Pitching Forecaster: Is Barry back?
Is Chien-Ming Wang about to return to the Yankee rotation? What has gotten into Barry Zito and is he an advisable two-start option next week? Our Eric Mack discusses that and follows up on your feedback regarding our scoring system changes in his latest Pitching Forecaster.
The hate mail is in, but even more "thank you" e-mails came than we expected. Surprisingly, a majority of CBSSports.com's users agreed changes were long overdue.
In fact, in the first few hours after last week's column was posted, it was a landslide in favor of the new scoring system over the old. Only a weekend of a smattering of detractors made it less than a blowout. It is our guess that the more time passes, more users will tolerate -- if even like -- the standard scoring system change.
Let's continue the debate and poll the masses here: Vote in the poll!
Here are a few e-mails on each side of the debate:
Pro: "I applaud your new scoring system. The two-start pitchers were TOO BIG of an advantage."
Pro: "I'm a huge proponent of the new scoring system. I was so tired of owners racing home to stack up on two-start scrub pitchers, only to get pounded by that same core, despite my staff of quality starters not going twice. I commend CBS for making these much needed changes. Thanks to you guys, my single-start Chad Billingsley has the potential to crush my opponent's two-start whotheheckisthisguy with a 7.45 ERA. Thanks Eric. Thanks CBS. I love your product."
Pro: "I must say, at first I hated it. But over the last week or so, I think you are dead on! It's much more fair this way. I had an outstanding team a couple of years ago and was clearly better than every team that made the playoffs that year in my league. I got ousted in the first round because I had like five or six starts to my opponent's 12. It was ridiculous!"
Con: "The new scoring system is terrible. There is no way a pitcher should be able to go minus-20. If a pitcher has a lousy start and does not get the win, that is punishment enough. If a guy goes minus-4 that is understandable, but I expect my starters to get me a minimum of 15 points each start. You guys really dropped the ball this year by changing a great thing."
Con: "Yes, it is your right to make any league you want. It is also your right to collect unemployment and run a league from your basement with no friends. Your scoring system does not balance anything. What it does do is create a system where hitters are far more valuable than pitchers. And pitchers must pitch a gem to be of any value. This makes setting lineups not a skill but a crapshoot. Some of the best weeks you can have is when your pitcher gets hurt and does not pitch at all. No pitcher should win and score negative points. Your system is pure stupidity."
Con: "TERRIBLE. Way too much penalty for poor pitching outings. I understand the idea was to stop people from adding and dropping two-start pitchers, but one or two bad starts and your entire week is ruined."
With a caveat: "Good article on the new scoring system, but the real fix for Head-to-Head leagues is for CBS to allow leagues to set a two-game schedule per week -- Game 1 is Monday through Thursday and Game 2 is Friday through Sunday. With that you eliminate the two-start pitcher abuse. Most leagues will need to expand their benches to allow for more SPs. CBS would be so much better with the two-game week.
With a caveat: "I just read the article posted on May 6 about making pitching more fair with its scoring. I've always agreed it wasn't fair to load up on two-start pitchers just to get the innings and extra points without being penalized for a bad outing. While my weekly Head-to-Head league does penalize pitchers for some stats, the key I think to making it fair is to allow all teams a maximum number of starts per week. We use seven. This way each team is forced to predict their best seven starts against their opponent's best seven starts."
It will be a hot-button debate all year long, but we hope these help explain our reasoning and get the proper feedback from users. Continue to send us your thoughts and rest assured we will continue to make this the best damned Fantasy Baseball site in the universe.
- Dan Haren
- Jon Garland
- Doug Davis
- Max Scherzer
- Bryan Augenstein
Week 6 two-starter(s): Haren and Augenstein. Haren is a
must-start, while Augenstein makes his major league debut Wednesday and
could prove to be a sleeper.
Starters on the DL: Brandon Webb (shoulder) and Yusmeiro Petit (shoulder). Neither will be back before June at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: Jarrod Parker . He has been moved to Double-A, so he might be just a serious hot streak from a potential call-up.
