Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Week Ahead: National Treasures

Friday, June 28, 2013

With the season's halfway mark rapidly approaching, the Washington Nationals haven't quite been able to replicate their sterling results from last year, when they led the majors with 98 wins. Presently, the Nats find themselves hovering around the .500 mark and trailing the Braves by several games in the NL East.

The pedestrian first half certainly cannot be traced to the two hurlers leading Washington's rotation. Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg have been sublime, and both will take the mound twice in the coming week.

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Zimmermann was the spotlighted player in this column earlier in the season and he hasn't let up a bit since. In 16 starts, the right-hander has impressively recorded 11 wins against only three losses. His 2.28 ERA ranks as the fifth-best in the National League, while his 0.92 WHIP trails only Mets phenom Matt Harvey.

Strasburg, for his part, hasn't quite been the strikeout machine he was in the past (he's actually averaging slightly less than a K per inning) but he's been fantastic nonetheless. His 2.41 ERA is only a shade worse than Zim's stellar mark, and Strasburg has been particularly dominant recently, with a minuscule 1.47 ERA in his past eight turns. Unfortunately, while the Nationals offense has provided plenty of support for Zimmermann, they have averaged only 2.6 runs per game behind Strasburg, contributing to a disappointing 4-6 record.

The dual aces are both set to match up against the Brewers and Padres at home in The Week Ahead, making them some of the most appealing two-start options we've seen all year. They lead a sizable pack of Strong Plays in the NL. On the AL side, there isn't nearly as much depth at the top, but you'll find some intriguing names within the middle tier. In particular, I like Matt Moore to get back on track against the Astros and White Sox, though his recent control woes are perturbing.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Doug Fister: @TOR (Wang), @CLE (Kazmir)
John Lackey: SD (Erlin), @LAA (Hanson)
Jered Weaver: STL (Lynn), BOS (Lackey)

Decent Plays

Chien-Ming Wang: DET (Fister), MIN (Deduno)
R.A. Dickey: DET (Alvarez), MIN (Diamond)
Roberto Hernandez: @HOU (Bedard), CWS (Danks)
Matt Moore: @HOU (Keuchel), CWS (Sale)
Joe Saunders: @TEX (Grimm), @CIN (Bailey)
A.J. Griffin: CHC (Feldman), @KC (Mendoza)
Andy Pettitte: @MIN (Deduno), BAL (Hammel)
Luis Mendoza: CLE (Kazmir), OAK (Griffin)
Erik Bedard: TB (Hernandez), @TEX (Grimm)
John Danks: BAL (Hammel), @TB (Hernandez)
Scott Kazmir: @KC (Mendoza), DET (Fister)
Jason Hammel: @CWS (Danks), @NYY (Pettitte)
Dallas Keuchel: TB (Moore), @TEX (Darvish)

At Your Own Risk

Justin Grimm: SEA (Saunders), HOU (Bedard)
Phil Hughes: @MIN (Diamond), BAL (Tillman)
Scott Diamond: NYY (Hughes), @TOR (Dickey)
Samuel Deduno: NYY (Pettitte), @TOR (Wang)
Jose Alvarez: @TOR (Dickey), @CLE (Masterson)

National League

Strong Plays

Jordan Zimmermann: MIL (Gallardo), SD (Marquis)
Stephen Strasburg: MIL (Peralta), SD (Erlin)
Lance Lynn: @LAA (Hanson), MIA (Fernandez)
Jeff Locke: PHI (Hamels), @CHC (Feldman)
Jeremy Hefner: ARI (Corbin), @MIL (Peralta)
Yovani Gallardo: @WAS (Zimmermann), NYM (Marcum)
Jose Fernandez: @ATL (Medlen), @STL (Lynn)
Clayton Kershaw: @COL (Oswalt), @SF (Lincecum)
Homer Bailey: SF (Lincecum), SEA (Saunders)
Kris Medlen: MIA (Fernandez), @PHI (Hamels)
Patrick Corbin: @NYM (Hefner), COL (Oswalt)

Decent Plays

Tim Lincecum: @CIN (Bailey), LAD (Kershaw)
Robbie Erlin: @BOS (Lackey), @WAS (Strasburg)
Jason Marquis: @MIA (Koehler), @WAS (Zimmermann)
Cole Hamels: @PIT (Locke), ATL (Medlen)
Bronson Arroyo: SF (Kickham), SEA (Bonderman)
Scott Feldman: @OAK (Griffin), PIT (Locke)
Wade Miley: @NYM (Marcum), COL (Nicasio)

At Your Own Risk

Shaun Marcum: ARI (Miley), @MIL (Gallardo)
Wily Peralta: @WAS (Strasburg), NYM (Hefner)
Tom Koehler: SD (Marquis), @STL (Kelly)
Roy Oswalt: LAD (Kershaw), @ARI (Corbin)

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, 7/3: David Phelps @ MIN
Phelps has racked up 69 strikeouts in 74 innings this season and the Yankees own the Twins pretty much every year.

Thursday, 7/4: Martin Perez vs. SEA
The young southpaw was dominant in Triple-A (4-0, 1.75 ERA) and has impressed in early action for the Rangers.

Thursday, 7/4: Chris Archer @ HOU
Archer is coming off a very strong outing in Yankee Stadium and should have no troubling handling the Astros lineup.

National League

Wednesday, 7/3: Jeanmar Gomez vs. PIT
Gomez has enjoyed surprising success for the Pirates with a 2.76 ERA in 49 innings. The Phillies are averaging just 3.75 runs per game.

Wednesday, 7/3: Randall Delgado @ NYM
A 13/1 K/BB ratio in 14 innings with the D-Backs this season portends good things for the talented young Delgado.

Thursday, 7/4: Taylor Jordan vs. MIL
Jordan has had tons of success in the minors this year and is worth a look at home against the Brew Crew. Take note of how he performs in his MLB debut against the Mets this weekend.

Total Games

American League


National League


Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

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

National League

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

Tommy Hanson: Out until mid-July (arm)
Anibal Sanchez: Returning this week? (shoulder)
Mike Pelfrey: Out until early July (back)
Alfredo Figaro: Out indefinitely (ribs)
Lucas Duda: Out indefinitely (ribs)
Jon Niese: Out indefinitely (shoulder)
Clayton Richard: Out indefinitely (shoulder)
Craig Gentry: Out until mid-July (hand)
Melky Cabrera: Out indefinitely (knee)
Dan Haren: Out indefinitely (shoulder)

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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