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Top 70 starters for Week 14

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One of the biggest developments in Fantasy Week 13 was the introduction of Trevor Bauer and Andrew Cashner to their respective teams' rotations. This storyline will get an additional twist in Fantasy Week 14 (July 2-8), when the two phenoms are scheduled to face off against each other in Phoenix on Tuesday.

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Bauer will not only take the hill for the Diamondbacks against Cashner's Padres, but he also gets a weekend start against the reeling Dodgers. Due to a nagging groin injury, and possibly inexperience and jitters as well, Bauer was uneven in his four-inning debut at Atlanta. Still, it's hard to keep someone as talented as Bauer on the bench with a pair of starts against struggling offenses, so he makes this week's top 70 starters list.

Though Cashner's ownership rate is rapidly approaching the 50 percent mark, any owners in standard mixed leagues who have picked him up should sit him for the coming week. Not only is his track record as a minor league starter not as impressive as Bauer's, but we know from his time as a major league reliever that he can run into control issues. Cashner could easily appear on this list in future weeks, but unless you are determined to go for broke this week, you will probably be better off going with a more established one-start option like Wandy Rodriguez, Edwin Jackson or Jason Vargas.

In fact, here are 70 pitchers who I trust more than Cashner for Week 14.

Starting Rotation breakdown for Fantasy Week 14
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2 Stat of note
1 Jered Weaver @CLE (Jimenez) BAL (Hammel) Opponents' .193 Avg
Weaver's strikeout and swinging strike rates are mediocre this year, but he avoids hard contact, which translates into a dearth of base hits.
2 Zack Greinke MIA (Zambrano) @HOU (Rodriguez) 0.89 WHIP in June
The apparent bad luck on balls in play that dogged Greinke over the first two months of the season is now a thing of the past, and he's looking like a true ace.
3 James McDonald HOU (Lyles) SF (Vogelsong) 1.63 home ERA
McDonald has become a must-start option, but with two home starts against mediocre offenses, he is in for an especially big week.
4 Justin Verlander MIN (Duensing) N/A 46 Ks over last 48 1/3 innings
In what qualifies as a slump for him (3.54 ERA over last seven starts), Verlander is giving up more extra-base hits, but he continues to miss bats.
5 Johan Santana CHC (Wood) N/A 64 percent strikes thrown, last three starts
Though Santana has benefited from good matchups the last three times out, he has helped himself by re-establishing his command.
6 Clayton Kershaw @ARI (Collmenter) N/A Career 2.59 ERA at ARI
Chase Field is a tough environment for pitchers, but Kershaw has sailed through his starts there, particularly over the previous two seasons.
7 Felix Hernandez BAL (Chen) N/A 68 percent strikes thrown, last three starts
During his recent slump, Hernandez's command was not quite up to his normal standards, but he has been back to his usual self over the last couple of weeks.
8 R.A. Dickey PHI (Lee) N/A 16 percent swinging strike rate, last nine starts
Hitters can't connect against Dickey, and he won't help them out with walks, which is why he is a legitimate NL Cy Young candidate.
9 Cole Hamels ATL (Hudson) N/A 2.92 ERA vs. ATL since 2011
Hamels struggled against the Braves earlier in his career, but he has mastered them more recently.
10 Johnny Cueto @LAD (Capuano) @SD (Cashner) No home runs allowed in six straight starts
As Cueto has cranked up his ground ball rate, he has limited the opposition mostly to singles.
11 Matt Cain @WAS (Detwiler) N/A 10 line drives allowed vs. CIN on Fri.
Cain's liner rate was a modest 15 percent before Friday's start, so his poor performance (5 ER in 6 2/3 innings) can be chalked up as a blip on the radar for now.
12 Madison Bumgarner @WAS (Jackson) N/A 62 Ks over last 58 1/3 innings
Last season's surge in strikeouts was no fluke for Bumgarner, as he has entered into K-per-inning-plus territory lately.
13 Stephen Strasburg COL (Outman) N/A 104 degrees at game time, Sat. at ATL
