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Mike Trout used to be pretty much the only reason to watch the Angels :::pause here for sobbing break:::. Despite having the best player on the planet and one of the larger budgets in the league, the Angels were still not very good. Now Trout is gone forever (Okay, he will probably be back in a couple months) and we have no reason to watch that team out in Los Angeles of Anaheim of California or whatever they are calling themselves this week. But that wouldn’t make any sense. Why would I start off this article with such a non-sequitur? Aha! I wouldn’t!

Enter Alex Meyer. Meyer is your new Trout, your new reason to watch the Angels. Okay, okay, okay, that isn’t true. But what if I told you Meyer was owned in just 2.7% of ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues and was striking out 10.44 batters per nine innings pitched this season? Not convinced because it is only seven starts? Okay, what if I told you that over six seasons in the minor leagues he struck out more than 10.5 batters per nine innings? I’m not sure what I’m expecting in response to those “what if” questions, especially since you are reading this at least two days after I wrote it, but those numbers are correct. Meyer is a high upside roll of the dice as a two-start option for Week 11. Not convinced? Here’s an elegant scouting report from his last start by a Los Angeles Times beat writer:

Nine dudes! It was also the fourth time in his last five starts that Meyer struck out seven or more dudes. Three of those starts were quality starts. Not too shabby, right? Oh, and did I mention he is 6’9″ and throws gas? Well, he does:

Despite it being a day or so after I wrote this and not knowing you on a personal level, I know what you’re thinking: why is this hunk only owned in 2.7% of ESPN leagues? If you skipped ahead to the charts below, you might also be wondering why he is in The Knockoffs tier and not somewhere higher. Well, a number of reasons. First and foremost, he is an unproven starter on a bad team. The Angels, like we discussed earlier, weren’t all that good with Trout in the lineup, and they sure ain’t better without him.

He also has some troubling peripherals. While my man is striking out 10.44 per nine, good for third best behind DeGrom and Bauer among our two-start starters this week, he is also walking 6.11 per nine, which is dead last among our two-starters this week. Throughout his minor league career, he walked 3.8 per nine, which still isn’t great but is a heck of a lot better than the 6.11 monstrosity he has right now. A 6.11 BB/9 and the fact that he pitches on the Angels is enough to scare most owners away. After all, he lost his last start despite going six innings, striking out nine batters, and giving up zero earned runs.

While the walks are terrifying and make him a candidate capable of imploding at any moment, there is a lot to like about Meyer. He’s a former first-round pick with a ton of upside who, at the very least, is going to strike people out. I have him at the top of The Knockoffs tier below, but based on ownership percentage and ceiling I have him as one of the best bargains and gambles of the week. The pitchers I have ranked ahead of him I have as safer bets, but I don’t know if anyone beneath maybe Bauer offers the kind of upside that Meyer does this week.

Pitchers are listed in order by rank. Colors represent 8 toughest or 8 easiest opponents according to team wOBA for last 14 days.

THE BEST

Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Stephen Strasburg WAS ATL, @NYM 2.80/2.69 9.97/2.46
Jacob deGrom NYM CHC, WAS 4.75/3.92 11.75/3.75
Yu Darvish TEX @HOU, SEA 3.18/4.12 9.77/3.51
Lance Lynn STL MIL, @BAL 2.88/4.86 8.26/3.41

THE REPLICAS

Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Michael Pineda NYY @LAA, @OAK 3.39/4.13 9.42/2.13
David Price BOS PHI, @HOU 5.29/5.96 7.94/3.71
John Lackey CHC @NYM, @PIT 5.12/5.05 9.21/2.69
Jimmy Nelson MIL @STL, SD 3.45/3.16 9.09/2.18
Jake Odorizzi TB @TOR, @DET 3.59/5.00 7.96/2.81
Trevor Bauer CLE LAD, @MIN 6.10/4.14 11.03/3.63
Mike Leake STL MIL, @BAL 2.70/3.56 6.53/1.58
Jason Vargas KC @SF, @LAA 2.18/3.30 7.14/2.06

