Fantasy Forecaster: Week of June 2

Updated: June 2, 2014, 10:35 AM ET
By Tristan H. Cockcroft | ESPN.com

Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, June 2, at 10:35 a.m. ET.

On tap: The streaking Toronto Blue Jays, winners of 19 of their past 24 games entering play on May 30, will be put to the test, with a three-game road series at the American League Central-leading Detroit Tigers, then three interleague contests back home versus the St. Louis Cardinals. But their timing is somewhat fortunate: They miss defending AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer during the Tigers series, plus the two highest-ranked Cardinals starters on our Player Rater in Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha during their weekend series. Easily the hottest-hitting team in baseball during the month of May -- they lead with an average of 5.4 runs per game, and place five hitters among the top 40 on our Player Rater's "Last 30" split -- the Blue Jays appear primed to extend their string of success into June, or at least the first week of it.

Fantasy Forecaster

Many of fantasy baseball's most recognized aces face challenging matchups in Week 10: No. 3-on-the-Player Rater Masahiro Tanaka battles the Oakland Athletics (third in the majors in runs, third in team weighted on-base average); No. 4 Felix Hernandez starts a Monday makeup game at Yankee Stadium; No. 5 Zack Greinke has an assignment at Coors Field, as does No. 1-in-my-going-forward-rankings Clayton Kershaw (it's his second of two starts in the week); Scherzer draws a home start versus the Boston Red Sox; and Justin Verlander pitches at home versus the Toronto Blue Jays (majors' best wOBA in the month of May). My rankings below detail my level of concern for each of their respective matchups, but consider this your warning to put a little additional consideration into the week's matchups.

Jose Abreu -- still the No. 28 name overall on our Player Rater despite his current DL status -- is on track to rejoin the Chicago White Sox on Monday, right in time for the team's three game series at Dodger Stadium and a Monday matchup against defending National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw. Abreu and hot-starting Yasiel Puig -- currently eighth on said Player Rater -- might receive the most attention during this series, but the upshot is that Abreu's fantasy owners will be happy to welcome him back to their lineups.

Quick click by section, if you're seeking advice in a specific area:
ESPN lineup deadlines | Interleague impact | Projected starting pitchers
Pitching scuttlebutt | Week 10 pitcher rankings | Pitching advantages
Hitting ratings | Hitting advantages

ESPN leagues: Lineup deadlines

Week 10 is one chock full of later start times, beginning with Monday: No game begins before 7:05 p.m. ET -- three games have that scheduled first pitch -- granting fantasy owners in weekly leagues some additional time to set their lineups.

Those in daily leagues will also have extra time on Tuesday, as the first three games of that day begin at 7:05 p.m. ET, and Friday, when there is one 4:05 p.m. ET game and all the others scheduled at night. Wednesday has just one day game, Seattle Mariners at Atlanta Braves at 12:10 p.m. ET, while Thursday has five day games, with the first being San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds at 12:35 p.m. ET. St. Louis Cardinals at Toronto Blue Jays kicks off both weekend days' action, the start time for their Saturday and Sunday games both 1:07 p.m. ET.

Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:
Kansas City Royals at St. Louis Cardinals (2 games, Monday-Tuesday)
Minnesota Twins at Milwaukee Brewers (2 games, Monday-Tuesday)
Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins (2 games, Monday-Tuesday)
• Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Dodgers (3 games, Monday-Wednesday)
• Seattle Mariners at Atlanta Braves (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals (2 games, Wednesday-Thursday)
• Milwaukee Brewers at Minnesota Twins (2 games, Wednesday-Thursday)
• Miami Marlins at Tampa Bay Rays (2 games, Wednesday-Thursday)
• St. Louis Cardinals at Toronto Blue Jays (3 games, Friday-Sunday)

Thanks to the addition of the designated hitter for five of their seven Week 10 games, the Cardinals gain the advantage of a one-week respite for their cluttered outfield, which currently stands as Peter Bourjos, Randall Grichuk, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Oscar Taveras (Allen Craig is currently manning first base). The team didn't promote Taveras to sit him, so assume he'll start all week, but this would be a good time for the Cardinals to also get Grichuk into the everyday lineup, with Holliday sliding over to DH. Fantasy owners should get maximum value from this group with the additional 20-or-so plate appearances the team will pick up, and it means NL-only and deep-mixed owners can take a chance on Grichuk.

