July 31, 2021

Toeing The Rubber/Riding The Pine

April 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

In this weekly article I will be analyzing and advising fantasy baseball owners about who to start and who to sit. Starting lineups are due Sunday nights or Monday by first pitch so this article will be on weekends and will coincide with me, Chris Mitchell, taking questions on twitter @cjmitch73 and doing a live twitter chat Sunday nights during the ESPN Sunday night game of the week under hashtag #whoyagot and do not forget to listen to George Kurtz, Brandon C. Williams and me on Wednesdays at 9pm EST on The Seamheads Fantasy Baseball Podcast on www.BlogTalkRadio.com.

While this article will address mostly pitching it will have a nugget or two on the offensive side as well when it seems relevant.  Pitchers like David Price, Felix Hernandez and Stephen Strasburg are must starts every single week so there is no point in addressing them here, but if I do there must be a good reason so be warned, obvious must starts will not be discussed unless there are reasons to be concerned.  That same idea applies to double start pitchers. Most good pitchers with a two-start week are must starts, so in this article we will be discussing the pitchers that are not so easy a choice, even with two starts.  So lets get to it Fantasy fanatics.


These are pitchers that bring all the categories or very close to it with a high level of confidence that they will bring it in most if not all starts. They don’t need to be aces but they normally are strong #3 caliber starters or better.

* Gio Gonzalez/Madison Bumgarner/Jake Peavy/Matt Latos/CJ WIlson/Brandon Morrow

Matt Harvey/Hideki Kuroda/Andy Pettite/Alexi Ogando


These are pitchers that are either too young, too consistently bad or too unpredictable to send out there even with a double start advantage. If you are starting these guys then you either overvalue double starts or are throwing caution to the wind and gambling with your pitching categories.  If that’s the case then my fantasy prayers are with you, my friend. Grip it and Rip it.

* Carlos Carrasco/Nick Tepesch/Phillip Humber/Brandon Maurer/Ervin Santana/Ubaldo Jimenez/Travis Wood/Ervin Santana/Clayton Richard/Kevin Slowey/Keivn Correia/Jorge De La Rose


   ”The 3-2 Count guys for WEEK #2″

These are pitchers that are below the elite pitchers in the game and above the bottom of the barrel #5 starter type pitchers, but for a variety of reasons and outside factors, they are not an easy call to either start or sit.  The most common reasons for a pitcher to be on this list are:

* High upside potential combined with high levels of inconsistency along with good match-ups or park factors

* They lack high upside potential but they’re consistent enough that when you get that extra start or the right match-ups their strikeouts and win totals get closer to the elite starters in the game and warrant the start.

The pitchers here are ranked best to worst, with a start ’em or sit ’em declaration as well as my #WhoYaGot ranking between 1-10 to give you an idea of how comfortable I feel about starting them this week.

1. Anibal Sanchez: SP DET  vs. Tor @Oak

A strong season in 2012 w/Detroit, Sanchez is a must start two-start SP for the time being.  He has consistently had ERA’s under four, K totals in the 155-180 range, he plays for a team that could win 100 games and he faces a weak hitting Oakland offense in Oakland which is heaven for pitchers. Sanchez is a guy I would analyze carefully when considering him for single start weeks but he is a must start for two start weeks like this one.


#WhoYaGot rating of 8.5 out of 10

2. Trevor Cahill: SP ARI  vs. Pit vs. LAD

Cahill had a solid if not spectacular outing in his opener vs St Louis. 7 K’s is important to see after coming off of a 3.78 ERA in 2012 and 156K’s in 200 innings.  Pitt is a sneaky good offense and there is nothing sneaky about LAD’s offense so the match-ups are not ideal for Trevor, but the K ability and two home games make Cahill a borderline must start two-start even though the match-ups are tough enough to fall at the high end of the borderline start list.


#WhoYaGot rating of 8.5 out of 10

3. Clay Buchholz: SP BOS vs Bal vs. TB

Boston has started strong and Buchholz has been their best pitcher both in spring training and the opening week in Yankee stadium.  The Red Sox look to be an 85-88 win team and with previous pitching coach, now manager, John Farrell in Boston, Buchholz looks like he could be back to the form he flashed in 2010 and 2011 when he had ERA’s of 2.33 and 3.48.  Buch does not strike out a lot of hitters in spite of having strikeout stuff and Bal & TB aren’t easy wins, so Buchholz should be analyzed closely in one-start weeks but he is a must start in two-start weeks, even more so vs. the light-hitting TB offense.


