StrategyMay 21, 2011

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Double Dipper: Dempster Diving

By R.J. White

You know who almost earned the “must-start” designation from me this week? Ryan Dempster, he of the 6.91 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. Crazy talk? Dempster sports a nice 52:21 K:BB ratio in 56 innings this season, roughly the same as Max Scherzer (53:24, 2.81 ERA), Jhoulys Chacin (52:22, 2.70 ERA) and Trevor Cahill (52:20, 1.79 ERA). Pretty good company, no? Dempster’s failures have come with a higher than normal BABIP and an extremely high HR/FB rate. As Bradley Woodrum at Fangraphs sums up, Dempster has just been the victim of bad luck. He started to turn it around in May with three quality starts before a five-run outing against the Marlins his last time out. If not for that outing, I would have put him in the must-start section, as home starts against the Mets and Pirates don’t scare me. I’d still play him in most leagues this week.

With Jake Peavy coming off the DL, I had to make a tough decision in one league: cut Peavy, who had just undergone a long rehab from a shoulder injury, or Tim Stauffer, who has pitched very well and calls Petco home. I decided to keep Stauffer, and Peavy went out and made me pay last week, throwing nine shutout innings while allowing three hits for his first win of the season. Better yet, Peavy now sports a 12:0 K:BB ratio. While his matchups this week aren’t the most enticing, his last outing almost have him at must-play status this week. I listed him in the regular Dipper section, and I’ll let you make up your mind.

Two-start pitchers are below, with our picks following. Analysis will be up Saturday evening.


Josh Beckett, BOS (@ CLE, @ DET)
Zach Britton, BAL (vs KC, @ OAK)
Clay Buchholz, BOS (@ CLE, @ DET)
Matt Cain, SF (vs FLA, @ MIL)
Bartolo Colon, NYY (vs TOR, @ SEA)
Jorge de la Rosa, COL (vs ARI, vs STL)
Yovani Gallardo, MIL (vs WAS, vs SF)
Cole Hamels, PHI (vs CIN, @ NYM)
Dan Haren, LAA (vs OAK, @ MIN)
Clayton Kershaw, LAD (@ HOU, vs FLA)
Kyle Lohse, STL (@ SD, @ COL)
Justin Masterson, CLE (vs BOS, @ TB)
Ricky Nolasco, FLA (@ SF, @ LAD)
Alexi Ogando, TEX (vs CWS, vs KC)
Ricky Romero, TOR (@NYY, vs CWS)
Justin Verlander, DET (vs TB, vs BOS)
Jered Weaver, LAA (vs OAK, @ MIN)

Other Double Dippers

PitcherStart 1Start 2% Y! Owned
Jeremy Hellickson (TB)@ DETvs CLE76%
Ryan Dempster (CHC)vs NYMvs PIT66%
Jake Peavy (CWS)@ TEX@ TOR62%
John Danks (CWS)@ TEX@ TOR61%
Johnny Cueto (CIN)@ PHI@ ATL60%
Bronson Arroyo (CIN)@ PHI@ ATL52%
Bud Norris (HOU)vs LADvs ARI49%
Carl Pavano (MIN)vs SEAvs LAA24%
Tom Gorzelanny (WAS)@ MILvs SD12%
Jason Vargas (SEA)@ MINvs NYY9%
Jonathon Niese (NYM)@ CHCvs PHI8%
Dustin Moseley (SD)vs STL@ WAS5%
Vance Worley (PHI)vs CIN@ NYM2%
Phil Coke (DET)vs TBvs BOS2%
Carlos Villanueva (TOR)@ NYYvs CWS1%
Joe Saunders (ARI)@ COL@ HOU1%
Danny Duffy (KC)@ BAL@ TEX0%
Josh Outman* (OAK)@ LAAvs BAL0%

*speculative starter

Mixed League Pick
Bartolo Colon (NYY)

Colon has turned back the clock to produce five excellent starts (and one stinker) over the course of the season. His last game was his best to date, as he struck out seven batters in eight scoreless innings while allowing only three hits and a walk. Ignore the 2-2 record and focus on Colon’s 48 Ks and 11 BBs in 51.1 innings. He’s bordering on elite right now, and in a two-start week he’s a guy you have to use. I especially love his second start in Seattle for fantasy upside.

Mixed League Second Option
Tom Gorzelanny (WAS)

This pick could almost double as a deep league selection, as Gorzelanny is available in 88 percent of Yahoo leagues. He had been cruising before his last three starts, which included a four-walk performance, a three-homer game and a five-walk performance. Even with the poor run, the Nationals pitcher still has a 42:19 K:BB ratio to go along with a 3.56 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He’ll get one start against the Padres, improving his weekly stock.

Deep League Pick
Jason Vargas (SEA)

After allowing one run in a 7.2-inning win against the Rangers three starts ago, Vargas has went on a 16-inning scoreless streak. He threw nine shutout innings in an unfortunate no-decision against the Orioles before shutting out the Angels for seven innings while racking up nine Ks. He gets an excellent matchup in Minnesota before returning home to face the Yankees this week.

Deep League Second Option
Vance Worley (PHI)

Worley’s back in the rotation after another injury to Joe Blanton, and he brings along some early-season success. While he allowed four walks in his first start against the Mets, he held them to just two hits and put six scoreless innings on the board. He then gave up one run to Washington in six innings while walking none and striking out seven. Both starts were wins, and he managed two holds before being sent back to the minors. He’ll try and continue the strong start against the Reds and Mets this week.

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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