The aforementioned Jose Abreu's return has a downside, and it's that the White Sox now have three natural first base/DH types to squeeze into only first base, and neither Adam Dunn nor Paul Konerko brings as much to the table as the rookie. Dunn has a start in left field this season -- plus made two there in 2013 -- so that's a possible in either of the two games against right-handed starters on Tuesday or Wednesday. His owners, however, need brace for a handful of lost at-bats, while Abreu's return will render Konerko a cut candidate in most every league.

The loss of the DH won't significantly affect fantasy prospects of Twins, Rays or Mariners, being that each team plays just two games in an NL park and each uses a rotation to fill the spot anyway. The Rays' David DeJesus (25) has the most starts at DH among active players from those teams, while the Twins' Josmil Pinto (18) is the only other one with more than 12. They're less attractive in 14-plus-team mixed and AL-only leagues as a result, even Pinto in two-catcher leagues, being that he's a mere .234/.255/.404 hitter in 16 games in the month of May.

Projected starting pitchers

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

Pitching scuttlebutt

• The Chicago White Sox flip-flopped Chris Sale and Jose Quintana in their rotation, so that Sale was scheduled for June 1 and Quintana for Monday of Week 10 (and therefore also Sunday).
• The Houston Astros demoted Brett Oberholtzer to Triple-A Oklahoma City on June 1, and will revert to a five-man rotation for Week 10.
Yordano Ventura (elbow) is scheduled to rejoin the Kansas City Royals' rotation on Thursday.
• The Los Angeles Angels will use Monday's off day to push back fifth starter Matt Shoemaker to either Friday or Saturday.
• The Seattle Mariners demoted Brandon Maurer to Triple-A Tacoma on May 30, and manager Lloyd McClendon indicated at the time that Erasmo Ramirez will move into their rotation beginning on Tuesday.
Yu Darvish (neck) was scheduled to rejoin the Texas Rangers' rotation on June 1, setting him up for a Saturday start during Week 10.
• The Toronto Blue Jays gave Drew Hutchison, who was scheduled to pitch May 31, a "breather" and will start him next on Tuesday. It's unclear whether this means that Marcus Stroman, who pitched May 31, will remain in what's a six-man rotation or replace Liam Hendriks outright, though the latter seems the most likely scenario.
Mat Latos (elbow) made his second rehabilitation start, throwing 81 pitches, for Triple-A Louisville on May 30, putting him on schedule for either a Wednesday or Thursday start in Week 10, which could again be with Louisville or with the Cincinnati Reds. Should he be activated, he'd presumably bump either Tony Cingrani or Alfredo Simon from the Reds' rotation, which would require some shuffling of the order listed above.
Henderson Alvarez (elbow) threw a 20-pitch bullpen session May 31 without incident, so he will be ready to pitch for the Miami Marlins on Tuesday, one day later than usual yet still lining him up for a two-start Week 10.
• Following his 31-Game Score outing on May 30, Rafael Montero was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas by the New York Mets. Daisuke Matsuzaka will assume his rotation spot beginning on Wednesday.
• The San Diego Padres will presumably push Donn Roach, their fifth starter, back to Tuesday, which is the latest day that rotation spot will next be needed.
Matt Cain (hamstring) is tentatively expected to rejoin the San Francisco Giants' rotation on Saturday, but if he suffers a setback, Yusmeiro Petit will presumably fill in again either Friday or Saturday.
Blake Treinen had his last start skipped by the Washington Nationals following a May 27 rainout, and while he'd be on turn for Tuesday, the team might well push him back to Saturday's game thanks to Monday's day off.

