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Week 4 Pitching Forecaster

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Fantasy Week 4 (April 22-28) is a pretty good week for two-start pitchers, but not neccesarily those that you can find on waivers or even on your bench.

There are no fewer than 18 pitchers due for two starts who are already active in at least 60 percent of the leagues on CBSSports.com. That number grows to just 23 for pitchers who are owned in at least 60 percent of our leagues. If you're hoping to pick up Ross Detwiler, Derek Holland or Tony Cingrani for their two-start weeks, chances are someone already has him.

The quality of the two-start pitchers who are more widely available is lacking for the most part. A few, including Patrick Corbin and Phil Hughes, are worth a claim, and one pitcher with an ownership rate below 30 percent -- Bartolo Colon -- could also help out owners in standard mixed leagues. Otherwise, your best option for the last spot in your rotation is probably a one-start pitcher.

Even with the lack of good waiver options, there are still 28 two-start pitchers on this week's top 70. Here's how those top options for standard mixed leagues stack up for the coming scoring period, along with the lowdown on several two-start options you may be considering for a variety of formats.

My Top 70 Starting Pitchers for Week 4
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2
1 Cole Hamels PIT (Locke) @NYM (Niese)
2 Felix Hernandez @HOU (Peacock) LAA (Blanton)
3 Clayton Kershaw @NYM (Niese) MIL (Gallardo)
4 David Price NYY (Hughes) @CHW (Quintana)
5 R.A. Dickey @BAL (Gonzalez) @NYY (Hughes)
6 CC Sabathia @TB (Moore) TOR (Happ)
7 Max Scherzer KC (Davis) ATL (Minor)
8 Cliff Lee PIT (McDonald) N/A
9 Justin Verlander KC (Mendoza) N/A
10 Stephen Strasburg STL (Garcia) N/A
11 Adam Wainwright @WAS (Detwiler) N/A
12 Chris Sale CLE (Kluber) N/A
13 Mat Latos CHC (Samardzija) N/A
14 Matt Cain ARI (Corbin) N/A
15 Madison Bumgarner ARI (Kennedy) N/A
16 Gio Gonzalez CIN (Arroyo) N/A
17 Jake Peavy TB (Hellickson) N/A
18 Yu Darvish @LAA (Hanson) N/A
19 Hisashi Iwakuma @HOU (Norris) LAA (Vargas)
20 Josh Johnson @NYY (Nova) N/A
21 Shelby Miller @WAS (Haren) PIT (Locke)
22 James Shields @DET (Sanchez) N/A
23 Matt Moore NYY (Sabathia) @CHW (Axelrod)
24 Yovani Gallardo @SD (Richard) @LAD (Kershaw)
25 Brandon Morrow @BAL (Britton) N/A
26 Ian Kennedy @SF (Bumgarner) N/A
27 A.J. Griffin @BOS (Doubront) BAL (Jurrjens)
28 Jordan Zimmermann CIN (Bailey) N/A
29 Matt Harvey LAD (Lilly) N/A
30 Kris Medlen @DET (Fister) N/A
31 Alexi Ogando @LAA (Vargas) @MIN (Correia)
32 Kyle Lohse @SD (Marquis) @LAD (Fife)
33 Ryan Vogelsong ARI (Miley) @SD (Richard)
34 Anibal Sanchez KC (Shields) N/A
35 Jon Lester OAK (Anderson) N/A
36 Lance Lynn PIT (Sanchez) N/A
37 Derek Holland @LAA (Blanton) @MIN (Diamond)
38 Doug Fister ATL (Medlen) N/A
39 Jeff Samardzija @CIN (Latos) N/A
40 Ross Detwiler STL (Wainwright) CIN (Cingrani)
41 Brett Anderson @BOS (Buchholz) N/A
42 Marco Estrada @SD (Volquez) N/A
43 A.J. Burnett @PHI (Pettibone) @STL (Westbrook)
44 Jonathon Niese LAD (Kershaw) PHI (Hamels)
45 Paul Maholm @DET (Porcello) N/A
46 Ryan Dempster HOU (Bedard) N/A
47 Mike Minor @COL (Francis) @DET (Scherzer)
48 Tony Cingrani CHC (Villanueva) @WAS (Detwiler)
49 Wade Miley @SF (Vogelsong) COL (Francis)
50 Roy Halladay PIT (Rodriguez) N/A
51 Justin Masterson @CHW (Axelrod) @KC (Davis)
52 Patrick Corbin @SF (Cain) COL (Garland)
53 Clay Buchholz HOU (Humber) N/A
54 Hiroki Kuroda TOR (Buehrle) N/A
55 Homer Bailey @WAS (Zimmermann) N/A
56 Tim Hudson @COL (Pomeranz) N/A
57 Hyun-Jin Ryu @NYM (Hefner) N/A
58 Jaime Garcia @WAS (Strasburg) N/A
59 Alex Cobb NYY (Pettitte) N/A
60 Phil Hughes @TB (Price) TOR (Dickey)
61 Andy Pettitte @TB (Cobb) N/A
62 C.J. Wilson @SEA (Harang) N/A
63 Wade Davis @DET (Scherzer) CLE (Masterson)
64 Jason Vargas TEX (Ogando) @SEA (Iwakuma)
65 Josh Beckett MIL (Peralta) N/A
66 Jose Fernandez @MIN (Pelfrey) N/A
67 Jason Hammel @OAK (Parker) N/A
68 Bartolo Colon @BOS (Aceves) BAL (Tillman)
69 Tim Lincecum @SD (Stults) N/A
70 Clayton Richard MIL (Gallardo) SF (Vogelsong)

