StrategyJune 13, 2009

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Double Dipper: A Diamond in Dallas

By Michael Marinakis

Welcome to the newest installment of the Double Dipper series, where we check out the upcoming week’s two-start pitchers and give weekly-league owners a leg up with some strategic pickups. Last week both of our picks pitched very well, bringing home wins in their first starts. Scott Baker absolutely dominated through the first eight innings, allowing two hits and no walks while striking out eight, but his overall line was tainted by an ninth inning in which he gave up two hits and a walk before leaving the game. The bullpen allowed all three runs to score, leaving his final line (W, 8 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 Ks) looking less impressive than Baker actually was. Our second option, Josh Outman, also turned in a very solid outing for a spot start, beating the Twins (W, 6 IP, 4 hits, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 Ks). Both Baker and Outman will be making their second starts of the week on Sunday, after which we’ll be able to get a complete look of how the picks did.

First, we’ll 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 give you our thoughts on who is worth a spot start next week. 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*@LAD@SD18%
Dave Bush@CLE@DET18%
Doug Davis*@KC@SEA13%
Jorge de la Rosa*vs TBvs PIT5%
Jeremy Guthrievs NYM@PHI18%
Jeff Niemann@COL@NYM28%
Carl Pavano@SFvs LAD27%
Mike Pelfrey@BALvs TB34%
Glen Perkins*vs PITvs HOU5%
Ricky Romero*@PHI@WAS13%
Tim Wakefieldvs FLAvs ATL46%
Chien-Ming Wangvs WAS@FLA33%
Barry Zito*vs LAAvs TEX12%


Mixed League Pick
Dallas Braden
A quick glance at the available two start pitchers this week shows a very limited number of viable spot starters. One of the more intriguing options is Oakland left-hander Dallas Braden. Braden has pitched very well for the A’s so far this year, posting a 3.33 ERA, thanks to good control and a low home run rate (the latter most likely helped by the cavernous Oakland Coliseum). He hasn’t been getting much love in fantasy leagues (owned in 18% of Yahoo leagues), probably because of the low strikeout rate and an Oakland A’s offense that can limit wins. Even so, he’s one of the top options to plug into an empty spot in your roster this week as he goes up against a couple of NL West teams.

Braden will face the Dodgers in Los Angeles first, followed by a start against the Padres in San Diego. Both parks favor the pitcher and should help keep scores down. Braden’s fly ball tendency playing especially well in Petco. While a spot start against the Dodgers may be worrisome, the Manny-less Dodger offense has struggled mightily so far this June, posting a .638 June OPS (third worst in the majors). With his second start coming against the pathetic Padres offense (.667 OPS vs lefties), it’s worth rolling the dice with a start against the Dodgers in order to get him in your rotation.

Also of note: The AL tends to own the NL in interleague play, though with both games being played in NL ballparks, the A’s will be without their DH for both of Braden’s starts.

Second Option
Jorge De La Rosa
My second option this week, also a deep league pick, is Jorge de la Rosa. De la Rosa is one of the many young, hard-throwing pitchers whose biggest obstacle to reaching stardom is poor control. At first glance, it seems like de la Rosa is still a ways away from being a fantasy asset, as he heads into the week with a 2-6 record and 5.08 ERA. Those numbers don’t tell the whole story, however, as de la Rosa’s FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) sits at an outstanding 3.66. It appears that de la Rosa has been a victim of some bad luck this year, as his BABIP is high and his LOB% is abnormally low. As those begin to correct themselves, we should see de la Rosa’s ERA begin to fall. While his control is still suspect (4.28 BB/9), he largely makes up for it with a spectacular strikeout rate (9.62 K/9) and solid groundball percentage (42.8%). If nothing else, de la Rosa can provide a helpful boost in your weekly strikeout total.

De la Rosa’s week is similar to Braden’s in that he has to go through a tough offense before he gets to face a bottom-of-the-barrel team. The Rays offense is quite adept at scoring off left-handers (.827 OPS) and should provide a bit of a challenge for him. As long as de la Rosa can get through that game without getting hit too hard, his start against Pittsburgh should make him worth having in your rotation. With a .659 OPS against lefties this year, the Pirates, now sans Nate McLouth, are one of the least threatening teams in baseball. The likelihood of a strong start and a win is good, and solid strikeout numbers are practically a given.

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.

Brian Tallet, Tor – Home vs. FLA (Josh Johnson)

All season long I’ve been hearing that Toronto’s rotation is terrible behind Halladay. I find that interesting considering I’ve recommended almost every Blue Jay starter at one time or another this year not named Roy Halladay. Brett Cecil, Ricky Romero, Scott Richmond, Casey Janssen, and Jesse Litsch have all hit the waiver wire. I actually think the Blue Jays’ rotation is serviceable, whether that is an unpopular view or not. Of course with Doc Halladay going down, all bets are off.

Brian Tallet’s problem this season has been walks. He averages over 4 BB/9 which is just too much. His K/BB ratio had been trending in the right direction over the last couple of seasons, but it’s not great right now. Long term he’s probably better as a reliever, but he does make for a good spot starter from time to time. The Marlins’ OBP is in the bottom half of the NL, and they are middle of the pack in number of walks, so he can probably get away with giving up two. He strike out just under seven batters per nine innings, so that’ll help as well.

I look for a start of about QS level, not much more, not much less.

-Prediction- ND, 7IP, 6h, 2ER, BB, 5k

Sunday’s Hail Mary

1. Jason Vargas, Sea – Road vs. Rockies 2. Brian Bergesen, Bal – Home vs. Braves 3. Brett Anderson, Oak – Road vs. Giants

I can’t say there’s anyone else I really like other than Tallet. We’re going to go with just the one on Sunday, but there shouldn’t be any issues grabbing him. Good luck this weekend! 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 waits for Bruce Bochy to be fired for incompetency.
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