Tristan's Week 10 pitcher rankings: Top 75

1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Mon-CWS (Quintana), Sun-@COL (De La Rosa)
2. Yu Darvish (TEX) -- Sat-CLE (Tomlin)
3. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Mon-@NYY (Phelps), Sun-@TB (Archer)
4. Max Scherzer (DET) -- Sat-BOS (Lester)
5. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Sat-@LAA (Shoemaker)
6. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Wed-PHI (Burnett)
7. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Thu-@CIN (Leake)
8. David Price (TB) -- Wed-MIA (Koehler)
9. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Thu-OAK (Pomeranz)
10. Adam Wainwright (StL) -- Wed-@KC (Vargas)
11. Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Fri-PHI (Hamels)
12. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Tue-TOR (Hutchison), Sun-BOS (Lackey)
13. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Thu-@KC (Ventura)
14. John Lackey (BOS) -- Mon-@CLE (Masterson), Sun-@DET (Sanchez)
15. James Shields (KC) -- Tue-@STL (Garcia), Sun-NYY (Kuroda)
16. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Fri-@CIN (Cueto)
17. Jeff Samardzija (CHC) -- Sat-MIA (Wolf)
18. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Sat-@BAL (Chen)
19. Alex Cobb (TB) -- Mon-@MIA (Wolf), Sat-SEA (Elias)
20. Marco Estrada (MIL) -- Wed-@MIN (Nolasco)
21. Homer Bailey (CIN) -- Tue-SF (Lincecum), Sun-PHI (Buchanan)
22. Doug Fister (WSH) -- Thu-PHI (Kendrick)
23. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Wed-@SD (Kennedy)
24. Tyson Ross (SD) -- Fri-WSH (Roark)
25. Chris Archer (TB) -- Tue-@MIA (Alvarez), Sun-SEA (Hernandez)
26. Scott Kazmir (OAK) -- Tue-@NYY (Kuroda), Sun-@BAL (Jimenez)
27. Matt Garza (MIL) -- Mon-MIN (Gibson), Sat-@PIT (Volquez)
28. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Fri-@ARI (McCarthy)
29. Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Fri-@SD (Ross)
30. Tim Lincecum (SF) -- Tue-@CIN (Bailey), Sun-NYM (Wheeler)
31. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Wed-@ATL (Minor)
32. Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Wed-@NYY (Nuno)
33. Drew Smyly (DET) -- Fri-BOS (De La Rosa)
34. David Phelps (NYY) -- Mon-SEA (Hernandez), Sat-@KC (Duffy)
35. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Sat-@COL (Chacin)
36. A.J. Burnett (PHI) -- Wed-@WSH (Strasburg)
37. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Tue-@HOU (McHugh), Sun-CWS (Quintana)
38. Mike Minor (ATL) -- Wed-SEA (Iwakuma)
39. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Wed-BOS (Workman)
40. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Wed-@DET (Porcello)
41. Gerrit Cole (PIT) -- Tue-@SD (Roach)
42. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Thu-TOR (Happ)
43. Yovani Gallardo (MIL) -- Tue-MIN (Deduno), Sun-@PIT (Morton)
44. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Fri-@MIN (Hughes)
45. Justin Masterson (CLE) -- Mon-BOS (Lackey), Sun-@TEX (Saunders)
46. Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Tue-KC (Shields), Sun-@TOR (Hutchison)
47. Hiroki Kuroda (NYY) -- Tue-OAK (Kazmir), Sun-@KC (Shields)
48. Bartolo Colon (NYM) -- Mon-@PHI (Hernandez), Sat-@SF (Cain)
49. Zack Wheeler (NYM) -- Tue-@CHC (Arrieta), Sun-@SF (Lincecum)
50. Matt Cain (SF) -- Sat-NYM (Colon)
51. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Fri-CWS (Rienzo)
52. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Tue-PHI (Buchanan), Sun-@SD (Stauffer)
53. Tim Hudson (SF) -- Fri-NYM (Niese)
54. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) -- Fri-@COL (Morales)
55. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Tue-LAA (Wilson), Sun-@MIN (Deduno)
56. Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Mon-@SD (Stauffer), Sun-MIL (Gallardo)
57. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Fri-@TOR (Stroman)
58. Shelby Miller (STL) -- Mon-KC (Duffy), Sat-@TOR (Buehrle)
59. Josh Beckett (LAD) -- Wed-CWS (Danks)
60. Drew Hutchison (TOR) -- Tue-@DET (Sanchez), Sun-STL (Garcia)
61. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Tue-NYM (Wheeler), Sun-MIA (Alvarez)
62. Jon Lester (BOS) -- Sat-@DET (Scherzer)
63. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Thu-MIA (Turner)
64. Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Wed-PIT (Liriano)
65. Tim Stauffer (SD) -- Mon-PIT (Morton), Sun-WSH (Zimmermann)
66. Josh Collmenter (ARI) -- Wed-@COL (Lyles)
67. Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Fri-MIA (Eovaldi)
68. Ubaldo Jimenez (BAL) -- Tue-@TEX (Saunders), Sun-OAK (Kazmir)
69. Travis Wood (CHC) -- Thu-NYM (DeGrom)
70. Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Fri-HOU (Keuchel)
71. Mike Leake (CIN) -- Thu-SF (Bumgarner)
72. Ryan Vogelsong (SF) -- Wed-@CIN (Cingrani)
73. Jake Peavy (BOS) -- Tue-@CLE (House)
74. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Mon-@LAD (Kershaw), Sun-@LAA (Wilson)
75. Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Thu-@CHC (Wood)

Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues:
Henderson Alvarez (MIA) -- Tue-TB (Archer), Sun-@CHC (Arrieta)
David Buchanan (PHI) -- Tue-@WSH (Zimmermann), Sun-@CIN (Bailey)
Jorge De La Rosa (COL) -- Tue-ARI (Anderson), Sun-LAD (Kershaw)
Samuel Deduno (MIN) -- Tue-@MIL (Gallardo), Sun-HOU (McHugh)
Danny Duffy (KC) -- Mon-@STL (Miller), Sat-NYY (Phelps)
Roberto Hernandez (PHI) -- Mon-NYM (Colon), Sat-@CIN (Simon)

No-thank-yous, among two-start pitchers:
Chase Anderson (ARI) -- Tue-@COL (De La Rosa), Sun-ATL (Harang)
Kyle Gibson (MIN) -- Mon-@MIL (Garza), Sat-HOU (Feldman)
Joe Saunders (TEX) -- Tue-BAL (Jimenez), Sun-CLE (Masterson)
Randy Wolf (MIA) -- Mon-TB (Cobb), Sat-@CHC (Samardzija)

Pitching advantages

• Fear not those New York Mets road matchups, despite their wide home/road ERA split: 3.30 so far at Citi Field, 4.24 away from it. The matchups aren't especially disconcerting, after all, as the Mets conclude their weekend wrap-around series against the light-hitting Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, before battling Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants teams that both rank in the bottom half in the majors in wOBA and play in ballparks that rank among the 10 most pitcher-friendly thus far in 2014 per our MLB Park Factors page.

But this is as much about the recent performance of Mets pitchers themselves as it is the schedule. Mets starters have eight quality starts in their past nine games (through May 29), and a 3.54 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 23 games since returning from Colorado's Coors Field on May 5. Not a single Mets starter was owned in more than 50 percent of ESPN leagues (as of May 30), yet every one of them has pitched well enough in the team's past three rotation turns to warrant a place considering these matchups. Even better: The starters' improved output boosts the stock of current closer Jenrry Mejia, who has one win, five saves and a 0.00 ERA in nine appearances since his move to the bullpen.

• Speaking of home/road splits, the Tampa Bay Rays have an even wider one than the Mets, but they're the ones with five home games in Week 10. They begin the week with that familiar two-and-two, home-and-home interleague series against their cross-state rivals the Miami Marlins, a team that struggles mightily on the road (.294 wOBA, 21st) and, despite a hot start to the season at Marlins Park, has been held to three runs scored or fewer in four of their past eight games there. The apparent fear inspired by that venue -- not to mention by the presence of Giancarlo Stanton in the Marlins' lineup -- makes two-start pitchers Alex Cobb and Chris Archer look slightly less attractive, but considering their second turns come at home against the light-hitting Seattle Mariners, they're both well worth your consideration.

• As for those "challenging" matchups facing the fantasy aces, you'll notice judging from my rankings above that the two at most jeopardy of a disappointing outing are Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander, and with good reason: No team has a higher wOBA at home this season than the Colorado Rockies (.388), and Greinke was 0-for-2 in quality starts with a 7.84 ERA at Coors in 2013. As for Verlander, his velocity has declined steeply comparative to two seasons ago, he's in the midst of a streak of three consecutive starts that failed to meet the quality-start qualification, and he'll now pitch in a park where Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, C.J. Wilson and James Shields all put forth mediocre fantasy stats in outings during the month of May.

Conversely, Felix Hernandez is the one of the bunch whose matchup shouldn't remotely inspire fear. He has, after all, registered five quality starts in six career games at Yankee Stadium, his ERA there 1.18 and two of those outings two-hit shutouts. Couple that with the fact that some key New York Yankees bats have been absent lately (Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira), and Hernandez is a must-start.

• Here are this week's Streamer's Delight picks (pitchers must be available in at least 75 percent of ESPN leagues as of our publishing time on Friday):

