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Plumbing the Depths for Week 19

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With a current ownership rate of 28 percent, Dan Straily can be considered to be a deeper league pitching option, but it may not stay that way for long.

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Straily was recalled by the Athletics on Thursday and he is already set to make his major league debut, starting Friday against the Blue Jays. The 23-year-old leads all of professional baseball with 175 strikeouts, and unlike other high-octane phenoms such as Trevor Bauer and Danny Hultzen, he has had few problems finding the strike zone on a consistent basis. While owners in shallower leagues may have the luxury of seeing how Straily fares in his debut before making a roster decision, deeper league owners have to make a decision pretty much right now. Even though there is a remote chance he gets bumped when Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) or Brett Anderson (elbow) returns from the disabled list, he is worth a pickup in all deeper leagues and even in some standard mixed leagues.

While Straily's availability will likely wane by the hour, there are plenty of other pitchers who can be of use to owners in deeper leagues for Fantasy Week 19 (August 6-12). The ones featured here are currently available in well over half of the leagues on CBSSports.com and several of them are viable in deeper mixed leagues. All stats are current for games through Wednesday, August 1.

Deeper league two-start options

Zach McAllister, Indians
Projected matchups: MIN (Diamond), BOS (Cook)
2012 stats: 4-3, 3.42 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 62 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 43/29
Outlook: Out of nowhere, McAllister is suddenly a strikeout guy. It would be easier to trust his 8.2 K/9 rate if he had exceeded it in any of his stops in the upper minors, but the last time he compiled a mark that high, he was in short-season Class A ball. What owners can definitely expect is a pitcher who throws a lot of strikes and can help with WHIP. Not surprisingly, McAllister's ERA is almost a full run lower at Progressive Field, and with a pair of home starts next week, he's a safe play in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only formats. Because he's a threat to return to his pitch-to-contact ways, there are better two-start options to pursue in standard mixed leagues.

Chris Tillman, Orioles
Projected matchups: SEA (Vargas), KC (Mendoza)
2012 stats: 4-1, 2.70 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 20 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 25/14
Outlook: Tillman has built on the gains in his control that he demonstrated over his 13 starts last season, but owners shouldn't get too excited about his 2.70 ERA. Prior to facing the Yankees on Tuesday, the 24-year-old had encountered a favorable schedule, making one start at home against the Rays, while making trips to Seattle, Minnesota and Cleveland for the rest of his starts. Tillman is at risk of getting inundated with extra-base hits when pitching at Camden Yards, but next week, he has the good fortune of facing the Mariners and Royals, who own two of the three lowest Isolated Power rates in the AL. These matchups make Tillman worth a pickup in any format deeper than a standard mixed league.

Luis Mendoza, Royals
Projected matchups: @CHW (Peavy), @BAL (Tillman)
2012 stats: 5-7, 4.32 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 58 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 6/4
Outlook: To take a look at Mendoza's bloated WHIP and his challenging upcoming matchups, it might look like he is overowned, as he is rostered in six percent of our leagues. If you dig deeper into his stats, though, you'll find reasons to trust him in all AL-only leagues, and even some deeper mixed leagues, in Week 19. Mendoza's 56 percent ground ball rate has helped him to hold opposing batters to six home runs over his 100 innings, and it should neutralize the advantage the White Sox's and Orioles' hitters get from their home parks. There are also signs that Mendoza's WHIP could improve dramatically. Even though the Royals are allowing ground ball base hits at the highest rate in the majors, the .302 ground ball batting average allowed by Mendoza looks awfully unlucky. He's also made dramatic improvements to his walk and strikes thrown rates over his last six starts.

Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks
Projected matchups: @PIT (Karstens), WAS (Detwiler)
2012 stats: 3-4, 3.60 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 35 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 6/2
Outlook: Corbin allowed a lot of contact during his first stint as a major league starter, but in Triple-A, he got swings-and-misses at a 13 percent rate, according to the StatCorner website. Next week won't be a good indication of Corbin's potential as a strikeout pitcher, as he will face two of the NL's three most-strikeout prone teams. Still, if Corbin is going to add to your team's strikeout total, this would be the week, so give him a try in NL-only leagues and some deeper mixed league formats.

Wade LeBlanc, Marlins
Projected matchups: @NYM (Niese), LAD (Capuano)
2012 stats: 1-1, 1.35 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 13 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 3/2
Outlook: LeBlanc is still getting stretched out for a starting role, but with two starts next week, he should provide enough innings to be usable in all NL-only leagues, at the very least. He doesn't have the most impressive statistical profile, but LeBlanc has steadily improved his command over the last three seasons, so he could be an asset in the WHIP category. Between his aversion to walks and his perennially-high popup rates, LeBlanc should do a decent job keeping runners off the bases, even if he doesn't get many strikeouts.

