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“65 Mustangs” Pick Your Spots – Week 14 – Happy Independence Day!

Good Morning. Welcome to Week 14. Last week, I said, “For me, the next couple of weeks, including the All-Star break, are when I do a gut check on my teams.” I have not done much yet, just making some tweaks, but no trades. On the hitting front I finally gave up on Christin Stewart of the Tigers in re-draft leagues, mainly because I got Aaron Judge and Justin Upton back from injury. That is like making a huge mid-season trade, giving up only Stewart for those two.

Pitching wise I thought I was cruising in a few leagues after picking up and not dropping Dakota Hudson (Up to 73% ownership in Fantrax), Daniel Norris (65% )and Jordan Yamamoto (70%) among others. The trouble with falling in love with a spot starter is that they eventually will hurt you. That goal of building a staff that hardly needs any spot starters is more of a fantasy than anything.  So here I am again on a summer weekend picking spot starters from the scrap heap for the coming week. Thanks for coming along. Oh, and Martin Perez became Martin Perez again.

I hope you all benched your Yankee and Red Sox starting pitchers for the 2 game London series. No, London Bridge did not fall down, but the first game, yesterday had a final score of something like an old Knicks/Celtics game, 117 to 112 or something like that. The stadium there is a band box with the center field fence only 385 feet from home plate. I don’t think the hitting or pitching stats from that series should count in fantasy, but we take the good with the bad.

Last week, my MON through SAT picks went 6-4 again as quality starts/wins go, keeping my streak of 60% or better results since week one intact. So, I’ll try and make it look easy again. Here are some serious Fantasy Must-Starts running the gamut from 50% down to less than 10% owned. Michael Pineda is of special interest to me again this week. He is getting back to where he was before his injury and also has a primo match-up this week. This may be the last chance to own him this season now that he is getting close to 60% owned. Same goes for Michael Wacha. If your staff is short a couple of arms see if those two are out there.

I hope you all have a fun, safe and happy 4th of July. Go ahead and scrap your diet and throw down some burgers, dogs, brews, corn on the cob and Mom’s famous potato salad. Then watch some fireworks. Hope you have Friday off too. Make America Greater!

All ownership figures are from Fantrax. All wOBA matchups data is courtesy of Fangraphs.

Michael Pineda, RHSP, MIN (55% owned) Vs TEX SAT: Pineda (5-4) struck out eight and got the win in Saturday’s 10-3 victory over the White Sox, giving up one run on four hits and a walk over six innings. The right-hander has now given us six quality starts in his last nine starts with a 3.93 ERA and 45/6 K/BB through 54.2 innings over that stretch. He’ll look to keep it going in his next start July 6, at home against the Rangers. The Rangers are hitting to a .271 wOBA, .225 Average and pitiful .096 ISO against righties on the road in June. This is a Fantasy Must-Start.

Michael Wacha, RHSP, STL (53% owned) @ SEA THU: Wacha (5-4) ended up with a hard luck loss at SD Friday, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk over seven innings while striking out only two. The prior week, Wacha picked up the win, allowing one run on five hits and a walk over six innings while striking out four in a 5-1 victory over the Angels, Wacha’s fifth quality start of the season, and third in four outings since returning to the rotation. 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. He is now back in the rotation after his pen stint and hopefully will collect some elusive W’s. The Mariners are hitting to a .304 wOBA and .228 BA against righties at home this season. This is another Fantasy Must-Start for Wacha who will not stay this little owned much longer.

Last week I said this about the next two pitchers: “This is a good spot to list two honorable mention pitchers that have great spot starts next week, but I didn’t have enough room for them in this week’s article. But here they are for you. These are both Fantasy Must-Starts. Eric Lauer, LHSP, SD and Logan Allen, LHSP, SD both have primo starts next week. Lauer gets the Cards in SD. The Cards are hitting to a .280 wOBA and .187 BA against lefties on the road. Yeah that was .187. Allen gets the O’s in Baltimore. The O’s are hitting to a wOBA of .267 with a .226 BA and .073 ISO. Right, .073. Scoop them up.” Damn, I hope you did, pick pick up Allen at least.

Eric Lauer, LHSP, SD (50% owned in Fantrax) Vs SF in SD, WEDS: Last week, Lauer pitched against the Cards giving up only one run on six hits. He did not go long enough for a W or a Quality Start, but he did not hurt you in any way either. The Giants are hitting to a league worst .188 wOBA and .137 BA with a .074 ISO against lefties on the road in the month of June, and also a league worst .239 wOBA and .187 BA against lefties on the road for the entire season.  THAT is a Fantasy Must-Start.

