Plumbing the Depths for Week 14
Which pitchers can you pluck off the waiver wire as a short-term fix in Week 14? Our Al Melchior breaks down the upcoming matchups for some lesser-owned starters.
It will soon be last call to set your Fantasy rotations before the majors' 30 managers hit the "Reset" button on their own rotations just after the All-Star break.
While many of your favorite deep-league options will get a rest during the short week after the break, there are several familiar names who are avaialble to use in Fantasy Week 14 (July 2-8). Daisuke Matsuzaka, Chris Young, Josh Tomlin and Josh Collmenter are all pitchers who have had some appeal in standard mixed leagues in recent seasons, but none is currently owned in as many as 30 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com. Each however, has an opportunity to help owners in a much larger share of leagues down the road, and in some cases, as soon as next week. For those, like Matsuzaka, who have a challenging matchup in their immedidate future, it's still worth considering a waiver move now, as long as you have a reserve spot available.
Below are some of more enticing options for a pickup and possibly a start outside of standard mixed leagues in Week 14. All stats are current for games through Wednesday, June 27.
Deeper league two-start options
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox
Projected matchups: @OAK (Parker), NYY (Hughes)
2012 stats: 0-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 20 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 28/16
Outlook: After winding up with a 6.06 ERA after starts against the Nationals, Cubs and Marlins, there was little reason for owners outside of the deepest leagues to take an interest in Matsuzaka. However, he emerged from those first three outings with a 1.10 WHIP, and then he shut down the Blue Jays on Tuesday, allowing seven baserunners in 5 2/3 innings, but only letting one of them score. Most surprising about Dice-K's performance so far has been his sharp control. His track record suggests that he won't continue to throw 65 percent of his pitches for strikes, but even with some dropoff, he should be worth using in deeper mixed leagues. With an upcoming start against the Yankees, only AL-only owners should keep Matsuzaka active but at least some mixed league owners should pick him up and stash him for better weeks ahead.
Andrew Cashner, Padres
Projected matchups: @ARI (Bauer), CIN (Cueto)
2012 stats: 3-3, 3.81 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 34 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 26/13
Outlook: If Cashner lives up to the hype, he won't be merely a deeper league option for long. In fact, he could be worth stashing in standard mixed leagues if you have some deadwood to clear on your bench. Like teammate Edinson Volquez, Cashner has some control issues, but he's capable of helping out with strikeouts. Between his ground ball tendencies and favorable home park, home runs shouldn't hinder Cashner much. Though his inexperience as a major league starter makes him a risk, now is the time to roster Cashner. He could even have a decent Week 14, facing a Reds team that is far less potent on the road than at home.
|1.||Jair Jurrjens, SP, Braves||33|
|2.||Bobby Parnell, RP, Mets||27|
|3.||Franklin Morales, RP, Red Sox||18|
|4.||Dillon Gee, SP, Mets||17|
|5.||Jake Westbrook, SP, Cardinals||16|
|6.||Jose Quintana, RP, White Sox||16|
|7.||Trevor Bauer, SP, D-Backs||15|
|8.||Andrew Cashner, RP, Padres||14|
|9.||Roy Oswalt, SP, Rangers||13|
|10.||Glen Perkins, RP, Twins||13|
Marco Estrada, Brewers
Projected matchups: MIA (Zambrano), @HOU (Rodriguez)
2012 stats: 0-3, 4.50 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 46 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 14/8
Outlook: The big gap between Estrada's low WHIP and high ERA is indicative of both his strong command and chronic gopheritis. He has been hitting the strike zone consistently this year, and the resulting lack of contact and paucity of walks has been a boon to his WHIP. On the other hand, Estrada has yielded an alarming 2.1 homers per nine innings. He should get away with his strong flyball tendencies against the floundering Marlins, and a good start at Houston is not out of the question either. Estrada is not only a must start for NL-only owners this coming week, but he's a deeper mixed league option as well.
Joe Kelly, Cardinals
Projected matchups: COL (Francis), MIA (Sanchez)
2012 stats: 1-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 11 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 7/4
Outlook: Despite an arsenal that features a mid-90s fastball, Kelly is not a pitcher to pick up if all you need are Ks. However, the slim righty had dramatically improved his control at Triple-A this season, and he has carried those gains over into his first stint in the majors. There's nothing in his skill profile that screams "standard mixed league starter," but more owners in deeper mixed and NL-only leagues should be making room for him. Consider this: Kelly's peripheral stats are not markedly different from Jose Quintana's, yet the White Sox rookie is owned in nearly five times as many leagues. At the very least, pick up Kelly as a deeper mixed league two-start option, as he has great matchups at home against the Rockies and Marlins.
Everett Teaford, Royals
Projected matchups: @TOR (Romero), @DET (Scherzer)
2012 stats: 0-1, 5.06 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 9 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 1/0
Outlook: Teaford has gotten off to a poor start in his first four appearances with the Royals this year, but owners should expect something a little closer to the solid stats (3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) he posted in 2011. He is simply too good at inducing grounders and commanding the strike zone to keep a stat line as ugly as the one he currently owns. In future weeks, the southpaw could have some appeal for deeper mixed league owners, but with a pair of solid lineups on his docket in Week 14, Teaford is strictly an AL-only option -- albeit a solid one -- for now.
