Published on April 22nd, 2013 | by Nick Bragg1
Spot Starts for Week 4
Spot starting under-the-radar pitchers from the waiver wire can be equally as important to winning your fantasy baseball league as finding this year’s Mike Trout. Sometimes finding that extra win or strikeout can make all the difference in the world. I’ve taken the time to carefully analyze every pitching match-up for the coming week and compile a list of the best spot starts for week 4 in fantasy baseball. This list excludes players that are owned in an overwhelming majority of fantasy leagues, since the goal is to point out favorable match-ups for pitchers that you may be able to find on the waiver wire. Each pitcher is listed along with their current ownership in ESPN fantasy leagues. Good luck!
Monday, April 22nd
A.J. Griffin, RHP – 56.0% Owned @ Boston
Griffin has been fantastic so far this year, going 2-0 over three starts with a 2.25 ERA. It is worth noting that his first three starts have come against the Mariners, Angels and Astros, all three of which are in the bottom third in runs scored against right-handed pitchers. Griffin faces the Red Sox in Boston for this start. While the Sox are third in runs scored against righties, they are only batting .201 at home so far this year. It might be a little premature to worry about home/road splits, but the A’s offense is providing plenty of run support recently, so I’m predicting a W for Griffin.
Tuesday, April 23rd
Ross Detwiler, LHP – 72.6% Owned vs. St. Louis
Detwiler has been great in his first three starts this year. He’s given up only two runs, owns and ERA of 0.90 and has a K/BB ratio of 11/3. This start, however, he faces a Cardinals lineup that has scored the fifth most runs in the majors. Luckily for Detwiler, the Cards have struggled against lefties so far this season, batting a miserable .226 with only one homerun in 137 at bats.
Jose Fernandez, RHP – 69.1% Owned @ Minnesota
Fernandez got beat up pretty bad in his last outing against the Reds, but he was great in his two previous starts. Luckily he faces a much weaker hitting opponent this time out. The Twins are tied for the sixth fewest runs scored among all MLB teams, and are only batting .241 against righties so far this season.
Tony Cingrani, LHP – 56.5% Owned vs. Chicago Cubs
Cingrani has only made one major league start so far, but he’s managed an incredible K/9 rate of 11.98 over 221.2 minor and major league innings. Cingrani looks like the real deal, plus he goes against a weak Cubs lineup that is batting .204 against lefties so far this year. If Cingrani is available in your league, I suggest you grab him now and hang onto him.
Jose Quintana, LHP – 12.3% Owned vs. Cleveland
The last time Quintana faced the Cleveland Indians, he pitched a seven inning shutout, allowing just one hit, and striking out seven without allowing a walk. His most recent start against Toronto wasn’t quite as impressive, but his ERA sits at 2.55, and his K/BB rate is 17/4. Yeah, I trust him in this start.
Kevin Correia, RHP – 7.7% Owned vs. Miami
In Spot Starts for Week 3, I stated that you can start just about anybody against the Marlins. I’ve changed my mind since then. You can literally start anybody against the Marlins. Over their first 17 games, opposing pitchers have a 1.42 ERA, with 113 strikeouts against them. Kevin Correia is nothing special, with a career 4.51 ERA and 1.41 WHIP, but he has started the year pretty well, going 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA over three starts. I fully expect Correia to regress to his normal crummy self, but not before his start against the Marlins.
Ricky Nolasco, RHP – 2.3% Owned @ Minnesota
The Marlins have failed to provide much run support this season, and frankly, I don’t suspect that to change anytime soon. While Nolasco isn’t likely to earn you a W, you may want to snatch him up if you’re looking for some quality innings to help pad your ERA. Nolasco hasn’t been spectacular so far this year, but he’s put together some solid outings against some very tough opponents.
Wednesday, April 24th
Andy Pettitte, LHP – 81.0% Owned @ Tampa Bay
If you’ve read some of my other articles, you may have picked up that I’m really high on Andy Pettitte this year. He’s 3-0, owns a 2.01 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, an extensive resumé, and needs to be owned in all leagues. Period.
Marco Estrada, RHP – 65.3% Owned @ San Diego
Marco Estrada has actually been really good this year, minus one pretty important detail. He’s given up the long-ball six times in four games. Other than from homeruns Estrada has only given up three total runs over 24 innings. That might seem like a stupid thing to point out, but Estrada faces the Padres in PETCO Park in this start. Not only is PETCO a known pitcher’s park, but the Padres have only homered 11 times so far this year. If Estrada can limit the long-ball in this contest, he should easily get the run support to earn the W. He is pitching against Edinson Volquez (8.84 ERA) after all.
