Fantasy daily notes for Aug. 20
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NOTES | PITCHERS | HITTERS
Starting pitcher rankings for Aug 20
GSPitcherOPPERA /
WHIP
67C. Hamels,
LHP, Phi
Sea2.44 /
1.13
67J. Cueto,
RHP, Cin
@StL2.06 /
0.91
61T. Roark,
RHP, Wsh
Ari2.93 /
1.10
60G. Richards,
RHP, LAA
@Bos2.53 /
1.01
58A. Wood,
LHP, Atl
@Pit3.07 /
1.23
57J. Samardzija,
RHP, Oak
NYM2.96 /
1.12
56G. Cole,
RHP, Pit
Atl3.78 /
1.31
56L. Lynn,
RHP, StL
Cin2.91 /
1.29
55R. Dickey,
RHP, Tor
@Mil3.95 /
1.31
54C. Buchholz,
RHP, Bos
LAA5.79 /
1.55
53J. Odorizzi,
RHP, TB
Det3.82 /
1.27
53J. Nelson,
RHP, Mil
Tor3.86 /
1.26
52Z. Wheeler,
RHP, NYM
@Oak3.49 /
1.33
50J. Peavy,
RHP, SF
@ChC4.57 /
1.39
50J. Paxton,
LHP, Sea
@Phi2.20 /
0.94
49D. Duffy,
LHP, KC
@Col2.60 /
1.09
48R. Porcello,
RHP, Det
@TB3.28 /
1.16
48R. Nolasco,
RHP, Min
Cle5.99 /
1.61
48N. Eovaldi,
RHP, Mia
Tex3.96 /
1.21
47T. Cahill,
RHP, Ari
@Wsh4.68 /
1.51
46W. Chen,
LHP, Bal
@CWS3.76 /
1.24
46R. Hernandez,
RHP, LAD
SD3.72 /
1.30
45E. Jackson,
RHP, ChC
SF5.74 /
1.58
44T. House,
LHP, Cle
@Min4.13 /
1.51
44H. Noesi,
RHP, CWS
Bal4.84 /
1.43
44M. Pineda,
RHP, NYY
Hou1.82 /
0.89
43J. De La Rosa,
LHP, Col
KC4.32 /
1.24
43E. Stults,
LHP, SD
@LAD4.64 /
1.37
43S. Feldman,
RHP, Hou
@NYY4.45 /
1.42
37N. Martinez,
RHP, Tex
@Mia5.27 /
1.61
GS: The pitcher's projected "Game Score," from Bill James' original formula, which accounts for past history (three years' worth as well as past 21 days), opponent and ballpark. A Game Score of 50 typically is typically regarded a quality start; anything over 70 is exceptional, anything under 30 poor. An asterisk notes that the game score has been adjusted by the analyst. Opp: The pitcher's opponent for the day. ERA: Pitcher's earned run average. WHIP: Pitcher's average number of walks plus hits surrendered per inning.

The elite (ranked for use in daily cash games such as 50/50s and double ups)

Cole Hamels has not allowed more than three runs in a start since May 27, cranking out 14 quality starts in his past 15 outings. During this run, the lefty has won a mere five games, despite a 1.60 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .218 opponents' BA and 8.9 K/9. On Wednesday, he'll take the mound against the Seattle Mariners for the first time since 2011 when he posted a pitching line of 6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB and 6 K's. I expect an even better performance this time around, considering how much the M's have struggled on the road. Since July 4, Seattle has scored only 50 runs in 16 away games (2.8 runs per 9 IP) due to a meager .230/.276/.315 slash line and more than four times as many strikeouts (134) as walks (33).

Johnny Cueto has an identical Game Score to Hamels, and for good reason. The right-hander also has a streak of great starts intact, allowing three runs or fewer in 13 straight outings. During this two-month run, Cueto is 10-1 with a 2.16 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .207 opponents' BA and 8.8 K/9. Although he has a tough opponent in the St. Louis Cardinals, Cueto has pitched very well versus his division foe since 2011, tallying a 2.51 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and .234 opponents' BA over seven starts. However, the strikeout rate is a poor 4.8 K/9 during this stretch, and the Redbirds are currently the toughest team in the National League to fan this season, with a 18.4 percent strikeout rate. This low potential for punchouts may keep Cueto below Hamels on the daily list, but he's still "elite" based on his recent dominance.

