For the months leading up to, and right up until the very last moment before your draft, I’ll always be one of the first to tell you to wait on starting pitching. The position is incredibly deep and if you do your homework, you can find outstanding, quality pitching throughout the middle to late rounds. In a 12-team, mixed league with a snake draft, I’m not even looking at a pitcher until the sixth round. You can easily build yourself competitive pitching staffs without investing an early round pick on a Justin Verlander or a Clayton Kershaw. Sure, those guys will be great, but clearly there are others. If you watched that Colorado/ St. Louis series this past weekend, you’ll know exactly what I’m, talking about.
If you were here Saturday morning, then you saw the write-up I did on Shelby Miller and the phenomenal one-hit shutout he tossed against the Rockies on Friday. He gave up a hit to the first batter he faced and then proceeded to mow down the next 27 Rockies who came to bat. No walks, no errors, no hit batsmen; just that first hit shy of a perfect game. The outing pushed his record to 5-2 with a 1.58 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. He also has 51 strikeouts over just 45.2 innings. Not bad for a guy who was taken after the 15th round.
Saturday afternoon, Adam Wainwright, a fifth or sixth round draft pick in most leagues, continued the trend and had a no-hitter going until two outs in the seventh when he gave up a hit to rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado. That made for 50 straight Rockies batters without a hit between the two games. Wainwright finished the day with a complete-game, two-hit shutout and he currently sits on a 5-2 record with a 2.30 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and has 55 strikeouts over 58.7 innings.
But turnaround is fair play and during the Sunday game, we saw Rockies hurler Jorge De La Rosa, a pitcher taken, on average, somewhere around the 22nd round, take a no-hitter of his own into the seventh inning. He finished the day having allowed two hits and three walks with no earned runs en route to the win and now hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts, a streak of 13 innings. For the season, he’s 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and has 28 strikeouts in 45.1 innings.
Now obviously these guys aren’t going to pitch this well each and every outing and perhaps you can find flaws with each one. Miller is young and with more scouting reports, perhaps hitters will figure him out a little better. De La Rosa’s strikeout rate is way down and his walks are up, so perhaps consistency will be an issue. As for Wainwright, well, his rebuilt arm looks solid but he’s had his fair share of blow-ups in his time. But you know what…? So have Verlander and Kersahw. Neither of them is perfect and while they may pitch with a bit more consistency over time, the cost to acquire them is a lot steeper. Not to mention how acquiring their services comes at the expense of your offense. I’d much rather have a second-round outfielder and a 15th round pitcher I’ve scouted than the other way around.
Of course, talking draft strategy now doesn’t do much for you, but it’s just something that should be pointed out to you fairly regularly so that you don’t make the same mistake next year during your draft. When you’re sitting there next March and you’re wondering if you should take Verlander or the next best hitter on the board, remember this article and get your head straight.
Now let’s hit the highlights from Sunday…
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Chris Sale, CHW||9.0||0||1||0||0||0||7||0.00||0.11|
Of course the beast today is a pitcher….what’d you expect? Nothing like hammering a point home so that it gets through even the thickest of skulls. Chris Sale is another guy you’ll find around the sixth or seventh round in most drafts and a perfect candidate to lead your fantasy rotation should he be the first hurler you choose after loading up on offense early. Just like every other pitcher, he too has had his moments of yuck, but overall, how can you argue with a 4-2 record with a 2.88 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 56.1 innings? You can’t.
|Jose Bautista, OF TOR||2-4, 3 R, 2 HR, 3 RBI, BB|
|Emilio Bonifacio, OF, TOR||3-4, 3 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, SB|
|Adrian Beltre, 3B TEX||4-5, 2 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI|
|Jorge De La Rosa, SP COL||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 7 K|
|Tim Lincecum, SP SF||W, 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 7 K|
It’s been kind of a tough road for Jose Bautista owners this season but nine home runs and 20 RBI certainly aren’t anything to sneeze at here. But 13 games between home runs is a little long for him, especially when he’s still hitting under .250 for the year. Hopefully this game kick starts him and he can finish the month strong.
A nice big game for Emilio Bonifacio, although when Toronto’s putting up 12 runs, usually everyone id doing something right. But I like the fact that Bonifacio has four steals over his last six games as that’s the whole point of drafting him. It should be interesting to see if he gets a little extra playing time now that Rajai Davis is on the DL, so I’d look to use him and increase my stolen base total this week.
Always good to see Adrian Beltre powering up, right? He’s now homered in two straight games and has hit safely in his last four going 8-for-18 (.444) with two home runs and six RBI over that span. The .260 average is a bit cumbersome, but he still ranks amongst the top 10 third basemen overall and is in the top five if you’re just looking for power totals.
And look at Tim Lincecum trying to squeeze in here during a pro-pitching edition of Rounding the Bases. Good for him. At least for today. But between the rough starts, the high walks and the overall decline we’ve seen over the last few seasons, haircut or no haircut, I’m still not buying. Maybe he’s good for one of these every so often, but when I’m putting together a mid to late round pitching staff, he’s just not on my list.
|Brandon Moss, 1B OAK||0-4, 4 K|
|Victor Martinez, C DET||0-5, 3 K|
|Placido Polanco, 3B MIA||0-4, 3K|
|Heath Bell, RP ARI||BS, 27.00 ERA, 6.00 WHIP|
|Jordan Lyles, SP HOU||L, 18.00 ERA, 3.50 WHIP, 1 K|
Some not-too-surprising struggles here as Brandon Moss continues to have issues with consistency at the plate, Heath Bell is back to blowing saves, and Victor Martinez still trying to get back into the swing of things…literally. Placido Polanco isn’t even a plug and play type of guy anymore without the batting average and Jordan Lyles is….well….Jordan Lyles.
Wei-Yin Chen, SP BAL – oblique (day to day)
Shane Victorino, OF BOS – ribs, back (day to day)
Luis Valbuena, 3B CHC – finger (day to day)
Conor Gillaspie, 3B CHW – illness (day to day)
Chris Perez, RP CLE – shoulder (day to day)
Michael Cudddyer, OF COL – neck (15-day DL)
Erick Aybar, SS LAA – hamstring (day to day)
Carlos Gomez, OF MIL – back, shoulder (day to day)
Aramis Ramirez, 3B MIL – shoulder (day to day)
Pedro Florimon, SS MIN – hamstring (day to day)
Aaron Hicks, OF MIN – elbow (day to day)
Russell Martin, C PIT – neck (day to day)
Santiago Casilla, RP SF – knee (day to day)
Desmond Jennings, OF TB – groin (day to day)
Rajai Davis, OF TOR -- oblique (15-day DL)
Brandon Morrow, SP TOR – neck, back (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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