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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
White Sox DFA Dayan Viciedo to see if any trade interest reamins
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:07 am ET) White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said putting outfielder Dayan Viciedo on waivers could be the final step to trading him, which is something the team has explored all offseason. Viciedo was designated for assignment Wednesday, which means Chicago has 10 days to trade, release or outright him to the minors.

“It got to the point where Dayan didn’t very likely fit on this club in a meaningful way for 2015,” Hahn said, per CSNChicago.com. “The thought with designating him was flesh out any interest over the next 10 days or so and find him a better home going into the next season.”

Viciedo, who will turn 26 years old on March 10, has hit more than 20 homers in two of the last three seasons. But he has yet to reach his full potential, batting just .254 with a .424 slugging percentage in five MLB seasons. 

The White Sox seem OK if they deal Viciedo and he finally reaches his full potential with another team.

“He’s still young and he still has a world of talent and a great deal of power that we’ve all seen on display over a number of years,” Hahn said. “It’s not going to surprise any of us in the least if he goes on to have a very successful career elsewhere.”


Reds' Price 'realistically' targeting 145 games at catcher for Mesoraco
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:54 am ET) Reds manager Bryan Price indicated catcher Devin Mesoraco could see a lot more time behind the plate in 2015, per the Dayton Daily News. He appeared in 114 games in 2014, starting 109 at catcher.

“I’ve been asked that question a lot about Mesoraco playing first base,” Price said. “How much would he play? Only if (Joey) Votto was injured. Realistically, I see him as a Yadier Moilina-type guy, who is going to catch 145 games a year, more so than I see him catching 110 a year and playing 20 or 30 at first base.

“It stood out more last year because I linked up Johnny Cueto with (Brayan) Pena catching. I anticipate Mesoraco catching a lot more games this year, especially if he stays healthy. We won’t pair Pena with Cueto as much. Devin did a real nice job with Johnny the times he caught him.”


Report: Blue Jays making a push to sign Ronald Belisario
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:32 am ET) The Blue Jays are making a push to sign reliever Ronald Belisario, according to FoxSports.com.

The 32-year-old Belisario posted a 5.56 ERA over 66 1/3 innings with the White Sox last season. While his performance looks spotty on the surface, Belisario posted managed to cut his walk rate by three percent last season. He had awful luck with men on base, which may have contributed to his struggles. Belisario actually posted a 3.54 FIP, so there's a chance at a possible rebound. 

The Blue Jays have been linked to a number of free-agent relievers, including Rafael Soriano, Francisco Rodriguez and Burke Badenhop. 


Report: Blue Jays looking at multiple free-agent relievers
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) The Blue Jays are looking at multiple free-agent relievers, according to FoxSports.com.

The team has been in contact with Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano and Burke Badenhop. Both Rodriguez and Soriano have closer experience, while Badenhop has only saved four games over his career. Badenhop, however, did post the lowest ERA of the bunch last year, coming in at 2.29. 

Rodriguez, 33, posted a 3.04 ERA over 68 innings last year. He saved 44 games with Milwaukee.

The 35-year-old Soriano posted a 3.19 ERA over 62 innings last season. He lost his closer role late in the season after going into a bit of a slump.


Marlins designate Arquimedes Caminero for assignment
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) The Marlins have designated pitcher Arquimedes Caminero for assignment on Wednesday, according to MLB.com.

The 27-year-old Caminero spent most of the year in Triple-A. He posted a 4.86 ERA over 63 innings. Caminero was briefly promoted to the majors, posting a 10.80 ERA over 6 2/3 innings with Miami.


Giants release Marco Scutaro
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) The Giants have released second baseman Marco Scutaro, according to MLB.com.

Scutaro was designated for assignment by the club Jan. 21. Scutaro underwent back surgery in December, and was expected to miss 4-6 months due to the surgery. The 39-year-old was limited to five games last season due to back issues. He hit .297/.357/.369 over 488 at-bats back in 2013.


Mets, Jenrry Mejia avoid arbitration
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) The Mets have avoided arbitration with pitcher Jenrry Mejia, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Mejia agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.595 million. The 25-year-old Mejia emerged as the team's closer last season. He posted a 3.65 ERA over 93 2/3 innings. 


Rays' Matt Moore targeting a June return
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) Rays pitcher Matt Moore is targeting a June return, according to MLB.com.

Moore underwent Tommy John surgery last season, but was able to throw off a mound for the first time on Tuesday. Moore said he's hoping he can return to a major-league mound in June. "I hope June, [to pitch] in a Major League game, he said. "I think that's about right -- 14 months [after the surgery]. So we should know a lot more in the next month as I start to get on the hill and things have a chance to respond."

Moore started just two games last season before undergoing surgery.


Dodgers sign Jeremy Horst to minor-league deal
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) The Dodgers have signed pitcher Jeremy Horst to a minor-league deal, according to ONYX Sports Management. 

The 29-year-old Horst spent last season in Triple-A. He posted a 3.98 ERA over 63 1/3 innings. Horst has pitched 72 2/3 innings in the majors, compiling a 3.34 career ERA. 


Blue Jays' Justin Smoak not guaranteed a roster spot
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak is not guaranteed a spot on the team's 25-man roster, according to Sportsnet590.

General manager Alex Anthopoulos told the station that Smoak could begin the season in the minors if he struggles during spring training. The 28-year-old joined the club in the offseason, and is expected to compete for a backup role.


 
 
 
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