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Week 5 Pitching Forecaster

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It's another week in Fantasy Baseball, so it's yet another rush to the waiver wire to find reinforcements for your Fantasy rotations. Two-start pitchers are always in demand, and the days heading into Fantasy Week 5 (April 29-May 5) are proving to be no exception. Garrett Richards, Jose Quintana, Wandy Rodriguez and Ted Lilly are all among the most-added starting pitchers in CBSSports.com leagues, and each is scheduled to take the mound twice next week.

Just because a pitcher has good early-season stats and lines up for two starts doesn't always mean he is an advisable pickup. While Quintana, Rodriguez and Lilly are all included among this week's top 70 starters, Richards has been excluded. He has induced 40 grounders in his 24 2/3 innings, and batters have turned only three of them into base hits for an .075 batting average. With Richards' luck on grounders due to run out at some point, owners should turn to other options, even if it means keeping a one-start pitcher like Ross Detwiler or Dillon Gee active.

It's not just two-start pitchers getting attention from Fantasy owners, as one-start Carlos Villanueva and Patrick Corbin are being added rapidly to leagues. Corbin's increased velocity and history of good control make him an intriguing option in standard mixed leagues. With some potential for strikeouts, Villanueva has his appeal, too, though owners should exercise more caution with him, given his history of high flyball and home run rates. If Villanueva continues to perform well, he could appear in the top 70 in future weeks, but for now, he's been left off the list.

Here are the 70 pitchers whom I prefer to Villanueva, Richards and numerous others, and each is a viable start in standard mixed leagues for the coming week.

Note: With Brett Anderson (ankle) having his Monday start against the Angels skipped, he loses his two-start week and his spot on this week's top 70. Dan Straily, who will replace Anderson for the Athletics on Monday, also fills the void left by Anderson on the list below, as he is now ranked 59th for the week ahead. Also, Jorge De La Rosa has been among the Most Added and Most Activated starting pitchers for this week, but with Jhoulys Chacin (back) possibly returning from the 15-day disabled list to face the Rays on Sunday, owners should count on De La Rosa to make only one start.

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

Two-Start Options to Consider

Jaime Garcia, Cardinals (CIN, @MIL): Garcia hasn't been especially efficient, exceeding six innings in only two of his five starts. However, he has been effective in all but one outing, inducing at least 10 grounders against every opponent except for the Phillies. Garcia can be trusted in most one-start weeks, so he's a must-start for this scoring period.
This week's rank: 31
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Marco Estrada, Brewers (PIT, STL): Estrada is sure to give up more than his share of homers at Miller Park, and he 's a poor bet to replicate last season's 2.97 home ERA. Still, he can provide strikeouts and a low WHIP, and at least lately, the Cardinals have been struggling to score runs.
This week's rank : 33
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays (BOS, SEA): An effective slider was key to Morrow's 2012 success, but he's been increasingly missing the strike zone and getting fewer whiffs with it this year. Morrow overcame an early strikeout slump last season, so it's far too early to lose faith in him. Despite his lackluster April, he needs to be kept active, especially in a two-start week.
This week's rank: 36
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Wade Davis, Royals (CLE, CHW): Davis' last start was his worst of the season, though he toiled in bitter cold conditions. Owners can still be encouraged by Davis' sharp command, and though he can be at risk to surrender homers, he should fine with a couple of starts at Kauffman Stadium.
This week's rank: 41
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Most Added Starters (as of 4/29)
Player % change
1. Kyle Kendrick, SP, Phillies 26
2. Ted Lilly, SP, Dodgers 26
3. Justin Grimm, SP, Rangers 20
4. Bartolo Colon, SP, Athletics 16
5. Ervin Santana, SP, Royals 11
6. Jorge De La Rosa, SP, Rockies 11
7. Dan Straily, SP, Athletics 10
8. Edinson Volquez, SP, Padres 10
9. Kevin Correia, SP, Twins 10
10. John Lackey, SP, Red Sox 9

Jason Hammel, Orioles (@SEA, @LAA): Hammel's 2012 breakout was fueled by more frequent strikeouts and grounders, but they've been in shorter supply this year. Recall, though, that Hammel pitched only nine innings in the Grapefruit League this spring, and over his last three starts, he has shown signs of rounding into form. He's been getting more ground balls, and even if the strikeouts don't come, he's worth using with these two starts.
This week's rank: 45
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Wandy Rodriguez, Pirates (@MIL, WAS): Rodriguez's reinvention as a control artist continues to go well. Though he has helped himself by handing out only three walks to date, he's also been fortunate to have allowed only three line drive base hits. While some regression is sure to be on the way, Rodriguez is skilled enough to use in most weeks with a pair of starts.
This week's rank: 46
My take: Solid standard mixed league start.

