Week 6 Pitching Forecaster

by | Data Analyst
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Fantasy Week 6 (May 6-12) is highlighted by a Monday matchup of two of Fantasy's most coveted pitchers, Madison Bumgarner and Cliff Lee.

Bumgarner and Lee are not only notable for facing off against each other, but because they are two of a very small number of top-of-the-rotation pitchers scheduled for two starts this week. Even though only one of them can come away with a win in their showdown, I have them ranked first and second among all starters this week.

Because few of your top pitchers are going to get two starts, you could feel the temptation to dig deep into the waiver wire to add some extra starts for this scoring period. Resist that urge. There are a handful of viable options who could be available in standard mixed leagues -- namely Kyle Kendrick, Andrew Cashner, Bronson Arroyo and Nick Tepesch -- but most of the pitchers you'll encounter are best left for your deeper league rotations.

As you scan down the list of this week's top 70 starting pitchers, you'll see plenty of two-start pitchers in the lower portions, but most of them are benched in a large proportion of their leagues. This is the week to get Jeremy Hellickson, Wei-Yin Chen and Tim Lincecum active. If one of those pitchers isn't using one of your reserve slots, a one-start option like Tim Hudson, Phil Hughes or Jose Fernandez will suffice.

Need some two-start options for your deeper leagues? You won't see them on the Top 70 list, but I sort out the best of them just below the rankings.

Monday update: With Chris Capuano starting on Monday against the Diamondbacks, Josh Beckett gets pushed back to Tuesday and loses his two-start week for the Dodgers. Along with Capuano, Wily Peralta and Aaron Harang have the chance to make two starts, as the Brewers' and Mariners' off days could allow them to skip Hiram Burgos and Brandon Maurer, respectively.

Finally, with Erik Bedard going to the bullpen, the Astros will need a starter on Friday. Right now, lefty Dallas Keuchel seems like the most probable candidate, but prospect Jarred Cosart could make a start this weekend on regular rest. Cosart is worth a speculative pickup in AL-only leagues.

My Top 70 Starting Pitchers for Week 6
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2
1 Madison Bumgarner PHI (Lee) ATL (Maholm)
2 Cliff Lee @SF (Bumgarner) @ARI (Cahill)
3 Justin Verlander CLE (Jimenez) N/A
4 Chris Sale @KC (Shields) LAA (Wilson)
5 Clayton Kershaw ARI (Miley) N/A
6 Felix Hernandez @PIT (Burnett) N/A
7 Adam Wainwright COL (Chacin) N/A
8 Yu Darvish @HOU (Humber) N/A
9 James Shields CHW (Sale) NYY (Pettitte)
10 Stephen Strasburg CHC (Jackson) N/A
11 David Price TOR (Dickey) N/A
12 Cole Hamels @ARI (Corbin) N/A
13 Max Scherzer CLE (Kluber) N/A
14 Matt Harvey CHW (Santiago) PIT (McDonald)
15 Clay Buchholz MIN (Worley) TOR (Buehrle)
16 Matt Cain ATL (Hudson) N/A
17 Mat Latos MIL (Estrada) N/A
18 Kris Medlen @CIN (Bailey) @SF (Lincecum)
19 Gio Gonzalez CHC (Feldman) N/A
20 Hyun-Jin Ryu MIA (Slowey) N/A
21 Matt Moore TOR (Romero) N/A
22 Ryan Dempster MIN (Diamond) TOR (Happ)
23 Tony Cingrani MIL (Gallardo) N/A
24 Jake Peavy @NYM (Gee) N/A
25 Jordan Zimmermann DET (Sanchez) N/A
26 Doug Fister @WAS (Haren) N/A
27 Lance Lynn @CHC (Wood) N/A
28 Shelby Miller COL (Garland) N/A
29 Paul Maholm @CIN (Arroyo) @SF (Bumgarner)
30 R.A. Dickey @TB (Price) N/A
31 Jeff Samardzija @WAS (Detwiler) N/A
32 Anibal Sanchez @WAS (Zimmermann) N/A
33 Andy Pettitte @KC (Shields) N/A
34 Alexi Ogando @HOU (Keuchel) N/A
35 CC Sabathia @COL (Francis) N/A
36 Yovani Gallardo @CIN (Cingrani) N/A
37 A.J. Burnett SEA (Hernandez) N/A
38 Jon Lester TOR (Morrow) N/A
39 Hiroki Kuroda @COL (De La Rosa) @KC (Santana)
40 Tommy Milone @CLE (McAllister) @SEA (Harang)
41 A.J. Griffin @CLE (Masterson) N/A
42 C.J. Wilson @HOU (Lyles) @CHW (Sale)
43 Ian Kennedy PHI (Morgan) N/A
44 Hisashi Iwakuma OAK (Straily) N/A
45 Jaime Garcia COL (De La Rosa) N/A
46 Trevor Cahill @LAD (Capuano) PHI (Lee)
47 Brandon Morrow @BOS (Lester) N/A
48 Jeremy Hellickson TOR (Buehrle) SD (Cashner)
49 Kyle Lohse TEX (Holland) N/A
50 Jonathon Niese PIT (Liriano) N/A
51 Andrew Cashner MIA (LeBlanc) @TB (Hellickson)
52 Phil Hughes @KC (Davis) N/A
53 Nick Tepesch @CHC (Feldman) @HOU (Lyles)
54 Ervin Santana @BAL (Chen) NYY (Kuroda)
55 Ross Detwiler CHC (Samardzija) N/A
56 Wei-Yin Chen KC (Santana) @MIN (Diamond)
57 Alex Cobb SD (Volquez) N/A
58 Dan Straily @SEA (Iwakuma) N/A
59 Tim Lincecum PHI (Kendrick) ATL (Medlen)
60 Bronson Arroyo ATL (Maholm) MIL (Burgos)
61 Wade Miley @LAD (Kershaw) N/A
62 Homer Bailey ATL (Medlen) N/A
63 Tim Hudson @SF (Cain) N/A
64 Kyle Kendrick @SF (Lincecum) @ARI (McCarthy)
65 Marco Estrada @CIN (Latos) N/A
66 Mike Minor @CIN (Leake) N/A
67 Patrick Corbin PHI (Hamels) N/A
68 Jose Fernandez @LAD (Magill) N/A
69 Jason Hammel @MIN (Pelfrey) N/A
70 Bartolo Colon @CLE (Kazmir) N/A

