Week 17 Pitching Forecaster

Many Fantasy owners returned from the All-Star break to a three-game week that was akin to an appetizer. You're glad to see it arrive at the table, but it leaves you wanting more. Get ready, because in Fantasy Week 18 (July 22-28), you're about to get a family-sized entree.

Most Added Starters (as of 7/22)
Player Name % change
1. Chris Carpenter , SP, Cardinals 22
2. Chris Archer , SP, Rays 19
3. Chad Gaudin , RP/SP, Giants 19
4. Wily Peralta , SP, Brewers 15
5. Felix Doubront , SP, Red Sox 10
6. Ivan Nova , SP, Yankees 9
7. Tom Gorzelanny , SP, Brewers 9
8. Hector Santiago , SP, White Sox 8
9. Alex Wood , RP/SP, Braves 8
10. Jhoulys Chacin , SP, Rockies 6

Only two teams get Monday off, and again only two teams get Thursday off, so with full schedules every other day, plus a pair of doubleheaders, there is a bounty of two-start pitchers this week. Because not many of them are among the ranks of the universally-owned, there are plenty of opportunities to get additional starts onto your active roster by combing through your bench and your league's waiver wire.

Amid the frenzy of free agent pickups and roster maneuvers, a couple of developing stories may also draw your attention as you prepare for the coming week. Matt Garza is reportedly close to being traded, possibly to the Rangers, and that may or may not jeopardize his two-start status. Of course, it appears likely that he won't be facing the Diamondbacks and Giants, so that, too, could affect his value for the coming week. Whatever happens, he should be starting in standard mixed leagues as well as deeper formats.

Also, the Astros announced Friday that Jarred Cosart would be returning to their rotation, facing the Athletics on Tuesday. It's probably safe to assume that he will get a second start at the Blue Jays on Sunday, but that doesn't necessarily make the prospect worthy of using this week. His superb major league debut, in which he took a no-hitter against the Rays into the seventh inning, has raised his profile, but his minor league credentials suggest there could be difficulties ahead. Most notably, Cosart walked more than a batter every other inning at Triple-A Oklahoma City, leading to a 1.33 WHIP that was actually an improvement over the mark he set at Double-A Corpus Christi last year. Despite a head-turning debut, Cosart is best reserved for deeper leagues this week, even if he gets to make two starts.

As we return to the regular routine of a full slate of major league games, we will also resume the normal drill here in the Pitching Forecaster. In addition to a ranking of this week's most highly-recommended starters, there is a more in-depth review of several of this week's more intriguing two-start options.

Monday update: Only one team made rotation changes that impacted the pool of two-start pitchers. The Red Sox decided to give Jon Lester two extra days of rest, so that move provides him with a pair of starts this week. Ryan Dempster, who replaced Lester on Sunday, will no longer be a two-start pitcher. While Dempster was a deep league option to begin with, Lester now becomes a viable two-start alternative for owners in standard mixed leagues, as he is ranked at No. 66.

