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Top 70 starters for Week 16

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Fantasy Week 16 (July 16-22) features a fairly full schedule, so there are plenty of two-start pitchers, but only 13 of them appear on this week's top 70. Most teams ran their best pitchers out this weekend, as managers had reset their rotations for the second half, and that leaves the back of most rotations to start the bulk of the games Monday and Tuesday this week.

If you are bound and determined to get some extra starts into your rotation, you can pass up on some of the lesser one-start options on this week's list, like Tim Hudson, Wandy Rodriguez, Jeff Samardzija and Franklin Morales in order to pick up a riskier two-start pitcher. Bronson Arroyo (ARI, MIL), Jason Vargas (@KC, @TB), Phil Hughes (TOR, @OAK), Ross Detwiler (NYM, ATL), Alex Cobb (CLE, SEA) and Josh Tomlin (@TB, BAL) all missed the cut for this week's list, but not by much.

If you're not happy with the one-start pitchers on your roster, you could also take a chance on a couple of potential one-start options who didn't make this week's rankings. Dan Haren is still on the disabled list with a stiff back, but he is on track to return next Sunday against the Rangers. Also, prospect Matt Harvey could get the call to fill the hole in the Mets' rotation left by Dillon Gee (shoulder). Even if we could be sure Harvey would get the start on Saturday against the Dodgers, his outing would best be viewed as an audition for future weeks, so we can get a chance to see how he adjusts to major league hitters.

