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Fantasy First Pitch for Week 12

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Youth is well-represented among the borderline two-start candidates for Fantasy Week 12 (June 16-22). Trevor Bauer, Jake Odorizzi, Marcus Stroman, Drew Pomeranz and Rubby De La Rosa may not be proven, but each is brimming with upside. Each has also cracked this week's list of viable two-start alternatives in standard mixed leagues. With veteran options like Justin Verlander and Ervin Santana having been anything but reliable, this might be the time to throw in your lot with a young pitcher or two on the rise.

Must start two-start options
1. Max Scherzer vs. KC, at CLE
2. Masahiro Tanaka vs. TOR, vs. BAL
3. Julio Teheran vs. PHI, at WAS
4. Cole Hamels at ATL, at STL
5. Johnny Cueto at PIT, vs. TOR
6. Jon Lester vs. MIN, at OAK
7. Michael Wacha vs. NYM, vs. PHI
8. Dallas Keuchel at WAS, at TB
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. COL, at SD
10. Tyson Ross at SEA, vs. LAD
11. Phil Hughes at BOS, vs. CHW
12. Yordano Ventura at DET, vs. SEA
13. Jered Weaver at CLE, vs. TEX

Also to be avoided is Kyle Lohse, aka Mr. Reliabiilty, and fellow Brewer Wily Peralta, as both have the misfortune of making one of their starts at Coors Field. The Rockies have laid waste to countless starters at home this season, with Mike Minor and Julio Teheran being among the most recent victims. In this topsy-turvy week, both Chris Young and Josh Tomlin actually make the cut among recommended two-start pitchers -- a distinction they may not receive again all season. Unlike Lohse and Peralta, this pair of pitchers should benefit from matchups that fit their strengths.

While Odorizzi, Stroman, De La Rosa, Young and Tomlin are still available in many mixed leagues, owners will have more to do than just scan their leagues' waiver wires this weekend. Whether Adam Wainwright (elbow) will make his next scheduled start is still unknown, as is the status of Kevin Gausman, who has made his bid to stay in the Orioles' rotation while Miguel Gonzalez (side) has been on the 15-day disabled list. Gio Gonzalez (shoulder) is set to return from his DL stint, but whether he or Tanner Roark get the nod for the Nationals' series opener against the Astros on Tuesday will determine which one will get added to this week's list of two-start pitchers.

Finally, deep league owners need to keep track of Jeremy Hellickson (elbow) and Felix Doubront (shoulder), both of whom could make their returns this week.

Monday's update: The three major sources of uncertainty heading into the weekend have all been resolved. Wainwright has been replaced by Carlos Martinez for Monday's start versus the Mets, though the Cardinals' ace is expected to return this weekend against the Phillies. Gausman will remain in the Orioles' rotation, though it is not yet clear who could be the odd man out. Ubaldo Jimenez and Bud Norris could be candidates to go to the bullpen, and the latter has options remaining and could potentially be demoted. If either exits the rotation this week, Wei-Yin Chen would likely make two starts.

As expected, Gonzalez will re-enter the Nationals' rotation, but it won't be until Wednesday, so Roark lines up to get a two-start week. There is more on Roark's value this week below, as he has been added to the list of borderline two-start pitchers.

The statuses of Gerrit Cole (shoulder), Hellickson and Doubront are still uncertain, though all could still return this weekend. If so, Brandon Cumpton, Erik Bedard and Rubby De La Rosa could all be relegated to one-start status.

Two-Start Pitchers on the Bubble

14. Trevor Bauer, CLE (vs. LAA, vs. DET)

Based on Bauer's seven starts with Triple-A Columbus this season, I figured his owners would have to sacrifice strikeouts in order to enjoy his newfound control. Instead, Bauer has cranked up his strikeout (9.5 K/9) and swinging strike (11.9 percent) rates, while maintaining above-average control (64 percent strikes thrown, no starts with more than three walks). While that display of skill makes Bauer an attractive two-start option, so do his matchups, even though he is facing two of five best power-hitting teams in the majors. The Angels and Tigers may not have their usual thump playing at Progressive Field, which has played as the worst home run park in the American League for right-handed hitters in recent seasons. Both lineups rely heavily on righties, so this could be an especially good week for Bauer.

