Nick Nelson

The Week Ahead

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Week Ahead: Break Out

Friday, July 18, 2014

This past week was shortened by the All-Star break, leaving us with no two-start pitchers to list and analyze, but as we put the Midsummer Classic behind us and head into the second half, it's time to dive back in.

Projecting rotations out of the break can be tricky, because managers tend to tinker and rearrange. As such, we don't have full clarity right now as to how all the starters are going to line up next week. This is especially true in the National League, where the Marlins, Brewers and others have not announced their rotation plans beyond the next few days. We'll try and get those filled in over the course of the weekend, as more information becomes available, so make sure to check back.

Since most teams will be running out their top starters in the first few games after the break, we'll be seeing mostly No. 4 and 5 starters on Monday and Tuesday, so the two-start crop won't feature a lot of star power. Having said that, you'll find some quality options below and we'll call out a few sneaky plays that can give your team a boost.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 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.

* Among players likely to be available in your league, my favorite two-start choice on the AL side this week is Miguel Gonzalez. He's slated for a couple road starts but has generally pitched well lately and was outstanding in his last two turns before the break.

* On the NL side, target Jacob deGrom. He's unowned in 70 percent of Yahoo! leagues despite posting a 3.18 ERA while averaging a strikeout per inning in 12 starts with the Mets. He is also scheduled to start twice on the road, which isn't ideal, but I'd still roll with him.

* Jake Odorizzi's 10.3 K/9 rate ranks fourth among big-league starters and he has a 2.79 ERA since the start of June. He is currently rostered in only 25 percent of Yahoo! leagues. If he's out there, grab him for his starts against the Cards and Red Sox.

* Eric Stults is sporting an ugly 4.98 ERA overall but has been noticeably better lately with a 3.07 mark in his past five turns. Unfortunately neither of his starts in the coming week will take place in the pitching haven that is his home park, but he may be worth a look and is available in almost every league.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Scott Kazmir: HOU (McHugh), TEX (Baker)
Collin McHugh: @OAK (Kazmir), MIA
Rick Porcello: @ARI (Anderson), @MIN (Santiago)
Chris Sale: KC (Guthrie), @MIN (Johnson)
John Lackey: @TOR (Hutchison), @TB (Price)
Miguel Gonzalez: @LAA (Santiago), @SEA (Walker)
Bud Norris: @LAA (Shoemaker), @SEA (Elias)
Jake Odorizzi: @STL, BOS (Peavy)

Decent Plays

Drew Hutchison: BOS (Lackey), @NYY (Greene)
Roenis Elias: NYM (deGrom), BAL (Norris)
Shane Greene: TEX (Mikolas), TOR (Hutchison)
Hector Santiago: BAL (Gonzalez), DET (Porcello)
Matt Shoemaker: BAL (Norris), DET (Verlander)
Jeremy Guthrie: @CWS (Sale), CLE (Tomlin)
Justin Verlander: @ARI (Nuno), @LAA (Shoemaker)
Scott Carroll: KC (Chen), @MIN
Jake Peavy: @TOR (Happ), @TB (Archer)

At Your Own Risk

J.A. Happ: BOS (Peavy), @NYY (Whitley)
Scott Baker: @NYY (Whitley), OAK (Kazmir)
Miles Mikolas: @NYY (Greene), OAK (Gray)
Chase Whitley: TEX (Baker), TOR (Happ)
Kris Johnson: CLE (House), CWS (Sale)
Bruce Chen: @CWS (Carroll), CLE (House)
T.J. House: @MIN (Johnson), @KC (Chen)

National League

Strong Plays

Matt Cain: @PHI (Hernandez), LAD (Ryu)
Ryan Vogelsong: @PHI (Lee), LAD (Kershaw)
Edinson Volquez: LAD (Ryu), @COL (Morales)
Cliff Lee: SF (Vogelsong), ARI (Collmenter)
Jacob deGrom: @SEA (Elias), @MIL
Hyun-Jin Ryu: @PIT (Volquez), @SF (Cain)
Mat Latos: @MIL, WAS (Zimmermann)
Aaron Harang: MIA, SD

Decent Plays

Jordan Zimmermann: @COL (Morales), @CIN (Latos)
Eric Stults: @CHC , @ATL
Roberto Hernandez: SF (Cain), ARI (Nuno)
Mike Minor: MIA, SD (Stults)

At Your Own Risk

Franklin Morales: WAS (Zimmermann), PIT (Volquez)
Vidal Nuno: DET (Verlander), @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

Thursday, 7/24: Marcus Stroman vs. BOS
Stroman's stuff should play well at home against a Red Sox club that ranks last in the league in runs scored and fourth in strikeouts.

Friday, 7/25: Kevin Gausman @ SEA
The young righty has looked good with a 3.29 ERA in seven starts and remains unowned in most leagues.

Friday, 7/25: John Danks @ MIN
In his last four starts leading up to the break, Danks went 2-0 with a 2.73 ERA.

National League

Thursday, 7/24: Edwin Jackson vs. SD
He can be difficult to trust sometimes and was lousy in his final start before the break, but a home tilt against the Padres should get Jackson back on track.

Thursday, 7/24: Dillon Gee @ MIL
Although he missed a few months due to injury, Gee has been tremendous when on the mound this year, sporting a 2.56 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

Friday, 7/25: Odrisamer Despaigne @ ATL
In four starts for the Padres, the Cuban righty has been quality each time out, turning in a 1.35 ERA.

Total Games

American League

5: TB

National League

5: STL

Lefty/Righty Breakdowns

American League

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

National League

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

Ubaldo Jimenez: Out until late July (ankle)
Brandon Phillips: Out until late August (thumb)
Jason Vargas: Out until late July (abdomen)
Collin Cowgill: Out until mid-August (nose)
Michael Saunders: Out until early August (ribs)
Yadier Molina: Out until late September (thumb)

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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