Good Morning and welcome to Week Six.
What goes around comes around. Last week I said: “This week, the cupboard is pretty bare. Not because the number of decent pitchers on the wire is less than usual, but the ones that are there have mostly bad match-ups. The more heavily owned starters must have an easy schedule this week.”Well, it is exactly the opposite this week. This week the top starters have the tougher match-ups and the lesser owned starters have most of the easier ones. Good for us, right? Yes. There are a ton of great match-ups next week for us to fish for on the wire.
So, once again I’ll be looking upon some old stand byes to get me a good week. I even list a couple that have reached 60% ownership and may be ready to take the next step into rosterable. So, the first several names will be familiar, but their match-ups are far too good to leave on the wire or out of my article. If you like more shiny newer things, then hop on down to the Abyss section of the article where you may find some surprises.
Speaking of surprises. My daughter yelled for me to come to the back door yesterday. It seems my Groundhog was up on the deck knocking on the back door, but my daughter’s exuberance scared him off. He was knocking so he could ask me when he might expect the new seedlings to be planted in the(his) garden Once he realized I’m a week or two late he was pretty indignant. So, rather than stew about it, he decided to come and talk to me face to face. He didn’t get to talk to me but I know what he wants. I need him to start packing.
One of my favorite spotters this week has been in the MLB for a few seasons, and I’ve been waiting for his break out the past couple years. Anthony Desclafani of the Reds is my featured spotter this week. Honestly, he should not be on your waiver wire at all and should be owned in most leagues.
Every Sunday, I’ll highlight a few of the MLB starting pitchers, owned in less than half of leagues, who might help you in the coming week. I’ll also look deep into the abyss and toss out some SP who have great match-ups even though they are owned in less than 20% of fantasy leagues. These are the pitchers your league mates didn’t think about, or even know about, or just plain avoided. With the right match-up, any of them is worth a start. Let’s work on making our odds a lot better. All ownership figures are from Fantrax. All wOBA match-ups data is courtesy of Fangraphs.
***Two Start Pitcher***Anthony DeSclafani, RHSP, CIN (63% owned up from 42%owned) VS SF MON and @ SF SAT: I’ve been waiting for this breakout for a couple of years, and may finally be watching it. He has only given up one run in his past three starts with 20 K’s and only five walks in 18 innings. I’d consider him a buy and hold at this point, and he is still available in nearly 40% of leagues. Next week he gets the Giants both home and away. The Giants are hitting to a wOBA of .316 with a .245 BA in 362 PA’s on the road, and dead last in baseball with a .236 wOBA and .186 BA in 327 PA’s vs righties at home. The 2nd start is a Fantasy Must-Start but I would not be afraid to run him out there for both.
Samardzija, Jeff, RHSP, SFG (63% owned) Vs CIN FRI: The shark is now up to 63% owned, but still available on far too many wires. He’s been in my article four weeks in a row, and he has not disappointed. He’s here as a reminder that you can find quality pitching on the wire. It is always there, you just have to know how to find it. He’s only gone more than five innings once so far, so getting W’s and QS may be a challenge until he can build up some durability. Right now he is 2-1 with 1 QS in 32 innings and six games started, but a 2.53 ERA & 1.063 WHIP. The Reds are dead last in baseball, hitting to a .257 wOBA and .205 BA so far in 2019 against righties on the road. This game is a must start.
Wade Miley, LHSP, HOU (53% owned) Vs TEX THU: Here is another pitcher whose match up is so good that I have to extend him one more week in my article. Last week I said:“Miley is a two-start pitcher next week, but his first matchup against the Indians in Houston is one to avoid.” Instead, Miley pitched masterfully in both and is likely off to his best start of his career at 2-2, 3.20 ERA, and 1.169 WHIP after six starts. The Rangers are hitting to a woeful .229 wOBA and .180 BA against lefties on the road so far in 2019, one of the worst marks in baseball among teams with more than 100 plate appearances (PA’s) against lefties on the road. I’ve never been a Miley fan, never will be. But a few times a year he has a matchup that is hard to turn away from. The TEX start is one of them. You may want to keep him one more week after that for his start against the Tigers in Detroit next TUE. The Tigers are hitting to a .185 wOBA and .111 average against lefties at home, albeit in only 40 PA’s.
Tanner Roark, RHSP, CIN (50% owned) @ OAK THU: Roark didn’t pitch so great last week against the Mets, but completely redeemed himself yesterday (SAT), only allowing two runs on four hits and two walks across 6.2 innings. He struck out seven and walked two. He has pitched very well in six 2019 starts but this was the first start where he made it into the seventh. I was iffy on including him again in the article but the match up with OAK is far too good to overlook. The A’s are hitting to a horrendous .285 wOBA vs righties at home.
