Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Rookie Showcase

Friday, August 12, 2011

The upcoming week provides an opportunity for some lesser-known rookies to shine on the two-start stage. As we move toward the final portion of the season, many clubs are slotting youngsters into their rotation, either with hopes of providing a late-season contention boost or with an eye toward the future. The list of fresh hurlers scheduled to toe the rubber twice includes Henderson Alvarez, Garrett Richards and Henry Sosa.

Of the three, the only one that can be confidently recommended is Alvarez of the Blue Jays, who was solid in his big-league debut and will face the weak-hitting Mariners and A's. Richards has a bright future but he struggled against the Yankees in his first start for the Angels and things won't get much easier with a home nod against the Rangers on deck. Meanwhile, Sosa will see how his live fastball plays against the Cubs and Giants.

With a relatively thin offering of top-flight options, especially in the AL, you might be inclined to take a flier on one of these unproven arms. All three will certainly be worth monitoring going forward. And if you're looking for more of a sure thing, well, there's always Cliff Lee.

Going Twice...

American League

Strong Plays
Brandon Morrow: @SEA (Vargas), @OAK (Moscoso)
Alexi Ogando: @LAA (Richards), @CWS (Peavy)

Decent Plays
Henderson Alvarez: @SEA (Pineda), @OAK (Gonzalez)
Derek Holland: @LAA (Chatwood), @CWS (Danks)
Wade Davis: @BOS (Bedard), SEA (Pineda)
Michael Pineda: TOR (Alvarez), @TB (Davis)
Guillermo Moscoso: BAL (Tillman), TOR (Morrow)
Gio Gonzalez: BAL (Hunter), TOR (Alvarez)
A.J. Burnett: @KC (Francis), @MIN (Blackburn)
Tyler Chatwood: TEX (Holland), BAL (Hunter)
Rick Porcello: MIN (Liriano), CLE (Jimenez)
Ubaldo Jimenez: @CWS (Floyd), @DET (Porcello)
Erik Bedard: TB (Davis), @KC (Francis)
Tommy Hunter: @OAK (Gonzalez), @LAA (Chatwood)

At Your Own Risk
Nick Blackburn: @DET (Verlander), NYY (Burnett)
Francisco Liriano: @DET (Porcello), NYY (Hughes)
Garrett Richards: TEX (Ogando), BAL (Reyes)
Jeff Francis: NYY (Burnett), BOS (Bedard)

National League

Strong Plays
Jake Westbrook: @PIT (McDonald), @CHC (Lopez)
Madison Bumgarner: @ATL (Hudson), @HOU (Lyles)
Cory Luebke: NYM (Niese), FLA (Sanchez)
Cliff Lee: ARI (Collmenter), @WAS (Detwiler)
Yovani Gallardo: LAD (Billingsley), @NYM (Dickey)
Mike Leake: @WAS (Detwiler), @PIT (McDonald)
Tommy Hanson: SF (Sanchez), ARI (Collmenter)
Tim Hudson: SF (Bumgarner), ARI (Marquis)

Decent Plays
Ross Detwiler: CIN (Leake), PHI (Lee)
Aaron Harang: NYM (Dickey), FLA (Hensley)
James McDonald: STL (Westbrook), CIN (Leake)
R.A. Dickey: @SD (Harang), MIL (Gallardo)
Randy Wolf: LAD (Lilly), @NYM (Capuano)
Chad Billingsley: @MIL (Gallardo), @COL (Millwood)
Ted Lilly: @MIL (Wolf), @COL (Rogers)
Anibal Sanchez: @COL (Chacin), @SD (Luebke)
Clay Hensley: @COL (Millwood), @SD (Harang)
Josh Collmenter: @PHI (Lee), @ATL (Hanson)

At Your Own Risk
Jonathan Sanchez: @ATL (Hanson), @HOU (Sosa)
Henry Sosa: CHC (Lopez), SF (Sanchez)
Kevin Millwood: FLA (Hensley), LAD (Billingsley)
Rodrigo Lopez: @HOU (Sosa), STL (Westbrook)

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, 8/17: Alfredo Simon @ OAK
Simon was roughed up by the Blue Jays in his last turn, but has been fairly reliable in favorable match-ups.

Wednesday, 8/17: Brandon McCarthy vs. BAL
On the flip side, you've got McCarthy, who has been absolutely fantastic as of late, particularly at home.

Friday, 8/19: Freddy Garcia @ MIN
With a 3.16 ERA, Garcia has been surprisingly effective. He should have no trouble with the light-hitting Twins at Target Field.

National League

Wednesday, 8/17: Mike Minor vs. SF
The talented young lefty will look to straighten things out at home against the Giants.

Wednesday, 8/17: Dillon Gee @ SD
Gee will look to build on his 10-3 record in Petco Park.

Friday, 8/19: Homer Bailey @ PIT
Bailey has been struggling as of late, but might be able to get back on track against the fledgling Pirates.

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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 @NickNelsonMN.
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