Starting Rotation breakdown for Fantasy Week 16
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2 Stat of note
1 CC Sabathia TOR (Cecil) @OAK (Colon) 31 Ks, 6 BBs over last 28 2/3 innings
Command is rarely an issue for Sabathia, but his has been especially strong over his last four starts.
2 Matt Cain @PHI (Hamels) N/A 3.28 road ERA
Cain's stats usually get a boost from his home starts, but it's not as if he has been ineffective on the road.
3 David Price CLE (Jimenez) N/A 0.99 WHIP over last five starts
Low walk and line drive rates have fueled Price's latest dominant run.
4 Felix Hernandez @KC (Hochevar) N/A 67 percent strikes thrown, last six starts
Hernandez has been hitting the strike zone consistently, and that has allowed him to rack up 56 strikeouts, but only six walks, over his last 45 innings.
5 R.A. Dickey @WAS (Gonzalez) N/A 78 percent quality start rate
Dickey has floundered in three of his last four starts, but he remains tied for sixth in the majors for the highest rate of quality starts.
6 Stephen Strasburg ATL (Hanson) N/A 1 HR allowed in 25 1/3 career innings vs. ATL
Atlanta has been able to work some walks (eight in 15 innings this year) against Strasburg, but Dan Uggla is the only Brave who has taken him out of the park.
7 Roy Halladay @LAD (Eovaldi) N/A 3.22 ERA through first nine starts
Halladay's near-4.00 ERA is well above his norm, but he was having a good season up until his final two starts before going on the disabled list with a right lat strain.
8 Clayton Kershaw PHI (Lee) N/A 56 Ks over last 45 1/3 innings
After being a little light on strikeouts earlier this year, Kershaw has had at least a K per inning in six of his last seven starts.
9 Justin Verlander CHW (Sale) N/A 39 innings pitched over last five starts
Ever since a rare string of starts in which Verlander failed to make it past the seventh inning, he has averaged nearly eight frames per outing.
10 Johnny Cueto ARI (Bauer) MIL (Fiers) Opponents' .242 SLG vs. righties
Cueto has been lights-out against right-handed hitters, and that makes both the Diamondbacks and the Brewers highly vulnerable this week.
11 Lance Lynn @MIL (Fiers) CHC (Wood) 65 percent strikes thrown, last four starts
Lynn has been hurt by walks lately, but that shouldn't last for long, as he continues to hit the strike zone with regularity.
12 Zack Greinke STL (Wainwright) N/A 59 percent strikes thrown, last two starts
In contrast to Lynn, command has been an issue for Greinke, but it's been over a small sample of innings and highly out of character.
13 Madison Bumgarner @ATL (Hudson) N/A Opponents' .245 SLG vs. lefties
Bumgarner could dominate the Braves, given that several of their key threats are lefty batters.
14 Chris Sale @DET (Verlander) N/A Nine percent popup rate
Between his ability to avoid contact and induce infield flies, Sale has been able to hold opposing hitters to a .198 average.
15 Cliff Lee @LAD (Kershaw) N/A 21 percent called strikes
Lee's whiff rate is down a percentage point from last year, but he continues to be one of the best pitchers in the game at freezing batters.
16 Cole Hamels SF (Cain) N/A 2.76 home ERA
Though Hamels has lost 11 points off his ground ball rate, he hasn't been hurt by extra-base hits in his starts at Citizens Bank Park.
17 Jered Weaver TEX (Holland) N/A 15 percent line drive rate since 2010
Aside from the 2010 season, Weaver has been just an average strikeout pitcher, but his avoidance of line drives has done wonders for his ERA and WHIP.
18 Johan Santana LAD (Harang) N/A 3 HR allowed at CHC on July 6
Santana's last start was a disaster, but when the wind is blowing out at Wrigley Field, it can be a tough day for anyone. He also got 16 swings and misses during that performance.
19 Jonathon Niese @WAS (Detwiler) LAD (Capuano) Career 3.42 ERA vs. WAS
Niese has fared well against the Nationals, and he allowed just two runs in 12 1/3 innings against them last year. Their offense has been only slightly more potent in 2012.
20 Gio Gonzalez NYM (Dickey) N/A Six straight starts of six innings or fewer
Gonzalez owns an elite-level strikeout rate, ERA and WHIP, but since he can't be relied upon to pitch deep into games, he won't always rank among the top weekly pitching options.
21 Jake Peavy @BOS (Morales) N/A Eight percent home run to flyball ratio
Peavy has coughed up six home runs -- and 11 earned runs -- over his last three starts, but it's merely evened out a HR/FB ratio that was suspiciously low earlier in the season.
22 C.J. Wilson @DET (Fister) N/A One start with more than 3 ER allowed
Wilson's stats aren't the flashiest, but his consistently solid performance makes him an easy pitcher to own and start every week.
23 A.J. Burnett MIA (Zambrano) N/A .357 BABIP, last three starts
Burnett's production has tailed off, but he hasn't been plagued by poor command or gopheritis, as apparent bad luck has slowed him down.
24 James Shields SEA (Iwakuma) N/A .377 BABIP, last eight starts