***Two Start Pitcher***Griffin Canning, RHSP, LAA (57 % owned, up from 29% in Fantrax) @ DET TUE & @ BAL SUN: This is probably your last chance to snag a piece of canning as his ownership jumped from 29% last week to 57% this week after his MLB debut.. Canning made his major league debut Tuesday against the Blue Jays, giving up three runs on four hits with six K’s and only one walk. Prior to that, he allowed just one earned run and had a 17:1 K:BB through three starts for Triple-A Salt Lake this season. He’s a promising prospect with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a potentially plus slider, backed up by decent command. He’ll reach the majors within two years of being taken 47th overall in the 2017 draft. He’s got two good match-ups to please his owners in week 6. The Tigers have hit to a .313 wOBA and .262 BA against righties at home this season, and the O’s are hitting to a .304 wOBA and .230 BA against righties at home in 2019.
FROM THE ABYSS – Starting Pitchers owned in less than (Roughly) 20% of leagues:
Daniel Norris LHSP, DET (17% owned) Vs LAA TUE & @ MIN SUN: If you grabbed Norris last week as I did. you were well
rewarded. He pitched five innings of one run ball with four K’s against one walk against the Phils last week. Walks and HR have been his Achilles heal for most of his career. If he can keep the ducks off the pond and the ball in the park, as he has so far, this could be a big year for Norris. Now in his seventh MLB season, it is hard to believe he is only 26. The Angels so far this season are dead last in the MLB with a .226 wOBA against LHSP Away, batting .154 in nearly 200 PA’s and of .269 and are batting .202 against lefties. The Twins on the other hand are hitting to a wOBA of .405 with a .275 BA against lefties at home albeit in only 58 PA’s. I’m going to run him out for both, though i understand if you hold him out of the MIN start.
***Two Start Pitcher***Aaron Brooks, RHSP OAK (18% owned) Vs CIN TUE & Vs CLE SUN: Brooks has not exactly been stellar the past few weeks, giving up between 3-5 runs in each, but also going at least five innings in all four of those starts. He is pitching quality innings but has given up just a few too many HR’s to ruin them. Command comes last. Hopefully this is the week that will get him going. If there was ever a perfect time to spot a pitcher this might be it. The Reds are batting to a wOBA of .257 and a .201 BA against righties on the road. That is dead last in the MLB and is over 500 PA’s so it is not a complete fluke. The Indians are hitting to a wOBA of .279 with a .202 BA against righties on the road. Both are Fantasy Must-Starts.
***Two Start Pitcher***Jefry Rodriguez RHSP, CLE (9% owned) Vs CWS TUE & @ OAK SUN: Almost as attractive is this two start match-up. Rodriguez has already been called on to spot start for the Indians twice this season and pitched well with a 2.13 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and 6:2 K:BB over 12.2 innings. Corey Kluber (forearm) and Mike Clevinger (back) are now both on the injured list, and that should give Jefry a bit of a leash this time around. Rodriguez gets the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday, the Chisox are hitting to a .317 wOBA and .249 BA & the A’s are hitting to a wOBA of .285 and a .225 BA against righties at OAK on SUN. The A’s start is a Fantasy Must-Start, and the White Sox start is not too far behind.
That’s it for this week. Picking Your Spots will be more fun next week when we’ll be in the 2nd week of May and have a current body of work to use as data. Until then, I hope this was helpful. See you next week, when we’ll pick some more spots for the season’s seventh week. Even better still, may your injured players return healthy. As always, I’ll be on Reddit today talking spot starts. If you ask about a starter, please save me some time and let me know who he is pitching against and where. If you want to speak to me directly, my Twitter and Email are below. Thanks for reading.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday May 2nd, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #156 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Cole and Kyle will discuss the latest happenings in the world of MLB and fantasy. They will take a look back on the previous few days and a preview of the coming weekend. Including spot starts, bullpens, offense, and minor league players.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel live on Sunday May 5th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #157 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. We will discuss spot starters for the coming week, plus a weekend update, and look ahead to next week.
Our guest this week is Kyle Klinker. Kyle is an experienced Major League Fantasy Baseball owner with a championship under his belt.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #167, 6/23/2019 Host Brian Roach, Jr., Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Kevin Bzdek
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #169, 8/4/2019 Host Cole Freel, Guest Joe Iannone
@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.