THE STANDARDS

Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
CC Sabathia NYY @LAA, @OAK 3.66/4.18 7.32/2.90
Rick Porcello BOS PHI, @HOU 4.46/4.03 8.70/1.79
Mike Foltynewicz ATL @WAS, MIA 3.48/4.20 7.65/2.64
Brandon McCarthy LAD @CLE, @CIN 3.28/3.04 7.96/2.34
Wade Miley BAL @CHW, STL 3.27/4.34 8.24/4.83
Joe Ross WAS ATL, @NYM 6.16/4.55 9.71/1.66
Derek Holland CHW BAL, @TOR 3.99/5.57 7.45/3.86

THE KNOCKOFFS

Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Alex Meyer LAA NYY, KC 4.08/4.15 10.44/6.11
Adalberto Mejia MIN SEA, CLE 4.18/5.86 8.07/4.73
Tyler Chatwood COL @PIT, SF 4.37/4.72 7.35/4.25
JC Ramirez LAA NYY, KC 4.33/4.47 6.88/1.91
Christian Bergman SEA @MIN, @TEX 4.03/5.55 6.16/2.84
Zack Wheeler NYM CHC, WAS 3.45/3.87 8.04/3.73
Joe Musgrove HOU TEX, BOS 4.89/4.67 7.26/2.87

THE 

Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Mike Pelfrey CHW BAL, @TOR 3.80/4.58 5.40/3.20
Kyle Gibson MIN SEA, CLE 6.52/5.25 6.52/4.84
Chad Kuhl PIT COL, CHC 5.63/4.09 7.29/3.98
Jerad Eickhoff PHI @BOS, ARI 5.15/4.12 7.93/3.48
Luis Perdomo SD CIN, @MIL 5.47/4.40 7.79/3.15
Yovani Gallardo SEA @MIN, @TEX 6.26/5.01 6.82/4.18
Jharel Cotton OAK @MIA, NYY 5.20/5.02 7.81/4.39
Alec Asher BAL @CHW, STL 4.35/4.62 7.40/2.61
Ty Blach SF KC, @COL 3.64/3.93 3.64/1.82
Kyle Freeland COL @PIT, SF 3.34/4.57 5.66/3.60
Ben Lively PHI @BOS, ARI 2.57/3.93 1.93/3.21
Bronson Arroyo CIN @SD, LAD 6.25/6.86 5.68/2.70

All pitchers are projected for two starts as of Friday night. 

If you would prefer to see the above tables as a color-coded graphic, we’ve got that too!

As always, disagree with anything here? Have any questions or comments? Want to tell Mike how great he is or how much you agree with him? Want relationship or investment advice?

DROP THOSE COMMENTS!

If you want to talk fantasy baseball or football or have players you want Mike to feature, hit him up on Twitter at @mikeMaher or post a comment below!

 

   
  1. John says:
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    Lackey? After his past few starts? I don’t think so.

    What are you seeing that I don’t see?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @John:

      Still striking out more than 9 per 9, and I like his matchups vs. NYM and PIT this week. Certainly not a lock by any means but I like his upside more than many others this week.

  2. Raj says:
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    1. Is Buck Farmer on two starts next week?
    2. If Taillon takes Kuhl’s spot in the rotation, which tier does he fall in?

    • OldNavy says:
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      Tigers have not announced who is pitching Tuesday.

      • mikeMaher

        mikeMaher says:
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        @OldNavy:

        It looks like Farmer is on track to start Tuesday, but the Tigers have not announced anything yet, like OldNavy says.

        And hmm, Taillon, tough to peg him right now coming off such a scare. I think I would put him in the lower end of the Replicas or upper end of the Standards until we see how he looks.

  3. Scrapski says:
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    Good stuff MM
    Drop Hendricks for Nola or Ross?
    Thanks!

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Scrapski:

      Thanks. And nah I would hold onto Hendricks for now.

  4. LenFuego says:
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    Even though you have Freeland rated third last of everyone, I quite like him @PIT and home against the feckless Giants.

    • UKHalo says:
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      @LenFuego: Freeland has outperformed his razzball $ prediction in 8 of his last 9 starts, by a total of $346 (ie an average of $38 per start)

      • mikeMaher

        mikeMaher says:
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        @UKHalo:

        Yeah, Freeland is a guy who is definitely outperforming his peripherals right now. I obviously think he is due for some regression, but he has been having success despite not striking out many batters and allowing a lot of runners.

