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Week 3 Pitching Forecaster

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In the first week of the season, the ranks of two-start pitchers were littered with aces. Last week, many middle-of-the-rotation types had a pair of outings, and that made a trip to the waiver wire a fruitful experience in many leagues.

In Fantasy Week 3 (April 15-21), it's the fringe starters' turn to get a double dip. While that means there are many two-start pitchers available for the taking in many leagues, it doesn't mean you should look to add them for the coming week. Ross Detwiler, Bartolo Colon and Jhoulys Chacin, each of whom is available in more than half of the leagues on CBSSports.com, are all likely to be more reliable and productive than the majority of this week's two-start pitchers, even though each just gets one turn in their respective team's rotations.

One late addition to the list of two-start pitchers is Andy Pettitte, but he could lose that status just as quickly as he gained it. Pettitte developed back spasms and was bumped from his scheduled start this weekend, but he could be ready to face the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. He could just as easily start Wednesday or even be placed on the disabled list, so owners should not count on him making two starts.

Given the lack of quality options this week, it might be worthwhile keeping Pettitte active with the hope that he takes the mound for at least one game. Should Pettitte not be ready by Tuesday, Ivan Nova could be a two-start pitcher, but he'd be an option for deeper mixed leagues at best.

You might not like your rotation alternatives this week, but someone's got to fill those pitching slots. Here are the 70 options that I think will give you the best chance to win this week.

Al's Top 70 Starting Pitchers for Week 3
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2
1 Cliff Lee @CIN (Arroyo) STL (Lynn)
2 Clayton Kershaw SD (Ross) N/A
3 Stephen Strasburg @NYM (Gee) N/A
4 Justin Verlander @LAA (Richards) N/A
5 David Price @BAL (Gonzalez) N/A
6 CC Sabathia ARI (Corbin) N/A
7 Felix Hernandez DET (Fister) N/A
8 Adam Wainwright @PHI (Hamels) N/A
9 Jordan Zimmermann @MIA (LeBlanc) @NYN (Laffey)
10 Yu Darvish @CHC (Villanueva) N/A
11 Mat Latos MIA (Slowey) N/A
12 Chris Sale @TOR (Dickey) N/A
13 Johnny Cueto MIA (Fernandez) N/A
14 Kris Medlen KC (Guthrie) @PIT (Sanchez)
15 Matt Cain @MIL (Gallardo) N/A
16 Cole Hamels STL (Wainwright) N/A
17 Madison Bumgarner SD (Volquez) N/A
18 Gio Gonzalez @NYM (Hefner) N/A
19 Jake Peavy MIN (Diamond) N/A
20 Josh Johnson CHW (Axelrod) NYY (Pettitte)
21 Lance Lynn @PIT (McDonald) @PHI (Lee)
22 A.J. Griffin HOU (Peacock) N/A
23 Brett Anderson @TB (Cobb) N/A
24 James Shields @BOS (Buchholz) N/A
25 Matt Moore @BAL (Tillman) N/A
26 Jeff Samardzija @MIL (Estrada) N/A
27 Max Scherzer @SEA (Iwakuma) N/A
28 R.A. Dickey CHW (Sale) N/A
29 Ryan Dempster TB (Hellickson) KC (Santana)
30 Yovani Gallardo SF (Cain) N/A
31 Jon Lester @CLE (McAllister) N/A
32 Homer Bailey PHI (Kendrick) MIA (Sanabia)
33 Brandon Morrow NYY (Hughes) N/A
34 A.J. Burnett STL (Miller) N/A
35 Clay Buchholz KC (Shields) N/A
36 Anibal Sanchez @LAA (Wilson) N/A
37 Ian Kennedy @COL (De La Rosa) N/A
38 Matt Harvey @COL (Chacin) N/A
39 Tommy Milone HOU (Bedard) @TB (Hernandez)
40 Marco Estrada CHC (Samardzija) N/A
41 Chad Billingsley SD (Stults) @BAL (Arrieta)
42 Doug Fister @SEA (Hernandez) N/A
43 Bronson Arroyo PHI (Lee) MIA (LeBlanc)
44 Mike Minor KC (Davis) N/A
45 Paul Maholm @PIT (McDonald) N/A
46 Alexi Ogando SEA (Saunders) N/A
47 Tim Hudson @PIT (Rodriguez) N/A
48 Andy Pettitte ARI (McCarthy) @TOR (Johnson)
49 Roy Halladay STL (Garcia) N/A
50 James McDonald STL (Lynn) ATL (Maholm)
51 Derek Holland @CHC (Wood) SEA (Beavan)
52 Hiroki Kuroda @TOR (Buehrle) N/A
53 Jaime Garcia @PHI (Halladay) N/A
54 C.J. Wilson DET (Sanchez) N/A
55 Hisashi Iwakuma DET (Scherzer) N/A
56 Alex Cobb OAK (Anderson) N/A
57 Ross Detwiler @MIA (Nolasco) N/A
58 Shelby Miller @PIT (Burnett) N/A
59 Brandon McCarthy @NYY (Pettitte) @COL (Francis)
60 Jonathon Niese @COL (Garland) N/A
61 Gavin Floyd @TOR (Buehrle) MIN (Correia)
62 Bartolo Colon HOU (Norris) N/A
63 Ryan Vogelsong @MIL (Lohse) N/A
64 Jason Hammel LAD (Ryu) N/A
65 Mark Buehrle CHW (Floyd) NYY (Kuroda)
66 Josh Beckett @BAL (Chen) N/A
67 Jhoulys Chacin NYM (Harvey) N/A
68 Kyle Lohse SF (Vogelsong) N/A
69 Wade Miley @NYY (Nova) N/A
70 Dan Haren @MIA (Sanabia) N/A

