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Top 70 starters for Week 12

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Fantasy Week 11 was something like a horror movie for pitchers and their Fantasy owners. Injuries knocked out three-fifths of the Blue Jays' starting rotation in a five-day span, and by the weekend, only Ricky Romero and Henderson Alvarez had survived the onslaught. Then Josh Beckett was taken down by shoulder inflammation and placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. Bud Norris (knee) had a start skipped this weekend, while Brandon Beachy (elbow) left his Saturday outing against the Orioles early, and he may be headed for some DL time as well.

These developments thinned out the pool of viable starters for Fantasy Week 12 (June 18-24), but there may be some quality reinforcements on the way. Jered Weaver (back) and Roy Oswalt could both get called into action this coming week, though neither makes the top 70 starters list, as their return is no sure thing.

Here are the 70 starters who are still healthy enough and good enough to start in standard mixed leagues in Week 12.

Starting Rotation breakdown for Fantasy Week 12
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2 Stat of note
1 Matt Cain @LAA (Williams) @OAK (McCarthy) 11 percent swinging strike rate, last six starts
Cain's perfecto was just the latest in a string of dominant starts.
2 Justin Verlander STL (Lynn) @PIT (Correia) Opponents' .157 batting average on grounders
With a shaky infield behind him, it's unclear how Verlander gets as many groundouts as he does, but he beat similar odds last season, too.
3 CC Sabathia ATL (Minor) @NYM (Dickey) .345 BABIP, last six starts
Sabathia's ERA has been inching up over the past month, but he has been missing bats as well as ever. A few too many hit balls have been finding the gaps.
4 Cole Hamels COL (Outman) TB (Price) 14 percent home run per flyball ratio, last four starts
Hamels' home run rate has been doing some regressing to the mean, but during his recent slump, the law of averages has been overcompensating.
5 David Price @WAS (Wang) @PHI (Hamels) 4 HRs allowed in 41 road innings
Price has been worse on the road than at home, but homers haven't hurt him away from pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field.
6 R.A. Dickey BAL (Arrieta) NYY (Sabathia) No earned runs, last 34 innings
Dickey's scoreless inning streak came to an end in Wednesday's one-hitter at the Rays, but his string of innings without an earned run is intact.
7 Clayton Kershaw @OAK (Parker) N/A .381 BABIP, last four starts
Kershaw's recent strikeout and popup rates have been sensational, so the biggest factor in his disappointing WHIP and ERA has been apparent bad luck on balls in play.
8 Cliff Lee TB (Shields) N/A No starts fewer than six innings
Though Lee was underwhelming on Saturday against the Blue Jays, he is practically a lock to pitch well enough to win (even though he hasn't yet).
9 Stephen Strasburg TB (Hellickson) N/A Opponents' .287 SLG vs. lefties
Strasburg has been especially tough against left-handers, and that will come in handy when facing a lefty-heavy Rays lineup.
10 Jake Peavy CHC (Garza) MIL (Wolf) 4.05 home ERA
It helps that Peavy is facing the offensively-challenged Cubs, but he still ranks a few notches lower than he would otherwise because his starts come at U.S. Cellular Field.
11 Ian Kennedy CHC (Maholm) N/A 11 percent swinging strike rate
Kennedy's whiff rate is up by two percentage points this year, so if he can get his called strike rate to rebound, owners could enjoy a bonanza of Ks.
12 Zack Greinke @CHW (Quintana) N/A 3.00 ERA vs. CHW since 2009
Greinke got rocked by the Sox often earlier in his career, but he has been solid against his former divisional foes over his last seven starts.
13 Lance Lynn @DET (Verlander) @KC (Sanchez) 2.32 road ERA
Lynn's sparkling stats aren't a product of Busch Stadium; he's actually allowed earned runs at a lower rate in his away games.
