Week 13 Pitching Forecaster

by | Data Analyst
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The schedule-makers have put Fantasy owners on a roller coaster ride. This past week, owners were loading up on two-start pitchers as a result of a jam-packed schedule, but with many teams scheduled for just five games in Fantasy Week 13 (June 24-30), the quality of your one-start pitchers just became a little more important.

This is not to say that it's not worth trying to pick up an extra start off waivers, and in standard mixed leagues, Eric Stults, Kyle Lohse and Mark Buehrle can probably help you in that quest. Sometimes, though, you're better off to resist the temptation to squeeze a two-start pitcher onto your roster. Kevin Correia and Esmil Rogers, both slated for two starts, have put together impressive runs lately, but before placing your faith in their continued success, you should at least consider some underowned one-start options, like Corey Kluber, Dillon Gee and recently-resurrected Roy Oswalt. Kluber and Gee are starting to make good on the strikeout and ERA potential that each has shown, and in his Rockies debut, Oswalt was throwing in the mid-90s and turning the Nationals into human windmills.

For the most part, then, the key to winning the pitching battle in Week 13 is to focus on quality over quantity. Here are the 70 starters who offer you the best chance to gain an advantage in a week in which the waiver wire won't be of much assistance. If you're not sure which of the few unclaimed two-start options might be worth pursuing, I'll break down how the week ahead looks for several of them, as well as some of the ones who might be sitting on your bench.

Monday update: Clay Buchholz (shoulder) appeared to be lined up for not only a return from the disabled list this week, but also a two-start week, but now neither of those events will happen. According to WEEI.com, he will need to have at least two bullpen sessions and a rehab start before he can rejoin the rotation, so a big league start during Week 13 is out of the question.

Though Jeff Locke is perfectly healthy, the anticipated return of Jeanmar Gomez (forearm) on Wednesday bumps the other pitchers in the Pirates' rotation back a day, so Locke is prevented from having a two-start week. Given that owners in nearly one out of four of the leagues on CBSSports.com moved Locke into their rotations for this week, there will likely be a last-minute scramble for a replacement. Ryan Dempster, Tommy Milone and Jake Westbrook have been added to the ranks of two-start options over the weekend, but owners may need to resort to adding a one-start pitcher. Dempster and Milone are already owned in more than 80 percent of our leagues, while Westbrook has been posting poor peripheral stats but has been coasting along with an 86 percent strand rate that he is highly unlikely to sustain.

Two prospects are expected to make their major league debuts this week, though neither is an advisable start in standard mixed leagues for now. Kyle Gibson should make his long-awaited entry into the Twins' rotation Saturday against the Royals. He's worth picking up in most formats, but unless you are lacking reliable options, he should sit in standard and shallow mixed leagues in Week 13. Taylor Jordan is the most likely candidate to fill Dan Haren's (shoulder) spot in the Nationals' rotation, and he could help out owners in NL-only leagues, at least in the short term.

