This is an excellent time of year to build some staring pitching depth on your roster. Most regular major league starters have been given the ball five times, which is enough of a sample size to start taking a chance on those that are doing well. I try to fill at least half the bench spots on my roster with starting pitching. The season is long, players get hurt, and young pitchers tend to get hot in spurts so I like to have options.
Let’s get right into this week’s edition …
Out in the Field
C Chris Snyder, Pittsburgh
Even though he is splitting time with Ryan Doumit, Snyder is getting plenty of at bats. The two seem to be splitting things down the middle, which is giving Snyder enough time to be considered as a fantasy starter in deep leagues. He won’t hurt you, and he’ll chip in with some occasional power numbers.
2B/SS Darwin Barney, Chicago
Barney won the starting second base job out of spring training, and he’s been on a tear of late. He may qualify at both shortstop and second base, so check his eligibility. Extremely hot of late – 12 hits in his last 34 at bats – great numbers from the middle infield position.
OF Ryan Roberts, Arizona
Since getting some playing time in Geoff Blum’s absence, Roberts has been thriving. He’s played in less than 20 games this season, yet he’s gone deep five times and has knocked in 15 runs. He is consistently getting on base as well. It will be interesting to see what happens in Arizona when Blum comes back.
OF Pat Burrell, San Francisco
He is available in many leagues, and up to this point, that has been justified. A notorious slow starter, he is starting to get a little warm. With Andres Torres on the shelf for a couple of weeks, Burrell will see more consistent at bats. Keep an eye on him, and those in deeper leagues may want to consider making some roster space for him.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston
Undrafted in many leagues, and horrid in his first couple of starts, Boston fans were ready to release the former sensation. Fast forward to now, and his last two starts he was unhittable, not allowing a run in 15 innings. My belief is that he is somewhere in the middle of his rough start and his stellar performance of late, but the numbers cannot be denied. Still available in many leagues, he is worth a roster spot in all formats.
Dustin Moseley, San Diego
The Padres bullpen has let Moseley down a couple of times, so don’t be scared off by his 0-3 record. He’s produced a quality start each time he has taken the ball for San Diego and has given up only seven earned runs in five starts (31.2 innings). He won’t grab a lot of wins, but the earned run average (ERA) and walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) numbers should not be ignored. He is worth a roster spot in all formats, and in deeper leagues is worth considering as a starter especially in weeks he is lined up with two starts.
Josh Tomlin, Cleveland
The Indians are hot, and many are predicting they have some staying power. One of the reasons in their starting pitching, and Tomlin has been great all season. If not for a bullpen implosion in his last start, he’d have won his fourth decision in a row. Despite that, he’s had a quality start each time he steps onto the mound. Fantasy owners should take note and make room for the young hurler.
Doug Fister, Seattle
You will need to over look his 1-3 record, and know that for the Mariners he won’t win a ton of games. But his numbers this year are sneaky good. Only one bad outing in his last five starts, and even including that game, only 11 earned runs in 31 innings with 22 strikeouts. A good innings eater and it looks like his earned run average and WHIP pitched numbers are going to be above average.
Ryan Madson, Philadelphia
With Jose Contreras on the disabled list, ride Madson while you can. He starting out white hot, closing out back-to-back games for the Phillies over the weekend. Prior to that he vultured a couple of wins, so in addition to his short-term save value, he is a solid long-term middle reliever.
Darren Oliver, Texas
With Neftali Perez on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, the Rangers committee gave its first save opportunity to veteran Oliver. Yes, that Darren Oliver, 40-plus years old! Texas isn’t a team that generates a lot of save opportunities, and the word committee has been used early and often, so Oliver is a low end option at best.
Eduardo Sanchez, St. Louis
We mentioned Mitchell Boggs last week, as we thought the demotion of Ryan Franklin would translate into some save opportunities, and it has. Behind him is Sanchez, a viable middle reliever who could be in the mix for an occasional save chance should Boggs work on back-to-back nights.
Antonio Bastardo, Philadelphia
Though Madson will get the bulk of the opportunities in Philadelphia, Bastardo moves up the depth chart and is a notch behind him on the depth chart. He is capable of claiming a save on a night where Madson needs the rest, but above that, his stats in the setup role are sparkling. If you are looking for a reliever that won’t hurt your ERA or WHIP, then Bastardo is a viable option (plus, wouldn’t you want to have him on your team so you could change your name to the Suffering Bastardos?)
Tyler Clippard, Washington
Another middle reliever that is making some noise is Clippard. He’s another option for those of you that need a relief pitcher in your lineup and no closers are available. He’s averaging better than a strikeout per inning and hasn’t given up a run in more than a week.