My Top 70 Starting Pitchers for Week 17
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2
1 Max Scherzer @CHW (Sale) PHI (Lee)
2 Yu Darvish NYY (Nova) @CLE (Masterson)
3 Chris Sale DET (Scherzer) KC (Davis)
4 Felix Hernandez MIN (Diamond) N/A
5 Clayton Kershaw CIN (Bailey) N/A
6 Adam Wainwright @ATL (Minor) N/A
7 David Price @BOS (Doubront) N/A
8 Justin Verlander @CHW (Peavy) N/A
9 Madison Bumgarner CHC (Garza) N/A
10 Cliff Lee @DET (Scherzer) N/A
11 Matt Moore @BOS (Workman) @NYY (Nova)
12 Anibal Sanchez @CHW (Danks) N/A
13 Jered Weaver MIN (Pelfrey) N/A
14 Stephen Strasburg PIT (Liriano) N/A
15 Patrick Corbin CHC (Wood) SD (Ross)
16 Jose Fernandez @COL (Chacin) PIT (Cole)
17 Cole Hamels @DET (Fister) N/A
18 Matt Harvey @WAS (Zimmermann) N/A
19 Mat Latos @LAD (Greinke) N/A
20 Matt Garza @ARI (Skaggs) @SF (Bumgarner)
21 James Shields @CHW (Quintana) N/A
22 Jake Peavy DET (Verlander) N/A
23 Zack Greinke CIN (Latos) N/A
24 Julio Teheran @NYM (Gee) STL (Kelly)
25 Shelby Miller PHI (Pettibone) @ATL (Medlen)
26 Hyun-Jin Ryu @TOR (Johnson) CIN (Arroyo)
27 Francisco Liriano @WAS (Strasburg) N/A
28 A.J. Burnett @WAS (Gonzalez) N/A
29 Jarrod Parker @HOU (Cosart) LAA (Hanson)
30 Jordan Zimmermann NYM (Harvey) N/A
31 Gio Gonzalez PIT (Burnett) N/A
32 John Lackey TB (Hellickson) N/A
33 Derek Holland NYY (Pettitte) N/A
34 Hisashi Iwakuma MIN (Correia) N/A
35 Lance Lynn PHI (Kendrick) N/A
36 Homer Bailey @LAD (Kershaw) N/A
37 Jeff Samardzija @ARI (Kennedy) N/A
38 Dan Straily LAA (Wilson) N/A
39 Mike Minor STL (Wainwright) N/A
40 Justin Masterson TEX (Darvish) N/A
41 Hiroki Kuroda @TEX (Wolf) N/A
42 Josh Johnson LAD (Ryu) HOU (Keuchel)
43 CC Sabathia TB (Archer) N/A
44 R.A. Dickey HOU (Lyles) N/A
45 Doug Fister PHI (Hamels) N/A
46 Matt Cain CHC (Jackson) N/A
47 Kris Medlen @NYM (Torres) STL (Miller)
48 Tony Cingrani @SF (Surkamp) @LAD (Capuano)
49 A.J. Griffin @HOU (Norris) N/A
50 Gerrit Cole @WAS (Jordan) @MIA (Fernandez)
51 Andrew Cashner @MIL (Gorzelanny) @ARI (Skaggs)
52 C.J. Wilson @OAK (Straily) N/A
53 Alexi Ogando NYY (Hughes) @CLE (Jimenez)
54 Travis Wood @ARI (Corbin) @SF (Lincecum)
55 Bartolo Colon LAA (Williams) N/A
56 Rick Porcello @CHW (Santiago) PHI (Pettibone)
57 Ivan Nova @TEX (Darvish) TB (Moore)
58 Dillon Gee ATL (Teheran) @WAS (Haren)
59 Felix Doubront TB (Price) N/A
60 Ervin Santana BAL (Chen) N/A
61 Mike Leake @SF (Gaudin) N/A
62 Kyle Lohse SD (O'Sullivan) N/A
63 Jeremy Hefner ATL (Hudson) N/A
64 Hector Santiago DET (Porcello) KC (Chen)
65 Jeremy Hellickson @BOS (Lackey) N/A
66 Jon Lester TB (Hernandez) @BAL (Hammel)
67 Yovani Gallardo SD (Volquez) N/A
68 Jeff Locke @MIA (Alvarez) N/A
69 Wei-Yin Chen @KC (Santana) N/A
70 Scott Feldman @KC (Davis) BOS (Workman)

Honorable mention: Bronson Arroyo @SF (Lincecum), @LAD (Ryu); Erasmo Ramirez vs. CLE (McAllister), vs. MIN (Deduno); Tim Lincecum vs. CIN (Arroyo), vs. CHC (Wood); Tommy Milone @HOU (Cosart), LAA (Hanson).

