Good Morning. Welcome to Week 12. and a Happy Father’s Day to all of you father’s out there. Last week, we went pretty deep into the Abyss and found four lesser owned starters to recommend for spot starting. Three of the four threw quality starts, so we are going back to the Abyss to fish and see if there is anything there for this week. The last few weeks I reminded myself why I don’t trust rookie pitchers, especially in a ROTO League, and what do I do? I recommend and pick up a few more this week. This is Father’s Day though, so you should be lounging in the hammock with a cold one instead of picking spot starters for next week. So, I made it nice and easy for you. Here are some serious Fantasy Must-Starts running the gamut from 50% down to less than 10% owned.
Last week, was one of my better performances, at 8-3 as quality starts/wins go, and I took a big risk by recommending far more pitchers than usual. Only one got hit pretty hard and there are more to go tonight (Saturday) and Sunday. So, that is eleven straight weeks with at least a 50% success rate on my picks. This week, there are plenty of good starts in the top end of the 50% and under group, and 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. There were not a ton of two-start pitchers last week, so you know what that means. There are plenty for next week, so I list quite a few two start pitchers for next week that i would grab for both starts. Right, so there are no “sort of” Two Start Pitchers like there have been the last couple of weeks.
There are a couple of pitchers I’m excited about this week. Righty Merrill Kelly of AZ and righty Jordan Yamamoto of the Minnesota Twins. Both were relatively unknown before 2019, but both have a chance to make a difference now that they are in the MLB rotations of their teams. Read more about them below.
Not to toot my own Jason Vargas horn, but he followed up his 9 inning shutout against the Giants with a quality start Win against the NY Yankees. Do you think he keeps it up, or is he a blow up waiting to happen? The answer to that is “of course”. This is fantasy baseball. He gets the Cubbies next week. I’m going to cash in my Vargas chips and leave him off my roster this coming week.
All ownership figures are from Fantrax. All wOBA match-ups data is courtesy of Fangraphs.
***Two Start Pitcher***Merrill Kelly, RHSP, AZ (59% owned) Vs COL TUE & Vs SF SUN: Yeah, he may be gone in your league, but go and check the wire anyway, hurry. We’ll wait here for you. I had Kelly in one of my “Pick Your Spots” early in the year. I considered him a match-ups guy. Don’t look now, but he has just rattled off three Quality Starts in a row where he has given up one run or less with an 18/2 K/BB over 22.1 innings, and seven quality starts in his last nine games. He also has crafted seven wins in 14 starts, just one shy of staff leader Zack Greinke and is sporting a respectable 3.73 ERA. Kelly spent three seasons playing in South Korea where he earned 48 wins and a 3.86 ERA. The D-Backs thought he was good enough to sign him to a two-year, $5 million contract with two more option years. Kelly is scheduled to face the Colorado Rockies and the San Francisco Giants in Week 12, with both games in the desert. The Rockies are sporting a .282 wOBA and .223 average with a .152 ISO agaisnt righties on the road, good for 29th in the MLB. The Giants are almost as bad, ranking 29th on the season in wOBA with a .283 mark, though .319 on the road vs righties and 28th in runs scored. Only the Marlins and Tigers have fewer runs scored on the year. These are Fantasy Must-Starts.
Michael Wacha, RHSP, STL (56% owned) Vs MIA THU: Last week, Wacha had two starts but I only recommended him for one of them. Sure enough he shut out the Fish for six innings, and then got knocked around by the Mets. This week he gets the Fish again on Thursday. Wacha struggled through nine starts before being shifted to the bullpen in late May, posting a 5.59 ERA, 1.69 WHIP and [43:29] K:BB over 46.2 innings. Wacha is being stretched back out after his pen stint so he may not get you enough innings for a W or QS. The Marlins are hitting to a .291 wOBA and .244 BA against righties at home with a league low .125 ISO. This is another Fantasy Must-Start.
Chase Anderson, RHSP, MIL (48% owned) Vs CIN FRI: Seemingly back to full strength, Anderson had a nice start against Pittsburgh last week on the heals of his poor showing vs Miami. He have up two runs on four hits and would have been in line for the W had his offense scored for him earlier in the game. The good news is that he only walked one and struck out six. This was the fourth start in a row that he gave up one or less walks. His K/BB during that stretch is 21/2. This week he gets the Reds at home in Milwaukee. The Reds are hitting to a league worst wOBA of .277, with a .216 BA and .156 ISO against righties on the road. This is yet another Fantasy Must-Start.
***Two Start Pitcher***Jordan Yamamoto, RHSP, MIA (31% owned, up from 6% last week) @ PHI TUE & @ STL SUN: The Marlins seem to want to keep Yamamoto in the MLB rotation in the wake of their two best pitchers, Jose Urena (back) and Caleb Smith (hip) being on the injured list. The 23 year old Hawaiian born Yamamoto, with the very American first name had a pretty good minor league career. With K/9 rates consistently over nine or ten and very low walk and HR rates, he is a pitching coach’s dream. Keep the ducks off the pond, the ball in the park and the bats missing the ball and you are good to go. He may also make for a good draw for a team that has trouble putting butts in the seats. Jumping from 6% owned to 31% after one start means that he will not be available after his next start if it is as good as his first. The Phillies are batting to a wOBA of .317 with a .231 BA against righties at home while the Cards are hitting to a .314 wOBA and .255 BA but only a .132 ISO against righties at home. He’s a rookie and a novelty but I picked him up for this two start week in one of my money leagues.
