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Plumbing the Depths for Week 14

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It will soon be last call to set your Fantasy rotations before the majors' 30 managers hit the "Reset" button on their own rotations just after the All-Star break.

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While many of your favorite deep-league options will get a rest during the short week after the break, there are several familiar names who are avaialble to use in Fantasy Week 14 (July 2-8). Daisuke Matsuzaka, Chris Young, Josh Tomlin and Josh Collmenter are all pitchers who have had some appeal in standard mixed leagues in recent seasons, but none is currently owned in as many as 30 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com. Each however, has an opportunity to help owners in a much larger share of leagues down the road, and in some cases, as soon as next week. For those, like Matsuzaka, who have a challenging matchup in their immedidate future, it's still worth considering a waiver move now, as long as you have a reserve spot available.

Below are some of more enticing options for a pickup and possibly a start outside of standard mixed leagues in Week 14. All stats are current for games through Wednesday, June 27.

Deeper league two-start options

Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox
Projected matchups: @OAK (Parker), NYY (Hughes)
2012 stats: 0-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 20 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 28/16
Outlook: After winding up with a 6.06 ERA after starts against the Nationals, Cubs and Marlins, there was little reason for owners outside of the deepest leagues to take an interest in Matsuzaka. However, he emerged from those first three outings with a 1.10 WHIP, and then he shut down the Blue Jays on Tuesday, allowing seven baserunners in 5 2/3 innings, but only letting one of them score. Most surprising about Dice-K's performance so far has been his sharp control. His track record suggests that he won't continue to throw 65 percent of his pitches for strikes, but even with some dropoff, he should be worth using in deeper mixed leagues. With an upcoming start against the Yankees, only AL-only owners should keep Matsuzaka active but at least some mixed league owners should pick him up and stash him for better weeks ahead.

Andrew Cashner, Padres
Projected matchups: @ARI (Bauer), CIN (Cueto)
2012 stats: 3-3, 3.81 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 34 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 26/13
Outlook: If Cashner lives up to the hype, he won't be merely a deeper league option for long. In fact, he could be worth stashing in standard mixed leagues if you have some deadwood to clear on your bench. Like teammate Edinson Volquez, Cashner has some control issues, but he's capable of helping out with strikeouts. Between his ground ball tendencies and favorable home park, home runs shouldn't hinder Cashner much. Though his inexperience as a major league starter makes him a risk, now is the time to roster Cashner. He could even have a decent Week 14, facing a Reds team that is far less potent on the road than at home.

Most Added Pitchers (as of 6/28)
Player % increase
1. Jair Jurrjens, SP, Braves 33
2. Bobby Parnell, RP, Mets 27
3. Franklin Morales, RP, Red Sox 18
4. Dillon Gee, SP, Mets 17
5. Jake Westbrook, SP, Cardinals 16
6. Jose Quintana, RP, White Sox 16
7. Trevor Bauer, SP, D-Backs 15
8. Andrew Cashner, RP, Padres 14
9. Roy Oswalt, SP, Rangers 13
10. Glen Perkins, RP, Twins 13

Marco Estrada, Brewers
Projected matchups: MIA (Zambrano), @HOU (Rodriguez)
2012 stats: 0-3, 4.50 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 46 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 14/8
Outlook: The big gap between Estrada's low WHIP and high ERA is indicative of both his strong command and chronic gopheritis. He has been hitting the strike zone consistently this year, and the resulting lack of contact and paucity of walks has been a boon to his WHIP. On the other hand, Estrada has yielded an alarming 2.1 homers per nine innings. He should get away with his strong flyball tendencies against the floundering Marlins, and a good start at Houston is not out of the question either. Estrada is not only a must start for NL-only owners this coming week, but he's a deeper mixed league option as well.

Joe Kelly, Cardinals
Projected matchups: COL (Francis), MIA (Sanchez)
2012 stats: 1-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 11 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 7/4
Outlook: Despite an arsenal that features a mid-90s fastball, Kelly is not a pitcher to pick up if all you need are Ks. However, the slim righty had dramatically improved his control at Triple-A this season, and he has carried those gains over into his first stint in the majors. There's nothing in his skill profile that screams "standard mixed league starter," but more owners in deeper mixed and NL-only leagues should be making room for him. Consider this: Kelly's peripheral stats are not markedly different from Jose Quintana's, yet the White Sox rookie is owned in nearly five times as many leagues. At the very least, pick up Kelly as a deeper mixed league two-start option, as he has great matchups at home against the Rockies and Marlins.

Everett Teaford, Royals
Projected matchups: @TOR (Romero), @DET (Scherzer)
2012 stats: 0-1, 5.06 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 9 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 1/0
Outlook: Teaford has gotten off to a poor start in his first four appearances with the Royals this year, but owners should expect something a little closer to the solid stats (3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP) he posted in 2011. He is simply too good at inducing grounders and commanding the strike zone to keep a stat line as ugly as the one he currently owns. In future weeks, the southpaw could have some appeal for deeper mixed league owners, but with a pair of solid lineups on his docket in Week 14, Teaford is strictly an AL-only option -- albeit a solid one -- for now.

