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Friday, June 7, 2013
Updated: June 10, 11:05 AM ET
Fantasy Forecaster: Week 11

By Tristan H. Cockcroft
ESPN.com

Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, June 10, at 11:05 a.m. ET.

On tap: Better to be early than late, and to that end, I was apparently a week premature in touting a rash of rookie debuts. This appears to be the week we'll get our first glimpse of one of Keith Law's top five pitching prospects from the preseason, No. 2 (4 in his May update) Gerrit Cole, who is ticketed for his major league debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. He'll take the space vacated when Wandy Rodriguez suffered tightness in his forearm and was forced to be pushed back two days, and he'll be lined up for a two-start week. As for New York Mets top prospect Zack Wheeler, it appears his debut will wait another week following the team's June 7 rainout, though it's always possible that he could be summoned should Matt Harvey (back) need to miss a turn.

Fantasy Forecaster

But debuts aren't the only rookie-related pitching story of Week 11: Now we get the delayed, first-in-his-career two-start week for St. Louis Cardinals freshman Michael Wacha, and we're likely to get another rookie two-start week should Tony Cingrani be promoted to take Johnny Cueto's spot in the Cincinnati Reds' rotation. Wacha struggled in big-league start No. 2 (4 2/3 IP, 10 H, 6 ER), but he gets a pair of favorable road matchups, pitching at New York's Citi Field and Miami's Marlins Park. Cingrani, who had a 2.12 ERA and 12.18 strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio in his three starts for Triple-A Louisville since being returned there on May 18, would pitch at Chicago's Wrigley Field, then at home versus the Milwaukee Brewers, should he be summoned.

In another holdover from last week, it's another important week for the Cleveland Indians, who dropped three in a row in New York from June 3-5, and were set to play three more in Detroit June 7-9. This week, they play a three-game road series at the Texas Rangers, then a three-game set at home against the Washington Nationals. Besides the obvious -- Indians hitters get a boost from games at Rangers Ballpark, Justin Masterson is pitching too well to sit against the Nationals -- it's time to be choosier with your Indians players in fantasy leagues. Jason Kipnis, Carlos Santana, Michael Bourn and Masterson are their only no-brainers.

Quick click by section, if you're seeking advice in a specific area:
ESPN lineup deadlines | Interleague impact | Projected starting pitchers
Pitching scuttlebutt | Week 11 pitcher rankings | Pitching advantages
Hitting ratings | Hitting advantages

ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

It's another late deadline on Monday, as the first game of the week kicks off at 7 p.m. ET: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays on ESPN's Monday Night Baseball. There are nothing but night games on Monday, Tuesday and Friday this week, so you'll have some extra time to make lineup decisions on those days in leagues with daily transactions. Wednesday's first game starts at 12:35 p.m. ET -- Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles -- so be prepared earlier that day.

Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:
Philadelphia Phillies at Minnesota Twins (3 games, Tuesday-Thursday)
• Washington Nationals at Cleveland Indians (3 games, Friday-Sunday)

There isn't a single interleague game scheduled at a National League park this week, only the second time that has been true all year. Week 4 was the last such instance, and there are only four such weeks all season.

Instead, the Phillies and Nationals head to American League venues and gain the designated hitter, meaning additional at-bats for both squads. The Phillies' DH plans have been obvious, judging by their previous four games in AL parks: Delmon Young is their DH, freeing up right field for John Mayberry Jr. Granted, both outfielders are right-handed and the Phillies face nothing but right-handed starters this week, but keep in mind that those past four were also against righty starters.

The Nationals, meanwhile, don't have as clear a plan with Bryce Harper on the disabled list. Recently recalled Chris Marrero is a candidate to serve in the DH role, but Adam LaRoche and Chad Tracy alternated starts at DH during the team's two-game trip to Baltimore May 29-30, with the other manning first base. The LaRoche-Tracy arrangement might be used in their Friday and Sunday games against right-handed starters. But might Marrero get the call at DH, with LaRoche at first base, against left-handed Saturday starter Scott Kazmir? At best, Marrero and/or Tracy could warrant a desperate look in deep NL-only leagues.

