AL SP Matchup Plays Next Week

Weekly leaguers basically have one more chance to exploit matchups to squeeze out any remaining category points available. Depending on how your league site handles the short series of games in October, it’s possible you will have another shot. If you’re desperate for pitching, here are some pitching options to consider with their next expected starts that might be there for the taking.

Andy Pettitte
@ MIN, Liam Hendriks 9/24
@ TOR, Henderson Alvarez 9/29

After a nearly three month layoff due to a broken ankle, Pettitte finally returned yesterday to pitch five shutout innings against the Blue Jays. Before his injury, he had shown the best skills of his career, striking out a batter per inning, showing sterling control and inducing grounders at a career high rate. While it would be foolish to believe those skills will be sustained, he obviously still at something left in the tank, even at 40 years of age.

The Twins rank seventh in the American League in wOBA against lefties with a .316 mark, just barely better than their performance against right-handers. But the start next week comes in Minnesota, which although has a neutral overall park factor, has reduced home runs by 8% each of the last three years. Pettitte’s second start comes in a worse ballpark in Toronto, but the Jays themselves are worse against lefties, having posted a .309 mark,.

While Pettitte is almost guaranteed to be owned in deeper leagues, having been stashed on the DL, he could very well be freely available in shallower ones. With two decent matchups and a strong offense supporting him, he’s a nice play next week.

Corey Kluber
@ CHW, Francisco Liriano 9/25

I wrote about Kluber a couple of weeks ago and he hasn’t exactly made me look smart since. His .364 BABIP at the time has actually increased to an even more ridiculous .384, though his HR/FB has dropped from 14% to 12%. In other good news, his SwStk% is an excellent 11.2%, up from the 9.5% it sat at by the end of August. That suggests that his 7.9 K/9 has some additional upside. In fact, I said that very same thing in my last article, and sure enough his strikeout rate has risen from 7.2 to its current level. So the skills are there so far, but the results have not been. Over a relatively small sample, that happens quite often.

The White Sox rank fifth in the American League with a .319 wOBA versus righties and we know that U.S. Cellular Field is a launching pad, boasting a 105 park factor and 112 home run factor in recent years. So, the matchup isn’t exactly stellar. However, Kluber is one of the few pitchers who is likely unowned in most leagues that actually has the skills to pitch a good game and is somewhat intriguing. He’s the type of pitcher worth rolling the dice with if you’re desperate for another start.

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Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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Paul Wilson
Paul Wilson

I get to replace an injured Cashner… what is your choice between Pettitte, Derek Holland and Marco Estrada?