14 Madison Bumgarner @OAK (Colon) N/A 70 percent strikes thrown, last five starts
Owners have benefited from a recent surge in strikeouts, but they are also getting treated to some elite-level control.
15 Dan Haren SF (Vogelsong) N/A 48 percent flyball rate, last four starts
Haren has had some trouble keeping the ball down lately, but that shouldn't hurt him much against the Giants.
16 Chris Sale CHC (Dempster) N/A Eight quality starts in 12 tries
Sale got clobbered by the Dodgers on Friday, but it was the first time all season that he had allowed more than three runs.
17 C.J. Wilson SF (Zito) N/A 80 percent strand rate
Sure, Wilson leads the AL in ERA, but he doesn't rank higher on this list because he's unlikely to strand so many runners going forward.
18 Josh Johnson TOR (Cecil) N/A 2.70 ERA, last seven starts
Quietly, Johnson has rounded back into ace form over the past five weeks.
19 Matt Garza @CHW (Peavy) @ARI (Miley) 1.00 WHIP, last three starts
Garza has had some bouts of wildness and getting hit hard, but now he seems to be settling in.
20 Felix Hernandez @SD (Richard) N/A .415 BABIP. last six starts
Like Sabathia and Kershaw, Hernandez is yet another ace who has underwhelmed his owners, though largely through no fault of his own.
21 Yovani Gallardo TOR (Villanueva) N/A 14 BBs over last 38 1/3 innings
Gallardo's control was erratic early on this season, but over the past month, his walk rate has been more respectable.
22 Gio Gonzalez TB (Moore) N/A 62 percent strikes thrown
Gonzalez's strike-throwing rate is still mediocre, but it's a step forward from his days in Oakland.
23 James McDonald MIN (Hendriks) N/A 18 percent ground ball rate, last three starts
McDonald's flyball tendencies will get the better of him eventually, but he has the good fortune of getting a home start against the majors' least flyball-prone lineup.
24 Mat Latos @CLE (Lowe) MIN (Diamond) Opponents' .239 Avg, last eight starts
Latos has been much harder to hit since April, and if he can slow down Trevor Plouffe, he could get a week off from the long ball.
25 Adam Wainwright @KC (Mendoza) N/A 3.6 percent popup rate
Wainwright's rate stats look much like those from his two most recent seasons, but a dearth of easy flyouts is helping to keep his WHIP elevated.
26 Matt Moore @WAS (Gonzalez) N/A 1.06 WHIP, last six starts
Moore is starting to look scary-good, as is evidenced by a low WHIP that has withstood a mediocre walk rate.
27 Clay Buchholz MIA (Buehrle) ATL (Minor) 28 Ks, 6 BBs over last 31 innings
Buchholz isn't throwing many more strikes in recent starts, but he is getting far more whiffs, and that's making a huge difference in his results.
28 Daniel Hudson SEA (Ramirez) N/A 2 HRs allowed over last 29 1/3 innings
Despite weak ground ball tendencies, Hudson has a history of avoiding homers, and he's at it again after a rocky beginning this year.
29 Anibal Sanchez TOR (Romero) N/A 3.34 home xFIP (per Fangraphs.com)
Sanchez's 4.60 ERA at Marlins Park doesn't look impressive, but give him a normal strand rate, and his results there would look just fine.
30 James Shields @PHI (Lee) N/A Opponents' .244 road Avg
Strangely, Shields has been hittable at the Trop so far this year, but he has been able to keep batters in check on the road.
31 Andy Pettitte @NYM (Niese) N/A 8.5 K/9
Pettitte's strikeout rate has been a pleasant surprise, and it could grow further with a matchup against a Mets team that is piling up the Ks.
32 Matt Harrison @SD (Marquis) COL (Outman) Opponents' .290 SLG, last five starts
Harrison wasn't getting grounders consistently earlier in the season, but now he seems to be building on the gains he made last year.
33 Johan Santana BAL (Hunter) N/A 56 percent strikes thrown, last two starts
Santana has had problems finding the strike zone in his starts since his no-no. While it's a small sample, the magnitude of the problem is at least a mild concern.
34 Johnny Cueto MIN (Manship) N/A 51 percent ground ball rate
