A list of pitchers to target on any given week depends on the league you are in and that must be known when reading a list of 5 pitchers to start or 5 to sit during the first week of May. Daily? Rotisserie, season-long? Weekly H2H with daily lineup changes? The list goes on.
For simplicity sake, we will assume a H2H league where lineup changes lock for the entire week at the first pitch, of the first game on Monday. With that said, this week consists of several quality options with two start weeks: Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Zack Greinke, Felix Herandez and the list goes on. Obviously, you are starting those players, so I will not waste your time with those big name talents. Instead, I look at the lesser-known, the lesser-hyped, and perhaps find you a cheap bargain play for this week.
Perhaps, more importantly, I may point you to that elite pitcher that generally seems like a lock for the starting lineup, except for this week. The pitcher that simply has a tough match-up, and may be best left on the bench. With that said, drum roll please…
5 Pitchers to Start in the Upcoming Week
1. Carlos Martinez, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
I realize this is a bit contradicting to what I just reiterated, as Martinez is certainly not a waiver wire guy, and has probably entrenched himself in your starting lineup already. However, in saying that, he draws the Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates this week, matching up with Travis Wood and Vance Worley. If he is available for trade in your league, it may be worth sending out a flyer now, before his price shoots even higher next week.
2. Alex Wood, SP, Atlanta Braves
Wood has struggled greatly this year, however a home start against the Phillies on Monday may be just what the doctor ordered. After that, he gets the Washington Nationals over the weekend, who have improved, but not enough to scare me away from taking advantage of the start against Philadelphia.
3. Ian Kennedy, SP, San Diego Padres
Kennedy draws the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday and has really struggled this season. He’s 5-2 against the Giants over the last three years, and I think he begins the bounce-back on Wednesday.
4. Aaron Harang, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
I noted last week that I wanted to target starters against the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. Harang draws the Braves on Monday and then the New York Mets over the weekend. I’m not a huge Harang fan, but he has been very solid this year and I think it can continue for at least one more week.
5. Jason Hammel, SP, Chicago Cubs
My Milwaukee Brewers target, Hammel is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 14 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers from 2012-2014. Both of those starts were at Miller Park, where he will start on Friday. I like my odds.
5 Pitchers to Sit in the Upcoming Week
1. Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians
Something just is not right with Kluber right now, and I would rather miss out on a great start, than continue to have him hurt me. Plus, he draws the Kansas City Royals who seem to have a revived offense, and Edinson Volquez, who is about as hot as Kluber is cold. I think I’ll sit this one out with Kluber.
2. Josh Collmenter, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Do not let his 2.76 ERA fool you, this is still Josh Collmenter. He draws a two-start week, but one start is in Coors Field, and the other comes against the hot hitting San Diego Padres.
3. Tom Koehler, SP, Miami Marlins
I strongly urge you not to hop on the Koehler bandwagon after a couple decent starts. He draws the Nationals in Washington and has posted a 6-10 record with a 4.39 ERA on the road the last three years. His ERA is north of 9.00 on the road to start this season.
4. Hector Santiago, SP, Los Angeles Angels
Santiago has strangely been worse at home, and absolutely awful against the Houston Astros, to the tune of an 0-2 record with a 7.47 ERA in 15.2 innings over his career. He draws the first place Astros on Thursday, so despite his success this year, I will gladly stay away.
5. Mike Pelfrey, SP, Minnesota Twins
I have been wrong on Pelfrey all year, and I still do not care about his 2-0 record with a 2.25 ERA. Heading into this year, Pelfrey had gone 5-16 over his previous 37 starts since 2012 with a 5.23 ERA. There is a reason I am not a fan. In addition to that, he draws the Cleveland Indians, an offense I really like when facing a right-hander. Despite Pelfrey’s recent success against Cleveland, I think he crashes back to Earth in brutal fashion this week.
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