Two-Start Options to Consider

Homer Bailey, Reds (PHI, MIA): Bailey has turned in a gem and a clunker so far this year, but which version of him will show up in this two-start week? Inconsistency is nothing new for Bailey, and even during his strong second half last season, he put together a string of four consecutive starts of less than six innings. While starting Bailey will always present a non-trivial level of risk, the bottom line is that, more often than not, you can count on him to be efficient and effective.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Lance Lynn, Cardinals (@PIT, @PHI): With a start rate of 61 percent, Lynn has to be one of the most under-activated pitchers in CBSSports.com leagues. He has done nothing but miss bats since joining the Cardinals two seasons ago, and until that trend changes, owners should keep him active in the vast majority of weeks. He certainly needs to be in your rotation when he has a two-start scoring period.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Tommy Milone, Athletics (HOU, @TB): Milone can be susceptible to homers, so to have a good week, it helps for him to face a weak lineup or to pitch in a favorable venue. In Week 3, Milone gets to do both. In opposing the lowly Astros at home and then travelling to pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field for his second start, Milone is primed to keep the ball in the park and runs off the board.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Derek Holland, Rangers (@CHC, SEA): Holland has turned in a pair of good starts to begin the season, and it's helped that he has been throwing strikes. However, it will take more than a handful of innings to wipe away the memory of the 32 homers he allowed in 2012. The lefty should be able to handle the Cubs, but the Mariners have been crushing the ball (if not quite hitting for average). The visit to Wrigley Field makes it feasible to start Holland, but do it only as a last resort.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Ryan Dempster, Red Sox (TB, KC): Dempster was wild in his first start of the season, but he was much more in command on Wednesday against the Orioles. Owners can also be encouraged by the high whiff rate Dempster compiled in both starts. He may not always be viable in two-start weeks, but with the dearth of reliable options in Week 3, owners should get Dempster active this time.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Barry Zito, Giants (@MIL, SD): To his credit, Zito was very stingy with baserunners in his first two starts, as he allowed only one flyball base hit and four walks. He has put 14 men on base in total, and none have scored. A high strand rate also fueled Zito's late 2012 resurgence, but none of these trends will hold up for long. Meanwhile, Zito allows too much contact and offers too little upside elsewhere to be trusted as a two-start pitcher in standard mixed leagues.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

