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Fantasy Planner: Two Good Starts For Phillies’ Nick Pivetta, Add Zach Eflin

Fantasy Planner: Two Good Starts For Phillies’ Nick Pivetta, Add Zach Eflin
Brandon C. Williams May 11, 2018 6:05PM EDT

Your Full Fantasy Guide To the Upcoming Week, Including Streamers and Waiver Recommendations

The upcoming week has a West Coast flavor that leans strongly toward good pitching, as the Giants and Mariners have homestands that will make their starters strong options. Offensively, look at the bats of the Phillies and Red Sox, both of whom should feast on a hapless Orioles staff that has been shelled to the tune of a 5.18 ERA, second only to the White Sox.

Although Chicago’s staff screams Instant Offense to any opponent, at least the Pale Hose have the excuse of enduring growing pains from a host of promising arms. In case no one has told you, Baltimore is a pretty bad team.

Pitching For Two, Please (Recommended Two-Start Pitchers)

Ty Blach, Giants (vs. Reds, Tuesday; vs. Rockies, Sunday): He’s been brutal at home (5.06 ERA, .296 Batting Average Against) but you can’t ignore Blach going against a Cincinnati offense that’s 25th in OPS. He’s fared well against Colorado, holding them to a .231 batting average in seven appearances (three starts) in his career.

Chris Stratton, Giants (vs. Reds, Monday; vs. Rockies, Saturday): Like Blach, Stratton has been pelted at home (6.92 ERA this season). Like Blach, the same holds true for Stratton when he opens the series against Cincy.

Reynaldo Lopez, White Sox (at Pirates, Tuesday; vs. Rangers, Sunday): Even with the extreme fly ball profile, I like Lopez at home this week. Opponents are batting just .169 against him at Guaranteed Rate Field thus far and I also have faith Lopez will raise his paltry 6.59 K/9 rate.

Joey Lucchesi, Padres (vs. Rockies, Monday; at Pirates, Sunday): Just know you’re not going to get more than six innings from Lucchesi, who has only eclipsed the 90-pitch barrier twice in his first eight starts. You might want to check out his K:BB margin at Petco Park (34:9 in 31.1 innings). He’s developing into a sneaky good play.

Tyler Mahle, Reds (at Giants, Tuesday; vs. Cubs, Sunday): Did you know Mahle leads the majors in strikeouts among pitchers 23 and younger? He had three straight quality starts entering his outing at the Dodgers on Thursday and sports a solid 9.69 K/9 rate. But, oh, the long ball (2.09 HR/9). Risky on Sunday, but the strikeouts will be too tempting to pass up.

Tyler Anderson, Rockies (at Padres, Monday, at Giants, Sunday): Since allowing seven runs at the Diamondbacks on March 30, Anderson has allowed just three runs in his last four road starts. He’s also getting better than five runs per game from the O outside of Coors, which makes Anderson a worthy two-start option.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Red Sox (vs. Athletics, Tuesday; vs. Orioles, Sunday): Sweet jeebers, those last two starts (10 earned runs in 10 innings) prior to Thursday were painful, yet Rodriguez fanned 16 batters in the same span and then rebounded vs. the Yankees. If anything, do know he gets plenty of run support, as Boston averaged 7.1 runs in each of his starts prior to the Yankees game.

Junior Guerra, Brewers (at Diamondbacks, Monday; at Twins, Saturday): Yes, Guerra has been battered in his last two starts (nine earned runs in 10 innings) but like the aforementioned Rodriguez, Guerra has had his whiff on, striking out 13. Keep those Ks in mind when he faces an Arizona offense that is fifth in the league with 338 strikeouts.

Andrew Heaney, Angels (vs. Astros, Monday; vs. Rays, Saturday): The Giants tagged him for seven runs in his second start on April 20, but Heaney has allowed just four runs in his last three starts. His pitch count isn’t going to be heavy, yet Heaney’s 9.91 K/9 is a clear sign he’s back to being the strikeout artist he was projected to be when in the Marlins system.

Nick Pivetta, Phillies (at Orioles, Tuesday; at Cardinals, Sunday): His increased reliance on the curve (from 14.8 percent last season to 23 percent this year) is a big reason why Pivetta is teetering on the edge of a major breakout. Both versions of birds are in the bottom third in runs scored, making Pivetta more of a strong play.

Waiver Saviors

Zach Eflin, P, Phillies: Allowing one earned run and striking out 13 in 12.2 innings in two starts is one way to get his ownership in CBSSports.com leagues from four to 35 percent. Eflin is back to throwing his slider more frequently, a pitch that has become a devastating combination with his heater.

Yolmer Sanchez, 3B, White Sox: Light on pop, Sanchez is thriving on a wicked good .366 batting average when he puts the ball in play. I don’t know how long he can maintain that pace, but the 30 percent ownership he has in CBSSports.com leagues is a sign of good faith.

Tyler Clippard, P, Blue Jays: There’s a good chance Roberto Osuna could be done for the season (rightfully so), which gives Clippard first dibs on the closer’s role in We the North. His ownership rocketed to 21 percent in CBSSports.com leagues after he recorded the save on Wednesday. It might be safe to dump Osuna in one-year leagues since his world is about to be drastically changed.