Waiver wire targets

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Bartolo Colon, Athletics
Projected matchups: LAA (Wilson)
2012 stats: 7-8, 3.78 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 78 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 35/18
Outlook: No qualifying starting pitcher has allowed contact at a higher rate on swings than Colon this year, yet if we pretend that the month of May never happened, Colon clocks in with a 2.66 ERA. Colon has been very good at home over the last two months, posting a 2.58 home ERA over that span, and fortunately for him and his owners, six of his last eight starts have come at O.co Coliseum. Colon's lone start in Week 19 also comes at his spacious home park, so even though he faces a potent Angels' lineup, he is worth picking up and starting in deeper mixed leagues for the coming week.

Scott Feldman, Rangers
Projected matchups: DET (Scherzer)
2012 stats: 5-6, 4.76 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 49 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 13/6
Outlook: Pinpoint control had never really been Feldman's thing, but he's recently developed a knack for it. Over his last six appearances (five starts), Feldman has put together a 2.91 ERA, and issuing just two walks over a 34-inning span had a great deal to do with his success. Time will tell if Feldman can keep this up, but at least owners can be reassured that his peripheral stats are backing up his performance. He's a must-start in AL-only leagues and is worth a claim in some deeper mixed leagues.

Nate Eovaldi, Marlins
Projected matchups: @NYM (Young)
2012 stats: 2-6, 3.94 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 39 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 12/6
Outlook: For someone who throws as hard as he does, it's disappointing that Eovaldi has had trouble getting Ks at the major-league level. The potential for strikeouts is there, though, and owners can be encouraged by Eovaldi's substantial improvements in control. He is also turning into a reliable ground ball pitcher, and his matchup against the Mets -- a team doesn't loft the ball very often -- should work in his favor. Though this may not be the case every week, at least this time, Eovaldi should be a prime target for owners in most deeper formats.

Cole De Vries, Twins
Projected matchups: TB (Hellickson)
2012 stats: 2-2, 3.98 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 36 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 6/3
Outlook: De Vries' flyball tendencies have worked against him, as he has allowed homers in all but two of his 10 starts. The flipside is that he sports a 12 percent popup rate that has helped him to hold batters to a .244 BABIP. While he probably won't sustain a rate that low, it may not increase much, and that means he could keep his WHIP below 1.20. De Vries is too volatile to trust outside of AL-only leagues in a one-start week, but there are still plenty of AL-only owners who need to pick him up.

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Will Smith, Royals
Projected matchups: @BAL (Chen)
2012 stats: 2-3, 5.94 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 22 Ks
Ownership/activation rates: 1/0
Outlook: Aside from some decent walk rates, there is little that stands out in Smith's minor league record that recommends him as a Fantasy starter for most owners. Then again, his numbers appear to be just good enough that he has the look of a viable starter for AL-only leagues. Half of his six starts with the Royals have been quality starts, and aside from blowups against the Yankees and Twins, he has done a good job of avoiding extra-base hits. Again, Smith is not a recommended start in any mixed league format, but for AL-only owners, he has better value than Aaron Cook (six percent ownership rate) or Jeremy Guthrie (five percent).

Vulnerable rotation spots

Indians: Derek Lowe was designated for assignment Thursday, and the Indians will need another starter to bridge the gap until Roberto Hernandez is eligible to return on Aug. 10. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Jeanmar Gomez, David Huff and Chris Seddon are top candidates. Each could fill out a rotation in an AL-only league, but owners should bear in mind that they may only stay in the rotation for two starts.

Blue Jays: Blue Jays manager John Farrell wants to move recently-acquired J.A. Happ from the bullpen to the rotation, but he has not yet decided when it will happen and how room will be made for him. One option is to go with a six-man rotation, but Farrell has also not ruled out demoting a current starter to a relief role. MLB.com reports that Brett Cecil and Aaron Laffey are both candidates for a role change.

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: Athletics OF Coco Crisp expected to need elbow surgery
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:35 am ET) Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp is expected to require surgery to remove a bone spur and chips from his right elbow, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The outfielder would be out for six-to-eight weeks after undergoing the procedure.

Crisp has dealt with elbow issues for much of the spring. Without his presence in the lineup, the A's will need to replace the outfielder in the leadoff spot at least until mid-May. With Crisp set to open the season on the disabled list, the A's will likely carry outfielder Billy Burns on the team's initial 25-man roster.


Mets' Collins: Daniel Murphy looks 'tremendous' Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:22 am ET) Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy (hamstring) played five innings, took five at-bats and ran the bases in a minor-league game Wednesday, and while the team will leave him behind to see minor-league work this weekend, there's still a chance he could join the team to play on Opening Day, the New York Daily News reports.