- Derek Lowe
- Jair Jurrjens
- Javier Vazquez
- Kenshin Kawakami
- Jo-Jo Reyes
Week 6 two-starter(s): Jurrjens and Reyes. Jurrjens is likely a
must-start, while Reyes is high-risk at this point and perhaps even a
candidate for a demotion.
Starters on the DL: Tom Glavine (shoulder, elbow) and Tim Hudson (elbow). Glavine is perhaps just a week from a couple of rehab starts, so watch him for a potential June return. Hudson is no better than August, although he wants to come back sooner as a reliever.
Starters to watch in the minors: Tommy Hanson and Kris Medlen . These two are unhittable in Triple-A right now, but Hanson is the one we see arriving before June 1.
- Jeremy Guthrie
- Koji Uehara
- Brad Bergesen
- Mark Hendrickson
- Adam Eaton
Week 6 two-starter(s): Bergesen. He figures to be a risky option
even in the deepest of AL-only leagues after he faces the Rays on
Starters on the DL: Rich Hill (elbow, back) and Alfredo Simon (elbow, out for the season). Hill is ready to return as soon as this weekend, so he could replace Eaton on Friday or Hendrickson on Sunday. Consider him a sleeper in deeper leagues for Fantasy Week 7 (May 18-24).
Starters to watch in the minors: Chris Tillman , Jake Arrieta , Brian Matusz , Troy Patton , Brandon Erbe and David Hernandez . Tillman and Patton are ready anytime the Orioles are inclined to go young in the rotation, but Hill will be the first change. There might be only two spots to be tweaked initially, so that leaves one left for one of those two this summer, barring injury.
Boston Red Sox
- Josh Beckett
- Jon Lester
- Tim Wakefield
- Brad Penny
- Justin Masterson
Week 6 two-starter(s): Wakefield. He pitches Wednesday in Anaheim
and could be a nice two-start sleeper for you.
Starters on the DL: Daisuke Matsuzaka (shoulder) and John Smoltz (shoulder). Dice-K will throw one more rehab start this weekend before a return next week, most likely in Masterson's spot. Smoltz has been slowed down and now might not return before July. It is more of the Red Sox's doing than his own health, we assume.
Starters to watch in the minors: Clay Buchholz , Michael Bowden and Junichi Tazawa . They have an embarrassment of pitching riches, but Dice-K, Smoltz and Masterson are ahead of them in the pecking order at this point.
- Rich Harden
- Ryan Dempster
- Ted Lilly
- Sean Marshall
- Randy Wells
Week 6 two-starter(s): Lilly. He pitches Wednesday night vs. the
Pirates and figures to earn must-start status.
Starters on the DL: Carlos Zambrano (hamstring). He could return in Fantasy Week 7 (May 18-24) if the Cubs so choose, but you likely will consider him a risky option best left on the DL one more week. Wells and Marshall will be pitching for No. 5 rotation spot Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
Starters to watch in the minors: Jeff Samardzija and Mitch Atkins . We don't see them being a factor in the Cubs' rotation at this point, but they could change that course with an extended hot streak back in Triple-A.
Chicago White Sox
- Mark Buehrle
- John Danks
- Gavin Floyd
- Bartolo Colon
- Clayton Richard
Week 6 two-starter(s): Richard and Buehrle. Richard makes his
season debut Tuesday and Buehrle goes Wednesday. They are nice sleepers
if they pitch well. Although Buehrle is owned, he is not a must-start
Starters on the DL: None.
Starters to watch in the minors: Aaron Poreda and Jose A. Contreras . Contreras just got sent down, so he will get a good month at least down on the farm. Poreda could position himself for a look in June if he can sustain a hot streak and Richard bombs.
- Aaron Harang
- Edinson Volquez
- Bronson Arroyo
- Johnny Cueto
- Micah Owings
Week 6 two-starter(s): Owings. The Reds do have a couple of
offdays coming up, so they could choose to skip Owings if he struggles
in his start Tuesday. In that event, Cueto would move up to be a
must-start, two-start pitcher.
Starters on the DL: None.
Starters to watch in the minors: Homer Bailey and Daryl Thompson . Bailey (3-3, 4.59) has posted four consecutive quality starts, so Owings will be feeling pressure come June 1. Thompson is nothing more than an injury replacement down the road.