Projected starting pitchers

The chart below lists each of the 30 MLB teams' schedules and projected starting pitchers, and provides a matchup rating for each day's starter. Pitchers scheduled to start at least twice this week are in gold/beige boxes.

Pitching scuttlebutt

• The Boston Red Sox's June 7 rainout -- and subsequent June 8 doubleheader -- will force the team to either find a Wednesday spot starter or pitch either Felix Doubront or Clay Buchholz on three days' rest.
• The Cleveland Indians recalled Carlos Carrasco for a June 8 start, but subsequently dropped the appeal of an eight-game suspension, leaving the team with a four-man rotation through Week 11.
Anibal Sanchez (shoulder) was forced to skip his June 9 start, but the Detroit Tigers expect him to be ready for his next scheduled turn on Saturday.
• The Los Angeles Angels, whose rotation was also affected due to the aforementioned June 7 rainout, will give Jerome Williams a spot start on Wednesday.
Alexi Ogando (biceps) was placed on the DL by the Texas Rangers; Josh Lindblom was recalled to fill in.
Chien-Ming Wang, who opted out of his minor league contract with the New York Yankees on June 7, is expected to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays and assume the vacant spot in the rotation beginning Tuesday.
• There has been no formal announcement of Tony Cingrani's promotion to take Johnny Cueto's spot in the Cincinnati Reds' rotation, but after Pedro Villarreal struggled on June 6, it's likely Cingrani will take that turn next time around.
• The Colorado Rockies need a starter for Saturday after designating Jon Garland for assignment. Tyler Chatwood could be a candidate.
Tom Gorzelanny will assume Marco Estrada's (DL, hamstring) rotation spot on June 8, but it's unclear whether the Milwaukee Brewers will then use Thursday's off day to skip that turn in the rotation. Wily Peralta would pick up a second start, Sunday at Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park, in that event.
Matt Harvey (back) is expected to make his next start for the New York Mets on Friday.
Wandy Rodriguez (forearm) is expected to be ready to join the Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation on Thursday, but that leaves Tuesday's spot open. Gerrit Cole is likely to assume it, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
• The Washington Nationals have an open spot in their rotation on Wednesday, the result of a June 7 rainout, and Ross Detwiler is unlikely be ready to take it. He's scheduled for a June 10 rehabilitation start and might be ready by the weekend, while Stephen Strasburg is eligible to return on Sunday.

