Welcome to 2019! Pitchers and catchers report in a mere three weeks and it’s time to start getting into fantasy baseball mode!
Welcome to 2019! Pitchers and catchers report in a mere three weeks and it’s time to start getting into fantasy baseball mode!
Here’s the 2-start pitchers for this week:
As with many players on this year’s Nationals team, Tanner Roark has been quite the disappointment thus far. He’s pitched to a 4.55 ERA in 122.2 innings over 20 starts, hardly impressive. However, I can see him putting his season struggles behind him, at least for this week. His last outing was an excellent one, going 8.0 innings allowing no runs on 3 hits, with 11 strikeouts in a win over the Brewers. On top of that, he has two pretty solid matchups, with two home games against the Mets and the Reds. The Mets have been a bad offense for most of the year, and their most consistent player, Asdrubal Cabrera, is now a Phillie, making them likely even worse on offense. The Reds have been a surprise to many sitting 9th in the majors in runs scored. However, Roark has had success against both teams over the course of his career, going a combined 9-5 with a 3.43 ERA over 20 starts against both teams.
Shields has been unable to find success since leaving the Royals after the 2015 season. In the 2.5 years since, he’s 15-38 with a 5.27 ERA over 435.2 innings. He greatly benefited from the Joe Maddon led Rays’ years as many young pitchers did. See Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Chris Archer, etc. This year has actually been an improvement over the previous two. Outside of the 4-12 record, he has a 4.53 ERA and 1.30 WHIP over 137.0 innings; much improved from the 5.60 ERA and 11-26 record he had in 2016-2017. He also has two matchups against teams he’s had great success against over his career. Against Kansas City, he’s 9-2 with a 4.08 ERA over 15 starts; and against Tampa Bay, he’s 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA over 4 starts. He apparently enjoys pitching against teams he’s played for in the past, and I expect him to have a pair of good outings this week.
Now this is as deep a sleeper as I’ll give on these weekly 2-start pitcher posts. Perez should not be owned by anyone in fantasy baseball. He boasts a 7.08 ERA, 2.02 WHIP, and he’s only striking out 5.5 batters per 9 innings. He’s certainly not fantasy roster worthy. That’s exactly why I love putting him on this list, he’s surely available and if comes through like I think he will, he’s almost guaranteed to put your team over the top in this week’s matchup. Two of his last 3 starts have been excellent, one against a streaking team in the Athletics. In his last start against Oakland, he went 6.0 innings, allowing 1 run on seven hits with 4 strikeouts. The Athletics have been one of MLB’s hottest teams over the past 6 weeks. On July 14th, in Baltimore (his second matchup this week), he went 7.0 innings, allowing 1 run on five hits. Keep in mind, this was against Baltimore WITH Manny Machado. The start against Arizona looks daunting because of the team’s name value, however, the Diamondbacks this year haven’t the offensive beast they’ve been in recent years. They’re still hanging around in their divisional race but as far as fantasy stats are concerned, they’re just OK. The sit 14th in runs scored, 27th in team batting average, and 18th in home runs across MLB. I believe Perez will be a huge weapon this week as you try to steal a few categories to make a fantasy playoff push!
Nola has been as consistent as they come this season, so naturally I had a hard time putting him on this list. However, his last two starts weren’t great, going 11.0 innings, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits. Not terrible but one of those was a loss to Miami, the team he’ll face this weekend. I just don’t like his matchups this week. He has never faced Boston, which is good for his career numbers. The Red Sox don’t need much of an offensive introduction; they lead MLB in runs scored, team average, and total hits, and are 3rd in OBP, and 4th in home runs. Put it this way, they have 2 players that could legitimately win the AL MVP and one that is the favorite for the AL Cy Young award. Not good for Nola. Miami is actually better than people were expecting this season. J.T. Realmuto has established himself as the best catcher in baseball and guys like Brian Anderson and Derek Dietrich are really performing well. He has a career ERA of 3.79 and is 3-4 against Miami in his career.