Two-Start Options to Consider

Jarrod Parker , Athletics (@HOU, LAA): After a difficult first six weeks of the season, Parker has rediscovered his command, which is something that has eluded him for much of his professional career. He's still not getting many strikeouts -- just 47 over his last 73 1/3 innings -- but he's walked only 16 batters over that same stretch. Parker still hasn't been as good as his 2.33 ERA and 0.83 WHIP from that period suggest, but then again, he doesn't have to be quite that good to be useful in a two-start week. Better yet, this is a week in which one of Parker's starts comes against the Astros, who often make ordinary pitchers look like Max Scherzer .
This week's rank: 29
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Kris Medlen , Braves (@NYM, STL): Between rumors of his impending demotion to the bullpen and a recent mini-slump, few pitchers have seen their stock plummet to the degree that Medlen's has lately. A disappointing July aside, Medlen has been plenty good this season, even if his performance has not met the lofty standard he set in 2012. Entering this month, Medlen had a 3.02 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, and his current 6-9 record would be far better if not for a paltry 3.4 runs of support per nine innings. Only the possibility of Alex Wood bumping Medlen from the rotation prior to his second start keeps him from ranking in the top 40, though that possibility became more remote with Paul Maholm (wrist) a threat to miss his next turn.
This week's rank: 47
My take: Solid mixed league start

