Week 22 Fantasy Pitching Planner
Some early-season stars are starting to get shut down as teams fall out of the race. Our Al Melchior takes a glance at the current landscape in the Week 22 edition of his Pitching Planner.
Next week the calendar flips to September, and leaves won't be the only things falling. With major league rosters expanding on Sept. 1, minor league callups and pitchers coming off the DL will be entering rotations as the month unfolds, and that means other pitchers will lose starts -- and Fantasy value.
One of the early casualties will be Jordan Zimmermann, who made his last start of the season on Sunday, as the Nationals want to minimize his innings and protect his arm. The Mariners are going to a six-man rotation in an effort to limit Michael Pineda's usage, and the Rangers are keeping tabs on the innings of Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison.
Aside from Zimmermann and Harrison (who will have his next start skipped, shifting him from two- start to one-start status), none of the pitchers mentioned above is likely to be impacted in Fantasy Week 22 (Aug. 29-Sept. 4), but now is the time to prepare to replace your young starters who may become less reliable sources of innings. Many of the most popular waiver options, like Mike Minor and Fausto Carmona, are already members of a rotation, but owners should also consider some of the pitchers who are likely to take on the innings of those who will be replaced. Stephen Strasburg (80 percent ownership rate) is the most notable September addition, but Philip Humber (46 percent) and Josh Tomlin (78 percent) should be returning to their respective teams in the coming weeks, and Anthony Vasquez (less than one percent) and Scott Feldman (one percent) will likely help the Mariners and Rangers to protect their young arms.
For the most part, rotations will remain fairly stable for Week 22. Below is our interactive Starting Pitchers Tool, which lists every starter scheduled or likely to start a game in the coming week. The tool contains information on each starter's matchups and ownership rates, but if you're looking for a more detailed accounting of some of next week's borderline options, you find those just below the tool.
Borderline Two-Start Pitchers
Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati: Arroyo just may be salvaging a miserable season. He has posted quality starts in four out of his last five tries, compiling a 2.91 ERA and 1.15 WHIP along the way, but he remains a flyball-dispensing machine. In his recent stretch, Arroyo has been allowing fewer homers and inducing more infield flies, but that may have something to do with his schedule, which has pitted him against the Astros, Cubs, Padres, Nationals and Marlins. In Week 22, Arroyo will face the fearsome Phillies and Cardinals. In another week, he might be a viable two-start pitcher, but with these matchups, Arroyo is still too risky.
Homer Bailey, Cincinnati: Bailey gets the same tough matchups that his teammate Arroyo does, but Bailey has been less homer-prone and less susceptible to contact. Though he has had a couple of clunkers, for the most part, Bailey has been effective since the All-Star break, putting up quality starts five times in eight appearances. That's enough to make him a safe bet in a two-start week.
|1.||Roy Halladay, SP, Phillies||@CIN, @FLA|
|2.||Clayton Kershaw, SP, Dodgers||SD, @ATL|
|3.||Tim Lincecum, SP, Giants||CHC, ARI|
|4.||Ricky Romero, SP, Blue Jays||TB, @NYY|
|5.||Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers||KC|