This is simply a recency effect choice. His last two starts have been bad, and he is coming off the 10-day DL to make today’s start after suffering an oblique strain in his last start. He’s 0-2 in his last two starts with an ERA just under 8.00, while allowing 17 base runners in just 10 innings. In addition, Martinez hasn’t had the greatest success against the two teams he’s slated to pitch against this week. In 9 appearances and 5 starts against Colorado, he has a 6.35 ERA in 34.0 innings. In 21 games and 12 starts against the Pirates, he has a 3.49 ERA over 87.2 innings; both above his career mark of 3.41.
Maeda was on this list last week, but was scratched from his Sunday start, which puts him in line for a 2-start week this week instead. I still don’t like the matchups. He’s had success against Milwaukee in his career going 2-1 with a 2.01 ERA over 4 starts. However, this Brewers offense is a bit different. They are a much better OBP team in 2018 with the addition of guys like Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich in the offseason. On top of that, the recent acquisition of Mike Moustakas also improves this offense greatly. He has never faced Houston before, but he’s in for a treat. Houston’s offense is top-10 in every major category; 4th in runs scored, 5th in team OBP, 6th in total bases, 8th in team average, and 10th in home runs. They are a scary bunch offensively, and certainly not a team you’d want to start one of your mid-tier fantasy starters against.
Masahiro Tanaka (yankees) – 1-0, 9.0/3H/9K/BB
Zack Wheeler (mets) – 2-0, 13.0/9H/2ER/10K/2BB
Junior Guerra (brewers) – 0-1, 10.0/9H/6ER/9K/5BB
Jose Berrios (twins) – 1-1, 11.2/13H/3ER/15K/4BB
Mike Minor (rangers) – 2-0, 11.0/8H/4ER/13K/2BB
Kenta Maeda (dodgers) – 0-0, 7.0/6H/4ER/7K
I’m a day late with this post, so it’s cut in half. Here’s the list of guys that are doubling up today and Sunday. Since I’m already late, I wont explain my picks to stream/sit, but just know that I did my research on the backend; just want to get the post out quickly so you have time to make the necessary lineup changes to get these guys in!
Sorry for the delay this week. I will be back on top of the things for next Monday’s list.
Don’t forget to tune in to “The Fantasy Nerdz” official podcast. Episode 2 will be coming in the next few days, available anywhere you can get podcasts! The unveiling of the brand new name will be on this episode!
In spirit of seeing a roster of the best 25 and unders MLB has to offer, I’ve decided to create my own, while separating the leagues. This makes it much harder as some positions really only have one young star at a position, let alone 1 in each league.
Eflin has two juicy matchups this week, first, against the Mets, then, against the Marlins. Both of these teams have had putrid offenses for much of the season. In addition, Eflin has been phenomenal in his 11 starts in 2018. In 63.2 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.97 ERA with 63 Ks to just 14 walks. The reason for his success has a lot to do with his HR rate. In his first 2 seasons, he allowed 1.7 and 2.2 HR/9 respectively. This year, however, that number is just 0.7 HR/9. The Mets and Marlins are both in the bottom third of MLB in home runs (Mets 23rd, Marlins 29th) so look for that success to continue this week.
Hellickson has had excellent success against the Pirates over the years. In 6 starts, he’s amassed a 3-1 record with a 2.38 ERA. The reason being is he simply does not let the bases fill up with Pirates; he has a 0.89 WHIP in those 6 starts. He’s even better when in PNC Park; 2-0 in 2 starts with a 1.59 ERA, 0.62 WHIP in 11.1 innings. The Mets have been one of the worst offensive teams in baseball, ranking 29th in team average, 28th in runs scored, 23rd in HRs, and dead last in hits. Hellickson should be chomping at the bit for a chance to face the Mets this week.
