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The other day I went over picking up free agent hitters.  So now I do onto pitchers as I did onto hitters.  I opined that there were five things to look for with hitters, after looking up what opined meant.  Most of the criteria had to do with the hitter and not so much who he was facing.  It factored in, but didn’t dominate the decision.  If you feel like pitchers are going in the opposite direction, your powers of perception are incredible.  It is a true wonder how you’re divorced multiple times.  Put yourself on the free agent market, you catch you!  Pitchers are a lot harder to figure.  The pitcher can really only do so much.  I try to not even concern myself with wins.  It’s a crapshoot.  This is more for H2H than roto, but sometimes in roto you want a spot start too.  I ain’t mad at cha!  So here’s what I do concern myself with when picking up spot starters in fantasy baseball:

1. How well have they pitched in their last two games? – I don’t need a huge sample size here.  I don’t need an under 2 ERA.  I’m just looking to avoid a guy who is going to kill me.  If a guy has been rocked for the last two games, he’s a pass.  If a guy was rocked two starts ago, then pitched well in last start, he’s a possibility depending on how well he passes the next tests.

2. Is he going against a team that is struggling? – The Astros, M’s, Padres, Pirates or Giants hitters can make an All-Star pitcher out of Whitey Ford.  And Whitey Ford is 107 years old.

3. Is he pitching in a pitcher’s park? – As I said in the opening, a lot of this has nothing to do with the pitcher.  I wasn’t lying.  Joe Saunders is crizzap.  Joe Saunders in Petco is crizzap with a chance for an okay game.

4. How’s the other team against a certain side? – This usually only applies to lefties, because if a team is bad against righties then they’re just bad.  The White Sox, for instance, are not good vs. lefties.  Thanks, Dunn!

5. Can he give you something else you might need? – This is pretty much only for H2H.  Even if the pitcher gets rocked, will he get me some Ks?  Should his team win even if he’ll probably give up 4+ runs?  These are team specific questions.  Can you forfeit certain categories while hoping for other ones?  Can you take getting tied to the WHIPping post while being bludgeoned with the ERA stick?  Can you make love out of nothing at all?

  1. Calogero says:

    Posted this late in the old thread, but it’s more relevant here…

    12 team 6×6 H2H – I’m going to trade my worst SP and a nominal prospect for Dempster for the stretch run.

    It’s a minor move, but in a H2H league, a little bump in any week can make the difference between winning and losing. I picked out Dempster as a solid Buy, for a few reasons:

    1. A great late-season schedule [@Hou, Atl, @Mil, Pit, 1st Rd (I’ll have a bye) = Cin; Semifinal = @Cin, Hou; Finals = @STL, SD] and

    2. He K’s 8.5 per 9 and he’s still lagging way behind his SABR stats – FIP and xFIP are both around 3.5 and his ERA is around 4.9

    3. His velocity is back up about 1 mph since the ASB after being lower for much of the first half.

    Anyway, I need to drop or include one of my SP in the trade. Who do I get rid of?

    Edwin Jackson
    Doug Fister
    Javier Vazquez

  2. OaktownSteve says:

    What about when Alan Alda appears in your dreams and starts making recommnedations on streaming pitchers?

    In all seriousness, I like to look to Vegas. They do mad research and so all the history pitching in a specific park/against specific teams/day vs night etc ad nauseum stuff that you would have to look up yourself gets cooked into Vegas numbers. They literally do the work for you. Like to look at the O/U and the moneyline.

  3. chata says:


    but even vegas will occasionally miss an easy win …+125
    like moscoso dominating toronto (thanks to the A’s bats spotting him
    an early lead)

  4. The Spaceman says:

    @ Grey

    As leagues come down to crunch time, these articles are truly appreciated sir! That being said, quick question for ya. Keep 2; Giovotella, Blanks or Robot Jones? (I will assume ditch Jones)

    Lastly; any reason to think Minor may hold some value down the stretch? I’m slightly over IP’s in an 18 teamer. Thanks Grey. All the best!

