This week’s two-start piece digs deep into the well, as not a single of the hurlers is owned in even 20 percent of fantasy leagues worldwide. Each of these righties, with the exception of Mr. Harang, are actually owned in four percent or fewer leagues! That’s the kind of week it is for picks here, so bear with me. As a reminder, all two-start pitchers have to be owned in 50 percent or fewer of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, and I will denote wOBA for the pitcher’s opponent versus his similarly-handed counterparts.
Aaron Harang (10.6 percent ESPN/19 percent Yahoo!) – @OAK (.289), @LAA (.313)
Harang has been a nice find so far for the Dodgers, as the 34-year-old — who joins Chris Capuano among the two veteran hurlers given two-year pacts by the team last offseason — has given the club nearly 80 innings of 7.4 K/9, 3.59 ERA ball (1.2 WAR, or twice as valuable as all last season). Capuano has been just as good, posting a mirror-image walk rate and almost identical whiff rate. However, Harang is the focus this week, as he gets relatively weak A’s offense at O.Co Coliseum, and an oddly ordinary Halos offense against righties at Angels Stadium. Harang’s strikeout numbers may suffer a bit this week, as the A’s and Angels have proven to be difficult to whiff all season long. In the case of the Halos, they’ve been the second toughest team over the past two weeks (16.9 percent, tied w/ Twins) to whiff. Still, with a paucity of middle-tier options available for the week to come, Harang — along with Hochevar whom I’ll profile next — is among the best options whom you’ll find readily available on your waiver wire.
Luke Hochevar (0.6 percent ESPN/4 percent Yahoo!) – @HOU (.315), @MIN (.306)
Hochevar comes off a quality start Thursday night against the Brewers, and is obviously looking to parlay that into a strong week with a couple of weak offenses on his docket. Hochevar needs all the positivity he can muster, however, as he comes into next week’s tilt with the ‘Stros with a 6.27 ERA. Luke hasn’t been all bad this season, as he’s still been worth 1.1 WAR courtesy of a 3.88/4.26 FIP/xFIP split. The whiffs are slightly up for Hochevar this year (6.9 per 9), and should continue trending upward this week, at least against the Astros, who’ve fanned in an MLB-leading 29.8 percent of plate appearances over the past two weeks (obviously the perfect game plays a relatively big part in that). On the back side of the week, the 28-year-old righty gets a familiar foe in the Twins, who have been vastly improved offensively lately (.351 wOBA past two weeks, fourth overall). The Twins put the ball in play (as previously noted second-lowest whiff rate in last 14 days), and Hochevar invites it (10.5 H/9). It’s high time for Luke’s ridiculously-low strand rate to bounce back (59.5 percent versus a league average of 72.5), and he’ll likely get plenty of chances against a punch-happy Twins offense.
Hector Noesi (0.4 percent ESPN/1 percent Yahoo!) – @ARI (.316), @SD (.294)
Noesi gets the nod over Correia for the third option this week just because I like the San Diego matchup just a little more. Noesi hasn’t had a particularly good season (5.4 K/9, 5.54/5.64/5.13 split), but he profiles to me a bit like Henderson Alvarez in that he’s got really dynamic stuff but hasn’t quite figured out how to use it. A shaky part of the matchup versus the Diamondbacks will be Noesi’s 1.8 HR/9 going into that launchpad (114-102 HR park factor via StatCorner), though with that wOBA it would seem the DBacks aren’t the sole bombers taking aim at Chase Field. The Padres matchup should be a very accommodating one, as Petco is still a graveyard (59-95 HR factor LHB/RHB), and the Padres offense, which has actually been better the past two weeks (.325 wOBA), is still keeping the Pirates offense company on the bottom of the leaderboards. I would expect Noesi to improve over the season, as the 25-year-old pitches at an accommodating home park for his skill set (47.2 FB percent in 2012). If he can start missing a few more bats, there’s no reason he can’t at least continue to keep a rotation spot warm for Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, or any of the Mariners’ o ther good pitching prospects.
Deep Leagues – Kevin Correia (0.6 percent ESPN/1 percent Yahoo!) – v. MIN (.306), v. DET (.330)
Correia gets the nod because he’s getting a Twins team that still can’t hit on the road (.285 wOBA), even though the Tigers matchup isn’t as accommodating as one might like. For a deep league situation, sometimes you really have to love one matchup, and punt the other. That’s the case here.
Columnist Note: I misread Hochevar’s schedule, and he’ll actually only start once. In lieu of this, consider Arrieta, Marquis, and Happ as alternate options. I know. Yikes.