Dustin Fowler, OF, Athletics: The number three prospect in the Oakland system made his debut with the A’s on Wednesday, sparking a rise in ownership in CBSSports.com leagues to 23 percent. Fowler has good stolen base potential with the upside to hit 15-20 homers down the road. If you like to gamble, Fowler is a heck of a bet.

Jose Bautista, 3B, Braves: At 29 percent ownership in CBSSports.com leagues, Joey Bats has a lot of people believing he’s got one more power spike in him. Can’t say I’m in that category, though. Still, he may be worth the add if you need some CI help.

John Hicks, C, Tigers: We see you working, John. Good job in getting your batting average from .179 to .246 in a week’s time. CBSSports.com owners see you as well, as you’ve gone from one percent to 27 percent owned in the same span. Outstanding!

Wilmer Difo, 3B, Nationals: Versatility (also eligible at 2B and SS) is his calling card. Difo is a deeper league option (11 percent ownership in CBSSports.com leagues) whose PT will hinge on the health of Anthony Rendon and Daniel Murphy.

Jeremy Jeffress, P, Brewers: Corey Knebel is back from the DL but Jeffress still has value in leagues that use holds as a category. Owned in 16 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, Jeffress isn’t a Josh Hader K machine but he’s damn effective in keeping batters from reaching base.

A Streaming We Will Go (Pitchers Edition)

Chad Bettis, Rockies (at Giants, Thursday): He’s looked like the second coming of Roy Oswalt away from Coors (4-1, 1.35 ERA). Definitely a good play here.

Andrew Suarez, Giants (vs. Reds, Wednesday): Pinpoint control in his first three starts (two walks over 17 innings). Sleeper potential if he’s on your league’s waiver wire.

Kyle Gibson, Twins (vs. Brewers, Friday): Where did the 10.24 K/9 come from? Should go well against a team ranked 25th in slugging percentage.

Fernando Romero, Twins (vs. Brewers, Saturday): Eventually, Romero will pitch like a mere mortal. I don’t think Saturday will be the case.

Jordan Lyles, Padres (vs. Rockies, Tuesday): It’s easy to forget Lyles is only 27. Was impressive in the bullpen but should continue his strong start as part of the rotation.

Tyler Skaggs, Angels (vs. Rays, Thursday): Life is good when you avoid the Astros and get the Rays. The Ks (15 in his last two starts) are starting to pick up.

Jarlin Garcia, Marlins (at Braves, Friday): The Cubs cleaned his clock on Monday (seven earned runs) as the homer bug hit him three times. Still, Garcia has emerged as a steady option who makes the most of the 85-90 pitches he throws each time out.

Bartolo Colon, Rangers (at Mariners, Wednesday): You’ll only give yourself a headache if you attempt to figure out how Colon is neutralizing batters. Just plug him in and enjoy.

Nick Tropeano, Angels (vs. Rays, Saturday): He’ll be back off the DL and will continue to fly under most radars because of his low pitch count (91.7 per game).

Ryan Yarbrough, Rays (at Angels, Friday): The “Bullpen Day” graduate won’t have a heavy workload but the seven Ks he garned in five innings against the Braves on Wednesday is a sign of what Yarbrough is capable of.

A Streaming We Will Go (Hitters Edition)

Alex Gordon, OF, Royals (vs. Yankees, Friday): The Undertaker he’s not, but Gordon has come from the Fantasy graveyard (.429 batting average this month leading into Thursday’s play) and looks like the AG from 2011-15. Sonny Gray and his 1.76 WHIP is a perfect pairing for the resurgent Royal.

Nick Markakis, OF, Braves (vs. Cubs, Tuesday-Wednesday): Atlanta’s youth movement has overshadowed the remarkable rebound of Markakis, whose home slashline of .303/.373.475 translates into must-start status.

Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants (vs. Reds, Monday-Wednesday): Look who’s remembered how to hit the ball (.412 in 34 ABs in May leading into Thursday)?  

Max Stassi, C, Astros (at Angels, Monday-Wednesday): His 410-foot oppo blast against the A’s on Wednesday only bolsters the fact Stassi needs more playing time. He’s worth keeping an eye on.

Daniel Descalso, INF/OF, Diamondbacks (vs. Brewers, Monday-Wednesday): Similar to Stassi, Descalso’s bat is hankering for more playing time. There’s not too many utility players sporting an .893 OPS.

Jorge Alfaro, C, Phillies (vs. Orioles, Tuesday-Wednesday): Since taking the bulk of the starts behind the plate in late April, Alfaro’s bat has warmed up with the weather. Two games of O’s pitching will only help heat up his numbers.

Addison Russell, SS, Cubs (at Reds, Friday-Sunday): A .215 batting average in late April is a thing of the past as Russell has climbed above .260 along with getting his first homer of the season. His surging bat gets four games (doubleheader on Saturday) at in longball-friendly Cincinnati.

Mallex Smith, OF, Rays (at Royals, Monday-Wednesday) Smith will bring pressure with their swiping skills. He offers little pop, but Smith and his modern day Otis Nixon-like game almost forces you to play him nightly.

Mitch Moreland, 1B, Red Sox (vs. Orioles, Friday-Sunday): He’s tearing the cover off the ball this month and when you pair that in Fenway against the O’s pitching staff….

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