For this week’s pitcher planner, I wanted to take a new, fresh perspective. With 26 weeks in a baseball season, a generic “same old, same old” pitcher planner week after week, with five to start and 5 to sit could fall on tired eyes. Instead, I took a new approach for the second week of May. In this pitcher planner, we are simply looking at 5 pitchers I think will get you a “W” in their respective start (two on Tuesday, and three on Thursday), and then five pitchers that I see coming up a little short on Friday.
In addition, need I say more, the Milwaukee Brewers target list remains in effect. However, this week, I am removing the Atlanta Braves. Despite playing on the road, where they rank in the bottom third of the league in runs scored, they strike out at one of the lowest rates in Major League Baseball, which does not bode well for opposing starters racking up fantasy points. Instead, I am replacing them with the Philadelphia Phillies (I know big surprise), and also the New York Mets (jaws dropped).
The Phillies are an obvious choice. Let’s see, how do I sugar-coat this? They are [the opposite of good] from top to bottom in their lineup, with a team batting average [not above].230 and have scored a total of 85 runs in their first 30 games, good for dead last in Major League Baseball. To put that in perspective, the Toronto Blue Jays have scored 162 runs over their first 30 games.
In addition, despite playing at hitter friendly Citizen Bank Ballpark, they are averaging less than three runs a game at home this season and batting below .220. They will host the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks at home this week. If there was ever a week to use an Arizona pitcher, and I think those weeks will come few and far between, this is the week.
As for the Mets, is it safe to say the honeymoon has ended? They jumped out to a nice start, however are now 4-6 over their last 10 games. Following their 1-2 road trip to Yankee Stadium, they have scored over four runs in just 1 of 10 games. They have scored two or less in 4 out of their last 10. For a lineup that entered the season with a lot of questions, even with a healthy David Wright, those questions are beginning to re-emerge. By no means am I targeting them next to the likes of Milwaukee or Philadelphia, but given that they rank in the bottom third in runs scored and batting average, I am by no means avoiding them either. Alas, the list:
Pitchers to Start: Two for Tuesday, Three for Thursday
1. Jake Arrieta, SP, Chicago Cubs
Arrieta has been a little hit or miss this season, but he is 9-2 at Wrigley Field over the last three seasons (18 starts) and he draws the Mets on Tuesday, a team he has also had quite a bit of success against in his career. While the hype will be surrounding Noah Syndergaard‘s debut, I think Arrieta comes away with the victory. He gets the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday as well, so a two-win week is by no means out of the question.
2. Mike Fiers, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Fiers draws the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. While the Chicago White Sox lineup concerns me as I think they could click at any moment, for the time being, they have struggled mightily to score runs this season. Fiers certainly is not the same pitcher he was last year, but he could be a very cheap option to deploy this week and get a cheap seven strikeouts and a win.
3. Drew Hutchison, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Hutchison has burned me in about every regard thus far this season, and for that matter, so have the Houston Astros in Las Vegas. With that said though, I can’t pass up the opportunity to take a Toronto Blue Jays starter against Roberto Hernandez. In addition, while the Astros lineup has been scoring runs, they have also been swinging and missing at their usual rate. Therefore, if I know I’m going to get run support and strikeouts, I’ll take my chances hoping Hutchison can at least make it through five innings for the victory.
4. Travis Wood, SP, Chicago Cubs
5. Chase Whitley, SP, New York Yankees
Whitley went five strong in his first start of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays, the team he opposes on Thursday. I don’t love Whitley as a long term option, however a start at Tropicana Field, against a team that is striking out at an alarming rate this season (4th in the Majors behind only the Cubs, Astros and Brewers), seems like a good recipe for success. I will note, however, that starters like James Shields/Doug Fister/Michael Wacha/Clayton Kershaw are much better options, obviously. But if you can’t afford that luxury, Whitley could offer a very nice consolation prize with a victory and five cheap strikeouts.
Pitchers to Sit: 5 for Friday
1. Jered Weaver, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Weaver opposes the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards on Friday. I think Weaver is better than what he showed in April, but I think too many people will jump back on the bandwagon after Friday night’s complete game against the Houston Astros. Weaver has a 5.71 ERA in his last three starts at Camden Yards, so you may choose to exercise caution before going all-in after one solid start.
2. Jeff Locke, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Locke draws a start at Wrigley Field on Friday, and while he has not been terrible against the Chicago Cubs in past years, this will already mark his third start against the North side in 2015. He has allowed a total of 9 earned runs in the first two starts combined. #NoThankYou
3. Carlos Martinez, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
As I mentioned in my last article, which I was wrong about (at least for this past week), I really like Martinez. However, he still walks a few too many guys, and the Detroit Tigers lineup can exploit that flaw in his game. Martinez, shockingly, has also struggled quite a bit at home this season, which is where he draws the start against Anibal Sanchez and the Tigers on Friday.
4. R.A. Dickey, SP, Toronto Blue Jays
Dickey has been inconsistent all season, and just when you think he is safe to trust, he burns you, and when you put him on your bench, he burns you the other way. So, for safety reasons, just avoid. Plus, he draws the start against the Houston Astros on Friday, a team that he has, shockingly, been consistent against. Unfortunately for him, though, he has been consistently bad. He gave up five earned runs in seven innings in both of his starts against the Astros last season.
5. Tyson Ross, SP, San Diego Padres
I really liked Ross coming into this season, however, I think he is a victim of being a guy that was a great sleeper last year, to now being among the expected elite this year and I don’t know that he is that kind of pitcher. With that said, he has also been brutal at Petco Park thus far this season, where he starts on Friday against the red-hot Washington Nationals. Lefties are also hitting .268 off him this year and .262 off him in the last three years, compared to righties batting .234. Bryce Harper is a lefty.
Hopefully, this week’s Pitching Planner will help you make the right decisions on the mound!
- 2016 Fantasy Baseball Position Battles: Starting lineups beginning to take shape - March 28, 2016
- 2016 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Relief Pitchers - March 8, 2016
- 2016 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Second Basemen - March 3, 2016
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