StrategyJune 27, 2009


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Double Dipper: Streaking Spot Starts

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. Both of my picks last week dominated their respective opponents in wins. Trevor Cahill dominated the Giants (W, 7 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 Ks) and Scott Richmond threw a two-hit gem against the Reds (W, 7 IP, 2 hits, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 Ks). Cahill will be facing a tougher opponent in the Rockies today (though in Oakland), but it seems that Richmond has been bumped from his start against the Phillies and is now going to start Monday against the Rays (make sure he’s out of your lineup for next week). It’ll be tough for Cahill to have a poor enough start to make the overall line for the week hurt.

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
Bronson Arroyovs ARZvs STL22%
Brian Bannistervs MINvs CHW14%
Nick Blackburn@KCvs CHW41%
Joe Blanton@ATLvs NYM11%
Kenshin Kawakamivs PHI@WAS13%
Braden Loopervs NYM@CHC6%
Vin Mazzarovs DET@CLE22%
Brandon Morrow@NYY@BOS45%
Fernando Nieve@MIL@PHI12%
Carl Pavanovs CHWvs OAK13%
Jonathan Sanchez*@STLvs HOU24%

*lefties

Mixed League Pick
Joe Blanton
It’s easy to take a glance at Blanton’s 5.06 ERA or even his 4.86 FIP and move onto the next guy, but looking a little deeper into his 2009 season shows a potential sleeper underneath those ugly numbers. For example, over his last six starts Blanton has racked up 40 strikeouts in 39.1 innings while posting a 2.75 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Also of note is Blanton’s 16.7% HR/FB which is almost assuredly a fluke and should drop down to the 9-10% range. It doesn’t appear that Blanton has been that unlucky, however, as a career high LD% and career low GB% has lead to quite a few hits, but his career high K rate and solid walk numbers lessen those concerns. Overall, Blanton looks poised to put together a solid second half and could have significant value if he can keep striking hitters out at his current rate.

While Blanton isn’t exactly facing terrible offenses, the Braves and the injury-depleted Mets have hit pretty poorly against right-handed pitchers this season, posting OPSes of .709 and .735 respectively. Somewhat worrisome is the fact that Blanton has been hit hard by the Braves in two starts so far this year — however, both starts were in the hitter’s haven in Philly. With this start being in Atlanta, things look better as the Braves have the fourth worst home OPS in the majors at .702. Also, with Reyes, Beltran, and Delgado out of the Mets lineup, they don’t have quite the potent offense that they’ve had in recent years and should match up pretty favorably against Blanton and the Phillies.

Second Option
Vin Mazzaro
In a rotation full of young potential stars, Mazzaro has shined bright to start his major league career. Through five starts this season, he holds a 2.56 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with a 20:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Over his last four starts, it becomes an even better 19:4 ratio over 25.1 innings. The low walk rate in combination with a solid strikeout rate has allowed Mazzaro to be successful in his limited time, and his potential as a fantasy asset is already apparent. While pitching in the cavernous Oakland Coliseum will help any pitcher’s stats, his .265 BABIP and 2.7% HR/FB won’t stay that low, and as they rise, they’ll bring his ERA and WHIP with them. Still, as long as Mazzaro is able to keep the walks down and strike batters out at a decent pace, he should remain a decent spot-starter.

Next week Mazzaro will face Detroit at home followed by a trip to Cleveland to face the Indians. Both matchups seem decent for Mazzaro and should make him worthy of a spot start if you have an open roster spot. Detroit seems to be a pretty favorable matchup for Mazzaro, as they hold a .742 OPS against righties and a .714 OPS in away games. The Indians hit righties a little bit better (.754 OPS), but have a pretty terrible .727 OPS in their home park. It’s tough to predict wins with the A’s lineup as your run support, but Mazzaro should provide some strikeouts to go with decent ratios in his two starts.

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. Charlie Morton, Pit – Home vs. KC (Zack Greinke)

This sunday is chock-full of starters with a lot future talent. Tommy Hanson, David Price, and Andrew Miller all look like future aces. Of course Zack Greinke, Edwin Jackson and Francisco Liriano are all 25 so they’ve got a good looking future as well. I think Charlie Morton might be a step below some of these elite names but regardless, there’s a lot of talent here. He’s got four pitches which all grade out as above average, and the real reason we aren’t all over Morton as much as former teammate Tommy Hanson is that he suffered a back injury last year that cost him 25 pounds of muscle, and downgraded him a bit as a result.

I was interested to see how his first start would go this year and he did not disappoint. He handled himself nicely in Coors against a surging Rockies team. I think he might make for an astute pickup at this point, and there’s every reason to hold on to him for a while. I forgot to mention he’s owned in 3% of leagues, so suffice to say he’s there for the taking.

The only negative is that his opponent is Zack Greinke, and so I’ll have to give him a loss as a prediction, but rest assured it should be his first QS of 2009.

-Prediction- L, 6IP, 5H, 2ER, 2BB, 4K

2. Joel Piniero, StL – Home vs. Min (Francisco Liriano)

It would appear that no one wants to believe in Piniero. I’d have thought that despite the low K rate he’d be owned in more leagues by now. But instead, the mark is right around 30%, so people just don’t want to give him a chance. Guys like Jason Marquis I can understand being hesitant to pick up, because despite the good record they just plain stink. But Piniero has been killing worms all year with his groundball rate, and that won’t be changing any time soon. If you can live with the lack of Ks then you can live with him. I don’t think he’s necessarily worth a roster spot, but he is a good spot starter and this is a good matchup for such a thing.

-Prediction- ND, 7IP, 7H, 2ER, 0BB, 2K

Sunday’s Hail Mary

1. Jeff Suppan Home vs. Giants
2. Brian Tallet Home vs. Phillies
3. Matt Palmer Road v. D-Backs

Good luck this 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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