Weekly Planner: Royals' Jason Vargas is a diamond in the rough

Sunday June 8th, 2014

The Kansas City Royals' Jason Vargas has been dealing recently and will pitch twice this week.
Orlin Wagner/AP

Nearly two-thirds of the league plays seven games this week, and that means there are a lot of pitchers making two starts. If you are not the proud owner of Masahiro Tanaka or Stephen Strasburg or Madison Bumgarner or Corey Kluber, you might be feeling a little left out of the party. However, there's a widely available two-start pitcher this week who can help you out if your rotation is a bit lacking.

The Kansas City Royals' Jason Vargas has been on a roll in his last three starts. In outings against the Angels, Blue Jays, and Cardinals, he has allowed just a total four runs on 19 hits in 22 1/3 innings, striking out 16 and walking 10. Last time out, he scattered nine hits and surrendered two runs over eight innings in a no-decision against St. Louis. The Angels and Blue Jays, meanwhile, rank fourth and second, respectively, in run scoring this year. The Blue Jays are second in the league with a .782 OPS, while the Angels' .741 OPS is good for fifth. And yet neither team could solve Vargas when they saw him recently.

In 85 innings this year, Vargas has a 3.28 ERA, 4.18 FIP, 1.25 WHIP and 62 strikeouts. Despite his strong numbers recently, he's not a guy you want to trust every time out, and doesn't need to be owned in leagues with fewer than 14 teams. Still, with the way he's been throwing the ball, he can be a boon to owners who need a lift this week. He gets the Yankees on Monday and White Sox on Sunday. Both offenses have been good this year -- the White Sox are fifth in run scoring and have a .721 OPS -- but Vargas has pitched well against strong offenses of late. If you're scrounging for a pitcher making two starts this week on your waiver wire, Vargas is likely going to be the best one you find.

Roster trends

Most added

Danny Santana, Twins -- After going 4-for-5 against the Astros on Saturday, Santana is slashing .373/.408/.493 this season. He has mostly been filling the DH role, but even after Minnesota signed Kendrys Morales, they'll definitely find a spot for him in the lineup. His eligibility at short and second is fantasy gold.

Kendrys Morales, Twins -- The Twins signed Morales over the weekend, and the 30-year-old joined the team on Sunday. He hit .277/.336/.449 with 23 homers and 80 RBI for the Mariners last year. Morales can help out a fantasy owner that is struggling in the power categories, but he's not a must-add in 12-team leagues.

Tanner Roark, Nationals -- Roark continues to pitch well, dominating the Padres in his latest outing. He tossed eight shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out 11 while walking none, lowering his ERA to 2.91 in the process. He should be owned in nearly all leagues, regardless of format.

Most dropped

Jenrry Mejia, Mets -- Mejia has allowed five earned runs in his last 2 1/3 innings and blew his first save over the weekend. He's likely still safe as the Mets closer, however, so don't be too hasty when considering what to do with him. He should still be on your roster.

Jon Singleton, Astros -- Singleton is hitting just .158/.200/.316 in his first 20 plate appearances, but we've been down this road before. While Singleton didn't have the same pedigree as George Springer, the latter, too, struggled initially when he was brought up to the majors. You should still like everything about Singleton that made you pick him up a week ago.

Wily Peralta, Brewers -- Peralta has allowed 10 runs combined in his last two starts, but he should still be universally owned. His 4.15 FIP is more than a run higher than his 3.03 ERA, but he's a plenty useful pitcher in the backend of fantasy rotations in 12-team leagues. He's not necessarily matchup-proof, but there isn't any reason to cut him.