Andrew Cashner, RHSP, BAL (23% owned IN FANTRAX) @ OAK MON & @ SEA SAT: Yup, this is Andrew Cashner. He might blow up your team this week, or he may get a win with some K’s. One way or another, Cashner is 6-2 on the season, and he’s got two great match-ups next week. The A’s are hitting to a wOBA of .288, with a .217 BA and .154 ISO against Righties at home. The Mariners are hitting to a .295 wOBA, .216 BA , and .165 ISO. No, the numbers aren’t pretty but did I mention he is 6-2?
***Two Start Pitcher***Daniel Norris, LHSP, DET (21% owned) @ PIT TUE & @ CLE SUN: Two weeks ago I said “I may have to change the name of my article to Pick Your Norris starts, as I think he is my most frequent flyer this season.” This has not changed, nor has his ownership percentage as it only went up 1% this past week after giving up two runs to beat the Royals. He also still drives his Microbus. He keeps quietly getting it done, with only two clunkers in his last 10 starts. Those two are the reason for his 4.52 ERA. No, he is not an ace, or even a number two starter. But if you need a back end starter to round out your staff he is waiting for you still in 80% of leagues. I own him on a few teams. He takes a pretty stingy 54/18 K/BB into this week’s two Fantasy Must -Starts. He has walked two or fewer batters in nine of his last eleven starts. How many starting pitchers can boast that? He also did not give up a HR last week, a huge corner for him to turn if he wants to get into the middle tier of SP. The Pirates have a .265 BA against Lefties at home, but are hitting to a horrendous .294 wOBA, and a league 2nd worst .115 ISO against lefties at home. The Indians are worse with a .289 wOBA, .220 BA and .136 ISO against lefties at home.
FROM THE ABYSS – Starting Pitchers owned in less than 10% of leagues: With the slew of injuries to established starters, many un-drafted free agents are rostered now. That opened up the Abyss for some new players to look at, and there are plenty of good match-ups from under 10% owned pitchers to be had this week.
Steven Brault, LHSP, PIT (11% owned) Vs DET WED OR Vs SD THU: There is some ambiguity in the schedule here but he is a good start vs either team. Brault pitched six shutout innings in his last start, giving up 8 hits but no walks and 6 K’s against the lowly Marlins. The 27-year-old owns a 4.40 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, and a 40/24 K:BB across 47 innings this season. Brault is currently lined up to make his next start next week at home vs the Tigers or Padres, so it appears the Pirates are trying to keep him in the rotation. The Tigers are hitting to a wOBA of .318, with a .260 BA and a .163 ISO against Lefties on the road. But, if he gets the Padres, they are hitting to a wOBA of .310 with a .218 BA against lefties on the road. I think either would be a pretty good spot start.
***Two Start Pitcher***Elieser Hernandez, SEA, RHSP, MIA (10% owned IN FANTRAX) @ OAK TUE & @ SEA SUN: Hernandez is scheduled for MON/SAT starts. The Cards and Phills are hitting to wOBA’s of .314 and .317 respectively. Those are both middle of the pack numbers making Hernandez a middle of the pack spotter. I do like that he is not giving up walks or HR. He had filthy numbers at AAA so far this season with a 1.13 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with 69 strikeouts in 48 innings. I’d say that is worth a shot.
***Two Start Pitcher***Gabriel Ynoa, RHSP, BAL (2% owned IN FANTRAX) @ OAK TUE & @ SEA SUN: In his past three starts, Ynoa has two quality starts and was one inning shy of another. In his last start he did not walk a batter, a good sign since he was walking too many, especially for a pitcher who throws it up in the zone (and he did give up 2 HR in his last start). Sure this is risky but we are at the 3% owned level here. But, if you are in desperate need a two start next week, I’d look to see if he is still there. There are no better pitchers out there this little owned. The A’s are hitting to a wOBA of .288, with a .217 BA and .154 ISO against Righties at home. The Mariners are hitting to a .295 wOBA, .216 BA , and .165 ISO.
Thats it for this week. Picking Your Spots has gotten a little more fun now. Most of the decent pitchers who had slipped under the radar are owned now and owners will try to gobble up all the new call ups trying to get an edge. Add to that the plethora of injured starting pitchers and there you have it. But, as always, there are plenty of good spotters on the wire, including some new ones. 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 twelfth 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 Brian Roach, Jr., and Co-Host Cole Freel live on Sunday June 16th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #166 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. Join us for the Fathers Day Special.
Our guest this week is Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com and his articles publish every Sunday. He focuses on spot starters for the coming week in each article.