Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Reality Check: Pitchers on our minds

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

David Price. Cole Hamels. Stephen Strasburg. Matt Cain. R.A. Dickey. Yu Darvish. James Shields.

Chances are if you own one of that illustrious group, you hate him right now. All seven of them bombed to some degree Sunday, testing the limits of the term "ace."

But even in your blinding rage, you can still muster enough rational thought to ask yourself the ever-important question: What are you going to do about it? Oh, you may begin to question the likelihood of Dickey repeating his Cy Young season or rethink the impact of Hamels' offseason shoulder soreness, but practically speaking, what are you going to do? Bench him? Trade him? Dump him? Of course not.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

Last week in the 2013 debut of Reality Check, I looked at the role perception plays in value, particularly in this early stage of the season when everything every player does is scrutinized beyond what's actually useful. What just happened tends to carry more weight than it normally does, so you have to take it into consideration when you weigh who to add and who to drop.

After all, stashing a player nobody else wants is just a waste of a bench spot.

But as we just covered, even with his poor start Sunday, you're not cutting Hamels no matter how many batters Jeremy Guthrie strikes out or how few hits Travis Wood allows. You're not even entertaining the possibility. So where's the cutoff? Which players are worth adding, when and at whose expense?

Context. It distinguishes a lead pipe from a lead role, and in Fantasy Baseball, it makes the world go round. I could provide it only in general terms last week because the season had just started, but we have data now. Scant as it may be, it's there, and it's influencing perception as we speak.

So to piggyback on last week's piece, let's look at the dozen or so pitchers who caught my attention in the first week and are still somewhat available on the waiver wire (owned in less than 80 percent of leagues).

Why pitchers? Frankly, I care about them more this time of year. Pitchers are less predictable from year to year, so I find that more of them catch the league by surprise each year. In other words, you're more likely to strike gold with a pitcher than a hitter. Plus, particularly in Head-to-Head leagues, you can only make so much room for hitters. Between playing matchups and maximizing two-start weeks, you can never have too many pitchers.

Most added starting pitchers (as of 4/9)
Player Own %
1. Travis Wood, SP, Cubs 38
2. Jose Fernandez, SP, Marlins 80
3. Jeremy Guthrie, SP, Royals 38
4. Barry Zito, SP, Giants 49
5. Jhoulys Chacin, SP, Rockies 21
6. Justin Masterson, SP, Indians 18
7. J.A. Happ, SP, Blue Jays 31
8. Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Indians 58
9. Eric Stults, SP, Dodgers 13
10. Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Pirates 76

For each pitcher, I've listed pros and cons, as well as whether I'm ready give him the benefit of the doubt over the two pitchers I consider to be the most over-owned pitchers in Fantasy, Jeremy Hellickson (85 percent) and Tommy Milone (82 percent).

Those I'd take over Hellickson are already about on equal footing with the pitchers owned in 85 to 90 percent of leagues, such as Josh Beckett, Jarrod Parker and Julio Teheran. I feel good enough about their ability that I'll likely stick with them even if they have a bad start next time out.

Those I'd take over Milone I'd consider adding over any pitcher owned in less than 80 percent of leagues, but they're all on short leashes. One bad start would be enough to send me back to the waiver wire in search of the next hot hand catching everybody's attention.

Those I'd take over neither still need to show me something. I have my eye on them, but because they were so under-the-radar to begin with, I don't feel like I have much competition for them right now. Either that or I just don't like them. One more good start could spring me to action, though.

Keep in mind this is a purely objective exercise. I don't have anything invested in these pitchers, and neither should you. If they work out, great. If they don't, I'm cutting them and moving on. While projections are fun and useful to an extent, they don't come with a money-back guarantee. To account for the many things I don't know, I've found that casting a wide net this time of year will often snag me a breakout or two that I never saw coming.

Jose Fernandez, Marlins

Ownership: 79 percent
Pros: Buckets and buckets of talent, poise beyond his years
Cons: Limited minor-league experience, pitch counts, innings limit
Over Jeremy Hellickson? Yes
Over Tommy Milone? Yes

Yes, Fernandez will have a pitch count, but because the Marlins haven't suggested what it will be, I'm still optimistic he'll be able to eke out six innings more often than not. Even if he lasts only three-fourths of the season, more outings like his debut Sunday will make him well worth the investment.

A.J. Griffin, Athletics

Ownership: 76 percent
Pros: Low walk rate, solid debut last year
Cons: Too many home runs, relatively low ceiling
Over Jeremy Hellickson? Yes
Over Tommy Milone? Yes

Griffin strikes me as underowned at 76 percent. He doesn't have ace potential, but his 15 starts last year suggest you won't find much better on the waiver wire, provided Fernandez is no longer available.