Two-Start Options to Consider

Paul Maholm, Braves (@CIN, @SF): Except in shallower leagues, Maholm is close to a must-start at this point. Now that he can lower your team's ERA and WHIP without requiring a sacrifice in the strikeout category, he is an automatic start with two games on his schedule.
This week's rank: 29
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Tommy Milone, Athletics (@CLE, @SEA): I've liked Milone as a low-end option in standard mixed leagues, and that was before he started getting more whiffs on a changeup that was already one of the best in the majors. Barring weeks where Milone visits venues that are extremely skewed towards hitters, he's a safe pick in a two-start week.
This week's rank: 40
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Most Added Starters (as of 5/6)
Player Name % change
1. Kyle Kendrick, SP/RP, Phillies 27
2. Nick Tepesch, SP, Rangers 25
3. Justin Grimm, SP, Rangers 24
4. Scott Feldman, SP, Cubs 17
5. Jeremy Guthrie, SP, Royals 15
6. Kevin Slowey, SP, Marlins 13
7. Chris Tillman, SP, Orioles 11
8. Phil Hughes, SP, Yankees 10
9. Jake Westbrook, SP, Cardinals 9
10. Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Indians 9

C.J. Wilson, Angels (@HOU, @CHW): Wilson's ERA over his last four starts is just 3.42, but with 15 walks in 23 2/3 innings, he sports a 1.61 WHIP. If not for starts against a pair of lineups that don't walk much, Wilson would be a risky two-start option. This week, though, is as good as any for Wilson to turn his season around.
This week's rank: 42
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks (@LAD, PHI): Cahill has raised his strikeout rate in each of the last three seasons, and after six starts, he has stayed with the trend. He also continues to keep the ball in the park, Cahill probably won't continue to strand baserunners at a 78 percent rate, but there are enough positives to trust him this week.
This week's rank: 46
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays (TOR, SD): In each of the last two seasons, xFIP has projected that Hellickson should have finished with an ERA well above 4.00. So far this year, he has been the pitcher that xFIP expected him to be. It will be several more weeks before we can reasonably determine whether our perception of Hellickson's value needs to be adjusted, but in the face of that uncertainty, at least he gets a pair of home starts this week. That's a comforting scenario, as he's been better at avoiding the long ball at Tropicana Field. That makes Hellickson a decent standard league option, at least for this scoring period.
This week's rank: 48
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Andrew Cashner, Padres (MIA, @TB): Cashner has built up his pitch total over his three starts, but as he showed in Wednesday's outing at the Cubs, that doesn't mean he will go deep into games. At least he gets a start against the Marlins, who lack both punch and plate discipline. The Rays could put a damper on Cashner's week, but not to the degree that you can't start him.
This week's rank: 51
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Nick Tepesch, Rangers (@CHC, @HOU): As a minor leaguer, Tepesch pitched to contact, but he kept himself in games by limiting walks and flyballs. So far, he has outdone himself with the Rangers with miniscule 1.6 BB/9 and 19 percent flyball rates. Though Tepesch may backslide somewhat as major league hitters see more of him, with two favorable matchups on tap, the decline probably won't happen this week.
This week's rank: 53
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Ervin Santana, Royals (@BAL, NYY): Santana has been at his efficient best so far this season, and he has kept the long ball at bay for the most part. There's still plenty of time for Santana to regress, and it's not as if he hasn't been streaky before. With a solid April behind him and two starts ahead of him, Santana is worth trotting out this week as your final standard mixed league starter.
This week's rank: 54
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles (KC, @MIN): With a 51 percent flyball rate, Chen is fortunate that he has allowed just three home runs so far. He is also allowing more frequent contact this season, but even if Chen reverses that trend, he's not sure to help your team in a two-start week. Only because he is facing a power-poor Royals squad and making a visit to Target Field can we even consider Chen a viable start in standard mixed leagues.
This week's rank: 56
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Tim Lincecum, Giants (PHI, ATL): So far, Lincecum's been a tad better than he was last year, though his stats have been padded by two starts against the Padres and a start apiece versus the Dodgers and Cubs. He does get a pair of home starts, but Lincecum is enough of a risk to your ERA and WHIP that he should be avoided in standard mixed leagues if you have a more reliable option at your disposal.
This week's rank : 59
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Bronson Arroyo, Reds (ATL, MIL): Arroyo has been allowing a lot of contact, even for him, but a visit from the whiff-happy Braves should help his K-rate. Even with the lack of strikeouts, Arroyo has been very helpful with WHIP, as he doesn't tend to issue many walks or allow a high rate of hits on balls in play. The Reds should also improve upon the 2.5 runs of support per nine innings they've given Arroyo so far.