|6.||Cliff Lee, SP, Phillies||@CIN|
|7.||Jered Weaver, SP, Angels||MIN|
|8.||Zack Greinke, SP, Brewers||@HOU|
|9.||Ian Kennedy, SP, D'backs||@SF|
|10.||CC Sabathia, SP, Yankees||@BOS|
|11.||Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners||LAA|
|12.||Dan Haren, SP, Angels||@SEA|
|13.||Cole Hamels, SP, Phillies||@CIN, @FLA|
|14.||Shaun Marcum, SP, Brewers||STL, @HOU|
|15.||David Price, SP, Rays||BAL|
|16.||Josh Beckett, SP, Red Sox||NYY|
|17.||Jon Lester, SP, Red Sox||NYY|
|18.||Daniel Hudson, SP, D'backs||COL, @SF|
|19.||Ryan Vogelsong, SP/RP, Giants||CHC, ARI|
|20.||Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Astros||PIT, MIL|
|21.||Matt Garza, SP, Cubs||@SF|
|22.||Yovani Gallardo, SP, Brewers||STL|
|23.||Ervin Santana, SP, Angels||@SEA|
|24.||Jair Jurrjens, SP, Braves||WAS, LAD|
|25.||Matt Cain, SP, Giants||ARI|
|26.||Jeremy Hellickson, SP/RP, Rays||@TEX, BAL|
|27.||Chad Billingsley, SP, Dodgers||@PIT|
|28.||Brandon Beachy, SP, Braves||LAD|
|29.||Madison Bumgarner, SP, Giants||CHC|
|30.||Max Scherzer, SP, Tigers||KC, CHW|
|31.||Mat Latos, SP, Padres||@LAD, COL|
|32.||Justin Masterson, SP, Indians||@KC|
|33.||James Shields, SP, Rays||@TEX|
|34.||Tim Hudson, SP, Braves||LAD|
|35.||C.J. Wilson, SP, Rangers||TB|
|36.||Hiroki Kuroda, SP, Dodgers||SD, @ATL|
|37.||Johnny Cueto, SP, Reds||@STL|
|38.||Ryan Dempster, SP, Cubs||PIT|
|39.||Jhoulys Chacin, SP, Rockies||@SD|
|40.||Chris Carpenter, SP, Cardinals||CIN|
|41.||Erik Bedard, SP, Red Sox||TEX|
|42.||Mark Buehrle, SP, White Sox||MIN, @DET|
|43.||R.A. Dickey, SP, Mets||FLA, @WAS|
|44.||Trevor Cahill, SP, Athletics||@CLE, SEA|
|45.||Vance Worley, SP/RP, Phillies||@CIN|
|46.||Michael Pineda, SP, Mariners||@OAK|
|47.||Gio Gonzalez, SP, Athletics||@CLE|
|48.||Roy Oswalt, SP, Phillies||@FLA|
|49.||Brandon McCarthy, SP, Athletics||@CLE, SEA|
|50.||Javier Vazquez, SP, Marlins||@NYM|
|51.||Charlie Morton, SP, Pirates||@HOU, @CHC|
|52.||John Danks, SP, White Sox||@DET|
|53.||Ivan Nova, SP, Yankees||TOR|
|54.||Tim Stauffer, SP/RP, Padres||@LAD|
|55.||Anibal Sanchez, SP, Marlins||@NYM, PHI|
|56.||Phil Hughes, SP, Yankees||@BOS|
|57.||Jeff Niemann, SP, Rays||@TEX|
|58.||Ricky Nolasco, SP, Marlins||@NYM, PHI|
|59.||Cory Luebke, SP/RP, Padres||COL|
|60.||Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Indians||OAK|
|61.||Mike Leake, SP, Reds||PHI|
|62.||Ted Lilly, SP, Dodgers||SD|
|63.||Freddy Garcia, SP, N.Y. Yankees||@BAL, TOR|
|64.||Luke Hochevar, SP, Royals||@DET, CLE|
|65.||Brandon Morrow, SP, Blue Jays||@NYY|
|66.||Brett Cecil, SP, Blue Jays||@BAL, @NYY|
|67.||Alexi Ogando, SP/RP, Rangers||TB|
|68.||Bud Norris, SP, Astros||MIL|
|69.||Fausto Carmona, SP, Indians||OAK|
|70.||Homer Bailey, SP, Reds||PHI, @STL|
Blake Beavan, Seattle: Though Beavan barely strikes anyone out, his ERA (4.14) and WHIP (1.26) are respectable enough that he might look like a pitcher to trust in two-start weeks. Some good luck on balls in play (.279 BABIP despite a 21 percent line drive rate) has helped to lower both of those stats, but he is due for more blowups, like the ones he recently had against the Red Sox and Blue Jays. Save him for your AL-only leagues.
Trevor Cahill, Oakland: With a surprisingly strong effort against the Yankees on Wednesday, Cahill continues to mystify. He has been one of the least consistent starting pitchers this season, but owners can usually count on good production when Cahill faces a relatively weak opponent. Since he gets starts against the Indians and Mariners this coming week, Cahill should squeeze out enough production to be worth a start in standard mixed leagues.
