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Week 8 Pitching Forecaster

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Fantasy Week 8 (May 20-26) will be one of those weeks where you're probably not going to be happy with your rotation. It's nothing against you or your team. It has to do with the lack of enticing waiver wire options, especially of the two-start variety. Few of your best pitchers are likely to be lined up for a pair of starts, and you may just have to get by with the back of your rotation as it is or pursue a one-start free agent.

Even among some of the better starters, this week is marked by uncertainty. Johnny Cueto and Cole Hamels are scheduled for two starts, but Cueto (oblique) will be fresh off the disabled list, while Hamels hasn't been putting up his typical numbers. Zack Greinke could be a two-start option, but Matt Magill would have to get skipped and Ted Lilly (back) would have to remain on the disabled list or in the bullpen for that to happen. On the lower end of the starting pitcher spectrum, Dylan Axelrod may lose his second start or even his rotation spot should John Danks (shoulder) get activated.

In an uncertain Fantasy world, here are the 70 starting pitchers on whom standard mixed league owners can rely this coming week.

Monday update: Three sources of uncertainty got resolved over the weekend. The Reds optioned Tony Cingrani to make room for Cueto, but the rookie could be back later this season, so he is worth stashing in most formats. Matt Garza (No. 27 on the list below) will supplant Carlos Villanueva in the Cubs' rotation, and he inherits Villanueva's two-start week. Finally, Jake Odorizzi replaces the injured David Price (triceps) in the Rays' rotation. At least for now, he is slated for two starts and sneaks onto this week's list at No. 67.

My Top 70 Starting Pitchers for Week 8
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2
1 Clayton Kershaw @MIL (Gallardo) STL (Miller)
2 Max Scherzer @CLE (Kluber) MIN (Pelfrey)
3 Stephen Strasburg @SF (Cain) PHI (Hamels)
4 Cliff Lee @MIA (Slowey) N/A
5 Adam Wainwright @SD (Volquez) N/A
6 Felix Hernandez TEX (Holland) N/A
7 Justin Verlander @CLE (Jimenez) N/A
8 Yu Darvish OAK (Straily) N/A
9 Shelby Miller @SD (Marquis) @LAD (Kershaw)
10 Johnny Cueto @NYM (Marcum) CHC (Garza)
11 Cole Hamels @MIA (Sanabia) @WAS (Strasburg)
12 Mat Latos @NYM (Harvey) N/A
13 Jake Peavy MIA (Nolasco) N/A
14 Chris Sale BOS (Buchholz) N/A
15 James Shields @HOU (Lyles) N/A
16 CC Sabathia @BAL (Garcia) @TB (Moore)
17 Madison Bumgarner WAS (Gonzalez) N/A
18 Matt Harvey CIN (Latos) N/A
19 Matt Moore NYY (Sabathia) N/A
20 Hisashi Iwakuma @CLE (Kazmir) TEX (Lindblom)
21 Jon Lester @CHW (Axelrod) CLE (Kazmir)
22 R.A. Dickey TB (Odorizzi) BAL (Garcia)
23 Matt Cain WAS (Strasburg) N/A
24 Zack Greinke @MIL (Burgos) N/A
25 Anibal Sanchez MIN (Hernandez) N/A
26 A.J. Burnett @MIL (Estrada) N/A
27 Matt Garza @PIT (Rodriguez) @CIN (Cueto)
28 Jordan Zimmermann PHI (Kendrick) N/A
29 Doug Fister MIN (Correia) N/A
30 Jeff Samardzija @PIT (Liriano) N/A
31 Gio Gonzalez @SF (Bumgarner) N/A
32 Hyun-Jin Ryu @MIL (Peralta) N/A
33 Lance Lynn @LAD (Capuano) N/A
34 Wandy Rodriguez CHC (Garza) @MIL (Gallardo)
35 Patrick Corbin @COL (Garland) SD (Marquis)
36 Hiroki Kuroda @BAL (Hammel) N/A
37 Kris Medlen @NYM (Hefner) N/A
38 Yovani Gallardo LAD (Kershaw) PIT (Rodriguez)
39 A.J. Griffin @HOU (Harrell) N/A
40 Clay Buchholz @CHW (Sale) N/A
41 Ryan Dempster CLE (McAllister) N/A
42 Mike Minor @NYM (Gee) N/A
43 Alex Cobb @TOR (Ortiz) N/A
44 Scott Kazmir SEA (Iwakuma) @BOS (Lester)
45 Marco Estrada PIT (Burnett) N/A
46 Homer Bailey CHC (Wood) N/A
47 Julio Teheran MIN (Correia) @NYM (Marcum)
48 Wade Miley SD (Cashner) N/A
49 Paul Maholm MIN (Worley) N/A
50 C.J. Wilson SEA (Maurer) N/A
51 Travis Wood @CIN (Bailey) N/A
52 Tommy Milone @HOU (Bedard) N/A
53 Justin Masterson @BOS (Lackey) N/A
54 Jose Fernandez PHI (Cloyd) N/A
55 Jerome Williams SEA (Harang) @KC (Davis)
56 Francisco Liriano CHC (Samardzija) N/A
57 Shaun Marcum CIN (Cueto) ATL (Teheran)
58 Andrew Cashner @ARI (Miley) N/A
59 Dan Haren PHI (Pettibone) N/A
60 Brandon Morrow BAL (Jurrjens) N/A
61 Tim Lincecum COL (Chatwood) N/A
62 Jeremy Guthrie @HOU (Keuchel) LAA (Hanson)
63 Kyle Lohse PIT (Locke) N/A
64 Ervin Santana LAA (Blanton) N/A
65 Derek Holland @SEA (Hernandez) N/A
66 Trevor Cahill @COL (De La Rosa) N/A
67 Jake Odorizzi @TOR (Dickey) NYY (Hughes)
68 Kyle Kendrick @WAS (Zimmermann) N/A
69 Phil Hughes @BAL (Gonzalez) @TB (Odorizzi)
70 Bronson Arroyo CHC (Feldman) N/A