James McDonald, Pirates (STL, ATL): When McDonald commands his pitches -- particularly his two-seamer -- he can be a useful starter in Fantasy. That just hasn't been the case so far in 2013. Especially with a pair of potentially lethal lineups on his schedule, McDonald could be in for a rough week. He should only be started if you're in a risk-taking frame of mind. If you're so inclined, at least McDonald is more capable of delivering an ample payoff than several of the starters on this list.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Chad Billingsley, Dodgers (SD, @BAL): Apparently, platelet-rich plasma injections and rehab did the trick for Billingsley and his partially-torn elbow ligament, as he had a successful season debut against the Padres on Wednesday. Up until his final four starts last season, Billingsley rediscovered his ability to get batters to swing and miss, but only time will tell if he is healthy enough to resume at that level. At least he gets another start against a punchless Padres lineup, so that should be enough to make Billingsley a viable Fantasy start.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians (BOS, @HOU): We saw the "old Ubaldo" in his first start this year, with mid-90s velocity and good command. The velocity was there again in his second start (though, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jimenez's recorded velocity was off due to faulty readings), but his location was lacking. There's been much more bad than good since Jimenez has come over to the American League, so while his second start could prove to be an aberration, the safe move is to sit him outside of deeper leagues for now.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Gavin Floyd, White Sox (@TOR, MIN): Floyd has been a streaming option for years in standard mixed leagues, though he usually needs good matchups and a two-start week to be worth activating. The Twins are a decent matchup, and while the Blue Jays could spell trouble for Floyd, there are so few good two-start options, that you might as well give him a try if you lack a trustworthy alternative.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Travis Wood, Cubs (TEX, @MIL): Wood can be a solid starter for Fantasy when he avoids homers, just as he has done in his first two starts. With the Rangers coming to town and then a trip to Miller Park, Wood will likely be dispensing some long balls this week. Though he has been a very popular waiver pickup recently, resist the temptation to start Wood in your standard mixed leagues.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Mark Buehrle, Blue Jays (CHW, NYY): It's been tough sledding for Buehrle in his first starts for the Blue Jays, but he has allowed more than half of the runners he has put on base to score. Neither that trend nor a .343 BABIP will persist, and Buehrle can still be considered a borderline standard mixed league option, especially in Head-to-Head points leagues.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Bronson Arroyo, Reds (PHI, MIA): Arroyo has picked up where he left off last season, pitching with remarkable command. His 5.25 ERA doesn't reflect it, because like Buehrle, he has let too many of his baserunners score, but there's no reason to think that this is anything more than a small sample artifact. Also, a start against the Marlins is always a reassuring tiebreaker if you can't decide whether or not to start him.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Brandon McCarthy, Diamondbacks (@NYY, @COL): It's been an ugly beginning for McCarthy as a Diamondback, and he goes to a pair of tough venues to make starting him an even scarier proposition.
Still, things are looking up for the ex-Athletic, as he got nine swinging strikes against the Pirates on Tuesday after inducing just a single whiff in his season debut against the Cardinals. Opponents have also had the good fortune of batting .464 on grounders against him, and that is bound to improve. Given his matchups, you should sit McCarthy if you can in standard mixed leagues, but he just might pay off if you can't find anyone better.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Felix Doubront, Red Sox (@CLE, KC): Doubront was homer-prone last season, particularly at Fenway Park. Progressive Field is a good home run park for lefties, and as a southpaw, you might think that Doubront could salvage his week with his start there. However, he has yielded eight homers in 59 innings against left-handed batters, so he could still get clobbered. Doubront can deliver Ks, but much like Bud Norris, if he can't keep the ball in the park, he's not of much use in mixed leagues, even with two starts.
My take: AL-only start.

