StrategyMay 2, 2009

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Double Dipper: In Edwin We Trust

By Gabe Smith

Welcome back to Double Dipper, where we check out the upcoming week’s two-start pitchers and give weekly-league owners some strategic pickups that will hopefully help out in the pitching categories. Last week, we tabbed: Randy Wolf, who did indeed put up a quality start against the Giants (6 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 3 ER, 4 K, and a no decision) and has the Padres tonight, Dave Bush, who had a so-so start against Pittsburgh (5 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 4 ER, 5K, and a no decision) and faces Arizona tomorrow, and Scott Richmond, who threw an absolute gem against the Royals (7 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 1 ER, 5K, and the win) and will take the hill against Baltimore tomorrow.

First, let’s look at the two-start pitchers that are available in 50-95% of Yahoo leagues. Then, we’ll analyze the best options on this list and those that are owned in even fewer leagues. If you like streaming in your weekly-lineup league or you’ve simply have an extra roster spot to burn, check out our suggestions below.

PitcherStart 1Start 2% Owned
Dallas Braden (Oak)vs. LAAvs. Tor9%
Fausto Carmona (Cle)vs. Torvs. Det42%
Bartolo Colon (ChA)@ KCvs. Tex6%
Aaron Cook (Col)@ SDvs. Fla16%
Kyle Davies (KC)vs. ChA@ LAA25%
Doug Davis (Ari)@ LANvs. Was9%
Edwin Jackson (Det)vs. Min@ Cle38%
Kenshin Kawakami (Atl)vs. NYN@ Phi16%
Sean Marshall (ChN)vs. SF@ Mil5%
Rick Porcello (Det)vs. Min@ Cle8%
Anthony Reyes (Cle)vs. Torvs. Det19%
Jonathan Sanchez (SF)@ ChN@ LAN40%
Ian Snell (Pit)vs. Mil@ NYN14%
Koji Uehara (Bal)@ TBvs. NYA7%

Mixed League Pick
Edwin Jackson (Det)
There are several guys on the above list who have pitched well thus far in the young season, but Jackson stands out above them all. I was pretty rough on the Tigers for the deal that landed him — not so much for the acquisition, but more so because I thought they should have gotten more back for Matt Joyce (a statement I still stand by, in case any of you out there are wondering). Jackson has always had talent, and it seems he may be beginning to put it all together. In 32 innings spanning his first five starts of 2009, he’s put up a 2.25 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, while facing three of the top six run-scoring teams in baseball. In his last start, he put up six shutout innings against the Yankees. Now, he is certainly benefiting from a low BABIP, and he’s outperforming his FIP by two full runs, but that doesn’t mean he’s not usable.

This week, Jackson will face Minnesota at home and Cleveland on the road. Minnesota is a terribly underwhelming offensive team, showing up in the bottom quarter of MLB teams both in getting on base and scoring runs. Furthermore, any time Jackson takes the hill at Comerica Park, he’s worth at least a look. Cleveland’s offense has been all right, but their stats are still inflated from the 22-run game against the Yankees. In general, they’ve struggled scoring runs, have been well below average offensively at home, and are not among the top ten offenses against right-handers. These two starts look like a very good opportunity for Jackson to put up two more strong showings.

Second Option
Jonathan Sanchez (SF)
Sanchez is like Jackson in that he is another pitcher who, so far, is benefiting from an unsustainable BABIP and is wildly outperforming his FIP. Since a beating at the hands of the mighty Padres in his first start, Sanchez has not allowed an earned run. In his most recent start, he held the Dodgers to two unearned runs in five innings. He has been downright unhittable, but makes up for it by not having any control.

Sanchez will face the Cubs and those same Dodgers next week, both on the road. The Cubs have surprisingly been awful against lefties to this point in the season, and the Dodgers rank exactly in the middle of the pack. I expect the start in Chicago to be the better of the two starts, but if he can limit his walks he should be fine against the Los Angeles as well.

