StrategyJune 20, 2009

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Double Dipper: Blackjack! An A and a Jay

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. My picks last week had mixed results, with Dallas Braden pitching well against the Dodgers and Jorge de la Rosa getting shelled by the Rays. Braden ended up with a no decision despite his strong start (6 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 Ks) and de la Rosa was handed his seventh loss of the season (2.1 IP, 8 hits, 7 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks). Both pitchers will be facing much worse opposition in their second starts this week with Braden going up against the Padres in San Diego and de la Rosa facing the Pirates in Colorado. A couple of strong starts there would make up nicely for de la Rosa’s implosion against the Rays.

Now on to next week, we’ll take a look at the two-start pitchers that are available in 50-95% of Yahoo leagues. Then, I’ll analyze the best options on this list and give you my 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
Trevor Cahillvs SFvs COL4%
Aaron Cook@LAA@OAK19%
Tommy Hansonvs NYYvs BOS48%
Matt Harrison*@ARZvs SD3%
Livan Hernandezvs STLvs NYY7%
Jamie Moyer*@TB@TOR8%
Matt Palmervs COL@ARZ20%
Carl Pavano@PITvs CIN17%
Joel Pineiro@NYMvs MIN15%
Scott Richmondvs CINvs PHI26%
Jonathan Sanchez*@OAK@MIL26%
Ian Snellvs CLEvs KC8%
Chien-Ming Wang@ATL@NYM31%
Todd Wellemeyer@NYMvs MIN6%


Mixed League Pick
Trevor Cahill
Cahill has been an interesting story so far in his rookie season. He holds a solid 3.89 ERA despite striking out only 37 batters in 78.2 innings and sporting a weak 1.16 K/BB. His saving grace thus far has been the groundball, which he has been able to induce 48.9% of the time. Still, his .269 BABIP is due to regress back toward the .300 mark, and if Cahill is unable to improve on the K/BB ratio, that spells disaster, as can be seen by his 5.08 FIP.

While all of this does not seem like the makings of a great spot starter, all it takes is seeing the “SF” in the table next to his name to make him a viable candidate. Cahill has the stuff and ability to be a top starter, and as he gains more experience and confidence, he should begin to grow into his potential. A quick look at his game log shows that two terrible outings are really the only bad starts he’s had this year. Other than those two games where he gave up seven earned runs in less than three innings, he has allowed three or less runs in every other start (and has only allowed three earned runs once).

While Colorado’s lineup isn’t as bad as San Francisco’s, they are still posting an OPS of 70 points less away from Coors Field. Also of note is Cahill’s 3.67 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and a solid 28 strikeouts to 11 walks at home. With both of Cahill’s starts in the pitching friendly Oakland Coliseum, the matchups make him one of the best spot-starting options this week.

Second Option
Scott Richmond
This pick is a bit worrisome, with Richmond facing the potent Phillies lineup in his second start this week after facing them just three days ago. However, Richmond absolutely dominated the Phillies in that game, with a line of 8 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB and 11 Ks. His overall numbers are quite impressive, as he sits on a 3.58 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Paired with his 60 strikeouts to only 23 walks in 70.1 innings, it seems that Richmond may not be just a fluke. It’s unlikely his BABIP will stay at .273, but it’s not terribly low and is somewhat canceled out by a high 12.3% HR/FB.

Despite that he has to go up against the Phillies again so soon after facing them, I feel that his first start of the week against Cincinnati makes him an intriguing option. The Reds offense has been terrible away from the Great American Ballpark (.661 OPS) and has also been awful against righties (.702 OPS). If Richmond can provide a decent start against the Phillies, his start against the Reds should make it well worth getting him in your lineup.

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.

1. Ricky Romero, Tor at Was (Shairon Martis)

This is a guy I like quite a bit. I’ve recommended him before, and to refresh your memory, here’s what I said:

“There was a lot of hype surrounding Ricky Romero when his career first started. You may remember he was taken ahead of Troy Tulowitzki. It’s possible Tulo possesses a stronger arm. Even still, Romero has honed his craft, first struggling at Double-A for the better part of three years, but he finally showed signs of life in seven starts at Triple-A Syracuse. His heavy groundball tendencies play well wherever he goes, and he seems to have had his curveball and changeup come along nicely, which complements his low 90s fastball. His struggles can be attributed to a common young pitcher problem: control.

In spring training he didn’t show much control walks-wise, giving out 11 free passes in his first 18 innings before a strong final spring start. Maybe he’s turned a corner, or maybe he’s just been lucky, but he’s only walked two batters in his first two starts combined. Sunday is the ultimate test, because we know how patient Oakland can be. If he gets by with another two walks or less, he might yet live up to a portion of his draft hype.”

That day against Oakland he pitched 7 innings of shutout ball. I think he’s becoming a great guy to spot start, and he’s owned in about 40% of all leagues. His strikeout rate is terrific, and he’s kept the walks down, which was a concern. I like him very much in this spot start, and going forward you should pick him up if you can.

-Prediction- W, 7IP, 5H, 1ER, 2BB, 7K

2. Dallas Braden, Oak at SD (Kevin Correia)

I like this guy too. What’s great about Braden is that he’s about as close to league-average as you can get. This means he’s easy to use as a spot starter. You simply start him against bottom half offenses and bench him against the top half. His strikeout rate is an acceptable 6 K/9, and he’s usually pretty good at keeping the walks down. As we know, playing in Petco is a pitcher’s haven, so that should help with the results. One note about the Padres though is that their offense finally looks like it could be showing some teeth. Gonzalez, Kouzmanoff, and Headley all have some power, and the Padres have called up power-hitting prospect Kyle Blanks. I suggest you keep an eye on him. This will give them four legitimate threats to hit the ball out of the park.

-Prediction- W, 6IP, 6H, 2ER, 1BB, 4K

Sunday’s Hail Mary

1. Glen Perkins Home vs. Astros
2. Randy Wells Home vs. Indians
3. Doug Davis Road vs. Seattle

Good luck on Sunday 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 waits for Bruce Bochy to be fired for incompetency.
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