Start Bauer over the following one-start pitchers: John Lackey, Doug Fister, Jeff Samardzija

15. Jake Odorizzi, TB (vs. BAL, vs. HOU)

Odorizzi is yet another pitcher who benefits greatly from a pair of home starts. As one would expect for a flyball pitcher, Odorizzi has been much better at offense-squelching Tropicana Field (3.13 ERA) than on the road (7.16 ERA), and better yet, the Astros have been a lesser power-hitting team in their away games. The Orioles pose the bigger threat, but given Odorizzi's mastery at home so far, holding opponents to a .217/.297/.321 slash line, he appears to be a sufficiently safe play to trust in standard mixed leagues.

Start Odorizzi over the following one-start pitchers: Doug Fister, Jeff Samardzija, Collin McHugh

16. Marcus Stroman, TOR (at NYY, at CIN)

While Stroman had been less than imposing during a brief stint in the Blue Jays' bullpen last month, as a starter, he has looked every bit as effective as he was as a minor leaguer. In moving up from Double-A to Triple-A this season, Stroman appeared unfazed by the more advanced competition, increasing his strikes-thrown and ground ball rates while continuing to post an above-average swinging strike rate. That success has carried over in each of his first three major league starts, as evidenced by 17 strikeouts, two walks and a 2.50 ERA over 18 innings. At some point, Stroman is likely to hit a snag, but his combination of high velocity, sharp control and strong ground ball tendencies makes him too good to pass up.

Start Stroman over the following one-start pitchers: Collin McHugh, C.J. Wilson, Chris Archer

17. Jason Hammel, CHC (at MIA, vs. PIT)

Two-start pitchers to avoid
27. Jason Vargas at DET, vs. SEA
28. Tom Koehler vs. CHC, vs. NYM
29. Wily Peralta at ARI, at COL
30. Roenis Elias vs. SD, at KC
31. Colby Lewis at OAK, at LAA
32. Erik Bedard vs. BAL, vs. HOU
33. Ervin Santana vs. PHI. at WAS
34. Wade Miley vs. MIL, vs. SF
35. John Danks vs. SF, at MIN
36. Jacob deGrom at STL, at MIA
37. Kyle Kendrick at ATL, at STL
38. Brandon McCarthy vs. MIL, vs. SF
39. Matt Shoemaker at CLE, vs. TEX
40. Eric Stults at SEA, vs. LAD
41. Jacob Turner vs. CHC, vs. NYM
42. Tyler Matzek at LAD, vs. MIL
43. Brandon Cumpton vs. CIN, at CHC
44. Kevin Correia at BOS, vs. CHW

Hammel has seemingly been a different kind of pitcher every year, and usually his varieties have been of the sort that aren't all that useful to standard mixed league owners. More so than any previous version, Hammel 9.0 has been about getting batters to chase and miss on pitches out of the strike zone, and it's enabled him to register a career-low 1.9 BB/9 ratio and a career-high 12.1 percent whiff rate. Because Hammel has been so inconsistent over his career, owners can be excused for not trusing him. However, he has been steady enough over this year's 13 starts to have earned more than his current 68 percent start rate for the coming week.

Start Hammel over the following one-start pitchers: C.J. Wilson, Chris Archer, Nathan Eovaldi

18. Drew Pomeranz, OAK (vs. TEX, vs. BOS)

Though Pomeranz began his tenure in the A's rotation with three straight scoreless starts, his supporting stats weren't as dazzling as Stroman's have been, raising doubts about his long-term viability. Two sources of frustration stemming from those early outings were low pitch counts and questionable control, but Pomeranz has allayed owners' fears in recent starts. He has exceeded 95 pitches in two of his last three starts and pitched seven innings in back-to-back games. In those last two starts, he has thrown 65 percent of his pitches for strikes. It's a step in the right direction for a pitcher who was already getting called strikes (if not swinging strikes) at a high rate while avoiding extra-base hits. Toss in a couple of starts at pitcher-friendly O.co Coliseum, and it's shaping up to be a good week for the lefty.