Tristan's Week 10 pitcher rankings: Top 75

1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Mon-ARI (Miley), Sun-@PIT (Cole)
2. Max Scherzer (DET) -- Tue-@KC (Davis)
3. Cliff Lee (PHI) -- Thu-@MIN (Correia)
4. Adam Wainwright (STL) -- Thu-@NYM (Harvey)
5. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Mon-HOU (Keuchel), Sun-@OAK (Colon)
6. Yu Darvish (TEX) -- Thu-TOR (Buehrle)
7. Mike Minor (ATL) -- Sat-SF (Gaudin)
8. Alex Cobb (TB) -- Mon-BOS (Lackey), Sat-KC (Guthrie)
9. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Wed-TOR (Rogers)
10. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Mon-@SD (Marquis), Sun-SF (Lincecum)
11. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Sat-@OAK (Griffin)
12. Shelby Miller (STL) -- Wed-@NYM (Gee)
13. Homer Bailey (CIN) -- Mon-@CHC (Feldman), Sat-MIL (Lohse)
14. Matt Harvey (NYM) -- Thu-STL (Wainwright)
15. CC Sabathia (NYY) -- Tue-@OAK (Colon), Sun-@LAA (Blanton)
16. Jeff Samardzija (CHC) -- Thu-CIN (Latos)
17. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Sat-@MIN (Deduno)
18. Doug Fister (DET) -- Mon-@KC (Guthrie), Sun-@MIN (Walters)
19. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Fri-@CLE (Masterson)
20. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Wed-@KC (Shields)
21. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Sat-@MIA (Koehler)
22. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) -- Wed-ARI (Corbin)
23. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Tue-ARI (Kennedy)
24. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Thu-@COL (Francis)
25. Clay Buchholz (BOS) -- Fri-@BAL (Tillman)
26. Mat Latos (CIN) -- Thu-@CHC (Samardzija)
27. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Fri-@ATL (Medlen)
28. Derek Holland (TEX) -- Tue-CLE (Kluber), Sun-TOR (Wang)
29. Patrick Corbin (ARI) -- Wed-@LAD (Ryu)
30. A.J. Burnett (PIT) -- Fri-LAD (Fife)
31. Matt Moore (TB) -- Fri-KC (Mendoza)
32. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Mon-@BAL (Garcia)
33. Jon Lester (BOS) -- Tue-@TB (Hernandez)
34. Matt Cain (SF) -- Thu-@PIT (Rodriguez)
35. Matt Garza (CHC) -- Tue-CIN (Cingrani), Sun-@NYM (Hefner)
36. Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) -- Thu-@OAK (Parker)
37. John Lackey (BOS) -- Mon-@TB (Cobb), Sun-@BAL (Gonzalez)
38. James Shields (KC) -- Wed-DET (Verlander)
39. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Wed-SF (Zito)
40. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Tue-@NYM (Hefner), Sun-@MIA (Nolasco)
41. Justin Masterson (CLE) -- Fri-WSH (Zimmermann)
42. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Tue-@MIN (Walters), Sun-@COL (Chacin)
43. Jose Fernandez (MIA) -- Fri-STL (Westbrook)
44. Ricky Nolasco (MIA) -- Mon-MIL (Gallardo), Sun-STL (Wacha)
45. A.J. Griffin (OAK) -- Sat-SEA (Hernandez)
46. Bartolo Colon (OAK) -- Tue-NYY (Sabathia), Sun-SEA (Iwakuma)
47. Miguel Gonzalez (BAL) -- Tue-LAA (Vargas), Sun-BOS (Lackey)
48. Jarrod Parker (OAK) -- Thu-NYY (Kuroda)
49. Tony Cingrani (CIN) -- Tue-@CHC (Garza), Sun-MIL (Gallardo)
50. Kris Medlen (ATL) -- Fri-SF (Bumgarner)
51. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Mon-@CWS (Axelrod), Sat-@TEX (Lindblom)
52. Mike Leake (CIN) -- Wed-@CHC (Wood)
53. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Tue-SF (Lincecum), Sun-LAD (Kershaw)
54. Jeff Locke (PIT) -- Sat-LAD (Magill)
55. Ervin Santana (KC) -- Thu-@TB (Hellickson)
56. Bronson Arroyo (CIN) -- Fri-MIL (Gorzelanny)
57. Yovani Gallardo (MIL) -- Mon-@MIA (Nolasco), Sun-@CIN (Cingrani)
58. Tommy Milone (OAK) -- Fri-SEA (Saunders)
59. Scott Feldman (CHC) -- Mon-CIN (Bailey), Sat-@NYM (Niese)
60. Tim Lincecum (SF) -- Tue-@PIT (Cole), Sun-@ATL (Teheran)
61. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Sat-NYY (Phelps)
62. Tim Hudson (ATL) -- Tue-@SD (Cashner)
63. Paul Maholm (ATL) -- Wed-@SD (Volquez)
64. Wandy Rodriguez (PIT) -- Thu-SF (Cain)
65. Eric Stults (SD) -- Fri-ARI (Cahill)
66. Trevor Cahill (ARI) -- Fri-@SD (Stults)
67. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Tue-ATL (Hudson)
68. Wade Miley (ARI) -- Mon-@LAD (Kershaw), Sun-@SD (Marquis)
69. Phil Hughes (NYY) -- Wed-@OAK (Straily)
70. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Fri-BOS (Buchholz)
71. Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Wed-WSH (TBD)
72. Dan Haren (WSH) -- Tue-@COL (Chacin), Sun-@CLE (Kluber)
73. Dan Straily (OAK) -- Wed-NYY (Hughes)
74. John Danks (CWS) -- Fri-@HOU (Bedard)
75. Andy Pettitte (NYY) -- Fri-@LAA (Hanson)

Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues:
Dylan Axelrod (CWS) -- Mon-TOR (Dickey), Sun-@HOU (Keuchel)
Jhoulys Chacin (COL) -- Tue-WSH (Haren), Sun-PHI (Hamels)
Jeremy Guthrie (KC) -- Mon-DET (Fister), Sat-@TB (Cobb)
Jeremy Hefner (NYM) -- Tue-STL (Wacha), Sun-CHC (Garza)
Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Mon-@SEA (Iwakuma), Sun-CWS (Axelrod)
Jason Marquis (SD) -- Mon-ATL (Teheran), Sun-ARI (Miley)

No-thank-yous, among two-start pitchers:
Wade Davis (KC) -- Tue-DET (Scherzer), Sun-@TB (Hernandez)
Freddy Garcia (BAL) -- Mon-LAA (Weaver), Sat-BOS (Dempster)
Roberto Hernandez (TB) -- Tue-BOS (Lester), Sun-KC (Davis)
Scott Kazmir (CLE) -- Mon-@TEX (Lindblom), Sat-WSH (Karns)
Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Tue-@TEX (Holland), Sun-WSH (Haren)
Josh Lindblom (TEX) -- Mon-CLE (Kazmir), Sat-TOR (Dickey)
P.J. Walters (MIN) -- Tue-PHI (Hamels), Sun-DET (Fister)
Chien-Ming Wang (TOR) -- Tue-@CWS (Quintana), Sun-@TEX (Holland)

Pitching advantages

Brandon Beachy might be only days away from being ready to rejoin the Atlanta Braves' rotation, but the obvious man he'd replace, Julio Teheran, isn't pitching at all like a man in need of demotion. Teheran is the No. 7 starting pitcher on our Player Rater the past 30 days (as of June 7), and he has six consecutive quality starts and 20 K's over 14 2/3 innings in his past two games combined. He faces a brilliant pair of matchups, including a Monday assignment at San Diego's Petco Park, then a Sunday home game against a San Francisco Giants team that he defeated May 9 (7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER), and should be in all lineups this week.

But who goes if Teheran doesn't? Colleague Eric Karabell took a closer look at the options on Thursday, but the upshot for fantasy lineup planning is that all Braves starters face job motivation -- no one really wants to go. It's perhaps in some small part the reason behind every incumbent member having tossed a quality start in his most recent turn, and it's a rationale for using every Braves pitcher even in shallow mixed leagues this week. Again, these are favorable matchups: The San Diego Padres have .247/.319/.374 triple-slash rates at home, their .693 OPS there sixth worst in the game, while the Giants have .257/.307/.365 rates, their .671 a bottom-10 number, in the past three weeks (May 17-June 6).

• Two-start Michael Wacha is the headliner for a brilliant week worth of pitching matchups for the St. Louis Cardinals: They play three games apiece at New York's Citi Field and Miami's Marlins Park, facing teams that rank last and next-to-last in OPS in home games -- the New York Mets have .215/.296/.351 rates at home, the Miami Marlins .225/.286/.305 at home. The reason Wacha gets such faith in both ratings and my rankings is simple: He has a brilliant changeup and the Mets and Marlins are among the worst teams in baseball against that pitch, with the Mets sporting a .571 OPS and 26.1 percent K rate against changeups, the Marlins a .564 OPS and 24.8 percent K rate against them. That's to say nothing about Wacha's command of his arsenal of pitches, which was largely the problem behind his poor second big-league start, but at least his matchups offer promise.