***Sort of Two Start Pitcher***Logan Allen, LHSP, SD (26.5% owned in Fantrax) Vs SF in SD, MON & @ LAD SAT: Allen fared better, getting a W against those same Cards, going six innings and giving up only two runs on eight hits. The Giants are hitting to a league worst .188 wOBA and .137 BA with a .074 ISO against lefties on the road, in the month of June, and also a league worst .239 wOBA and .187 BA against lefties on the road for the entire season. THAT is another Fantasy Must-Start. Be careful though, I’m not touching his 2nd start of the week against the Dodgers at home in LA where they are hitting to a 2nd best in the MLB .403 wOBA and .323 Average and .271 ISO. Consider this a one start pitcher if you can.

Antonio Senzatela, RHSP, COL (21% owned) @ ARI FRI: No, I seldom feature Rockies pitchers in these articles, but sometimes they get good match-ups away from the mountains. Senzatela has quality starts in four of his last six starts, and missed one of thsoe by an inning. He also has three wins in that stretch. Arizona is hitting to a pretty poor .297 wOBA, .231 BA and .148 ISO on the season, but in the month of June it is .283 wOBA, .237 BA and an anemic .106 ISO.

FROM THE ABYSS – Starting Pitchers owned in less than 20% of leagues: With the slew of injuries to established starters, many undrafted free agents are rostered now. That opened up the Abyss for some new players to look at, and there are some good match-ups from under 20% owned pitchers to be had this week. The first two go together.

Shaun Anderson, RHSP SFG (20% owned) @ SD WED: Anderson has quality starts in four of his last six starts, and missed the other two by a 3rd of an inning each. He also has three wins in that stretch and his ERA is no under four. He’s not going to get you a ton of K’s, but he keeps the ball on the ground, the ducks off the pond and induces weak contact. Wins, QS and ratios count too. In the month of June, the Padres are hitting to a .293 wOBA and .230 BA against righties at home in a HR challenged ballpark. Plus he has the Noah Syndergaard thing going with his hair. It helps right?

Tyler Beede, RHSP, SFG (13% owned) @ SD TUE: I know, I know. He has an ERA over 6, walks too many and gives up too many HR. But, he does have two QS in his last three, and these are the Padres. In the month of June, the Padres are hitting to a .293 wOBA and .230 BA against righties at home in a HR challenged ballpark. Allie Beede makes him feel better when he gets lit up by a good offense.

***Two Start Pitcher***Clayton Richard, TOR, LHSP, (8% owned IN FANTRAX) Vs KC TUE & Vs BAL SUN: This is not for the faint of heart. This is for those of you who need a 2 start pitcher for next week and can’t find one. His last game out was a quality start, against the Yanks no less, but it was his first in a long time. Sometimes there is a perfect storm though and Richard has two quality match-ups next week. KC is hitting to a wOBA of .305 against lefties on the road in the month of June and even worse for the season at .288 wOBA .238 BA .147 ISO. BAL is hitting to a wOBA of ..293 against lefties on the road in the month of June and even worse for the season at .287 wOBA .232 BA .148 ISO. When in the Abyss, do as the Abyssinian do. Good luck. The family that wears Tire Black together……………….oh, you know.

***Sort of Two Start Pitcher***Taylor Clark, ARI, RHSP, (8% owned IN FANTRAX) @ LAD TUE & Vs COL SUN: The Dodgers are the 2nd best hitting team in baseball, hitting to a .365 wOBA, .283 BAtting Average and league leading .244 ISO against righties at home in 2019. At this point in the season that is far too risky a start to even consider, so there is no way I am trotting him out for that start. Hoever, I think Clark’s 2nd start of the week against the Rockies at home in AZ Sunday is a Fantasy Must-Start. The Rockies are hitting to a league worst wOBA of .256 and .214 batting average and a .132 ISO against righties on the road in the month of June. No, not that Taylor Clarke, I meant the Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher. That’s better, or not.

That’s it for this week. Picking Your Spots has gotten a lot more fun now. 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 fourteenth week. Even better still, may all your injured players continue to 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.                    @Joeiannone

I'm an accountant and an amateur writer of fiction and sports commentary, mostly baseball. I've been a student of the game of baseball since the Dinosaurs roamed the earth, or at least since a few years before the world knew what a designated hitter was. Otherwise, I like "antique" cars of the 60's and 70's and have been a fantasy baseball fanatic since my first draft many years ago. I live in CT with my wife Megan of 25 years, our daughter Caitlin and their (their) cats. I'm also the better looking of the two guys in the the photo.

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