Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fantasy Baseball Spot Starter Pickups For Saturday 4/30/11

Friday's Recommendations' Stats - Daisuke Matsuzaka - 4.0 Innings Pitched - 4 Strikeouts - No Decision - 4.50 ERA - 1.75 WHIP
Week Four Cumulative Stats - 29 Innings Pitched - 17 Strikeouts - 5.28 K/9 - 2 Win in 5 Starts - 5.59 ERA - 1.52 WHIP
Cumulative Total Stats - 205.2 Innings Pitched - 157 Strikeouts - 6.87 K/9 - 14 Wins in 34 Starts - 3.72 ERA - 1.21 WHIP
Starter Spreadsheet Online Here

Daisuke had a short fairly poor day because of an elbow injury.  His fastball fell from 93 at the start of the game down to 87 when they pulled him with elbow tightness.  As always, while I count the stats, I don't take responsibility if the starter gets hurt.  I'm happy to take the four strikeouts here and just move on.  As we roll into Saturday, the pitchers are looking better as the match-ups look rockier.  It's a two-starter day as we move to the end of head to head match-ups....

Starter Recommendation One - Tim Stauffer - San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers - 10:10 PM ET - 3.4% Owned in ESPN Standard Leagues

After shutting out the Cubs for seven innings two starts ago, Stauffer commented that he had found command of his fast ball.  He followed that up with six solid innings of two run ball and seven strikeouts against the powerful Phillies lineup.  He seems to be improving from his early season woes, and the Dodgers lineup has been simply average this year.  Dodger Stadium isn't Petco, but it's still a solid pitcher's park.  I like Stauffer here with a shot at a solid amount of strikeouts over seven or so innings while keeping the runs down.  Stauffer is the safest choice here on Saturday.

Starter Recommendation Two - Brandon Beachy - Atlanta Braves vs St. Louis Cardinals - 1:10 PM ET - 25.3% Owned in ESPN Standard Leagues

While Stauffer is the safe choice on Saturday, Beachy is the high upside choice.  He's got a bad match-up here against the Cardinals, who are always a risk to start a pitcher against, but he's got enough upside to make him worth a start here anyway.  He's struck out more than a batter per inning in four of five starts so far this year, and has had a quality start in three of the five.  He has four solid pitches and great control which gives him the potential for a strong start against anyone.  He might get beat around a little bit, but even if he does he should be able to rack up plenty of strikeouts, and if he holds them to just a run or two, it will be a great start.

As usual, the rest of the players are listed in the order that I would start them.  Because it's late in the week, the line will be low, meaning I'm going to be recommending a lot of pitchers as candidates for those in head to head leagues.  Percent owned is in parenthesis.

John Lackey (32.1%) - Boston vs Seattle - Lackey is a solid third option today against Seattle, and is probably not getting my recommendation because Dice-K burned me yesterday.  Lackey's stats look very similar to Dice-K's with a pair of awful starts followed by a pair of good starts and the only reason given is that Lackey feels disrespected after having his turn skipped in the rotation.  Stauffer has recovered by finding his fastball control, but I don't know how long feeling disrespected will last with Lackey.  He's not as safe as Stauffer and not as high-upside as Beachy, but Lackey is a decent third option today.

Philip Humber (0.6%) - Chicago White Sox vs Baltimore - Humber has made a solid spot starter for the White Sox this year.  He has a nice ERA and WHIP and has been picking up a handful of strikeouts in each of his starts.  He is coming off a game where he carried a no-hitter bid into the seventh against the Yankees, and now gets the Orioles today.  Play him if you are chasing in your head to head leagues.

Doug Fister (0.6%) - Seattle at Boston - Boston isn't a great match-up for your incoming pitchers, but Fister has been a solid ERA guy for the last year into the beginning of this year and he keeps the walks down to keep his WHIP solid.  Fister won't give you too great a shot at a win here, but he'll help you if you are chasing ERA and WHIP and give you a few strikeouts for the total.

Joel Pineiro (9.6%) - LA Angels at Tampa Bay - Pineiro is coming off the DL here and normally that is an avoid for me, but on a day when you are searching for stats, Pineiro can be helpful.  He's another guy like Fister, where he's not going to overpower you with strikeouts, but will get you the solid ERA and WHIP if you need it.

Brian Duensing (10.5%) - Minnesota at Kansas City - Duensing is a young and improving pitcher and might be a pickup candidate in time to come.  His numbers have been good for the last two years and the strikeout numbers haven't been horrible.  He worries me here because he didn't pitch great the last time out against the Royals, but he's still startable if you need innings of decent numbers.

This is the ten-team mixed league line.  Everyone below this line is only recommended for deeper or AL/NL-Only leagues.

Alex White (0.2%) - Cleveland vs Detroit - I can't recommend him in his first major league start here, but White does have a 28:5 K:BB ratio in AAA on the year.  With some strikeout potential and the shot at a win with Cleveland backing him, he just barely misses the mixed-league cut.

Match-up Avoids
Rick Porcello (3.2%) - Detroit at Cleveland
Jonathon Niese (0.9%) - NY Mets at Philadelphia
Both of these guys aren't recommended in mixed leagues because of the powerful offenses that they are playing against.  In your AL/NL-Only leagues, start them if you are chasing strikeouts or wins and have no other options, but be sure to bench them if you are trying to protect an ERA/WHIP league.

Pick A Winner
Paul Maholm (0.6%) - Pittsburgh at
Jason Hammel (0.8%) - Colorado
Hammel hasn't blown up yet, but Maholm has better strikeout potential.  Problem is neither is trustworthy enough to be started in a mixed-league playing at Coors Field.  Decide who you think is going to win,and pitch them in your NL-Only leagues.

Sean O'Sullivan (0.1%) - Kansas City vs Minnesota - O'Sullivan has looked decent in a pair of starts so far this year, and the Twins offense has been poor.  He's worth playing in your AL-Only leagues if you need the shot at a win.

John Lannan (1.5%) - Washington vs San Francisco - Lannan has only lasted six innings once in five starts, and has topped out at four strikeouts in a game on the year.  If thats the kind of thing you are looking for in your NL-Only leagues, here he is.

Chris Tillman (0.4%) - Baltimore at Chicago White Sox - Tillman has no wins, is dealing with groin soreness and was skipped his last time out in the rotation due to a rain out.  All signs point to avoid here unless you're in dire need.

Jake Westbrook (3.3%) - St. Louis at Atlanta - Westbrook has been very inconsistent so far this year, so I can't recommend him here today. You are playing him in your NL-Only leagues because St. Louis means he has a shot at a win, but thats all you can hope for here.

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