Jeremy Guthrie, Royals (@ATL, @BOS): When the Royals rescued Guthrie from the Rockies last summer, it was good news for his home run rate, but the change of scenery didn't single-handedly turn him into a reliable Fantasy starter. There will be weeks when Guthrie can be used in standard mixed leagues, but they will involve not just a pair of starts, but good matchups at favorable venues. Guthrie's matchups aren't so easy this week, so save him for your deeper mixed and AL-only leagues.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Rick Porcello, Tigers (@SEA, @LAA): Porcello should improve upon his 6.10 ERA and 1.55 WHIP, but that's not exactly a ringing endorsement. Even at his best, he allows too much contact and strands too few baserunners to be worth using even in two-start weeks in most formats. Porcello goes to some good venues this week, but as a ground ball pitcher, that won't help him that much, and the tough lineups he will have to face could hurt him. Even owners in deeper mixed leagues can probably find a better alternative.
My take: AL-only start.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals (@PIT, @PHI): Westbrook has started off his season with just one unearned run over 15 2/3 innings, but unfavorable strikes-thrown and walk rates are a red flag. In many weeks, Westbrook should remain unused outside of NL-only leagues, but with a start against the Pirates, he could produce enough to be useful in slightly shallower formats.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Kyle Kendrick, Phillies (@CIN, STL): Coming off a solid outing against the Mets, deep league owners might be tempted to start Kendrick, especially in Head-to-Head leagues, where he can be used as a reliever. While not every starter has been able to contain the Mets, Kendrick's Week 3 opponents -- the Cardinals and Reds -- represent more difficult matchups. He is certainly not a mixed Rotisserie option, and even in Head-to-Head leagues, mixed league owners would be better off to use their RP slot on a steady closer.
My take: NL-only start.

Wily Peralta, Brewers (SF, CHC): There could be cause to worry about Peralta in a two-start week, as his wildness could get him into trouble against a patient lineup. The Cubs, however, do not possess that lineup, and neither they nor the Giants are liable to hurt Peralta with power. This would be a good week to give the rookie a try in deeper mixed leagues.
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

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
Peter Moylan 'doing fantastic' in return from Tommy John
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:42 pm ET) Free-agent pitcher Peter Moylan indicated Friday that he's "doing fantastic" in his return from his second Tommy John surgery, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"I’m doing fantastic, mate. Dropped 35 pounds," Moylan said. “My goal is to be 100 percent by end of spring. Ball is coming out great, though. Probably have to throw for some teams right around the start of spring to gauge interest, but there have already been some nibbles, which is encouraging."

Moylan underwent the procedure last March after receiving a non-roster invitation from the Astros. He's throwing from about 70 percent strength off a mound and in the process of deciding whether to sign a a deal in the near future or after the season begins. He hopes to resume pitching in the big leagues by midseason at the earliest.

Moylan has made 309 appearances since debuting in 2006, compiling a 21-9 record, 2.80 ERA and 213:121 K:BB ratio in 276 innings.


Braves' Shelby Miller: Sinker is 'going to take me to the next level'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:42 pm ET) Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller had an up-and-down season with the Cardinals in 2014. He began the season by going 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA before going 2-7 with a 5.11 ERA over his next 16 appearances (15 starts).

Miller, however, was able to finish the season on a high note, going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and .190 opponents' batting average over his final seven starts. Miller attributes his success down the stretch to incorporating a sinker into his repertoire, per FOX Sports South.

"I said I'm going to throw some of these, and we'll see where it's at," Miller said of a conversation he had with catcher A.J. Pierzynski before an Aug. 23 start against the Phillies. "It felt good so we just went with it. I started throwing it literally within three days. It's a good pitch that I picked up quick.

"I still need a lot of work with it. I need a lot of work with all my pitches. There's all sorts of ways to get better. But I think that's definitely a pitch that will help me be more efficient and take me deeper into games. That's [the sinker] going to be a huge pitch for me this year that's ultimately going to take me to the next level. Not only that but kind of mixing it all together, becoming more of a complete pitcher more than a thrower."

Miller added he will also begin to work more on his changeup, which he threw just 2.2 percent of the time in 2014, per FanGraphs.com.

"I know [Braves pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] has been known for changeups," Miller said. "A lot of great pitchers have come through this organization, [and] that's a pitch I would love to pick up. I want to be able to throw it more consistently, [and] have a little bit more confidence in it."


Scott Baker agrees to minor-league deal with Yankees
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(5:16 pm ET) The Yankees agreed to a minor-league deal with pitcher Scott Baker, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. If Baker makes the major-league roster, he will be paid $1.5 million.

Baker made 25 appearances (eight starts) for the Rangers in 2014, going 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA. He had 55 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.