Shields has allowed more hits than innings pitched in seven of his last eight starts, but his skill stats have looked just fine over that span.
25 Matt Moore CLE (Tomlin) SEA (Ramirez) .123 Isolated Power at home
Moore has been very good at limiting extra-base hits at the Trop, and with a pair of good matchups there this week, he should produce.
26 Colby Lewis @OAK (Blackley) N/A Career 2.78 ERA at OAK
Lewis' strong flyball tendencies make him suspect in many venues, but O.co Coliseum isn't one of them.
27 Yu Darvish @LAA (Santana) N/A 1.29 WHIP vs. LAA
Too many walks have left Darvish with a bloated 1.39 WHIP, but he has managed a mark just below league average in his two starts against the Angels.
28 Adam Wainwright @MIL (Greinke) N/A 9 percent swinging strike rate, last seven starts
Wainwright's ERA has been north of 4.00 over the last six weeks, but he's actually been getting whiffs at a decent rate.
29 Vance Worley SF (Lincecum) N/A 5.3 runs of support per nine innings
Worley may rank just 76th in standard Head-to-Head scoring, but with a little more run support and better luck on balls in play (.214 flyball BABIP), he would likely be among the top 60.
30 Chris Capuano PHI (Blanton) @NYM (Niese) 1.0 HR/9
Capuano has his lowest home run rate since he exhausted his rookie eligibility in 2004. His home run per flyball ratio is near his norm, but he has yet to allow a line drive homer this season.
31 Ryan Dempster @STL (Lohse) N/A 2.5 BB/9
There are several stories behind Dempster's 33-inning scoreless streak, and one is the improved control that he has demonstrated all season.
32 Yovani Gallardo @CIN (Arroyo) N/A 4 HRs allowed in 48 2/3 career innings at CIN
Gallardo has had his issues with the gopher ball, so it's a little surprising that he has kept it in check at one of the NL's premier home run parks.
33 Josh Johnson @CHC (Samardzija) N/A 14 percent called strikes, last two starts
Johnson hasn't thrown many strikes his last two times out, so batters aren't getting fooled often. He should recover, but it's enough of a problem to earn Johnson a downgrade this week.
34 Jordan Zimmermann NYM (Young) N/A Allowed eight hits on flyballs in play
Zimmermann has helped himself out with a 29 percent flyball rate a 1.8 BB/9, but perhaps Bryce Harper's defense has also helped to keep his ERA and WHIP low.
35 Jon Lester CHW (Humber) N/A 68 percent strand rate
Lester has improved greatly as the season has progressed, but he continues to have a hard time stranding runners -- a trend that could easily reverse itself at any time.
36 Justin Masterson @TB (Hellickson) N/A 6.7 innings per start, last 15 starts
Back in April, Masterson had a few early exits, but he has failed to pitch six innings or more just once since then.
37 Anibal Sanchez @CHC (Wood) @PIT (Karstens) 22 percent line drive rate, last seven starts
Sanchez is still a must-start in a two-start week, but because he has been more hittable of late, he ranks lower than he normally would.
38 Tommy Hanson @WAS (Strasburg) N/A 58 percent strand rate in July (per Fangraphs.com)
Hanson's skill indicators over his last three starts look solid, but he has had a hard time stranding the runners he has let on base, which is not normally a problem for him.
39 James McDonald @COL (Guthrie) N/A 10 BBs over last 18 2/3 innings
A start at Coors Field is scary for any pitcher, but the re-emergence of some wildness for McDonald makes this start a little more worrisome still.
40 Matt Garza @STL (Westbrook) N/A 15 percent home run per flyball ratio
Garza's problems with home runs should abate at some point, and he could get a break this week with a start at one of the majors' best pitcher's parks.
41 Wade Miley @CIN (Arroyo) HOU (Happ) 15 straight starts with 2 BBs or fewer
Miley's first start will be a tough assignment, but owners can count on him to limit the damage by avoiding free passes.
42 Trevor Bauer @CIN (Cueto) HOU (Lyles) Threw 60 of 96 pitches for strikes vs. LAD on July 8
After struggling mightily with command in his first two starts, Bauer showed great improvement in his most recent turn in the rotation.
43 Ryan Vogelsong @ATL (Minor) N/A 1.97 ERA since May 3
Vogelsong has not started a game in a hitter's park since April, and though Turner Field is merely neutral, it will be his toughest venue since visiting Cincinnati in his third start of the year.
44 Matt Harrison @LAA (Haren) N/A Opponents' .244 Avg in away games
Harrison has been good at preventing extra bases wherever he pitches, but he has been better at preventing hits in general when he pitches away from Texas.
45 Clay Buchholz TOR (Laffey) N/A 16 percent line drive rate since May
Over the last few seasons, Buchholz has compensated for a mediocre strikeout rate by allowing hard liners at a low rate, and he has rediscovered that formula after a rough first month.
46 Jeremy Hellickson CLE (Masterson) N/A 3.12 home ERA
Hellickson has been giving up plenty of extra-base hits, but his slugging percentage is 53 points lower at Tropicana Field than at other venues.