Two-Start Options to Consider

Cole Hamels, Phillies (@MIA, @WAS): Last season, Hamels started pitching out of the zone more often, but his walk rate remained low, as he got batters to swing at balls more often. That latter trend has reversed itself this season, and Hamels isn't getting as many called strikes either. The lefty may not be fooling batters the way he used to, but prior to Wednesday's drubbing by the Indians, Hamels had reeled off six straight quality starts. Despite some potential decline, Hamels is still plenty good enough to start every week.
This week's rank: 11
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Matt Garza, Cubs (@PIT, @CIN): Garza makes his entry into the 2013 season with a two-start week, and at least the latter of his two matchups, could make for a bumpy return. While we don't know how rusty Garza might be, his record over the last five seasons has earned him the benefit of the doubt. He should be started in virtually all leagues this week.
This Week's rank: 27
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Wandy Rodriguez, Pirates (CHC, @MIL): No longer a strikeout pitcher, Rodriguez still has Fantasy appeal, though in a Wade Miley sort of way. He keeps walks to a minimum and can go deep into games, so Rodriguez can be especially helpful in points leagues. Even in Rotisserie formats, Rodriguez is worth starting in most two-start weeks, including this one.
This week's rank: 34
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Most Added Starters (as of 5/20)
Player Name % change
1. Scott Feldman, SP, Cubs 24
2. Jake Odorizzi, SP, Rays 24
3. Brandon McCarthy, SP, D-Backs 23
4. Francisco Liriano, SP, Pirates 18
5. Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Pirates 16
6. Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Indians 16
7. Jason Marquis, SP, Padres 16
8. Julio Teheran, SP, Braves 15
9. Jonathan Pettibone, SP, Phillies 12
10. Jorge De La Rosa, SP, Rockies 11

Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks (@COL, SD): Aside from allowing just two home runs over his 53 1/3 innings, there's nothing that stands out in Corbin's peripherals. He has just been remarkably steady, and also had the good fortune of holding opponents to a .181 batting average on grounders and stranding 87 percent of his baserunners. While Corbin hasn't been the must-start that his 1.52 ERA makes him out to be, he's definitely good enough to use in a two-start week. Just beware that his string of eight straight quality starts and low homer rate are both at risk when he goes to Coors Field.
This week's rank: 35
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Yovani Gallardo, Brewers (LAD, PIT): Gallardo turned in one of his better starts of the season on Wednesday, holding the Pirates to two runs over six innings, but he still walked four batters. He was only able to coax seven swinging strikes, continuing a trend of allowing far more contact this year. With tougher matchups, Gallardo might be a borderline start, but he gets the Pirates again as well as the offense-starved Dodgers. Gallardo is worth starting for at least one more week.
This week's rank: 38
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Scott Kazmir, Indians (SEA, @BOS): Kazmir has been homer-prone, but excluding his season debut -- his first major league game in more than two years -- he has shown a surprising degree of control. He has been throwing strikes on more than two-thirds of his pitches, and a good proportion of those have been swings and misses. With just two quality starts in five tries, Kazmir is not without risk, but especially in a week with few exciting options, you might as well see if Kazmir can net you a dozen or more strikeouts and maybe a win or two.
This week's rank: 44
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Julio Teheran, Braves (MIN, @NYM): After a slugglish first three starts this season, Teheran has started throwing strikes like a human laser beam. The downside is that he has been hittable, getting only 14 strikeouts and allowing a .314 batting average over his last 25 1/3 innings. Because he has walked just one batter over those four starts, Teheran has compiled a manageable 1.30 WHIP over that stretch along with a 2.84 ERA. While owners should expect Teheran to cool off to some degree, this is a good week to trust a high-upside pitcher who is getting in a groove.
This week's rank: 47
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Jerome Williams, Angels (SEA, @KC): Some may dismiss Williams as a swingman who doesn't really deserve a rotation spot, but as a starter over parts of the last three seasons, he has done a good job of avoiding walks and keeping the ball in the park. In another week, owners would likely have a better two-start option to tack onto the end of their rotation, but Williams can help with WHIP and innings, and this time around, that's good enough.
This week's rank: 55
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Shaun Marcum, Mets (CIN, ATL): Marcum wasn't especially sharp prior to his most recent start, though an apparently unlucky .451 BABIP was partly responsible for his early exits. He fared much better on Wednesday at the Cardinals, and while he has yet to get many strikeouts, owners can trust Marcum to post a low WHIP, as long as the BABIP gods cooperate.
This week's rank: 57
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Jeremy Guthrie, Royals (@HOU, LAA): Moving to Kansas City seemed like the cure-all for Guthrie's gopher-ball tendencies, but he has already served up 11 of them this season. Despite the homers, pitching to contact has been working for Guthrie, because he's managed a .258 BABIP, but that isn't likely to last. Even less so is his 90 percent strand rate. The Angels have already knocked Guthrie around this month, and the Astros are a decent power-hitting team that could pose a surprisingly tough matchup. Despite a sub-3.00 ERA, Guthrie is actually a borderline option this week.
This week's rank: 62
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Jake Odorizzi, Rays (@TOR, NYY): David Price's DL stint has opened the door for Odorizzi to make his Rays' debut this week, and he should be making two starts. A couple of factors make this a risky time to try Odorizzi out in Fantasy. The Blue Jays and Yankees present tough matchups, especially for a flyball pitcher, and Odorizzi might not even make his second start, should Rays manager Joe Maddon decide to move Alex Cobb up a day. Even with just one start, though, Odorizzi is worth a gamble this week.
This Week's rank: 67
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Phil Hughes, Yankees (@BAL, @TB): Hughes is occasionally able to put strings of good starts together, but he allows opponents to put up crooked numbers far too often. Over his career, Hughes has performed better on the road, and he has a career 3.38 ERA at Tropicana Field, but he's at risk of getting shelled at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This week could be a microcosm of Hughes' career, with highs and lows, so at best, he's a last resort option in standard mixed leagues.
This week's rank: 69
My take: Marginal mixed league start