Rockies designate Jayson Aquino for assignment
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:24 pm ET) After completing a two-team trade Friday, the Rockies decided to designate Jayson Aquino for assignment, the team announced.

Aquino spent 2014 bouncing around the minor league, pitching in 18 games with a 5.13 ERA in 107 innings pitched. He went 5-10 with 83 strikeouts in stints with both Double-A Tulsa and Class A Modesto.


Report: Red Sox express willingness to trade Edward Mujica
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:22 pm ET) The Red Sox have expressed a willingness to trade reliever Edward Mujica, a source told FOX Sports. The right-handed reliever is set to make $4.75 million in 2015.

Mujica, who was an All-Star with St. Louis in 2013, went 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA and eight saves in his first season with Boston in 2014.


Orioles 1B/OF Steve Pearce agrees to $3.7M salary for 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:16 pm ET) The Orioles avoided arbitration with outfielder/first baseman Steve Pearce, agreeing to a $3.7 million salary for 2015, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Pearce reportedly filed for $5.4 million, while the Orioles reportedly offered $2 million.

Pearce is coming off his best season as a major leaguer, batting .293 with a .373 on-base percentage, .556 slugging percentage, .930 OPS, 21 home runs, 26 doubles and 49 RBI in 102 games.


Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is 'staying put'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:57 pm ET) A team source told CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman that Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is "staying put."  Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich told FOX Sports earlier in the week that it is "highly, highly unlikely" Tulowitzki will be traded before opening day.

Tulowitzki, who has been linked to trade rumors involving the Mets this offseason, is under contract through 2020 on a six-year, $118 million deal. He is also recovering from August hip surgery.


Red Sox agree to deal with pitcher Alexi Ogando
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:52 pm ET) The Red Sox have agreed to a deal with pitcher Alexi Ogando, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. It is a one-year, $1.5 million contract, which includes $1.5 million in bonuses, according to USA Today.

Ogando has been a free agent since being non-tendered by the Rangers in December. Ogando made just 27 relief appearances in 2014 due to an elbow injury. He went 2-3 with a 6.84 ERA.

Ogando, who was an All-Star in 2011, also has experience starting at the major-league level, going 19-12 with a 3.40 ERA in 48 career starts.


Braves trade RPs Hale, Schlosser to Rockies for two minor leaguers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:42 pm ET) The Braves traded pitchers David Hale and Gus Schlosser to the Rockies on Friday in exchange for catchers Jose Briceno and Chris O’Dowd.

Hale went 4-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 45 relief appearances for Atlanta in 2014. He struck out 44 batters and issued 39 walks in 87 1/3 innings.

Schlosser made his MLB debut in 2014, going 0-1 with a 7.64 ERA in 15 relief outings for Atlanta. He struck out eight and walked six in 17 2/3 innings.

Briceno hit .283 with 12 home runs, 23 doubles and 50 RBI in 84 games for Class A Asheville in 2014. He has a career .280/.433/.776 slash line over five minor-league seasons.

O'Dowd hit .271 with five home runs, 27 doubles and 48 RBI in 113 games between high Class A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa in 2014. He has a career .260/.362/.689 slash line over three minor-league seasons.


Tigers' Dombrowski: Steven Moya 'relatively close' to making impact
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Tigers outfield prospect Steven Moya, who was the MVP of the Eastern League (Double-A) in 2014, is expected to open the season at Triple-A Toledo, per the Detroit Free Press.

"I don't know if I'd say we're buying time for Moya," Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said last week. "Probably when a guy as talented as Moya is ready, he'll make his way onto a team. I don't think we could absolutely say, trying to win a pennant, trying to win a world championship, you can count on him being 100 percent ready."

The 23-year-old Moya hit .276 with a .555 slugging percentage, .861 OPS, 33 doubles, 35 home runs and 105 RBI in 133 games last season at Double-A. He has a career .251/.444/.739 slash line over six minor-league seasons.

Moya also made a brief appearance in the majors last season, batting .375 (3 for 8) in 11 games.

"I think the development time will be good for him" Dombrowski said. "Could he come up and produce at some time during the year? Yes. He's relatively close."


 
 
 
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