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Fantasy Baseball Today

The Mets are the majors' new whiff-masters

By Al Melchior | Data Analyst

Last season, one quick shortcut to finding useful pitchers on waivers was to see who was facing the Astros. Seemingly every hurler this side of Bartolo Colon became a strikeout-per-inning stud when facing Houston (and even Colon himself registered 24 Ks in 29 innings). That trick should work pretty well again this season, but the Astros now have company in the whiff department.

Heading into Thursday's games, the Mets actually have the majors' highest strikeout per plate appearance ratio, with a 27.8 percent mark that is a full percentage point higher than the Astros' (per FanGraphs.com). The Mets have indeed assembled, for the most part, a contact-challenged lineup this season, so this is a trend that could have some staying power.

For Fantasy Week 3 (April 14-20), that presents an opportunity for the Diamondbacks and Braves pitchers that are scheduled to face them. Though Bronson Arroyo has struggled so far, having the Mets as one of his two starts makes him a reasonable use of a waiver claim in standard mixed leagues. In deeper leagues, Randall Delgado and Brandon McCarthy now have a little more value.

Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang have come out of the gate strongly for the Braves, and with each scheduled to face the Amazins, each has a better chance to stay on a roll. Santana is set for two starts, so even though he has made only one appearance this season, he appears to be one of next week's better two-start options. David Hale, slated to face the Mets next Sunday, doesn't figure to be much of a strikeout pitcher in a typical week, but he is at least worth starting in NL-only formats due to the matchup.

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