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Fantasy Forecaster: Week of June 9

6/9/2014

Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, June 9, at 10:32 a.m. ET.

On tap: The performances of the Tampa Bay Rays and David Price to date have been puzzling, to say the least. The team rode a 10-game losing streak into the games of June 6, 14 games back in the American League East at 23-38. Price has a bloated 4.03 ERA despite the majors' best K's per walk rate (11.22) and a 3.13 FIP; his ERA-FIP differential is eighth-most in the game. As Price is the Rays' two-start pitcher this week, and the team faces competitive matchups against the Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros, this is a key week for both him and the Rays in their 2014 outlooks.

If this is the week that the Pittsburgh Pirates finally promote Gregory Polanco, they'll do it in a full seven-game week, maximizing his immediate fantasy potential. Because the most challenging opposing starter they'll face is Jeff Samardzija (Thursday), Polanco will be well worth activating if there's any chance he'll be up before the week begins.

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

The final game -- "getaway day" -- of a four-game, weekend wraparound Seattle Mariners-at-Tampa Bay Rays series has a 1:10 p.m. ET start time on Monday, forcing fantasy owners to set their weekly lineups earlier than usual. It's Monday's only day game, however, as all other 11 games on that day begin at 7 p.m. ET or later.

Daily-league owners should be aware that there are more day games than usual, with Friday the only day in Week 11 with exclusively night games: Tuesday's lone day game is Astros at Arizona Diamondbacks at 3:40 p.m. ET; Wednesday has two day games, Minnesota Twins at Toronto Blue Jays at 12:37 p.m. ET and Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals at 2:10 p.m. ET.

Thursday's action begins with Los Angeles Dodgers at Cincinnati Reds at 12:35 p.m. ET and features four day games; Saturday kicks off with Royals at Chicago White Sox at 2:10 p.m. ET; and Sunday starts with Twins at Detroit Tigers at 1:08 p.m. ET.

Interleague impact

This week's interleague series:
• Astros at Diamondbacks (2 games, Monday-Tuesday)
• Cardinals at Rays (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
Miami Marlins at Texas Rangers (2 games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• Diamondbacks at Astros (2 games, Wednesday-Thursday)
Los Angeles Angels at Atlanta Braves (3 games, Friday-Sunday)

With Jon Singleton now a major leaguer, we'll see how the Astros handle Chris Carter's role in National League parks; Carter's nine starts in the field this season have all come at first base. As the opposing Diamondbacks will start a righty and a lefty during their series, it's possible that the two will merely split the starts, minimizing the adverse impact upon their fantasy value. Carter could also man left field both days with the Robbie Grossman/Alex Presley tandem sitting.

The Cardinals get two more games with which to use a DH, and in their June 4-5 series at Kansas City they slotted Matt Holliday there, freeing up left field for a start apiece for Randal Grichuk and Jon Jay. They'll probably use the same arrangement again in Tampa Bay; Grichuk might receive enough at-bats to be useful in NL-only formats. The Marlins, meanwhile, used Justin Bour at DH on June 5, and could grant him two more starts there during their series in Texas. A 20-homer type with a high walk rate in the minors, Bour could be worth the one-week look in NL-only leagues. As for the Diamondbacks, that the opposing Astros will start a lefty and a righty in their series sets up an obvious split of the starts between Nick Evans and Eric Chavez at DH. That wouldn't be enough to get either onto the NL-only radar.

The Angels lose the DH for the largest number of games, which is only a problem in that Raul Ibanez and C.J. Cron, their most common DHs, will have to fight for at-bats behind Josh Hamilton in left field and Albert Pujols at first base. As the Angels face three left-handed starters in the week, Ibanez should be benched in all except the deepest of AL-only leagues. Cron probably also warrants a place on your bench, though he's at least slightly more attractive because of the volume of opposing lefties.