47 Ian Kennedy @CIN (Latos) N/A 28 Ks over last 37 innings
Kennedy hasn't been bad enough long enough to deserve a benching, but his strikeouts are down, and it's a trend worth following for future weeks.
48 Scott Diamond BAL (Tillman) @KC (Sanchez) 3.75 xFIP
Diamond probably won't maintain his 82 percent strand rate, but his xFIP suggests that a regression won't render him useless for standard mixed leagues, especially in good two-start weeks like this one.
49 Roy Oswalt @OAK (Colon) N/A 23 Ks, 7 BBs in 29 innings
Oswalt's performance has been uneven so far, but a good strikeout-to-walk ratio could bode well for his future outings.
50 Mat Latos ARI (Kennedy) N/A 1.23 ground ball-to-flyball ratio, last four starts
Latos' recent success has been helped by more frequent grounders, but only time will tell if he can keep it up.
51 Travis Wood MIA (Sanchez) @STL (Lynn) 2 HRs allowed over last 45 1/3 innings
Wood has moderated his strong flyball tendencies, and that has helped him to compile a 1.99 ERA over his last seven starts.
52 Kyle Lohse CHC (Dempster) N/A Eight consecutive quality starts
Starting Lohse means sacrificing strikeouts, but his superb control means that owners will improve in ERA, WHIP and innings.
53 Ivan Nova @OAK (Milone) N/A 3.36 road ERA
Nova has only recently started to perform well at Yankee Stadium, but he has been mostly reliable in his road starts.
54 Edwin Jackson @MIA (Zambrano) ATL (Sheets) 63 percent quality start rate
Jackson has earned his reputation for inconsistency, but this year he has been better at avoiding meltdowns.
55 Michael Fiers STL (Lynn) @CIN (Cueto) 34 percent ground ball rate
In another week, Fiers would rank much higher with two starts, but his high flyball and line drive rates could get him into trouble, especially at Cincinnati.
56 Ben Sheets @WAS (Jackson) N/A 1 BB in 10 2/3 innings at Double-A
It's a risk to assume that Sheets will be the same pitcher he was back when he was a Brewer, but in his two minor league starts, he still had his sharp control.
57 Clayton Richard HOU (Rodriguez) N/A Opponents' .269 OBP over last 12 starts
Richard's improved control and stronger ground ball tendencies have made it difficult for hitters to reach base against him over the past two months.
58 Hiroki Kuroda TOR (Romero) N/A 6.9 innings per start over last nine starts
Kuroda has been hit hard in his last two starts, but that's been the exception recently, as he has worked efficiently and gone deep into games.
59 Francisco Liriano BAL (Matusz) N/A 30 swinging strikes vs. OAK on Fri.
When you can get one of the most selective lineups in the majors to whiff 30 times in a game, you're doing something right.
60 Josh Beckett TOR (Villanueva) N/A 5.23 ERA vs. TOR since 2010
Beckett could always turn in a stellar start, but between his recent erratic performance and poor history against the Blue Jays, he is more of a low-end option in standard mixed leagues this week.
61 Derek Holland @LAA (Weaver) N/A 43 percent ground ball rate, last two starts
Holland has looked better since coming off the disabled list, and an upturn in his ground ball rate has been part of his success.
62 Mark Buehrle @CHC (Maholm) N/A 22 percent called strike rate, last four starts
Mark Buehrle, strikeout artist? He's recorded seven strikeouts or more in four straight starts, getting batters to look at strikes at an unusually high rate.
63 Doug Fister LAA (Wilson) N/A .350 BABIP
Like Buehrle, Fister has been on a surprising strikeout binge, but batters have been inflicting damage when they have connected.
64 Mike Leake ARI (Saunders) N/A 3.95 xFIP
Leake's peripherals for this season are very similar to last year's, and his xFIP is 0.01 lower than his ERA, so what you see in his current stat line is what you get.
65 Edinson Volquez HOU (Harrell) N/A 1.27 home WHIP
When away from PETCO Park, Volquez has been a menace to a Fantasy team's WHIP, but at home, he's actually been a little better than league average.
66 Max Scherzer LAA (Williams) N/A 2.81 ERA over last five starts
As Saturday's start at Baltimore showed, Scherzer can still be erratic, but a reduced walk rate (6 BBs over last 32 innings) has made him more reliable.
67 Tim Hudson SF (Bumgarner) N/A 68 percent strand rate
Hudson's 3.80 ERA might look like a cause for worry, but an unusually-low strand rate has been the main cause of his woes, and it could easily reverse itself.
68 Wandy Rodriguez @SD (Richard) N/A 3 HRs allowed over last 43 1/3 innings
Ever since a three-game stretch in which he allowed seven homers, Rodriguez has been more reliable, and he should extend the trend with a start at PETCO Park.
69 Jeff Samardzija MIA (Johnson) N/A 14 percent swinging strike rate, last two starts
After a disappointing June during which Samardzija saw his whiff rate plummet, he has rediscovered his early-season form in July.
70 Franklin Morales CHW (Peavy) N/A 10.6 K/9 as a starter
Pitching in longer stretches hasn't hurt Morales' K-rate; in fact, it has increased by more than a third.