My Top 70 Starting Pitchers for Week 13
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2
1 Cliff Lee @SD (Stults) @LAD (Ryu)
2 Yu Darvish @NYY (Kuroda) CIN (Latos)
3 Madison Bumgarner @LAD (Ryu) @COL (Nicasio)
4 Chris Sale NYM (Wheeler) CLE (Masterson)
5 Felix Hernandez PIT (Gomez) N/A
6 Clayton Kershaw SF (Lincecum) N/A
7 Adam Wainwright @OAK (Parker) N/A
8 Justin Verlander @TB (Hellickson) N/A
9 Gio Gonzalez ARI (Cahill) @NYM (Wheeler)
10 Cole Hamels @SD (Stauffer) N/A
11 Matt Harvey WAS (Detwiler) N/A
12 Max Scherzer @TB (Archer) N/A
13 Stephen Strasburg ARI (Corbin) N/A
14 Johnny Cueto @TEX (Perez) N/A
15 Hiroki Kuroda TEX (Darvish) @BAL (Tillman)
16 Hyun-Jin Ryu SF (Bumgarner) PHI (Lee)
17 James Shields @MIN (Gibson) N/A
18 Jeff Samardzija @SEA (Harang) N/A
19 Hisashi Iwakuma CHC (Wood) N/A
20 Jordan Zimmermann ARI (Miley) N/A
21 C.J. Wilson @DET (Porcello) @HOU (Lyles)
22 Shelby Miller @OAK (Colon) N/A
23 Mat Latos @TEX (Darvish) N/A
24 Francisco Liriano MIL (Hand) N/A
25 Doug Fister LAA (Weaver) N/A
26 Kris Medlen @KC (Santana) N/A
27 Matt Cain @COL (De La Rosa) N/A
28 Josh Johnson @BOS (Doubront) N/A
29 Lance Lynn @HOU (Harrell) N/A
30 Jered Weaver @DET (Fister) N/A
31 Justin Masterson @BAL (Tillman) N/A
32 CC Sabathia @BAL (Britton) N/A
33 Zack Greinke PHI (Pettibone) N/A
34 Ervin Santana ATL (Medlen) @MIN (Correia)
35 Matt Moore TOR (Buehrle) DET (Porcello)
36 Kyle Kendrick @SD (Marquis) @LAD (Fife)
37 Mike Minor @KC (Mendoza) N/A
38 Andrew Cashner @MIA (Turner) N/A
39 Jose Fernandez MIN (Correia) N/A
40 Homer Bailey @OAK (Griffin) N/A
41 Julio Teheran ARI (Kennedy) N/A
42 Tommy Milone CIN (Arroyo) STL (Westbrook)
43 Kyle Lohse CHC (Jackson) @PIT (Morton)
44 Yovani Gallardo CHC (Feldman) N/A
45 Patrick Corbin @WAS (Strasburg) N/A
46 A.J. Griffin CIN (Bailey) N/A
47 John Lackey COL (Oswalt) N/A
48 Derek Holland @NYY (Hughes) N/A
49 Mark Buehrle @TB (Moore) @BOS (Dempster)
50 Jon Lester TOR (Wang) N/A
51 Trevor Cahill @WAS (Gonzalez) @ATL (Maholm)
52 Rick Porcello LAA (Wilson) @TB (Moore)
53 Ryan Dempster COL (Nicasio) TOR (Buehrle)
54 Dillon Gee WAS (Jordan) N/A
55 Travis Wood @SEA (Iwakuma) N/A
56 Eric Stults PHI (Lee) @MIA (Eovaldi)
57 Paul Maholm ARI (Cahill) N/A
58 R.A. Dickey @TB (Hernandez) N/A
59 Andy Pettitte TEX (Grimm) N/A
60 Jarrod Parker STL (Wainwright) N/A
61 Corey Kluber @BAL (Gonzalez) N/A
62 Mike Leake @TEX (Tepesch) N/A
63 Tim Hudson ARI (Delgado) N/A
64 Zack Wheeler @CHW (Sale) WAS (Gonzalez)
65 Matt Garza @MIL (Peralta) N/A
66 Roy Oswalt @BOS (Lackey) N/A
67 Bartolo Colon STL (Miller) N/A
68 Chris Tillman CLE (Masterson) NYY (Kuroda)
69 Jeff Locke @SEA (Saunders) N/A
70 Bronson Arroyo @OAK (Milone) N/A

Honorable mention: Jeremy Hellickson vs. TOR (Rogers), vs. DET (Verlander); Ian Kennedy @ATL (Teheran), Gerrit Cole vs. MIL (Figaro); Tyler Chatwood vs. NYM (Hefner).

Two-Start Options to Consider

Ervin Santana, Royals (ATL, @MIN): After slogging his way through May with a 4.72 ERA and nine home runs allowed over 34 1/3 innings, Santana has cruised through June with four straight quality starts. Even when Santana has not been his sharpest, he has given the Royals innings, as he has yet to go fewer than six frames in a start this year. Starting Santana is always a gamble, but there's been more good than bad this season, so he's worth the risk in this two-start week.
This week's rank: 34
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Most Added Starters (as of 6/24)
Player Name % change
1. Esmil Rogers, SP, Blue Jays 47
2. Kevin Correia, SP, Twins 23
3. Roy Oswalt, SP, Rockies 19
4. Eric Stults, SP, Dodgers 17
5. Kyle Lohse, SP, Brewers 16
6. Mark Buehrle, SP, Blue Jays 13
7. Jake Westbrook, SP, Cardinals 13
8. Corey Kluber, SP, Indians 12
9. Jordan Lyles, SP, Astros 10
10. Zack Wheeler, SP, Mets 8

