StrategyMay 7, 2011


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Double Dipper: Zack is Back

By R.J. White

Fantasy owners had to wait over a month to see the NL debut of Zack Greinke, a pitcher many thought would rank among the elite at the position with his move to the NL Central. Unfortunately, the new Milwaukee ace broke a rib in a basketball game during the offseason, and he was only able to return after the calendar turned to May. His debut earned mixed reviews, as Greinke went just four innings while allowing four runs in a loss, yet struck out six batters and walked just one. Should we play it safe this week and wait till he proves he’s 100 percent, or do we go for it with his two-start schedule?

I say play him. He threw 57 of his 86 pitches for strikes in his first start, which tells me that there’s nothing wrong with his stuff. We’ll chalk up the 9.00 ERA to some bad luck on batted balls and still consider him a fantasy ace. Even better for his chances at good numbers, Greinke is scheduled to face the Padres and the Pirates at home. San Diego has scored the least amount of runs in the National League while ranking dead last in the majors in batting average (.216) and slugging percentage (.324); Pittsburgh has struck out 267 times, which is tied for the worst in the majors and equates to 8.34 Ks per game. Add up the two tasty matchups, and Greinke should finally show the world why Milwaukee traded for him.

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

Must-Starts

Josh Beckett, BOS (vs MIN, @ NYY)
Chad Billingsley, LAD (@ PIT, vs ARI)
Trevor Cahill, OAK (@ TEX, vs CWS)
Jhoulys Chacin, COL (vs NYM, vs SD)
Zack Greinke, MIL (vs SD, vs PIT)
Tim Hudson, ATL (vs WAS, vs PHI)
Ian Kennedy, ARI (@ SF, @ LAD)
Tim Lincecum, SF (vs ARI, @ CHC)
Brandon Morrow, TOR (vs DET, @ MIN)
Michael Pineda, SEA (@ BAL, @ CLE)
David Price, TB (@ CLE, vs BAL)
Ervin Santana, LAA (vs CWS, @ TEX)
Max Scherzer, DET (@ TOR, vs KC)
Josh Tomlin, CLE (vs TB, vs SEA)
C.J. Wilson, TEX (vs OAK, vs LAA)

Other Double Dippers

PitcherStart 1Start 2% Y! Owned
Chris Carpenter (STL)@ CHC@ CIN95%
Mat Latos (SD)@ MIL@ COL91%
Francisco Liriano (MIN)@ BOSvs TOR84%
Ted Lilly (LAD)@ PITvs ARI67%
Carlos Zambrano (CHC)vs STLvs SF63%
Edwin Jackson (CWS)@ LAA@ OAK48%
Kevin Correia (PIT)vs LAD@ MIL32%
Javier Vazquez (FLA)vs PHI@ WAS31%
Travis Wood (CIN)@ HOUvs STL17%
Freddy Garcia (NYY)vs KCvs BOS11%
Jason Marquis (WAS)@ ATLvs FLA10%
Jake Arrieta (BAL)vs SEA@ TB5%
Joe Blanton (PHI)@ FLA@ ATL3%
Chris Capuano (NYM)@ COL@ HOU2%
Jeff Karstens (PIT)vs LAD@ MIL1%
Aneury Rodriguez (HOU)vs CINvs NYM0%
Kyle Davies (KC)@ NYY@ DET0%

Mixed League Pick and Deep League Pick
Jake Arrieta (BAL)

We originally listed Josh Tomlin as our Mixed League Pick of the Week, but by the time I went back to write this analysis, he was at 51 percent owned. Since we target players available in at least half of Yahoo’s leagues, I’ve switched the selection to Arrieta, who is also our Deep League pick. What makes Arrieta so special this week?

Despite some solid competition (Yankees twice and Rangers, Tigers, White Sox, Royals and Twins once), Arrieta sports a 4-1 record heading into next week, as well as acceptable ratios (4.35 ERA and 1.25 WHIP). His 33:15 K:BB ratio in 39.1 innings is nice, but it’s grown stronger as the season has progressed, with his two most dominant outings coming in his last three appearances. His last start against the Royals in Kansas City was a gem, where he recorded eight Ks in seven innings with only three hits and a walk allowed. A home run was the only run on the board for the Royals.

He’ll face the Mariners in his first start of the week and the Rays in his second start. Both offenses feature terrible OBPs (.310 for Seattle, .305 for Tampa Bay), so if Arrieta’s good stuff from his last start carries over to the upcoming week, he could be incredible for fantasy teams. I’ll take him over a solid mixed-league pick below, as he’s available in 95 percent of leagues. Tomlin would still be my first choice.

Mixed League Second Option
Freddy Garcia (NYY)

After two amazing starts when Garcia joined the rotation, which both featured six innings of two-hit, no-run ball, Garcia has been mediocre in his last two starts, allowing three runs in five innings in the first and four runs in seven innings in his most recent appearance. That last start included eight Ks and just two walks, which makes it seem that Garcia could be very effective if he can keep the walks down. Garcia gets two home starts this week, and the Yankees offense will be looking to give him two wins.

Deep League Second Option
Aneury Rodriguez (HOU)

The Astros began the season with Nelson Figueroa in the rotation, but it didn’t take long to remove him in favor of Rodriguez, who was mediocre in relief in April but featured some upside. He cashed in with his first start of the season, allowing just a single hit and one walk in five scoreless innings in Cincinnati, a tough place to pitch. He’ll look to continue his scoreless streaks against the Reds again in his first start before facing the Mets later in the week. Both starts will come at home with mediocre pitchers on the hill for the opposing team, so Rodriguez could walk away from this week with the first two wins of his career.

 
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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