Unless you've got a roster stacked with high-end pitchers you'll start against any matchup, you'll probably need to keep a close eye on the schedule as you get ready to set your lineup for the upcoming week. You'll need to know which of your starters have bad matchups, which are set for two starts in the upcoming week, and which fringe-y options might just be worth going out to grab on waivers.
Which is why you'll definitely want to check out SportsLine's weekly pitching Start 'Em & Sit 'Em chart from William Dubiel. A 15-year Fantasy veteran, Dubiel got his start in Fantasy baseball and has done work for Rotoballer, Metro US and multiple other outlets during his career. He was named the No. 4 MLB Ranker for the 2017 MLB season, so if there's anybody who can give you an edge in your Fantasy baseball league, it's him.
Now, he's helping you set your pitching lineup each week. William goes through every starting pitcher matchup for the upcoming week, making start and sit picks for each game. Here are some of William's calls for Week 9:
- In a two-start week, I've got Mike Leake as a double-start against Texas and Oakland. He's currently riding a nice little hot streak, posting a 2.29 ERA in his last three starts which came at the Indians, at the Yankees, and home against the Athletics. I stand by those decisions for the next two starts, but I'll caution that things might not be as rosy in the future for Leake. He's actually bumped his strikeout percentage up a couple points to 17.6%, which represents his highest mark since 2014. That may be a misleading indicator though, as Leake has actually lost velocity for the third consecutive season. He will likely always be able to get by thanks to his above-average control, but to expect Leake to keep his ERA under 4.00 for the season is ill-advised. Ride him now while things are going well, but set your expectations for the rest of the season accordingly.
- Zach Davies has been brilliant this season with a 5-0 record to go along with a 1.54 ERA. The 26-year-old has never been a strikeout artist and likely never will be, as he uses his modest 90 mph sinker and a complementary change-up to generate soft contact. Like Leake, Davies is likely in for some major regression as the season wears on. His 4.88 SIERA is more representative of the type of pitcher Davies really is, and there are plenty of other indicators that his luck may soon run out. So far in 2019 Davies has left a whopping 85.9% of runners on base, which should drop closer to his career mark of 73.7%. He's also gotten lucky with balls in play, as opposing batters have just a .271 BABIP so far this year--again, his career average is significantly worse, at .295. I am highly skeptical that Davies has evolved into an ace like his record indicates, so brace for the oncoming regression. But, you can enjoy the ride while it's lasting and keep rolling him out there while he's hot. This week's home matchup against the Reds doesn't scare me enough to bench him.
- The bounce-back season Marcus Stroman is having is more than any Fantasy owner could have dreamed of, and certainly more than what they expected when drafting him this year. Stroman's injury-marred 2018 was one to forget ? he posted a nightmarish 5.54 ERA and 4-9 record ? but many of the underlying stats were the same as his strong 2017 season. He's replicating most of those metrics in 2019, and I believe the pitcher we're seeing now is the "true" Stroman. His strikeout numbers, while mediocre, are up from last season thanks to a nice jump in swinging strike percentage (10.8% up from 9.1%). That's likely a result of decreased usage of his fastball and increased usage of his curve ball and slider, which he's throwing more than a third of the time in 2019. It's likely he regresses slightly from his current 2.95 ERA, but I think he's very capable of a season-long ERA under 3.50 assuming he stays healthy.
- German Marquez was one of the trendier breakout picks heading into this year's drafts thanks to a solid campaign that saw him turn into one of baseball's true strikeout machines. He still suffered from playing his home games at Coors, but his final ERA of 3.77 backed by an impressive 3.41 SIERA was a sign of hope for many prospective pitcher whisperers. Marquez hasn't been bad this year by any means, but so far he has simply lacked the upside he seemed to carry in every outing last season. His strikeout rate is down a bit, but at 24.5% he's still over a strikeout per inning. He's even demonstrating improved control, and has his walk rate down to a minuscule 4.5%. There are no significant underlying indicators of trouble ahead for Marquez ? he's changed virtually nothing about his pitch selection, his velocity is nearly identical to last season, and he's not giving up more long balls. In the early going he's simply been victimized by Coors Field. Away from the Mile High City, Marquez has an impressive 2.55 ERA, but at home he's been crushed to a 5.54 ERA. If you want to pick and choose home and away matchups to dodge the hits to your ratios nobody would blame you, but Marquez carries enough strikeout upside that you'll be fine in most outings. This week I think he's an easy start on the road against the Pirates, but the Orioles visiting Coors later in the week has me nervous. I can see Trey Mancini connecting with a three-run shot at some point in his outing.
So, how will you know which other pitchers to start and which to avoid? ... Join SportsLine right now to get access to the tools and date that can help you make the right decision!