Start Pomeranz over the following one-start pitchers: Tim Hudson, Sonny Gray, Ian Kennedy

19. Tanner Roark, WAS (vs. HOU, vs. ATL)

Roark is not overpowering; in fact, his average fastball velocity is nearly 2 mph lower than it was last year. As in 2013, Roark is getting called strikes at an above average (20 percent) rate, which allows him to be a decent strikeout pitcher. His control has remained immaculate, so even in one-start weeks, Roark offers owners a chance to lower their staff's WHIP. In normal two-start weeks, he could easily provide double-digit strikeouts, but against the Astros and Braves, 10-plus Ks is practcally a lock. Though Roark will rarely be viable in standard mixed leagues as a one-start pitcher, he is a very safe option for Week 12.

Start Roark over the following one-start pitchers: Sonny Gray, Ian Kennedy, Josh Beckett

20. Jonathon Niese (at STL, at MIA)

Niese has been pitching so deep into games that you could call his starts Jon-a-thons. He is averaging 6.5 innings per start and has pitched at least seven innings in seven of his 13 outings. Aside from good, but not great, control, there is nothing else that really stands out about Niese's skill set, but especially in points leagues, his efficiency makes him a very useful option in two-start weeks. While an 80 percent strand rate has allowed Niese to overperform with a 2.54 ERA, his low WHIP and high innings count makes him worth using, even with a healthy number of two-start options from which to choose this week.

Start Niese over the following one-start pitchers: Ian Kennedy, Josh Beckett, Zack Wheeler

21. Rubby De La Rosa, BOS (vs. MIN, at OAK)

After tossing seven shutout innings in his season debut, De La Rosa has been less impressive in two successive starts. Even in losing to the Tigers and Orioles, De La Rosa has shown why he is so promising, racking up 12 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings and throwing 132 of his 201 pitches for strikes. The latter is especially encouraging, as control has typically been De La Rosa's main weakness. He could regresses in that area, especially with the patient A's and Twins lineups on his schedule this week, so there are reasons to hesitate in using him. If you're looking for a reason to start De La Rosa, keep in mind he still has a history of double-digit whiff rates and high ground ball rates to fall back on, should his control fail him.

Start the following one-start pitchers over De La Rosa: Sonny Gray, Ian Kennedy, Josh Beckett

22. Tommy Milone, OAK (vs. TEX, vs. BOS)

Milone has been gaining popularity in CBSSports.com leagues, as he has gone 4-0 with a 2.00 ERA and 1.07 WHIP over his last seven starts. An ultra-high strand rate has helped to lower his ERA, but Milone's low WHIP tells us he's doing something right. That something is cutting back on walks, as he has issued only nine over his last 45 innings, and getting frequent popups, which he has done at a 13.1 percent rate this season. Those were keys to Milone's success two seasons ago, as was a good track record in home starts. He had a 2.74 ERA in Oakland in 2012, and he's improved that mark to 1.93 this year. Milone won't miss many bats, but between his return to form and his two home starts, he could help many owners this week.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Milone: Ian Kennedy, Josh Beckett, Zack Wheeler

23. Kyle Lohse, MIL (at ARI, at COL)

Since Lohse became a reliable Fantasy option three seasons ago, he has made only two visits to Coors Field. A 2011 quality start was followed by a five-run, nine-hit disaster the following season, but you can throw that limited track record out the window. In those seasons, the Rockies had a good offense, but they were not the juggernaut they have been this season. With any other matchup for his second start of the week, at worst Lohse would rank in the upper half of this list of borderline two-start candidates. That, sadly for Lohse's owners, is not the case, and the Rockies' season-long assault on major league pitching simply makes him too risky to use in standard mixed leagues unless you are fairly desperate to get an extra two-start pitcher into your rotation.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Lohse: Lance Lynn, Kevin Gausman, Matt Cain

