Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fantasy Baseball Spot Starter Pickups for Thursday 5/5/11

Tuesday's Recommended Starter's Stats - R.A. Dickey - 6.0 Innings Pitched - 1 Strikeout - Loss - 9.00 ERA - 1.33 WHIP
Wednesday's Recommended Starter's Stats -Vance Worley - 6.0 Innings Pitched - 7 Strikeouts - Win - 1.50 ERA - 0.67 WHIP
Week Five Starters' Stats - 19 Innings Pitched - 15 Strikeouts - 7.11 K/9 - 1 Win in 3 Starts - 4.74 ERA - 1.00 WHIP
Cumulative Starters' Stats - 252 Innings Pitched - 203 Strikeouts - 7.25 K/9 - 16 Wins in 41 Starts - 3.64 ERA - 1.15 WHIP
Starter Spreadsheet Viewable Online Here

Once again, sorry about the shortened column yesterday.  It's going to happen on occasion unfortunately, because life gets in the way, but hopefully it will continue to be a rare occurrence.  Tuesday's spot starter was R.A. Dickey, who got blasted.  I still like him going forwards at home, but I want to wait a few weeks until I know he has the knuckleball going right again.  It wasn't breaking well Tuesday, and it showed in his stat line. Luckily I bounced back with the Vance Worley pick on Wednesday.  Strikeouts were there...The win was there...The ERA and WHIP were there...It was a great fantasy start.  Week five's numbers are solid save the ERA, which we'll get down over the next few days.  As a side note, Colby Lewis is owned in 50% of league still so is ineligible for my list, and Brandon Beachy is owned in 49.7% of leagues, and any active leagues so it would be cheap for me to recommend him here today.  Beachy is the best guy available under 50% and is my recommendation if he's available, but otherwise my official Thursday recommendation is coming up...

John Lackey - Boston Red Sox vs Los Angeles Angels - 1:35 PM ET - 35.1% Owned in ESPN Leagues

Lackey looked bad to start off the season, but you can always excuse a guy when he gets beat up by the Rangers and Yankees.  Since those two games, he's been solid including eight shut out innings last time out against the Angels.  He has the ability to throw more strikeouts than he has this year, and showed that with six last time out against the Angels.  In an early day game coming off of a long extra innings night game where there was a nearly three hour delay, the bats might be a little tired and they are going to need a lot of innings out of Lackey.  Lackey should be able to cruise similarly to his last time against the Angels, betting on about seven innings of low run ball with a shot to pick up a win against the Angels.

The rest of the players here are listed in the order that I would start them.  It's an ugly day here folks.  Ownership percentages are in parenthesis.

Joel Pineiro (10.6%) - LA Angels at Boston - Pineiro is great for the same reasons that Lackey is a good idea, he just has worse strikeout potential and is facing a slightly better lineup.  He's also going to go deep into the game and give you a handful of strikeouts with a shot at a win.  If you happen to have some reason to like the Angels more than Boston Saturday, then play him here if you think he'll win.  I think west coast players going east getting no sleep are going to be less likely to perform than the home Sox.

Bruce Chen (8.8%) - Kansas City vs Baltimore - Bruce Chen isn't a good pitcher, I know, but it's a bad day for starters and he's drawn a good match-up.  He's not a great pitcher, but he's 3-1 on the year because Kansas City has been good.  Don't get too excited here, but he should get a quality start out there and be good for decent ERA and WHIP with a few strikeouts and a good shot to pick up a win.

Jason Hammel (3.9%) - Colorado at Arizona - The Diamondbacks are a tough offense and park, but Hammel has been good even against tough offenses at home so far this year.  He's been giving you a decent amount of strikeouts and has actually been striking guys out at less than his career K/9 rate.  He's startable here if you are falling behind in your head to heads early.

Mike Pelfrey (0.9%) - NY Mets vs San Francisco - Pelfrey has been rocky so far this year, but I'm leaning more on prior success and a good match-up here.  Pitching at home is good for any Mets pitcher, and the Giants are still a good match-up despite winning the last two days.  He's the last decent starter on a bad day of starters.

This is the ten-team mixed league line.  Another shallow day here, so wait another day if you can't get any of the above guys.  We'll get to the good pitchers in the weekend.

Jeanmar Gomez (0.0%) - Cleveland at Oakland - Gomez hasn't been great in any of his starts, and he's been doing a very good job keeping his walks down so far in the majors.  He's a young pitcher with room to grow. His BABIP is .396 right now, so either he's extremely hittable, or has been unlucky so far.  I'm leaning with unlucky and hoping a game in the Coliseum against Oakland will help out his luck a bit.  Cleveland is better that Oakland and hot early this year, so he has a good shot at a win with some solid ERA and WHIP involved in it all.

Poor Pitchers...Top Ten Offenses
I'm going to say the same thing about all of these guys, so I'm going to sum most of it up here before offering little notes on each player.  When looking for spot starters, you have to play match-ups.  If it's a top ten offense or a team thats hot, you should stay away in mixed leagues.  There will be more coming on the horizon.  I still rank all of these guys for the players in deeper leagues, but they are below the starter line because they aren't good pitchers and don't have good match-ups.
Rick Porcello (3.3%) - Detroit vs NY Yankees - Porcello is young, and has been good over his last three starts, but take a pass here.  If you own him in AL-Only leagues you can play him, but I'd avoid him if he's one of your lesser pitchers
John Lannan (0.7%) - Washington at Philadephia - Lannan is decent enough of a back end starter for a real life team, but he's not great in fantasy.  He's got a bad match-up here with the Phillies, but its worth a shot in NL leagues on a bad day.
Jake Westbrook (3.0%) St. Louis vs Florida - Westbrook was looking bad to start off the year, but has looked good in his last pair of starts.  But surprise, the Marlins are a top ten offense right now.  Playable in NL-Only cause he can catch a win.
Jason Vargas (0.1%) - Seattle vs Texas - Vargas hasn't been great so far this year, but is pitching in Safeco.  If you are leading in AL-Only sit him because of the match-up, but you can chase with him if you are behind.
Homer Bailey (0.4%) - Cincinnati vs Houston - Bailey is under-owned because he's coming off of the DL, and he should stay that way here.  Pitching in Great American against Houston is not good for a fly-ball pitcher coming off the DL.  We're entering the avoid in all leagues section.
Chris Tillman (0.4%) - Baltimore at Kansas City - Tillman has been good, but he hasn't been striking guys out and he was destroyed the one time he played a good team in the Yankees.  The Royals are only two games over .500 still have the second highest scoring offense on the year.  Don't play him here.

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