Earlier in the season, it looked like Cueto's high grounder rate in 2011 might have been a one-shot deal, but he's recaptured his form.
35 Jon Lester ATL (Beachy) N/A 10 percent swinging strike rate (entering Sat.)
After struggling to get whiffs earlier in the season, Lester now has his rate just above last year's level.
36 Brandon McCarthy LAD (Harang) SF (Cain) 3.45 P/PA
McCarthy has been even more efficient this year than last year, so as long as his shoulder holds up, he should avoid early exits.
37 Vance Worley COL (Francis) N/A .362 home BABIP
There is nothing alarming about Worley's batted ball and strikeout rates at Citizens Bank Park, so his 4.30 ERA and 1.52 WHIP at home look like bad-luck flukes.
38 Yu Darvish @SD (Bass) N/A 3 ERs or fewer allowed in 10 of 13 starts
Darvish walks too many hitters, but in spite of that, he hasn't had many meltdowns.
39 Shaun Marcum TOR (Chavez) N/A 20 percent called strike rate since May 1
Marcum isn't getting as many whiffs lately, but he has made up for it by getting hitters to look at strikes at a higher rate.
40 Doug Fister @PIT (Burnett) N/A 66 percent strikes thrown, Sat. vs. COL
Fister's control was just a bit below his usual standards before his DL stint, but in his first start back, he was in top form.
41 Wade Miley SEA (Noesi) CHC (Garza) Opponents' .190 Avg on grounders
Miley and Trevor Cahill are Arizona's premier ground ball specialists, and both are giving up hits on grounders at a low rate.
42 Jordan Zimmermann @BAL (Hammel) N/A 53 percent ground ball rate (entering Sat.)
No longer a flyball pitcher, it was just a matter of time before Zimmermann slowed down his homer pace; he held the Yankees homerless on Saturday.
43 Wandy Rodriguez KC (Hochevar) N/A 3.86 interleague ERA since 2011
Rodriguez has performed decently against AL opponents going back to last year, and the Royals have scored fewer runs than any other AL team in 2012.
44 A.J. Burnett DET (Fister) N/A Fewer than six innings in two of last five starts
Burnett has been on a roll, but a couple of short outings shows that he still may not be a reliable source of innings in points leagues.
45 Jeff Samardzija @ARI (Saunders) N/A 4.1 K/BB ratio vs. righties (entering Sat.)
Samardzija's command has been far stronger against right-handed hitters, and that should serve him well against the Diamondbacks.
46 Jerome Williams SF (Cain) LAD (Harang) 3 HRs allowed over last 40 2/3 innings
A Juan Rivera tater ruined Williams' most recent start, but in general, you don't have to worry about him getting taken out of the park.
47 Jeremy Hellickson @WAS (Strasburg) N/A 14 percent line drive rate, last two starts
Shaky command has gotten Hellickson into trouble his last two times out, but when hitters make contact off him, they rarely hit him hard.
48 Ryan Dempster @CHW (Sale) N/A .167 BABIP, last three starts
Dempster is on an impressive run, not allowing a run in any of his last three outings, but he has allowed a lot of contact and escaped due to some good fortune.
49 Ryan Vogelsong @LAA (Haren) N/A 1.31 interleague ERA since 2011
Vogelsong has been just so-so on the road this year, but given the Angels' pitcher-friendly park and a recent history of success against AL foes, Vogelsong should be safe to use.
50 Trevor Cahill SEA (Vargas) N/A 1.78 ERA, last five starts
Cahill has skated through a series of favorable recent matchups, and the Mariners are yet another club that has struggled at the plate, especially over the last couple of weeks.
51 Chris Capuano @LAA (Richards) N/A 14 percent line drive rate
Capuano has been surprisingly wild lately, but all season long he has kept his WHIP low by avoiding liners.
52 Justin Masterson CIN (Arroyo) N/A 10 straight starts of six innings or more
Despite not being a big strike-thrower, Masterson is highly efficient, so he is giving his owners innings on a consistent basis.
53 Felix Doubront MIA (Nolasco) N/A 16 BBs over last 47 1/3 innings
Doubront consistently posted subpar walk rates in the upper minors, so his recent 3.0 BB/9 rate is a nice bonus for his owners.
