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Plumbing the Depths for Week 13

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The Rockies have provided us with one of the strangest rotation developments to come along in awhile. In demoting Jeremy Guthrie to the bullpen, they will move forward with a four-man rotation consisting of Jeff Francis and three starters who have never put in a full season in a big league rotation. While the Colorado starting contingent is low on both quantity and quality, it does pose some interesting possibilities for Fantasy Week 13 (June 25-July 1). With the Rockies playing a full seven-game schedule, they will provide Fantasy owners with not one, not two, but three two-start pitchers. Only Alex White won't get a chance at a double dip.

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Even in deep leagues, a two-start week isn't especially welcome if the pitcher looks due for a pair of meltdowns. Francis, Christian Friedrich and Josh Outman haven't been reliable, and all are saddled with a pair of starts at Coors Field for the week ahead. One of them, however, may have a better chance to succeed for owners in deeper formats. To see which one it is, you'll have to peruse this week's two-start options section just below. As is the case each week in Plumbing the Depths, the two-start pitchers reviewed here are ones you won't see in the upcoming top 70 starter rankings, but each should be kept active in at least some deeper formats.

I have also spotlighted a handful of one-start pitchers worth a deep-league flier, as well as some starters who may be on the verge of losing their jobs. All stats are current for games through Wednesday, June 20.

Deeper league two-start options

Gavin Floyd, White Sox:
Projected matchups: @MIN (Hendriks), @NYY (Hughes)
2012 stats: 5-7, 5.20 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 76 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 51/25
Outlook: Floyd came out of a six-game funk on Wednesday, when he held the Cubs scoreless for 6 1/3 innings. Even after a solid outing against the punchless North Siders, Floyd's HR/9 rate at U.S. Cellular Field is a bloated 1.5. Some owners in mixed leagues might take a look at Floyd's line from his most recent start and think he could be usable with a two start week. He may be able to escape with decent outing at the Twins, but his weekend start at Yankee Stadium has the potential to ruin his week. You might as well keep Floyd active in most AL-only leagues, but in practically any mixed league, you need to give the big righty a rest.

Bruce Chen, Royals:
Projected matchups: TB (Moore), @MIN (Hendriks)
2012 stats: 6-6, 4.81 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 59 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 18/8
Outlook: The last time I recommended Chen as a viable start, I got pelted with volleyballs. You might think the sting of that payoff for a lost Weekly Wager on Fantasy Baseball 360 would make me shy away from Chen, but being a slow learner and all, I'm back at it, risking further punishment. As a flyball pitcher, Chen has generally been more vulnerable away from Kauffman Stadium, though home runs haven't hurt him much home or away this year. It's has actually been subpar BABIP and strand rates that have been at the root of Chen's 6.05 road ERA. Not only is he safer to use than his ERA would indicate, but with starts at Kauffman and homer-squelching Target Field next week, Chen needs to be activated in far more than eight percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com.

Luke Hochevar, Royals:
Projected matchups: TB (Archer), @MIN (Liriano)
2012 stats: 4-7, 5.65 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 60 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 16/7
Outlook: Unlike Chen, Hochevar has worse splits at home than on the road this season, but that looks more like a small sample fluke than anything. Hochevar is a less viable option than Chen this week, simply because the weaknesses that make him a deep league option in the first place aren't mitigated by where he pitches. He is a low-end starter mainly because he has consistently shown that he has trouble stranding baserunners. Hochevar's 60 percent strand rate would look like a horrific case of bad luck for nearly any other pitcher, but it's not far off his career norm. Despite the two-start week, Hochevar's seven percent activation rate looks just about right.

Travis Wood, Cubs:
Projected matchups: NYM (Santana), HOU (Lyles)
2012 stats: 1-3, 4.14 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 29 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 6/3
Outlook: It's not clear what happened to the circa 2010 version of Wood, but if the southpaw were still a control artist, he could be used in standard mixed leagues on occasion. While he is now too wild to use in those formats, he still has his uses for owners in deeper leagues. In fact, if you subtract out a single Wrigley Field start against the Padres, in which the wind was blowing out unusually strong, his ERA would be just 3.22. With a pair of home starts, Wood will once again be subject to the whims of Mother Nature, but he is still worth using in all NL-only leagues this coming week.

Josh Outman, Rockies:
Projected matchups: WAS (Zimmermann), SD (Bass)
2012 stats: 0-3, 8.41 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 22 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 1/1
Outlook: The Rockies' rotation owns the majors' highest ERA, so the stink created by the group as a whole has attached itself to each individual member, at least in the minds of Fantasy owners. With a stratospheric ERA and WHIP, Outman is an easy target for disgruntled owners, but xFIP thinks he's the best thing the Rockies have going right now. The advanced pitching metric, which estimates that Outman would have a 3.51 ERA if you could factor out the impact of defense and luck, may have a point. Albeit in just 20 1/3 innings, Outman has done an outstanding job of inducing whiffs (11.4 percent swinging strike rate) and grounders (53 percent ground ball rate), but his good work has been all for naught due to a 47 percent strand rate and a .368 BABIP. Outman had success at getting strikeouts and grounders last season in Triple-A, as he was working his way back from Tommy John surgery. He was also solid in 13 games with the A's last season, though he had the benefit of a better home park in which to pitch. Despite a pair of starts at Coors Field, Outman may be the Rockies' pitcher best equipped to get through Week 13 unscathed, and at minimum, he should be started in all NL-only leagues.

