The trade deadline has passed and there is no waiver period in August like there used to be, so there will be no more trading. However, the void left on those teams that moved established starters (i.e. Greinke) or even not so established starters (i.e. Gallen) have good size voids to fill. The teams that got those starters may have bumped guys we’ve had good luck streaming this season, so it is probably a zero net result, but the names in many cases are different, sending us back to the research phase of our sport. Then there are the TBA’s for those teams that have not yet committed to who is filling those voids. We’ll have to watch as the week goes on, so, when those starters are announced, we can decide if they are worth starting or not. It is a new pool to pick from, but is it a good fishing spot or will you hook a piece of garbage. I’m not going to update as they are announced, but if you have a specific pitcher you want to ask about during the week, there are three ways to reach me: My email and twitter are listed below and I’ll start a Reddit post today on r/fantasybaseball where you can ask me anything all week.
Some things about spot starting are cyclical and two-start pitchers are one of those things. There are quite a few two-start pitchers who have a Fantasy Must-Start for one and a Fantasy No-Start for the other game they are pitching this coming week. I list them in here if that Must-Start is good enough to offset the no no, but if you can pull it off, just activate him for the one start and bench or drop him for the other. They are notated in this article as “Sort of Two-Start Pitchers”. I hope that sort of helps.
Like I said last week, I’m not a fisherman myself, but I do have a pretty big vegetable garden this year, and between the weather and my fertile soil it is bursting at the seams right now. I have tomatoes, peppers, squash, cukes, string beans and lots of herbs for my wife and daughter to make some awesome summer meals (I’m not allowed in the kitchen). I won’t be able to eat it all, so let me know what you would like once I start harvesting. Well, I have a ton of cucumbers and yellow squash, and picked my first jalapeno this morning, so put your orders in now. The sweet peppers are ready when we need them and the tomatoes are a good week away.
We went deep into the Abyss last week, and that group managed a 2-3 record. My more established streamers went a whopping 5-0 last week giving me my best week since early in the season at 7-3, albeit with a few more games on tap for today.
All ownership figures are from Fantrax. All wOBA matchups data is courtesy of Fangraphs.
***Sort of Two Start Pitcher***Zach Plesac, RHSP (59% owned) VS TEX TUE & @ MIN SUN: This is what I am talking about. TEX is a Fantasy Must-Start, while the MIN start I would avoid completely if possible. Plesac has been quietly steady for the Indians, and likely one reason they decided to trade Trevor “I Can Reach the Stands From Here” Bauer. Plesac (6-3) picked up the win in each of his last three starts, Twice vs the Royals, 5-4 (2 runs in 6 innings) and 8-3 (7 shutout innings), and then defeated the Stros in his last start even though he gave up four runs in five innings. The offense bailed him out with ten runs in that game. I’m not sure why he is still available in over 40% of all leagues as I consider him more than just a spotter. He’ll take a 3.41 ERA and [47:25] K:BB through 66 innings into his next start. TEX, who comes to town Tuesday is hitting to a near league worst .280 wOBA, .222 BA and .143 ISO against righties on the road since June 1st, thus a Fantasy Must-Start. The Twins are hitting to a nifty .350 wOBA with a .282 BA vs righties at home since June 1st. I’m not telling you to bench him for the MIN start, but I’m certainly not recommending him either.
Chase Anderson, RHSP, MIL (56% owned in Fantrax) @ PIT TUE: Last week I said, If you look up Fantasy Spot Starter on Google, there is a picture of Chase Anderson there. No, he’ll never win 20 games or toss 200 K’s or even 200 innings for that matter. However, being owned in roughly 50% of leagues, he’s likely there when you need him. The Brewers are happy to have him right now with three starters on the shelf at the moment. Did you know he hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last seven starts? Unfortunately because of the offense and bullpen he is only 2-0 in that stretch. Once again Anderson didn’t factor into the decision against the Athletics on Thursday, giving up one earned run on two hits over six innings, striking out five and walking three in a 5-3 defeat for the Brewers. He is turning in a solid season overall, as he’s sporting a 3.73 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and a [90:32] K:BB over 94 innings. The Pirates are actually hitting righties at home pretty well both the last month and all season in 2019. So, this recommendation is more about how Anderson has been pitching than the match-up. Proceed with caution.
Danny Duffy, LHSP, KC (53% owned) @ DET THU: I know, I know, He allowed nine runs (eight earned) on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts across 4.2 innings against the Twins in MIN yesterday (Saturday). He’s dealt with a home run problem most of the season, but ran into a buzz saw of an offense in the Twins, who are scorching hot right now. Duffy allowed a season-high four home runs, including two to Nelson Cruz. So why am I recommending him after that debacle? Duffy will pitch Thursday at the Tigers. The Tigers are hitting to a near league worst .262 wOBA, .219 BA and putrid .109 ISO against lefties at home since July 1st. Another definition of spot starter: Pitch him against poor offenses, bench him against good ones. Simple as that. He has been around long enough that giving up nine runs to a hot offense should not affect him in his next start. Mrs Duffy made sure of that. This is a start which I would call a Fantasy Must-Start.