Two-Start Options to Consider

Yovani Gallardo, Brewers (@SD, @LAD): After having trouble deceiving batters over his first three starts, Gallardo got 10 whiffs and six strikeouts in six innings against the Giants on Thursday, two days after being arrested for driving under the influence. With a start against a power-deprived Padres lineup and another against a Dodgers team that is struggling to score runs, Gallardo is worth using this coming week. Just be aware that there is some risk that he will lose the start to the Dodgers if the Brewers decide not to skip Hiram Burgos' spot in the rotation after Thursday's day off.
This week's rank: 24
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Kyle Lohse, Brewers (@SD, @LAD): I keep waiting for Lohse to resume being the pitcher he was prior to 2011, but I may have to wait a little longer. He continues to throw strikes at a freakishly high rate, and ironically, the only home run he has allowed this year was at Busch Stadium, where he allowed all of eight homers last season as a Cardinal. The lack of strikeouts makes Lohse someone you can avoid in one-start weeks, but owners should get him active for these two starts.
This week's rank: 32
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Most Added Starters (as of 4/19)
Player Name % change
1. Tony Cingrani, SP, Reds 48
2. Patrick Corbin, SP, D-Backs 36
3. Jose Quintana, SP, White Sox 31
4. Carlos Villanueva, SP, Cubs 28
5. Ross Detwiler, SP, Nationals 26
6. Wade Davis, SP, Royals 17
7. Jake Westbrook, SP, Cardinals 17
8. Bud Norris, SP, Astros 14
9. Jeremy Guthrie, SP, Royals 13
10. Zach McAllister, SP, Indians 13

