Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Week Ahead: Ace Ventura?

Friday, April 11, 2014


Coming into the season, Yordano Ventura was one of the most heavily hyped young hurlers in baseball. He showed why in his first start of the season, blanking Tampa Bay over six two-hit innings while striking out six, walking none and touching 101 on the gun with his fastball.

The 22-year-old was a dominant force in the minors, averaging 9.9 K/9 while rapidly rising through the ranks. Last year, in 134 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A, Ventura went 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA and 155/53 K/BB ratio. With a spot in Kansas City's rotation right out of the gates, he looks like he'll be a strong contender for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

In The Week Ahead, he'll have an opportunity to build his early case. He's scheduled to face Houston (on the road) and Minnesota (at home). He could hardly ask for a better pair of match-ups. The Astros and Twins were the two most strikeout-prone offenses in the majors last year, and both are on the same track this year.

Ventura is owned in about 75 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but if you're lucky enough to still have him available, he's a must-add. It's a move that figures to pay immediate and long-term dividends.

A few more notes on the coming week, followed by your usual assortment of two-start pitchers, streamers and match-up info.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $30,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday evening MLB games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $5,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Friday. Here's the FanDuel link.

* Ventura isn't the only highly touted rookie going twice in the AL. Masahiro Tanaka is set to get two starts for the Yankees, and has pretty favorable assignments against the Cubs and Rays. Having stuck out 18 over 14 innings in his first two turns, the Japanese import is a definitive Strong Play.

* The excitement doesn't stop there. After fanning 10 in a Double-A rehab start, uber-prospect Taijuan Walker is expected to go for Seattle on Tuesday, which would give him two starts with the M's playing seven games. Walker's first outing is in Texas, and he's coming back from an achy shoulder, so he's not quite as attractive this week as Ventura or Tanaka, but he's got all the ability in the world.

* In the National League, Pittsburgh and Washington are both slated to face seven right-handed starters. Load up on lefty mashers from both lineups if you can.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Chris Archer: @BAL (Chen), NYY (Nova)
Masahiro Tanaka: CHC (Hammel), @TB (Odorizzi)
Yordano Ventura: @HOU (Harrell), MIN (Pelfrey)
Anibal Sanchez: CLE (TBD), LAA (Santiago)
Jake Peavy: @CWS (Johnson), BAL (Chen)

Decent Plays

Brandon Morrow: @MIN (Pelfrey), @CLE (Carrasco)
Robbie Ross: SEA (Young), CWS (Quintana)
Jesse Chavez: @LAA (Santiago), HOU (Harrell)
Wei-Yin Chen: TB (Archer), @BOS (Peavy)
Taijuan Walker: @TEX (Lewis), @MIA (Alvarez)

At Your Own Risk

Jake Odorizzi: @BAL (Gonzalez), NYY (Tanaka)
Chris Young: @TEX (Ross), @MIA
Mike Pelfrey: TOR (Morrow), @KC (Ventura)
Hector Santiago: OAK (Chavez), @DET (Sanchez)
Lucas Harrell: KC (Ventura), @OAK (Chavez)
Erik Johnson: BOS (Peavy), @TEX (Lewis)
Colby Lewis: SEA (Walker), @CWS (Johnson)

National League

Strong Plays

Jordan Zimmermann: @MIA, STL (Lynn)
Stephen Strasburg: @MIA (Koehler), STL (Miller)
Shelby Miller: @MIL (Estrada), @WAS (Strasburg)
Cliff Lee: ATL (Hale), @COL (Nicasio)
Matt Garza: STL (Lynn), @PIT (Rodriguez)
Homer Bailey: PIT (Rodriguez), @CHC (Jackson)
Ervin Santana: @PHI (Hernandez), @NYM (Colon)
Gerrit Cole: @CIN (Leake), MIL (Estrada)

Decent Plays

Lance Lynn: @MIL (Garza), @WAS (Zimmermann)
Robbie Erlin: COL (Nicasio), SF (Hudson)
Zack Wheeler: @ARI (Arroyo), ATL (Hale)
Marco Estrada: STL (Miller), @PIT (Cole)
Juan Nicasio: @SD (Erlin), PHI (Lee)
David Hale: @PHI (Lee), @NYM (Wheeler)
Bronson Arroyo: NYM (Wheeler), @LAD (Maholm)
Tim Lincecum: LAD (Maholm), @SD (Stults)

At Your Own Risk

Eric Stults: COL (Nicasio), SF (Lincecum)
Wandy Rodriguez: @CIN (Bailey), MIL (Garza)
Roberto Hernandez: ATL (Santana), @COL (Morales)
Paul Maholm: @SF (Lincecum), ARI (Arroyo)
Franklin Morales: @SD (TBD), PHI (Hernandez)

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, 4/16: Tyler Skaggs vs. OAK
The young and talented lefty was definitely on in his first start of the season against Houston, tossing eight scoreless frames in a win. He'll draw a tougher match-up in the A's, but it's at home.

Wednesday, 4/16: Michael Pineda vs. CHC
In his first start of the season, Pineda was touching 95 MPH on the gun while fanning five over six innings of one-run ball.

Thursday, 4/17: Bruce Chen @ HOU
Chen was very good in his first start and shouldn't have much trouble dispatching a shoddy Astros lineup in Houston.

National League

Tuesday, 4/15: Jenrry Mejia @ ARI
Mejia piled up eight strikeouts over six innings in winning his first start of the season. The Diamondbacks are third in the NL in whiffs.

Wednesday, 4/16: Tanner Roark @ MIA
Roark is coming off a great season and pitched well in his first outing, so I'll suggest trying him again at Marlins Park.

Thursday, 4/17: Brett Anderson @ SD
The lefty has struggled in his first couple starts with the new club, but will look to get on track with a favorite match-up at Petco.

Total Games

American League

6: BOS, BAL, CWS, CLE, DET, HOU, KC, LAA, MIN, NYY, OAK, TOR
7: SEA, TB, TEX

National League

5: CHC
6: ARI, CIN, LAD, MIA, NYM, SF
7: ATL, COL, MIL, PHI, PIT, SD, STL, WAS

Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

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

National League

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

Will Middlebrooks: Out indefinitely (calf)
Avisail Garcia: Out for the season (shoulder)
Josh Hamilton: Out until early June (thumb)
A.J. Ellis: Out until mid-May (knee)
Jacob Turner: Out indefinitely (shoulder)
Oswaldo Arcia: Out until late April (wrist)
Mark Teixeira: Out until early May (hamstring)
James Paxton: Out indefinitely (shoulder)
Matt Moore: Out indefinitely (elbow)



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 at nnelson9.
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