Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Week Ahead: Digging For Gold

Friday, September 20, 2013

It's finally here. The last week of the regular-season MLB schedule lies ahead, marking the conclusion of another long and entertaining baseball campaign. Outside of Yu Darvish, Justin Verlander, Adam Wainwright and Matt Cain, there aren't many big-name hurlers lined up for two starts in the coming week, but we're here to direct you to some sleepers that could provide a pivotal edge here at the finish line.

Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,250 one-day Fantasy Baseball league tonight (Friday). It's just $1 to join and first prize is $250. Here's the link.

* Chicago's Jose Quintana has been quality in six of his past seven starts, with the only exception being a rain-shortened outing at Yankee Stadium in early September. He gets the nod twice at home and is available in a vast majority of leagues.

* A.J. Griffin is another two-start guy I'm liking. He's 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA and 30/5 K/BB ratio in 26 innings this month.

* Danny Salazar has been a rookie phenom for the Indians, mixing huge strikeout totals with great results. He's scheduled to start twice in the final week and his match-ups are highly enticing (home against Chicago and at Minnesota) but there's been some buzz that he may be shut down after his Tuesday start. Either way he's worth plugging in.

* Elsewhere in the AL Central, Yordano Ventura impressed in his MLB debut for the Royals earlier this week and will get two more chances next week. I'd be a little wary given that both starts come on the road, but his high-90s heat could prove overwhelming against the meager Mariners and White Sox lineups.

* Marco Estrada has piled up 30 strikeouts in his last four starts and is an appealing two-start option despite a tough opening assignment in Atlanta.

* Speaking of Atlanta, I'd avoid Alex Wood. His overall numbers are outstanding but he hasn't completed six innings since mid-August and appears to be wearing down late in the season. The rookie has totaled 137 innings this year after throwing 52 in his pro debut in 2012.

* On a final note, I'd like to thank everyone who's made a habit of checking in here on weekly basis over the course of the season. I hope this column has helped many of you find success in your leagues. If you'd like to keep up with me during the offseason, I encourage you to check out or follow me on Twitter at @nnelson9.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Derek Holland: HOU (Lyles), LAA (Richards)
Yu Darvish: HOU (Peacock), LAA (Vargas)
Chris Archer: BAL (Chen), @TOR (Happ)
Matt Moore: @NYY (Hughes), @TOR (Redmond)
A.J. Griffin: @LAA (Richards), @SEA (Iwakuma)
Bruce Chen: @SEA (Paxton), @CWS (Quintana)
Jose Quintana: TOR (Happ), KC (Chen)
Justin Verlander: @MIN (Pelfrey), @MIA (Eovaldi)

Decent Plays

Todd Redmond: @BAL (Tillman), TB (Moore)
Garrett Richards: OAK (Griffin), @TEX (Holland)
Wei-Yin Chen: @TB (Archer), BOS (Buchholz)
Chris Tillman: TOR (Redmond), BOS (Doubront)
Yordano Ventura: @SEA (Iwakuma), @CWS (Johnson)

At Your Own Risk

J.A. Happ: @CWS (Quintana), TB (Archer)
Mike Pelfrey: DET (Verlander), CLE (Salazar)
Phil Hughes: TB (Moore), @HOU (Bedard)
Jason Vargas: OAK (Straily), @TEX (Darvish)

National League

Strong Plays

Matt Cain: LAD (Ryu), SD (Stults)
Adam Wainwright: WAS (Roark), CHC (Jackson)
Charlie Morton: @CHC (Samardzija), @CIN (Cueto)
Hyun-Jin Ryu: @SF (Cain), COL (Nicasio)
Johnny Cueto: NYM (Wheeler), PIT (Morton)
Wade Miley: @SD (Ross), WAS (Roark)
Mike Minor: MIL (Estrada), PHI (Halladay)

Decent Plays

Tanner Roark: @STL (Wainwright), @ARI (Miley)
Eric Stults: ARI (McCarthy), @SF (Cain)
Zack Wheeler: @CIN (Cueto), MIL (Estrada)
Marco Estrada: @ATL (Minor), @NYM (Wheeler)
Nathan Eovaldi:  PHI (Halladay), DET (Verlander)
Brandon McCarthy: @SD (Stults), WAS (Haren)

At Your Own Risk

Roy Halladay: @MIA (Eovaldi), @ATL (Minor)
Kyle Kendrick: @MIA (Alvarez), @ATL (Wood)
Alex Wood: MIL (Thornburg), PHI (Kendrick)

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, 9/25: Martin Perez vs. HOU
Last time Perez faced the Astros -- in Houston -- he allowed one run in a complete game victory.

Thursday, 9/26: Andrew Albers vs. CLE
In five starts at Target Field, the rookie Albers has posted a 2.91 ERA.

Friday, 9/27: Ivan Nova @ HOU
Nova, with his 3.36 ERA this season, remains unowned in 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

National League

Tuesday, 9/24: Michael Wacha vs. WAS
Since rejoining the Cards rotation at the beginning of September, Wacha has allowed six runs in 22 2/3 innings.

Thursday, 9/26: Robbie Erlin vs. ARI
In three starts at home this year, Erlin has a 2.95 ERA and 16/3 K/BB ratio.

Friday, 9/27: Scott Baker @ STL
It took him almost all year to finally join the Cubs rotation, but Baker has been tremendous in his two starts, allowing just one run on five hits over 11 innings.

Total Games

American League

5: BOS

National League

5: COL

Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

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

National League

ARI: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
ATL: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CHC: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CIN: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
COL: 3 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
LAD: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIA: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
MIL: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
NYM: 7 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
PHI: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
PIT: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SD: 6 vs. RHP, 1 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:

Jacoby Ellsbury: Out until late September (foot)
Welington Castillo: Out for the season (knee)
Danny Duffy: Out for the season (elbow)
Edwin Encarnacion: Out for the season (wrist)

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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