Tyler Lyons' ownership percentage in ESPN leagues (29.0) rose above the cutoff for Streamer's Delight candidacy, and there are whispers that when Jake Westbrook returns on Friday, Lyons will be returned to the minors. Still, whether it's Lyons, Westbrook or both pitching during that weekend series at pitching-friendly Marlins Park, either warrants your consideration. Lyons continues to minimize walks (1.77 per nine) and generates a high rate of ground balls (53.3 percent), diminishing the Marlins' already slim hopes of getting anything going against him.

• Here are this week's Streamer's Delight picks -- players need to be available in at least 75 percent of ESPN leagues as of our publishing time (Fridays):
1. Phil Hughes (@OAK, Wednesday): He has made two career starts at O.co Coliseum, and has a 1.80 ERA and 9.60 K's per nine ratio in them.
2. Tony Cingrani (@CHC, Tuesday): He already has a 0.69 WHIP and 14 K's in 13 innings in two starts versus the Chicago Cubs this season.
3. Bud Norris (@SEA, Tuesday): He has a filthy slider (.209/.244/.312, 32.6 K% since 2011) and the Seattle Mariners have a 35.8 percent K rate against sliders.
4. Corey Kluber (WSH, Sunday): He has 9.85 K-per-nine and 6.00 K-to-walk ratios, and the Washington Nationals are the sixth most whiff-prone team since May 1.
5. Tyler Skaggs (@SD, Saturday): Petco Park is an ideal place to expect good things from a high-strikeout (10.03 K/9 in 2013), fly-baller (47.7 career FB%).

Hitting ratings

The chart below lists each of the 30 teams' total number of scheduled games, home games and games versus right- and left-handed pitchers, and provides a matchup rating for the week's games in terms of overall offense, offense for left- and right-handed hitters and base stealing. Matchup ratings for each individual game are listed under the corresponding date.

Hitting advantages

• Here are this week's "volume plays" -- defined as the teams that play the most home games, or games against right- or left-handed starters:
Home games: Baltimore Orioles 7, Tampa Bay Rays 7, Texas Rangers 7
Versus RH: Boston Red Sox 7, Kansas City Royals 6, Miami Marlins 6, New York Mets 6, St. Louis Cardinals 6
Versus LH: Arizona Diamondbacks 4, Toronto Blue Jays 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 3, San Diego Padres 3, San Francisco Giants 3, Washington Nationals 3

• Look at that Philadelphia Phillies schedule: All six games against right-handed starters -- assuming that Tyler Chatwood gets the call for the Colorado Rockies on Saturday -- three of them at Colorado's Coors Field. This is a week of dream matchups for Domonic Brown and fellow left-handed slugger Ryan Howard. Brown has hit 14 of his 18 home runs against right-handers, while Howard is a .286/.359/.538 hitter in 23 career games at Coors.

• A seven-game, all-at-home week is a plus for the Texas Rangers, especially with four of them due to come against the injury-riddled Toronto Blue Jays rotation. That five of those games come against right-handed starters presents particularly intriguing opportunities for Jurickson Profar, A.J. Pierzynski and Chris McGuiness. Profar's inclusion is obvious, though to cite his stats, he's a .314/.324/.486 hitter against righties. Pierzynski is a .322/.344/.506 hitter against righties. And McGuiness, due to replace Mitch Moreland as the Rangers' left-handed side of a first-base platoon, was a .286/.388/.507 hitter against righties in Triple-A.

• Don't underestimate those favorable Baltimore Orioles stolen-base ratings. After all, the Orioles pace the majors in stolen-base success rate (86.0 percent), have the second-most successful steals (48) and the fourth-most attempts (56). There's no reason to expect Nate McLouth, second in the majors in steals (21), to slow down facing weak-armed Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox catchers Chris Iannetta and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and you might be able to squeeze a cheap steal or two out of Chris Dickerson or Ryan Flaherty in AL-only leagues.