- Cliff Lee
- Roberto Hernandez
- Carl Pavano
- Anthony Reyes
- Jeremy Sowers
Week 6 two-starter(s): Lee. Despite his poor start, he will
likely be a must-start option after he pitches Wednesday vs. the White
Starters on the DL: Jake Westbrook (elbow) and Scott Lewis (elbow). Westbrook is doing well and hoping for a mid-June return now. Lewis has had a setback and looks like he could miss the whole first half.
Starters to watch in the minors: David Huff and Chuck Lofgren . Huff (4-1, 4.05) is ready in Triple-A if Sowers doesn't work out and the Indians choose to keep Aaron Laffey in the bullpen. Lofgren (2-0, 1.33) remains a long-term project back in Double-A.
- Aaron Cook
- Ubaldo Jimenez
- Jason Marquis
- Jason Hammel
- Jorge De La Rosa
Week 6 two-starter(s): Marquis and Hammel. They pitch Wednesday
and Thursday vs. the Astros and are likely to be questionable two-start
Starters on the DL: Franklin Morales (shoulder) and Jeff Francis (shoulder, out for the season). Morales looks ready to begin a rehab assignment that could lead him to a June return. Watch his progress in the coming weeks.
Starters to watch in the minors: Greg Smith (7-day DL), Jason Hirsh , Greg Reynolds , Jhoulys Chacin and Keith Weiser. They have depth at this point, but none of it is all that promising right now. Chacin is the elite prospect, but he will get a full season in the minors before a potential September call-up.
- Justin Verlander
- Edwin Jackson
- Armando Galarraga
- Rick Porcello
- Dontrelle Willis
Week 6 two-starter(s): Willis. We can't wait to see him Wednesday
at Minnesota. A good outing will make him the most-added player in
Fantasy Baseball -- a bad one will make him the most-dropped. It's a big
start for the D-Train. We say hop on board!
Starters on the DL: Jeremy Bonderman (shoulder). He is nearly ready for a rehab assignment that could make him a mid-June returnee. If the Rockies' Cook can return from that procedure, we surely believe Bonderman will.
Starters to watch in the minors: Scot Drucker and Chris Lambert . Willis, Nate Robertson and perhaps even Zach Miner will get looks before a Tigers prospect does. They aren't real exciting.
- Ricky Nolasco
- Josh Johnson
- Chris Volstad
- Andrew Miller
- John Koronka
Week 6 two-starter(s): Nolasco and Johnson. They pitch Wednesday
and Thursday and will very likely be must-start options in Fantasy Week
7 (May 18-24).
Starters on the DL: Anibal Sanchez (shoulder) and Rick VandenHurk (elbow). Sanchez is out until after the All-Star break at this point, while VandenHurk could be a factor by mid-June.
Starters to watch in the minors: Sean West , Ryan Tucker , Brett Sinkbeil and Aaron Thompson . It is the journeyman Koronka getting the call right now. Their prospects have some work to do at this point.
- Roy Oswalt
- Wandy Rodriguez
- Mike Hampton
- Felipe Paulino
- Brian Moehler
Week 6 two-starter(s): Hampton. He could prove to be a sleeper if
he can make a quality start Wednesday at Colorado.
Starters on the DL: Brandon Backe (side). Backe is just two rehab starts away, so Paulino and Moehler will be pitching for the No. 5 starter's spot Sunday and Friday, respectively.
Starters to watch in the minors: Bud Norris . He is just 1-2, but he has a 2.04 ERA and a .214 batting-average against in Triple-A. The 24-year-old looks like a potential June 1 call-up. If he keeps pitching like this, he could be a late May guy.
Kansas City Royals
- Zack Greinke
- Gil Meche
- Kyle Davies
- Brian Bannister
- Luke Hochevar
Week 6 two-starter(s): Bannister. He could make himself an
advisable option if he tosses up another solid outing Wednesday at
Starters on the DL: None.
Starters to watch in the minors: Dan Cortes . He is not pitching well enough to challenge any of this starting five. If the Royals need starters, they are likely to go back to Sidney Ponson or Horacio Ramirez out of long relief.