Ryan Vogelsong, Giants (ARI, @SD): Vogelsong might scare some owners off, as hitters have batted .301 against him in his first three starts. However, he's been striking out batters at roughly the same pace as last season, but he's allowed a .292 batting average on grounders that is not likely of his doing. Just as he has been for the last two years, Vogelsong is a perfectly safe two-start option.
This week's rank: 33
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Derek Holland, Rangers (@LAA, @MIN): Holland's fast start gives him the appearance of being a safe two-start pitcher, but that won't necessarily be the case all season long. His 1.64 ERA disguises the fact that he still isn't getting many grounders, as his rate is currently hovering under 40 percent. The Angels are a potential threat to Holland's Fantasy health, but they've been slow to crank up their home run power, and Holland has done a good job of avoiding homers at Angel Stadium in the past. He can be trusted this week.
This week's rank: 37
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Ross Detwiler, Nationals (STL, CIN): Detwiler doesn't get many strikeouts, and he has probably been lucky to hold batters to a .167 average on grounders, but he keeps the ball in the park and doesn't hurt himself with walks. It's hard to see benching Detwiler in any two-start weeks for the foreseeable future.
This week's rank: 40
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Tony Cingrani, Reds (CHC, @WAS): Though he wasn't especially efficient in his debut as a major league starter, Cingrani kept the Marlins off balance, notching eight strikeouts in his five innings. Though he could be something of a risk to your team's WHIP due to walks, Cingrani should do a good enough job avoiding hard contact or avoiding contact altogether that he can be activated for his first two-start week.
This week's rank: 48
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Justin Masterson, Indians (@CHW, @KC): Masterson had his worst outing of the year his last time out, but even in a five-inning start, there were bright spots, as he threw strikes, avoided walks and got ground balls. Even in a disappointing 2012 campagin, Masterson went through extended periods of effectiveness, so I'm still not convinced that this recent string of encouraging starts means that Masterson is back to his 2011 form. He has shown enough, though, to be trusted in a two-start week, barring better options on reserves or waivers.
This week's rank: 51
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks (@SF, COL): Corbin has been throwing harder this season, but we didn't see a payoff in terms of swinging strikes and strikeouts until Thursday's start at the Yankees. With the increased velocity, he has also not shown the same degree of control, but Fantasy owners can live with an extra walk or two if he can help with Ks. There is enough uncertainty around Corbin that I would consider him a risky two-start option, but in a week where quality waiver wire options are scarce and Corbin's matchups are decent, he's worth streaming into your rotation for the coming week.
This week's rank: 52
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Phil Hughes, Yankees (@TB, TOR): There's no getting around it; Hughes is going to give up more than his share of homers. There is only the question of whether he can keep the basepaths otherwise clear so that the long balls don't do him in. Fortunately, this week Hughes faces the Rays and Blue Jays, who own two of the three lowest team batting averages in the American League, and he will help his own cause by not issuing many walks. Even so, Hughes is far from a must-start, but he is a reasonable option for filling out the back end of your rotation.
This week's rank: 60
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Wade Davis, Royals (@DET, CLE): Never much of a strikeout pitcher as a starter, Davis has been a pleasant surprise, racking up 15 Ks in his 16 innings. He has also possessed sharper control than in the past. Davis is probably due for some regression in his strikeout and walk rates, but then again, he should also improve upon a 27 percent line drive rate. Even in Rotisserie leagues, where Davis doesn't get a boost from being RP-eligible, he is a useful option for standard mixed league owners with two starts.
This week's rank: 63
My take: Margnial standard mixed league start

Jason Vargas, Angels (TEX, @SEA): Vargas can normally be trusted in pitcher-friendly venues, like last season when he posted a 2.74 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in his 14 starts at Safeco Field. It hasn't worked out that way so far this season, as he was hit hard in his last two starts, which were at Minnesota and at home against the A's. The lefty has to demonstrate control in order to succeed, but he's been missing the strike zone too often of late. To give up on Vargas after only three starts would be premature, so if you need to get an extra start into your rotation, Vargas is a decent gamble.
This week's rank: 64
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Bartolo Colon, Athletics (@BOS, BAL): If you need strikeouts, Colon is not the pitcher for you, but if you need innings and WHIP, he's your guy. Colon has not walked a batter over his last four starts, spanning 27 innings and dating back to last August 12 (yes, there was that 50-game suspension sandwiched in there). In fact, he has gone 13 straight starts without walking more than two batters. Great control isn't always enough to earn an active roster spot in a one-start week, but for Colon, it can be in a two-start week.
This week's rank: 68
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Clayton Richard, Padres (MIL, SF): Richard hasn't had great control so far, but he's getting ground balls and has a pair of home starts. In past years, that has been enough to make it worthwhile to start Richard, and with just two earned runs allowed over 11 innings at PETCO Park this season, it's worth getting the lefty active for the coming week. Also, he shouldn't be impacted by the park's new dimensions much, as they mainly help left-handed hitters.
This week's rank: 70
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

