Good Morning and welcome to Week Seven.
Happy Mother’s Day! The day that we all forget about baseball and give all our attention to Mom’s and Spouses. Ha. Yeah right. Well, my resident groundhog got a visit from all her offspring today to celebrate Mother’s Day in my backyard. I put the seedlings in the ground this week so they should have plenty of sprouts to terrorize today. I’ll have to plant them all again next week after the kids head back to wherever they came from.
Last week I had another pretty good week for spotters. My picks went 7 – 4 last week as far as quality starts and wins go, and only one of my picks gave up more than five runs. This week there are a lot of good starts in the top end of the 50% and under group, so some of them may not be available on your wire. But I still found plenty of lesser owned players in the Abyss so hopefully you’ll have luck finding one of them if the others are already gone.
One of my favorite spotters this week is Griffin Canning. He has only been in the MLB for a few starts, so far with mostly good reviews if not sparkling stats. So far he is 1-0 with a 4.66 ERA, but also a 13/2 K/BB, Canning made his major league debut last Tuesday against the Blue Jays, giving up three runs on four hits with six Ks 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 reached the majors within two years of being taken 47th overall in the 2017 draft. He’s 57% owned now sfter only two starts. I imagine a few more good starts and he’ll be universally owned.
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.
***Sort of Two Start Pitcher***Griffin Canning, RHSP, LAA (57 % owned, up from 29% in Fantrax) Vs KC SAT & TODAY (Sunday) @ BAL: This is Definitely your last chance to snag a piece of Canning as his ownership jumped from 29% two weeks ago to 57% this week. Canning made his major league debut last Tuesday against the Blue Jays, giving up three runs on four hits with six Ks 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 a good matchup in Week 7. The Royals have hit to a .334 wOBA and .246 BA against righties on the road this season. That is not too bad, but over the last 10 days it is .306 wOBA and .236 BA. If you are not too late, grab him for TODAY (Sunday) when he faces the O’s in Baltimore, where they are hitting to a .300 wOBA and .231 BA against righties at home in 2019. Go ahead, look and see if he is there, we’ll wait.
Wade Miley, LHSP, HOU (59% owned) @ DET TUE: In a first for me, I’m listing Wade Miley three weeks in a row. Once again his matchup is so good that I have to extend him one more week in my article. Two weeks ago 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 Tigers are hitting to a horrendous .252 wOBA and .190 BA against lefties at home so far in 2019, the third worst marks in baseball among teams with 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 DET start is one of them. In fact last week I said. “You may want to keep him one more week after that for his start against the Tigers in Detroit next TUE.” At some point, Miley will put out a ratio killing start, but I doubt it will be against the Tigers. Both his wife and Mom think he is a keeper even if you don’t. Happy Mother’s Day Mrs Miley.
Dylan Bundy, RHP, BAL (53% owned) @ CLE SUN: Don’t look now, but Dylan Bundy pitched 7.1 shutout innings of three hit ball against the Red Sox his last time out. He struck out four against only one walk and no HR. I thought once Bundy found his command he would be a pretty good pitcher. Walks, Home Runs and injuries have stopped him from reaching his potential, but he is only 26, and I think still has a promising future. If nothing else he has a great match-up next week against the Indians in Cleveland where they have a .283 wOBA and .232 BA against righties at home.
CC Sabathia, LHSP, NYY (49% owned) Vs TB FRI: Sabathia keeps finding his way into these articles, mainly because he keeps finding ways to get MLB hitters out. He likes to pitch against the Rays as well, winning 17 of his 48 games started against them, during which he has put up a 3.67 ERA. CC has struck out 293 Rays in 314 innings pitched, his highest total against any team in his career. Tampa is hitting to a woeful .318 wOBA and .250 batting average in 2019. This is the big guy’s last season, and I’ll use him till his arm falls off. Don’t expect much more than 5 innings, but they will be quality innings.
John Means, LHSP, BALT (43% owned) @ CLE FRI: Means pitched seven innings of one run ball against the Red Sox his last time out. He gave up only three hits and struck out four against zero walks. That is impressive and he’s been pitching well now that he is stretched out as a starter. He is now 4-3 with a 2.48 ERA and 1.01 WHIP after five games started in 2019 with an impressive 29 K’s vs only 7 walks in 32.2 IP. As a guy who keeps it on the ground, he’s only given up three HR in that stretch with two of those coming in one game against the White Sox. This week he gets a much easier match in the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland where they have a .316 wOBA and .254 BA against lefties at home.
FROM THE ABYSS – Starting Pitchers owned in less than (Roughly) 20% of leagues:
***Sort of Two Start Pitcher***Jefry Rodriguez RHSP, CLE (25% up from 9% owned) Vs BAL SAT & TODAY(Sunday) @ OAK SUN: Almost as attractive is this two start matchup. 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 Baltimore Orioles in Cleveland on Saturday, the Birds are hitting to a .297 wOBA and .244 BA. If you missed out on Canning, run back to the wire now and grab Jefry for the A’s home game TODAY. (Sunday) The A’s are hitting to a wOBA of .285 and a .225 BA against righties at OAK on SUN. Both of these are Must Starts.
***Two Start Pitcher***Nick Kingham RHSP, PIT (20% owned) @ AZ MON & @ SD SAT: Pressed into the rotation because of injuries to Chris Archer and Jameson Taillon, Kingham, who has been pitching out of the pen so far in 2019, should get at least a couple starts. In his first start, he pitched fairly well, but only lasted four innings which was somewhat expected, giving up two runs on three hits with five Ks. Unfortunately he also walked three batters which did him in in the 4th. I’m thinking the command will improve allowing him to go another inning or two, and he has two primo matchups in which to find himself. Arizona is hitting to a horrendous .267 wOBA and .172 BA against righties at home. The Padres are hitting to a poor .295 wOBA and .215 BA against righties at home. Kingham is lined up to give spotters two good quality starts.
Drew Smyly, LHSP, TEX(17% owned) vs STL FRI: I finally stopped waiting for Smyly’s breakout, but he can still be a quality spotter with a good matchup. This week, he gets the Cards in TEX. The Cards are hitting to a horrible .274 wOBA, but with a surprising .268 batting average against lefties on the road. In his most recent start, he only gave up one run on two hits, with five strikeouts, but it was in only four innings. Like Kingham above, he should be stretched enough now to go 5 or 6 if he is efficient and effective. I think he will be this week. Happy Mother’s Day Mrs Smiley.
That’s it for this week. Picking Your Spots will be more fun next week when we’ll be in the 3rd 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 9th, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #158 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 Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday May 12th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #159 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 Kevin Bzdek. Kevin is a writer, editor, league owner, and frequent guest on majorleaguefantasysports.com shows.