Two starters and an outfielder for your team before the weekend begins…
Jeremy Guthrie | SP | Ownership: 40% Yahoo, 29% ESPN
Guthrie has consistently outperformed his peripherals during his four seasons in Baltimore, save for that brutal 2009 season (5.04 ERA, 5.31 FIP). In the other three years, his FIP has sat in the mid-4.00’s (no lower than 4.41) while his ERA never topped 3.83. We’re talking about an almost 600 IP sample, and Guthrie is hardly the only guy to consistently outperform his peripherals (Matt Cain, anyone?). Is there a time when we say a 3.80-4.00 ERA is his true talent level?
Anyway, Guthrie pitched pretty well after Buck Showalter took over last season (3.14 ERA, ~3.90 FIP in 77.1 IP), an endpoint that is admittedly more convenient than meaningful. He wrecked the Rays in the season opener (8 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 6 K) and is “pushing hard” to make his start on Sunday after battling pneumonia. You might want to sit him that start since he’s coming off the illness and also because he’ll be facing the Rangers, but after that he lines up for dates against the Indians and Twins.
Brandon Beachy | SP | Ownership: 27% Yahoo, 10.2% ESPN
Dave Cameron recently wrote about Beachy’s impressive season debut against the Brewers (6 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 7 K), noting that “there’s far more evidence to support the idea that Beachy is going to be a quality Major League starter than there is that he’s an overachiever who is going to get exposed against good competition.” My only concern is about all the balls put into the air off him; his fly ball rate is 33.9% in the big leagues (just 21 IP though) and ~42% in the minors according to First Inning, which obviously isn’t great. That said, an ERA closer to 4.00 than 5.00 with seven strikeouts for every nine innings seems like a reasonable expectation, and it’s hard to do better than that at the back of a fantasy (or big league) rotation. Beachy starts tomorrow against the Phillies, which is probably a good start to skip they’re hitting the snot out of the ball right now, but after that he lines up against the Marlins, Dodgers, and possibly the Padres.
Ben Francisco | OF | Ownership: 32% Yahoo, 37.1% ESPN
Like I just said, the Phillies are hitting the snot out of the ball right now (.396 wOBA as a team), which is kinda funny considering all the injuries and the general concern surrounding some of their guys that are healthy. Francisco is playing everyday because of Domonic Brown’s injury and has handled himself well: 8-for-25 (.320) with a pair of homers and a double. He is just two for his last 12 and has already struck out nine times this year, but the former is the epitome of a small sample and the latter doesn’t really match up with a whiff rate that’s sat around 20% over the last few years. Francisco is a likely double-digit homers and steals guy with even semi-regular playing time, and right now he’s hitting near the middle of an offense that’s on a roll.