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
Report: Padres have discussed Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/21/2014) The Padres have discussed a trade for Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, according to the Daily News

Newly-acquired outfielder Wil Myers would be used as the centerpiece in the deal. By bringing in Myers, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton, San Diego has a glut of talent in the outfield. While it seems strange that the team would turn around and deal Myers, he would be the type of talent the Phillies are said to be seeking for Hamels. Philadelphia reportedly wants two or three "premium" prospects for Hamels. 

The 30-year-old Hamels posted a 2.46 ERA over 204 2/3 innings last season. He's owed $90 million over the next four seasons. 


Scott Boras: Matt Wieters will be ready by opening day
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(12/21/2014) Orioles catcher Matt Wieters will be ready by opening day, according to his agent, Scott Boras. 

Wieters underwent Tommy John surgery is June, and is working his way back from the injury. It's unclear if Wieters will be able to catch full-time at the beginning of the year, or if he'll have to be worked in slowly. Manager Buck Showalter recently told reporters he wasn't sure Wieters would be ready by opening day, but he expected him to good shortly after. Wieters hit .308/.339/.500 over 104 at-bats before having surgery. 


Report: James Shields seeking $110 million
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/21/2014) Free-agent pitcher James Shields is reportedly seeking a contract worth about $110 million, according to the Boston Globe

That type of deal would be similar to the one signed by Cole Hamels back in 2012. It's believed the 33-year-old Shields could receive a five-year deal. Both the Giants and Red Sox are involved with Shields, and the Yankees have been mentioned as another suitor. Shields posted a 3.21 ERA over 227 innings last season. He's exceeded 200 innings pitched in each of the last eight years.


Chase Utley staying put in Philly
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/21/2014) The Phillies will enter the season with Chase Utley, according to the Daily News. 

With Jimmy Rollins gone, some have expected the team to entertain dealing Utley. As of right now, that's not going to happen. "I've had some dialogue with Wolfie [agent Joel Wolfe] but frankly, he doesn't want to go anywhere," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "He wants to honor his contract and that's how we have to perceive it." 

Amaro admitted that the team needs to listen to any offer for the 36-year-old Utley, but doesn't perceive Utley changing his mind at this time. Utley hit .270/.339/.407 in 589 at-bats last season.


Giants' Sabean: No plans to talk to Max Scherzer
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(12/20/2014) Giants general manager Brian Sabean said that the Giants have not talked to free-agent pitcher Max Scherzer and have no plans to do so, the Mercury News reports.

Scherzer is the biggest name on the pitching market and could be seeking a deal north of the $155-million pact signed by Cubs pitcher Jon Lester. His price tag may not be feasible for the Giants' budget. The 2013 AL Cy Young winner went 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA and 252:63 K:BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings with the Tigers in 2014.


Report: Nick Hundley has two-year offer, unlikely to rejoin Orioles
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/20/2014) Free-agent catcher Nick Hundley has a two-year offer on the table from an unidentified team, making him unlikely to return to the Orioles, masnsports.com reports.

The Orioles declined a $5-million option on Hundley for the 2015 season but had interest in bringing him back into the fold at a lesser salary. He hit .243/.273/.358 with six home runs and 22 RBI in 218 at-bats between Baltimore and San Diego in 2014.


Report: Phillies could join Asdrubal Cabrera market
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(12/20/2014) The Phillies could become involved in the market for free-agent infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, ESPN.com reports.

The Phillies traded their longtime starter at shortstop to the Dodgers this offseason and will be looking to fill that hole in the infield. However, the team will have to shed some additional payroll in order to make a run at the infielder, according to the report. Cabrera hit .241/.307/.387 with 14 home runs, 61 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 553 at-bats between Cleveland and Washington in 2014.


Rangers release Ben Rowen
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(12/20/2014) The Rangers have released relief pitcher Ben Rowen . Rowen, who was designated for assignment earlier in the week, posted a 4.15 ERA in 8 2/3 innings with the Rangers in 2014 as well as a 3.45 ERA and 31:9 K:BB ratio in 47 innings with Triple-A Round Rock.

Nationals sign Mark Minicozzi to minor-league deal
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(12/20/2014) The Nationals have signed infielder Mark Minicozzi to a minor-league deal.

Minicozzi, 31, hit .298/.400/.470 with 12 home runs and 62 RBI in 315 at-bats with Triple-A San Jose in 2014. He has yet to appear in a regular-season game in the majors.


Indians sign pitcher Scott Downs to minor-league contract
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(12/20/2014) The Indians announced they signed pitcher Scott Downs to a minor-league contract Saturday.

Downs also received a non-roster invite to MLB camp.


 
 
 
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