Cumulative Starter Stats - 36.2 IP - 28 Strikeouts - 3 Wins - 3.19 ERA - 1.15 WHIP
(Full Starter List With Full Stats Here)
Floyd was my first big miss so far this year. The five Ks weren't bad, but any ERA over 5.00 has to be considered a failure. Buehrle had a worse ERA, but that was only because he was left in too long with the White Sox having a double digit lead. I apologize for Floyd, but if you've been taking my starter recommendations since I've started it shouldn't affect your ERA too much. Anyways, just click through the jump break to find out who I like today.
Mike Minor - Atlanta Braves - at Milwaukee - 8:10 PM EST 4/6/11 - 0.4% Ownership in ESPN Standard Leagues
It is just going to be a single start this time around in the Majors for Minor, but it is worth taking advantage of. The Atlanta Braves pitching staff is very deep. With Jurrjens on the DL they can still bring up the 37th best prospect according to Baseball America and the 7th overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft. Minor was beat out by Brandon Beachy for the last spot in the Atlanta rotation, but that's not really a knock on Minor as much as it is a sign of how good Beachy can be. Minor is a tall lefty with a solid fastball and a plus changeup and curveball. In his two years since being drafted he has maintained a K/9 rate of over 9.00, even through his eight starts in the majors last year. The Brewers have not hit well so far this season and Beachy proved the other day that a young pitcher can shut down their offense. Minor should also be able to pick up the win, given that the Brewers are starting Sergio Mitre against him. Minor gets a high recommendation here. Even if you don't need the spot start, he's worth acquiring for the day if you have an expendable player on your roster.
Before I get to the rest of the rankings... It's also important to note that you should go pick up Jordan Walden of the Angels right now. He was anointed the new closer by Mike Scioscia on Tuesday. Angels closer was worth owning when it was Risky Rodney. Definitely worth picking up Walden in ANY league.
The rest of the players here are listed in the order I would pick them up. As always, ESPN ownership listed in parenthesis next to the player's name.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (8.2%) - Boston at Cleveland - I hear you groaning from here. I'm not excited about Matsuzaka either, but hear me out. After a rough start to the spring, Matsuzaka settled down and let up just 3 runs over his last 16.2 innings. He has control problems at times, but he also has a 8.33 K/9 rate in the MLB. Cleveland's lineup, despite looking good so far, isn't that scary and the 0-4 Red Sox aren't going to stay winless forever. Matsuzaka might not sound like a smart start, but he's definitely a better choice than the guys below him on this list.
Mark Buehrle (15.2%) - Chicago White Sox at Kansas City - Look, you know what you are getting with Buehrle. He's not going to strike many guys out, but he'll give you around six innings of solid ERA and WHIP ball and with the White Sox offense supporting him is always in line for a potential win. His 6.00 ERA first game looks bad, the the White Sox had a double digit lead when he let up his four runs. Start Buehrle if you need him and don't worry about anything but where you'll get the replacement strikeouts from.
Tim Stauffer (7.1%) - San Diego vs San Francisco - I like Stauffer this year already and I've only seen one start. He let up just two runs in his first start despite being a little unlucky. He is not going to get you too many strikeouts, but he's a solid all around pitcher. He also gets to pitch in spacious Petco Park when he's at home like he is today. He would be higher than Buehrle on this list, but he drew the matchup against "The Freak" Tim Lincecum so it's going to hurt his chances for a win.
Freddy Garcia (0.8%) - New York Yankees vs Minnesota - Garcia isn't a great pitcher and would normally fall below the AL/NL/Deep line, but he plays for the Yankees. The Yanks offense can beat up anyone and they are still good on defense. Even more important, the Yankees have owned the Twins for the last few years. Garcia is startable and should get you some decent stats to go with a win.
Chris Volstad (0.3%) - Florida vs Washington - Volstad makes it this high on the list on match-up alone. The Nationals are their usual pitiful selves this year and have scored just 10 runs through 4 games. Volstad won't rack you up too many strikeouts, but the win is basically guaranteed.
This is the AL/NL/Deep league line. Anyone below this line I only recommend in deeper league, not standard 10 team mixed leagues.
Joe Blanton (4.2%) - Philadelphia vs New York Mets - Blanton is Blanton. He is at the top of the list below the line here because he is sadly the best strikeout pitcher left and his place on the Phillies makes him all the more likely to pick up the win.
Jeff Francis (0.8%) - Kansas City vs Chicago White Sox - The strikeouts won't overpower you anyone, but the rest of his numbers looked solid in his first start of the season against the Angels. Leaving Coors field will make anyone look better and Francis is no exception. He'd be higher on the list if not for the match-up.
Kevin Correia (0.7%) - Pittsburgh at St. Louis - The Pirates have looked surprisingly good so far this year, and Correia is one of their better pitchers. He can strike guys out at a decent rate, but falls this far on the list because they are playing at St Louis and Chris Carpenter is starting.
Jason Hammel (0.4%) - Colorado vs Los Angeles Dodgers - Hammel is another guy who has a decent strikeout rate, but he falls down on this list because he's both playing at home at Coors Field and playing against the Dodgers, who have a fairly decent line-up.
Livan Hernandez (1.1%) - Washington at Florida - This is higher than I'm generally comfortable putting Livan, but he has an okay match-up with Florida here on Wednesday. Don't expect much though, this ranking says more about how poor the guys below him are likely to do than it does about Livan's upside.
Mike Pelfrey (5.1%) - New York Mets at Philadelphia - Pelfrey will get his day as a recommended spot starter, but it's not going to be Wednesday. He got blown up last time out and is playing against the strong Phillies lineup.
Nelson Figueroa (0.1%) - Houston at Cincinnati - Figueroa is a fairly good strikeout pitcher even if he loses control at times. The problem here is his poor offense combined with the fact that he's playing at the hitter friendly Great American Ballpark at the strong Cincinnati offense. Another stay away here.
Carl Pavano (13.4%) - Minnesota at New York Yankees - Pavano let up seven earned runs in just four plus inning in his first start. Now he has to go into the new Yankee Stadium and face the powerful Yanks, who outright own the Twins. He'll be startable later in the year, but I'd stay away here.
Armando Galarraga, Mitch Talbot, Brad Bergesen, Sergio Mitre, Brandon McCarthy, Jesse Litsch - Just don't. Seriously. If you start any of these guys it won't be a sneaky play, just a stupid one.