StrategyMay 14, 2011


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Double Dipper: Seven-Day Smorgasbord

By R.J. White

With every team in baseball playing seven games this upcoming week, you’ll find plenty of great two-start options available. At the bottom of this article we give you three great mixed-league pitchers and three solid deep league pitchers that could provide a big week for your fantasy team. Directly below you’ll see the two-start pitchers that I think are must-start pitchers, and you’ll notice Ubaldo Jimenez conspicuously absent from the list.

There’s no doubt Jimenez is an incredible pitcher, as he showed time and again last season. However, even though he rang up wins in 13 of his first 14 starts in 2010, Jimenez sits on May 14 with no wins to his credit. Has it been hard-luck for the elite pitcher? Hardly. The 0-3 record is a reflection on Jimenez’s 22 walks allowed in 29.2 innings, including 11 free passes in his last two starts alone. He’s also giving up about three times more home runs than he did over the course of last season. Not good.

The good news is that Jimenez’s strikeout rate is still among the elite, while his low strand rate is likely to correct in the near future. But the news gets worse. A marked improvement won’t come until Jimenez recovers some of the speed on his fastball, which is down over three miles per hour from the last two seasons. The first thing one thinks about when one sees such a dip in fastball velocity is that a pitcher may be hiding an injury. Do the right thing and bench Jimenez this week, and don’t put him back in the lineup until he shows some movement in the right direction.

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

Must-Starts

Brett Anderson, OAK (vs LAA, @ SF)
Matt Cain, SF (@ COL, vs OAK)
Jamie Garcia, STL (vs PHI, @ KC)
Gio Gonzalez, OAK (vs LAA, @ SF)
Tommy Hanson, ATL (vs HOU, @ LAA)
Felix Hernandez, SEA (vs MIN, @ SD)
Daniel Hudson, ARI (vs SD, vs MIN)
Josh Johnson, FLA (@ NYM, vs TB)
Hiroki Kuroda, LAD (vs MIL, @ CWS)
Cliff Lee, PHI (@ STL, vs TEX)
Derek Lowe, ATL (vs HOU, @ LAA)
Shaun Marcum, MIL (@ LAD, vs COL)
Justin Masterson, CLE (@ KC, vs CIN)
Ricky Nolasco, FLA (@ NYM, vs TB)
Roy Oswalt, PHI (@ STL, vs TEX)
David Price, TB (vs NYY, @ FLA)
James Shields, TB (vs NYY, @ FLA)
Tim Stauffer, SD (@ ARI, vs SEA)

Other Double Dippers

PitcherStart 1Start 2% Y! Owned
Ubaldo Jimenez (COL)vs SF@ MIL97%
Jonathan Sanchez (SF)@ COLvs OAK88%
Matt Garza (CHC)@ CIN@ BOS83%
Francisco Liriano (MIN)@ SEA@ ARI81%
Wandy Rodriguez (HOU)@ ATL@ TOR78%
A.J. Burnett (NYY)@ TBvs NYM66%
Zach Britton (BAL)@ BOSvs WAS64%
Edinson Volquez (CIN)vs CHC@ CLE57%
Colby Lewis (TEX)vs CWS@ PHI56%
Brett Myers (HOU)@ ATL@ TOR53%
Jordan Zimmermann (WAS)vs PIT@ BAL48%
Edwin Jackson (CWS)vs TEXvs LAD47%
Homer Bailey (CIN)vs CHC@ CLE33%
Scott Baker (MIN)@ SEA@ ARI33%
Kyle Drabek (TOR)@ DETvs HOU32%
Randy Wolf (MIL)@ LADvs COL32%
John Lackey (BOS)vs BALvs CHC31%
Matt Harrison (TEX)vs CWS@ PHI28%
Clayton Richard (SD)@ ARIvs SEA20%
Daisuke Matsuzaka (BOS)vs BALvs CHC17%
Joel Pineiro (LAA)@ OAKvs ATL12%
Jon Garland (LAD)vs MIL@ CWS11%
Ivan Nova (NYY)@ TBvs NYM8%
Charlie Morton (PIT)@ WASvs DET8%
Rick Porcello (DET)vs TOR@ PIT8%
Jon Niese (NYM)vs FLA@ NYY8%
Mike Pelfrey (NYM)vs FLA@ NYY6%
Jason Vargas (SEA)vs MIN@ SD4%
Jake Westbrook (STL)vs PHI@ KC3%
Jesse Litsch (TOR)@ DETvs HOU2%
Chris Tillman (BAL)@ BOSvs WAS2%
Paul Maholm (PIT)@ WASvs DET2%
Phil Coke (DET)vs TOR@ PIT2%
Carlos Carrasco (CLE)@ KCvs CIN1%
Armando Galarraga (ARI)vs SDvs MIN1%
John Lannan (WAS)vs PIT@ BAL1%
Tyler Chatwood (LAA)@ OAKvs ATL1%
Vin Mazzaro (KC)vs CLEvs STL0%
Sean O’Sullivan (KC)vs CLEvs STL0%
Casey Coleman (CHC)@ CIN@ BOS0%
Clayton Mortenson (COL)vs SF@ MIL0%