Waiver wire targets

Garrett Richards, Angels:
Projected matchups: @TOR (Chavez)
2012 stats: 2-0, 0.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 17 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 41/18
Outlook: With Jerome Williams (illness) being placed on the 15-day disabled list, Richards gets to enjoy a longer stay in the Angels' rotation. He hasn't had very good control above Double-A, but with unsustainably high strand and popup rates, Richards has gotten away with 11 walks in his 21 innings with the Angels. He has also avoided damage despite a 48 percent flyball rate, though given the ground ball tendencies he showed in the minors, that rate could recede. This will be Richards' first trip to a hitter's park this season, so it's best to stash Richards for his start against the Blue Jays. However, he could be useful in deeper mixed leagues in future weeks, so he is worth a pickup in those formats if he is available.

Clayton Richard, Padres:
Projected matchups: @HOU (Harrell)
2012 stats: 4-7, 3.94 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 52 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 21/11
Outlook: After a slow start to the season, Richard (not to be confused with Richards) is quietly working on a career year. As he has improved his command and strengthened his ground ball tendencies, Richard has posted a 2.66 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over his last seven starts. Averaging nearly seven innings per start during this span, he is profiling more and more like fellow lefty Matt Harrison, though without the copious quantities of run support. With one start this coming week, Richard is a good option in deeper mixed leagues, and at some point during a future two-start week, he will have standard mixed league viability.

Ross Detwiler, Nationals:
Projected matchups: @ATL (Delgado)
2012 stats: 4-3, 3.34 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 46 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 14/4
Outlook: Detwiler had poor results in a string of mid-May starts, so when Chien-Ming Wang came off the disabled list roughly a month ago, it was convenient for manager Davey Johnson to ship Detwiler to the bullpen. It was an undeserved demotion, as Detwiler's biggest offense was posting a fluky-looking .404 BABIP over his last three starts. The 26-year-old actually looked like he was coming into his own this year, keeping the ball down and getting strikeouts at a higher rate. At his peak earlier this year, Detwiler was owned in 72 percent of our leagues, and in future two-start weeks, he could reach those levels again. Even with a single start at the Braves, Detwiler needs to be owned and started in far more deeper mixed leagues.

Chris Archer, Rays:
Projected matchups: @KC (Hochevar)
2012 stats: 0-1, 1.50 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 7 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 9/3
Outlook: Archer could actually make a second start, facing the Tigers on June 30, but Jeremy Hellickson (shoulder) could also come off the disabled list and knock Archer out of the rotation. Even with one start against the Royals, Archer is worth using in AL-only leagues as well as some deeper mixed leagues. Archer has some control issues, but even if he struggles, he could get bailed out by a Kansas City squad that leads the AL in swing percentage on pitches outside the strike zone.

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Marco Estrada, Brewers:
Projected matchups: @CIN (Arroyo)
2012 stats: 0-3, 4.50 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 34 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 4/0
Outlook: Barring a setback, Estrada will rejoin the Brewers' rotation on Tuesday to face the Reds. He hadn't been all that effective prior to going on the DL, and his best moments came against the Rockies and Cubs in a pair of home starts. Estrada can be vulnerable to the long ball, so his start at Cincinnati may not go very well, but when healthy, he's a worthy arm to roster in NL-only leagues. Most owners should plan on stashing Estrada for now, but it's best to pick up him up soon, before he gets a few good starts under his belt.

Vulnerable rotation spots

Red Sox: Josh Beckett (shoulder) could return from the disabled list as soon as June 27. If that happens, Franklin Morales would be the most likely pitcher to get bumped from the rotation, so owners should plan on sitting him for Week 13.

Rangers: Derek Holland (shoulder) may be ready to assume his place in the Rangers' rotation by next weekend. That would likely end Justin Grimm's tenure as a big league starter, though he will at least get one Week 13 start, facing the Tigers on Monday. AL-only owners can start Grimm one more time before dropping or stashing him.

Blue Jays: The Jays are still trying to piece together their rotation after losing three starters in a five-day span to injury last week. Neither Joel Carreno nor Jesse Chavez fared well in their turns this week, and neither is guaranteed to keep a starting role. Carlos Villanueva, Aaron Laffey and recently-acquired Sean O'Sullivan could all be potential replacement options, but all should be avoided for now.

Royals: Felipe Paulino is expected to be activated next week and pitch in the series against the Rays. Either Luis Mendoza or Vin Mazzaro would lose his rotation spot, but both have had some success lately. However, due to their uncertain status, owners should plan on sitting both hurlers until more is known about the Royals' plans.

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' Anthony DeSclafani takes first loss Sunday vs. Cubs
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4:03 pm ET) Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani was stuck with his first loss of the season Sunday, giving up five runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks in five innings while striking out five in his team's 5-2 defeat against the Cubs.

