Did I just read that right? September, already? That is correct. Here we are in the first week of September, the unofficial end of summer. Labor Day weekend, cookouts, family reunions, football weekends, and playoff-chase baseball! What a great time of the year! Major League rosters have expanded, so we get to see some future stars of the game get their first taste of the majors. Not every prospect will experience immediate success, but if the past is any indication, there will be some very exciting prospects who will give their teams a boost to end the season. This is a very exciting time to be a baseball fan.
As exciting as it is, it can be equally frustrating for fantasy owners, when lineup changes happen on a moment’s notice. At this time of year, it is best to delay setting a lineup any earlier than necessary, so you have a chance to scour any new injury reports or roster shuffling that might occur.
These are projected starts, and as such are subject to change due to rainouts, injury, performance issues, or managerial whims. I offer only my the opinion on the matchups; there are no guarantees on the actual starts.
You Can’t Ask For Any Better Starters Here…
- Robbie Ray – (9/4 @ LAD-Hyun-Jin Ryu; 9/10 vs. SD-Travis Wood)
- Stephen Strasburg – (9/4 @ MIA-Adam Conley; 9/9 vs. PHI-TBD)
- Dallas Keuchel – (9/4 @ SEA-Erasmo Ramirez; 9/10 @ OAK-Kendall Graveman)
- Gio Gonzalez – (9/5 @ MIA-Odrisamer Despaigne; 9/10 vs. PHI-Ben Lively)
- Jake Arrieta – (9/4 @ PIT-Chad Kuhl; 9/9 vs. MIL-Matt Garza)
- Dylan Bundy – (9/4 vs. NYY-Jaime Garcia; 9/10 @ CLE-Trevor Bauer)
[the_ad id=”384″]You would think a 108 mph line drive off the noggin might be excuse enough to slow some pitchers down. Robbie Ray has come off the DL and shown very little effects of just that. In his two starts since returning, he has a 1.54 ERA and 0.857 WHIP to go along with 19 whiffs in 11.2 innings. The Dodgers are definitely a tough team to face on the road, but he has four starts against them already this season and has handled them pretty well to the tune of a 3.00 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 24 innings. He handles a weak Padres team even better, so you should start him with confidence for his two-start week.
Second Tier Might Be a Little Weaker Than Normal…
- Jose Quintana – (9/5 @ PIT-Ivan Nova; 9/10 vs. MIL-Chase Anderson)
- Trevor Bauer – (9/4 @ CHW-James Shields; 9/10 vs. BAL-Ubaldo Jimenez)
- Carlos Martinez – (9/4 @ SD-Luis Perdomo; 9/9 vs. PIT-Chad Kuhl)
- Rick Porcello – (9/4 vs. TOR-J.A. Happ; 9/10 vs. TB-Alex Cobb)
- Chase Anderson – (9/4 @ CIN-Homer Bailey; 9/10 @ CHC-Kyle Hendricks)
- Jose Berrios – (9/4 @ TB-Alex Cobb; 9/9 @ KC-Jake Junis)
For the most part, Jose Quintana has been a solid performer for the Chicago Cubs. He does have a bit of an inflated ERA over his past six starts (5.73), but he has also racked up 37 punch-outs in 33 innings. He gets a weak-hitting Pirates team (.708 OPS) and a Brewers team leading the MLB in team strikeouts (1314). This bodes well for a good performance from the Chicago lefty.
Third Tier Makes Up For It, Though …
- Julio Teheran – (9/4 vs. TEX-Andrew Cashner; 9/9 vs. MIA-Adam Conley)
- Michael Wacha – (9/5 @ SD-Travis Wood; 9/10 vs. PIT-Ivan Nova)
- Andrew Cashner – (9/4 @ ATL-Julio Teheran; 9/10 vs. NYY-Jaime Garcia)
- Hyun-Jin Ryu – (9/4 vs. ARI-Robbie Ray; 9/10 vs. COL-Chad Bettis)
- Robert Stephenson – (9/5 vs. MIL-Zach Davies; 9/10 @ NYM-Rafael Montero)
- Jake Junis – (9/4 @ DET-TBD; 9/9 vs. MIN-Jose Berrios)
- Rafael Montero – (9/4 vs. PHI-TBD; 9/10 vs. CIN-Robert Stephenson)
Over the past two weeks, Julio Teheran has finally started to pitch his way out of my dog house. In his last three starts, he has a 3.15 ERA, 19:4 K:BB ratio, and a 1.10 WHIP in 20 innings. Both starts are at home, and even though they aren’t against the easiest opponents, he fares much better at home than on the road this season. In 13 home starts, he has a 3.09 ERA and 1.20 WHIP versus a 6.54 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 14 road starts. He should make for a nice under-the-radar pick during his two-start week.