Los Angeles Angels
- John Lackey expected to return from the DL on Saturday
- Ervin Santana expected to return from the DL on Thursday
- Joe Saunders
- Jered Weaver
- Matt Palmer
Week 6 two-starter(s): Palmer and Santana. They pitch Wednesday
and Thursday. Santana is likely a must-start with or without two starts,
while Palmer is just as likely to lose his rotation spot to
as he is to be a two-starter. Watch the Angels rotation
news closely if you are counting on Palmer or Loux in AL-only formats.
Starters on the DL: Kelvim Escobar (shoulder) and Dustin Moseley (elbow). Escobar is no better than early to mid-June, and Moseley is not ready for a rehab assignment yet.
Starters to watch in the minors: Jordan Walden , Sean O'Sullivan , Anthony Ortega and Trevor Reckling . The first two are solid prospects, but the returns of Lackey and Santana as soon as this week will give the Angels too much depth to dig deeper into their system this year.
Los Angeles Dodgers
- Chad Billingsley
- Randy Wolf
- Clayton Kershaw
- Eric Stults
- Jeff Weaver
Week 6 two-starter(s): Billingsley. He is a must-start in all
Starters on the DL: Hiroki Kuroda (shoulder) and Jason Schmidt (shoulder). They are both ready to begin rehab assignments soon, which could mean June returns. Schmidt would likely get a full rehab stint, while Kuroda would likely be brought back as soon as he feels right. The latter won't happen for Fantasy Week 7 (May 18-24).
Starters to watch in the minors: Josh Lindblom . He is 2-2, 4.18 in Double-A with a 25-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He could help Fantasy owners by the end of this season.
- Yovani Gallardo
- Jeff Suppan
- Manny Parra
- Braden Looper
- Dave Bush
Week 6 two-starter(s): Looper. He could prove to be a sleeper if
he pitches well Wednesday.
Starters on the DL: None.
Starters to watch in the minors: Jeremy Jeffress . He is 1-1, 5.06 and on too tight of a pitch count to be considered a potential midseason call-up at this point.
- Scott Baker
- Francisco Liriano
- Glen Perkins
- Kevin Slowey
- Nick Blackburn
Week 6 two-starter(s): Perkins and Baker. They could prove to be
advisable options with solid starts Wednesday and Thursday vs. the
Starters on the DL: Boof Bonser (shoulder, out for the season).
Starters to watch in the minors: Anthony Swarzak and Kevin Mulvey . We don't see the Twins needing a starter this season, because all of these guys are young and proving healthy and promising.
New York Mets
- Johan Santana
- Mike Pelfrey
- John Maine
- Livan Hernandez
- Jonathon Niese
Week 6 two-starter(s): Perhaps Niese. He is being evaluated on a
start-to-start basis and needs a strong outing vs. Atlanta on Wednesday
just to keep his rotation spot.
Starters on the DL: Tim Redding (shoulder) and Oliver Perez (knee). Redding is ready whenever the Mets want to go to him. They will see how Niese does for at least one more start. Redding could be a two-start returnee next week, though. Perez will be given a few weeks before he goes on a month-long rehab assignment at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: Bradley Holt and Tobi Stoner . Holt and Stoner are ready for Double-A, but that is still a long ways away from being ready for New York City.
New York Yankees
- CC Sabathia
- A.J. Burnett
- Andy Pettitte
- Joba Chamberlain
- Phil Hughes
Week 6 two-starter(s): Pettitte and Sabathia. They pitch
Wednesday and Thursday at Toronto for must-start, two-start status.
Starters on the DL: Chien-Ming Wang (hip). Wang will make a rehab start Tuesday night in Triple-A and could be ready to take Hughes' rotation spot before Fantasy Week 7 (May 18-24). Track this news through the weekend.
Starters to watch in the minors: Kei Igawa and Ian Kennedy (shoulder, might be out for the season). Igawa might never get another look with the Yankees, while Kennedy's surgery likely puts him out for the season. Hughes will be sent back down to Triple-A soon.