Now, this is my super sleeper for the week. He’s only made 1 big league start in 2018, and it was a good one. Against Baltimore, he went 6 innings allowing just 1 run to earn his first big league win. He doesn’t miss many bats, striking out just 6.6 hitters per 9 innings. But, he has already shown success against KC this season. Coming in relief on May 30th, he hurled 5.1 innings of 2 run ball in Kansas City. This week, both games will be at home, and against a pair of the worst run scoring offenses in baseball. Kansas City and Tampa Bay rank last and 26th respectively in runs scored this season. I personally guarantee that Slegers is available in your league and he’s worth the add this week.
Cincinnati has been very good as of late. They’ve won 16 of their past 20 games and have been quietly outstanding on offense. The Reds are 6th in team average, 8th in runs scored, 7th in hits, 1st in walks, and in the bottom half (18th) in team strikeouts. This will be a tougher matchup for Bauer than it appears. This Reds’ team is a gritty bunch and could wear Bauer down by taking pitches and fouling balls off, driving up the pitch count up and causing an early Bauer exit. Then he will face the Yankees, with one of the most prolific offenses in the sport. Now, they will be without Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres, but the offense is still daunting, nevertheless. The Yankees beat Bauer in his only start against them this year, going 6 innings allowing 2 earned runs. However, over his career, Bauer’s really struggled against New York. Against teams in which Bauer has started more than 5 games, only one has struck out less. A guy that relies on the strikeout really struggles to punch out Yankees’ hitters. In 9 career starts against the Bronx Bombers, he’s 3-5 with a 4.06 ERA and just 44 Ks in 51.0 innings.
Corbin is a tough guy to sit as he’s one of the premiere pitchers in Major League Baseball. I simply do not like these matchups for him. Colorado is a team that he has really struggled with throughout his career to the tune of a 4.68 ERA in 17 starts. While his record (8-3) looks good, the underlying numbers are not. He has accumulated a WHIP of 1.35 and 16 HRs over the course of those starts. When you look at his numbers while inside the confines of Coors Field, it’s even worse. In 8 starts, he has a 7.11 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP over 44.1 innings. It’s a tough place to pitch for anyone, but Corbin seems to really have a hard time there. Now, Atlanta has been a different story. Corbin has been very successful against the Braves; he has yet to allow an earned run at Turner Field in 16.2 innings. However, this year’s Braves are not the Braves we’ve seen in recent memory, and over the course of Corbin’s tenure. The 2018 rendition of the Atlanta Braves rank 5th in team average, 6th in runs scored, 2nd in doubles, and 4th in hits. The have been outstanding behind the emergence of Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna, and the resurgence of Nick Markakis. Corbin has yet to face this version of the Braves, and I don’t like his chances.
Sticking with my “avoid Indians’ pitchers” theme, Clevinger is also a guy I’d avoid this week. Similar to Bauer, it’s a matter of one streaking offense and one prolific offense. On top of that, Clevinger has also struggled in his previous appearances against both the Reds and the Yankees. In 3 appearances against the two teams, he’s allowed 9 earned runs over 13.2 innings; with only 1 of the 3 appearances coming this season. Previous versions of the Reds and Yankees are not as offensively gifted as the two teams are this season. That does not bode well for the Indians’ righty. Similar to Bauer, Clevinger is generally a strikeout pitcher, notching 1 strikeout per inning over his career. I don’t see him continuing that trend in either start he will make this week. Both the Reds and Yankees see a lot of pitches and extend at-bats while drawing a ton of walks. Free baserunners will be the demise of Clevinger this week.
The weekly 2-start pitchers could be essential to picking up victories in some pitching categories. We all know the win category is a fluke, and I’m sure 99% of fantasy baseball leagues use the win stat for pitching. The only way to accumulate wins is in sheer volume of starts. We’ve seen pitchers this year go 7-8 scoreless innings and manage to not get a “win” so the key is to start as many *quality* pitchers as possible. Weekly 2-start pitchers help; I’ll begin a weekly post every Monday that includes all the 2-start pitchers for the week and which ones I like most and which ones I like least.
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We’re almost 90 games through the 2018 MLB season, so we know who’s playing well and who isn’t, right? Maybe not.