Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Wrighting the Ship

Friday, August 17, 2012

After missing the 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery, Adam Wainwright returned for the Cardinals this spring. Yet, while he was back, early in the season it didn't really seem like he was back.

The right-hander, who won 39 games between the 2009 and 2010 seasons and was a Top 3 Cy Young finisher both years, was strangely human in the early months. He finished April with a 7.32 ERA and continued to battle inconsistency in the following weeks. In the first half, Wainwright allowed multiple homers in a start four times; in the 2010 season, he did so once all year.

On the bright side, there were plenty of positive signs and dominant performances mixed in, and slowly but surely, Wainwright has returned to form. Since the All-Star break, he's been absolutely lights-out, with 4-1 record, 1.91 ERA and 40/6 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings spread across six starts. At this point, he appears to be fully back and has to be viewed as one of the most reliable options in the National League.

Fantasy owners can feel confident plugging him, along with other Strong Plays such as Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Madison Bumgarner and Jordan Zimmermann, into their lineups this week for two starts. AL-only players will have a tougher time finding appealing options, but among Decent Play take a hard look at Derek Holland, Brandon McCarthy and Gavin Floyd.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Jeremy Hellickson: KC (Smith), OAK (McCarthy)
Doug Fister: TOR (Romero), LAA (Santana)

Decent Plays

Ricky Romero: @DET (Fister), @BAL (Gonzalez)
Derek Holland: BAL (Tillman), MIN (De Vries)
Scott Feldman: BAL (Gonzalez), MIN (Duensing)
Kevin Millwood: CLE (Jimenez), @CWS (Floyd)
Brandon McCarthy: MIN (Duensing), @TB (Hellickson)
Freddy Garcia: @CWS (Floyd), @CLE (Jimenez)
Gavin Floyd: NYY (Garcia), SEA (Millwood)
Miguel Gonzalez: @TEX (Feldman), TOR (Romero)

At Your Own Risk

Ervin Santana: @BOS (Beckett), @DET (Fister)
Brian Duensing: @OAK (McCarthy), @TEX (Feldman)
Cole De Vries: @OAK (McCarthy), @TEX (Holland)
Will Smith: @TB (Hellickson), @BOS (Lester)
Ubaldo Jimenez: @SEA (Millwood), NYY (Garcia)

National League

Strong Plays

Adam Wainwright: HOU (Harrell), @CIN (Bailey)
Jordan Zimmermann: ATL (Hudson), @PHI (Lee)
Madison Bumgarner: @LAD (Kershaw), ATL (Minor)
Cliff Lee: CIN (Bailey), WAS (Zimmermann)
Roy Halladay: CIN (Leake), WAS (Gonzalez)
Matt Harvey: COL (Chacin), HOU (Harrell)
R.A. Dickey: COL (White), HOU (Galarraga)
Clayton Kershaw: SF (Bumgarner), MIA (Buehrle)
Tim Hudson: @WAS (Zimmermann), @SF (Lincecum)

Decent Plays

Tim Lincecum: @LAD (Blanton), ATL (Hudson)
Edinson Volquez: PIT (Correia), @ARI (Saunders)
Mark Rogers: CHC (Germano), @PIT (Karstens)
Mark Buehrle: @ARI (Saunders), @LAD (Kershaw)
Lucas Harrell: @STL (Wainwright), @NYM (Harvey)
Homer Bailey: @PHI (Lee), STL (Wainwright)
Joe Saunders: MIA (Buehrle), SD (Volquez)
Mike Leake: @PHI (Halladay), STL (Garcia)

At Your Own Risk

Jhoulys Chacin: @NYM (Harvey), @CHC (Volstad)
Alex White: @NYM (Dickey), @CHC (Raley)

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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