Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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A Busy Week Ahead

Friday, June 22, 2012

The upcoming week will be an eventful one for baseball, with full schedules almost across the board, so rather than focus on any one particular storyline I'll touch on a few different notes:

* There are tons of two-start options in both leagues, but the Senior Circuit clearly offers more upside. That's unsurprising considering that the NL has had some ridiculous pitching this year (Gio Gonzalez, one of the Strong Plays, currently ranks TENTH in the league with a 2.55 ERA). On the AL side, there are some intriguing options among the Decent Plays, many of whom figure to be available on waivers. I'd specifically take a look at Justin Grimm, Francisco Liriano and Chris Archer – I didn't quite feel comfortable labeling any of them Strong Plays yet (especially since Derek Holland and Jeremy Hellickson could return to supplant Archer and Grimm), but they could all have very good weeks.

* You might notice that Colorado has three two-start pitchers in the upcoming week, which is pretty unusual. That's because the desperate Rockies recently switched to a four-man rotation, imposing a 75-pitch limit on all their starters with the hopes of letting their superior bullpen make a larger impact on games.

In theory, this would be good news from a fantasy perspective, since it means more two-start pitchers, but given the ugly state of Colorado's rotation and the fact that starters will frequently be pulled after four or five innings, I'd recommend staying away from this situation.

* In looking over the lefty/righty match-ups, you'll notice that a few teams are looking ahead to lefty-loaded schedules. The Twins are slated to face left-handed starters in four of their seven games, meaning Josh Willingham (1109 OPS vs. LHP) should be in your lineup and Justin Morneau (.326 OPS vs. LHP) should be out. The Cubs are scheduled to draw lefties in four of their first five games – bad news for Bryan LaHair, who's hitting just .097 off southpaws. Meanwhile, the Padres will go against five lefty starters, including four straight to end the week, so consider benching Will Venable (.220 AVG. vs. LHP) and expect big things from Carlos Quentin (.421 AVG vs. LHP).

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Yu Darvish: DET (Smyly), OAK (Parker)
Hiroki Kuroda: CLE (Tomlin), CWS (Floyd)
C.J. Wilson: @BAL (Hunter), @TOR (Carreno)
Jake Peavy: @MIN (Hendriks), @NYY (Hughes)

Decent Plays

Justin Grimm: DET (Porcello), OAK (Milone)
Matt Moore: @KC (Mazzaro), DET (Smyly)
Chris Archer: @KC (Hochevar), DET (Porcello)
Tommy Milone: @SEA (Ramirez), @TEX (Grimm)
Phil Hughes: CLE (Masterson), CWS (Quintana)
Francisco Liriano: CWS (Gloyd), KC (Hochevar)
Vin Mazzaro: TB (Moore), @MIN (Hendriks)
Luke Hochevar: TB (Archer), @MIN (Liriano)
Rick Porcello: @TEX (Grimm), @TB (Archer)
Justin Masterson: @NYY (Hughes), @BAL (Hunter)
Daisuke Matsuzaka: TOR (Carreno), @SEA (Vargas)
Felix Doubront: TOR (Chavez), @SEA (Ramirez)

At Your Own Risk

Joel Carreno: @BOS (Matsuzaka), LAA (Wilson)
Jesse Chavez: @BOS (Doubront), LAA (Richards)
Jason Vargas: OAK (Parker), BOS (Matsuzaka)
Erasmo Ramirez: OAK (Milone), BOS (Doubront)
Liam Hendriks: CWS (Peavy), KC (Mazzaro)
Drew Smyly: @TEX (Darvish), @TB (Moore)
Gavin Floyd: @MIN (Liriano), @NYY (Kuroda)
Josh Tomlin: @NYY (Kuroda), @BAL (Arrieta)
Tommy Hunter: LAA (Wilson), CLE (Masterson)

National League

Strong Plays

Stephen Strasburg: @COL (Francis), @ATL (Delgado)
Gio Gonzalez: @COL (Friedrich), @ATL (Hudson)
Ryan Vogelsong: LAD (Kershaw), CIN (Arroyo)
James McDonald: @PHI (Worley), @STL (Westbrook)
Vance Worley: PIT (McDonald), @MIA (Nolasco)
Shaun Marcum: @CIN (Leake), ARI (Hudson)
Johan Santana: @CHC (Wood), @LAD (Eovaldi)
Dillon Gee: @CHC (Wells), @LAD (Kershaw)
Clayton Kershaw: @SF (Vogelsong), NYM (Gee)
Nathan Eovaldi: @SF (Zito), NYM (Santana)
Wandy Rodriguez: SD (Ohlendorf), @CHC (Garza)

Decent Plays

Jake Westbrook: @MIA (Nolasco), PIT (McDonald)
Erik Bedard: @PHI (Blanton), @STL (Lynn)
Ricky Nolasco: STL (Westbrook), PHI (Worley)
Jordan Lyles: SD (Bass), @CHC (Wood)
Bronson Arroyo: MIL (Gallardo), @SF (Vogelsong)
Mike Leake: MIL (Marcum), @SF (Zito)
Travis Wood: NYM (Santana), HOU (Lyles)
Tim Hudson: ARI (Hudson), WAS (Gonzalez)
Daniel Hudson: @ATL (Hudson), @MIL (Marcum)

At Your Own Risk

Barry Zito: LAD (Eovaldi), CIN (Leake)
Joe Blanton: PIT (Bedard), @MIA (Buehrle)
Jeff Francis: WAS (Strasburg), SD (Volquez)
Christian Friedrich: WAS (Gonzalez), SD (Ohlendorf)
Josh Outman: WAS (Zimmerman), SD (Bass)
Ross Ohlendorf: @HOU (Rodriguez), @COL (Friedrich)
Anthony Bass: @HOU (Lyles), @COL (Outman)

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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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