54 Mark Buehrle @BOS (Buchholz) TOR (Alvarez) 6.7 innings per start
Being an innings-eater is nothing new for Buehrle, but he is living up to his reputation in Miami.
55 Tim Hudson @NYY (Kuroda) N/A .204 flyball BABIP
The Braves' pitching staff has been the best in the NL at preventing in-the-park flyball base hits, but Hudson hasn't benefited from the incredible range of his outfielders. Though he's a groundball guru, his hit rate should improve going forward.
56 Colby Lewis COL (Guthrie) N/A 2.33 home ERA
Lewis has gotten by with a surprisingly high strand rate in home starts, but his success could stretch for one more start against a Rockies team that doesn't hit well on the road.
57 Tommy Hanson @NYY (Hughes) N/A 1.1 HR/9 rate since 2011
Hanson has seen the benefit of the aforementioned superb Braves outfield defense, but he's a big risk to have the ball leave the park altogether at Yankee Stadium.
58 Hiroki Kuroda ATL (Hudson) N/A 22 Ks over last 28 innings
It looked as if Kuroda was becoming a contact pitcher, but his K-rate is starting to inch up again.
59 Scott Diamond @PIT (Correia) @CIN (Latos) 62 percent ground ball rate
Diamond's minor league grounder rates hovered around 50 percent, but if he can somehow keep this up, he'll be useful in standard mixed leagues at least as often as not.
60 Dillon Gee BAL (Matusz) N/A 65 percent strikes thrown
Gee had been a reliable strike-thrower in the minors, but this season he's setting the bar even higher.
61 Max Scherzer @PIT (Lincoln) N/A 10 BBs over last 16 1/3 innings
Scherzer is going through one of his patented wild spells, but this week he will face one the majors' least selective teams, the Pirates.
62 Ricky Romero @MIA (Sanchez) N/A 5 BBs over last 23 innings
Romero's overall results haven't been great lately, but his control has been much better over his last four starts.
63 Jonathon Niese NYY (Pettitte) N/A 41 Ks over last 35 2/3 innings
Niese's strikeout rate had been creeping upward over the last two seasons, and now he is a bona-fide source of Ks in Fantasy.
64 Jason Hammel WAS (Zimmermann) N/A 0.91 ground ball-to-flyball ratio, last six starts (entering Sat.)
Hammel hadn't been getting grounders like he was earlier this year, though Saturday's one-hitter could represent a turning point.
65 Edwin Jackson @BAL (Chen) N/A 14 percent line drive rate
Jackson probably won't maintain such a low liner rate all season, but at least we can be reassured that last season's 25 percent rate was not a sign of more trouble to come.
66 Ivan Nova @NYM (Young) N/A 7.8 runs of support per nine innings
Even the Yankees probably can't give Nova this much support over a full season, but with a 3.92 road ERA, Nova can win this week, even with a little less backing.
67 Nate Eovaldi @OAK (Milone) N/A 89 percent strand rate
Eovaldi is clearly lucky to have a sub-2.00 ERA, but with a mid-90s heater than has the potential to generate whiffs and grounders, he's becoming a standard mixed league option.
68 Aaron Harang @OAK (McCarthy) @LAA (Williams) 0.7 HR/9
Harang is not exactly known for his ability to keep the ball in the park, but with starts in Oakland and Anaheim, he could have a five-game homerless streak by the end of the week.
69 Bronson Arroyo @CLE (Masterson) N/A 67 percent strikes thrown
The Indians are one of the best teams in the majors at drawing walks, but with his pinpoint control, Arroyo can take away one of their main weapons.
70 Francisco Liriano @PIT (Bedard) N/A Opponents' .247 SLG, last four starts
Liriano continues to be wild, but he's been effectively so, as he has been avoiding hard contact since returning to the rotation.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Reds sign Brennan Boesch to minor league deal
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Reds have signed outfielder Brennan Boesch to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Boesch, 29, is a career .256/.309/.412 hitter over five seasons for the Tigers, Yankees and Angels.

