Struggling in K’s, wins and ratios? Good news! It’s still only April. You have almost five more months of this to look forward to! It’s never too early to look for tasty match ups to exploit in fantasy baseball. It’s also never to early to look for stay aways in fantasy baseball. Just because you have someone on your roster doesn’t mean you have to use him….unless you’re playing in a league without a bench. Then you really don’t have a choice. Let’s amend that previous statement. Just because you have someone on your roster in a league with bench slots doesn’t mean you can’t use one of said bench slots.
Pitchers to Target
Tyson Ross was on a lot of sleeper lists heading into 2014, but he hasn’t really panned out. He’s been excellent at home this year (1.80 ERA with 23 K’s in 20 innings in Petco), but he’s struggled away from San Diego (5.56 ERA with 5 K’s in 11 innings). Ross has two starts this week and is worth adding if he’s available in your league. He starts the week at the Giants, but ends the week at home against the Diamondbacks. The home/road splits are a little scary. You’re basically hoping he survives in San Fransisco and dominates at the end of the week. For a fantasy GM lagging in wins or K’s, Tyson Ross is one of the few two start options available that might actually be on your waiver wire.
The only other NL option this week for a two-start streamer is Alfredo Simon and he looks like regression candidate more than he looks like someone you should actually want on your fantasy team. He’s getting by with a career low 5.53 K/9 and owns a .185 BABIP with a 4.33 xFIP. Regression is looming for Simon and it it could come this week in his two starts. You’ve been warned.
The pickings for a two-start stream candidate are even more slim in the AL this week. The closest pitcher to a viable option who might be available in your league is Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs has two bad starts (both at home), on great start (on the road) and one good enough start (on the road). Sadly, his two starts come at home this week against the Indians and Rangers. His groundball rate (58.3%) is way up, but his strikeout totals (14.4%) are way down. He does have a 2.00 K:BB ratio and his velocity has returned to pre-injury levels. Any fantasy GM willing to roll with Skaggs for two starts this week must have made a lot of mistakes already. This one is for the desperate.
A one-start streamer that fantasy GMs need to be aware of is Drew Hutchison. Remember Drew? He had the amazing run in spring training and went from a name on the roster to a member of the starting rotation. Hutchison has 18 K’s and only one walk in his last two starts and he draws Kansas City in Kansas City this week. The Royals have been offensively challenged so far in 2014 and Hutchison could be looking at his third straight game with at least nine K’s. Hutchison owns a .414 wOBA against in the dome, but a .287 wOBA against on the road. The Royals also have only two every day hitters with non-embarrassing results against lefties in 2014. Those hitters are Norichika Aoki and Danny Valencia. Add Hutchison and start him against the Royals on Wednesday.
Pitchers to Avoid
It might be a good idea to stay away from Tampa Bay Rays pitchers with two starts this week. Both Jake Odorizzi and and Erik Bedard go twice for the Rays and those are four starts that fantasy GMs should want nothing to do with. Odorizzi draws the White Sox and Yankees on the road. Odorizzi has given up 10 runs in exactly 10 innings while pitching on the road this month. He hasn’t been much better at home, but he’s been a disaster on the road. He looks like a stay away this week given his match ups against two competent offenses. Erik Bedard’s most recent comeback attempt has been a dumpster fire. We’re talking “White Sox Bullpen”-level bad. Bedard has two starts under his belt so far and they have both been ugly. He’s walked more than he’s struck out, he’s been knocked around and his velocity is nowhere near what it once was. This is a tough week to be a either a Rays fan or a fantasy GM who invested in Rays pitching.
The NL pitcher with two-starts to avoid is the aforementioned Alfredo Simon. Simon has been getting by with smoke and mirrors and this could be the week that it ends. The Cubs aren’t nearly as bad offensively as they are on the mound or in the field and Milwaukee actually has a professional offense this year. The Brew Crew appears to have gotten rid of the Logan Schaefers and Yuniesky Betancourts of the world and chose to roll actual baseball players onto the field every day.
Ubaldo Jimenez has reached a point where it’s no longer responsible to put him in a fantasy lineup in 2014. He gets the Twins this week in Minnesota and fantasy GMs should be concerned. The Twins are leading the league in OBP with a .352 mark as a team. They essentially decided that swinging at baseballs is a bad thing for them, so they’ve made a conscious effort to keep their bats on their shoulders. They have 113 walks as a team this year. That’s also how many walks Ubaldo might give up in a game if he was left out there for the full nine innings against the Twins. Ubaldo has a 5.60 BB/9 this year in 27 1/3 innings. His velocity and K % are both down this year and he looks like a shell of his former self. This match up is a stay away for anyone paying attention to baseball in 2014.