Brett Cecil, Toronto: You certainly can't look to Cecil's matchups for comfort, as the flyball- inducing lefty goes to Camden Yards and Yankee Stadium, two of the AL's most notorious launching pads. Despite his proclivity for giving up homers, Cecil had been in a serious groove for nearly two months. From the beginning of July up until his Thursday night start against the Royals, his ERA was just 2.95, as a trim 13 percent line drive rate helped Cecil to hold opponents to a .209 batting average. His hot streak ended on Thursday, when he allowed five runs and took the loss versus Kansas City, but Cecil has been reliable enough on the whole over the last several weeks to be used in standard mixed leagues this coming week.
R.A. Dickey, N.Y. Mets: It seems as if I have been imploring owners to pick Dickey up all season long, but while his ownership rate has stayed flat, he continues to roll along. Dickey has run up six straight quality starts, and he has put up a 3.46 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in the process. If you need strikeouts, he's not the pitcher for you, but if you simply need someone is better-than-average at preventing baserunners and runs, Dickey's your guy. He also gets a pair of good matchups in Week 22, facing the Marlins and Nationals.
Freddy Garcia, N.Y. Yankees: Garcia (finger) will be activated off the DL to start on Monday at the Orioles, and then he'll get a second start on Sunday when the Blue Jays come to town. With a 3.16 ERA, Garcia is having a good season, but his upcoming two-start week is riskier than it may look. His low ERA is built on the back of a five percent home run per flyball rate, which is the lowest for any Yankees' starter by far. Garcia has been especially miserly with dingers lately, having not allowed one since June 7, when Jacoby Ellsbury hit a leadoff homer off him. Six of those ten homerless starts have been away from Yankee Stadium, and Garcia has faced a few of the majors' least powerful lineups along the way. Garcia is still an advisable two-start pitcher next week, but he's more of a low-end option than he may appear to be.
Luke Hochevar, Kansas City: Hochevar frustrated owners for a solid three-and-a-half years, showing glimmers of promise, but ultimately contributing little of use to a Fantasy roster. He has been an entirely different pitcher since this year's All-Star break. Hochevar is consistently missing bats, and when hitters do make contact, they are popping up more often and hitting fewer home runs and line drives. After eight games of improved performance, it's time to give the 27-year-old a chance to shine in standard mixed leagues. He's still not enough of a proven commodity to trust with only one start, but with two turns in the rotation ahead, Hochevar should make a positive contribution.
Brandon McCarthy, Oakland: With the A's moving Sunday's game up to Saturday as part of a doubleheader with Boston, McCarthy lost out on his second start for Week 21, but he gets it back for Week 22. While he mastered the Yankees' lineup last Tuesday, he gets an easier set of matchups next week with the Indians and Mariners. McCarthy's solid performance against the Bombers was not a one- shot deal, as he has been stymieing opponents all season with superb command. If you didn't start him for this week's expected pair of appearances, be sure to get him active in standard mixed leagues this time around.
Charlie Morton, Pittsburgh: It's been a season of ups and downs for Morton, but it looks like he has left his midseason struggles behind him, for the most part. In his four August starts entering Thursday, Morton had allowed just three earned runs over 28 1/3 innings. He's been walking fewer batters and getting more swings and misses. Morton did have a rough go on Thursday night against the Cardinals, but he is still a safe start against lesser opponents. It doesn't hurt that Morton gets two very favorable matchups next week, going up against Henry Sosa and the Astros and Randy Wells and the Cubs. This is as good a time as any to use Morton in a standard mixed league.
Alex White, Colorado: With only four major league starts on his resume, it may seem premature to trust White outside of NL-only leagues. Particularly with his move from pitcher-friendly Cleveland to thin-air Colorado, White might seem like an especially risky proposition for standard mixed league owners. However, White has had no problems getting strikeouts and grounders in his early big league showings, so if you get him away from Coors Field, he's an intriguing option in some shallower formats. Given that one of his road starts in Week 22 is at the majors' best pitchers' venue, PETCO Park, White can be considered as a low-end option in standard mixed leagues.