This week's rank: 60
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Kyle Kendrick, Phillies (@SF, @ARI): Let's not get too excited about Kendrick's 2.43 ERA, as he is unlikely to strand more than four of every five baserunners going forward. We can put a little more stock in Kendrick's 3.01 ERA away from Citizens Bank Park since 2011, though some of that was compiled as a reliever. I recently made the assertion that Kendrick was not a sound start on the road, but at least for this week, I am making an exception. Not only is Kendrick RP-eligible, but he's showing a knack for efficiency. For those reasons, and especially with the shortage of good waiver wire options, Kendrick is worth a flyer in points leagues.
This week's rank: 64
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Brandon McCarthy, Diamondbacks (@LAD, PHI): McCarthy is still avoiding walks, but with a .393 BABIP and 59 percent strand rate, he looks like the unluckiest pitcher in the majors. Still, xFIP estimates that he should have a 4.10 ERA, which doesn't quite make him standard mixed league material, even with two starts. High home run and line drive rates could be signs of McCarthy maybe throwing too many strikes.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Scott Diamond, Twins (@BOS, BAL): Diamond has been doing what he does best: throwing strikes and getting grounders. A .356 BABIP is ruining Diamond's WHIP, which is 1.37, but he should be able to correct that over time. Diamond's lack of strikeouts makes him a borderline two-start option in the best of weeks, and with the Red Sox and Orioles as his opponents, this won't be the best of weeks.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Jarrod Parker, Athletics (@CLE, @SEA): Parker is finally starting to get some strikeouts, but he's still allowing too many baserunners. There were some positive signs in Parker's start against the Angels on Tuesday, as he induced 12 whiffs and 17 ground balls on his way to his first win of the season. If we see more of that, Fantasy owners can use Parker in two-start weeks, but not until he produces a string of good starts.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

J.A. Happ, Blue Jays (@TB, @BOS): After solid starts against the Orioles and Yankees, it looked as if Happ might be moving past the disappointments of the last two seasons, but then he couldn't find the strike zone in an all-too-brief start against the Red Sox. A certain degree of wildness comes with the territory for Happ, but maybe he can still generate enough strikeouts and grounders to make up for it. Until Happ can do that consistently, though, he is too risky to use in standard mixed leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies (NYY, @STL): Prior to getting pounded by the Dodgers on Tuesday, De La Rosa ran off a string of four straight quality starts, including two scoreless six-inning appearances. His velocity isn't quite where it was prior to his Tommy John surgery, but De La Rosa is still getting batters to swing and miss at a 10 percent rate. The strikeouts may come, but he's still too wild to be trusted. Maybe later this season, De La Rosa will be a decent two-start option, but for now, there's not enough upside to justify the risk of using him.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays (@TB, @BOS): Uncharacteristically, Buehrle has thrown strikes on only 61 percent of his pitches, and he is falling behind hitters early. It's probably no coincidence that opponents are slugging .534 against the lefty. When he is at his efficient best, Buehrle is an option in two-start weeks, but with only two quality starts in six tries, it's best to go with a pitcher who has been faring better of late.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start

Roberto Hernandez, Rays (TOR, SD): Hernandez is getting more strikeouts so far this season, but it hasn't led to better results. His 1.30 WHIP isn't terrible, but Hernandez is not stranding enough baserunners, and that has been a career-long issue. The strikeout surge should be enough to put Hernandez on your radar, but that's where he should stay until he starts to allow fewer runs consistently.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start

James McDonald, Pirates (SEA, @NYM): McDonald's brief foray into control pitching early last season is ancient history. The strike zone is no longer McDonald's kind of place, and as the walks have piled up, he has exceeded six innings only twice over his last 18 starts. The 28-year-old is capable of better things, but until we see them again for more than just a few consecutive starts, McDonald can be ignored in mixed leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: NL-only start

Vance Worley, Twins (@BOS, BAL): In the past, Worley has relied on a high rate of strikes looking in order to boost his K-rate, but he hasn't been getting those since last August. This year, he is getting swinging strikes on a measly five percent of his offerings. Though he probably hasn't been as bad as his 7.22 ERA suggests, Worley isn't showing enough skill to merit a start outside of AL-only leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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