StrategyMay 9, 2009

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Double Dipper: Post-Hype Sleepers

By Michael Marinakis

Welcome to the next installment of the Double Dipper series, where we check out the upcoming week’s two-start pitchers and give weekly-league owners some strategic pickups to give you a leg up over your opponents. Last week we managed to whiff on all three picks: Edwin Jackson, who got the loss in a disappointing start against the Twins (6 IP, 7 hits, 5 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks), Jonathan Sanchez, who struggled mightily with his control in a loss to the Cubs (4 IP, 5 hits 4 ER, 6 BB, 6 Ks), and Nick Blackburn who had a disastrous outing against the Tigers (3.1 IP, 8 hits, 6 ER, 3 BB, 1 K).

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
Bronson Arroyo (CIN)@ARZ@SD19%
Jon Garland (ARZ)vs. CIN@ATL6%
Andy Sonnanstine (TB)@BALvs. CLE6%
Mitchell Boggs (STL)@PITvs. MIL5%
Mike Pelfrey (NYM)vs ATL@ SF33%
Manny Parra* (MIL)vs FLA@STL26%
Mike Hampton* (HOU)@COL@CHC6%
Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)vs. HOU@PIT37%
Justin Masterson (BOS)@LAA@SEA22%
Jordan Zimmermann (WAS)@SFvs. PHI25%
Jamie Moyer* (PHI)vs. LAD@WAS15%


Mixed League Pick
Ubaldo Jimenez
Jimenez was a popular sleeper going into the season but disappointed many fantasy owners through his first four starts, posting a 7.58 ERA over 19 innings. His Achilles’ heel, as it has been in the past, has been his control, and he walked 17 batters over those 19 innings, almost a batter an inning. Despite the slow start, Jimenez has shown signs of life in his last two starts, going seven innings in each for a line of 14 IP, 10 hits, 4 ER, 3 BB and 11 Ks. While it may look like Jimenez has turned it around, it is important to note that both of these starts were against the Giants, one of the worst offenses in the majors. Despite that, it is still encouraging to see what seems to be a big improvement in his control (though the Giants aren’t really known for their patience). If he can learn to keep the walks down, Ubaldo has the ability to turn into a fantasy ace.

This week, Ubaldo won’t have it quite as easy as he has his last two starts. However, he will still be facing two offenses in the bottom third in the league. First off will be a game at home against Houston, followed by a start in Pittsburgh. The matchups look even better when we see that both teams have struggled even more against right-handed pitchers. Pittsburgh has posted an OPS of .724 against righties while Houston comes in second to last in the league with a pathetic .680 OPS. While it may be somewhat scary to spot start a pitcher for a game in Colorado, Jimenez has actually pitched much better there in his career, and it’s not something you need to worry about. Look for Jimenez to build on his last two starts and continue to pitch well against these struggling offenses.

Second Option
Manny Parra
Along the same line as Jimenez, Parra was another guy people were targeting in the later rounds of their drafts. Like Jimenez, Parra’s main issue has been his control, as he has walked 20 batters over 31.1 innings so far this season. After a rough start, he seems to have settled down a bit in his last three starts, only allowing four earned runs over 17 innings and striking out a batter an inning to boot. Still, he has walked 11 batters over that span and it’ll be tough for him to continue any success if he can’t harness his control.

Parra will start off his two-start week at home against the Marlins, followed by a start in St. Louis against the Cardinals. Both teams look to be good matchups for Parra, with the Marlins having one of the worst offenses in majors and racking up the most offensive strikeouts of any team. The Cardinals, despite having one of the better offenses in baseball, have struggled against lefties, posting a measly .681 OPS against them. While he is probably more likely to hurt than help in the WHIP category, the favorable matchups should give him a good shot at a couple of wins and a handful of strikeouts.

Another possibly more risky option is Jordan Zimmermann, who will be facing the pathetic Giants offense in San Francisco. He’ll be facing the Phillies in his second start, though it’s not as worrisome as it could be as that game will be in Washington and not at the Citizen’s Bank Bandbox. It may be worth risking the start against the Phillies in order to get him in your lineup for the game against the Giants.

Deep Leage Pick (Owned < 10%)
Andy Sonnanstine
Not a whole lot of options with this pick, but Sonnanstine is the one guy that stands out to me as a not terrible spot start. He pitched well in his last start against a formidable Yankee lineup and has a solid lineup to provide him run support. He’ll be facing the Orioles and Indians, both teams with decent but not great offenses. While he won’t blow batters away, he still strikes out his fair share and while he’s obviously a risky start, he’s easily the best option available in deeper leagues to snag your team a win or two.

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 10th

1. Brett Cecil TOR – Road vs. OAK (Dallas Braden)

Let’s take look at Brett Cecil, shall we? Cecil has three good offerings for a lefty. A low 90s fastball which touches 94, a pretty good slider which is his out-pitch, and a changeup that could still use honing. He’s got a great minor league track record, kept the walks down (although that’s a constant struggle for young pitchers at the major league level) and had some impressive strikeout numbers. Called up this week to make his major league debut, Cecil flourished. He didn’t walk a batter and he struck out six in six innings pitched.

His second major-league start is against Oakland. When trying to estimate how lousy the A’s offense is, here’s a line from about Orlando Cabrera on May 7th:

“Orlando Cabrera was no better after being moved into the leadoff spot Thursday, going 0-for-5 and committing his third error. Cabrera is hitting just .229/.289/.257, and he’s been thrown out stealing three times in four tries. He should be batting ninth, not first. Then again, the A’s have about six No. 9 hitters right now.”

I couldn’t have joked about it better myself. So look for Cecil to have another good start, and then you can think about hanging on to him for a little while rather than dumping him right away.

-Prediction- W, 7IP, 6H, 1ER, 1BB, 6K

2. Livan Hernandez NYM – Home vs. PIT (Ian Snell)

I had several average choices for my #2, which will be included in the Hail Mary section. Ultimately the choice came down to who gives us the best chance to pick up a W on Sunday. I think Livan Hernandez is clear choice for this criteria. The Pirates aren’t a good offense despite a hot April, at least hot for the Pirates. As many of you know, Citifield has played the opposite of the New Yankee Stadium. Runs are at a premium here, the deepest part of the ballpark is 415 in left-center and while extra base hits shouldn’t be limited because of the big gaps, homers should be suppressed a bit.

Now granted Livan Hernandez is no great shakes as a pitcher. In fact he hasn’t even been league average since 2005, but for a one start commitment he’s the best option. If he can keep the hits down he should be fine for a quality start.

-Prediction- W, 6IP, 7H, 3ER, 2BB, 3K

Sunday’s Hail Mary

1. Anthony Reyes Home vs. Detroit – Both he and his opponent Rick Porcello make for really risky plays. I like Reyes better.

2. Koji Uehara Home vs. Yankees – The Yanks might rest some of their players on Sunday plus Posada is out so you could do worse if he’s unowned.

3. Vicente Padilla Road vs. White Sox – Always had good numbers vs. Chicago, he’s the best bet of this group.

4. Nick Blackburn Home vs. Seattle

5. Shane Loux Home vs. Kansas City

Good luck this weekend everyone. In the meantime and in-between time, I’m Paul Erlick. Bye now.

Michael Marinakis is a 23-year-old unemployed fantasy addict. You can find him roaming the Cafe all day where he posts as GiantsFan14 and makes fun of NeatoTorpedo as much as possible.
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