Derek Holland, Rangers

Ownership: 75 percent
Pros: Decent stuff, strong supporting cast
Cons: Hitter's park, past inconsistencies
Over Jeremy Hellickson? No
Over Tommy Milone? Yes

I want to buy into Holland based on his strong first showing, especially since it came at home, but he's fooled me enough in the past to know better. Maybe now that the Rangers have instructed him to focus more on pitching and less on bad impressions, he'll show better consistency.

Phil Hughes, Yankees

Ownership: 67 percent
Pros: Excellent pedigree, pitches for the Yankees
Cons: Inconsistent results, pitches for the Yankees
Over Jeremy Hellickson? Yes
Over Tommy Milone? Yes

In previous years, even if Hughes struggled, you could count on him getting plenty of run support with the Yankees. Not this year. If he doesn't take another step toward meeting his frontline potential this year, he's waiver fodder in mixed leagues. Based on the work he did last June through August, I'm willing to gamble on him.

Justin Masterson, Indians

Ownership: 66 percent
Pros: Better stuff than track record suggests
Cons: Track record suggests bad stuff
Over Jeremy Hellickson? No
Over Tommy Milone? Yes

Did you know Masterson two-hit the Blue Jays over eight innings in his first start last year, striking out 10? He's worth a flier, sure, but keep your expectations in check.

James McDonald, Pirates

Ownership: 61 percent
Pros: Last year's first half
Cons: Last year's second half
Over Jeremy Hellickson? Yes
Over Tommy Milone? Yes

McDonald was practically an All-Star in the first half last year, so as long as he keeps his walk rate down, as he did in his first start, I'm excited about owning him.

Dillon Gee, Mets

Ownership: 48 percent
Pros: Improved strikeout-to-walk ratio before injury last year
Cons: Best season cut short
Over Jeremy Hellickson? No
Over Tommy Milone? No

When he needed surgery to repair a blocked artery in his shoulder last July, Gee was looking usable in Fantasy, but nothing more. I have a feeling he'll be highly affordable later.

Ervin Santana, Royals

Ownership: 46 percent
Pros: Just about everything you'd want in a pitcher except for ...
Cons: Too many home runs
Over Jeremy Hellickson? Yes
Over Tommy Milone? Yes

Santana has always been susceptible to the home run, but last year's rate was historically bad and about double his career norm. Monday, he gave us a taste of what he can do when he keeps the ball in the yard. He had a 1.60 ERA in the seven starts he didn't allow a homer last year.

Travis Wood, Cubs

Ownership: 37 percent
Pros: Low WHIP
Cons: Poor home run rate, limited innings
Over Jeremy Hellickson? No
Over Tommy Milone? No

Though he can be a surprisingly good source of strikeouts at times, Wood lacks the upside or consistency to move the needle for me at this early stage of the season.

Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies

Ownership: 36 percent
Pros: Good stuff, glimpses of potential
Cons: Coors Field, shaky control
Over Jeremy Hellickson? No
Over Tommy Milone? No

After the way the ball flew out of Coors Field last year, I'm not sure you can trust the humidor effect anymore. Too risky for me.

Jeremy Guthrie, Royals

Ownership: 35 percent
Pros: Coming off strong finish, eats innings
Cons: Minimal strikeout potential, up-and-down track record
Over Jeremy Hellickson? No
Over Tommy Milone? Yes

If Guthrie goes seven and eight innings every time out, like he did after coming over from the Rockies late last season, he'll be useful in all formats, even more so than Milone. Because he doesn't have any strikeout potential to fall back on, though, I'm remaining skeptical.

J.A. Happ, Blue Jays

Ownership: 30 percent
Pros: Used to be a decent option
Cons: Standard for decent has changed
Over Jeremy Hellickson? No
Over Tommy Milone? No

The league was a little more geared toward hitters when Happ impressed with a 1.24 WHIP and 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings in 2009, and he hasn't been as good since then. I need to see more.

Miguel Gonzalez, Orioles

Ownership: 29 percent
Pros: Good so far
Cons: Poor pedigree, no real track record
Over Jeremy Hellickson? No
Over Tommy Milone? Yes

Gonzalez hasn't given me reason to doubt him yet. I'd prefer my pitchers to get a few more strikeouts, but I think he has better potential for them than Milone does.

