The Cardinals have had a great deal of success ushering their pitching prospects into the major-league ranks over the past couple seasons. Last year, it was Lance Lynn, who went 18-7 with a 3.78 in his first full season for St. Louis; he's following that up with an even better encore. This year Shelby Miller has stolen the headlines, as the 22-year-old righty has been flat-out phenomenal through two months.
So it's tough not to get excited about Michael Wacha, the latest in the Cards' line of impressive young arms to break into the big leagues. In his debut on Thursday, the 6'6" 21-year-old delivered seven innings of one-run ball, yielding just two hits while striking out six and walking none.
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In the coming week, Wacha is slated for a pair of starts -- one at home against the Diamondbacks and one in Cincinnati. Since those are pretty solid offenses and Wacha remains mostly untested, I'm keeping him in the Solid Play category, but he's obviously a very intriguing option. If he's still out there in your league, he definitely merits a pick-up.
A few other notes on this week's two-start candidates...
* Be wary of Kyle Lohse, even with a couple home match-ups scheduled. After missing a start with a sore elbow, he coughed up four homers against the Twins on Thursday.
* Kyle Kendrick, with a 3.27 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, has starts lined up against the miserable Marlins and scuffling Brewers. He's unclaimed in most leagues.
* I'm reluctant to list Luis Mendoza as a Strong Play since he's not all that great, but he's scheduled to face off against the Twins and Astros -- ranked 11th and 13th in the AL in OPS, respectively -- both at home. He's also available in nearly every fantasy league.
Felix Hernandez: CWS (Peavy), NYY (Phelps)
Andy Pettitte: CLE (Masterson), @SEA (Saunders)
Jake Peavy: @SEA (Hernandez), OAK (Griffin)
Anibal Sanchez: TB (Cobb), CLE (Masterson)
Justin Masterson: @NYY (Pettitte), @DET (Sanchez)
John Lackey: TEX (Grimm), LAA (Blanton)
Alex Cobb: @DET (Sanchez), BAL (Tillman)
Justin Grimm: @BOS (Lackey), @TOR (Morrow)
Joe Saunders: CWS (Danks), NYY (Pettitte)
A.J. Griffin: @MIL (Lohse), @CWS (Peavy)
Tommy Milone: @MIL (Estrada), @CWS (Danks)
David Phelps: CLE (Kazmir), @SEA (Hernandez)
Luis Mendoza: MIN (Deduno), HOU (Harrell)
Chris Tillman: @HOU (Harrell), @TB (Cobb)
At Your Own Risk
Samuel Deduno: @KC (Mendoza), @WAS (Zimmermann)
Lucas Harrell: BAL (Tillman), @KC (Mendoza)
Erik Bedard: @LAA (Blanton), @KC (Santana)
John Danks: @SEA (Saunders), OAK (Milone)
Joe Blanton: HOU (Bedard), @BOS (Lackey)
Jordan Zimmermann: NYM (Hefner), MIN (Deduno)
Lance Lynn: ARI (Cahill), @CIN (Mat Latos)
A.J. Burnett: @ATL (Medlen), @CHC (Jackson)
Kyle Kendrick: MIA (Koehler), @MIL (Estrada)
Mike Minor: PIT (Locke), @LAD (Lilly)
Kris Medlen: PIT (Burnett), @LAD (Capuano)
Trevor Cahill: @STL (Lynn), SF (Bumgarner)
Michael Wacha: ARI (McCarthy), @CIN (Arroyo)
Andrew Cashner: @LAD (Lilly), @COL (Nicasio)
Eric Stults: @LAD (Capuano), @COL (Chatwood)
Jonathan Pettibone: MIA (Nolasco), @MIL (Lohse)
Jeremy Hefner: @WAS (Zimmermann), MIA (Koehler)
Marco Estrada: OAK (Milone), PHI (Kendrick)
Tom Koehler: @PHI (Kendrick), @NYM (Hefner)
Ted Lilly: SD (Cashner), ATL (Minor)
Tyler Chatwood: @CIN (Arroyo), SD (Stults)
Bronson Arroyo: @COL (Chatwood), STL (Wacha)
Brandon McCarthy: @STL (Wacha), SF (Kickham)
At Your Own Risk
Kyle Lohse: OAK (Griffin), PHI (Pettibone)
Chris Capuano: SD (Stults), ATL (Medlen)
Juan Nicasio: @CIN (Bailey), SD (Cashner)
The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:
Wednesday, 6/5: Dylan Axelrod @ SEA
Axelrod has recorded three straight victories and has allowed more than three runs only once in his last eight starts.
Wednesday, 6/5: Jeremy Guthrie vs. MIN
The righty bounced back from a rough stretch with six innings of one-run ball in St. Louis this past week. Even with some recent struggles, he has completed six-plus innings in 10 of 11 starts this year.
Thursday, 6/6: Miguel Gonzalez @ HOU
With a 17/3 K/BB ratio in his last three starts, Gonzalez looks primed to take down the Astros in Houston.
Wednesday, 6/5: Dillon Gee @ WAS
Over his past three starts, Gee has 22 strikeouts and one walk. Meanwhile, the Nats have the second-worst team OPS in the NL.
Thursday, 6/6: Jhoulys Chacin vs. SD
Chacin seemingly found his strikeout stuff in his latest outing, tallying a season-high nine punch-outs. He'll look to keep it rolling at home against the Padres.
Saturday, 6/8: Jeanmar Gomez @ CHC
Gomez has been rather splendid thus far for the Pirates, with a 2.30 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 11 appearances. That won't last forever but he's worth a look in Chicago.
6: BAL, BOS, CLE, DET, KC, LAA, MIN, SEA, TB, TEX
7: CWS, HOU, NYY, OAK
5: CHC, SF
6: CIN, MIA, NYM, PIT, WAS
7: ARI, ATL, COL, LAD, MIL, PHI, SD, STL
BAL: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
BOS: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
CLE: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
CWS: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
DET: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
HOU: 7 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
KC: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
LAA: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIN: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
NYY: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
OAK: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
SEA: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
TB: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
TEX: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
TOR: 4 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
ARI: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
ATL: 2 vs. RHP, 5 vs. LHP
CHC: 3 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
CIN: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
COL: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
LAD: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
MIA: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIL: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
NYM: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
PHI: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
PIT: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SD: 3 vs. RHP, 4 vs. LHP
SF: 4 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
STL: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
WAS: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
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:
Chris Perez: Out until late June (shoulder)
Alex Sanabia: Out until mid-June (groin)
Matt Kemp: Out indefinitely (hamstring)
Trevor Plouffe: Out until mid-June (calf)
Brett Lawrie: Out until mid-June (ankle)