    The Spaceman

  5. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    Sorry… was writing this comment while you were posting this article. Anyway…

    Soria has to be the biggest letdown closer this year, yeah? Now that I think about it, I may have drafted the Letdown Triple Crown (bat, SP, RP) in Hanley, Ubaldo, and Soria. If you include injuries, I suppose Johnson is a bigger letdown than Ubaldo… but I drafted him, too!


  6. Calogero says:

    @chata: +125 is actually not a bad line at all for an away team.

  7. Calogero says:

    Wow, didn’t @Grey: Wow, didn’t expect you to pick Vazquez there…what makes you put him below Edwin and Fister?

    Since mid-June, his ERA is decently under 3.00 and his K-rate is better than either of the other 2. Do you think he’s going to fall off?

  8. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Calogero: I don’t trust him… But don’t trust of them. Can lose Jackson if you like.

  9. Salty Balty says:

    Bautista drops pretty far in you rankings with this sign stealing BS, no? It would explain a lot if its true and given his meteoric rise from nowhere, it makes sense. Considering his home/road splits, struggles since the scandal has emerged, and absurd HR rate in general for the BJs at home, I think I just got hosed in a trade for him a few weeks ago . . . shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

    Also, I f—ing hate Chacin, great start today for him on my f—ing bench.

  10. OaktownSteve says:

    @Chata: of course no system is a lock. It’s all about finding a small edge. The thing about Vegas is they are sneaky smart…lot of good research goes into those lines and a lot of smart people working on them. So like I said, there is information coded in there that you’re getting for free. What I look at particularly is o/u that are either higher or lower than I would expect based on my read of the game, and I look at available streamers as far to the favorite side as I can find.

    @Awesomus: perspective can be funny or, in this case somewhat cruel…I picked up Soria and Ubaldo in my league from the garbage heap and they have both been pretty useful for me. Curious, did you ride them all the way or dump?

  11. MAC DADDY says:

    I have Ian Desmond stashed on the bench. Please don’t judge me. HanRam is my starter but now on the DL. Is Ian Desmond worth keeping in a 14 team keeper league for next year? Best FA if I dropped him is Jesus Guzman then furcal, nunez, betancourt or whatever is past the bottom of the barrel.

  12. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Salty Balty: Damn re: Chacin. Don’t think sign stealing has anything to do with a few week slump.

    @MAC DADDY: Grab Guzman.

  13. Hi Grey — In a 20-team roto league is Fister or Minor an upgrade from Ivan Nova, Luebke, Chacin, Beachy, or Scherzer? Both were dropped from teams way over on innings and I’m trying to figure out if making a waiver claim would upgrade my staff. Of course I’m hurting in Ws, along with ERA and WHIP.

  14. Salty Balty says:

    yeah, I think I might be reading too much into it . . . just pissed b/c I’m 2 points from the lead in my league and Bautista’s killing me.

    Also, I’m thinking of my keepers next year before the deadline, choose 5:

    J-Up (1st Round)
    R. Braun (1st Round – moves to second if I keep J-Up)
    Tulo (4th Round)
    C. Granderson (5th Round)
    J. Verlander (8th Round)
    Bautista (20th Round)

    I’m stuck between Granderson and Bautista. Seems like a no-brainer to go with Bautista, but Granderson has been a stud since he changed up his swing. My league is Roto w/ OPS, making Tulo extremely valuable as the only SS with a .900 OPS. Braun is a stud and J-Up looks like he could be the best player in fantasy next year.

    Keep your fingers crossed for me, if I win the league I think you would see a significant increase in your Margarita fee! I owe you anyway, cust sayin’.

  15. Salty Balty says:

    I’d love to hear anyone’s opinion on my keeper situation detailed above . . .

  16. Hooch says:


    Lackey @ SEA tomorrow…What do you think?

  17. Joe B says:

    @Grey: Who is the better SP pickup the rest of the way as I will be losing Zimmermann and Pineda soon due to inning caps… Peavy or Lilly?

  18. TravestJones says:

    Avila or Napoli?

  19. Black Beard says:

    Please rank ROTW: Stauffer, Colon, Niemann.