Strasburg had been in a nice groove before Saturday's heat-shortened start, so he will be a top option this week, provided he makes his scheduled start.
14 Josh Johnson @MIL (Wolf) N/A Nine quality starts in last 10 tries
Ever since a rocky start to the year, Johnson has been remarkably steady, avoiding walks and extra-base hits.
15 Gio Gonzalez COL (Francis) N/A 2.42 home ERA
Gonzalez should have a good week, facing a Rockies team that is one of the majors' worst in getting on base in away games.
16 Ian Kennedy SD (Marquis) N/A 45 Ks over last 44 1/3 innings
After posting an unimpressive strikeout rate over his first nine starts, Kennedy has taken it up a notch, and he's been whittling down his ERA in the process.
17 C.J. Wilson BAL (Matusz) N/A Opponents' .260 SLG, last eight starts
Wilson's command has slipped this season, but an aversion to extra-base hits has helped him to limit the damage done by excessive walks and increased contact.
18 Chris Sale TEX (Oswalt) TOR (Cecil) 6 Ks or more in seven of last eight starts
In striking out five Twins on Wednesday, Sale broke a string of seven straight starts with half a dozen Ks or more.
19 James Shields NYY (Nova) @CLE (McAllister) .332 BABIP
With an exploding ground ball rate and stable stat trends otherwise, Shields should be enjoying another strong season, and with a BABIP reduction likely on the way, that should be the case going forward.
20 A.J. Burnett HOU (Harrell) SF (Lincecum) 1.11 home ERA
Burnett has enjoyed pitcher-friendly PNC Park so far, holding opponents to a .224 slugging percentage there.
21 Jordan Zimmermann SF (Lincecum) COL (Friedrich) Opponents' .199 Avg. on grounders
Zimmermann has become much more of a ground ball pitcher this year, and he's enjoying the perks of his rangy middle infield.
22 Yovani Gallardo @HOU (Happ) N/A 3 HRs allowed in 37 career innings at HOU
Gallardo has been able to keep the ball in Minute Maid Park, which has helped him to establish a career 2.68 ERA there.
23 Yu Darvish MIN (Hendriks) N/A 1.74 ground ball-to-flyball ratio, last three starts
Darvish has yet to establish consistency, but in his most recent stretch, he has been throwing strikes and getting grounders in bunches.
24 Jason Hammel @SEA (Iwakuma) @LAA (Weaver) 3.08 road ERA
Hammel has actually been more homer-prone away from Camden Yards, but that trend shouldn't continue with visits to Seattle and Anaheim.
25 Cliff Lee @NYM (Dickey) N/A 52 percent flyball rate, last four starts
Lee has been hit hard lately, as he has had an unusually difficult time keeping the ball down, though his ability to throw strikes has remained intact.
26 David Price NYY (Phelps) N/A Career 4.03 ERA vs. NYY
Price has earned must-start status, but between his mediocre history against the Yankees and his tight back, he should not be considered a top 25 option for this week.
27 Vance Worley @NYM (Niese) ATL (Jurrjens) 23 percent called strike rate
Worley gets very few whiffs, but owners can count on him as a reliable source of strikeouts, due to his proven ability to catch batters looking.
28 Jake Peavy TOR (Laffey) N/A 3.56 home ERA
Peavy is a top 15 starter in both standard Rotisserie and Head-to-Head formats, but with one start at home against the powerful Blue Jays, owners shouldn't view him as a No. 2 SP this week.
29 Adam Wainwright COL (Friedrich) N/A 1 HR allowed in 10 starts prior to Fri.
Maybe it was the 101-degree heat in St. Louis on Friday, but the two homers he allowed to the Pirates were a rarity for him.
30 Doug Fister MIN (Hendriks) KC (Chen) 2.22 career ERA at Comerica Park
Fister got crushed in Texas on Wednesday, but he has been consistently sharp when pitching in Detroit. He gets a pair of good matchups there this week.
31 Ryan Vogelsong @PIT (McDonald) N/A 17 percent line drive rate since 2011
Despite a mediocre strikeout rate, batters have a hard time getting hits against Vogelsong, as contact tends to be of the weak variety.
32 Jon Lester @OAK (Colon) NYY (Nova) 38 Ks, 5 BBs over last 40 1/3 innings
As Lester has improved his command, he has become more consistent and is going deeper into games.
33 Matt Garza @ATL (Minor) N/A Five quality starts in last six tries