24. Justin Verlander (vs. KC, at CLE)

Speaking of desperate, that's what you would have to be to start Verlander this week. His control has abandoned him, and hitters have learned to lay off his offerings. When batters have swung at Verlander's pitches, they have been connecting more frequently than in the past. Over his last six starts, Verlander has gotten called strikes at a puny 13.3 percent rate while getting whiffs on only 8.5 percent of his pitches. If you're waiting for a velocity increase to fix the problem, don't bother. Verlander has averaged over 95 mph on his fastball in each of his last three starts, according to BrooksBaseball.net, yet the carnage has continued. Because he had been so good over the previous five seasons, you may want to start Verlander in the hopes that he can overcome the struggles that have defined these mere past two-and-a-half months. At this point, that is the only reason to start him.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Verlander: Kevin Gausman, Matt Cain, Jaime Garcia

25. Chris Young, SEA (vs. SD, at KC)

There may never be another pitcher who has walked almost as many batters (32) as he has struck out (35) to appear on this list, but Young is not an ordinary pitcher. He's a 35-year-old with a mid-80s fastball and control issues, but he laps the pool of major league starting pitchers in flyball rate. Having batters loft 51 percent of all hit balls isn't always a bad thing. Young gets popups at an outrageoius 16.2 percent rate, which has helped him to hold opponents to a .222 batting average, but of course, the downside is a .404 slugging percentage. At Safeco Field, that latter number shrinks to .304, and it will likely fall even further after facing the Padres this week. Young's start at the Royals promises to be just as fruitful, as their .109 Isolated Power is the lowest in the majors. There is always substantial risk in starting Young, but there may never be another week in which the reward promises to be so great.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Young: Kevin Gausman, Matt Cain, Jaime Garcia

26. Josh Tomlin, CLE (vs. LAA, vs. DET)

Like Young, Tomlin is known for being an extreme contact pitcher, though 46 innings into this season, he is posting a respectable 7.4 K/9 ratio. However, that's not the reason to start Tomlin, as a decent srikeout rate is just gravy for him. His low walk rate (career 1.7 BB/9) and flyball tendencies make him a good source of low WHIP, and against certain lineups at home, he can avoid getting hurt by the long ball. More often than not, Tomlin is a huge home run risk, but he has held right-handed hitters to a 1.1 HR/9 ratio at home. While that's not especially good, it's good enough for him to succeed, given his strengths. As mentioned above, Progressive Field is very tough on right-handed power hitters, and the Angels and Tigers are largely reliant on right-handed power for their production. A week in which one faces Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez can be dangerous for any pitcher, but Tomlin could do enough to keep the righties in the Angels' and Tigers' lineups in check to escape with a good week.

Start the following one-start pitchers over Wood: Matt Cain, Jaime Garcia, Drew Hutchison

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al at @almelccbs .

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Player News
Zack Greinke records four Ks in one inning, cruises past Giants
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:56 am ET) Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke recorded a rare feat while picking up his 12th win of the season Friday night against the Giants in San Francisco. He became the fifth pitcher in franchise history to record four strikeouts in an inning.

Greinke struck out Hector Sanchez swinging and Tim Lincecum looking. He struck out Hunter Pence swinging, but the pitch was low and got past A.J. Ellis, as he reached safely at first. Finally, Greinke struck out Gregor Blanco. The pitch was low and got past Ellis, but the catcher was able to throw Blanco out in time at first base.

Greinke allowed four hits and one walk while striking out 10 in seven shutout frames in an 8-1 victory. Of his 106 pitches, 65 were strikes.

Greinke has recorded double-digit strikeouts four times this season. He owns a 2.74 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP over 21 starts. His next start will come Thursday at home against Atlanta.