***Two Start Pitcher***Vince Velasquez, RHSP, PHI (58% owned) @ ARI MON & @ SF SAT: Velasquez (3-6) took the loss Wednesday, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks over five-plus innings while striking out six as the Phillies fell 5-1 to the Giants. Velasquez has given up two runs or less in four of his last six starts (four each in the other two) with a 30/5 K/BB in that stretch. For the season he has a 4.40 ERA and 85/29 K/BB through 71.2 innings. So, other than giving up foour HR to the Dodgers recently, Velasquez has been keeping the ducks off the pond and the ball in the park (3 HR total in his other 5 starts) But, now he has two primo match-ups to feast on. First he gets the D’Backs in AZ where they are hitting to a .306 wOBA, .248 BA and .145 ISO against Righties at home since June 1st. Then he gets the anemic Giants offense in SF where they are hitting to a .276 wOBA, .222 BA and .141 ISO against righties at home since June 1st. While the Arizona start could be a little bit of a challenge, the Giants game is a Fantasy Must-Start.
Ivan Nova, RHSP, CHW (34% owned in Fantrax) @ DET WED: Nova allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out four over five innings Friday night against the Phillies. The 32-year-old right-hander has yielded just one run in each of his last three outings, but he still owns a 5.10 ERA with 85 strikeouts across 130.2 innings this season. Yeah, Nova is scary, but he has filled the bill every time I have plugged him in this season. Plus, the Tigers are hitting to an anemic near league worst .281 wOBA, .237 BA and .136 ISO against righties at home since June 1st. This is a Fantasy Must-Start. Oooops, wrong Nova pic.
***Two Start Pitcher***Daniel Norris, LHSP (24% owned) VS CWS TUE & VS KC SUN: Norris allowed no runs on three hits for a five inning Win last week. In his past three starts,
Norris is 1-0 with a 16/4 K/BB and only three runs allowed over his past three starts. He has been inconsistent this season as he’s allowed three runs or fewer in seven of his last 11 starts, but also surrendered five or more in the other four starts over that span. THAT is why he is a spot starter and not rostered. The 26-year-old has a 4.67 ERA and 1.39 WHIP over 112 innings this season. He’s expected to next take the mound versus the White Sox on Tuesday. The Chisox are hitting to .306 wOBA against lefties on the road. The Royals are hitting to a near league worst .296 wOBA against lefties away from KC. Both wOBA numbers are since June 1st. Both are Fantasy Must-Starts.
The Padres Pitching Staff: I’d start any of Dinelson Lamet, RHSP @ SEA, TUE & Vs COL, SUN, Eric Lauer, LHSP vs COL THU, or Cal Quantrill, RHSP vs COL FRI. It’s all about the match-ups baby. Colorado is one of the worst hitting teams on the road, both against righties and lefties and Seattle is playing poorly on the road vs righties.
FROM THE ABYSS – Starting Pitchers owned in roughly less than 20% of leagues: Starters are starting to go on the DL this week for reasons mentioned above in my intro, giving us more to pick from in the Abyss. The other thing saving us are the recent additions from the minors who are starting to make their mark, and there are some good match-ups in that group to be had this week.
***Sort of Two Start Pitcher***Aaron Civale, RHSP, CLE (19% owned) Vs TEX MON & @ MIN SAT: Civale will be called up from Triple-A Columbus to start Monday against the Rangers. The 24-year-old will enter the starting rotation in place of Danny Salazar, who landed on the injured list (Again) with a groin issue. Civale made his major-league debut in June and allowed two hits over six shutout innings. The Rangers are hitting to a woeful .280 wOBA, .222 BA and .143 ISO against righties on the road since June 1st. I am seriously recommending you sit him against the Twins, Nuff said.
Tony Gonsolin, RHSP, LAD (11% owned IN FANTRAX) VS STL MON: The Dodgers have arguably the deepest starting rotation in the MLB, often having seven deep on the roster, so it is seldom you get to name a spot starter from that group of universally owned pitchers. Gonsolin has been named the starting pitcher for Monday’s game against the Cardinals. He was brought back to the big leagues Friday, though he’s not expected to see action until he toes the rubber Monday night. He’s appeared in two contests this season for the Dodgers, surrendering five runs while fanning six over eight innings (one start). The Cardinals are hitting to a surprisingly low .302 wOBA and .239 BA against righties on the road since June 1st.
Adrian Houser, RHSP, MIL (10% owned) vs TEX SAT: He has a start today (Sunday) against the Cubs, but then Houser will make his next start Sunday against the Rangers in Milwaukee. Houser was added to the rotation out of necessity earlier last week and delivered perhaps the best of his seven starts this season, giving up one run on three hits and a walk while striking out six over five innings in a no-decision. He’ll be rewarded with another couple of turns as a result while Jhoulys Chacin (lat) rehabs. The Rangers are hitting to a woeful .280 wOBA, .222 BA and .143 ISO against righties on the road since June 1st.
Joe Ross, RHSP, WAS (9% owned in Fantrax) @ SF WED: Ross (1-3) earned the win Friday after holding the Diamondbacks scoreless over 5.1 innings. He allowed five walks and a hit while striking out three. The right-hander has pitched mostly in relief this season, aside from that last start and a start against the Braves on July 21. The 26-year-old has the potential to make an impact on Washington’s rotation if he can continue to improve his efficiency. He’ll make his next start Wednesday at San Francisco. The Giants are hitting to a near league worst .293 wOBA, .238 BA and .146 ISO since June 1st.
That’s it for this week. Picking Your Spots was tougher this week than usual. 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 twentieth 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.
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.