#WhoYaGot rating of 8 out of 10

4. Edwin Jackson: SP Cubs  vs. Mil vs. SF

The good thing for Jackson is he racks up good K totals, which is one of the most important criteria when determining who to start on double start weeks, those bulk starts. You bank on the bulk stats and pray for a quality outing or two.  The rest is not enough reason not to start him, but reason enough to be slightly concerned. Jackson struggles with command, which leads to an elevated WHIP, and in Chicago could lead to a lot of home runs, and that is not good when you’re facing a quality offense like Milwaukee. San Francisco won’t scare you with the bat, but combined with Milwaukee it is not going to be easy for Jackson to get a Win in this two-start week.  All that being said he is an above-average SP with well above-average K totals, and that makes him a start in week 2.


#WhoYaGot rating of 7.5 out of 10

5. Marco Estrada: SP Mil  @CHC @STL

Marco is a high upside guy with very good strikeout peripherals who pitches on a good team and had a very good 2012 season for the Brewers, and those are all  important criteria for choosing borderline double start pitchers, but he is young and a bit untested.  His walk totals were also low and with a 1.14 WHIP in 2012 he looks like a pitcher on the rise, and that all makes me want to start him this week. The one concern is he is inexperienced and with that comes unknown and risk.


#WhoYaGot rating of 7 out of 10

6. Paul Maholm: SP ATL   @Mia @Was

Maholm profiles as a perfect two-start pitcher. Solid but not special strikeout totals, good pitcher but not must start quality, plays on a winning team that has started hot, two starts in two pitchers parks.


#WhoYaGot rating of 7 of 10

7. Roy Halladay:  SP Philly vs. NYM @Mia

It seems sacrilegious and against the mission statement of this column to even utter the name Roy Halladay in a list of borderline pitchers on double start weeks, but after his season in 2012 where he had an ERA of  4.49,WHIP of 1.22, persistent rumors of altered mechanics to relieve stress on his shoulder and speculation of a possible injury followed by a miserable first start (3.1 innings 5 earned), Roy needs to be discussed here.  If he had tough match-ups this week I would be recommending you sit him because I do believe that even this early in the year that his performance warrants a no confidence grade. I do feel that he cannot be trusted to start until he proves otherwise, but the match-ups this week are just too good, vs. NYM and @Mia. Both are poor lineups, good pitchers parks and very good opportunities to earn those very elusive wins that fantasy owners shouldn’t chase but need to consider when making those tough choices for double start pitchers.  Hopefully for Halladay owners this week he earns must start status going forward, but I expect him to be in this column early and often in 2013.  But this week:


#WhoYaGot rating of 6.50 out of 10.

8. Wei-Yin Chen: SP Bal  @Bos @NYY

In 2012 Chen pitched to an ERA of 4.02 and a WHIP of 1.26 with 154K’s in 192 innings.  The Orioles made the playoffs and earned Chen 12 wins..  He is a perfect example of the type of pitcher you look to have on your bench for two-start weeks exclusively.  The problem this week is he has two road games vs. Bos and NYY. Neither of these two AL East teams have the kinds of offenses we are used to seeing, but they haven’t fallen into good match-up status just yet.  These should be two hard-fought games that could go either way and that’s why I have Chen as a:


#WhoYaGot rating of 6.25 out of 10

9. Wandy Rodriguez: SP Pitt  @Ari  vs. Cin

Not an easy two-start week for Wandy but @Arizona isn’t the worst you can draw, while Cincy is one of the better offenses in the National League.  It makes it a lot easier to feel good about a decision when a borderliner pitches well the start or two before, and Wandy did just that—6.2 innings 6K’s 1 BB 0 ER.  2012 is tough to analyze because the ERA was good, the WHIP wasn’t bad, but the K’s and that filthy breaking ball that is his calling card weren’t.  If Wandy can’t miss bats it is going to be tough to feel good about starting him, but the K’s were there in his first start.


#WhoYaGot rating of 6 out of 10

10 Joe Saunders: SP Sea vs. Hou vs. Tex

Any pitcher facing Houston is destined for career highs in strike outs and therefore Saunders needs to at least be on this list of borderliners. Facing Texas in Seattle is not an easy match-up, but in the pitcher-friendly Safeco Field it is not the worst match-up in comparison to other pitchers on this borderline list.  Seattle is a team that will surprise some people this year and that Houston match-up should be an easy win, and that’s why I am leaning towards a lukewarm START EM with Joe Saunders.  The ERA doesn’t sparkle and neither does the WHIP, the K’s aren’t there and for a two-start pitcher those are the things that matter, and then to make things worse, one of the cardinal sins in fantasy baseball is chasing Wins. DO NOT CHASE WINS.  Well, if that makes me a sinner then I am a sinner because Wins are a slippery little sucker and I am drawn to that high percentage W vs. Houston along with that start vs. Texas in Safeco and an improving Seattle team.