DeSclafani (2-1) surrendered a solo home run in the second inning then watched the Cubs plate four runners in the fourth as his defense committed two errors in the inning. The Reds starter has yet to surrender more than two earned runs in any of his four starts while posting a 1.04 ERA and 21:6 K:BB ratio in 26 innings. He's slated to face the Braves in Atlanta Friday.


Cubs' Jake Arrieta allows two runs in win vs. Reds
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4:02 pm ET) Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta picked up a win Sunday, giving up two earned runs on four hits and three walks in six innings while striking out six in his team's 5-2 victory over the Reds.

Arrieta (3-1) was staked to a 5-0 lead heading into the fourth inning before surrendering a solo home run to Todd Frazier. He then ran into trouble in the fifth, loading the bases with no outs, but he was able to limit the damage to just one run in the inning before delivering a 1-2-3 sixth that included two strikeouts.

Arrieta owns a 2.03 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 25:7 K:BB ratio in 26 2/3 innings. His next start is scheduled for Friday against the Brewers at home.


Blue Jays outright Todd Redmond to Triple-A
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:59 pm ET) RHP Todd Redmond cleared waivers after being designated by assignment by the Blue Jays. 

The team outrighted Redmond to Triple-A Buffalo, per TSN Radio


Marlins' Steve Cishek strikes out two in nonsave situation Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:58 pm ET) Marlins closer Steve Cishek racked up two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to finish off his team's 6-2 win over the Nationals Sunday.

Cishek was rocked in his first outing of the season and allowed one run in his subsequent appearance but has since pitched four perfect innings while recording three strikeouts. However, he owns just one save this season while posting a 8.44 ERA and 4:2 K:BB ratio in 5 1/3 innings.


Dan Haren earns win Sunday as Marlins sweep Nationals
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:56 pm ET) Marlins pitcher Dan Haren picked up a win Sunday, allowing two earned runs on three hits and three walks in five innings while striking out three in his team's 6-2 victory as the Marlins finished off a sweep of the Nationals.

Haren (2-1) fell behind after surrendering a solo home run to Bryce Harper in the second inning, but he was able to hold the Nationals offense to just one more run until he exited. He's given up two runs or less in three of his four starts while putting together a 3.38 ERA and 17:8 K:BB ratio in 24 innings. Haren is scheduled to square off with the Phillies Saturday.


Nationals' Gio Gonzalez surrenders six runs in loss vs. Marlins
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:55 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez took the loss Sunday, giving up six earned runs on 10 hits and one walk in five-plus innings while racking up eight strikeouts in his team's 6-2 defeat against the Marlins.

Gonzalez (1-2) pitched three scoreless innings but surrendered a bases-loaded triple in the fourth to fall behind for good. He gave up another RBI triple during a two-run fifth inning, and the Marlins added one more run in the sixth after the starter was removed earlier in the inning.

Gonzalez owns a 5.01 ERA and 22:11 K:BB ratio in 23 1/3 innings. He's scheduled to face the Mets Friday in New York.


Giants' Bochy: 'No way' to take Justin Maxwell out of lineup
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:52 pm ET) The Giants outfield is getting more crowded with the news that Brandon Belt will see more time in left field, and manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Justin Maxwell will continue to receive regular playing time when Hunter Pence returns from the disabled list, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

"There’s no way you can take Maxwell out of the lineup right now," Bochy said. "You’ve got to find a place to put him, with the way he’s been swinging."

Maxwell, who homered Saturday, has hit .308/.400/.615 with three home runs and nine RBI in 39 at-bats. Bochy mentioned the possibility of Maxwell and Pence manning the corners while center fielder Angel Pagan gets days off here and there.

"I could keep them all going, keep them all fresh," Bochy said.

If everyone's healthy, it appears that Nori Aoki could see the starkest reduction in playing time, despite him posting a .303/.391/.382 line with five stolen bases in 76 at-bats while serving as the team's regular leadoff batter.


Paulo Orlando goes 3 for 3 in Royals' loss
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:42 pm ET) Royals right fielder Paulo Orlando went 3 for 3 in Friday's suspended game, which was completed on Sunday afternoon. 

Orlando doubled, his second of the year, and drove in a run, his fifth. He also stole his second base of the year and lifted his average to .341.


Adam Eaton triples in two-hit game for White Sox
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:39 pm ET) Adam Eaton tripled to cap a two-hit game in the White Sox's 3-2 walk-off win over Kansas City. The game was a continuation of Friday's contest, which was suspended due to rain. Eaton went 2 for 5 with a run scored, lifting his average to .214. The triple was his second of the year. 

Cardinals RF Jason Heyward exits Sunday with groin tightness
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3:29 pm ET) Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward was removed from Sunday's game against the Brewers due to groin tightness and is day-to-day, the team announced.

Heyward appeared to suffer the injury on a play in the corner of right field on a triple by Gerardo Parra. He was visited by a trainer and manager Mike Matheny before being replaced by Jon Jay. Heyward was 0 for 2 in the game, dropping his line to .208/.230/.361 with two home runs and four RBI in 72 at-bats.

The Cardinals are set to open a series against the Phillies at home Monday.


 
 
 
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