He was in the minors for most of last season, hitting .332 with 25 homers for the Angels Triple-A affiliate. 


Royals acquire infielder Ryan Jackson from Dodgers
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Royals have acquired infielder Ryan Jackson from the Dodgers for cash considerations. Jackson was out for most of last season with a wrist injury. 

Jackson hit .278 with 34 RBI at Triple-A Memphis, playing 122 games at shortstop and third base in 2013.


Report: Talks break down between Yanks, Phils about Rollins deal
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Yankees and Phillies reportedly discussed a deal for 35-year-old shortstop Jimmy Rollins before talks broke down, according to ESPN reporter Jayson Stark.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Rollins is "one of the best shortstops in baseball still" but wouldn't confirm Yankees interest in the veteran. Amaro also said Rollins is "somebody we want on our club and would be very hard to replace."

Rollins is due $11 million this season and his contract is up at the end of 2015. Rollins hit .243 with 55 RBI and stole 28 bases in 2014. 


Padres' Blaine Boyer clears waivers, heads for free agency
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) Padres right-handed pitcher Blaine Boyer cleared waivers Wednesday and will enter free agency, according to U-T San Diego. Boyer was designated for assignment last week.

Boyer appeared in 32 games last season for the Padres and posted a 3.57 ERA. 


Rays designate Sean Rodriguez for assignment
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Rays have designated 29-year-old Sean Rodriguez for assignment. 

Rodriguez hit .211 with 12 home runs last season. 


Jose Molina, Cole Figueroa clear waivers, released by Rays
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) Catcher Jose Molina and infielder Cole Figueroa cleared waivers and were released by the Rays Wednesday. 

Both Molina and Figueroa were designated for assignment Thursday. Molina, 39, hit .178 over 225 at-bats last year, while Figueroa hit .233 in 43 at-bats. 


Rays sign right-hander Ernesto Frieri to major-league contract
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) The Rays have announced signing of right-hand pitcher Ernesto Frieri to a one-year contract. Frieri will make a base salary of $800,000, going up to $3.15 million with incentives, according to the Tampa Tribune.

Frieri, who had a career-high 37 saves in 2013, had 11 last season with a 7.34 ERA.


Yankees' Sabathia confident he can return to being 200-inning pitcher
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia continues to deliver positive updates coming off July knee surgery.

"The knee, I have no complaints," Sabathia told YES Network. "I’m able to do all of my workouts. … I’m changing a few things. Not as much pounding and running. I’m in the pool a lot, on different machines to get cardio, (on the) bike. Just adding a few different things to get some cardio in."

Despite coming off surgery and being limited to eight starts (46 innings) in 2014, Sabathia feels he can get back to being a 30-start, 200-inning pitcher in 2015.

"Yeah, for sure," he said. "I feel like I can. If you asked me that a couple of months ago, I would have said, ‘I don’t know,’ but the way I’m feeling now and being able to work out, definitely."


Report: Indians expressing interest in Kendrys Morales
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(11/26/2014) The Indians have expressed inerest in DH/first baseman Kendrys Morales

Morales, who split time between the Twins and Mariners last season, hit .218 with 42 RBI.


Brewers' Ryan Braun 'cautiously optimistic' coming off thumb surgery
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11/26/2014) Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is optimistic coming off October thumb surgery. Braun underwent a cryotherapy procedure in Los Angeles on Oct. 2, in which a needle was inserted at the base of his right thumb to essentially freeze a nerve.

"It definitely worked," Braun said Wednesday, per MLB.com. "It makes a huge difference."

Braun swung a bat 10 days after the procedure and was happy the pain in his thumb was gone.

"Right now, I don’t feel any [discomfort], and I haven’t been able to say that for two years," he said. "I think I’ve told you guys, it [bothered him] shaking hands, writing -- you know, just everyday activities. Now I don’t feel it at all, so I’m excited."

While Braun is definitely optimistic, he is also a bit cautious because he isn't in the grind of playing baseball every day. He has received full clearance, however, for all offseason activities.

"I’m encouraged by how it feels, but at the same time, I think I have to be cautiously optimistic [until] I get into spring training and see how it responds," Braun said. "But it hasn’t felt this good in a really long time."


 
 
 
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