May 25, 2014 posted by Matthew Dewoskin

2014 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Crystal Balls: Week 9 Edition

2014 Fantasy Baseball Pitching Crystal Balls: Week 9 Edition
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It’s actually kind of silly to spend heavily or use a lot of high draft picks on pitching. There are always breakouts that no one ever thought about. No one knew who Dallas Keuchel was in March and those that did know thought he was a deep AL-only play. Now? He’s owned in almost 70% of leagues and almost had back-to-back complete game shutouts. Pitching is fickle and varies from not only year-to-year, but week-to-week. This week’s ace could be on the waiver wire after his next start.

The good news is that if you’re lacking in pitching, we’ve got the help you’re looking for. It’s time to turn that four ERA into a three and that 1.40 WHIP into a 1.35 WHIP.

Pitchers to Target

Our guy, Drew Hutchison, gets the two-start treatment yet again and yet again he deserves your attention. Hutchison came off the scrap heap to win the Blue Jays fourth starter job in the spring and looks like he’s going to keep it for this year and into next year. He’s rocking an 8.85 K/9 with a 2.70 BB/9 and a 3.12 FIP. He’s already a 1.5 WAR pitcher. This guy is better than the guy he was predicted to be before the surgery.

Hutch starts the week at home against Tampa and ends the week at home against Kansas City. Tampa Bay owns a .635 road OPS and a .662 OPS against lefties. Kansas City is a .653 OPS team on the road and a .661 OPS team against lefties. Hutch has a pair of ripe matchups and he needs to be added to your fantasy league.

Nate Eovaldi went from universally ignored to universally rostered to universally loathed in less than a month. He has two starts next week and it’s time to love him again. Eovaldi has exactly one blowup in his last seven starts. He might not reach 10 K’s in a game again, but he’s still a solid option. His K/9 is over 7.00 and his BB/9 is still under 2.00. His current BABIP is about 20 points over his career average. His line drive rate sits at a paltry 15.3%, so his BABIP should be on the way down soon.

Nate the Great gets Washington in Washington and Atlanta in Miami over the weekend. Washington is a .670 OPS team at home and a .669 OPS against righties. The Braves are a .656 OPS team on the road and a .626 OPS team against righties.

Mike Leake only gets one start next week, but it’s at Arizona. Leake will forever be a waiver wire guy, but that means he’s available when he has tasty match ups. Leake owns a meh-worthy 5.26 K/9, but his BB/9 is only 1.66 and he’s only walked more than two batters once this year. He won’t rack up K totals, but he will rack up ground balls. Arizona is a .691 OPS team against righties and a .743 OPS team at home.

Pitchers to Avoid

It’s officially time to worry about the Orioles de facto ace Chris Tillman. Tillman gets the two start treatment and it’s probably best to keep him on the bench. It’s an especially good idea to keep him on the bench in leagues with daily moves at least for his first start. Tillman’s K/9 and overall velocity are down and his BB/9 is up. There’s also been some speculation that he’s playing with an injury. Tillman swears his issues are related to “command,” but there have been rumblings of a groin injury. Houston and Milwaukee may look like solid match ups for Tillman, but anyone can get lit up if they’re struggling with command or pitching while hurt.

Padres starter Tyson Ross also has two starts this week. Both of those starts are on the road. Tyson starts the week at Arizona and ends the week at the Chicago White Sox. It’s a phenomenal idea not to use Ross this week if it’s at all avoidable. The big righty owns a 4.56 ERA away from Petco this year with a gross 17:14 K:BB ratio in 23 2/3 innings. Don’t tempt fate. Ross is a match up play in fantasy baseball and these are two match ups that aren’t in his favor.

Both Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer get the Rockies in Cleveland at the end of the week. The Rockies own a .706 OPS on the road, but this time they aren’t using a pitcher in their lineup. They get to see what their lineup would look like with Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, Michael Cuddyer AND Drew Stubbs starting. Kluber sure looks like an ace right now and Bauer has ace-level ability, but fantasy GMs shouldn’t want any part of the Rockies right now. Use both of these guys at your own risk.



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