Mixed League Pick
Tim Stauffer (SD)

Stauffer may be coming off a hiccup in his last start, but he’s still the owner of a 3.47 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP and a 38:11 K:BB ratio in 46.2 innings. Don’t think that his home park is doing all the work, as Stauffer had been excellent in three road starts before his recent blowup. The only thing that can explain such a low ownership rating (39 percent) is his 0-1 record, but wins should start coming if he keeps pitching to this level. I had to decide between keeping Jake Peavy or Stauffer in a league, and I went with the current Padre over the former one, and it wasn’t that hard of a choice.

Mixed League Second Option
Homer Bailey (CIN)

Bailey has been lights out in two starts since joining the Reds, with both games coming against the Astros. Things should get much tougher against the Cubs and Indians this week, but Bailey has more than earned a spot start in any two-start week after posting a 12:1 K:BB ratio in his first two starts. If he dominates this week as well, he’ll be owned in twice as many leagues by next Monday, so act now if you’re interested.

Mixed League Third Option
Scott Baker (MIN)

Like Stauffer, Baker had been excellent heading into his last start, but he gave up five runs in 4.1 innings in that one to raise his ERA to 3.71 and his WHIP to 1.28. Those are still very good marks, and his recent four-game hot streak all came on the road, so don’t be so quick to grant Target Field an assist on those ratios. He’ll be on the road again twice this week, first to face a mediocre Mariners offense, then a solid Arizona team.

Deep League Pick
Jason Vargas (SEA)

Vargas was a gem spot-starter at home this year, but the tides have turned in 2011. He has a 5.34 ERA and 1.40 in Seattle and a 1.99 ERA and 1.06 WHIP on the road. He’s been great at keeping the walks down (2.1 per nine innings), and I think his home woes are about to turn. He faces two of the poorest offenses in the league, with Minnesota coming to Seattle before Vargas gets to travel to Petco Park. Sounds like a winner to me.

Deep League Second Option
Rick Porcello (DET)

I normally steer clear of Porcello because of his miniscule K rate, but he’s been able to bring it up a tad in 2011 while posting decent numbers. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his last five starts, in which he’s managed a 3-0 record. We’ll take the hot hand as our section option, and it certainly helps that he’s facing the Pirates in one of his starts.

Deep League Third Option
Jesse Litsch (TOR)

At 4-2 through seven starts with a 4.14 ERA and 1.35 WHIP, Litsch should be owned in more leagues than he actually is. He faces the Tigers, against whom he earned a win in a recent start while striking out nine batters in 6.1 innings, and the Astros, an offense that had posted four runs or less in nine straight starts before Friday’s win over the Mets.

 
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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