#WhoYaGot rating of 6 out of 10

11 Jarrod Parker: SP Oak  @LAA vs. Det

I am very high on Parker this season and under normal circumstances he would be a MUST start on double start weeks, but because of the poor first start and the very difficult match-ups this week he deserved inclusion on the borderline start list.  As a rookie in 2012 he pitched to a 3.47 ERA with 140 K’s in 181 innings and I expect those totals to all improve in 2013.  Going against Parker this week is that he faces two of the best teams and offenses in the American League in the Angels and Tigers.  Both games are in good pitchers parks, Oakland and Detroit, but that  isn’t enough to counteract these two powerhouse lineups. It stings to say it but my expectation of good K totals, a quality ERA and Oakland being a contender that should net Parker as much as 15-17 Wins, the match-ups are so bad that I need to rank him as a SIT HIM with a qualifier.  IF you do not have many must-start one-start pitchers and you will be relying on a lot of two-start pitchers this week then I would change SIT EM to START EM.  Parker is on the better half of my #WhoYaGot ranking, but by the skin of his teeth, so he truly is borderline on this borderline list.

sit em in lower case

#WhoYaGot rating of 5.25 out of 10

12 Tim Lincecum: SP SF vs. Col @Cubs

Lincy is why double starts are in this column at all. Coming off of a 2012 season where he was horrible (ERA of 5.18 Whip of 1.47) and a 2012 playoffs where he was exceptional out of the bullpen followed by his first start in 2013 where he walked 7 through only 5 innings and yet got the win, this guy is an enigma and a very tough decision. Colorado has a strong lineup of Dexter Fowler/Troy Tulowitzki/Carlos Gonzalez/Wilin Rosario/Michael Cuddyer, but that game will be in the pitcher friendly Pac Bell Park of San Fran. Then he faces the mediocre Cubs in a park not so friendly to pitchers, and if the wind is blowing out in mid-April that could be a home run fest.  I do not like to sacrifice ERA & WHIP for bulk stats, but Lincy will probably get his fair share of strikeouts and could get one if not two wins, but I also expect 4-5 walks per outing, which will kill WHIP so this is a very difficult call.  Week one ate up most of the elite double start pitchers which means this week you probably have a lot of mid range SP with double starts to choose from so if its a 50/50 call I am leaning towards taking the gamble with Lincecum but I would make your decision about Lincy not so much about Lincy but about your other options. If you have three top tier SP (Price/Felix/Hamels/Darvish) on one start weeks and 3-4 strong double starts to decide between (Kuroda/Buchholz/Anibal Sanchez) I would sit Lincecum.  If your staff is lite on high end elite SP and your going heavily on two start SP this week then I would start Lincecum and hope the gamble pays off.

start em in lower case

#WhoYaGot rating of 5.25 out of 10

13 Josh Beckett: SP LAD  @ SD @Ari

Beckett the pitcher is a MUST SIT. He has not been good for a couple of years, the K’s aren’t reliably there and at times he looks awful. However, all the extraneous factors work in his favor in week 2. He pitches for a good offensive team, a winning team that could get him two W’s in week#2, he pitches @SD, both good park wise and a light-hitting Padres lineup, and in his second match-up, the D backs, the offense is slightly better than the Padres, but they aren’t great and that could be a W for Beckett.  I don’t trust Beckett and I am sitting him, but its a close close call.


#WhoYaGot rating of 5 out of 10

14 Jeremy Hellickson: SP TB  @Tex @Bos

Hellickson struggled mightily in week one, but coming off a 2012 where he pitched to a 3.10 ERA in the AL East and a 1.25 WHIP he is a very good pitcher whose fantasy value is brought down significantly by his lack of strikeouts.  It is boosted slightly by the fact that he pitches for a winning team, but is hurt significantly this week by the fact that he faces Texas and Boston and both on the road in very good hitters parks.  He is worthy of starting based on talent but the lack of strikeouts and two very difficult match-ups diminish the benefit of having two starts, so I would lean towards sitting him this week. Normally a must-start for two start weeks this one I say SIT EM.


#WhoYaGot rating of 4 out of 10

15 Jaime Garcia: SP STL  vs. Cin vs. Mil

Coming off a strong though limited 2012 season and a good first start of the season he would be much higher up on this list if he didn’t have two match-ups as tough as Cin and Mil.  He is a good pitcher, good K totals on a good team that will give him more than his fair share of chances to get you Wins, but this week the bad match-ups knock him down the list.  He is a true toss-up. Good enough to be a must-start most weeks but the match-ups are strongly against him in week 2. I say:


#WhoYaGot rating of 4 out of 10

On Wednesday I will have my weekly article advising you on what late-week pitchers to look to for late series streaming.

You can also listen to me on my weekly  Podcasts as a part of The Seamheads National Podcasting Network or  follow me on twitter @cjmitch73 for any and all fantasy questions, as well as my weekly Twitter chat Hashtag #WhoYaGot

Chris Mitchell
The Seamheads Fantasy Baseball Podcast Weds 9pm-10pm  EST
Clearing the Bases 730pm-9pm EST
The Evil Empire & The Nation: 60 Minutes of Sawx/Yanks Tues 6-7pm EST

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