Alex Cobb, Rays (@KC, @COL): Aside from one start against the A's, Cobb has continued last year's late-season trend of an increased strikeout rate. He's had his struggles in hitter-friendly parks, so his start at Coors Field could be unpleasant, even if he records a healthy number of Ks. There could be enough damage done there to keep Cobb as a more marginal option this week.
This week's rank: 53
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Jose Fernandez, Marlins (NYM, @PHI): Though Fernandez has suffered through a couple of subpar starts, his results would have looked better if he could have stranded a normal proprotion of baserunners. Still, he's on a pitch count and not getting run support, so even with two starts, Fernandez is a fringe option in standard mixed leagues.
This week's rank: 58
My take: Margnial standard mixed league start.

Jose Quintana, White Sox (@TEX, @KC): I have been slow to appreciate Quintana, because he has historically not been a big producer of strikeouts, but so far this year, he's been missing more bats. According to BrooksBaseball.net, Quintana's cutter has more cut this season, and that has likely helped him to induce more whiffs. Increased fastball velocity helps, too. The trend is all of four games old, so it's too soon to go gaga over Quintana, but he's worth using if you don't like the one-start pitcher at the back of your rotation.
This week's rank: 60
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Tim Hudson, Braves (WAS, NYM): After allowing just 12 home runs all of last season, Hudson has already given up five gopher balls. Two came in his most recent start at Coors Field, but before we just dismiss the trend, owners should take note that Hudson's average sinkerball velocity has been down a tick in his last two starts. That raises just enough doubt to make Hudson more of a last-resort start in standard mixed leagues.
This week's rank: 65
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Ted Lilly, Dodgers (COL, @SF): Lilly made a triumphant return in his first start since last May, holding the Mets to one run in five innings. Even at his best, Lilly can be a risky start when toiling in hitter's parks, but that won't be the case in Week 5. This is a safe two-start week for Lilly in deeper leagues, and standard mixed league owners can use him as well if they lack more robust two-start options.
This week's rank: 66
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start.

Julio Teheran, Braves (WAS, NYM): Oddly enough, it took a visit to Coors Field on Tuesday to get Teheran on track, as he had his best start of the year by far. Teheran pounded the strike zone and froze Rockies hitters on 24 called strikes. It was a welcome performance for Teheran's owners, but he will need a few more of these before he can be trusted in standard mixed leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Edwin Jackson, Cubs (SD, CIN): Jackson has notched back-to-back quality starts, though his most recent one was against the Marlins, and it was hardly impressive. While the well-traveled veteran has not been allowing many extra-base hits, he has clogged up the bases with too many walks. There are too many two-start alternatives who offer more consistency or upside for owners to turn to Jackson outside of deeper leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Clayton Richard, Padres (@CHC, ARI): When the Padres re-inserted Andrew Cashner into the rotation last week, Richard lost what appeared to be a two-start week, but he gets it back in Week 5. After a miserable season debut, the lefty got better in his next two starts, but he was a mess in Tuesday's loss to the Brewers. Normally, Richard would be someone to consider with good matchups or venues, but he needs to improve his command, particularly with his sinker, if he is going to be trustworthy in most leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Garrett Richards, Angels (@OAK, BAL): As a prospect, Richards looked like a budding control artist, but despite a low walk rate this year, he is still not throwing strikes at a high rate. Aside from tossing seven shutout innings against the Tigers in his second start of the season, Richards has not been especially imposing, and as mentioned above, he has benefited from some apparent good luck on grounders. Though good surface stats suggest otherwise, owners in the vast majority of mixed leagues should avoid Richards this scoring period.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start.

Edinson Volquez, Padres (@CHC, ARI): Volquez has looked much better in his last two starts, and surprisingly, he threw strikes with regularity. Though he hasn't been wild, Volquez hasn't been getting many strikeouts either. Then again, coming off four straight seasons with a BB/9 rate over 5.0, it's hard to trust Volquez with WHIP, despite his recent steadiness. Even with a start against the punchless Cubs, Volquez is strictly for deep-league owners.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: NL-only start.

Lucas Harrell, Astros (@NYY, DET): If not for a disastrous start against the A's, Harrell's ERA would be just 1.85, but there are few signs, if any, pointing to a breakout for the 27-year-old. His command, which has been suspect in the past, isn't getting any better, and he allows far too much contact. Even if the Tigers don't emerge from their offensive funk, don't expect this to be a productive week for Harrell.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start.

Tommy Hanson, Angels (@OAK, BAL): Hanson will come off the bereavement list on Monday and is set to make his scheduled start at Oakland. Even with two starts this coming week, he is too risky to use in any sort of mixed league. He should be avoided in those formats until his velocity and swinging strike rate rebound over an extended period.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start.