John Lackey, Red Sox

Ownership: 16 percent
Pros: Impressive track record, eye-opening debut
Cons: Injury history, impending DL stint
Over Jeremy Hellickson? No
Over Tommy Milone? No

The guy used to be a Cy Young contender and was throwing in the mid-90s before straining his biceps in his season debut. He'll actually be a more justifiable stash if he goes on the DL.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Homer Bailey not cleared to throw after MRI
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:13 pm ET) The Reds have not cleared pitcher Homer Bailey to resume throwing after learning the results of a recent MRI Wednesday, MLB.com reports.

"Unfortunately, it's not healing the way we thought it would," head trainer Paul Lessard said. "He's unfortunately very frustrated, [but] I have to think about his arm for the future as well, not just the next four weeks. We're trying to figure out what's the best thing for him."

Bailey has been sidelined since Aug. 8 with a strained flexor mass tendon. He could have a second PRP injection to help his healing, though that would delay his throwing scheduled by another week.


Joey Votto begins fielding ground balls
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:10 pm ET) Reds first baseman Joey Votto added fielding ground balls to his baseball activities Wednesday, MLB.com reports. He's eligible to come off the disabled list Sept. 4 but may have trouble being ready to go on a rehab assignment before the end of the minor-league season.

"I'd hate to say there's no chance, but I think because we're initiating baby steps that ... I don't know if he'll be ready by Sept. 4 or not. I have no idea. I really don't," manager Bryan Price said. "It's been a real gradual recovery, and it's an injury that needs -- more than anything, beyond strengthening and therapy -- it needs time to recover. ... We just haven't been able to force the recovery faster. There's just no quick fix to this quad problem to where he can play on it with the stability that's needed."

Votto remains without a timetable to rejoin the Reds.


Vic Black dealing with bone spurs on neck
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:52 pm ET) Mets pitcher Vic Black is dealing with irritation caused by bone spurs growing on vertabrae in his neck, MLB.com reports.

"I've just got some stiffness that came up in Oakland and I'm dealing with it right now," Black said. "As it pertains with getting back in a game, I think it's day-to-day. I've got today off and we heated it up and got some medication going, and we'll hopefully knock it out real quick so it doesn't linger."

Black has been dealing with neck pain for the better part of a week and underwent an MRI Wednesday.


Josh Edgin dealing with bone spurs
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:06 pm ET) Mets pitcher Josh Edgin is suffering from bone spurs in his left elbow, The Record reports. Edgin is questionable to pitch Wednesday after missing Tuesday's game with the elbow issue.

"There’s more bone spurs stuff than it is any other structural damage," manager Terry Collins said. "He’s fine otherwise I wouldn’t be pitching him. To quiet it down as we always know and it’s ligaments running across that bone spur flares up, so we got to quiet it down."


John Mayberry expected to return Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:02 pm ET) The Phillies expect to activate outfielder John Mayberry from the 15-day disabled list Monday, MLB.com reports.

Mayberry has been out since July 21 with inflammation in his wrist, but he was able to work out with the team Wednesday. He's 4 for 22 with one home run in six games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley during his current rehab assignment.


Bryan Morris diagnosed with groin strain
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:59 pm ET) Marlins pitcher Bryan Morris has been diagnosed with a right groin strain, MLB.com reports.

The issue may cause Morris to miss only a few days after he had to be sent back to Miami Tuesday to be examined. The Marlins head to Atlanta for a weekend series, and it's possible the reliever joins them there. He owns a 1.76 ERA and 48:22 K:BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings.


Juan Uribe expected to return to lineup Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:56 pm ET) Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe is expected to return from the disabled list Sunday when first eligible, MLB.com reports.

Uribe has been recovering from a hamstring strain. He'll return to a .293/.320/.411 line with six home runs and 35 RBI in 304 at-bats.


Report: Mark Buehrle placed on waivers
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:55 pm ET) Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle has been placed on waivers, according to the Boston Globe

Buehrle is owed $19 million next season, so there's a thought he'll pass through waivers unclaimed. If that's the case, Buehrle would be eligible to be traded to any team. He has a 3.41 ERA over 161 innings. 


Adrian Gonzalez out of lineup Wednesday with stiff back
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:52 pm ET) Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is not in the starting lineup Wednesday due to a stiff back, MLB.com reports.

Gonzalez has been on a roll in his last few games, going 6 for 9 with a home run and seven RBI. He has hit .275/.334/.460 with 18 home runs and 90 RBI in 480 at-bats.


Cory Rasmus a candidate to start Saturday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:26 pm ET) Angels pitcher Cory Rasmus is a candidate to start Saturday, according to the Orange County Register

Rasmus has pitched out of the bullpen all season. He's posted a 2.68 ERA over 37 innings. Both Randy Wolf and Michael Roth are thought to be in the running for the start as well. 


 
 
 
Rankings