Tommy Hunter @ CLE (7/23) & v OAK (7/28) – I really feel ill at ease about recommending Tommy Hunter. Warts aside he has a great walk rate and two cupcake matchups. A strong maybe in 15-team leagues and must start in anything deeper.
Chris Young v WAS (7/23) & @ AZ (7/28) – He’s looked OK so far but don’t get sucked in. These matchups are a bit tougher than you might think. NL-only this week for Young, too much risk for anything else.
Francisco Liriano @ CHW (7/23) & v CLE (7/29) – He lost his last two starts but racked up 25 Ks in the process. Since us advanced stat geeks (ahem) know wins are BS, focus on the Ks. The switch could flip back on any second and this is a good start. If you want to play it aggressive feel free to start Liriano even in 10-team leagues this week.
Paul Maholm @ PIT (7/24) – 4 starts, 4 wins, 20 Ks, 4 walks. That’s called a roll. The Pirates are a far better hitting team than they used to be but Maholm will be in full on revenge-mode. Start in 15-team or deeper formats and keep and eye on him in shallower leagues.
Jose Quintana v MIN (7/24) – Tough guy to peg. He’s a 4 or 5 pitch guy that doesn’t walk a lot of people. Nice K/BB rate in the minors which supports some of his big league success but FIP and xFIP point toward some mild regression. This is one of these ‘growing pains’ type deals where he may look dominant one day and get hammered bad the next. A nice play against the Twins in 15-team or deeper formats and watch super closely in other leagues.
Drew Pomeranz @ AZ (7/24) – This may read like a retraction. I like his profile, he has a shot to be a nice control artist although that could mean Kevin Slowey. Coors doesn’t help. He’s gotten whaled on in his last two starts but even including the past three he’s roughly 9 Ks per 9 and a 14 to 4 K/BB rate. Could easily be a lost season but luck might balance out and make him useful on the road. Start in NL-only leagues for sure and role the dice in 15-team leagues if you’re feeling lucky.
Nick Blackburn @ CHW (7/25) – Never.
Homer Bailey @ HOU (7/25) – He’s a regular in this column and it is finally justified. Last 4 starts; 4 wins, 2 or less earned runs in each, 27 to 3 K/BB rate, 8 innings in 3 of them. This is big-time elite pitching, which means only one thing – Bailey’s about to hit the DL with shoulder problems. Start in all formats in Houston this week and pray from there.
Wade Miley v NYM (7/26) – He’s just not a very good pitcher – better than me but this isn’t pick up ‘ol man softball. Nope.
Jason Vargas v KC (7/26) – Vargas rules at home. It’s that simple. Fine, proof; 2.84 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 7 K/9, 3.67 K/BB, etc. Even worthy in 10-team formats if you’re in need.
Ben Sheets v PHL (7/27) – This column gushed about his upside last week before he had an inning under his belt. 12 innings later he has 11 Ks and has yet to yield a run. Vintage Sheets is out of the question but a top 30 to 50 pitcher moving forward seems possible if not probable. Start in 15-team leagues this week knowing that he may ascend to automatic status somewhat miraculously.