Pitchers to keep an eye on:
Josh Outman made his first two starts in the big leagues in almost two years and, while his struggles with command showed, he still came out successful. Before being called up, Outman had posted horrific walk totals in his first 8 starts in the minors in 2011. He walked 27 batters in 37.2 innings, something that is very un-characteristic of him. In his first two major league starts this year he walked 8 batters in 13 innings, but he has kept runs of the board, allowing just 3 earned runs in those 13 innings. His minor league career K/9 is in the high 8′s and his BB/9 is in the low 2′s so I don’t expect his control problem to continue, but I do expect him to keep preventing runs from scoring and if the A’s offense can give him some support he could wind up with 8-10 wins. He’s a must add in deeper leagues and a careful watch in shallower mixed leagues.
Francisco Liriano‘s struggles just worsened as he was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 23. Shoulder inflammation will shelve the lefty for at least two starts, but look to get him back into your lineups as soon as he returns. He has improved recently and has given up just 3 earned runs in his last 13 innings while striking out 13 as well.
Who to start, who to sit
Wednesday, June 1
Chicago White Sox starter Phil Humber has looked sensational thus far in 2011, but don’t look for him to shine on Wednesday as he faces the Boston Red Sox. Humber is 3-3 with 33 K’s, a 2.85 ERA, and 0.93 WHIP in his 60 innings this year, but he hasn’t faced a team that has been as hot as the Red Sox. They won 19 of their past 28 games and have surged into fourth in the league in runs scored. This is the wrong time for any young starter to face the Red Sox, Sit Humber.
Oakland Athletics starter Gio Gonzalez faces the New york Yankees on wednesday. Most starters always have the chance to get rocked by the bombers, but Gonzalez is a different story. He has allowed more than 2 earned runs only twice this year and his K/9 is the second highest it has been in his career. He did issue 5 walks in his previous start against Baltimore, but he escaped with allowing just 1 run by relying on his out pitches and racking up strikeouts. He will feast on the fading and aggressive hitters in the Yankees lineup like Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson. He is a must start.
Thursday, June 2
Houston’s Bud Norris has silently been one of the better starters in fantasy baseball, but he is only owned in half of ESPN leagues. At 26-years old he is a starter you keep around for his strikeout potential. He has 73 K’s in 67 innings despite winning just 2 games. His ERA is a solid 3.76 and his WHIP is 1.34. He gets to pitch in San Diego on Thursday against an offensively challenged Padres team. Start Norris if you have him, if you don’t already own him then keep a close eye on him.
Friday, June 3
It seems like everyone has forgotten Houston starter J.A. Happ since his stellar rookie season. Happ is 3-6 with a 4.66 ERA so far in 2011, but he has pitched much better than that recently. He went 2-2 in May with a 3.31 ERA and 32 K’s in 35.1 innings and has been even better in his most recent two starts, posting a 1.64 ERA and 12 K’s in 11 innings. He only has 3 wins on the year, but that is because Houston’s offense doesn’t provide much run support. Happ starts against San Diego on Friday and should continue his hot streak. He is owned in just 5.6 percent of ESPN leagues and should be scooped up before his start this weekend. Don’t miss out.
Saturday, June 4
Zach Britton’s youth may be catching up with him. The young Orioles lefty hit a bump in his last start as he gave up 6 earned runs to Oakland in 5.2 innings by allowing 10 hits and 3 walks. Like most young starters, Britton took advantage of teams not knowing him very well, but he goes up against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday and i’m expecting his rookie magic to run out. Toronto is one of the better hitting ball clubs in baseball and Britton was shaken up in his last start and is more vulnerable than ever, Sit him