Today we resume the series of two-start starters that are likely on waivers in your league. As a rule and a reminder, this means only two-start guys who are on the wire in more than half of leagues via ESPN or Yahoo! fantasy setups.
This is a particularly lean week for guys to recommend. Surely there are some strong options, but let’s dive into the middle of the pack to see who you should start.
Kyle Drabek (25.4 percent ESPN/30 percent Yahoo!) – v. Tex, @LAA
It’s only four trips through the rotation, but Drabek is looking more like the pitcher who was in a deal for Roy Halladay than one who carried a 6.00-plus ERA and walked more than he whiffed. To be fair, Drabek is still struggling a bit with the free pass, but he catches a Halos team allergic to them (6.6 percent BB rate tied for second-worst in MLB), and at the very least, he gets the bopping Texas Rangers — also rather walk-averse at 7.8 percent — lineup at home. Drabek has improved greatly on the ground ball side of things, and even though he’s stranding an abnormal amount of runners (94.5 percent!), he’s also well above his career marks in HR/FB. There’s plenty of wiggle in Drabek’s overall numbers — see: .226 BABIP — but for now, in a lean week, you can do a lot worse than the 24-year old righty.
Jeff Samardzija (16.1 percent ESPN/22 percent Yahoo!) – @PHI, v. LAD
The Shark has been downright dazzling as he heads into this week’s two-date dance. The 4.13 ERA isn’t as beautiful as one might like, but the 2.35 FIP tells a lot of the story: 9.4 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, .352 BABIP, and 64.4 percent strand rate. The future is looking up for the 27-year old righty, as long as he can keep the free passes down. The matchup with Philly would usually not be an accommodating one, but this year’s incarnation of the Phightins has a .290 wOBA, 5.3 percent walk rate, and an 18.8 percent whiff rate. I’d be absolutely salivating over that matchup. The Dodgers post a bit of a tougher match for the former wideout, but it’s at home, and outside of Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, only A.J. Ellis on the Fighting Mattinglys has a wOBA over .340. It’s pretty top-heavy.
Luke Hochevar (1.9 percent ESPN/9 percent Yahoo!) – @DET, v. NYY
I tossed-and-turned a bit with this one, but ultimately, there was really no other good option. Hammel is going to really get his mettle tested with the two Eastern powerhouses, Nicasio’s still a bit too unproven, and I don’t trust Happ further than I can throw him. This leaves me recommending Hochevar, who’s had a decent stretch to start the season, but hasn’t exactly been a world-beater. His BABIP is good, his FIP is low, and I love his infield defense — when Getz plays second, anyway — and the fact that he doesn’t have to go to New York. The Yankees offense has been really good, but they’re a little easier on the road (.362 wOBA overall, .350 on the road), and the Tigers offense has been quite a disappointment (.304 wOBA overall, .311 at home). Again, the Hochevar matchup isn’t one that’ll make a fantasy owner jump up and down, but I think at the very least, he can show a Pavanian level of usefulness.
At your own risk:
James McDonald – @ATL, CIN
J.A. Happ – v. NYM, v. STL
Juan Nicasio – v. LAD, v. ATL
Jason Hammel – @NYY, @BOS
Tommy Milone – @BOS, @TB
Bargain Bin Shopping: Adam Wilk (0 percent ownership overall) – v. KC, v. CWS or Joe Wieland (0 percent) – v. MIL, v. FLA
It’s not often that I’ll mention a couple of guys that are completely unowned, and to be fair, I’m not exactly pushing them down your throat.
While Wilk is getting a couple clubs that are middle of the pack offensively, the White Sox are hitting .193/.279/.343 with a .270 wOBA against southpaws and the Royals .203/.262/.312 (.253 wOBA). He could sneak in a couple cheapies this week. Wieland, on the other hand, has started 0-3 but has been quite good in his past two starts, both at home. The Marlins are 23rd in team wOBA (.292), and much of the Brewers .329 wOBA stems from the power out of a team triple-slash of .237/.308/.447. That power should be neutralized at Petco, making Wieland a possibly decent play this week.
* Wilk was sent down in favor of Duane Below.