Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Previewing MLB's First Week

Saturday, March 30, 2013


At long last, the 2013 baseball season is upon us. And fortunately, the MLB schedule makers had the decency this year to commence the campaign (for most teams) on a Monday, meaning that fantasy players will be able to enjoy a full-slate of two-start pitchers in Week One.

Welcome to The Week Ahead. This column will serve as an indispensable resource over the course of the season for fantasy players who want to gain an edge as they set their weekly lineups. Each Friday, we'll deliver every starter who is scheduled to go twice in the coming week, slotting them into three categories (Strong Plays, Decent Plays and At Your Own Risk) based on the pitcher's quality and the favorability of his match-ups.

In addition, each week we'll provide you with a number of AL and NL streamer suggestions – pitchers unowned in at least 50 percent of leagues that are worth grabbing for a particular start. Plus you'll find total weekly for every team, broken down into lefty/righty match-ups, and the latest injury news on prominent players.

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the column, feel free to drop me a line at nels2807@gmail.com. If you happen to dig the Minnesota Twins, you should also check out my website, Twins Daily, and follow me on Twitter @nnelson9.

I hope you find the column useful, and I hope you will all check in every week. Everyone except the Rotoworld writers in my fantasy league. Gleeman, Daugherty, Pouliot, et. al. You guys aren't allowed. Shoo.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

R.A. Dickey: CLE (Masterson), BOS (Lester)
David Price: BAL (Hammel), CLE (Masterson)
Felix Hernandez: @OAK (Anderson), @CWS (Axelrod)
Brett Anderson: SEA (Hernandez), @HOU (Bedard)
Jarrod Parker: SEA (Iwakuma), @HOU (Norris)
CC Sabathia: BOS (Lester), @DET (Verlander)
James Shields: @CWS (Sale), @PHI (Hamels)
Jered Weaver: @CIN (Cueto), @TEX (Harrison)
Chris Sale: KC (Shields), SEA (Iwakuma)
Justin Verlander: @MIN (Worley), NYY (Sabathia)

Decent Plays

Hisashi Iwakuma: @OAK (Parker), @CWS (Sale)
Vance Worley: DET (Verlander), @BAL (Hammel)
Jason Hammel: @TB (Price), MIN (Worley)

At Your Own Risk

Justin Masterson: @TOR (Dickey), @TB (Price)
Jon Lester: @NYY (Sabathia), @TOR (Dickey)

National League

Strong Plays

Stephen Strasburg: MIA (Nolasco), @CIN (Cueto)
Matt Cain: @LAD (Kershaw), STL (Wainwright)
Adam Wainwright: @ARI (Kennedy), @SF (Cain)
Cole Hamels: @ATL (Hudson), KC (Shields)
Jonathan Niese: SD (Volquez), MIA (Nolasco)
Clayton Kershaw: SF (Cain), PIT (Burnett)
Johnny Cueto: LAA (Weaver), WAS (Strasburg)
Tim Hudson: PHI (Hamels), CHC (Samardzija)

Decent Plays

A.J. Burnett: CHC (Samardzija), @LAD (Kershaw)
Marco Estrada: COL (De La Rosa), ARI (Kennedy)
Yovani Gallardo: COL (Chacin), ARI (Corbin)
Jeff Samardzija: @PIT (Burnett), @ATL (Hudson)
Ian Kennedy: STL (Wainwright), @MIL (Estrada)

At Your Own Risk

Edinson Volquez: @NYM (Niese), @COL (Chacin)
Ricky Nolasco: @WAS (Strasburg), @NYM (Niese)
Jhoulys Chacin: @MIL (Gallardo), SD (Volquez)

Streamer City

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

American League

Thursday, 4/4: Gavin Floyd vs. KC
While he's nothing special, Floyd is a guy who can be trusted in favorable match-ups, and the Royals will be viewed as one until they can prove they've turned a new leaf.

Thursday, 4/4: A.J. Griffin vs. SEA
Griffin is a prime regression candidate after a resoundingly successful rookie campaign in Oakland, but he still looks like a solid play at home against the M's.

Friday, 4/5: Jake Arrieta vs. MIN
The right-hander fell apart after a promising start last year and is now looking to put it all together at age 27. He had an excellent spring, posting a 1.56 ERA with 16 strikeouts in 17 innings, so we'll see if he can carry it forward.

National League

Friday, 4/5: Jake Westbrook @ SF
The ground ball specialist had a fine season in St. Louis last year and will look to kick off another one in San Fran.

Wednesday, 4/3: Nate Eovaldi @ WAS
It may be tough to find positives in Miami this year, but one intriguing storyline will be whether the promising young Eovaldi can turn a corner. He'll get his first shot in the Marlin's second game.

Saturday, 4/6: Ross Detwiler @ CIN
The lefty gets lost in the mix of Washington's stacked rotation, but his exceptional 2012 campaign shouldn't be forgotten.

Total Games

American League

5: HOU, TEX
6: BAL, BOS, CLE, CWS, DET, KC, LAA, MIN, NYY, TB, TOR
7: OAK, SEA

National League

6: ARI , ATL, CHC, CIN, COL, LAD, MIA, MIL, NYM , PHI, PIT, SD, SF, STL, WAS

Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

BAL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
BOS: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
CLE: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
CWS: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
DET: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
HOU: 3 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
KC: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
LAA: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
MIN: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
NYY: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
OAK: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
SEA: 3 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
TB: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
TEX: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
TOR: 2 vs. RHP, 6 vs. LHP

National League

ARI: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
ATL: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
CHC: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
CIN: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
COL: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
HOU: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
LAD: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
MIA: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIL: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
NYM: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
PHI: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
PIT: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SD: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
SF: 2 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
STL: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
WAS: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP

The Infirmary

You can get a full listing of injured players at Rotoworld's Injury Page but here's the latest on a few prominent players who will open the season on the shelf:

Cody Ross: Out until early April (calf)
Daniel Hudson: Out until mid-July (elbow)
Brian McCann: Out until May (shoulder)
Chris Tillman: Out until early April (abdomen)
Stephen Drew: Out indefinitely (concussion)
David Ortiz: Out until mid-April (Achilles)
Matt Garza: Out until May (shoulder)
Scott Baker: Out indefinitely (elbow)
John Danks: Out until late April (shoulder)
Hanley Ramirez: Out until late May (thumb)
Scott Diamond: Out until mid-April (elbow)
Shaun Marcum: Out until mid-April (neck)
Johan Santana: Out indefinitely (shoulder)
Derek Jeter: Out until late April (ankle)
Mark Teixeira: Out until late May (wrist)
Curtis Granderson: Out until early May (arm)
Alex Rodriguez: Out until mid-season (hip)
Delmon Young: Out until early May (ankle)
Francisco Liriano: Out until May (arm)
Chase Headley: Out until May (thumb)
Chris Carpenter: Out indefinitely (neck)
Joakim Soria: Out until May (elbow)
Colby Lewis: Out until June (elbow)



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.
Email :Nick Nelson



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