Meh, I Might Be Tempted To Use A Couple…
- Alex Cobb – (9/4 vs. MIN-Jose Berrios; 9/10 @ BOS-Rick Porcello)
- J.A. Happ – (9/4 @ BOS-Rick Porcello; 9/10 vs. DET-TBD)
- Jason Vargas – (9/5 @ DET-Matthew Boyd; 9/10 vs. MIN-Bartolo Colon)
- Erasmo Ramirez – (9/4 vs. HOU-Dallas Keuchel; 9/10 vs. LAA-Troy Scribner)
- Kendall Graveman – (9/5 vs. LAA-Parker Bridwell; 9/10 vs. HOU-Dallas Keuchel)
- Luis Perdomo – (9/4 vs. STL-Carlos Martinez; 9/9 @ ARI-Zack Godley)
- Adam Conley – (9/4 vs. WAS-Stephen Strasburg; 9/9 @ ATL-Julio Teheran)
- Bartolo Colon – (9/5 @ TB-Jake Odorizzi; 9/10 @ KC-Jason Vargas)
- James Shields – (9/4 @ CLE-Trevor Bauer; 9/9 vs. SF-Matt Moore)
- German Marquez – (9/4 vs. SF-Matt Moore; 9/9 @ LAD-Rich Hill)
- Sean Newcomb – (9/5 vs. TEX-Nick Martinez; 9/10 vs. MIA-Odrisamer Despaigne)
Alex Cobb had a decent enough July, but since coming off the DL on August 24th from a toe injury, he hasn’t quite got his rhythm back. Those two starts are a little misleading, however. He did lose one, and the other was a no decision after only 4.1 innings (his first start back from the DL), but in those 10.1 innings he has a 2.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, with 11 strikeouts. He has a pretty good matchup against the Twins before he has to go on the road to Boston to finish out his two-start week.
Just Say No And Be Happy You Did…
- Ubaldo Jimenez – (9/4 vs. NYY-Jaime Garcia; 9/10 @ CLE-Trevor Bauer)
- Ivan Nova – (9/5 vs. CHC-Jose Quintana; 9/10 @ STL-Michael Wacha)
- Jaime Garcia – (9/4 @ BAL-Ubaldo Jimenez; 9/10 @ TEX-Andrew Cashner)
- Travis Wood – (9/5 vs. STL-Michael Wacha; 9/10 @ ARI-Robbie Ray)
- Odrisamer Despaigne – (9/5 vs. WAS-Stephen Strasburg; 9/10 @ ATL-Sean Newcomb)
- Derek Holland – (9/5 vs. CLE-Ryan Merritt; 9/10 vs. SF-Jeff Samardzija)
- Chad Bettis – (9/5 vs. SF-Ty Blach; 9/10 @ LAD-Hyun-Jin Ryu)
- Homer Bailey – (9/4 vs. MIL-Chase Anderson; 9/9 @ NYM-Chris Flexen)
- Chad Kuhl – (9/4 vs. CHC-Jake Arrieta; 9/9 @ STL-Carlos Martinez)
- Troy Scribner – (9/4 @ OAK-Chris Smith; 9/10 @ SEA-Erasmo Ramirez)
- Chris Smith – (9/4 vs. LAA-Troy Scribner; 9/9 vs. HOU-Mike Fiers)
- Ben Lively – (9/5 @ NYM-Jacob deGromm; 9/10 @ WAS-Gio Gonzalez)
What you have in this tier are mostly roster fillers and plug-ins. There is not a really good reason for speculation here. The one exception is Ivan Nova, as it seems he has just run out of gas after a very good first half. In the very deepest of leagues, he might be worth speculation, but his 7.90 ERA and 1.83 WHIP in his last three starts aren’t very encouraging.