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Fantasy Baseball: From the Mound

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By:  A. J. Applegarth

Good morning, baseball fans, and Happy Memorial Day weekend!  I hope everyone is as ready for this three-day weekend as I am!  Now, it’s time to kick-off this holiday with some Fantasy Baseball Pitching talk!

So, I have to start-off by saying that I apologize to those of you who may have jumped on my Ricky Nolasco bandwagon after reading my first Fantasy Six Pack post, as Ricky had two poor outings in his next two starts after my article was published.  His most recent start did notch him a “W”, and give him a season-high strikeout total of six (6), however, he still gave up four (4) ER over 6.0 IP.  Overall, I still like Nolasco as a SP option in most fantasy formats, especially in deeper leagues, but as proven, he will have a few not-so-helpful outings.  After all, he is human, and so am I.  James McDonald, on the other hand, has been pitching very well in his last two starts, going 1-0, and racking up an impressive 19 K’s.  But, enough about my last post, let’s get to some fresh pitching talk!

Starting Pitching

Scott Diamond (SP – MIN) – So far, Diamond has made quite a positive impact on a Minnesota team that is struggling to collect wins as we enter into the third full month of the season.  It’s pretty hard to argue with a 3-1 record, a 1.78 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP, but Diamond  has not been a huge source for K’s.  Owned in only 25.8% of fantasy leagues, Diamond is in-line for a two-start week next week, and has potential for another quality outing against Oakland on Memorial Day.

Ryan Vogelsong (SP – SF) – Vogelsong is putting together another solid start to the season, and looks to be rounding back into the player that was so trusted last year.  Take away Vogelsong’s lastest out and you’ll see a guy who has gone at least 7.0 IP in each start, while only allowing 1 ER in three of those starts.  Vogelsong went 2-1 in those starts, but is 3-1 overall in his last five outings.  Like Diamond, Vogelsong hasn’t been a great source of K’s, but he has been very solid in the other major categories.  The other knock on Vogelsong is that he pitches for a team with a weak offense, but he has the advantage of pitching in a pitcher-friendly ballpark in a weaker division.  If Vogelsong is still available in your league, I’d recommend picking him up now, while you still can.

Andy Pettitte (SP – NYY) – Pettitte has now pitched in three (3) games since returning to the Yankees rotation after a year away from baseball.  Pettitte’s first start left much to be desired Fantasy-wise, but expectations should have been tempered since it was his first game back.  Since that game, Pettitte has been stellar, going 2-0 while amassing 15.0 IP, 17 K’s and allowing only 2 ER and 2 BB.   Pettitte is currently owned in 47.9% of fantasy leagues, but that number is sure to climb much higher if he continues to pitch lights-out.

Kevin Millwood (SP – SEA) – I feel like I have to mention Millwood here because he’s a bit of a dark horse SP option, but he’s been very, very good over his last three starts.  Two of those games were against Texas and the Yankees, as well, so part of me wants to believe that Millwood is starting to pitch like the Millwood of old!  The other game was a complete game shutout of the Rockies, where he allowed only 2 H, 1 BB and had 7 K’s.  Millwood is only owned by a paltry 2.3% of fantasy owners, so he’s definitely still more of a “streaming” guy right now.  Millwood is also in-line for a two-start week next week, with the first game coming against a Texas squad he just shutout over 6.0 IP on Wednesday.  Granted, that game was at Safeco Field, but in two starts against Texas this season, Millwood has gone 12.0 IP, has given up only 1 ER, 7 H, and 4 BB, while tallying 9 K’s.  I’m anxious to see how Millwood does against Texas in Rangers Stadium again on Monday, but I think he’s definitely worth keeping tabs on right now.

Relief Pitchers
Robbie Ross (SP/RP – TEX) – Ross is by no means a “sexy” name, but he is a quality middle reliever who has had a very solid season so far for Texas.  Ross currently sports a 5-0 record, a 1.99 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP.  The main advantage to having a guy like this is in Points leagues that have more SP roster spots than RP spots.  It’s rare that you’ll have enough starters to fill all of those spots on any given day, so being able to fill that spot with a middle reliever who can get wins and a few extra points doesn’t really hurt your cause.

Tyler Clippard (RP – WAS) – Right now, it’s been decided the Washington Nationals are going to use a “Closer-by-committee” approach with the demotion of Henry Rodriguez.  Along with Clippard, Craig Stammen and Sean Burnett will be in the mix for Saves, but I think Clippard has the best chance to take hold of the role.  Since the news of Rodriguez’s demotion last Tuesday, Clippard has earned both saves in Washington’s last two wins.  Clippard had a breakout year as a dominant setup man a couple years ago, and has easily earned the chance to be the everyday closer until Drew Storen comes back.  But, it looks like Washington is going to play it safe here for now and stick with the committee.  Keep an eye on the situation, though, and if you can get Clippard now (only owned in 34.6% of leagues), I would do so.

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About A.J. Applegarth

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