Good Morning and welcome to Week Eight. We’re going deep this week, Deep into the Abyss. What choice do we have, there is not a lot out there this week. But I found some. I also found that there is little worth using in the deepest depths of The Abyss this week so I expanded the range of the Abyss. Hey it is my article I can do that if I want, right?
I put the seedlings in the ground this week so Pete the Groundhog and his family should have plenty of sprouts to terrorize today. I’ll have to plant them all again next week after his kids head back to wherever they came from. That’s right. I trick them into thinking they have eaten everything worth eating in my garden and then they move on. At least that is how I justify planting them all again. But this week, while he was waiting, Pete was spotted off the coast of Hawaii getting in some waves. I have sure spoiled him rotten over the years.
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. I had to raise the threshold for the Abyss to 30 innings pitched now as the under 20% group is pretty dry this week.
One of my favorite spotters this week is Jose Urena of the Miami Marlins. Yeah, how about a little love for the Fish? Urena has become the Marlin’s de-facto ace, and lately has been pitching like one. He is not a dominant strikeout pitcher, so you’ll have to deal with watching him find other ways to win like keeping the ball on the ground, in the park and the ducks off the pond.
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 matchups even though they are owned in less than 20% (or this week 30%) 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 matchup, 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***Brett Anderson, LHSP, OAK (50 % owned IN FANTRAX) @ CLE MON & VS SEA SUNDAY: Anderson took the loss against Seattle on Tuesday, tossing six innings and giving up four runs on six hits and one walk while striking out five. He was victimized by three long balls against the Mariners. On a positive note, Anderson’s five strikeouts were a season high and he made it through six innings for his third straight outing. This choice is not as much about his 4.40 ERA and 4-3 record on the young season but based on two primo match-ups. He’ll head to Cleveland to face the Indians in his next start Monday. The Indians are hitting to a pretty poor .306 wOBA and .239 BA at home vs lefties. Then he gets the Mariners again, this time at home in Oakland. The Mariners have hit to a .300 wOBA and .204 BA on the road vs lefties. I just grabbed him today in my league for next week. See if he is still on your wire.
***Two Start Pitcher***Wade Miley, LHSP, HOU (49% owned) @ CHW MON and BOS SAT: STOP!!! CAUTION: As of today Miley was bumped ahead a day to start Sunday (TODAY!) vs the Red Sox instead of a much easier match against the Chisox Monday. His other start next week is also Vs the Red Sox. Last week I said that at some point, Miley will put out a ratio killing start. What is the chance it will come in one of those Boston starts? Don’t let it be in your lineuep. Stay away. Drop him if you already picked him up for that Chisox start.
Merrill Kelly, RHP, AZ (52% owned) @ SD WED: Making his Pick Your Spots debut, Kelly found his way on the list this week both because of a great match-up Wednesday against the Padres in San Diego, and the fact that his last couple starts have been pretty solid. Kelly has improved his line over his last couple starts compared to his previous outing when seven runs crossed the plate in four innings. In his last start he tossed a crisp 5.1 innings of shutout ball with six hits four K’s and one walk with no HR against SF. Prior to that he pitched seven innings in Atlanta, giving up three runs in a quality start loss. The SF start was the fifth quality start in nine outings for the right-hander, who dropped his ERA in those starts from 4.85 to 4.29 where it stands going into SD on WED. SD has hit to a horrendous .279 wOBA and .217 BA at home vs righties. I’d call that a must start.
CC Sabathia, LHSP, NYY (49% owned) @ BAL WED: Sabathia (2-1) picked up the win against the Mariners on Monday giving up three earned runs on five hits over five innings, striking out five and walking three as the Yankees nailed a 7-3 victory. Sabathia wasn’t particularly efficient, needing 99 pitches to make it through five innings and issuing three walks, but he did enough to pick up his second victory of the season. He then went a season high six innings in his last start against the Rays on Friday, giving up only one run in his first Quality Start of the season (based on making it six innings). The veteran is providing solid ratios through his six starts, as he’s now got a 2.97 ERA and a 1.211 WHIP through 36.1 innings. Sabathia keeps finding his way into these articles, mainly because he keeps finding ways to get MLB hitters out. I actually own him in two of my three leagues and would spot him even if I wasn’t committed to rostering him. The Orioles are hitting to a wOBA of .299 and a .261 BA at home against lefties. I’d call that a must start. 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.
