StrategyApril 11, 2009

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Double Dipper: Week Two

By Michael Marinakis

Welcome to the first edition of the Cafe’s weekly Double Dipper series, where we take a look at the top two-start pitchers each week that you may find on your league’s waiver wire. Finding two-start pitchers who can contribute to your team can be quite important in weekly leagues and leagues with transaction limits as it allows you to rack up as many starts as possible in any given week. The more starts your pitchers make, the more opportunities they have to rack up wins and strikeouts, giving you an advantage over your opposition. Leaving yourself a roster spot to stream a two-start pitcher each week can give you a significant edge over your opposition, as long as you’re careful in choosing who to pick up.

Below is a table with all the two-start pitchers for Week Two of the fantasy season. Obviously, many should be avoided in any leagues as to prevent your ERA and WHIP from ballooning up, but there are usually a couple guys floating around on the waiver wire who can benefit your team.

PitcherStart 1Start 2% Owned
Doug Davis (ARI)vs STL@ SF1%
Zach Duke (PIT)vs HOUvs ATL2%
Dana Eveland (OAK)vs BOS@ TOR2%
Jesse Litsch (TOR)@ MINvs OAK15%
Zach Miner (DET)vs CHW@ SEA0%
Brian Moehler (HOU)@ PITvs CIN1%
Dustin Moseley (ANA)@ SEA@ MIN1%
Glen Perkins (MIN)vs TORvs LAA4%
Ricky Romero (TOR)@ MINvs OAK2%
Carlos Silva (MIN)vs TORvs LAA1%
Walter Silva (SD)@ NYM@ PHI0%
Chris Volstad (FLA)@ ATL@ WSH46%
Todd Wellemeyer (STL)@ ARIvs CHC13%

When determining which two-start pitchers are solid pick-ups, it’s important to consider a few different factors. Most important is the potency of the offenses they will face that week. While a pitcher might be a solid start against a weak offense like the Mariners, you definitely want to stay away from him if he faces an offensive powerhouse like the Rangers. The next thing I like to look at is how each pitcher has fared recently and their historical stats against the teams they face. This can give you a general idea what to expect going forward. A few other factors to consider are: if teams struggle against left-handed or right-handed pitchers, how much run support the pitcher might receive, and how good the bullpen is behind your pitcher. A back-end starter from the Mets, for example, is probably more likely to get your team a win than a starter from Nationals, due to more run support and a better bullpen to hold the lead.

Now that we’ve gotten the process out of the way, let’s take a look at my top two-start pitchers for Week Two:

Mixed League Pick
Jesse Litsch (TOR)
Litsch struggled a bit in his first start of the season against the Tigers, throwing six innings and giving up five runs on seven hits. On the plus side, he posted a solid 5:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In Week Two, he will be facing two solid but unspectacular offenses in the Twins and A’s, who he has fared quite well against in the past. In four career starts against the Twins, Litsch is 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP over 26 innings. In three career starts against the A’s, Litsch is 1-1 with a 0.90 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over 20 innings. Obviously these samples aren’t very big, but this prior success is still a good sign.

While Litsch does not strike many out (5.06 K/9 in 2008), his impeccable control allows him to be successful despite the low K rate. Pitching in front of an offense that scored 24 runs in the first four games of the season and with a solid pen behind him including Downs and Ryan to close out games, Litsch has a good chance at picking up a couple of wins to go along with a few strikeouts. If you’re looking for someone to pad your pitching counting stats for next week, Litsch is your guy.

Second Option
Chris Volstad (FLA)
Volstad is a risky start against a Braves team that has shown they can hit so far this year. However, it may be worth it in order to give him a shot against the lowly Nationals.

Deep League Pick (Owned < 10%)
Dustin Moseley (LAA)
Moseley is a guy that I would not suggest spot-starting in most leagues. In deeper leagues, however, he’s worth a look. Moseley was alright but unspectacular against the A’s in his first start this season, going six innings and allowing three runs on nine hits and no walks. Of the few two-start guys who will be available in deeper leagues, Moseley is probably the best option for picking up a few strikeouts.

In his first start he’ll be facing a pretty terrible line up in Seattle and against a pretty terrible pitcher in Carlos Silva. With an offense that knows how to score runs and one of the better bullpens in the game behind him, Moseley has more than a decent chance at picking up a win and racking up a few strikeouts. The game against Minnesota should provide a bit more of a challenge, however that offense isn’t quite as potent without Joe Mauer hitting in the middle. It should be worth having Moseley in to face the Twins in order to get that start against the Mariners.

Second Option
Glen Perkins (MIN)
Perkins pitched a great game in his first start of the season, but he doesn’t strike many out and will be facing a couple of tough offenses in the Blue Jays and Angels. With the chances of a win limited and how few Perkins strikes out, I’d avoid starting him unless completely necessary.

Along with my article, we’re going to be including Perlick29’s waiver wire pick for the last Sunday of each week. For those in head-to-head daily lineup change leagues, this will be a great resource in order to try to make up some ground on the final day of your match up. Here’s Perlick29 with his pick for tomorrow, Sunday the 12th.

Scott Olsen (WAS) @ ATL (Jair Jurrjens)

On the waiver wire spot starters thread in the Who to Start/Bench forum, I mentioned wanting to go in-depth about a certain type of pitcher who can be successful. I believe that Scott Olsen is this type of pitcher. Let’s take a look at two guys like him who have proved they can make a leap:

Cliff Lee: In 2005, it looked like Lee was ready to become a perennial All-Star. He went over 200 innings for the first time, he won 18 games, all his peripherals looked really good, and he was just entering his prime. So what in the world happened in 2006 and 2007? Quite honestly, I don’t know. 2007 was more of an injury issue and maybe in 2006 the league just “caught on,” but it wasn’t the career path that had been projected for him. So in 2008, I wrote this about him:

“Lee needs to prove he can hang in the MLB. His last real good year was now long enough ago that no one will care if he bombs out this year. I’m not expecting a huge breakout, but I am expecting some surprisingly solid production from him.”

OK, so I was wrong about the huge breakout, but the motivating factor was that his club was getting short on patience and he responded.

Scott Baker: Baker’s time in the majors had been shorter, even though it felt like he had been up and down for years. As we saw last year, Minnesota never hurts for arms, as they have pitching prospects a plenty. Like Lee, Baker’s motivation became clear. Here’s what I wrote last year:

“Hello Old Faithful. This is Scott’s make-or-break year, as there’s too many good pitching prospects in the system; if he doesn’t make it happen here, he’ll get booted out of town.”

But he made things happen in a big way and is 1A or 1B, depending on how you feel about Francisco Liriano.

So here we are Scott Olsen. A pitcher that showed a lot of promise in the minors and as a rookie, but due to a big lack of maturity he was unable to get his career to flourish. Well this is his make-or-break, but he’s a lefty with a new team — HE CAN SUCCEED. Of course, he might also pitch like he did in his first start, in which case he’ll be forgotten sooner rather than later. But I’m writing it off as Opening Day jitters and saying he’ll bounce back against Atlanta.

Prediction: ND, 6IP, 6H, 2ER, 2BB, 4K

Others I like:

Anthony Reyes
Nick Blackburn

That’s it for Week One. I hope you enjoyed a successful first week, and I look forward to doing this all season. So in the meantime and in-between time, I’m perlick29, bye now.

Michael Marinakis is a 23-year-old fantasy addict. You can find him roaming the Cafe all day where he posts as GiantsFan14.
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