Solid (can be used in both daily cash games and tournament play)

Tanner Roark has been strong over his past seven starts, compiling a 5-1 record with a 2.49 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, .201 opponents' BA and a respectable 7.1 K/9. I expect the surge to continue Wednesday when he faces the Arizona Diamondbacks, who he baffled in his lone career meeting last year, holding them to three hits and zero earned runs over seven innings. The 2014 D-backs have done very little on the road, especially over the past 30 games, where they are 11-19 with a mere 2.98 runs per nine innings due to a .230/.283/.341 slash line. Also consider that Roark has held opponents to a paltry .200/.242/.308 slash line on soft pitches this year, and Arizona has the fourth-worst OBP (.248) on soft pitches in the majors.

Another hot pitcher to target in the daily league format is Garrett Richards, who has been masterful since the start of June. In his past 14 starts, the right-hander is 9-2 with a 1.79 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, .176 opponents' BA and 9.0 K/9. He'll try to add to these gaudy numbers on Wednesday when he visits the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Richards has only one career start versus Boston, which occurred 11 days ago when he got a no-decision in a 19-inning marathon, allowing only one earned run and five baserunners in 6 1/3 frames, with five strikeouts. Richards' off-speed stuff -- changeup, curve and slider -- has been filthy all season, holding opponents to a .164 SLG and .351 OPS with 102 K's and only eight walks (12.8 K-to-BB ratio) in these 225 plate appearances. Boston has the AL's worst SLG (.303) and OPS (.555) against soft pitches, with 472 K's and 84 walks (5.6 K-to-BB ratio) this season.

Alex Wood has been great in the Atlanta Braves' rotation this season, posting a 2.84 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 8.4 K/9 over 17 starts, including an impressive 1.71 ERA in the past four outings. On Wednesday, he'll make his first career start versus the injury-riddled Pittsburgh Pirates, who are sputtering through a six-game losing skid entering play on Tuesday. During this slide, the Bucs have scored only 21 runs (3.4 runs per 9 IP) with a .220 BA and 8.0 strikeouts per game. Wood also benefits from the fact the Pirates have the fifth-worst OPS (.667) in the majors when facing southpaws this year.

Value plays (best used in tournaments or on multiple-pitcher sites)

Jake Odorizzi has pitched consistently well for more than two months, but he remains available in half of ESPN fantasy leagues. That's a bit puzzling considering that in his past dozen starts, the 24-year-old is 7-3 with a 2.63 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, .210 opponents' BA and 9.4 K/9. I'm not overly thrilled with Odorizzi making his first career start versus the Detroit Tigers, who are fourth in the majors with 4.6 runs per game, but they have been slumping for the majority of August. In the past 14 contests, Detroit is 5-9 with a subpar 3.3 runs per game and a .235/.296/.350 slash line. I also like Odorizzi's win chances being opposed by Rick Porcello. Not only are the Tigers 2-6 in his past eight starts, but this slide began on July 6 when the Tampa Bay Rays rocked Porcello for seven runs on 11 hits in just 5 2/3 innings.

Jimmy Nelson (3 percent ESPN.com ownership) continues to go virtually unnoticed by fantasy leaguers despite five straight quality starts. During this streak, he's 1-2, despite a solid 3.38 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, .240 opponents' BA and 6.5 K/9. Wednesday will be the first time the 25-year-old faces an American League team, as the Toronto Blue Jays are in town. While the Jays currently rank fifth in the majors in scoring (4.5 runs per game), their offense has been severely lacking so far this month. Through Monday, Toronto is 4-11 in August, with 3.1 runs per game, an MLB-low 1.3 percent HR rate and a wimpy .335 SLG. I would recommend that all NL-only owners grab Nelson now.

James Paxton (36 percent ESPN.com ownership) has seen his ownership rise nearly 14 percent over the past week, which isn't too surprising considering how effective he's been. The 25-year-old lefty hasn't had a terrible start all season, producing a 2.20 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, .204 opponents' BA and 7.5 K/9 over five turns in the Mariners' rotation. Combine that with last year's brilliance in four starts, and you have a pitcher who is 6-0 with a 1.88 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 7.7 K/9 in his major league career! On Wednesday, he'll face a Philadelphia Phillies lineup that doesn't hit lefties very well, producing a .630 OPS versus southpaws since July 1, a number that ranks third-worst in the majors. Paxton is a great SP2 in a daily-league on Wednesday.

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