Zach Britton, Orioles (@SEA, @LAA): In three starts at Triple-A Norfolk, Britton has compiled a sparkling 1.98 ERA, and a 72 percent ground ball rate (per StatCorner.com) has helped. However, a 52 percent strikes thrown rate does not bode well for major league success, especially since Britton has a history of command issues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians (@KC, MIN): Ever since his solid season debut, Jimenez has been back to his old tricks, having trouble with location and generating too few ground balls. He's once again a last-resort option for very deep leagues, even in a two-start week.
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
Wily Peralta a tough-luck loser
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(4:39 pm ET) Wily Peralta notched his fourth quality start in four tries in September on Sunday, but he couldn't escape with his second win of the month. The Brewers failed to score against the Pirates' Vance Worley and Tony Watson, so Peralta wound up on the wrong side of a 1-0 decision.

Peralta limited the Pirates to five singles and three walks, resulting in a single run over seven innings. He also struck out four batters.

Dropping his record to 16-11, Peralta managed to lower his ERA to 3.62. His next assignment is to start against the Cubs on Saturday.


Vance Worley dominates in return to rotation
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(4:31 pm ET) In making his first start for the Pirates in 11 days, Vance Worley turned in one of his best performances of the season, shutting down the Brewers in a 1-0 victory. The eight-inning scoreless stint was Worley's second-longest of the season, as he limited the Brewers to four singles with no walks.

Worley struck out five batters on the afternoon. He now owns an 8-4 record and a 2.93 ERA. Assuming he remains in the rotation in place of the injured Charlie Morton (sports hernia), Worley would pitch next at the Reds on Friday.


Stephen Strasburg continues strong late-season stretch
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(4:22 pm ET) Stephen Strasburg tossed seven scoreless innings against the Marlins on his way to his 13th win of the season on Sunday. In holding the Marlins to just three hits and two walks, Strasburg turned in his eighth start out his last 11 in which he has allowed no more than one earned run.

Strasburg struck out five batters in the Nationals' 2-1 victory. He improved his record to 13-11 and his ERA to 3.23. He is next scheduled to face the Marlins again on Friday.


Carlos Beltran putting off elbow surgery
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(4:07 pm ET) According to MLB.com, Carlos Beltran has opted not to have surgery on his right elbow until after the season, opening up the possibility that he could play during the regular season's final week. Beltran has reported feeling more pain recently as a result of bone spurs in the elbow, and he was too sore to start Sunday's game against the Blue Jays.

However, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "We're going to wait to see if he can help us any time in the course of this week because we're still fighting." Beltran last played on Friday, serving as the Yankees' designated hitter against the Blue Jays.


Marcell Ozuna sustains ankle sprain
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(3:51 pm ET) Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna left Sunday's game against the Nationals after turning over his right ankle running into second base. According to the Palm Beach Post, X-rays on Ozuna's ankle were negative, and he has been diagnosed with a sprain.

Right fielder Enrique Hernandez shifted to center field to replace Ozuna, while Garrett Jones replaced Hernandez defensively.


Xander Bogaerts exits early with stiff neck
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(3:44 pm ET) Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts left Sunday's game at the Orioles in the bottom of the second inning, and according to MassLive.com, he had a stiff neck. Jemile Weeks replaced Bogaerts in the game.

Bogaerts made just one plate appearance, and he grounded out.


Chris Sale to be limited to one more start
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(3:38 pm ET) Chris Sale had his next start pushed back from Tuesday to Wednesday, as reported by MLB.com, eliminating the possibility of him making two starts in the season's final week. Wednesday's outing against the Tigers will be Sale's final start of the 2014 season.

Scott Carroll will toe the slab for the White Sox in a spot start on Tuesday. Sale will enter his final start with a 12-4 record and a 2.20 ERA.


Anibal Sanchez could be activated this week
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(3:21 pm ET) MLive.com reports that Anibal Sanchez pitched a simulated game on Sunday, and he could return to the Tigers' pitching staff as soon as Wednesday. The date of Sanchez's activation from the disabled list depends on how well he feels on Monday.

It is not yet known what Sanchez's role will be when he returns, but Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he has discussed the possibility of both starting and relief roles with Sanchez. The last time Sanchez made a relief appearance was in his 2006 rookie season with the Marlins.

Sanchez has been out since Aug. 8 with a pectoral injury.


Marcus Stroman serving reduced suspension
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(3:05 pm ET) MLB.com reports that Marcus Stroman dropped his appeal of a suspension for throwing near the head of Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph in a Sept. 15 start. The suspension was reduced from six games to five games, and he began serving it on Sunday.

Stroman will miss his next scheduled start on Thursday against the Mariners, but he will be able to start one of the games in the Blue Jays' weekend series against the Orioles.


Mets may shut down Jacob deGrom after Sunday start
by Al Melchior | Data Analyst
(2:55 pm ET) According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Sunday's start at the Braves could be the last of the season for the Mets' Jacob deGrom. Coming into Sunday's game, deGrom had made 21 starts totalling 134 1/3 innings. Adding in his work at Triple-A Las Vegas, deGrom has pitched 172 2/3 innings this season, which is 25 1/3 innings more than his previous high.

Manager Terry Collins told the Star-Ledger the team would make a decision regarding deGrom's status after Sunday's game.


 
 
 
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