Pablo Lopez RHSP, MIA (46% owned) @ WAS FRI: Yes, I’m recommending a Spotter against Washington. The Nats are hitting to a surprising wOBA of .302 and a .235 BA against right handed pitchers at home. So, Lopez did give up a whopping 10 runs to the Mets 2 weeks ago. But he rebounded nicely with 7 innings of one-hit ball, with seven K’s against just two walks Vs those same Mets Saturday (Yesterday). He’s pitched pretty well in 2019 for the most part. I’m giving him a mulligan for the first Met’s game.
FROM THE ABYSS – Starting Pitchers owned in less than (Roughly) 30% of leagues: Yes, the upper limit of the Abyss was expanded a bit. I mean what with Global Warming and Climate Change and all.
Jose Urena RHSP, MIA (34% owned) @ DET WED: Urena is now in his age 27 season and finds himself as the Marlins Ace, if only by default. In his last two starts, vs the Cubs and Rays, Urena has gone 13 innings, giving up only 11 hits , 2 ER and no HR. He only has a 5/4 K/BB in that stretch so you are not looking to him for Ks. He also did not get a win in either start showing how bad his run support is. But he does have quality starts in five of his last six starts. The Tigers are hitting to a wOBA of .278 and a .223 BA against righties at home. This is a fantasy must-start.
***Sort Of Two Start Pitcher***Trent Thornton RHSP, TOR (28% owned) @ CHW SUN (TODAY!!!) & Vs SD FRI: It is still a bit of a crap shoot as to which Thornton you will get on any given day, but with the right match-up he is golden. When he is on, Thornton is a high SO pitcher who also tends to issue a few too many walks. In his last start, he got his first win of the season going 5.2 innings and giving up three hits and two runs with one HR. He struck out seven batters but also walked five. A HR or two here and there does not hurt if he stops issuing the free passes. As for today’s start @ Chicago, the Chisox have hit to a .313 wOBA and .246 BA against righties at home. If you still need one more start this week and Thornton is out there, as he is in 72% of leagues, you could do a lot worse. As for his start next week vs SD on FRI, the Padres are hitting to a .306 wOBA and .242 average against righties on the road.
Daniel Norris LHSP, DET (24% owned) Vs MIA THU: Walks and HR have been his Achilles heel 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 southpaw will take a 4.50 ERA and [28:11] K:BB through 40 innings into his next start Thursday, at home against the Marlins. The Marlins so far this season are hitting to a pitiful .278 wOBA against LHSP Away, batting .246. One night he was late getting into the ballpark for his scheduled start. Security thought he was a homeless guy trying to get in the park. Let him in your park as this is a Fantasy Must Start.
Cal Quantrill, RHSP, SD (19% owned) @ TOR SUN: Quantrill was shipped to the minors after his last start when he gave up only two earned runs and nailed seven K’s in 4.1 innings The move was not to punish or demote Quantrill, but to let him play a minor league game before his next start, and at the same time allowing the Jays to add a fresh bullpen arm. He is expected to be activated in time for the Toronto start Sunday in Toronto. The Blue Jays are hitting to a .297 wOBA and .244 BA against righties at home. This is a fantasy Must-Start.
That’s it for this week. Picking Your Spots will get a little tougher now. Most of the decent pitchers who had slipped under the radar will be owned now and owners will try to gobble up all the new call ups trying to get an edge. But, as always, there will still be some good spotters on the wire. We just have to find them. Hopefully this week’s edition will be helpful. See you next week, when we’ll pick some more spots for the season’s ninth 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 16th, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #160 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 19th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #161 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 guests this week are Joe Iannone and Bryan Luhrs. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com and his articles publish every Sunday. Bryan is the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports and is also a league owner as well as a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com.
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.