Matt Moore, Rays (TOR, DET): Just a couple of weeks ago, few owners would have given a second thought to starting Moore, but given his recent performance, he's now presenting owners with a dilemma, even though he has two starts. Opponents have hit .380 against Moore over his last four outings, and the lefty has walked 14 batters over 18 2/3 innings. During his slump, batters have been swinging at Moore's offerings more often, and they've had little trouble making hard contact. Particularly over the final two-thirds of last season, Moore showed that he can miss bats at the major league level, but he has not been as dominant so far in 2013. He's capable of being a must-start pitcher, but given his lack of consistency, he can be passed over in shallow leagues this week.
This week's rank: 35
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Kyle Kendrick, Phillies (@SD, @LAD): Aside from a meltdown at Coors Field, Kendrick has been in a deep groove in recent weeks. While I remain doubtful that Kendrick will continue to hold opposing hitters to a slugging percentage below .400 over the long term, he can keep that trend going a little longer with road starts against the Padres and Dodgers. Just keep in mind that this won't be an entirely risk-free week for Kendrick as, heading into Friday's games, the Padres are tied for the major league lead in home runs in June, and Dodger Stadium plays as a neutral park for homers.
This week's rank: 36
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Tommy Milone, Athletics (CIN, STL): Milone's overall numbers -- especially his 3.98 ERA -- haven't been that good so far, but he's following last season's pattern of pitching much better at home than on the road, and he's made just six starts in Oakland. He gets to even things out this week with two starts at home. Though both come against tough opponents, Milone can be trusted in the vast majority of leagues this week, as his flyball tendencies can work in his favor at O.co Coliseum.
This week's rank: 42
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Kyle Lohse, Brewers (CHC, @PIT): Lohse has fallen off from last season's surprising pace, but he's been every bit as good at throwing strikes and avoiding walks. He's been on cruise control in June with a 2.08 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and four straight quality starts, including tough matchups against the A's and Reds. The Cubs and Pirates should pose less of a challenge, so owners can expect Lohse to turn in a productive week.
This week's rank: 43
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays (@TB, @BOS): The first five weeks of Buehrle's return to the American League were not kind to him, as he owned a 7.02 ERA and had allowed 11 home runs in 41 innings. Buehrle's ERA is still inflated, but it masks a strong eight-start run in which he has restored his ground ball rate to its normal level. While Buehrle isn't known for his high-end appeal, he has been remarkably consistent over the years, and he appears to be back on track. The Buehrle that we have come to know is one that can often be trusted in two-start weeks, and now it's time to at least consider getting him active again, even with a couple of tough foes on the schedule.
This week's rank: 49
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks (@WAS, @ATL): While Cahill is not expected to miss a start after sustaining a bruised hip in his last outing, owners should monitor his status as Monday's lineup deadline approaches. Cahill can't be blamed for his early exit from Wednesday's game against the Marlins, courtesy of a Marcell Ozuna line drive, but he hasn't registered a quality start in over a month. He's better than he's been over his last six starts (6.75 ERA), but not as good as what we saw prior to that this year (2.48 ERA). The difference between early-season Cahill and the more recent version can largely be tied to fluctuations in his line drive rate, but assuming he finds the midpoint, Cahill is a reasonable option in most two-start weeks, and very occasionally in one-start weeks.
This week's rank: 51
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Rick Porcello, Tigers (LAA, @TB): Porcello has been on an impressive run since late April, but he's really heated up over his last five starts. Yes, that even includes Wednesday's collapse against the Orioles, because Porcello was ineffective for only one inning in that start, and he continued his recent trend of getting called strikes at a high rate. Just maybe Porcello is experiencing a breakout, and while a streak lasting nearly two months sounds lengthy, even mediocre pitchers can stay hot for that long. (Who still remembers Kevin Millwood's surprising run that covered most of the first half of 2012?) He isn't a sure thing just yet, but given the dearth of two-start options this week, Porcello is worth a try.
This week's rank: 52
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Ryan Dempster, Red Sox (COL, TOR): It's not clear where Dempster's early-season strikeout binge came from, but as quickly as it arrived, it has now departed. Dempster has provided only 6.8 strikeouts per nine innings over his last eight starts, and his swinging strike rate has been cut roughly in half. Though he is allowing more contact, Dempster has been effective over his last five starts, composing a 3.48 ERA, but his command has been inconsistent enough that he is not a slam dunk as a two-start option.
This week's rank: 53
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Eric Stults, Padres (PHI, @MIA): Stults has been good on the road, but he's really used PETCO Park to his advantage, posting a 2.90 ERA and holding batters to a .315 slugging percentage there. With one home start and another at Marlins Park, Stults will be in the perfect environments to pitch to contact. That, and issuing very few walks, has worked for him so far this year, and it could earn him a win or two in Week 13.