Yasiel Puig rips out three triples in win over Giants
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:56 am ET) Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig came up with a historical performance at the plate in his first game back from injury against the Giants in San Francisco.

Puig tripled in the first, doubled in the third, tripled in a run in the fifth and tripled again in the sixth. He finished 4 for 5 with two runs scored and two RBI in an 8-1 victory.

Puig’s three triples are the most by a Dodger since Jimmy Sheckard in 1901 for Brooklyn. He also became the first player in team history to record at least two triples and a double in a game since Sandy Amoros in 1956. His 11 total bases were the most by any Dodger without ever hitting a home run.

Puig owns a .315/.402/.543 slash line with 12 homers and 54 RBI in 352 at-bats this season.


Tim Lincecum gets roughed up in loss to Dodgers
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:55 am ET) Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum was hit hard Friday night at home against the Dodgers, dropping to 9-7 on the year. The right-hander permitted six runs on nine hits and no walks while striking out six over 4 1/3 innings of an 8-1 defeat.

Lincecum has allowed nine earned runs over his last 19 innings of work. He owns a 3.96 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP over 125 innings of work this season. He will look to pick up the pieces and get back on track Wednesday at home against Pittsburgh.


Charlie Furbush serves up go-ahead HR in extras
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:54 am ET) Mariners reliever Charlie Furbush (1-5) took the loss without recording an out Friday night against the Orioles in extras. Furbush allowed a go-ahead home run to Chris Davis in the 10th inning before he was pulled. It was the only batter he faced in the game. He owns a 3.90 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP over 30 innings of relief.

Zach Britton slams door shut on M's in extras
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:52 am ET) Orioles relief pitcher Zach Britton struck out one and needed only 11 pitches to retire the side in order to close out a 2-1 win over the Mariners in 10 innings. Britton has converted 19 saves in 22 tries, with a 1.74 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP over 51 2/3 innings of relief.

Darren O'Day Ks two, picks up relief win
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:50 am ET) Orioles reliever Darren O'Day struck out the only two batters he faced and picked up his third win of the season. He needed only 10 pitchers to retire two batters in the ninth, while the team scored the go-ahead run in the 10th to win the game. He owns a 1.00 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP over 45 innings of relief.

Huston Street notches second save with new club
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:24 am ET) Angels closer Huston Street struck out one, worked his way around a hit and needed only nine pitches to complete a scoreless ninth inning for the save Friday night at home against the Tigers. Street has struck out four and has not allowed a run over his first three innings of work for his new club. He has converted both of his save chances over that span.

Mike Morin picks up relief win Friday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:22 am ET) Angels reliever Mike Morin entered Friday's game in the sixth inning against the Tigers.

Morin came in for Tyler Skaggs with two outs in the sixth and struck out Torii Hunter for the final out of the frame. The Angels scored two runs in the bottom of the frame, which proved to the difference, giving Morin his third win of the season. He owns a 2.61 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP over 38 innings of work this season.


Tyler Skaggs settles for no-decision
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:18 am ET) Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs fell one out shy of a quality start in a no-decision Friday night at home against the Tigers. The right-hander permitted one run on five hits and one walk while striking out five over 5 2/3 innings of a 2-1 victory.

The Angels scored both runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Mike Morin, who recorded the final out of the sixth for Skaggs, picked up the win.

Skaggs owns a 4.49 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP over 17 starts (108 1/3 innings). His next start will come Thursday at Baltimore.


Drew Smyly Ks career-high 11 in losing effort
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:15 am ET) Tigers starting pitcher Drew Smyly(6-9) posted a career-high 11 strikeouts, but it wasn't enough in a tough-luck loss Friday night against the Angels in Anaheim. The right-hander was charged with two runs on four hits and one walk over 5 2/3 innings of a 2-1 defeat.

Prior to this game, Smyly did not strike out more than seven batters in a game this season. He owns a 3.77 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP over 100 1/3 innings of work. His next start will come Thursday at home against the White Sox.


 
 
 
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