Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Ageless Wonder

Friday, June 24, 2011

How about the season Ryan Vogelsong is having? The 33-year-old entered the 2011 campaign with a 10-22 career record in the majors along with a 5.86 ERA, and hadn't pitched in the bigs since 2006. Yet, he's been a godsend for the Giants, quickly transitioning from the bullpen to the rotation, where he's been masterful.

In 11 starts, Vogelsong has gone 5-1 with a 1.99 ERA, allowing two or fewer runs every single time he's taken the mound. Eight of his past nine turns have been quality starts. His strikeout and walk rates are both the best of his career. Opposing hitters have routinely marveled at his stuff in post-game interviews.

Vogelsong appears atop of this week's "Strong Plays" among National League two-start pitchers, and I couldn't be happier to write him in there. What a great story. With match-ups against the Cubs and Mariners on deck, there's a good chance we'll see it last at least another week.

Going Twice...

American League

Strong Plays
C.J. Wilson: @HOU (Lyles), FLA (Vazquez)
Jeremy Hellickson: CIN (Cueto), STL (Lohse)
Gio Gonzalez: FLA (Vazquez), ARI (Kennedy)
Ervin Santana: WAS (Lannan), LAD (Billingsley)

Decent Plays
Jo-Jo Reyes: PIT (Correia), PHI (Lee)
Erik Bedard: ATL (Beachy), SD (Latos)
Freddy Garcia: MIL (Greinke), @NYM (Dickey)
Nick Blackburn: LAD (Billingsley), MIL (Greinke)
Jeff Francis: @SD (Latos), @COL (Hammel)
Max Scherzer: TOR (Stewart), SF (Bumgarner)
Mitch Talbot: @ARI (Kennedy), @CIN (Cueto)
Jeremy Guthrie: STL (Lohse), @ATL

At Your Own Risk
Zach Stewart: @DET (Scherzer), PHI (Halladay)
Andrew Miller: @PHI (Lee), @HOU (Lyles)

National League

Strong Plays
Ryan Vogelsong: @CHC (Davis), @SEA (Bedard)
Cliff Lee: BOS (Miller), @TOR (Reyes)
Kyle Lohse: @BAL (Guthrie), @TB (Hellickson)
Mat Latos: KC (Francis), @SEA (Bedard)
Zack Greinke: @NYY (Garcia), @MIN (Blackburn)
Chad Billingsley: @MIN (Blackburn), @LAA (Santana)
Jhoulys Chacin: @CHC (Garza), KC (Hochevar)
Johnny Cueto: @TB (Hellickson), CLE (Talbot)
Ian Kennedy: CLE (Talbot), @OAK (Gonzalez)
Matt Garza: COL (Chacin), CWS (Danks)
Brandon Beachy: @SEA (Bedard), BAL

Decent Plays
John Lannan: @LAA (Santana), PIT
Kevin Correia: @TOR (Reyes), @WAS (Marquis)
R.A. Dickey: @DET (Porcello), NYY (Garcia)
Jordan Lyles: TEX (Wilson), BOS (Miller)
Jason Hammel: CWS (Floyd), KC (Francis)

At Your Own Risk
Javier Vazquez: @OAK (Gonzalez), @TEX (Wilson)
Doug Davis: SF (Vogelsong), CWS (Humber)

Streamer City

The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:

American League

Wednesday, 6/29: Carlos Carrasco @ ARI
Carrasco has allowed only one run over his past three starts.

Wednesday, 6/29: Bruce Chen @ SD
Chen, freshly activated from the disabled list, owns a 4-1 record and 3.59 ERA this year. Meanwhile, the Padres offense is very, very bad.

National League

Wednesday, 6/29: Rubby de la Rosa @ MIN
The rookie has shown pretty good stuff since being called up directly from Double-A. Give him a look at the spacious confines of Target Field.

Friday, 7/1: Josh Collmenter @ OAK
Despite his 2.06 ERA and 0.86 WHIP, Collmenter remains unowned in just over half of all ESPN leagues.

Friday, 7/1: Juan Nicasio vs. KC
Nicasio has generally looked sharped since joining the big-league ranks, posting a 24/7 K/BB ratio over 28 2/3 innings.

continue story »
Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter at nnelson9.
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