J.A. Happ, Blue Jays (@BAL, @NYY): Happ got more whiffs and grounders last season, but the progress didn't show up in his results because of a .234 BABIP on flyballs that was more than 100 points above the major league norm. So he's due for a rebound and standard mixed league viability this year, right? Well, maybe not, as Happ has been wilder so far this season, and he continues to have issues with stranding runners. Especially with a couple of potentially tough matchups in hand, let's wait and see how Happ fares before trusting him in a 12-team mixed league.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Jose Quintana, White Sox (CLE, TB): Back-to-back scoreless starts. Notable upticks in his strikeout and swinging strikes rates. These have made for an intriguing April for Quintana, but let's not forget his first start of the year, when he got shellacked at home by the Mariners. No American League park comes close to U.S. Cellular Field as a launching pad, and Quintana has a 4.54 career ERA there, albeit in 69 1/3 innings. A successful Week 4 would help to strengthen Quintana's resume, but for now, he is still too risky of a proposition with two home starts.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Dan Haren, Nationals (STL, CIN): Unfortunately for Haren's owners, he has picked up where he left off last season, as his fastball is getting hammered over the wall with regularity. Maybe in a week where Haren wasn't facing two dangerous lineups, you could give him another chance, but there is just too much potential for disaster this time.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Travis Wood, Cubs (@CIN, @MIA): Even though he is a flyball pitcher, Travis Wood has been able to avoid homers in some venues. Great American Ball Park is not among them, and as a Red, he made 13 starts and two relief appearances there. Wood should have no problem handling the Marlins, but his start in Cincinnati should be enough to deter owners in standard mixed leagues from using him.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Carlos Villanueva, Cubs (@CIN, @MIA): Villanueva did show some promise as a strikeout pitcher in 16 starts last season, but a high homer rate left him with a 4.50 ERA in those outings. He's already yielded three home runs in his three starts to date this year, but he's been able to maintain a 1.29 ERA with help from a .192 BABIP. That won't last, and as with Wood, he has a strong chance of having his week ruined by the Reds.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Bud Norris, Astros (SEA, @BOS): Thanks to an unsustainable .231 BABIP, Norris performed well through his first three starts, but in his last outing at Oakland, Norris' luck ran out. He is too prone to walks and homers to be trusted in mixed leagues unless he is facing weak lineups. He may be able to handle the Mariners, but the Red Sox could be real trouble for Air Bud.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only 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
Jordan Zimmermann's success tied to effectiveness of curveball
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:44 pm ET) Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann has been outstanding in his last two starts, tossing 15 2/3 scoreless innings. He has struck out nine and not issued a walk in that span.

"I had a good curveball the last two starts and felt like I could throw it when I wanted to, where I wanted to, any count," Zimmermann told reporters, per MASNsports.com. "Keep them off balance, just pound the zone, let those guys behind me play defense."

Manager Matt Williams said having solid command of his offspeed pitches has allowed Zimmermann's fastball to be more effective.

"The ability to throw a breaking ball behind in the count, early in the count," Williams said. "Had a good feel for his curveball tonight, especially against their lefties. The ball was down in the strike zone. If he can do that, then he can get a lot of swings and misses down on the breaking ball, which he got tonight."


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No issues were reported, according to SportsNet, and he's expected to have another mound session on Saturday before the next steps in his recovery are determined.


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Middlebrooks was able to pinch hit on Tuesday, but his availability for Wednesday's game is unknown.


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Byrd is batting .311 (14 for 45) with a .511 slugging percentage, .837 OPS, six runs, five RBI, one walk and seven strikeouts in his last 10 games.


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“What I’m figuring could be in the sunlight can see better and that’s why I’m getting hit a little bit more in day games. That’s the only reasoning I can think of. Also the fact that my body is not awakened as night games.”

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“That’s where the communication comes in, and the trust factor,” Willis said. “It’s good to hear him say that because you don’t want that false positivity when you’re not 100 percent, or you are dragging that day. We need to know those things.

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