Tony Cingrani , Reds (@SF, @LAD): Though he hasn't been efficient since his return to the Reds' rotation, Cingrani has been effective. In three starts, Cingrani has struck out 20 batters in 16 2/3 innings, while holding opponents to a .183 batting average and allowing just five earned runs. Though his wildness often prevents him from going deep into games, Cingrani's penchant for popups helps him to keep his ERA and WHIP low. With two starts, innings are less of a concern, so there's no reason to bench the rookie.
This week's rank: 48
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Gerrit Cole , Pirates (@WAS, @MIA): Cole has delivered pretty much what you could have expected from him in his first seven starts. He's been a reliable strike-thrower, if not a strikeout artist, in practically each one of his appearances, so Cole has been immune to peaks and valleys. Eventually, he'll produce some gems as well as some clunkers, but chances are good that he'll give you a solid outing when he takes the mound. That may not always be enough for you to use him when he has just one start, but he's a perfectly viable option in two-start weeks.
This week's rank: 50
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Andrew Cashner , Padres (@MIL, @ARI): Cashner hasn't fared well on the road this season, but he may not be as risky away from PETCO Park as he may seem. He has given up six more doubles on the road than at home, but he's been good at preventing home runs wherever he pitches. The main difference between Cashner's home and away starts has been his walk and BABIP rates. The latter may just be noise, while the former is largely the product of a few wild performances. Despite his poor road splits, Cashner remains a decent option with visits to Milwaukee and Arizona.
This week's rank: 51
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Alexi Ogando , Rangers (NYY, @CLE): After missing a month and a half with shoulder inflammation, Ogando is set to return to the Texas rotation on Tuesday, which lines him up for a two-start week. You can never be sure how a pitcher might perform after an extended layoff due to injury, but Ogando had been effective prior to going on the disabled list. He would normally be a no-brainer to use with two starts, but given the bounty of alternatives and Ogando's recent hiatus, owners deep in pitching might see fit to sit him this time.
This week's rank: 53
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Rick Porcello , Tigers (@CHW, PHI): A month ago, Porcello's popularity spiked in CBSSports.com leagues, but just as quickly as owners rushed out to grab him, they turned around and abandoned him to the waiver wire. He had likely been overachieving, and his strikeout rate has started to erode, but Porcello has recovered nicely after back-to-back pummelings back in June. He had one terrible inning in each of those starts, and he's avoided crooked numbers in each of his three most recent outings. Porcello is good enough at avoiding walks and extra-base hits to be worth using, at least with a pair of starts.
This week's rank: 56
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Ivan Nova , Yankees (@TEX, TB): Last season, Nova started missing bats more often, but when hitters connected, they often did so with authority. So far this year, hitters are batting .258 against Nova, as compared to .284 a year ago, and he's lowered his flyball rate from 32 to 22 percent. Nova has also continued to improve his strikeout and swinging strike rates, so he may very well be in the midst of a breakout campaign. Even so, Nova's rotation spot may not be secure. With David Phelps (forearm) on the disabled list, Nova's job is safe for now, and so is his status as a viable two-start option.
This week's rank: 57
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Dillon Gee , Mets (ATL, @WAS): Though Gee is still struggling to get strikeouts and ground balls consistently, he's generally been a trustworthy starter over his last nine outings. If he can duplicate his better starts more frequently, he'd be close to a must-start option. There have just been a few too many times, like in his most recent start at the Pirates, when he has succeeded despite allowing too much contact. Still, Gee offers enough potential to be worth using if you lack steadier alternatives.
This week's rank: 58
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Hector Santiago , White Sox (DET, KC): Because flyball-prone Santiago has given up fewer homers and stranded more runners than one might expect, he's fortunate to have a 3.30 ERA at the break. However, his 9.4 K/9 ratio and 1.25 WHIP are legitimate, and those are stats you'll want on your active roster, especially when Santiago gets a pair of starts. He'd be an even better option if he were making this week's starts away from U.S. Cellular Field, but even so, the ex-reliever is worth streaming into your rotation for Week 17.
This week's rank: 64
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Jon Lester , Red Sox (TB, @BAL): Lester is still a decent, if not great, strikeout and ground ball pitcher, so the 6.27 ERA he's put up over his last 11 starts is deceiving. However, he's been far too wild, issuing 30 walks over that 66-inning span, and he can't afford that without the strike-per-inning stuff he possessed a few years back. Lester can still be used in two-start weeks, but now he's more of a last-resort option than an automatic one.
This week's rank: 66
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Scott Feldman , Orioles (@KC, BOS): Over his three starts with the Orioles, Feldman has continued to display the sharp control and mild ground ball tendencies that helped him to succeed with the Cubs. Feldman has beefed up his stats mostly through his starts against weaker lineups, and the Red Sox will be his toughest opponent yet. While Feldman can be a solid addition in many of his two-start weeks, he barely edges his way into this week's top 70.
This week's rank: 70
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Bronson Arroyo , Reds (@SF, @LAD): Arroyo hasn't had many bad starts this season, but his three worst ones have all come on the road. That may just be coincidental, but there's no reason to assume that Arroyo will skate by this week just because he's going to a pair of favorable venues. The resurgent Dodgers actually pose a potentially tough matchup, so Arroyo is best reserved for deeper league use.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Erasmo Ramirez , Mariners (CLE, MIN): Despite a strong showing at Triple-A Tacoma, owners did not flock to waivers in huge numbers to claim Ramirez when the Mariners promoted him on July 11. That restraint paid off, as Ramirez was crushed by an avalanche of seven runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Red Sox. He was unusually wild in his Mariners season debut, but better times are sure to be ahead. It's not unthinkable to take a flyer on Ramirez in standard mixed leagues, benching one of the names at the bottom of this week's top 70 to get an extra start, but the safe move is to take a wait-and-see approach this week. He's certainly worth a claim if you can afford to drop one of your bench players.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Tim Lincecum , Giants (CIN, CHC): Lincecum was showing signs of improvement even before last week's no-hitter against the Padres. Including the no-no, Lincecum has now struck out 44 hitters over his last 33 2/3 innings, while dishing out just nine walks. He's hit double-digit Ks in back-to-back starts now (including a start versus the Mets), but keep in mind that neither opponent makes a lot of contact, and the Mets rank among the most strikeout-prone teams in the majors. Lincecum can now be trusted in any mixed league deeper than 12 teams, but in anything shallower, it's best to first see how he fares against the Reds and Cubs this week.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Tommy Milone , Athletics (@HOU, LAA): Though inconsistent, Milone had been a viable streaming option for most of this season, but over the last month, he's been far too hittable. Perhaps it's not coincidental that the PitchFX data on BrooksBaseball.net shows Milone has been getting less movement on his fastball in recent starts. Milone's slump is all of five games old, so it may not be a cause for long-term concern, but there's no reason to start him this week, as there are plenty of safer alternatives available.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Jhoulys Chacin , Rockies (MIA, MIL): Over his last six starts, Chacin has shaved more than a run off his ERA, as he has allowed eight runs over 41 1/3 innings. While he has enjoyed some apparent good fortune on balls in play (.256 BABIP), what has really stood out during this streak is how he has morphed into a strike-throwing fiend. Chacin can only help himself by keeping walks to a minimum, but that alone won't guarantee he will stay on a roll. He's due to give up more home runs and base hits in general, so don't buy into his stripped-down 3.50 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. You also shouldn't be viewing him as an alternative for standard mixed leagues just yet either.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Samuel Deduno , Twins (@LAA, @SEA): Deduno's contact-friendly ways make him vulnerable to the occasional blowup, but he's been surprisingly steady overall. He has pitched six or more innings in eight of his 10 starts and has compiled a 3.61 ERA that can at least be sustained over his starts that are in pitcher's parks. Visits to Angel Stadium and Safeco Field should help Deduno to have a decent week, though he will still lack the strikeouts he needs to be truly relevant for standard mixed league owners.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Phil Hughes , Yankees (@TEX, TB): Hughes entered his final start before the All-Star break on a six-game run in which he posted a 3.22 ERA and allowed only three home runs. Then he allowed three home runs to the power-poor Twins. You can't count on Hughes to keep the ball in the park in any given start, but a road start at Texas and a home start against the Rays look particularly risky. Hughes still has upside, but the risk is large enough for owners in standard mixed leagues to avoid him.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Tyler Skaggs , Diamondbacks (CHC, SD): Ever since notching nine strikeouts in his season debut against the Rangers, Skaggs has struggled to rack up Ks in his subsequent big league starts. As he has shown in several of his minor league stops, the lefty is plenty capable of getting strikeouts, even though he's not the hardest of throwers. It's not clear how long Skaggs will remain in the Diamondbacks' rotation, and with Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) possibly returning in just over a week, this could be his last hurrah for now. Should Skaggs get to stick around, he will still have to show that his skills can translate to the majors before he can be trusted outside of shallower leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Kyle Gibson , Twins (@LAA, @SEA): Gibson's 6.45 ERA is inflated by one especially poor start, but he hasn't been very effective outside of his debut against the Royals. His biggest issue has been command, as Gibson has thrown only 58 percent of his pitches for strikes over his last three starts. If that improves, Fantasy owners just might have another arm they can trust in two-start weeks, but for now, Gibson is merely a deep league option.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Ubaldo Jimenez , Indians (@SEA, TEX): Jimenez has not pitched more than six innings in any of his last seven starts (and has equalled six innings just once), yet he has managed a respectable 3.75 ERA over that span. That might explain why so many owners are still letting Jimenez occupy a roster spot, but ERA aside, most of Jimenez's metrics paint an alarming picture. He is still getting strikeouts and avoiding extra-base hits at above-average rates, but he hasn't been getting many whiffs or grounders lately. It's time to drop Jimenez in most mixed leagues and bench him outside of AL-only leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start

