StrategyAugust 15, 2009

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Double Dipper: Vote for Pedro

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 I went with two Rockies pitchers, something you wouldn’t have seen much in previous years. Jorge De La Rosa faced the Cubs and struck out 11 batters in a win (7.2 IP, 7 hits, 1 ER, 4 BB, 11 Ks). Meanwhile, Aaron Cook ended up missing his start against the Pirates due to an injured toe, though he is expected to make his start today against the Marlins. De La Rosa will finish off his two start week with a start against the Marlins on Sunday.

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
Brian Bannister@CWSvs MIN14%
Kevin Correiavs CHCvs LAD7%
Fausto Carmonavs LAAvs SEA16%
Bud Norrisvs FLAvs ARZ9%
Jon Garland@PHI@HOU7%
Pedro Martinezvs ARZ@NYM25%
Scott Richmondvs BOSvs LAA18%
Scott Feldmanvs MIN@TB30%

Mixed League Pick
Pedro Martinez
Martinez made his much-anticipated Phillies debut Wednesday night at Wrigley Field and on all accounts it can be ruled successful. While Pedro did not go deep enough to record a “quality start”, he left fantasy owners with numerous reasons to feel encouraged. First and most importantly is the fact that he is fully healthy. Martinez has repeatedly stated that the shoulder and hamstring ailments are of the past. Almost equally impressive was the eye-opening display of velocity. The fastball, which averaged 89 mph on the night, topped out at 92 and sat comfortably above 90 for two innings, including as late as his fifth inning of work. Combine these factors with his mastery of the strike zone and pitching know-how and you have a pitcher who is primed to make a contribution for you down the stretch.

In the week’s first assignment, Martinez will make his Phillies home debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks and opposing pitcher Jon Garland. Arizona’s offense is in the middle of the pack in runs scored but they are the fourth easiest to strike out. Martinez and his veteran savvy should have the upper hand against a young D-Backs offense. In his second start, Martinez will be back in the Big Apple, squaring off against the New York Mets and opposing pitcher Oliver Perez. The injury riddled Mets offense resides in the bottom third of the league in runs scored. Look for Martinez to take the mound with added intensity as he will look to stick it to his former team.

Deep League Pick (Owned <10%)
Bud Norris
Bud Norris, a rookie starter for the Astros, and their second best prospect according to Baseball America has started off his major-league career on the right foot, winning his first three major league starts. Right now most of the value Norris has as a spot starter is his strikeout potential.  So far in the majors he has been very good in that regard, striking out 22 batters in his first 21 innings pitched. He also struck out quite a few batters in the minors, posting strikeout rates of 8.40 K/9 in Triple-A, 9.45 K/9 in Double-A, and 10.89 K/9 in both Single-A and Low-A ball.  The major knock on him so far is something that plagued him in the minor leagues as well, his tendency to allow free passes.  Through those 21 innings thus far, Norris has walked 11 batters, a rate which if sustained would make it very difficult for him to become anything more than a back-of-the-rotation starter.  Throughout the minors, his walk rate stayed mostly between 3.5-4.0 BB/9, but facing major league hitters can definitely cause that number to increase. Even so, with a fastball that has averaged a velocity of 93.6 mph so far in the majors, he has the ability to blow it by guys when he needs to, which has been the driving force of his major league success so far.

Norris will be facing the Marlins in his first start, followed by the Diamondbacks later in the week. two teams with pretty average offenses that strike out a decent amount. Both teams have also hit worse away from home, and both games this week will be played in Houston, which could give Norris an edge. If he’s able to keep the walks down, Norris could be a very effective starter — both teams are pretty average at taking bases on balls so it just comes down to whether Norris can throw strikes. Norris should be able to help you if you have an open roster spot in your weekly leagues. If he can grab a win in one of his starts to go along with the strikeout help he provides, he should end up being a valuable spot start even if he puts up sub-par ratios.

Special thanks to Sean Acey (smoovethug) for his help in writing this article.

<i>Michael Marinakis is a 23-year-old unemployed fantasy addict. You can find him roaming the Cafe all day where he posts as</i> GiantsFan14 <i>and waits for Bruce Bochy to be fired for incompetency.</i>
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