  5. Yankee My Wanky! says:
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    Mike,
    Always look forward to this article. Really good stuff.

    Pineda doesn’t appear to be pitching twice unless Yahoo has it wrong, and unfortunately for his owners (me for one) Tanaka is at least scheduled to start Monday. I assume you would not rate Tanaka very high, although he faces the Angels and As. Could always be worse.

    Thanks much Mike.

    • Midget Mafia says:
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      @Yankee My Wanky!: I think Pineda pitches Tuesday and Sunday I believe. Where would you rank JC Rameriez?

      • Midget Mafia says:
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        @Midget Mafia: never mind found JC

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Yankee My Wanky!:

      Thanks, appreciate that.

      Pineda was on the initial lists for project two-start starters but now it looks like he is starting Wednesday instead. The Yankees pushed back Tanaka’s start, which shifted everything.

      Tanaka scares me. He has allowed 5 or more runs in 4 of his last five starts. He only struck out a combined 13 batters in those 4 starts. The other start was a gem in which he struck out 13 in that game alone and only allowed one run. You can’t trust him right now, and it looks like the Yankees don’t either. Poop emoji tier until he shows us something better.

      • Yankee My Wanky! says:
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        @mikeMaher: Thanks much Mike. Enjoy your Sunday.

  6. trogdor says:
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    Thanks. Love the new color coded chart. Very helpful for the terminally nerdy!

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @trogdor:

      Thanks! I create it while coming up with the tiers, so I figured I might as well share it with everyone.

  7. Conktown Tinker says:
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    A little off topic, but I’ve got an empty DL spot I’m hoping to fill with a high risk/reward starter…

    Who do you like among:

    Eduardo Rodriguez
    Tijuan Walker
    Jon Gray
    Charlie Morton
    Drew Smyly

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Conktown Tinker:

      Of that list, I like Gray and E-Rod the most. Looks like Gray is closer to returning though if that factors into your decision.

  8. Mr. Crab says:
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    If the Tigers select Fulmer to start on Tuesday (and Sunday), on which tier will you place him?

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Mr. Crab:

      I *think* he is supposed to go on Wednesday, but that is a tough question. 10 straight quality starts followed by two duds. He doesn’t strike out a ton of guys but he keeps the WHIP low. I think I would have to throw him into the Replicas tier.

      • Mr. Crab says:
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        @mikeMaher: Thanks for the guidance Mike, hope he recovers from the latest blunders !

  9. Andrew Edenbaum says:
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    Pineda definitely not 2 stepping, but a pretty good pitcher is, Clayton Kershaw.

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Andrew Edenbaum:

      Yeah, changed after Friday night. I think Kershaw’s status has changed after Friday night all three weeks I have been doing this series so far.

      • Andrew Edenbaum says:
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        Mike, if YOU were in charge of the Dodgers, would you send him out on 4 days rest ? Would YOU have pulled him after 90+ pitchers after letting him hit ? Yeah, he got lucky picking up the win, but either Roberts or Coletti is a freaking moron. If they would have tried that bull shit on Gibson or Drysdale or Ryan or Clemens or Morris, they would have told the mgr. to pound sand, if not just growl at him.

        • mikeMaher

          mikeMaher says:
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          @Andrew Edenbaum:

          I’m gonna go with no. Is no the right answer?

  10. Michael says:
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    Mike, I play in a keeper league and this week is a tough decision for me so I would like your thoughts

    I get to start 3 pitchers and was initially going for

    J.A. Happ (CWS)
    Craig Kimbrel (RP)
    Masahiro Tanaka – LAA, OAK

    I have a rule to always start a 2 gamer as the potential for big pitching points in my league really helps and the Yanks bats seem to be getting hot against to mediocre teams….but Tanaka always seems to fail me when I do start him and suceed when I bench him.

    I have the following healthy pitchers on the bench this week:

    Lester – (Mets)
    Cody Allen (RP)

    my league Save = 4 pts
    QS = 3 pts, W = 6, CG = 1

    I know it’s late but any suggestions before the 1 pm deadline today? :)

    Bluemeenie

    • mikeMaher

      mikeMaher says:
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      @Michael:

      Yeah, definitely hard to trust Tanaka, especially for two starts in that format. I would trust anyone on this list above the knockoffs tier more than him.

Comments are closed.