Tanner Roark is the least high-profile pitcher in a star-studded Washington Nationals rotation that also includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister. That might explain why Roark is still only owned in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
In fact, that's pretty much the only possible explanation, because this guy has been pitching out of his mind for some time now.
Last year, as a 26-year-old rookie, Roark made 14 appearances (five starts) with the Nats and went 7-1 with a sparkling 1.51 ERA, showing outstanding control along with decent strikeout stuff. He's been a full-time starter this season and has once again been brilliant, with a 2.92 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 65/18 K/BB ratio over 83 innings in 13 starts.
Out of the 162 starting pitchers with 100 or more innings in the past two seasons, Roark's 1.73 BB/9 rate ranks 13th.
The young right-hander has been particularly brilliant at home in Washington, where he has a 1.55 ERA in six starts, so he's highly recommended this week with home starts against the Astros and Braves. If he's available in your league, grab him up.
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Friday night's MLB games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Friday. Here's the FanDuel link.
* On the American League side, my favorite plug-and-play option among the two-start crew is Roenis Elias, who is available in about 75 percent of leagues. He's 5-4 with a 3.64 ERA and is lined up to start at home against the Padres and in Kansas City against the Royals.
* Tommy Milone, who's 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA when pitching in Oakland, is looking ahead to two home starts and is owned in only 14 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
* As a Twins fan, it gives me great pleasure to list a Minnesota pitcher in the "Strong Plays" category; that's not something I've been able to do very often over the past few seasons. Phil Hughes (7-2, 3.17 ERA) is legit, and still out there in a surprisingly high percentage of leagues.
Roenis Elias: SD (Stults), @KC (Ventura)
Tommy Milone: TEX (Darvish), BOS (Lester)
Phil Hughes: @BOS (Lester), CWS (Danks)
Masahiro Tanaka: TOR (Stroman), BAL (Chen)
Drew Pomeranz: TEX (Lewis), BOS (De La Rosa)
Jered Weaver: @CLE (Tomlin), TEX (Lewis)
Yordano Ventura: @DET (Scherzer), SEA (Elias)
Jason Vargas: @DET (Verlander), SEA (Young)
Dallas Keuchel: @WAS (Roark), @TB (Bedard)
Justin Verlander: KC (Vargas), @CLE (Bauer)
Max Scherzer: KC (Ventura), @CLE (Tomlin)
Jon Lester: MIN (Hughes), @OAK (Milone)
Marcus Stroman: @NYY (Tanaka), @CIN (Cueto)
Erik Bedard: BAL (Gausman), HOU (Keuchel)
Jake Odorizzi: BAL (Chen), HOU (Peacock)
Chris Young: SD (Ross), @KC (Vargas)
Hector Santiago: @CLE (Bauer), TEX (Martinez)
John Danks: SF (Cain), @MIN (Hughes)
Josh Tomlin: LAA (Weaver), DET (Scherzer)
Trevor Bauer: LAA (Santiago), DET (Verlander)
Wei-Yin Chen: @TB (Odorizzi), @NYY (Tanaka)
At Your Own Risk
Colby Lewis: @OAK (Pomeranz), @LAA (Weaver)
Kevin Correia: @BOS (De La Rosa), CWS (Rienzo)
Rubby De La Rosa: MIN (Correia), @OAK (Pomeranz)
Tanner Roark: HOU (Keuchel), ATL (Santana)
Adam Wainwright: NYM (deGrom), PHI (Hamels)
Michael Wacha: NYM (Niese), PHI (Kendrick)
Tyson Ross: @SEA (Young), LAD (Beckett)
Cole Hamels: @ATL (Teheran), @STL (Wainwright)
Jon Niese: @STL (Wacha), @MIA (Turner)
Kyle Lohse: @ARI (Miley), @COL (TBD)
Hyun-Jin Ryu: COL (Matzek), @SD (Stults)
Johnny Cueto: @PIT (Cumpton), TOR (Stroman)
Jason Hammel: @MIA (Koehler), PIT (Cumpton)
Ervin Santana: PHI (Kendrick), @WAS (Roark)
Julio Teheran: PHI (Hamels), @WAS (Fister)
Jacob deGrom: @STL (Wainwright), @MIA (Koehler)
Tom Koehler: CHC (Hammel), NYM (deGrom)
Tyler Matzek: @LAD (Ryu), MIL (TBD)
Wade Miley: MIL (Lohse), SF (Bumgarner)
Brandon McCarthy: MIL (Peralta), SF (Vogelsong)
At Your Own Risk
Eric Stults: @SEA (Elias), LAD (Ryu)
Brandon Cumpton: CIN (Cueto), @CHC (Hammel)
Kyle Kendrick: @ATL (Santana), @STL (Wacha)
Wily Peralta: @ARI (McCarthy), @COL (Nicasio)
Jacob Turner: CHC (Samardzija), NYM (Niese)
The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:
Tuesday, 6/16: Kevin Gausman @ TB
The righty picked up his first big-league win in his latest start, shutting down a strong Oakland lineup, so we like his chances against this struggling Tampa unit.
Thursday, 6/19: Erasmo Ramirez @ SD
Ramirez has a lot of talent and is worth a look in this favorable matchup at Petco.
Friday, 6/20: Hector Noesi @ MIN
Despite an ugly ERA, Noesi has pitched fairly well and has been quality in three of his last four starts.
Wednesday, 6/18: Jake Arrieta @ MIA
Arrieta has been quite dominant (2.50 ERA, 35 K in 36 innings) but remains unowned in almost every league.
Thursday, 6/19: Jeff Locke vs. CIN
Locke was tremendous in his last outing against the Brewers, resembling the player who dominated in the first half last year. Hopefully that same guy returns against the Reds.
Friday, 6/20: Edwin Jackson vs. PIT
He's always a wild card, but Jackson has a 3.22 ERA and 9.2 K/9 rate at home this season.
6: BAL, CWS, HOU, NYY, TEX, TOR
7: BOS, CLE, DET, KC, LAA, MIN, OAK, SEA, TB
6: CHC, CIN, COL, LAD, PIT, WAS
7: ARI, ATL, MIA, MIL, NYM, PHI, SD, STL
BAL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
BOS: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
CLE: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
CWS: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
DET: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
HOU: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
KC: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
LAA: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
MIN: 4 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
NYY: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
OAK: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SEA: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
TB: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
TEX: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
TOR: 6 vs. RHP, 0 vs. LHP
ARI: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
ATL: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CHC: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
CIN: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
COL: 4 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
LAD: 3 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
MIA: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
MIL: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
NYM: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
PHI: 6 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
PIT: 5 vs. RHP, 1 vs. LHP
SD: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
SF: 2 vs. RHP, 3 vs. LHP
STL: 5 vs. RHP, 2 vs. LHP
WAS: 4 vs. RHP, 2 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:
Miguel Gonzalez: Out until mid-June (ribs)
Eddie Butler: Out until July (shoulder)
Tyler Skaggs: Out until late June (hamstring)
Francisco Liriano: Out indefinitely (ribs)
Gerrit Cole: Out until late June (shoulder)
Jedd Gyorko: Out indefinitely (foot)
Michael Saunders: Out until late June (shoulder)
Justin Smoak: Out until late June (quads)
Tanner Scheppers: Out indefinitely (elbow)
Mitch Moreland: Out indefinitely (ankle)
Wilson Ramos: Out until late June (hamstring)