Dan Haren , Nationals (PIT, NYM): Haren has allowed only two runs in his 11 innings since coming off the disabled list earlier this month, and there could be reason to buy into the improvement. The Washington Post had reported that Haren worked on reducing his splitter velocity during his DL stint, and according to FanGraphs.com, he has thrown the pitch slower in his last two starts. If he continues to create more of a contrast between his splitter and fastball velocity, he just might be able to build on the recent uptick in his strikeout rate. We're still not looking at a large enough sample to engender trust outside of deeper leagues, but at least Haren has taken a step in the right direction.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: NL-only start

Jason Hammel , Orioles (@KC, BOS): Looking for a positive take-away from Hammel's disappointing first half? He has managed to pitch at least six innings in eight of his last 10 starts. That's all I've got. Only four of those have been quality starts, and he continues to allow too much contact in general and too many extra-base hits in particular. While the vast majority of his owners are benching him, Hammel doesn't need to be owned in nearly half of the leagues on CBSSports.com, even in a two-start week.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start

Tom Gorzelanny , Brewers (SD, @COL): Gorzelanny has not given up an earned run in either of his two starts made since re-entering the Brewers' rotation two weekends ago. An increased ground ball rate has been a big part of Gorzelanny's success, both in those starts, as well as in his relief work this season. According to the PitchFX data on BrooksBaseball.net, Gorzelanny has been throwing his slider more often this season, and he's been getting more grounders on that pitch, as well as on his sinker. He doesn't have an impressive track record as a starter, but he'll stick in the Brewers' rotation for now. He's worth starting in NL-only leagues, and deeper mixed league owners should keep an eye on Gorzelanny's progress.
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 .

Data Analyst

Al Melchior has been playing Fantasy Baseball since 1994, getting his start in the Southern Maryland Anthropomorphic Baseball League (SMABL). He has been writing about Fantasy Baseball since 2000, getting... Full Bio

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