"Dan looked tremendous. He looks great at the plate, but it’s the daily grind (we worry about)," manager Terry Collins said about Murphy's action Wednesday. "We certainly have to be monitoring his workload, but we’re hoping that the next couple of days he gets a little extra work in, then we’ll look up this weekend and he joins us after."

Murphy said he has yet to push the hamstring by trying to run at 100 percent.

"I like the way I am progressing," Murphy said Wednesday, "but we’ll see how I feel tomorrow."


Astros option OF L.J. Hoes to Triple-A Fresno
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) The Astros have optioned outfielder L.J. Hoes to Triple-A Fresno.

Hoes was competing for a bench spot but dealt with a wrist issue recently after being hit by a pitch over the weekend. He went 7 for 25 this spring before being sent down.


Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen leaves game, says he's fine
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen didn't run out a ground ball in the eighth inning of Wednesday's game and left the field slowly before being officially replaced in the game, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

McCutchen, who dealt with a lower-body injury earlier this spring, said he was fine after coming out of the game. He indicated that he slipped on the plate and throttled things back just to be safe. The outfielder finished the game 1 for 4 at the plate.


Orioles' Chris Tillman strikes out eight in spring finale vs. Pirates
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman allowed two earned runs on three hits in five innings while racking up eight strikeouts and issuing zero walks in Wednesday's spring finale against the Pirates.

Tillman gave up both runs on a home run in the second inning by Pirates first baseman Pedro Alvarez but was excellent aside from the one mistake. He closes the spring with a 2.76 ERA and 18:2 K:BB ratio in 16 1/3 innings. Tillman will square off with the Rays Monday on Opening Day.


Pirates' Gerrit Cole tosses three scoreless innings vs. Orioles
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole allowed just one hit and one walk in three scoreless innings while striking out three in Wednesday's spring finale against the Orioles.

Cole closes the spring with a 3.24 ERA and 12:4 K:BB ratio in 16 2/3 innings. He's slated to pitch the taem's second game of the season, leaving him to face the Reds next Wednesday.


Pirates' Francisco Liriano allows one run in spring finale
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Pirates pitcher Francisco Liriano surrendered one earned run on three hits in three innings while striking out two in Wednesday's spring finale against the Orioles.

Liriano hadn't surrendered a run in nine spring innings heading into Wednesday's game and finishes the spring with a 0.75 ERA and 14:4 K:BB ratio in 12 innings. His next start will come on Opening Day against the Reds Monday.


Rangers' Colby Lewis serves up three homers in spring finale
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis allowed four earned runs on seven hits and one walk in three innings while walking two and giving up three home runs in his team's 10-4 loss to the Rockies Wednesday.

Lewis also served up three home runs in one inning in his spring debut but kept the ball in the park while surrendering three runs in eight innings over his previous two appearances. He closes out the spring with a 9.75 ERA and 5:4 K:BB ratio in 12 innings. Lewis is slated to make his regular-season debut Tuesday against the A's.


Indians first baseman Nick Swisher goes 2 for 3 in spring debut
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Indians first baseman Nick Swisher went 2-for-3 Wednesday in his first action since undergoing surgery on both knees this offseason, reports MLB.com.

"All I really wanted to do was go out there and have some fun again, man," Swisher said. "I feel like it's been Groundhog's Day for me. It's like the same thing every day. So, to be able to come out here and actually be able to compete at this level was great. It raised my spirits a little bit, for sure."

Manager Terry Francona was happy to get Swisher back in the lineup.

"I think it was really good to get him in a game," Francona said. "I think it was really good for him -- whether he got hits or not. It was nice to see him get on base a couple times. I think it's helpful to him. I think it probably gave him another little push in the right direction. I think he had fun and it makes it feel a little bit closer to the finish line."

He remains without a timetable to return for the regular season.

"I wish I could give you a timetable. I wish I could give you a day," Swisher said. "I'm just going to come back when I feel healthy. Do I feel like I could go and DH for this team and contribute right now? Sure, but that's not all I want to do. I want to make sure I'm able to go to the outfield. I want to make sure I'm able to go to first base and make sure all my movements are fluid and smooth."


Rangers' Elvis Andrus goes hitless in return Wednesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(4/1/2015) Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus went 0 for 3 and struck out twice in his return to the lineup Wednesday as the Rangers fell to the Rockies, 10-4.

Andrus was scratched from Monday's lineup due to stiffness in his lower back but missed little time due to the injury. He has hit .359/.381/.590 in 39 spring at-bats.


 
 
 
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