Waiver wire targets

Franklin Morales, Red Sox
Projected matchups: @OAK (Griffin)
2012 stats: 1-1, 3.12 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 37 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 22/17
Outlook: Morales' ability to get whiffs and Ks didn't diminish in his first two turns in the Boston rotation; in fact, he raised both rates in his starts against the Cubs and Braves. His next opponent, the A's, are even more prone to striking out than either of his previous foes. Walks haven't been an issue either, as he has thrown 66 percent of his pitches for strikes over his 34 2/3 innings. Maybe these are all small-sample artifacts, but with Oakland's once-hot offense slowing down, it looks like another good week to start Morales outside of standard mixed leagues.

Chris Young, Mets
Projected matchups: PHI (Kendrick)
2012 stats: 1-1, 3.42 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 12 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 17/9
Outlook: Because Young is so prone to flyballs, the rule of thumb with him is to avoid him at all costs when facing a power-hitting lineup or starting in a home run park. His matchup against the Phillies is a borderline case, so Young should probably sit outside of NL-only leagues in Week 14. However, because of the potential for great starts in many of his matchups, his ownership rate should be higher than it currently is. If you're avoiding Young because of his high WHIP, you may be unneccesarily missing out on a superior alternative to someone on your deeper league roster. Because he is a popup machine, Young's career BABIP is a puny .254, but so far this year, he is burdened with a .321 mark. It's practically unthinkable that opposing hitters will continue to bat .462 on grounders against him going forward.

Travis Blackley, Athletics
Projected matchups: SEA (Vargas)
2012 stats: 1-2, 3.69 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 28 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 9/6
Outlook: After years of mediocrity and obscurity, it's hard to buy into Blackley's success as a rotation fill-in. There's nothing that stands out in his skill profile that would make you think he can sustain this level of success, but he is just good enough at missing bats and avoiding hard contact to succeed against weaker lineups. Since becoming a starter, the schedule has worked in his favor as he has faced the Twins, Padres, Dodgers and Mariners, and he posted good starts against all of them. Blackley has also been clobbered by the Rangers and Diamondbacks. The good news for Blackley's owners is that he gets the M's again next week, and their offense has slowed down considerably in the month of June. He's a must-start in AL-only leagues for the coming scoring period, but owners have to watch his upcoming matchups closely.

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Josh Tomlin, Indians
Projected matchups: TB (Hellickson)
2012 stats: 3-5, 5.70 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 41 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 9/4
Outlook: As with Estrada, Tomlin can be a boon for both WHIP and ERA, as long as he can avoid the long ball. That's a very big "if," as Tomlin has already allowed 11 dingers in just 66 1/3 innings. To be fair, though, he has allowed five of those just in the past two weeks, having given up three homers at Yankee Stadium and two at Great American Ball Park. Over his career, Tomlin has been a far better pitcher at home, and especially against a middling power team like the Rays, he should be a safe start in Week 14 in AL-only leagues and the deepest mixed league formats.

Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks
Projected matchups: LAD (Kershaw)
2012 stats: 0-2, 4.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 41 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 6/2
Outlook: With wild swings between hot and cold streaks, Collmenter was an absolute enigma as a rookie. He hasn't been any easier to figure out this season. After getting clobbered in the rotation to start the year, he has excelled as a reliever, getting more swinging strikes and grounders. Since his demotion to the bullpen, Collmenter has been throwing more cutters and getting more breaking action on them, but he's also faced a soft schedule. It's not clear which factor has played the bigger role in Collmenter's latest resurgence, but now that he is back in the rotation, he is worth a try at least for the coming week. The Dodgers have the majors' lowest batting average and Isolated Power for the month of June, and that should help Collmenter help you, even in deeper mixed leagues.

Vulnerable rotation spots

Astros: With Bud Norris (knee) coming off the DL on Friday, the Astros will expand their rotation to a six-man unit, and they will keep it that way until the All-Star break. The team has not yet decided what will happen once the second half begins, but owners of Dallas Keuchel and Jordan Lyles should be prepared to find a replacement by the time Week 15 (July 9-15) rolls around.

Royals: The Kansas City Star reports that Luis Mendoza and Jonathan Sanchez could be in danger of losing their rotation spots if they don't improve their performance. Doug Davis would probably be the first to get the call from Triple-A, though prospects Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery could also get some consideration. While owners of Mendoza and Sanchez may need to find other alternatives, Odorizzi and Montgomery in particular could be intriguing pickups.

Yankees: Freddy Garcia and Adam Warren will get the first shots to replaced the injured CC Sabathia (groin) and Andy Pettitte (ankle) in the Yankees' suddenly-depleted rotation. While Sabathia could return after the All-Star break, Pettitte will need a longer-term replacement, and it won't necessarily be either Garcia or Warren. David Phelps could be recalled from the minors to fill the vacancy, or the team could pursue an option on the trade market. For now, none of the internal options are worth owning outside of AL-only leagues.

