Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Is This Jake Real or Fake?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Here in the early weeks of the season, it can be difficult to separate trend from mirage. Is a player who's off to a great start in the early stages of a big season or simply enjoying a spring hot streak? These are important determinations for fantasy owners.

One good example is a guy who is scheduled to start twice in the upcoming week for the White Sox: Jake Peavy. The right-hander has generally experienced nothing but turmoil since coming over from San Diego, but he's been spectacular over his first three starts this year, cruising to a 2-0 record with only 14 hits and six runs allowed in 19 2/3 innings.

Peavy has shown some flashes over the past couple seasons but has never been able to maintain, so the possibility exists that he'll lapse back into the same pattern. Still, the early signs have been roundly positive. The righty's velocity is up, his command is sharp and his 21/2 K/BB ratio is nothing short of spectacular. I'm plenty comfortable listing him as a strong play this week, especially with an opening match-up in Oakland.
Beyond Peavy, there are plenty of interesting storylines set to unfold in the week ahead. Will Cliff Lee pitch 22 innings between his pair of starts? Can Jamie Moyer, with two relatively favorable match-ups scheduled, get another win or two under his belt before turning 50? Will Matt Cain keep sizzling?

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Derek Holland: NYY (Kuroda), TB (Price)
David Price: LAA (Santana), @TEX (Holland)
Bartolo Colon: CWS (Peavy), @BAL (Hunter)
Jake Peavy: @OAK (Colon), BOS (Lester)
Jon Lester: @MIN (Marquis), @CWS (Peavy)
Josh Beckett: @MIN (Swarzark), @CWS (Floyd)

Decent Plays

Henderson Alvarez: @BAL (Hunter), SEA (Vargas)
Brandon Morrow: @KC (Chen), SEA (Millwood)
Jason Vargas: @DET (Scherzer), @TOR (Alvarez)
Hiroki Kuroda: @TEX (Holland), DET (Scherzer)
Ervin Santana: @TB (Price), @CLE (Lowe)
Bruce Chen: TOR (Morrow), @MIN (Liriano)
Max Scherzer: SEA (Vargas), @NYY (Kuroda)
Gavin Floyd: @OAK (Milone), BOS (Beckett)
Derek Lowe: KC, LAA (Santana)

At Your Own Risk

Jason Marquis: BOS (Lester), KC
Tommy Hunter: TOR (Alvarez), OAK (Colon)

National League

Strong Plays

Mark Buehrle: @NYM (Dickey), ARI (Hudson)
Jordan Zimmermann: @SD (Richard), @LAD (Capuano)
Matt Cain: @CIN (Latos), SD (Richard)
Madison Bumgarner: @NYM (Santana), SD (Bass)
Cliff Lee: @ARI (Hudson), CHC (Garza)
Zack Greinke: HOU (Harrell), @STL (Garcia)
Matt Garza: STL (Garcia), @PHI (Lee)

Decent Plays

Jaime Garcia: @CHC (Garza), MIL (Greinke)
Clayton Richard: WAS (Zimmermann), @SF (Cain)
R.A. Dickey: MIA (Buehrle), @COL (Moyer)
Johan Santana: SF (Bumgarner), @COL (Guthrie)
Chris Capuano: ATL (Jurrjens), WAS (Zimmermann)
Lucas Harrell: @MIL (Greinke), @CIN (Latos)
Jamie Moyer: @PIT, NYM (Dickey)
Mat Latos: SF (Cain), HOU (Harrell)
Daniel Hudson: PHI (Lee), @MIA (Buehrle)

At Your Own Risk

Jair Jurrjens: @LAD (Capuano), PIT

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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 at nnelson9.
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