Waiver wire targets
Franklin Morales, Red Sox
Projected matchups: @OAK (Griffin)
2012 stats: 1-1, 3.12 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 37 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 22/17
Outlook: Morales' ability to get whiffs and Ks didn't diminish in his first two turns in the Boston rotation; in fact, he raised both rates in his starts against the Cubs and Braves. His next opponent, the A's, are even more prone to striking out than either of his previous foes. Walks haven't been an issue either, as he has thrown 66 percent of his pitches for strikes over his 34 2/3 innings. Maybe these are all small-sample artifacts, but with Oakland's once-hot offense slowing down, it looks like another good week to start Morales outside of standard mixed leagues.
Chris Young, Mets
Projected matchups: PHI (Kendrick)
2012 stats: 1-1, 3.42 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 12 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 17/9
Outlook: Because Young is so prone to flyballs, the rule of thumb with him is to avoid him at all costs when facing a power-hitting lineup or starting in a home run park. His matchup against the Phillies is a borderline case, so Young should probably sit outside of NL-only leagues in Week 14. However, because of the potential for great starts in many of his matchups, his ownership rate should be higher than it currently is. If you're avoiding Young because of his high WHIP, you may be unneccesarily missing out on a superior alternative to someone on your deeper league roster. Because he is a popup machine, Young's career BABIP is a puny .254, but so far this year, he is burdened with a .321 mark. It's practically unthinkable that opposing hitters will continue to bat .462 on grounders against him going forward.
Travis Blackley, Athletics
Projected matchups: SEA (Vargas)
2012 stats: 1-2, 3.69 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 28 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 9/6
Outlook: After years of mediocrity and obscurity, it's hard to buy into Blackley's success as a rotation fill-in. There's nothing that stands out in his skill profile that would make you think he can sustain this level of success, but he is just good enough at missing bats and avoiding hard contact to succeed against weaker lineups. Since becoming a starter, the schedule has worked in his favor as he has faced the Twins, Padres, Dodgers and Mariners, and he posted good starts against all of them. Blackley has also been clobbered by the Rangers and Diamondbacks. The good news for Blackley's owners is that he gets the M's again next week, and their offense has slowed down considerably in the month of June. He's a must-start in AL-only leagues for the coming scoring period, but owners have to watch his upcoming matchups closely.
Josh Tomlin, Indians
Projected matchups: TB (Hellickson)
2012 stats: 3-5, 5.70 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 41 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 9/4
Outlook: As with Estrada, Tomlin can be a boon for both WHIP and ERA, as long as he can avoid the long ball. That's a very big "if," as Tomlin has already allowed 11 dingers in just 66 1/3 innings. To be fair, though, he has allowed five of those just in the past two weeks, having given up three homers at Yankee Stadium and two at Great American Ball Park. Over his career, Tomlin has been a far better pitcher at home, and especially against a middling power team like the Rays, he should be a safe start in Week 14 in AL-only leagues and the deepest mixed league formats.
Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks
Projected matchups: LAD (Kershaw)
2012 stats: 0-2, 4.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 41 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 6/2
Outlook: With wild swings between hot and cold streaks, Collmenter was an absolute enigma as a rookie. He hasn't been any easier to figure out this season. After getting clobbered in the rotation to start the year, he has excelled as a reliever, getting more swinging strikes and grounders. Since his demotion to the bullpen, Collmenter has been throwing more cutters and getting more breaking action on them, but he's also faced a soft schedule. It's not clear which factor has played the bigger role in Collmenter's latest resurgence, but now that he is back in the rotation, he is worth a try at least for the coming week. The Dodgers have the majors' lowest batting average and Isolated Power for the month of June, and that should help Collmenter help you, even in deeper mixed leagues.
Vulnerable rotation spots
Astros: With Bud Norris (knee) coming off the DL on Friday, the Astros will expand their rotation to a six-man unit, and they will keep it that way until the All-Star break. The team has not yet decided what will happen once the second half begins, but owners of Dallas Keuchel and Jordan Lyles should be prepared to find a replacement by the time Week 15 (July 9-15) rolls around.
Royals: The Kansas City Star reports that Luis Mendoza and Jonathan Sanchez could be in danger of losing their rotation spots if they don't improve their performance. Doug Davis would probably be the first to get the call from Triple-A, though prospects Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery could also get some consideration. While owners of Mendoza and Sanchez may need to find other alternatives, Odorizzi and Montgomery in particular could be intriguing pickups.
Yankees: Freddy Garcia and Adam Warren will get the first shots to replaced the injured CC Sabathia (groin) and Andy Pettitte (ankle) in the Yankees' suddenly-depleted rotation. While Sabathia could return after the All-Star break, Pettitte will need a longer-term replacement, and it won't necessarily be either Garcia or Warren. David Phelps could be recalled from the minors to fill the vacancy, or the team could pursue an option on the trade market. For now, none of the internal options are worth owning outside of AL-only leagues.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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