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
Michael Bourn back in lineup Wednesday for Indians
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:54 pm ET) Indians center fielder Michael Bourn has finally returned from a hamstring injury that prevented him from playing for them for nearly a month. He is in the starting lineup for the game Wednesday night in Detroit.

Bourn will begin his quest to rebound from a disappointing first season with Cleveland in 2013. His batting average (.263), stolen bases (23) and on-base percentage (.316) were all his worst in several years.


Jason Motte 'getting closer each time out'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:50 pm ET) Cardinals reliever Jason Motte (elbow) will throw in an extended spring game Thursday after throwing 20 pitches in an extended spring appearance Monday, per MLB.com.

If all goes well Thursday, Motte will throw again Saturday, which will mark the first time he will face hitters with just one day off between outings.

"We'll see how I recover from that," Motte said Wednesday. "The last game was a step up from the previous time as far as velocity. We're getting closer each time out."


Seattle promotes Nick Franklin, place Logan Morrison on DL
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:49 pm ET) The worst-kept secret in baseball was finally revealed Wednesday when the Mariners officially announced the promotion of Nick Franklin. He will take the spot opened with the placement of Logan Morrison on the 15-day disabled list due to a hamstring issue.

Morrison has struggled to start the season. That could open the door for Franklin to take over a permanent starting spot. He has been torrid to open the year at Triple-A Tacoma.


Jaime Garcia ready for live BP, extended spring games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:47 pm ET) Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Wednesday starting pitcher Jaime Garcia (shoulder) will advance to throwing live batting practice this week, per MLB.com. He will then progress to extended spring training games later this week.

Jhonny Peralta attributes surge to 'better luck'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:42 pm ET) Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta has responded postively since getting a day off Saturday amid a 2-for-32 slump to begin the season.

Peralta entered play Wednesday at Milwaukee having hit .500 (6 for 12) with two doubles, two home runs and four RBI in three games since returning to the lineup.

"I've felt good from the beginning. It's nothing different," Peralta said, when asked about his recent surge. "The only thing different is better luck. But I haven't changed anything."


Sunday start uncertain for Blake Beavan
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:39 pm ET) A shoulder ailment that forced Mariners right-hander Blake Beavan out after four innings of his last outing has resulted in uncertainty over who will start Sunday in Miami, per the Seattle Times. He was scheduled to pitch that afternoon.

Beavan had replaced the injured James Paxton in the battered Seattle rotation.


Reds manager comfortable with Jonathan Broxton at closer
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:34 pm ET) Reds manager Bryan Price reiterated Wednesday his comfort level with reliever Jonathan Broxton filling in as closer while Aroldis Chapman (head) is on the disabled list.

"If you have somebody that's cemented into that role -- it doesn't mean he'll get every save opportunity -- but it does allow me to look at the game for eight innings," Price said, per MLB.com. "It gets convoluted when you're going to go 'OK, let's get to the ninth and see what's left and pick your option from that spot.'

"It's good to have Broxton back because it definitely settles some areas of our bullpen. It's one more pitcher closer to setting up our 'pen the way we want to."


Finding comfort level has been key for Devin Mesoraco
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:28 pm ET) Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco entered play Wednesday vs. Pittsburgh leading the team in doubles (three) and RBI (nine) despite missing the first week of the season due to an oblique strain. He also entered Wednesday batting .500 (11 for 22) with three home runs.

"He's just kept it going really nicely," Reds manager Bryan Price said, per MLB.com. "I think the fact that he knows he's our No. 1 guy, there's a lot more responsibility there for him. He knows he's going to play. If he goes 0 for 4, he'll be back in there the next day. That certainly lends to some confidence."

Mesoraco seemed to agree with his manager's assessment.

"It's just an overall comfort level that's the biggest thing," Mesoraco said Wednesday. "I'm comfortable with being the everyday guy. I'm comfortable with Bryan as the manager. I'm comfortable with being in the clubhouse and being around the guys. That's been the biggest thing."


Francisco Liriano dealt third straight loss
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:22 pm ET) Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano dropped a third straight start Wednesday, as Pittsburgh managed just three hits off Johnny Cueto during a 4-0 loss to the Reds.

The Reds jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as Billy Hamilton scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first inning. The deficit remained at one run until Joey Votto hit a two-run homer off Liriano with two outs in the seventh inning.

Liriano (0-3) was charged with three runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out seven in seven innings. He lowered his ERA from 4.00 to 3.96.

The veteran left-handed hurler is expected to be back on the hill Monday in a rematch with the Reds.


Casey Coleman hooks up with Royals
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:21 pm ET) The Royals have signed right-hander Casey Coleman to a minor league contract and dispatched him to Triple-A Omaha, per the Kansas City Star.

Coleman compiled a 7-13 record and 5.76 ERA in three limited seasons with the Cubs, who waived him in spring training.


 
 
 
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