- Dallas Braden
- Trevor Cahill
- Brett Anderson
- Josh Outman
- Sean Gallagher
Week 6 two-starter(s): Cahill and Outman. They pitch Tuesday and
Wednesday and could prove to be sleepers for deeper leagues in Fantasy
Week 7 (May 18-24) if they pitch well.
Starters on the DL: Justin Duchscherer (elbow). The Duke might be returning in mid-June, but it might be as a reliever initially. Track him in the coming weeks.
Starters to watch in the minors: Dana Eveland , Gio Gonzalez , Vin Mazzaro and James Simmons . Gonzalez and Mazzaro are the intriguing prospects, but until Cahill and Anderson get some Fantasy relevance we don't see these guys having any.
- Cole Hamels
- Brett Myers
- Jamie Moyer
- Joe Blanton
- Chan Ho Park
Week 6 two-starter(s): Hamels. He goes Thursday and figures to be
a must-start, two-start pitcher again.
Starters on the DL: None.
Starters to watch in the minors: Kyle Kendrick , Carlos Carrasco , Joe Savery , Antonio Bastardo and Kyle Drabek . J.A. Happ is likely to make a spot start as a No. 6 starter in a doubleheader Saturday vs. the Nationals, which could position him to replace Park as the No. 5 starter in Fantasy Week 7 (May 18-24). Watch Park on Tuesday and Sunday, in addition to Happ's first start Saturday. Anyone getting starts for the Phillies will have decent Fantasy value.
- Paul Maholm
- Zach Duke
- Ian Snell
- Ross Ohlendorf
- Jeff Karstens
Week 6 two-starter(s): Ohlendorf and Karstens. Even with solid
starts Wednesday and Thursday vs. the Cardinals, you have to figure they
will be risky options.
Starters on the DL: Phil Dumatrait (shoulder). He has not yet begun a rehab assignment, so he won't be a candidate to return before mid-June.
Starters to watch in the minors: Tom Gorzelanny , Brad Lincoln , Bryan Morris and Daniel McCutchen . Gorzelanny (1-1, 4.37) has been better of late, but he needs to be great in Triple-A as a Pirates starting pitcher candidate for him to be worth tracking in most Fantasy leagues.
San Diego Padres
- Jake Peavy
- Chris Young
- Kevin Correia
- Josh Geer
- Chad Gaudin
Week 6 two-starter(s): Young. He pitches Wednesday at Chicago and
could prove to be a nice two-start option in most formats next week.
Starters on the DL: Walter Silva (forearm), Shawn Hill (elbow) and Cha Seung Baek (elbow). Baek and Hill will need into June, while Silva could be a factor to take a back-end rotation spot before then.
Starters to watch in the minors: Cesar Carrillo , Nick Schmidt , Wade LeBlanc , Will Inman and perhaps Mark Prior . None of these guys are all that intiguing as fliers right now. Give them well into summer to sort themselves out.
San Francisco Giants
- Tim Lincecum
- Randy Johnson
- Matt Cain
- Barry Zito
- Jonathan Sanchez
Week 6 two-starter(s): Zito. The comeback player of the year
candidate goes Wednesday vs. the lowly Nationals and could finally be an
advisable two-start pitcher again. We like the turn he has taken early
this year, especially for the notoriously slow starter.
Starters on the DL: Noah Lowry (elbow, shoulder). He might never pitch again, but he is still hoping to. He won't be back before these prospects arrive ...
Starters to watch in the minors: Madison Bumgarner , Tim Alderson and Kevin Pucetas . Bumgarner and Alderson have made impressive jumps to Double-A, debuting nicely. We didn't see them moving this soon, so perhaps we could see them arrive this summer now. Pucetas is more likely to help in long relief because of those surging elite prospects coming up behind him.
- Felix Hernandez
- Erik Bedard
- Jarrod Washburn
- Chris Jakubauskas
- Jason Vargas
Week 6 two-starter(s): Washburn and Hernandez. King Felix is a
must-start, while the resurgent Washburn could be a sleeper if he
pitches well again Wednesday at Texas, a tough task.
Starters on the DL: Ryan Rowland-Smith (biceps), Carlos Silva (shoulder) and Ryan Feierabend (elbow, out for the season). Rowland-Smith could begin a rehab assignment soon and be a factor before June. Silva will get plenty of time to build back up and might never be useful again.
