Pitching Planner: Tomlin, Dice-K offering unexpected production
Evaluating pitchers is a lot easier when you have some data to work with. Now that we are a month into the season, there is plenty of that.
There are also plenty of pitchers to work with. It is that reason pitchers tend to go later and cheaper in Rotisserie leagues.
Let's break down some of the solid sleepers worth considering off the waiver wire in mixed leagues right now:
You want pitchers who can post quality starts every time out, no matter what team they pitch for. It gives them a chance to be a consistent winner for your fantasy team. Tomlin has emerged as one of those guys. He is 5-for-5 in quality starts and is 4-0 with a 2.54 ERA. It will be tough to trust him against the meatier lineups, but he can be useful in the right matchup now. He is still available in more than one-third of fantasy leagues.
Dice-K has looked reborn in his past two starts, posting one-hit efforts against the Blue Jays and Angels. He won't go 18-3 like he did in 2008, but he can sneak up to win 15 games for the Red Sox this season. He is available in more than 40 percent of fantasy leagues, too.
Wolf is strangely underrated in fantasy. He has posted four consecutive quality starts, winning in each of the past three, and is a strikeout-per-inning pitcher with a 2.64 ERA. The Brewers have a potent offense to get him run support, even if their bullpen is suspect. Wolf is a bargain in the 40-plus percent of leagues he is currently unowned in.
It is hard to believe McCarthy is still just 27 years of age. He has finally proven to be capable of holding down a rotation spot and could prove to be the double-digit winner he once was billed to be. Available in over 50 percent of leagues, he is a great option to use when the matchups are right and is a viable two-start pitcher next week, if you can look past his stinker last time out.
The rumors of Colon's demise were greatly exaggerated. OK, so he hasn't done anything significant for fantasy owners in years, but he just might be a gem pitching for the contending Yankees. He shouldn't be available in over 50 percent of leagues like he is.
Everyone was so quick to dismiss this second-year pitcher this season for some reason. It should be reminded he is pitching this well without ever having been in the minors, going straight from college to the majors. Leake is 4-for-5 in quality starts and until he proves incapable of staying in the Reds rotation, he should be owned in any fantasy league. He is one the waivers pile in almost 60 percent of leagues.
Now onto the rest of our weekly report, where we break down all the two-start pitchers and some of the fringy one-start matchups.
Outside of the obvious pitchers, here are some matchups to capitalize on this week and some to avoid, with the pitcher in question identified in italics.
Buehrle hasn't been pitching overly well out of the gate, but he draws a two-start week that opens with the Orioles. He has a career 2.67 ERA in 16 starts and 100 innings against this non-contender. It is enough to use him in any format as a two-start pitcher.
McDonald was a popular pick as a late-round sleeper this spring, but he hasn't been any good until his last start. It might be fool's gold. Don't be sucked into using him because he is facing the offensively challenged Padres. He is best avoided outside of NL-only leagues.
It was inexplicable Davis was available in leagues this month. Davis is a burgeoning fantasy ace and looks like a must-start in this two-start week. It certainly helps he had a 2.49 ERA in his three career starts against the Blue Jays as a rookie.
Dempster is a complete mess right now. It looks like you might be tempted to start him against the Dodgers, considering he is 7-3 with a 2.83 career starts against them. After his past outing against the D'backs, though, he is just too risky to use in mixed -- or any -- leagues.
There is nothing overly favorable about a rookie pitcher against that Rangers offense, but this is a vote of confidence for the early AL Rookie of the Year front-runner. Pineda's ownership is up to 90 percent, so there is confidence enough to own him. He is starting in only about 50 percent of leagues, though. He's too good to sit, regardless of the matchup right now.
Arrieta's numbers for the season aren't impressive, but he has a 3.00 ERA in his past three starts. He is also facing the lowly Royals, which could lead you to consider him in mixed formats. Don't. Let him prove effective in one more start before you activate him for a two-start week the following period.
Lewis hasn't been able to follow up his surprising 2010 to date, but his matchup this week at Seattle makes him someone you have to give another chance to. You have been biting the bullet on his bad outings, so you don't want to miss the market correction here. Keep him in active.
Odds are you weren't considering Lannan as a one-start pitcher in mixed leagues against the Phillies, but we have to let you in on something to lock it up: Lannan is 0-9 in his 12 career starts against the Phillies. Perhaps it is his karma coming back on him for breaking Chase Utley's hand in his major-league debut.
Humber serendipitously opened the season in the White Sox rotation and we have since trashed him as not worthy. He has shown otherwise. Now, he is even useful as a one-start pitcher in mixed leagues, getting to face the weak-hitting Mariners.
Harrison is the anti-Humber, a inexperienced starter we have likely placed a bit too much early confidence in. After a great start, Harrison has a 5.60 ERA in his past three and is facing the Yankees lineup. It is not a good week to run him out there.
Jurrjens is off to a somewhat surprising fast start after an injury-plagued 2010 and spring. He matchups up with two pretty good contenders this week in the Brewers and Phillies, but don't consider sitting him. This second start is the more dangerous one, but Jurrjens has an impressive 2.56 ERA and 1.022 WHIP in nine career starts against the Phillies.
Holland is an intriguing sleeper for mixed leagues because of that run support he will get with the Rangers, and he has that favorable first start against the A's. This second outing against the Yankees, though, makes him a risk best left for AL-only leagues.
Ross has proven to be capable for the A's and he is drawing a two-start week against the Indians and Royals, two likely non-contenders in the AL Central. He is coming off seven shutout innings at Anaheim, so consider him an advisable two-start pitcher in mixed format with those matchups.
Hernandez is off to another solid start just like last season and he has had a solid career against the Marlins, but you still should resist the urge of using him in mixed leagues. The matchup earlier in the week against the Phillies should scare you enough, so don't think he is going to make up for it later in the week against the Marlins. They are hot right now.