Wandy Rodriguez, LHP – 43.8% Owned @ Philadelphia
The Phillies are batting .190 with a .527 OPS against lefties this year. Oh yeah, and Wandy hasn’t been too bad either, giving up a single earned run in three starts.
Thursday, April 25th
Jeremy Hellickson, RHP – 83.4 % Owned @ Chicago White Sox
Hellickson wasn’t too hot in his first start of the year, but he’s gotten better in every outing since. His most recent start was against Oakland, where he pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits and leading his team to a 1-0 victory. The A’s hadn’t been blanked since opening day against King Felix and the Mariners. I think Hellickson can handle a team that has the fourth worst batting average (.229) against righties.
Edwin Jackson, RHP – 35.4% Owned @ Miami
…Speaking of teams that are bad against righties. The Marlins are batting a major league worst .196, with a .496 OPS against them. Edwin Jackson is 0-3, with a 4.84 ERA, so this start should help pad his stats a bit.
Garrett Richards, RHP – 1.5% Owned @ Seattle
Richards had an amazing start against the Tigers. He struck out eight, didn’t walk a batter, and allowed only two hits over seven innings of work. The Mariners have only scored ten runs in their last seven games. Starting an unproven Richards against a team that’s got some serious homerun potential in Michael Morse and Kendrys Morales might be a big mistake, but my gut feeling on this one is that this year’s Mariners lineup might not be that much better than they were last year.
Friday, April 26th
Ervin Santana, RHP – 54.2% Owned vs. Cleveland
Ervin Santana was terrible with the Angels last year, and although he’s started the season with a 2.45 ERA with the Royals, my opinion of him hasn’t changed. Even if Santana is a mediocre pitcher, he’s pitched really well against Cleveland batters. In 144 cumulative at bats, he’s limited their hitters to a .201 batting average.
Josh Beckett, RHP – 53.6% Owned vs. Milwaukee
Other than his start against Arizona, Beckett hasn’t been very impressive this year. He owns a 0-3 record, with a 4.68 ERA. An important note is that only one of Beckett’s four starts this year has been at home. In four home starts since joining the Dodgers, Beckett owns a 2.25 ERA. That might be a little too small of a sample size to build a solid case, but Beckett was great as recently as 2011, when he owned a 2.93 ERA and finished ninth in the AL Cy Young vote. Call me crazy, but I think he still has a little something left in the tank.
Saturday, April 27th
A.J. Griffin, RHP – 56.0% Owned vs. Baltimore
It’s not like I have a man crush on Griffin or anything, but he’s worth spot starting a couple times this week. As I mentioned before, Griffin is 2-0 over three starts with a 2.25 ERA. The Orioles are a bit tougher competition than the three teams Griffin has faced so far this year, but I like him over Chen for this start.
Travis Wood, LHP – 13.2% Owned @ Miami
Wood is a lefty, has a 1.83 ERA, is pitching against the Marlins and has a pulse. Start him.
Sunday, April 28th
Tony Cingrani, LHP – 56.5% Owned @ Washington
Cingrani destroyed the Marlins in his first outing, and will likely inflict some pain on the light-hitting Cubs too. His start against the Nats will be his toughest to date, but I think he’s got what it takes to come away with the win. It also doesn’t hurt that the Nationals have struggled against left-handed pitching this year, batting only .250 over 128 at bats.
Carlos Villanueva, RHP – 17.9% Owned @ Miami
Villanueva has a 1.29 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP over three starts against three very tough opponents (Braves, Giants and Rangers). Although he’s only given up three runs so far this year, he’s only earned one win. I suspect his he gets win number two against the 4A team that pretends they’re in the big leagues.
Jose Quintana, LHP – 12.3% Owned vs. Tampa Bay
Quintana has actually been pretty decent since his big league debut in 2012. This year, he gave up five runs in his first start against the Mariners, but didn’t allow a run against the Indians and Blue Jays, while on the road. It might be too early to tell, but I see good things in this kid’s future. Oh yeah, and the Rays have only managed a .571 OPS against lefties this year.
Cover Photo by Keith Allison
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