Spotty run support has obscured the fact that Garza has been consistently solid, if not spectacular, over the past month.
34 Mat Latos @SD (Volquez) N/A 16 percent swinging strike rate, last two starts
Owners could have dismissed last Monday's complete-game whiff-fest against the not-so-selective Brewers, but he went the distance again versus a Giants team that hits for contact.
35 Anibal Sanchez @MIL (Estrada) @STL (Kelly) 59 percent strand rate in June (per Fangraphs.com)
Sanchez has not been as effective as usual this past month, but he has also been hurt by an uncharacteristically low strand rate.
36 Dan Haren @CLE (McAllister) BAL (Chen) 13 percent home run per flyball ratio, last four starts
Long balls have been killing Haren, but he has been coughing them up at a rate much higher than his longer-term norms.
37 Matt Moore NYY (Garcia) @CLE (Jimenez) 12 percent popup rate
On the rare occasions when hitters make contact against Moore, they frequently hit weak flies that don't leave the infield.
38 Jonathon Niese PHI (Worley) CHC (Volstad) 5 BBs in last 33 1/3 innings
Niese has followed up a wild May with a virtually walk-free June in which he has thrown 68 percent of his pitches for strikes.
39 Hiroki Kuroda @BOS (Beckett) N/A Opponents' .202 Avg over last seven starts
Kuroda has been either missing bats or inducing weak contact in his recent run of starts, which has included some solid offenses.
40 Justin Masterson TB (Cobb) N/A Opponents' .294 SLG at home
As it is, the Rays have one of the lowest slugging percentages in the AL, but they could have an especially long day against Masterson at Progressive Field.
41 Tommy Hanson CHC (Samardzija) @PHI (Blanton) Career 2.93 ERA vs. PHI
Hanson has been inconsistent this season, but the schedule should help him in Week 14. He has been especially successful at Citizens Bank Park, where he has posted a 1.20 ERA in three starts.
42 Tim Hudson @PHI (Hamels) N/A 0.4 HR/9
Some pitchers have reason to fear the gopher ball when they visit Philadelphia, but Hudson's reliable ground ball tendencies make that risk minimal.
43 Wade Miley LAD (Eovaldi) N/A Seven percent home run-to-flyball ratio
Even after Saturday's slugfest at Milwaukee, Miley's home run rate could regress further, but it probably won't happen against the Dodgers.
44 Josh Beckett NYY (Kuroda) N/A Career 5.36 ERA vs. NYY
Because Beckett has been very good since mid-May, he deserves a chance this week, but his history against the Yankees prevents him from being a higher-end option.
45 Jeremy Hellickson @CLE (Tomlin) N/A Opponents' .305 OBP vs. lefties
Hellickson is handling lefties better this year, which will help him against the likes of Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Kipnis. He is expected to take the mound at Cleveland after taking a Prince Fielder shot off his right shin on Saturday.
46 Max Scherzer MIN (Blackburn) KC (Teaford) 1 HR allowed over last 26 innings
Granted, the schedule has done Scherzer some favors over his last four starts, but his recent hot streak has been supported by a higher ground ball rate.
47 Ivan Nova @TB (Shields) @BOS (Lester) Five quality starts in last seven tries
Nova had been unreliable over the first six weeks of the season, but he has since settled into a much more stable and productive pattern.
48 Kyle Lohse COL (Outman) MIA (Zambrano) .192 BABIP in June
Lohse has overperformed for the past month, but he still has enough skill to make these two matchups pay off for his Fantasy owners.
49 Erik Bedard SF (Zito) N/A 2.31 home ERA
Bedard has been a disappointment in recent weeks, but with a home start and a decent matchup, he is worth using in standard mixed leagues this time around.
50 Trevor Bauer SD (Cashner) LAD (Capuano) 12.1 K/9 over minor league career
Bauer's potential and favorable matchups make him a tantalizing choice, but his inexperience and groin injury limit him to lower-end status in standard mixed leagues for now.
51 Lance Lynn COL (Pomeranz) N/A No HRs allowed in nine of 16 starts
A recent dip in Lynn's ground ball rate is something to watch, but the longer-term trend shows that he can still be counted on to keep the ball in the park.
52 Clayton Richard @ARI (Cahill) CIN (Bailey) 24 Ks, 7 BBs in June