Ryan Vogelsong, Giants (WAS, COL): Owners looking for the silver lining with Vogelsong can blame his 8.06 ERA on unfavorable BABIP (.375) and strand (60 percent) rates and a 2.4 HR/9 rate that is sure to drop. Meanwhile, he's getting strikeouts and swinging strikes at reasonable frequencies. Then again, home runs hit off Vogelsong are traveling faster and farther than they did last year, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, and he's giving up line drives in bunches. Maybe these are small sample artifacts, but as consistently bad as Vogelsong has been, you're better off going with a reliable one-start option this week.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Miguel Gonzalez, Orioles (NYY, @TOR): Gonzalez is expected to return from his disabled list stint, putting his blister issues behind him to take on a two-start week. While an 11 percent swinging strike rate raises the hope of an improved strikeout rate going forward, Gonzalez has given up too many homers, both this season and last, and with a pair of potentially tough matchups ahead, it could be an ugly return for Gonzalez.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Bartolo Colon, Athletics (@TEX, @HOU): In his last start, Colon lost his composure and walked a batter. It's actually just the second time that's happened for Colon over his eight starts. That's helped the contact-pitching veteran to hold opponents to a .275 on-base percentage, but he can be vulnerable to the long ball. He could get hit hard by this week's opponents -- especially the Rangers -- and you can't count on Colon to take advantage of the Astros' tendency to whiff. Though Colon can be trusted in some two-start weeks, this is probably not one of them, given his matchups.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Wade Davis, Royals (@HOU, LAA): After displaying strong command of the strike zone in his first three starts, Davis has been far more erratic in his five starts since. Batters have been laying off his pitches and have drawn as many walks as strikeouts (15) during his current slump. Maybe Davis can fool an undisciplined Astros lineup, which despite a recent shakeup, still owns the worst contact rate in the majors for the month of May. Only that makes Davis worth a flyer in the deepest of mixed leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Josh Lindblom, TEX (OAK, @SEA): The Rangers have called on Lindblom to replace Alexi Ogando, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a biceps injury. As he did as a major league reliever, Lindblom has been serving up popups galore as a starter at Triple-A Round Rock but with better control. Lindblom may be an average strikeout pitcher at best, but he should be able to get enough outs to be more than useful in deep leagues.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start

Felix Doubront, Red Sox (@CHW, CLE): After an eight-day layoff, which according to the Boston Globe, Doubront used to work on his mechanics, the 25-year-old was back to his usual tricks on Thursday at the Rays. He did strike out seven batters, but he walked six, as he failed for the fourth time this season to extend himself beyond five innings. Despite decreased velocity, Doubront is still providing Ks, but with a second straight year of high walk and line drive rates, owners will have to expect their ERAs and WHIPs to take a beating.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start

Kevin Correia, Twins (@ATL, @DET): Like Colon, Correia has been very stingy with walks, and that has allowed him to pitch seven or more innings in six out of his eight starts. Correia, however, makes Colon look like Yu Darvish when it comes to getting strikeouts. He can certainly lower your pitching staff's WHIP and add innings, but Correia's 3.35 ERA is likely to rise above 4.00 once he starts stranding fewer runners. He doesn't have the easiest matchups this week, so the regression could take off with his next start.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: AL-only start

Jason Marquis, Padres (STL, @ARI): Even though Marquis is a reliable ground ball inducer and pitches home games at PETCO Park, he's been giving up frequent homers since becoming a Padre last season. He has also been unusually wild this season, but Marquis has survived it by allowing a .159 batting average on grounders. That mark has been typically at least 60 points higher in recent years, so unless Marquis cuts back on walks, he's going to be an ERA and WHIP nightmare.
This week's rank: N/A
My take: NL-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
Report: Orioles sign Mark Hendrickson to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:28 pm ET) The Orioles have signed Mark Hendrickson to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, CSNBaltimore.com reports.

Hendrickson, who last pitched in the majors in 2011, spent 2014 with York of the independent Atlantic League, posting a 1.54 ERA and 34:11 K:BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings over 55 appearances.


Rangers' Matt Harrison expects to open season on 60-day DL
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:27 pm ET) Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison said Saturday that he expects to open the season on the 60-day disabled list as he continues to recover from spinal fusion surgery, the Dallas Morning News reports.

"My job is to just get as healthy as I can and get myself right so I don’t have something happen like it did last year when I tried to come back," Harrison said. "I’m just going to focus on that and get ready to contribute whenever it may be."

Harrison is dealing with some stiffness in his right side, which will cause him to throw from a distance of 90 feet for a second consecutive week rather than progress to 105 feet. He hopes that he'll get his hips to rotate more and loosen up with more stretching and more throws from the 90-foot distance.


Report: Rays sign Ronald Belisario to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:23 pm ET) The Rays have signed pitcher Ronald Belisario to a minor-league deal with an invitiation to spring training, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Belisaro made 62 appearances with the White Sox in 2014, posting a 4-8 record, 5.56 ERA and 47:18 K:BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings. He'll compete for a bullpen spot during the spring.