Starters to watch in the minors: None. Their organization is not real ripe with pitching prospects now that Phillippe Aumont has been moved to relief. Aumont could be an impact reliever call-up, though.
St. Louis Cardinals
- Adam Wainwright
- Kyle Lohse
- Todd Wellemeyer
- Joel Pineiro
- Mitchell Boggs
Week 6 two-starter(s): Pineiro. He goes Wednesday at Pittsburgh
and could prove to be a sleeper in deeper leagues for Fantasy Week 7
Starters on the DL: Chris Carpenter (oblique) and Jaime Garcia (elbow, out for the season). Carpenter might not be far from beginning a rehab assignment, but the Cardinals want to be extra cautious, so don't expect him back until June at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: P.J. Walters and Clayton Mortensen . Jess Todd has been moved to relief, so Walters and Mortensen are the potential fill-in guys. That is about all they will be, though.
Tampa Bay Rays
- James Shields
- Scott Kazmir
- Matt Garza
- Andy Sonnanstine
- Jeff Niemann
Week 6 two-starter(s): Niemann and Shields. Shields is a
must-start, while Niemann is going to be evaluated on a start-to-start
basis. Consider him a risky option.
Starters on the DL: None.
Starters to watch in the minors: David Price and Wade Davis . Davis is outpitching Price. Had Price had a decent outing last time out, he could have arrived back in the majors. Price is just one start away, while Davis likely gets a full season in Triple-A.
- Kevin Millwood
- Vicente Padilla
- Brandon McCarthy
- Matt Harrison
- Scott Feldman
Week 6 two-starter(s): McCarthy. He pitches Wednesday vs. the
Mariners and should prove to be a nice sleeper in deeper formats. You
might want to take an early flier now, just in case.
Starters on the DL: Eric Hurley (shoulder, out for the season).
Starters to watch in the minors: Neftali Feliz , Michael Main , Tommy Hunter , Thomas Diamond and Kasey Kiker . The Rangers are getting surprising pitching and will get Josh Hamilton back. These guys figure to remain down on the farm a long time, hopefully for a full season for their sake.
Toronto Blue Jays
- Roy Halladay
- Scott Richmond
- Brett Cecil
- Robert Ray
- Brian Tallet
Week 6 two-starter(s): Richmond and Tallet. They could prove to
be sleepers if they pitch well Wednesday and Thursday.
Starters on the DL: Ricky Romero (oblique), Jesse Litsch (forearm), Dustin McGowan (shoulder) and Shaun Marcum (elbow). Romero is on a rehab assignment and could position himself for Fantasy Week 7 (May 18-24). Track his progress through the weekend. Litsch had a setback and is no better than late June, while McGowan and Marcum merely hope to pitch before the end of this season at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: David Purcey , Brad Mills , Casey Janssen and Marc Rzepczynski . Romero will get a call before these guys, but any one of them could be June 1 candidates. Ray and Tallet figure to lose their rotation spots by then. Rzepcyznski is the one back in Double-A, but he is on the one pitching the best, too.
- John Lannan
- Shairon Martis
- Jordan Zimmermann
- Scott Olsen
- Daniel Cabrera
Week 6 two-starter(s): Martis. He pitches Wednesday at San
Francisco and has a chance to prove to be a sleeper for deeper leagues.
The Nationals will need a No. 6 starter by Tuesday after Saturday's
doubleheader makes for six games in five days. We don't think that
fill-in starter will have any Fantasy value at this point.
Starters on the DL: Matt Chico (elbow). He won't be ready for a rehab assignment until late June at this point.
Starters to watch in the minors: Ross Detwiler , Josh Smoker and Colton Willems. The wait is on for the drafting, signing and call-up of Stephen Strasburg from San Diego State. The unfortunate issue for CBSSports.com users is we don't tend to add draft prospects to the database until they are drafted. That is just a few weeks away, but you have to figure Strasburg draws out the negotiation process to August, which might not make him a call-up until September.
You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball pitching questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Pitching Forecaster in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.
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