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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
Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu reports no back issues after catch
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:50 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu said he made about 35 throws from 60 feet in a game of light catch Friday and reported no ill effects, MLB.com reports.

Ryu, whose back stiffened up after a bullpen session Tuesday, reiterated that he should be back on a normal throwing schedule soon and was "not worried at all" about being ready for the start of the season. He went 14-7 with a 3.38 ERA and 139:29 K:BB ratio in 152 innings last season, his second with the Dodgers.


Royals' Pena thinks extra offseason reps will help him earn a spot
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:47 pm ET) Royals backup catcher Francisco Pena told reporters that his reps for the Dominican Republican in the Caribbean Series earlier in February could help him win a spot on the roster this spring, per MLB.com.

"I feel like the more games you play, the more chances you have to get better," Pena said. "I love baseball. It's what I know. I was inspired by watching the World Series, and I saw how much hard work and sacrifice it takes to get there. That's also something my father taught me, to work hard and be prepared."

Pena was a September callup last season, but only made one appearance in the majors in 2014. Although it's early in camp, Pena has an outside shot to make the club. The Royals have Erik Kratz currently listed as the backup to starter Salvador Perez.


Report: Blue Jays, A's among teams talking to Dayan Viciedo
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:46 pm ET) The Blue Jays and Athletics are among the teams talking to free agent outfielder Dayan Viciedo, sources told FOX Sports. The Indians have previously been linked to showing interest in Viciedo, who was released by the White Sox in early February.

Rockies still mulling if De La Rosa will start in season or home opener
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:40 pm ET) Rockies manager Walt Weiss hasn't decided if he will start pitcher Jorge De La Rosa in the season opener April 6 at Milwaukee or the home opener April 10 against the Cubs, according to The Denver Post.

De La Rosa started the Rockies' season opener in 2014 at Miami and started the team's second game in 2013 at Milwaukee.


Rockies' Chad Bettis to compete for starting role
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:40 pm ET) Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis spent most of 2014 as a reliever but was converted into a starter late in the year and will compete for a rotation spot this spring, MLB.com reports.

"It was relief, so to speak," Bettis said. "I was back at home. I was at ease with it. And I had it cut out this offseason trying to get back to where I was starting-wise. It's definitely a good thing. I've been through it before, competing for a spot. But it's controlling what you can and keeping it as simple as you can."

Bettis also said he, his coaches and manager Walt Weiss felt he has to sharpen the location of his fastball, which has had "inconsistent movement … they brought that to my attention, and I completely agree."

Bettis posted a 9.12 ERA and 13:10 K:BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings out of the bullpen in 2014. He also made 20 appearances with Triple-A Colorado Springs, including five starts, and posted a 3.09 ERA and 55:21 K:BB ratio in 55 1/3 innings.


Yankees' Mark Teixeira: A-Rod 'will be fine over there' at first base
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:31 pm ET) Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez shifted across the infield on Friday. The embattled slugger fielded grounders and took part in various drills including bunt defense, according to the Associated Press.

Rodriguez missed all of last season after being suspended for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. With Chase Headley slated to be the team's starting third baseman, Rodriguez will compete for at-bats as a designated hitter and could see some time behind Headley at third and Mark Teixeira at first.

Teixeira told reporters that Rodriguez will fit just fine at first.

"I think what will make Alex have a shorter learning curve is his baseball IQ," Teixeira said, per Newsday. "He'll be fine over there."

Rodriguez, who will turn 40 in July, hit .244/.348/.423 over 156 at-bats back in 2013. He will begin early workouts on Saturday.


Melvin: Failed talks to acquire Papelbon led to K-Rod contract
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:29 pm ET) Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said the decision to sign closer Francisco Rodriguez to a two-year contract happened because talks were going nowhere in their attempt to acquire Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon.

“We did engage them and didn’t come to a comparable deal for both sides,” Melvin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We had a lot of conversations. It’s complicated because of next year with the $13 million (vesting option). Even if you agree to a deal, you have to go to the agent about the no-trade (clause to Milwaukee)."

Papelbon will be paid $13 million next season if he finishes 48 games in 2015.


Angels 1B Albert Pujols: Bring on the shift
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:27 pm ET) Angels first baseman Albert Pujols found himself batting against the shift more than any other player in 2014, but he said Friday he's happy to take on the altered defensive alignment, MLB.com reports.

"They think they're screwing with your mind, but actually it's worse because they're telling you how they're going to pitch to you," Pujols said. "So actually it's the opposite. It's helping a hitter to know how they're going to pitch to you."

Pujols also said his right knee, on which he underwent arthroscopic surgery in 2012, finally feels good again.

"Just crossing my fingers," Pujols said. "It's a long season."

Pujols hit .272/.324/.466 with 28 home runs and 105 RBI in 633 at-bats in 2014.


Braves' Rio Ruiz 'happy' with trade, impressing Pendleton in camp
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:16 pm ET) Braves third base prospect Rio Ruiz expressed happiness about being dealt to Atlanta as part of the package the Braves received for Evan Gattis, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

"Initially (the trade) was overwhelming," Ruiz said. "Then I looked at the big picture and I was happy with it. I watched the Braves growing up, and my dad just talked about the guys that came through this system and played in the big leagues."

Braves first-base coach Terry Pendleton, who was named National League MVP in 1991 as a member of the Braves, likes what he's seen from Ruiz in the early stages of spring training.

"I watched him play a little defense — he’s got a little work to do," Pendleton said. "But offensively, he’s sound. Really sound offensively. Just watching him in the cage, he’s inside the ball (with his swing). He’s what you want a young kid to be coming up so all you’ve got to do is tweak here and there. That’s what he looks like anyway."

Ruiz, 20, is expected to begin the season with Double-A Mississippi. He hit .293/.387/.436 with 11 home runs, 77 RBI and four stolen bases in 516 at-bats with high Class A Lancaster in 2014.


Phillies still hopeful Jesse Biddle will develop into MLB starter
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:02 pm ET) Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure has been impressed early on in camp with starting pitcher prospect Jesse Biddle, according to CSNphilly.com.

“Very impressive,” McClure said. “When you have that type of arm and you see a guy be able to control everything, it’s fun to watch. Of course, it’s not to Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels yet, but I mean, you can see it getting there someday possibly if he goes about everything right. It’s impressive to watch. The accuracy, the flow, how easy it was just to throw that hard. It looks really good.”

Biddle is coming off a down year in 2014, which included taking time off for what general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. termed a "mental break, and is no longer considered one of the Phillies' top prospects.

However, the team remains hopeful he will be able to bounce back.

“I think it’s an important year for him because last year was a tough one and he’s got some things to overcome,” Amaro said. “But if and when he does, he’s going to be a quality product.

“We love his stuff. We think he’s got a chance to be a very productive major-league pitcher. It’s just a matter of getting back on track."


 
 
 
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