Dodgers SP Zack Greinke hasn't decided whether to opt out
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:12 pm ET) Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said Saturday that he's yet to decide whether to opt out of his contract at the end of next season but added, "There's not really better options anywhere besides here," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Greinke is set to make $23 million in 2015, and he's due another $71 million over the following three seasons if he remains under his current contract. The Dodgers said earlier this offseason that they wouldn't discuss a contract extension with the pitcher during the winter.

Greinke went 17-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 207:43 K:BB ratio in 202 1/3 innings in 2014.


Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hoping to bounce back in 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:20 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez can't wait to get on the field and get past the 2014 season.

"I can’t wait," Jimenez said at Saturday’s FanFest event. "Whatever happened in 2014 is in the past. There's nothing I can do about it now. I can just look forward and now I’m going to do everything in spring training to get myself ready the best I can for the season and help the team."

Jimenez, who signed a four-year, $50 million deal with Baltimore in 2014, went 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in 125 1/3 innings pitched. 

"It was pretty hard, coming in with a new team and signing a contract like that and not to do what everyone is expecting you to do, it’s hard," Jimenez said. "It’s hard not to be there for the team, but regardless what happened, I fought a lot. I think I was trying to find a way to survive to be there for the team and do whatever I can do the best. We got really far. I didn’t help a lot, but I tried to do whatever I could with whatever I had."


Royals' Alex Gordon plans to take it slow in recovery
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:12 pm ET) Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is still recovering from his wrist surgery this offseason and plans to take it slow in his rehab.

"We really don’t have a timetable," Gordon said. "We’re just going to see how it feels. Obviously, it’s spring training. So we don’t want to rush anything. If it feels good, we’ll be aggressive with it. But if it’s not feeling good, we’ll take it slow."

Manager Ned Yost wants to continue to take things slow with Gordon.
"We’ll just take it slow," Yost said. "We’ll see how he feels. We’ll play him one day. Then we’ll give him a day off. Play him another day, five or six innings, then give him a day off. We’ll just see how he’s doing."
Gordon hit .266 in 2014 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI.

Angels, Garrett Richards settle on $3.2 million for 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:32 pm ET) The Angels and pitcher Garrett Richards have agreed to a contract for 2015 for $3.2 million, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Richards was asking for $3.8 million while the Angels offered $2.4 million. Richards posted a 13-4 record in 2014 with a 2.61 ERA and 164 strikeouts for Los Angeles.


Orioles' Manny Machado expects to be ready for spring training
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:18 pm ET) Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is progressing through his rehab and says he's "ready to roll" for the upcoming season.

"I have a lot of time to get ready. That is the key: having a regular offseason," Machado said Saturday. "Was doing my rehab in Sarasota and then went to Miami to do my regular weightlifting and get ready for the season. Been exciting. Looking forward to spring training."

Machado has taken part in baseball activities for the past few weeks since having surgery on Aug. 27 after tearing a ligament in his knee.

"It will be awesome," he said of the prospect of having a normal spring. "I'm dying to get back on the field. Spring training is key for a lot of players to get your at-bats and your reps. I think some take it for granted but it's a very big key for success for the year."

Machado hit .278 in 2014 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI for Baltimore.


Bud Norris remains without update for contract extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:24 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris said Saturday nothing has changed between he and the organization for a new contract.

"I haven't heard anything of that," Norris said. "I don't see a reason why I'd want to leave, but that's out of my control."

Norris and the Orioles are preparing for arbitration, when Norris filed for $10.25 million and Baltimore offered $7.5 million. He went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 139:52 K:BB ratio in 165 1/3 innings over 28 starts in 2014.


Orioles' Chris Davis calls using Adderall in 2013 'a moment of weakness'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:56 am ET) Orioles first baseman Chris Davis told reporters Saturday he was denied an exemption for Adderall in 2013 but he took it anyway.

"It was a moment of weakness," Davis said. He was diagnosed with ADD in 2008 and it isn't a performance enhancer for someone who needs it for medical reasons, according to Davis.

"For me, it was off the field, just an everyday life thing," he said. "I was a little overwhelmed, just kind of with everything that was going on with the (oblique) injury. There were a lot of different things that were taking my focus away from baseball. It was a mistake that I wish I could undo, but I can't, so I've just got to move forward."

Davis has one game remaining on his 25-game suspension for amphetamines, which he test posted for in September last year. He finished with a .196 batting average with 26 home runs and 72 RBI.


 
 
 
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