Other Add/Activate Targets
Fausto Carmona, Cleveland: It's been a torturous season's for Carmona's owners, but those who held onto him through his tough stretches are now being rewarded. He has been better since the All-Star break, and in particular, Fausto has really upped his game in several of his most recent starts. Not only is he back to being a reliable ground ball specialist, but he is showing the best command of his career. According to Baseball-Reference.com, 65 percent of Carmona's pitches from his last six starts have been for strikes, as compared to a 62 percent rate for his career. With an upcoming start against the A's, now is a good time to ride the hot hand.
Josh Collmenter, Arizona: Collmenter has put his owners on a roller-coaster ride, tossing in several duds along with his many gems this season. Still, the rookie has been good more often than he has been bad, and he has delivered at least 18 Fantasy points in 10 of his 19 starts. Collmenter hasn't needed bad matchups to succeed; in his two recent starts against the Phillies and Braves, he produced a combined total of 55 Fantasy points. However, he does get a very good matchup next week, as he gets a home start against the Rockies, who do not hit well on the road. That makes Collmenter a decent low- end option in standard mixed leagues.
Doug Fister, Detroit: As expected, the move to Detroit has been kind to Fister. In less than a month, he has already doubled his win total, from three to six, thanks to improved run support. Fister has been doing his part, being even more stingy with walks (only two over 28 2/3 innings with the Tigers) than he was as a Mariner. Because of a low strikeout rate, he isn't always reliable as a one-start option, but on Tuesday, Fister could dominate an impatient Royals lineup that has struggled to score runs over the past month.
Phil Hughes, N.Y. Yankees: Just as owners were starting to trust Hughes again, he got rocked by the A's on Thursday, getting knocked out in the third inning. This blemish on Hughes' record should not overshadow the fact that he entered the game on an impressive four-start run. In fact, since returning to the Yanks' rotation in June, Hughes has only had two starts in which he has allowed more than two earned runs, and that includes Thursday's meltdown. He should still be trusted in standard mixed leagues, even with a start against the Red Sox.
Mike Leake, Cincinnati: Prior to taming the Nationals on Saturday, Leake was tripped up in his two prior starts, as he allowed nine earned runs over a total of 12 innings against the Nats and Pirates. Half of the runs driven in against Leake came by way of the long ball, and that's the risk you take when you start allowing a higher proportion of flyballs. Leake is normally good at inducing grounders, so even with a pair of solo shots allowed in his Saturday start, this trend looks like an aberration. While it's a pattern that Leake's owners should watch, a trio of games is no reason to bench the normally-reliable righty, who ranks 14th in the NL in quality start percentage.
Brandon Morrow, Toronto: Starting Morrow is not an exercise for the faint of heart. He leads the major leagues in strikeout rate, but he also sports the highest line drive rate. Within the past month, Morrow had a four-game run where he dominated hitters, holding them to a measly .172 batting average and 10 earned runs over 27 2/3 innings. That streak was sandwiched by a pair of games in which he allowed a combined 12 earned runs over eight innings. There may be enough scary things about Morrow to make owners want to avoid him in a week when he faces the Yankees, but there are also reasons to put up with the risk. Like Leake, Morrow puts up good starts more often than bad ones, and in his previous outing against the Yankees this season, he fared well, allowing just one run over 6 2/ 3 innings. Barring more stable options, owners might as well give Morrow a try next week.
Tim Stauffer, San Diego: Stauffer appeared to overcome a recent two-game hiccup, during which he allowed an astounding eight home runs. Though his last two starts came against the weak- hitting Marlins and Giants, Stauffer got back to getting more ground balls, and those two squads are not particularly prone to hitting the ball on the ground. With another offensively-challenged lineup -- the Dodgers -- on Stauffer's horizon, he looks to be a reliable one-start alternative for Week 22.
Other Drop/Stash Targets
Bartolo Colon, N.Y. Yankees: Though he had a few disasters along the way, Colon had been going strong this year right into late July. Over the past month, though, the wheels have started to come off. Colon has averaged just under six innings in his last six starts, and he is starting to allow home runs, and flyballs in general, at alarming rates. In the outings just prior to his solid start at Baltimore on Sunday, Colon failed to contain the lineups of the Royals and A's. Colon has amassed 138 2/3 innings so far, and that's the most he has pitched since 2005. He seems to be wearing down, so it's time to give Colon a break from standard mixed league play.
