Monday, April 1, 2013

Two Start Pitcher Analysis (April 8-14)

With the MLB season starting early in the week, a plethora of aces were available for two starts in week one. Any fantasy owner trying to stream against the Justin Verlander’s of the world are sure to be in for a tough go. We will start our in-depth analysis in week two. We will focus on pitchers who are owned in under 70% of CBS leagues. As the week progresses, we will add further analysis on all the names below.

While efforts are made to verify two-start status, we prepare the analysis at the beginning of the week and MLB managers unfortunately like to shuffle rotations mid-week. If you have a specific match-up that we did not cover, please feel free to send us a tweet.

Wandy Rodriguez PIT - @ARI,CIN
Wandy Rodriguez is owned in 67% of CBS leagues. He posted a 6.08 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, with a 3.76 ERA. His is scheduled to pitch at Arizona and at home verse Cincinnati. Both of those clubs sported higher than league average whiff rates in 2012, which could be favorable for the left-handed Dominican. His strong early season efforts in the World Baseball Classic and Grapefruit League could pay dividends early in the season. While Arizona and Cincinnati are thought of as run creating offenses, they ranked 16th and 21st in wRC+ in 2012. Despite the positives, caution is merited due to the Pirates difficulties on the other side of the ball.

Edwin Jackson CHC – MIL, SF
Edwin Jackson is owned in 59% of CBS leagues. His 7.97 K/9 will be one of the best streaming strikeout options this week. Unfortunately, he is matched up against two of the more disciplined ball clubs with some of the more potent offenses. While the Brewers maintain a league average 19.9% K-rate, they also sport a 105 wRC+. His second match-up will come against the Giants who only strikeout at a 17.7% rate. They also have a top 10 wRC+ at 99. While Mr. Jackson may still get his K’s, he may be more limited in the win’s column this year, as the Cub’s ranked dead last in wRC+ in 2012 and did not make any major improvements to their offense this winter.

Ervin Santana KC – MIN, TOR
You were asking for trouble last year if you started Ervin Santana. The former Angel notched a 5.16 ERA over 30 starts with a 3.08 BB/9 and a whopping 18.9% Goppher Ball rate. While he K’d 6.72 batters per nine innings, there were far less risky options to stream. Some regression to league average on the HR rate should get his ERA closer to his 4.48 xFIP. Park factors likely will not help as Angel’s Stadium suppressed long balls at a higher rate than Kauffman and even more telling is that Kauffman Stadium has been the second most repressive ball park for K’s. While the Twins won’t put much fear in the hearts of fantasy owners, a strong Blue Jay’s lineup should be enough to leave Santana on the wire this week.

Ubaldo Jimenez CLE – NYY, CHW
Much has been written about Ubaldo Jimenez intentionally hitting former teammate Troy Tulowitzki last spring. A year later, are we so certain that Ubaldo wasn’t just trying to throw a strike? The once highly coveted prospect is now only owned in 47% of CBS leagues. Much of his woes stem from his inability to distinguish between a batter’s midsection and home plate. His horrendous 4.84 BB/9 and 5.4 ERA (4.98 xFIP) are far too much to pay for his 7.28 K/9. With a revamped line-up, Ubaldo will surely surpass his 9 wins from 2012. With two home games against a very un-Yankee Yankee’s lineup and division rival White Sox, you’re looking at 50/50 odds on wins and two teams with average K-rates at 18.9% and 19.7%.  

Brett Myers CLE – NYY, CHW
A 9.00 ERA and 2.10 WHIP will not win anything in fantasy. Despite those numbers, Brett Meyers is owned in 25% of CBS leagues. The good news is that Terry Francona isn’t worried about the 21 innings that Brett Myers got shelled this spring. I suppose he is holding out hope that the regular season version of Brett Myers will look more like the 7.73 K/9, 5.35 ERA serviceable Myers from 2011 before he was moved to the bullpen.  Until Meyers can prove his is a major league caliber starter, you’ll want to stick with other options this week. While the Yankee’s might be down, they won’t be out and the White Sox have enough fire power to do some damage if the Spring Training 2013 version of Brett Meyers shows up to pitch this week.

Clayton Richard SD – LAD, COL
Boring can be your best friend in fantasy and so might Clayton Richard this week. He quietly put in a solid 2012 campaign, finishing the season with 14 wins, a 3.99 ERA (4.16 xFIP), and stellar 1.73 BB/9 in 218 innings over 33 starts. The two big knocks on Richard are his low K-rate 4.4 K/9 and his team, the lowly Padres (right?). Looking more closely, the Padres actually had a 97 wRC+, well ahead of the Rockies (93) and Dodgers (91). Richard is only owned in 29% of CBS fantasy leagues. While the K’s will be limited, there is good potential for wins and strong WHIP out of Richard. Look to him as a quiet option throughout the season.

Brandon Maurer SEA – HOU, TEX
The 22 year old righty won a rotation spot after going 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 7 appearances this spring. With nearly a 9 K/9 rate and solid control, Maurer could be a surprise this season. His spring was not a fluke, at AA Jackson last year he pitched to a 3.20 ERA with a 8 K/9 rate and a 1.315 WHIP over 24 starts. While the Rangers could pose a challenge with one of the league leading offenses in 2012 (105 wRC+), he finds a strong match-up against a Houston team that led the league in whiffs at a 22.7% rate. The pitcher friendly confines of Safeco Field should also help the young rookie, even with the adjusted dimensions. While caution is always merited with rookies, you have to like the potential here.

Lucas Harrell HOU - @SEA, @LAA
More to come.

Juan Nicasio COL - @SF, @SD
More to come.

Travis Wood CHC – MIL, SF
More to come.

Joe Saunders SEA – HOU, TEX
More to come.

Kevin Correia MIN - @KC, NYM
More to come.

Kevin Slowey FLA – ATL, PHI
More to come.

Nick Tepesch TEX – TB, @SEA
More to come.

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