1. Charlie Morton (@SD, Monday): He's a ground-balling (56.8 percent rate, ninth), induce-weak-contact type (.516 soft-hit average, sixth), and the San Diego Padres rank worst (52.0 GB%) and third-worst (.452 SHAV) in those particular categories.
2. Jake Odorizzi (MIA, Thursday): I've talked before about the Miami Marlins' home/road splits (.346 versus .294), but this one's also about Odorizzi's "out" pitch, the changeup. No team has whiffed on more changeups than the Marlins (77 times).
3. Jaime Garcia (KC, Tuesday): No other way to evaluate these splits, the Kansas City Royals have a sub-.300 wOBA (and bottom-10-in-baseball-ranked) on the road and versus left-handers, and their .278 wOBA in May ranks dead last.
4. David Phelps (@KC, Saturday): Remember those Royals splits? Yeah, they're relevant here, too. But if you're worried about Phelps' lifetime 4.85 road ERA (his is 2.98 at home), consider that he has pitched back-to-back road quality starts.
5. Tanner Roark (@SD, Friday): He's usually a better streaming play in home games (1.19 career ERA), but the San Diego Padres have a ghastly 3.4 runs-per-game average at Petco and Roark has experienced road success in other pitchers' venues (New York's Citi Field, Oakland's O.co Coliseum, Miami's Marlins Park[e]).
6. Jake Arrieta (MIA, Sunday): He hasn't had the easiest time of yet, his per-outing pitch counts capped at 94 and four of his five starts so far coming on the road, yet he still sports encouraging 2.6:1 K-to-walk and 54.7 percent ground-ball ratios. I think this is the start where the Chicago Cubs turn him loose, facing a bad-on-the-road offense.
7. Edwin Jackson (NYM, Wednesday): What an awful day for streaming Wednesday is. Jackson warrants a look, however, considering he has three straight quality starts at Wrigley Field and the New York Mets' bats aren't terribly threatening.

Best days to stream (accounting both quality and quantity of candidates): Tuesday, Thursday, Monday, Sunday, Friday, Saturday, Wednesday.

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: Detroit Tigers 6, Texas Rangers 6, Chicago Cubs 6, Cincinnati Reds 6, Colorado Rockies 6, San Diego Padres 6. Despite nine teams playing a full seven-game Week 10, none of those nine plays all seven at home.
Versus RH: Milwaukee Brewers 7, Philadelphia Phillies 7, Kansas City Royals 6, Minnesota Twins 6, Texas Rangers 6, Miami Marlins 6, New York Mets 6, Pittsburgh Pirates 6. Seven teams face five right-handed starters.
Versus LH: Los Angeles Dodgers 4, Baltimore Orioles 3, New York Yankees 3, St. Louis Cardinals 3. No other team faces more than two left-handed starters.

• Though the Texas Rangers have fallen upon tougher times this season -- they lead the majors with 17 disabled-list placements and currently have preseason projected starters Prince Fielder, Jurickson Profar, Geovany Soto, as well as pitchers Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Martin Perez, on the shelf -- a full week of home games against the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians rotations, those sporting the 26th- (4.66) and 27th-ranked (4.70) starters' ERAs, suits them nicely. That all six projected opponents are right-handed, four of them possessing season ERAs higher than four, is another plus, shouldn't frighten anyone off of righty Rangers sluggers like Adrian Beltre or Alex Rios: They possess .283/.339/.434 and .293/.318/.393 triple-slash lines against right-handers this season.

But this is really just about two left-handed potential fantasy pickups this week: Rookie Rougned Odor, who has batted .389 in 38 trips to the plate against right-handers this season, and Mitch Moreland, a .291/.331/.436 hitter in 127 PAs against righties. Moreland is especially attractive in that he has started each of the Rangers' past 12 games at first base in Fielder's stead, five of those as the team's No. 3 hitter.

• It's perhaps advice better served to NL-only or daily-transactions owners than those in ESPN standard 10-team mixed leagues, but consider that Scott Van Slyke has started all 12 games in which the Los Angeles Dodgers have faced a left-handed starter, 11 of those in left field and one at first base. A lefty-masher -- he has lifetime .240/.338/.520 triple-slash rates and has hit nine of his 13 career homers against southpaws -- Van Slyke should capitalize upon three Dodgers games against lefties this week, two of which will come at Coors Field. Owners of other Dodgers players, particularly the entirely-owned-and-trusted right-handers Hanley Ramirez and Yasiel Puig, should expect continued greatness from them as well.

Arizona Diamondbacks hitters are well worth a look this week, considering they play three games at Colorado's Coors Field and only sport one player who is owned in 100 percent of ESPN leagues: Paul Goldschmidt. Aaron Hill is a .333/.396/.540 hitter in 22 games at Coors, Martin Prado is a .300/.364/.370 hitter in 26 games there, Miguel Montero has .274/.331/.474 triple-slash rates in 38 games there, Cody Ross has .283/.324/.515 rates and 25 RBIs in 30 games there, and rookie Chris Owings is 8-for-22 (.364 AVG) with four doubles there.

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