This week’s two-start availables include an upstart rookie, a grizzled lefty, and a winless righty with considerable potential.
LHP Erik Bedard (11.6 percent ESPN/27 percent Yahoo!) – @CHC (.275), @CIN (.331)
Bedard’s made an appearance or two on our two-start availables pieces this season, and it’s for good reason, as he’s very nearly the Bedard of yore. He’s only 5-11 — more relevant in fantasy circles than on the main FanGraphs site — but the Bucs offense is hot of late, and Bedard is within shouting distance of all his career marks. Check it out, as these are his 2012 numbers: 8.4 K/9 (8.7 career), 0.81 HR/9 (0.84), 71.4 percent strand rate (72.8), 42.3 percent GB rate (43.3). His BABIP is up a bit (.314 versus career .301 mark), which likely accounts for the slight variance in xFIP and FIP from his career marks. The Cubs are certainly an accommodating matchup — they’ve essentially waved their W(hite) flag on the season — though the Reds have certainly been tough on southpaws. Oddly, this is the first time all season Bedard will get the Redlegs despite being inter-division foes.
RHP Matt Harvey (15.1 percent ESPN/4 percent Yahoo!) – @SF (.302), @SD (.298)
It’s really difficult to temper expectations when a youngster pitches so well, and harder yet when he gets salivating matchups in his two starts to follow. Harvey was on point in his big league debut Thursday night, fanning 11 in 5.1 innings pitched in shutting down a Diamondbacks offense that plays in a good offensive park. The 14 combined whiffs and walks added up quickly for the 23-year-old righty, however, and he was forced from the game at 106 pitches without even completing six frames. PITCHf/x had his heater all the way up to 98.0 mph — averaging 94.8 — so there was no shortage of heat in Arizona for Harvey. Harvey continues his NL West road kick against a pair of punchless offenses in the Giants and Padres before he’ll make his home debut. There are plenty of worries with young pitchers as always, but keep in mind his ownership numbers will probably skyrocket after this week. Get him while he’s hot.
RHP Marco Estrada (2.8 percent ESPN/9 percent Yahoo!) – v. HOU (.309), @STL (.331)
I find Estrada equal parts fascinating and frustrating, which is probably a good parallel to his matchups this week. The ‘Stros are much more accommodating for the as-yet winless (11 starts) righty, having trotted out a 3-4-5-6 lineup of Justin Maxwell–Scott Moore–J.D. Martinez–Chris Johnson in recent days. Of course, many teams are more accommodating than the Red Birds, who find themselves a surprising 5.5 games out beginning play Friday. Estrada’s peripherals look great, as he’s just an eyelash below 10 K/9, with a 1.9 BB/9 mark and a 75 percent strand rate. As a result, his xFIP is 3.34 (4.52 ERA), and better days seem sure to come. It’ll be a good week for Estrada to get off the shnide, and endear himself to the Brewers brass as a rotation building block rather than fill in (are you listening, Manny Parra?).
RHP A.J. Griffin (13.6 percent ESPN/14 percent Yahoo!) – v. TB (.307), v. TOR (.324)
The portly righty has been squeaky clean through his first six starts, with a 3-0 record, 2.25 ERA, and very good peripherals. He’s never really been a big-time prospect, but held his own in the ridiculous PCL this season (2.81 ERA, 5.7 K/BB), so he’s a bit more battle-tested than your garden variety rookie. Do you want to ride this Oakland influential run?
RHP Ricky Nolasco (26.7 percent ESPN/26 percent Yahoo!) – @ATL (.321), @WAS (.318)
The law of decreasing returns has continued to plague Nolasco, as his K/9, BB/9, and ERA have all trended poorly over the past three seasons. As a result, Nolasco has gone from underrated to overpaid, and that’s probably a big reason why he’s on the chopping block. It’s unlikely the Marlins can unload the contract outright, but Nolasco should probably monitored in the event that he moves mid-week.
RHP Bud Norris (29.8 percent ESPN/35 percent Yahoo!) – v. MIL (.315), @ATL (.321)
There’s a lot to like about Norris’ skill set, but like recently-departed teammate J.A. Happ, he just doesn’t get enough besides strikeouts to inspire a ton of fantasy confidence. Add to this the fact that the lineup is relatively week, and it’s hard to use Norris as much more than a plug-and-play in daily lineup leagues.