all my teams. Why is he still on your wire?
Junior Guerra, RHSP, MIL (37.8% owned in ESPN) Vs SD THU: 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. He held his own against the potent Rockies last week, giving up three runs on five hits and a couple of walks. He also K’d six batters in that game. The Padres are dead last in the MLB in a number of categories against righties on the road as they are hitting to a wOBA of .279 and a .236 BA and .115 ISO against righties on the road, and also have a pretty gaudy 26.2% K-rate against righties. THIS is yet another FANTASY MUST-START.
Ervin Santana, RHSP, MIN (26.7% owned in ESPN) @ DET FRI: Last week I said, “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.” He did give up 4 runs to the Indians but did not embarrass himself, and now faces the Royals today (Sunday). But next week he gets the Detroit Tigers in a MUST-START Fantasy Start. The Tigers are hitting to a wOBA against righties at home of .297 with a .243 BA. Worse than that, their ISO is a horrid .148 with a 21% K rate against righties.
***Two Start Pitcher***Matt Boyd, LHSP, DET (12.0% owned in ESPN) @ LAA MON & VS MIN SUN: Ah, to be a Left Handed Starting Pitcher in the MLB. A left hand and a heartbeat will often be enough to carve an MLB career out of mediocre stuff, and that mean’s Boyd will likely be around for a while. Last week he pitched 8 shutout innings against the Reds on Sunday giving up 4 hits and a walk and adding 7 K’s and a W. That followed two starts against KC and Boston where he gave up a total of 3 runs on 10 hits, only 2 walks and 13 K’s in 11 IP, going 2-1 in that stretch. Next week he gets the Los Angeles Angels in LA on Monday, and then comes home to face the Twins on Sunday. The Angels are batting to a horrendous wOBA of .266 with only a .199 BA against lefties at home. They also have a very low .136 ISO and a 22.4% K Rate against Lefties. The Twins have a .207 wOBA and .233 BA against lefties on the road. Worse yet, their Road ISO against lefties is only .115 and they have a 22.4% K rate just like the Angels. These are TWO FANTASY MUST STARTS. Boyd is starting to look comfortable in the Tigers rotation, and his family looks comfortable in their Tiger’s uniforms.
From the Abyss: Players less than 10% owned in ESPN Leagues who could help you in Week 15:
Ryan Borucki, LHSP, BOS (9.3% owned in ESPN) Vs BOS THU: Uh, Oh. Joe must be off his rocker or on the sauce again. He is recommending a less than 10% owned starter against the Red Sox. Well, Borucki gets the Sox at home in Toronto, and for all the Red Sox firepower, they are only hitting to a .275 wOBA and .230 BA against lefties on the road in 2018. They also have an ugly .105 ISO and 25.3% K rate against lefties. All Borucki has done in his brief Major League career is pitch quality starts in six of his seven starts in 2018, all in the last two months. He is not going to give you a ton of K’s, but he also does not give up the walks which is critical in beating a team like the Sox. Sure this is a bit risky, but I think his run of quality starts will make it through the week intact. Ooops, that is his sister in the pic. Famed internet meditation expert Rebekah Borucki. Maybe she can get his head straight before the Sox game so his. “Pick Your Spots” debut is successful. Since I mentioned her, you can find her at bexlife.com
Mike Montgomery, LHSP, CHC (9.3% owned in ESPN) @ KC TUE: How did Monty go from 11% owned in ESPN, to pitching a one run game against the Padres giving up only seven hits and a walk, and end up at 9.3% owned. Maybe it was the worry that he, and not Tyler Chatwood would be the odd man out after the Hamels trade? I never thought so. Anyway, Monty goes from the NL patsy to the AL version, getting to face the KC Royals, at KC on Tuesday. The Royals are hitting to a .303 wOBA and .258 BA at home, good for 23rd in the MLB. But they also own a putrid .111 ISO and carry a 25.6% K Rate giving Monty all the tools he needs to have a good night on Tuesday.
Ariel Jurado, RHSP, TEX (3.5% owned in ESPN) Vs SEA WEDS: Also making his “Pick Your Spots debut is the rookie Jurado. We talked about him a lot on the radio last Sunday night (See the link below). He has all of three major league starts under his belt, and the last two have been fairly neat. He went 6 innings against the Astros in Houston, giving up only 2 hits and a walk leading to one run and a W. Then he went 5 innings giving up two runs to the Orioles in Texas, giving up 6 hits but only 2 walks and another W. He did only net 5 K’s between the two games. He gets the Mariners on Weds at home in Texas where the Mariners have a .317 wOBA and .256 Batting average against right handers on the road. Their 20% K rate might give him a handful of those as well.
Brett Anderson, LHSP, OAK (2.5% owned in ESPN) Vs LAD WED: This is one of the West Coast’s favorite Inter-
League match ups. Since coming back to the A’s from the DL, Anderson has a 2.98 ERA in 5 starts and only five walks in total. He is not putting ducks on the pond and that is big when talking about a 2.5% owned player, especially against a powerful team like the Dodgers. But, the Dodgers are only hitting to a .286 wOBA and .222 Batting Average against lefties on the road in 2018 with only a .143 ISO. Anderson should continue the roll he is on next week.
***Two Start Pitcher***Nick Tropeano, RHSP, LAA (2.3% owned in ESPN Leagues) Vs DET MON & Vs OAK SUN: Trope has been pretty mediocre of late not that that should come as a
shock to anyone. This is what we find when we are fishing in the less than 10% owned waters. He is a mediocre pitcher, walks far too many hitters, but has enough of a skill set to set down some of the worst offenses in baseball, and he gets one of them next week. On Monday, he faces the Detroit Tigers in LA. The Big Cats are hitting to a dead last .275 wOBA with a .223 BA against righties on the road. They also sport a putrid .111 ISO and have a 23.9 K rate against righties. On Sunday, he gets the Oakland A’s in LA. You may want to sit him for this start if you can. He gets the A’s who are hitting to a .343 wOBA and .263 average against righties on the road. So, he has a Fantasy Must-Start Monday and a Must-Sit the following Sunday. Tread carefully.
Homer Bailey, RHSP, CIN (1.5% owned in ESPN) @ NYM MON: Because of an off-day and Cincinnati’s decision to go with a 6 man rotation for a while, Bailey is now a one start pitcher even though that start is on a Monday. Last week I said “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.” Well, that was said half tongue in cheek, but it is still true, and he delivered last week, going 8 full innings against the Tigers with 6 K’s and only 3 hits and one walk en route to a two run game. This coming week he gets an easy match up with the Mets at Citi-Field on Monday. The Mets are dead last in Baseball with a .279 wOBA and .211 BA against righties at home. They also have a .139 ISO in their home park and a 22.9% K rate against righties. I’m rolling Homer out again this coming week.
That’s it for WEEK 18. 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 email@example.com 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 majorleaguefantasysports.com. 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 August 2nd, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #87 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 South!