I really wanted to pick either Doug Davis or Sean Marshall as my second option, but I couldn’t justify it with Washington and Milwaukee on tap. Both the Nationals and Brewers have hit lefties hard so far this year.

Deep Leage Pick (Owned < 10%)
Nick Blackburn (Min)
This is a great week to use an unassuming guy like Blackburn. Last year, he had both an ERA (4.05) and WHIP (1.36) that didn’t hurt you or help you that much. To make him even less exciting, he’s not a big strikeout pitcher.

That being said, he should be on your radar this week. He’ll face Detroit on the road and then head back home to face Seattle. I mentioned Comerica earlier, and the point still stands: it’s a great park in which to start good pitchers. Not only have the Tigers been less than stellar against righties, but last year in three starts against them Blackburn was 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. Later in the week he’s scheduled to face the Mariners. As hard as I’ll be rooting for the M’s to smack Blackburn around, he should have no real problems with the Seattle lineup. They are dominated by free-swinging righties and have struggled mightily against right-handed pitchers, especially those of the pitch-to-contact variety.

After Blackburn, other solid options include Felipe Paulino (@ Was, vs. SD) and Scott Olsen (vs. Hou, @ Ari).

Next up is perlick29 with his waiver wire spot starters for Sunday’s action. You can follow the action daily at Perlick’s Waiver Wire Spot Starters for 2009! Here’s Perlick with his picks for this Sunday.

Sunday May 3rd

1. Jo-Jo Reyes ATL – Home vs. HOU (Wandy Rodriguez)

Two weeks ago I had this to say about Jo-Jo Reyes: “Here’s what we know about Jo-Jo Reyes. We know he can survive and succeed at the Triple-A level. He’s proved that two years in a row. We know he tries to get too fine in the majors and it ends up hurting him. He’s been below average now in two attempts. But perhaps most importantly we know he’s 24.”

Since the season started, he’s made two starts. In his first against the Pirates he was knocked around, lost his control, pitched pretty ineffectively and didn’t look ready to contribute. In his second start against the more difficult Cardinals, he looked every bit the pitcher the Braves were hoping they’d have. He threw a seven-inning gem, striking out seven and walking just one. So which one is Reyes? As always the truth lies in the middle, but I’d lean more towards his better start. He can be worthy of a fantasy roster spot this year, and I think he’ll continue to show why in this spot start.

-Prediction- ND, 6.1IP, 6H, 2ER, 2BB, 5K

2. Barry Zito SFG – Home vs. COL (Jason Hammel)

There’s been so many theories as to why Zito has lost his luster: he’s made his money so he’s got no reason to try; his K-rate is declining, his walk rate is climbing; his curveball isn’t as effective any more; he doesn’t like pitching to Bengie Molina. OK, let’s examine that last one.

So far this season he’s made four starts. Two of them were crummy with Bengie Molina as catcher. In fact he was 0-2 with a 10.00 ERA. Two were above average with Pablo Sandoval behind the dish. He was also a run better last season when Sandoval was his personal catcher towards the end of last year. I don’t much believe that a catcher makes all the difference, but if it’s working for the guy then let’s give it another go. Pick Zito up for this start and hope you see a C in front of Pablo Sandoval’s name on Sunday rather than a 3B.

-Prediction- W, 6.2IP, 6H, 2ER, 1BB, 3K

Sunday’s Hail Mary

Scott Richmond vs. Baltimore – There’s a reason I left him off the top. He really struggles against left-handers and the Orioles are full of lefty punch. I’d advise not going with him.

Jason Hammel @ San Francisco – Because it is the Giants offense after all.

Dave Bush vs. Arizona – He’s been very hit or miss.

That’s all for this week. Good luck everyone! In the meantime and in-between time, I’m Paul Erlick. Bye now.

While not trying to convince his co-workers that luck exists in baseball, Gabe can be found singing the praises of the Mariners all over the Cafe boards under the name Big Pimpin.
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