Two-start pitchers

1. Masahiro Tanaka
2. Stephen Strasburg
3. Madison Bumgarner
4. Corey Kluber
5. Garrett Richards
6. David Price
7. Mike Minor
8. Hisashi Iwakuma
9. Doug Fister
10. Rick Porcello
11. Marco Estrada
12. A.J. Burnett
13. Ian Kennedy
14. Dan Haren
15. Justin Verlander
16. Jesse Chavez
17. Francisco Liriano
18. Jason Vargas
19. R.A. Dickey
20. Gavin Floyd
21. Josh Beckett
22. Jake Peavy
23. Chris Tillman
24. Josh Collmenter
25. Bud Norris
26. Travis Wood
27. Mike Leake
28. Juan Nicasio
29. Ricky Nolasco
30. Jarred Cosart
31. Edwin Jackson
32. Ryan Vogelsong
33. Hector Noesi
34. Bronson Arroyo
35. J.A. Happ
36. Nick Martinez
37. Vidal Nuno
38. John Danks
39. Daisuke Matsuzaka
40. Brad Peacock
41. Brandon Workman
42. T.J. House

Teams playing seven games

Red Sox
White Sox
Blue Jays

Teams playing five games


Weekday day games

(all times Eastern)


Mariners @ Rays, 1:10


Astros @ Diamondbacks, 3:40


Twins @ Blue Jays, 12:37
Indians @ Royals, 2:10


Dodgers @ Reds, 12:35
Padres @ Phillies, 1:05
Braves @ Rockies, 3:10
Nationals @ Giants, 3:45

Favorable matchups

Orioles (vs. Boston, vs. Toronto) -- The Orioles play seven times this week, drawing the Red Sox for three and Blue Jays for four. Playing the entire week at Camden Yards is a plus, even though they have to deal with Mark Buehrle and Drew Hutchison.

Cubs (@ Pittsburgh, @ Philadelphia) -- The Cubs spend the week in Pennsylvania, and while they haven't exactly been the best hitting team this year, their matchups are good. They'll see Charlie Morton, Francisco Liriano, Brandon Cumpton, Edinson Volquez, Roberto Hernandez, David Buchanan and A.J. Burnett.

Indians (@ Texas, @ Kansas City, @ Boston) -- The Indians begin the week by finishing off a four-game series in Texas. They will face Yordano Ventura and John Lackey, but overall this is a very good week to get your Indians in your lineup.

Tigers (@ Chicago White Sox, vs. Minnesota) -- The Tigers go up against division foes this week, and the good news for them is that they shouldn't face too much stiff opposition on the mound. Other than Chris Sale, whom they'll see on Thursday, they don't face a pitcher owned in a majority of fantasy leagues all week.

Blue Jays (vs. Minnesota, @ Baltimore) -- The Blue Jays will be in good parks to hit for all seven games this week, first hosting the Twins then heading south to take on the Orioles. There aren't too many imposing arms in either rotation, making the Blue Jays a good bet to continue to rake.

Unfavorable matchups

White Sox (vs. Detroit, vs. Kansas City) -- It will be a challenging run through the AL Central for the White Sox this week, as they'll see Rick Porcello, Justin Verlander, Drew Smyly, Max Scherzer, Danny Duffy, James Shields and Jason Vargas. You should always start your regulars, but the White Sox have a tough slate ahead.

Rockies (vs. Atlanta, @ San Francisco) -- Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Ervin Santana and Madison Bumgarner will make this a daunting week for the Rockies. They do get to play their first four games of the week at home, but it's never easy to hit in San Francisco, either.

Yankees (@ Kansas City, @ Seattle, @ Oakland) -- The Yankees continue their road trip this week, finishing off a four-game series with the Royals, then heading out west to take on the Mariners and A's. While they do avoid Felix Hernandez, they'll have to deal with Hisashi Iwakuma, Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir.

Phillies (vs. San Diego, vs. Chicago Cubs) -- The light-hitting Phillies will likely have a tough series going up against Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner when the Padres come to town. Things get a little easier with the Cubs visiting over the weekend, but Jake Arrieta, Edwin Jackson and Travis Wood have all shown good flashes this season.

Cardinals (@ Tampa Bay, vs. Washington) -- The Cardinals only play five games this week, and have a rough weekend series in D.C. They're scheduled to face Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister when they visit the nation's capital.

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