He won't help with strikeouts, but most of Richard's other rate stats (e.g., ground ball, line drive, strikes thrown, walk) have been impressive.
53 Roy Oswalt @CHW (Sale) MIN (Blackburn) .410 BABIP
Oswalt has deserved at least a decent WHIP over his first two starts and not his current 1.97 mark. Don't be scared off, as his peripherals have looked pretty good.
54 Dillon Gee CHC (Samardzija) N/A 3.52 xFIP
A 13 percent home run-to-flyball ratio is largely responsible for Gee's ERA residing in the mid-4.00s, and xFIP isn't buying it. Though he's been homer-prone before, Gee's ERA shouldn't be quite so high going forward.
55 Bronson Arroyo @SD (Wells) N/A 6.1 K/9
Arroyo is enjoying his highest strikeout rate in four years, and now he gets to face one of the majors' most strikeout-prone squads.
56 Matt Harrison @CHW (Quintana) N/A Seven percent of plate appearances resulted in an extra-base hit since 2010
Harrison's extra-base hit rate is consistently well below the major league average, and that will help him at U.S. Cellular Field.
57 Jarrod Parker BOS (Matsuzaka) SEA (Millwood) 63 percent strikes thrown, last three starts
Parker had been getting away with poor command for most of this season, but he is now throwing strikes at a respectable rate.
58 Wei-Yin Chen @SEA (Hernandez) @LAA (Haren) 3 HRs allowed in 40 2/3 road innings
Chen has been feeling the park effects of Orioles Park at Camden Yards, but homers shouldn't hurt him in the next two venues he's visiting.
59 Trevor Cahill SD (Richard) LAD (Billingsley) Opponents' .388 SLG vs. lefties
With these matchups, you might expect Cahill to rank higher, but he is less effective against left-handed hitters, and he will see a lot of them this week.
60 Homer Bailey @LAD (Billingsley) @SD (Richard) 4 HRs allowed in 164 at-bats against lefties
Unlike Cahill, the Dodgers' and Padres' lineups play into Bailey's strengths, and the pitcher-friendly venues will help as well.
61 Mike Leake @LAD (Harang) N/A 7 IP or more in five of last six starts
Leake has been helped out by the schedule makers over the past month, but then again, he can extend his hot streak against a Dodgers lineup that has been woeful.
62 Tommy Milone SEA (Ramirez) N/A .186 home BABIP
Milone has overperformed in his home starts, but he can still continue to be good enough to be used in them, thanks to the combination of his high popup rate and O.co Coliseum's large foul territory.
63 Chris Capuano CIN (Cueto) @ARI (Bauer) 1 BB over last 22 innings
Ever since suffering through a brief spell of wildness, Capuano has come back with a vengeance. Even so, a tough Diamondbacks' lineup could leave Capuano with merely decent results this week.
64 Michael Fiers MIA (Buehrle) N/A 21 percent called strike rate
Fiers is red-hot, not only because he has been getting his fair share of whiffs, but he is also getting batters to lay off pitches in the zone.
65 Felix Doubront NYY (Hughes) N/A .352 BABIP in June
June was a rough month for Doubront, and while weaker ground ball tendencies played a role, bad luck on balls in play may have been a factor, too.
66 Chad Billingsley CIN (Bailey) @ARI (Cahill) 11 percent swinging strike rate, last eight starts
Billingsley's command remains inconsistent, but he appears to be regaining his ability to get swings-and-misses.
67 Wandy Rodriguez MIL (Greinke) N/A 63 percent quality start rate
Now that batters are chasing Rodriguez's offerings -- especially outside the zone -- less often, he has been allowing more hits and delivering quality starts at a much lower rate.
68 Edwin Jackson SF (Bumgarner) N/A 3.29 home ERA
Owners can put Jackson's Thursday disaster at Coors Field behind them, as he will be safe to use with a home start against a power-deprived Giants lineup.
69 Tim Lincecum @WAS (Zimmermann) @PIT (Burnett) 9.9 K/9
Lincecum's wildness makes him a risk to use in any given week, but his ability to get punch outs in combination with his upcoming start against the whiff-happy Pirates has some promise for owners.
70 Jason Vargas @OAK (Blackley) N/A 3.24 ERA at OAK since 2011
Vargas should usually be avoided in weeks with road starts, but he has been good over his last four starts at O.co Coliseum.

