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Top 70 starters for Week 14


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
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 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 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 .

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Player News
Diamondbacks' Chris Owings takes batting practice on Friday
by Chris Cwik |
(9:10 pm ET) Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings was able to take batting practice on Friday, according to

Owings is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and has been limited early in camp. Manager Chip Hale said he was happy with Owings progress, and noted it was a big day for the infielder.

"Everything he's done has been right on time," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "We've slowed him down, because it's important that that swing is right. This was a huge day for him."

Owings will likely go through another round of BP before he's ready for game action. The team may also opt to give him at-bats in minor-league games before using him during actual spring training games.

The 23-year-old Owings hit .261/.300/.406 over 310 at-bats last season. He's expected to open the year as the team's starting shortstop. 

Angels' Matt Lindstrom feeling 100 percent this spring
by Chris Cwik |
(9:03 pm ET) Angels reliever Matt Lindstrom is feeling pretty good after having ankle surgery last season, according to the Los Angeles Times

Lindstrom struggled with oblique and ankle injuries last season, but has drawn some rave reviews during camp. "Right now, his stuff is very similar to when he was throwing the ball well early last year," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's exciting. This guy has closer's stuff. It's just a matter of how consistent he is and if he can keep it going."

Lindstrom admitted he came back from ankle surgery too soon last year, and it impacted his numbers. He was able to rehab the injury during the offseason, though, and feels much better now. "I can tell the ball is coming out of my hand better, the way it's supposed to," Lindstrom said. "It wasn't right last year, but now, I don't have any reservations. I can concentrate on getting people out."

The 35-year-old posted a 5.03 ERA over 34 innings last season. He's competing for a role in the Angels bullpen this spring. 

Orioles sign Elih Villanueva to a minor-league deal
by Chris Cwik |
(8:54 pm ET) The Orioles have signed pitcher Elih Villanueva to a minor-league deal, according to

Villanueva has played in just one game in the majors. He gave up eight runs over three innings in a start for the Marlins back in 2011. Villanueva had a strong showing in the Dominican League, leading the circuit with a 2.63 ERA.

Reds' Stephenson hoping to make an impact this season
by Chris Cwik |
(8:49 pm ET) Reds pitcher Robert Stephenson is hoping to make an impact in the majors this season, according to

Stephenson may not open the year in the majors, but is hoping he arrives sooner rather than later. "My goal by the end of the year is to be in Cincinnati," Stephenson said. "It's your dream growing up as a kid. It would be awesome to be there but at the same time, I want to get to a point where I deserve to be there and belong there."

Stephenson is considered the team's top prospect. He dealt with shoulder issues earlier in camp, but is cleared for action now. 

Manager Bryan Price said Stephenson has a few things to work on, but seemed optimistic about his long-term outlook. With Robert, it's command -- not necessarily throwing strikes, but the quality of the strikes," Price said.

The 22-year-old should start the year in the minors, but could earn a promotion based on how well he pitches.

Mariners' Chris Taylor homers, triples on Friday
by Chris Cwik |
(8:42 pm ET) Mariners shortstop Chris Taylor hit a home run and tripled on Friday against the Dodgers.

Taylor came into camp competing for the team's shortstop position with Brad Miller. While Miller likely has the upper hand, he's coming off a down season. Taylor, on the other hand, played well in the minors in 2014, and hit .287 in a brief major-league debut. It's believed whoever loses out on the starting role will be sent to the minors. 

Reds' Tony Cingrani goes two scoreless innings in debut
by Chris Cwik |
(8:36 pm ET) Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut on Friday.

Cingrani allowed two hits in two innings of work. He walked one and struck out two during the outing. After an injury-riddled 2014, Cingrani has received a clean bill of health, and is competing for a spot in the team's rotation. 

The 25-year-old posted a 4.55 ERA over 63 1/3 innings last season. 

Athletics' Graveman tosses two scoreless innings in debut
by Chris Cwik |
(8:20 pm ET) Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman tossed two scoreless innings in his spring debut on Friday.

Graveman was acquired by the club during the offseason, and is one of the few pitchers competing for the fifth spot in the team's rotation. He gave up two hits over two scoreless innings in his debut. Graveman struck out one and did not issue any walks.

Graveman came away satisfied with the outing. I thought it went well," he said. "Stuff felt good, and thought I located well today. All in all I thought it was a good first outing."

Graveman appeared in five games last season, putting up a 3.86 ERA. 

Rangers' Nick Tepesch gets crushed in first spring start
by Chris Cwik |
(8:15 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Nick Tepesch got destroyed in his first spring start on Friday.

Tepesch allowed seven runs on seven hits over just 1 1/3 innings. He walked one and did not strike out any batters during the outing. Tepesch is competing for a spot in the team's rotation, but didn't make the best impression. It's still early in camp, and Tepesch admitted he was trying to be aggressive during the outing.

"I was just trying to attack hitters and get ahead of hitters," Tepesch said. "They took advantage of my mistakes. I didn't really have good command. They put some good swings on some balls."

The 26-year-old posted a 4.36 ERA over 126 innings last year. 

Padres' Despaigne, Morrow impress in bid to win fifth spot
by Chris Cwik |
(8:09 pm ET) Padres pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne and Brandon Morrow impressed during their first taste of spring action, according to

"I thought they threw the ball well," said Padres manager Bud Black. Both Despaigne and Morrow are competing for the fifth spot in the team's rotation. While Despaigne got the start, Morrow came on and pitched two innings in relief.

Both players were effective, keeping the White Sox off the board for four innings. Despaigne struck out two batters to Morrow's one, but they posted identical stat lines otherwise. 

Despite the strong performances, Black said it was far too early to draw any conclusions about who will open the season in the rotation.

Indians' Danny Salazar gives up two runs in debut
by Chris Cwik |
(8:03 pm ET) Indians pitcher Danny Salazar allowed two runs in his spring debut on Friday.

Salazar gave up two runs on three hits over two innings of work. He struck out four and walked one during the outing. Despite the shaky outing, manager Terry Francona came away impressed

"He made a couple mistakes along the way, but I thought he threw the ball really well," he said. "In the season, we can probably nitpick. But, in Spring Training for a first outing, I thought the ball came out of his hand really well and I thought he tried to drive it down with more intent. That's what he needs to do."

The 25-year-old Salazar is expected to compete for a spot in the team's rotation this spring. He posted a 4.25 ERA over 110 innings last season.