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

Miguel Gonzalez (side) was scratched from his June 5 start and placed on the DL, causing the Baltimore Orioles to move Chris Tillman up to that day and slot Kevin Gausman into a June 7 turn. Gausman is scheduled to pitch again on Thursday of Week 11.
Clay Buchholz (knee) was scheduled for a simulated game on June 7 and Felix Doubront (shoulder) made a rehabilitation start for Double-A Portland on June 5, giving either of them an outside chance at being ready to rejoin the Boston Red Sox's rotation late in Week 11. Brandon Workman, scheduled for Sunday, would be the most likely pitcher bumped; keep in mind he has a six-game suspension to serve.
Zach McAllister (back) made a rehabilitation start for Class A Lake County on June 5, the first of a projected two such appearances before the Indians activate him. He'd be on a four-days'-rest schedule that would line him up for Sunday of Week 11, so he's a possibility to rejoin the Indians by the weekend.
• The Angels could use Thursday's off day to skip Matt Shoemaker, their fifth starter who is on schedule for Friday of Week 11. That would give Tyler Skaggs a second start this week (Sunday at Atlanta).
Mat Latos' (knee, elbow) rehabilitation start for Triple-A Louisville on June 4 was limited due to a calf cramp, so he will make another rehab start on Monday. The team hasn't announced yet when he'll return or whom he'll replace, but as he's on schedule for a Saturday return to the Reds, Tony Cingrani seems the most likely starter bumped.
• With Jordan Lyles (broken hand) headed to the DL, the Colorado Rockies will have Christian Bergman make a pair of starts in his place in Week 11.
• The San Diego Padres, who demoted both Jesse Hahn and Donn Roach to the minors within the past week, were expected to have Andrew Cashner back in their rotation on June 7, lining him up for a Friday start in Week 10. The team can push back their other rotation opening as far as Saturday, at which point either Roach is eligible to be recalled or Tim Stauffer could get another turn.
Gio Gonzalez (shoulder) will make one more minor league rehabilitation start before probably rejoining the Washington Nationals' rotation sometime in Week 12.

Tristan's Week 11 pitcher rankings: Top 75

1. Yu Darvish (TEX) -- Wed-MIA (Turner)
2. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Fri-ARI (Anderson)
3. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Mon-@SF (Vogelsong), Sat-@STL (Miller)
4. Max Scherzer (DET) -- Thu-@CWS (Sale)
5. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Tue-WSH (Fister), Sun-COL (Nicasio)
6. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Tue-@SEA (Iwakuma), Sun-@OAK (Chavez)
7. David Price (TB) -- Mon-SEA (Ramirez), Sun-@HOU (Peacock)
8. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Thu-DET (Scherzer)
9. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Fri-TEX (Tepesch)
10. Adam Wainwright (StL) -- Tue-@TB (Odorizzi)
11. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Wed-@TB (Bedard)
12. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Tue-@KC (Ventura), Sun-@BOS (Workman)
13. Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Wed-LAD (Ryu)
14. Francisco Liriano (PIT) -- Tue-CHC (Wood), Sun-@MIA (Alvarez)
15. Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Mon-@LAA (Richards), Sun-NYY (Tanaka)
16. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Tue-NYY (Tanaka), Sun-TEX (Martinez)
17. Marco Estrada (MIL) -- Tue-@NYM (Matsuzaka), Sun-CIN (Leake)
18. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Fri-NYY (Kuroda)
19. A.J. Burnett (PHI) -- Tue-SD (Kennedy), Sun-CHC (Wood)
20. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Wed-SD (Ross)
21. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Tue-@CWS (Danks), Sun-MIN (Nolasco)
22. Mike Minor (ATL) -- Tue-@COL (Nicasio), Sun-LAA (Richards)
23. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Fri-MIN (Gibson)
24. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Thu-@CIN (Simon)
25. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Mon-MIN (Nolasco), Sat-@BAL (Norris)
26. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Wed-@COL (Butler)
27. Doug Fister (WSH) -- Tue-@SF (Bumgarner), Sun-@STL (Garcia)
28. Jeff Samardzija (CHC) -- Thu-@PIT (Volquez)
29. Tyson Ross (SD) -- Wed-@PHI (Hamels)
30. Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Tue-@PHI (Burnett), Sun-@NYM (Matsuzaka)
31. Chris Archer (TB) -- Sat-@HOU (Cosart)
32. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) -- Wed-@CIN (Cueto)
33. Scott Kazmir (OAK) -- Sat-NYY (Nuno)
34. Garrett Richards (LAA) -- Mon-OAK (Chavez), Sun-@ATL (Minor)
35. Jake Peavy (BOS) -- Mon-@BAL (Norris), Sat-CLE (House)
36. Alex Cobb (TB) -- Fri-@HOU (McHugh)
37. John Lackey (BOS) -- Fri-CLE (Masterson)
38. James Shields (KC) -- Sat-@CWS (Noesi)
39. Matt Garza (MIL) -- Fri-CIN (Bailey)
40. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Wed-OAK (Milone)
41. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Wed-ARI (McCarthy)
42. Rick Porcello (DET) -- Mon-@CWS (Noesi), Sat-MIN (Deduno)
43. Homer Bailey (CIN) -- Fri-@MIL (Garza)
44. Josh Beckett (LAD) -- Tue-@CIN (Leake), Sun-ARI (Arroyo)
45. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Sat-@ATL (Floyd)
46. Zack Wheeler (NYM) -- Sat-SD (TBD)
47. Roenis Elias (SEA) -- Thu-NYY (Phelps)
48. David Phelps (NYY) -- Thu-@SEA (Elias)
49. Brad Peacock (HOU) -- Tue-@ARI (Arroyo), Sun-TB (Price)
50. Jon Lester (BOS) -- Thu-CLE (Tomlin)
51. Matt Cain (SF) -- Wed-WSH (Roark)
52. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Thu-@PHI (Kendrick)
53. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Fri-WSH (Zimmermann)
54. Chris Tillman (BAL) -- Tue-BOS (Workman), Sun-TOR (Happ)
55. Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Thu-MIL (Lohse)
56. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Fri-KC (Duffy)
57. Charlie Morton (PIT) -- Mon-CHC (Jackson), Sat-@MIA (Wolf)
58. Shelby Miller (STL) -- Sat-WSH (Strasburg)
59. Kyle Lohse (MIL) -- Thu-@NYM (Niese)
60. Travis Wood (CHC) -- Tue-@PIT (Liriano), Sun-@PHI (Burnett)
61. Josh Collmenter (ARI) -- Mon-HOU (Cosart), Sat-@LAD (Haren)
62. Brandon Workman (BOS) -- Tue-@BAL (Tillman), Sun-CLE (Kluber)
63. Tim Lincecum (SF) -- Fri-COL (De La Rosa)
64. Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Wed-MIL (Peralta)
65. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Fri-TB (Cobb)
66. Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Wed-@KC (Guthrie)
67. Mark Buehrle (TOR) -- Thu-@BAL (Gausman)
68. Justin Masterson (CLE) -- Fri-@BOS (Lackey)
69. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Tue-CLE (Kluber)
70. Jarred Cosart (HOU) -- Mon-@ARI (Collmenter), Sat-TB (Archer)
71. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Tue-STL (Wainwright)
72. Yovani Gallardo (MIL) -- Sat-CIN (Latos)
73. Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Sun-WSH (Fister)
74. Tim Hudson (SF) -- Thu-WSH (Treinen)
75. Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Wed-@SF (Cain)

Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues:
Bronson Arroyo (ARI) -- Tue-HOU (Peacock), Sun-@LAD (Beckett)
John Danks (CWS) -- Tue-DET (Verlander), Sun-KC (Vargas)
Gavin Floyd (ATL) -- Mon-@COL (Bergman), Sat-LAA (Wilson)
Dan Haren (LAD) -- Mon-@CIN (Cingrani), Sat-ARI (Collmenter)
Edwin Jackson (CHC) -- Mon-@PIT (Morton), Sat-@PHI (Buchanan)
Nick Martinez (TEX) -- Mon-CLE (House), Sun-@SEA (Iwakuma)
Hector Noesi (CWS) -- Mon-DET (Porcello), Sat-KC (Shields)
Erasmo Ramirez (SEA) -- Mon-@TB (Price), Sat-TEX (Saunders)
Jason Vargas (KC) -- Mon-NYY (Nuno), Sun-@CWS (Danks)
Ryan Vogelsong (SF) -- Mon-WSH (Strasburg), Sat-COL (Bergman)

No-thank-yous, among two-start pitchers:
Christian Bergman (COL) -- Mon-ATL (Floyd), Sat-@SF (Vogelsong)
J.A. Happ (TOR) -- Tue-MIN (Correia), Sun-@BAL (Tillman)
T.J. House (CLE) -- Mon-@TEX (Martinez), Sat-@BOS (Peavy)
Mike Leake (CIN) -- Tue-LAD (Beckett), Sun-@MIL (Estrada)
Daisuke Matsuzaka (NYM) -- Tue-MIL (Estrada), Sun-SD (Kennedy)
Juan Nicasio (COL) -- Tue-ATL (Minor), Sun-@SF (Bumgarner)
Ricky Nolasco (MIN) -- Mon-@TOR (Dickey), Sun-@DET (Verlander)
Bud Norris (BAL) -- Mon-BOS (Peavy), Sat-TOR (Dickey)
Vidal Nuno (NYY) -- Mon-@KC (Vargas), Sat-@OAK (Kazmir)

Pitching advantages

• Though their rotation as a whole has cooled during the past three weeks, the Milwaukee Brewers have an outstanding chance to rebound facing the K-prone New York Mets and overrated Cincinnati Reds. The Reds, incidentally, have baseball's lowest weighted on-base average since the beginning of May (.281) while averaging just 3.3 runs per game; they are actually the more favorable of the two sets of matchups. Check out how Yovani Gallardo in particular has fared against the Reds: 7 of past 11 GS versus Reds were quality starts, 3.32 ERA.

