Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Week Ahead: Comeback Cueto

Friday, May 17, 2013

Johnny Cueto may be one of the most underrated starting pitchers in the game today. Despite his amazingly consistent results, you rarely hear him mentioned among baseball's true elite. Maybe it's the lack of eye-popping strikeout numbers. Maybe it's the fact that he blends in with an excellent Reds rotation. Maybe it's the fact that, prior to last year, he had never won more than 12 games in a season.


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Whatever the reason, Cueto has somewhat quietly been a machine in Cincinnati. Last year, he finally enjoyed the good health and run support that had been missing in previous seasons, allowing him to log a career-high 217 innings and 19 wins. As a result, the overdue recognition finally came as he finished fourth in the NL Cy Young voting. He was off to another strong start this season, with a 1-0 record and 2.60 ERA through three starts, before suffering an oblique injury that has sidelined him for a month.

On Monday, Cueto makes his anticipated return to the Reds rotation. He'll draw two very favorable starts in the coming week, so his owners can happily plug him into their lineups. Meanwhile, owners of Tony Cingrani and Mike Leake sit on the edge of their seats wondering which effective hurler will get the boot to make room.

On the American League side this week, there are numerous options but few safe bets. One name worth keeping an eye on is 25-year-old Josh Lindblom, who will make his debut for the Rangers after starting out 4-0 with a 2.07 ERA in Triple-A. Lindblom gets the A's at home and the Mariners in Seattle.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Hisashi Iwakuma: @CLE (Kazmir), TEX (Lindblom)
Jeremy Guthrie: @HOU (Harrell), OAK (Colon)
Max Scherzer: @CLE (Kluber), MIN (Pelfrey)
Jon Lester: @CWS (Axelrod), CLE (Kazmir)

Decent Plays

Josh Lindblom: OAK (Colon), @SEA (Iwakuma)
Kevin Correia: @ATL (Teheran), @DET (Fister)
Jerome Williams: SEA (Harang), @KC (Davis)
Wade Davis: @HOU (Keuchel), LAA (Williams)
Dylan Axelrod: BOS (Lester), MIA (Sanabia)

At Your Own Risk

Chad Jenkins: TB (Cobb), BAL (Garcia)
Ramon Ortiz: TB, BAL (Johnson)
Bartolo Colon: @TEX (Lindblom), @ HOU (Harrell)
Phil Hughes: @BAL (Johnson), @TB
Mike Pelfrey: @ATL (Hudson), @DET (Scherzer)
Lucas Harrell: KC (Guthrie), OAK (Colon)
Corey Kluber: DET (Scherzer), @BOS (Doubront)
Scott Kazmir: SEA (Iwakuma), @BOS (Lester)
Felix Doubront: @CWS (Quintana), CLE (Kluber)
Steve Johnson: NYY (Hughes), @TOR (Ortiz)
Freddy Garcia: NYY (Pettitte), @TOR (Jenkins)

National League

Strong Plays

Johnny Cueto: @NYM (Marcum), CHC (Villanueva)
Shelby Miller: @SD (Marquis), @LAD (Kershaw)
Wandy Rodriguez: CHC (Villanueva), @MIL (Gallardo)
Yovani Gallardo: LAD (Kershaw), PIT (Rodriguez)
Clayton Kershaw: @MIL (Gallardo), STL (Miller)
Patrick Corbin: @COL (Garland), SD (Marquis)


Decent Plays

Jason Marquis: STL (Miller), @ARI (Corbin)
Cole Hamels: @MIA (Sanabia), @WAS
Julio Teheran: MIN (Correia), @NYM (Marcum)

At Your Own Risk

Ryan Vogelsong: WAS , COL (Garland)
Shaun Marcum: CIN (Cueto), ATL (Teheran)
Alex Sanabia: PHI (Hamels), @CWS (Axelrod)
Jon Garland: ARI (Corbin), @SF (Vogelsong)

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, 5/22: Nick Tepesch vs. OAK
The young Rangers righty has been a bit inconsistent but his overall numbers are solid and he should be able to handle the A's at home.

Wednesday, 5/22: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. DET
Jimenez has now rattled off three straight quality starts and he's ratcheting up the strikeouts. He's worth playing in any home match-up at this point.

Friday, 5/24: Hector Santiago vs. MIA
Santiago continues to post strong results while filling in for the White Sox, and he'll draw his easiest assignment yet at home against the punchless Marlins.

National League

Wednesday, 5/22: Jorge De La Rosa vs. ARI
De La Rosa is firing on all cylinders with 13 scoreless innings in his past two starts. Tough to be against him at home right now.

Wednesday, 5/22: Francisco Liriano vs. CHC
Through two starts, the electric yet erratic southpaw is 2-0 with 16 strikeouts and two runs allowed. Keep riding him until he gives a reason not to.

Friday, 5/24: Marco Estrada vs. PIT
The Milwaukee right-hander bounced back from a rough stretch in his recent outing. He's averaging almost a K per inning and the Pirates have been fairly strikeout prone.

Total Games

American League


National League


Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

BAL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
BOS: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
CLE: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
CWS: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
DET: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
HOU: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
KC: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
LAA: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
MIN: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
NYY: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
OAK: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SEA: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
TB: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
TEX: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
TOR: 7 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP

National League

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

Wei-Yin Chen: Out until late May (ribs)
David Ross: Out indefinitely (quads)
Jeff Francis: Out indefinitely (groin)
Austin Jackson: Out until late May (hamstring)
Josh Beckett: Out until late May (groin)
John McDonald: Out until late May (back)
Jake Westbrook: Out until late May (elbow)
David Price: Out indefinitely (triceps)
Alexi Ogando: Out until early June (biceps)
Wilson Ramos: Out indefinitely (hamstring)

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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