This week's rank: 56
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Zack Wheeler, Mets (@CHW, WAS): Those concerned about Wheeler's command and mediocre ground ball tendencies had their fears validated in his major league debut Tuesday. Wheeler also gave his backers something to cheer about, as he held the Braves scoreless over six innings, striking out seven batters and getting 11 whiffs on 102 pitches. Perhaps in a different two-start week -- one in which Wheeler had more challengeing matchups and the waiver wire was replete with safer options -- Wheeler would be an unadvisable start. He's still a gamble, but one that could be worth taking, depending on your alternatives.
This week's rank: 64
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Chris Tillman, Orioles (CLE, NYY): Though his results haven't been bad, Tillman has not shown the strongest command in his last two starts, but owners can be encouraged by what he'd done over the preceding month. Over a six-start stretch, Tillman averaged nearly a strikeout per inning and walked 1.8 batters per nine innings. While starting Tillman might be good for your team's WHIP, his tendency to allow homers makes him risky, even against a Yankees' lineup that is short on power threats and an Indians' squad that clouts far less often when on the road. If Tillman can avoid the long ball, he should have a profitable two-start week, but that is not a high percentage proposition.
This week's rank: 68
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays (TOR, DET): If strikeouts and walks were all that mattered for pitchers, Hellickson would be having the best year of his career. He's experienced boosts in his whiff and strikeout rates, and he hasn't walked a batter yet this month. Much of what's gone wrong with Hellickson's season might just be bad timing or bad luck, as only 58 percent of his baserunners have failed to score. That's a horrid strand rate even for pitchers who have habitually low marks, and Hellickson had stranded roughly four-fifths of his runners prior to this year. In just about any other week, you could ignore Hellickson's 5.50 ERA and use him with two starts, but he is a potential liability against a potent Tigers lineup and a Blue Jays squad that is one of the majors' best power-hitting teams. So far this year, batters have slugged .461 against Hellickson, so extra-base hits have been an issue.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals (@HOU, @OAK): As usual, Westbrook has been a ground ball machine, and that's helped him to avoid home runs entirely over his eight starts. If Westbrook were even an average strikeout pitcher or was at least a reliable strike-thrower, that might be enough to make him viable in standard mixed leagues. Alas, he is neither, so at best, he can be trusted in deeper mixed league formats, even though he's been lucky enough to post a 1.76 ERA to date.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians (@BAL, @CHW): Inconsistency continues to bedevil Jimenez. Just a couple of weeks ago, it looked as if he was starting to recapture the form of his better years, but over his last three starts, his command has eluded him yet again. While Jimenez has continued to provide owners with strikeouts, he is showing, much like Tim Lincecum, that Ks are not enough for a pitcher to be of use in Fantasy.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Kevin Correia, Twins (@MIA, KC): Correia's game is to let the hitter put the ball in play, and as long as he's not too wild and keeps the ball down, it works for him. His control has been superb this season, but the long ball continues to be a problem. Correia probably couldn't ask for better matchups, facing off against the two worst home run-hitting teams in the big leagues. Still, that alone doesn't make him an advisable start in standard mixed leagues, but it does make Correia worth a flyer in deeper mixed and AL-only formats.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Esmil Rogers, Blue Jays (@TB, @BOS): Rogers has looked good in his four starts, though he still has yet to throw 100 pitches and has exceeded 90 pitches only once. He throws a mid-90s fastball, and since becoming a part of Toronto's rotation, he has rediscovered the ground ball tendencies that he showed back when he was a rookie with the Rockies. Rogers hasn't demonstrated much consistency in the majors, so it remains to be seen if this is the start of something lasting or if he's merely a flavor of the week. Even though Rogers has handled difficult opponents during his recent stretch, it's not a given that he'll continue to fare well with two more tough matchups. While Rogers is worth a deep league pickup, take a wait-and-see approach for at least one more week in mixed leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start

Edwin Jackson, Cubs (@MIL, @SEA): Welcome to Strikeouts Aren't Enough, Part Two. As is the case with Jimenez, Jackson is getting plenty of Ks, and he's actually putting up a career-high rate of 8.4 per nine innings, but too many walks and hits on balls in play and not enough run support have doomed his season. He might be able to reduce his hit rate, but it might be asking too much to expect improved command and more help from the Cubs' lineup. Despite good matchups, Jackson's too risky to trust in mixed leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: NL-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 .

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