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
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum (back) headed for MRI
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:04 pm ET) Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, who left Game 2 of the World Series due to back tightness, will undergo an MRI Thursday, sources connected to the team told CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Twins' Chris Colabello set for MRI, X-rays on injured thumb
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:20 am ET) Twins first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello is scheduled to undergo an MRI and X-rays this week on his ailing right thumb, according to the Pioneer Press. Colabello said he still feels numbness and tingling in his right thumb as a result of getting jammed on a pitch during an April 23 game against the Rays, according to the Worcester Telegram.

Indians expected to pick up Mike Aviles' option
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:36 am ET) The Indians are expected to pick up Mike Aviles' option for next season, according to the Northeast Ohio Media Group. 

The team has until shortly after the World Series to decide whether to pick up a $3.5 million club option on Aviles. It's expected the club will exercise that option. Aviles hit .247/.273/.343 over 344 at-bats. 


Tigers expected to keep Joakim Soria
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:32 am ET) The Tigers are expected to exercise their option on pitcher Joakim Soria, according to MLB.com.

Soria has a $7 million club option for next season. The team will need to make a decision on the option shortly after the end of the World Series. While general manager Dave Dombrowski said the final decision hasn't been made yet, he hinted at the club picking up Soria's contract. "It's a situation where we look at him as being an important acquisition toward this [coming] year also," Soria said. 

Soria posted a 3.25 ERA over 44 1/3 innings split between Texas and Detroit. 


Giants will know more about Tim Lincecum Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:29 am ET) The Giants will have more information on pitcher Tim Lincecum Thursday, according to Bleacher Report.

Lincecum left after his back tightened up in the eighth inning. The club expects him to be OK, but will have a better idea about the severity of his injury Thursday. Lincecum was able to pitch 1 2/3 innings before departing. 


Royals' Lorenzo Cain won't stop hitting
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:06 am ET) Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain continued to assault baseballs Wednesday against the Giants.

Cain has been on a tear during the postseason, and that didn't stop Wednesday. After doubling in his first at-bat, Cain would come around to score the team's first run of the night. He would later single to lead off the sixth inning, and would come around to score again later in the frame. Cain finished 2 for 4, with two runs scored and no RBI. 


Royals' Omar Infante comes up big Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/22/2014) Royals infielder Omar Infante came up big Wednesday against the Giants.

Infante wasted no time getting to work, doubling in his first at-bat. He would come around to score during the frame, giving the Royals a 2-1 lead. Infante would strike again in the bottom of the sixth. With a man on base, Infante belted a 98 mph fastball out to left for the two-run shot. He finished 2 for 3, with two runs scored and two RBI. 


Royals' Billy Butler drives in two Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/22/2014) Royals designated hitter Billy Butler drove in two runs Wednesday against the Giants.

Butler struck in his first at-bat. With men on first and second, Butler managed to tie the game on a single to the left fielder. He would find himself in the exact same situation in the sixth inning, and responded in the same fashion. Butler again singled in a run on a hit to left field. He would finish 2 for 3, with no runs scored and two RBI. 


Royals' Yordano Ventura gives up two runs Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/22/2014) Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura allowed two runs Wednesday against the Giants.

Ventura gave up two runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out two and did not issue any walks during the outing. Ventura got himself into trouble immediately. To lead off the game, Gregor Blanco deposited a 98 mph fastball out to right for a solo home run. Ventura would settle in over the next two innings before giving up another run in the fourth. With a man on second, Ventura allowed an RBI double against Brandon Belt. Ventura would pitch into the sixth inning, but was pulled after giving up two singles. He threw 87 pitches during the outing and did not factor into the decision.


Giants SP Jake Peavy gives up four runs in World Series Game 2 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/22/2014) Giants pitcher Jake Peavy was saddled with a loss in Game of the World Series Wednesday, allowing four earned runs on six hits and two walks in five-plus innings while striking out one in his team's 7-2 defeat against the Royals.

Peavy (1-1) ran in to trouble immediately Wednesday, giving up a run on three hits and a walk in the first inning after the offense had given him a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. He surrendered another run on an RBI double in the second, but the offense evened the game in the fourth. Peavy opened the sixth inning by giving up a single and a walk before being removed, and the Royals went on to post five runs in the inning en route to running out to an insurmountable lead.

Peavy has posted a 3.68 ERA and 6:8 K:BB ratio in 14 2/3 innings over three postseason starts. The two teams head into Friday's Game 3 tied 1-1 in the series.


 
 
 
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