  20. ruah says:

    Can you please rank these 5 for overall production for the rest of the season: Carp, J Martinez, Blanks, Matsui and Bay. Thanks

  21. Exactly says:

    12 team H2H points league and I need to pick up an OF, I’ve been offered trades of Kubel, Lo-Mo or Austin Jackson for Chris Perez…accept one of them or pick up any of these guys off the wire: Carp, Blanks, Fowler, Bay or Bourjos?

  22. Exactly says:

    basically, what @rush said, but more contrived.

  23. Trevor

    tggq21 says:

    Grey, im glad you did this. i love when you do stuff out of the ordinary. thanks

  24. Steve says:

    An Al-Ram sighting.


  25. ChiSox says:

    Who do I drop in a points league that rewards holds, but probably would like the guy who has the best chance of becoming a closer.

    Mike Adams or Antonio Bastardo

  26. knighttown says:

    It’s been a long climb back but I’ve finally tied the guy who had run away from the pack all year in my daily 12 teamer. Problem is, at 105 points, there isn’t much room to move up. I’ve got a 12 in HR and SB but need help in average (8) and ERA (8). Knowing that, would an offer of Lind/Reynolds/Chacin for V-Mart and Weaver make sense?

  27. knighttown says:

    And same idea…I’m stuck at 6.5 out of 12 in saves. I have 3 donkycorns (Guerra, Madson, Melancon). I’m thinking of throwing Melancon + Boneface + Danks at the guy with Kimbrel. Way too much or gotta do what you gotta do?

  28. Grey

    Grey says:

    @knighttown: It’s fine as long as you have replacements for Danks and Bonifacio.

  29. Steve says:

    I’m Yovani Gallardo. I don’t need a two-run lead.

  30. Steve says:

    @Steve: Jesus.

  31. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Just likes a challenge.

  32. Steve says:

    @Grey: Probably planning to hit one himself.

    My copy of the ESPN book (finally) arrived last week. Have you read it yet?

  33. Feeding the Abscess

    Feeding the Abscess says:

    Kinda bummed that Carpenter got moved up to face Milwaukee instead of Colorado, but eh. Here’s hoping for a cheap win.

  34. Steve says:

    I was just about to ask for that double play.

  35. Awesomus Maximus

    Awesomus Maximus says:

    Have you seen the picture of Morse over at RotoWorld?

    The current link to Jar-Jar’s pic under “Smugshot” is good, but Morse’s has got to be the most smug I have ever seen… you might need to update the glossary entry.

  36. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Rudy didn’t give it a rave review so I haven’t read it yet.

    @Awesomus Maximus: Ha, totally.

  37. Norbs says:

    I have a chance to move Cargo & Yuniesky for McCutchen & Hardy or for Adam Jones and Hardy – 12 team H2H with only 2 keepers. Would you do it and which pair would you prefer? Really appreciate your work – your humor and sage advice is second to none!

  38. Steve says:

    Man, I knew having Krispie and Mini Donkey on the same team would be tough, but it’s starting to push the limits of endurance now.

  39. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Norbs: McCutchen and Jones… Thanks!

    @Steve: Is that your RCL team where the average dropped out?

  40. Steve says:

    @Grey: However did you guess. It doesn’t help that some of the guys I drafted to hedge against them (LoMo, Howie, Youk) have spent the better part of the last month sucking as well.

  41. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Yeah, that hurts.

  42. Steve says:

    JD Martinez just earned himself a stay of execution.

  43. DHill Dragons says:

    Repeat after me…I won’t reserve Cueto for another scoring period again this season…I won’t reserve Cueto for another scoring period again this season…

    He was firing today, throwing many pitches at 95+ and fooling batters all day. His ERA is back down under 2 at 1.94

  44. Steve says:

    @Steve: But back in the shadows of the gallows now…

  45. Phil says:

    Quick question, I asked this in the other post.. but I’m in a dynasty league in yahoo… I have the top WW.. should I pick up vizcaino or wait to see if Bauer or anyone else gets a september call?

  46. Steve says:

    As a Krispie owner, I’d walk Montero here to pitch to him.

  47. Steve says:

    It tastes better when it’s Krispie.

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