Gavin Floyd, Chicago White Sox: With a strand rate of 64 percent, Floyd's 4.45 ERA entering Sunday's start against Seattle was partly the product of some bad luck. Then again, he hasn't done himself many favors by allowing more line drives lately, particularly over his last 11 starts. In Week 22, Floyd faces the Tigers who have one of the majors' highest line drive rates when they play at Comerica Park. Only owners in deeper formats should use Floyd next week.
Aaron Harang, San Diego: Harang has notched quality starts his last two times out, his first ones since July 14, but there still aren't many reasons to rejoice. First of all, the first of his victims -- the Marlins -- have been making most pitchers look like aces in recent weeks. Secondly, Harang needed 111 pitches to make it through six innings against Florida, and he walked five batters. He had better control against Arizona in his most recent start, but he had walked more than a batter every other inning over his previous seven turns in the rotation. A home start against the Rockies represents a good matchup, but any start for Harang is a risky one right now.
Rich Harden, Oakland: If you wanted to use Harden in a one-start scoring period, Week 22 might look like a good time to do it. Harden has been hoarding Ks as if they were about to become contraband, and next week he is set to face the Indians, one of the majors' most strikeout-happy teams. Even with those points in Harden's favor, he still has to get on the mound and perform. However, as his implosion against the Yankees on Thursday shows, Harden is just as likely to deliver a horrible outing as he is to pitch a gem. He's the ultimate high-reward, high-risk pitcher, but at least for next week, there are several more reliable options available.
Derek Holland, Texas: In past Pitching Planners, I have noted that Holland does not have a good track record against decent lineups, so he could find trouble in his Week 22 start at the Red Sox. There are weeks when Holland is advisable as a one-start pitcher, but he may not be safe to use until Fantasy Week 23 (Sept. 5-11), when he will face the A's.
Colby Lewis, Texas: Before the Rangers acquired Cliff Lee last season, Lewis was arguably the team's ace. While his performance may have fallen short of the level of a true ace (necessitating the Rangers' pickup of Lee), he was a quality arm, both for Texas and for Fantasy owners. He was rewarded this spring in many Fantasy drafts, but Lewis hasn't lived up to his draft position. He has given up far too many gopherballs, and his strikeout rate has been merely average. While Lewis can still be used in standard mixed leagues, he is just a "matchup guy" now, rather than a weekly staple. A Week 22 start in Boston would not be one of his more favorable matchups, so owners should sit Lewis outside of deeper leagues.
Mike Minor, Atlanta: Minor has been the most added starting pitcher on CBSSports.com over the past week, and some of the enthusiasm over the rookie was due to his two scheduled starts in Week 21 (the latter of which was rained out by Hurricane Irene). Minor has won four of his last five starts and has been striking out more than a batter per inning over that stretch, so many of his new owners may think about leaving him active for another week. While Minor could continue to pump out the Ks, he also tends to allow a high proportion of liners and flies. While he's paid for the former (1.49 WHIP, .373 BABIP), he has yet to feel the impact of the latter (one home run in 55 2/3 innings). Minor could have a very hard time outdueling Clayton Kershaw, so it's best to stash or drop Minor other than in NL-only leagues next week.
Might Not Start in Week 22
Nate Eovaldi, L.A. Dodgers: The Dodgers are planning on moving Eovaldi to the bullpen in order to curtail his innings, though they have not announced when he will be changing roles. The move could come as soon as Week 22, though he is currently scheduled to start on Friday in Atlanta.
Jaime Garcia, St. Louis: Garcia is having his next start skipped, as Brandon Dickson will be recalled from Triple-A Memphis to replace him. Though Garcia is being given extra rest, he may be used out of the bullpen over the next several days. The lefty will be re-inserted into the Cardinals' rotation during their upcoming homestand, but there is no guarantee that it will happen during Week 22.
