Memorial Day is over and we are now a third of the way into our fantasy baseball season. We reflected about those who served our country in the ultimate way last weekend. This weekend you should be reflecting upon your roster and analyzing your standings in an attempt to find a way to climb closer to first place.
In the NFBC and in leagues that do not have trading, finding a way to move up is difficult. Ownership rates of the players I am going to cover are at or near 100% in the TGFBI (a league consisting of 315 fantasy writers/contributors of which I am currently ranked 19th) and the Rotowire Online Championship. These are 15 and 12 team leagues – lower ownership rates in Yahoo and ESPN leagues are most likely reflective of the cumulative effects of 10 and 8 team leagues on these sites, while CBS ranks higher due to more keeper leagues.
The starters under consideration here will help you in at least one, but most likely 2 or 3 categories. Wins are never predictable and is very dependent on the quality of the team the players are on. Three of the pitchers have 5 wins and all play for first place teams.
You can look at xFIP, SIERA, K/BB%, etc.., but none of these stats are going to move you up in the standings. We are far enough into the season to see who is having a good year with ERA, WHIP, and Ks that can help you make that move. Yes, the advanced stats may help you predict who is pitching “over their heads” or who “has been unlucky”, but in the end, the category stats and what that player is doing Now is what matters.
Let’s start in Houston where Brad Peacock and Wade Miley both have 5 wins for the first place Astros. Peacock is available in 31% of Yahoo but only 8% of CBS leagues. He is a must add if he’s available in your league. Peacock is averaging 9.73 K/9 with an ERA of 3.19 and a 1.02 WHIP. Miley is available in 67% of Yahoo leagues but only 27% of CBS leagues. After 11 starts this year he has matched his win total with the Brewers last year. He doesn’t strike out much (6.53/9), but his 3.25 ERA and 1.14 WHIP will help out most teams.
Another 5 win pitcher for the first place Twins has only a 38% ownership in Yahoo – 77% in CBS leagues. His ERA and WHIP aren’t stellar so only add him if your team is struggling and the numbers are an improvement. The other angle to take is that you can sacrifice a little ERA and WHIP if you need the wins and K’s. Kyle Gibson is the owner of a 4.08 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, and a 9.41 K/9. Is someone hurt or under achieving? Gibson may be the one to use to replace them.
Chris Bassitt has emerged as reliable pitcher this year for the A’s. Striking out the opposition at a rate of 10.9/9, Bassitt has become a fantasy asset. His low ERA and WHIP can vastly improve your struggling team’s numbers as long as he logs the innings. After struggling in his last start on Monday, his ERA rose from 2.48 to 3.27, but he can provide solid numbers across the board. He is owned in only 52% of Yahoo and 74% of CBS leagues. Don’t sit on this one if he’s available.
Three rookies have low ownership and should be looked at this weekend when making your FAAB bids and waiver wire priorities. Spencer Turnbull of the Tigers is owned in 37% of Yahoo and 62% of CBS leagues. He has a sub 3.00 ERA, but his WHIP is a bit high at 1.29. With only 2 wins, but striking out over a batter an inning, Turnbull is a someone whose ownership is too low.
A pair of Angels rookies, Griffin Canning and Felix Pena, should also be on your radar. Canning has 5 starts under his belt and has been a bit up and down, but mostly up. With Matt Harvey looking like a batting practice pitcher and now on the IL, Canning should remain in the rotation long term. His ERA of 3.06 and 0.96 WHIP will help the majority of teams out there. He is also striking out more than a batter an inning which is the benchmark we look for today. There should be continued success during the season for Canning.
Felix Pena is the other Angels rookie. He has good control and hasn’t given up many hits which has his 0.96 WHIP the best of this bunch. He is a converted relief pitcher and it isn’t certain he’ll remain in the rotation, but he’s a worthwhile fill in for now – available in 91% of Yahoo and 77% of CBS leagues.
If you are not in first place or are not dominating the pitching categories, then consider these starting pitchers. Peacock and Bassitt are must owns, and the others will fill in nicely or replace some struggling mistake you made earlier in the season. There is still time to bounce back and move up in the standings, but you have to make the right moves sooner rather than later to take advantage of their availability and the remaining 2/3 of the season.
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