Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Beckett's Reckoning

Friday, April 5, 2013

Josh Beckett almost felt like an afterthought in the blockbuster trade that sent half of Boston's roster (and payroll) over to the Dodgers last summer. That's pretty crazy, considering that just a year earlier he'd been one of the finest pitchers in the American League, earning a spot on the All-Star team and a handful of Cy Young votes by going 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA for the Sox.

But 2012 was a rough season for Beckett. He simply couldn't get it going over the first few months of the campaign, and by the time he was dealt at the deadline he sat with a 5-11 record, 5.23 ERA and the lowest strikeout rate of his career.

He looked like a prime "change of scenery" candidate, and sure enough, Beckett immediately turned the needle after relocating to the more pitcher-friendly NL West. In his final seven starts as a Dodger, the right-hander registered a 2.93 ERA and 38-to-14 K/BB ratio over 43 innings.

Now, the 32-year-old is set for a full season in the Senior Circuit and will look to return to the top tier of starting pitchers. His fastball velocity remains several notches below where it was in his prime, but Beckett has a strong repertoire of secondary offerings and plenty of veteran savvy to succeed. He remains unowned in some leagues and is worth snagging if you're short on quality pitching. If he's already on your roster, start him confidently this week with two relatively favorable road match-ups.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Alexi Ogando: TB (Hellickson), @SEA (Saunders)
Jarrod Parker: @LAA (Wilson), DET (Sanchez)
Andy Pettitte: @CLE (Myers), BAL (Chen)
Hiroki Kuroda: @CLE (Jimenez), BAL (Hammel)
C.J. Wilson: OAK (Parker), HOU (Harrell)
Anibal Sanchez: TOR (Morrow), @OAK (Parker)
Jake Peavy: @WAS (Gonzalez), @CLE (Myers)
Clay Buchholz: BAL (Chen), TB (Hellickson)

Decent Plays

Brandon Morrow: @DET (Sanchez), @KC (Santana)
Jeremy Hellickson: @TEX (Ogando), @BOS (Buchholz)
Brandon Maurer: HOU (Humber), TEX (Tepesch)
Joe Saunders: HOU (Harrell), TEX (Ogando)
Ervin Santana: MIN (Correia), TOR (Morrow)
Lucas Harrell: @SEA (Saunders), @LAA (Wilson)
Brett Myers: NYY (Pettitte), CWS (Peavy)

At Your Own Risk

Nick Tepesch: TB (Hernandez), @SEA (Maurer)
Kevin Correia: @KC (Santana), NYM (Harvey)
Ubaldo Jimenez: NYY (Kuroda), CWS (Sale)
Wei-Yin Chen: @BOS (Buchholz), @NYY (Pettitte)

National League

Strong Plays

Gio Gonzalez: CWS (Peavy), ATL (Maholm)
Jaime Garcia: CIN (Latos), MIL (Estrada)
Madison Bumgarner: COL (De La Rosa), @CHC (Jackson)
Wandy Rodriguez: @ARI (Cahill), CIN (Latos)
Matt Harvey: @PHI (Halladay), @MIN (Correia)
Josh Beckett: @SD (Richard), @ARI (Cahill)
Mat Latos: @ STL (Garcia), @PIT (Rodriguez)
Edwin Jackson: MIL (Estrada), SF (Bumgarner)
Trevor Cahill: PIT (Rodriguez), LAD (Beckett)

Decent Plays

Clayton Richard: LAD (Beckett), COL (De La Rosa)
Roy Halladay: NYM (Harvey), @MIA (Slowey)
Marco Estrada: @CHC (Jackson), @STL (Garcia)
Travis Wood: MIL (Peralta), SF (Lincecum)
Paul Maholm: @MIA (Slowey), @WAS (Gonzalez)

At Your Own Risk

Tim Lincecum: COL (Nicasio), @CHC (Wood)
Kevin Slowey: ATL (Maholm), PHI (Halladay)
Jorge De La Rosa: @SF (Bumgarner), @SD (Richard)

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, 4/10: Brad Peacock @ SEA
The former top prospect endured his share of struggles last year, posting an ugly 6.01 ERA in Triple-A, but he averaged more than a strikeout per inning and had a great spring with the Astros. He's worth a look in this solid match-up.

Thursday, 4/11: Felix Doubront vs. BAL
Doubront's hefty K-rate last season makes worthy of following this year. If he can refine some other aspects of his game he has a chance to offer plenty of fantasy value.

Friday, 4/12: Vance Worley vs. NYM
Worley was solid in his first start with the Twins, turning in a quality start against the Tigers. He'll look to carry that forward for another start at Target Field.

National League

Wednesday, 4/10: Kyle Kendrick vs. NYM
Kendrick is finally getting a full-time shot at the rotation, and he's earned the nod with a 3.61 ERA over the past couple seasons. It'd be nice to see him miss a few more bats.

Thursday, 4/11: Carlos Villanueva vs. SF
It's unclear how long the righty swingman will stick in Chicago's rotation, but he makes for an intriguing flier in the interim, capable of providing strikeouts and quality innings.

Friday, 4/12: Patrick Corbin vs. LAD
The young southpaw enjoyed a respectable rookie campaign last year and will look to build on the momentum he built with an excellent spring.

Total Games

American League


National League

7: CHC, SF

Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

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

National League

ARI: 2 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
ATL: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
CHC: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CIN: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
COL: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
LAD: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
MIA: 2 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
MIL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
NYM: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
PHI: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
PIT: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SD: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SF: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
STL: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
WAS: 4 vs. RHP, 2 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 have been out of action:

Brian Roberts: Out until May (knee)
Scott Kazmir: Out until late April (abdomen)
Shaun Marcum: Out until late April (neck)

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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