Jeanmar Gomez, Cleveland: The Indians will need to find a short-term replacement for Josh Tomlin (elbow) while he is on the DL, and Gomez is the leading candidate. Joe Martinez would also be able to take Tomlin's next turn, which falls on Tuesday against the A's, on regular rest. Whoever does fill in will be the likely recipient of a two-start week.
Brad Hand, Florida: The Marlins will need a spot starter on Friday due to their Monday doubleheader against the Mets. Hand could be available for that start, and he has been the team's De facto sixth starter. However, no announcement has been made regarding the starter for that game or whether Hand will be recalled when rosters expand on Sept. 1.
Pat Misch, N.Y. Mets: The Mets will also need a spot start for Friday, and either Misch or Chris Schwinden will be recalled to fill in. Misch may be a better fit, as he can make the start on regular rest
|1.||Doug Fister, SP, Tigers||14|
|2.||Mike Minor, SP, Braves||14|
|3.||Wade Davis, SP, Rays||14|
|4.||Javier Vazquez, SP, Marlins||8|
|5.||Charlie Morton, SP, Pirates||8|
|6.||Brandon McCarthy, SP, Athletics||8|
|7.||Josh Collmenter, SP, D-Backs||7|
|8.||Bruce Chen, SP, Royals||7|
|9.||Ivan Nova, SP, Yankees||6|
|10.||Rich Harden, SP, Athletics||6|
Brad Peacock, Washington: The Nationals plan on recalling Peacock from Triple-A Syracuse sometime after Sept. 1. The team will need someone to take over Jordan Zimmermann's spot in the rotation, and Stephen Strasburg is not expected to be ready until Week 23. Peacock, along with Tom Milone, are candidates to fill in for Zimmermann, at least until Strasburg is activated.
Tim Wakefield, Boston: Though the Red Sox had previously planned on using Andrew Miller primarily out of the bullpen for the rest of the year, his last two performances have given manager Terry Francona reason to reconsider that plan. Wakefield's next start would come on Saturday against the Rangers, but he may return to the bullpen to make way for Miller.
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia: Hamels is on the DL with shoulder inflammation. He is scheduled to be activated on Monday in order to start at Cincinnati that evening.
Josh Tomlin, Cleveland: Tomlin went on the DL with a moderately strained right elbow on Friday. He is expected to pitch again this season and may spend the minimum 15 days on the disabled list.
Tommy Hanson, Atlanta: An MRI has revealed a small tear in Hanson's rotator cuff, and Dr. James Andrews will meet with the Braves' hurler on Monday to determine a course of action. Surgery may not be necessary, and Hanson could return before the end of the season.
Jonathan Sanchez, San Francisco: Sanchez (ankle) was placed on the DL retroactive to Aug. 17. There is a possibility that the lefty will not pitch in the majors again in 2011, and he will definitely not start in Week 22.
Philip Humber, Chicago White Sox: Humber was hit in the face by a line drive in his start against Cleveland on Aug. 18. He will make a Triple-A rehab start on Tuesday, and is expected to return to start one of the doubleheader games against the Twins on Sept. 5. Plan on activating Humber in deeper formats for Fantasy Week 23.
Stephen Strasburg, Washington: Strasburg (elbow) had a successful rehab start for Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday. Now he is scheduled to make a final rehab appearance this Thursday, possibly for Syracuse again, lining him up for a return to the Nationals' rotation in Week 23.
Francisco Liriano, Minnesota: Liriano was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday with a left posterior shoulder strain. An MRI showed no significant damage, though there is still no timetable for Liriano's return.
Jonathon Niese, N.Y. Mets Niese went on the DL on Wednesday with an intercostal strain. There is currently no timeline for his return.
Kevin Correia, Pittsburgh: Correia was placed on the 15-day disabled list last Monday with a strained left oblique. He will probably be out for the rest of the season. Brad Lincoln will take over Correia's spot in the Pirates' rotation.
Nick Blackburn, Minnesota: Blackburn has been on the DL since Monday, as he is dealing with an entrapped nerve in his forearm. There is no specific timetable for his activation. Anthony Swarzak is now occupying Blackburn's rotation spot.
Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyBB . You can also follow Al on Twitter ( @almelcbs ) and can e-mail us your questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Pitching Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state.
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