• The Houston Astros' staff is chock full of pitchers widely available in ESPN leagues: Dallas Keuchel (97.0 percent owned) is the only one claimed in more than half. A week of games against the Arizona Diamondbacks plus slumping and injury-riddled Tampa Bay Rays, however, suits them well as streamers as a whole. The Rays, incidentally, have averaged just 3.4 runs per game with a .291 wOBA since the beginning of May. Now look at the recent performance of the team's individual starters:

Keuchel: Five consecutive quality starts
Jarred Cosart: Six quality starts in his past eight games
Brad Peacock: Four quality starts in his past six games
Collin McHugh: 2.52 ERA, 0.96 WHIP for the season
Scott Feldman: 3.02 ERA, 1.28 WHIP before his June 1 stinker

• 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. Jose Quintana (KC, Friday): He has five quality starts in his past eight games against the Kansas City Royals, his ERA 3.59 and WHIP 1.20 in those eight contests.
2. Roenis Elias (NYY, Thursday): The New York Yankees have 68 K's in at-bats that ended with a curveball, seventh-most in the majors, and Elias struck them out 10 times in allowing two runs in seven innings in their last meeting on May 1.
3. Marcus Stroman (MIN, Wednesday): It's a home game, and Stroman has the breaking pitches (curveball, slider) to fluster a Twins team that has struck out the fourth-most often this season (22.8 percent of their PAs).
4. Travis Wood (@PHI, Sunday): He's a perfect 3-for-3 in quality starts in his career at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, his ERA 2.11 and WHIP 0.80 in those games.
5. Jarred Cosart (TB, Saturday): Six of his past eight games have resulted in quality starts, and the opposing Tampa Bay Rays have baseball's second-worst wOBA in road games (.279) while averaging just 2.9 runs per road game.
6. Jake Odorizzi (STL, Tuesday): This Cardinals team has the majors' fifth-worst wOBA in road games (.287), and Odorizzi has a 2.88 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 11.88 strikeouts per nine innings in five starts at home.
7. Vidal Nuno (@KC, Monday): Monday is a bad day for streaming, so pick the opponent more so than the pitcher. The Royals have averaged just 3.6 runs per game with a .275 wOBA in their past six series (May 15-June 5).

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

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, Chicago White Sox 7, San Francisco Giants 7, Seattle Mariners 6, New York Mets 6, Philadelphia Phillies 6, Houston Astros 5.
Versus RH: Toronto Blue Jays 7, Cleveland Indians 6, Tampa Bay Rays 6, Atlanta Braves 6, Chicago Cubs 6, Cincinnati Reds 6, Los Angeles Dodgers 6, San Francisco Giants 6. Fourteen teams face five right-handed starters.
Versus LH: Chicago White Sox 3, Kansas City Royals 3, Los Angeles Angels 3, New York Yankees 3. Eleven teams face two left-handed starters.

• The Blue Jays, baseball's best-hitting team since the beginning of May (MLB's leader with both a .355 wOBA and 5.6 runs per game average during that time span), should extend their offensive prowess into Week 11. Six of their seven scheduled opponents have ERAs of 4.39 or greater, with Phil Hughes (3.12 ERA) the most challenging assignment they'll face all week.

That all seven of the Blue Jays' projected opponents are likely to be right-handed plays in favor of their corner infielders, Juan Francisco and Adam Lind (OK, so he's frequently their DH). Lind is a .393/.460/.652 hitter against right-handers thus far this season, Francisco a .309/.396/.660 hitter against righties. Francisco has also been cut in a good number of ESPN leagues in the past week, his ownership percentage dipping beneath 50. If he's available in your league, now's a prime time to scoop him up.

• Don't underestimate what four games at Colorado's Coors Field could do for the Atlanta Braves. Besides the mere ballpark factor, consider this: The Braves are one of the game's most strikeout-prone offenses; the Rockies have baseball's second-least strikeout-oriented pitching staff. Expect the Braves to make more contact than usual at Coors, which should result in bloated offensive numbers. Keep in mind some of their hitters' career track records there:

Freddie Freeman: .349/.396/.767, 4 HR in 10 G
Dan Uggla: .240/.321/.573, 6 HR in 19 G
Chris Johnson: .393/.400/.571 in 8 G
B.J. Upton: 2 HR, .464 SLG in 6 G
Jason Heyward: .345/.472/.690, 2 HR in 8 G
Justin Upton: .272/.359/.481, 8 HR, 11 SB in 44 G