This week’s fantasy baseball starting pitcher review will help you identify starting pitchers available in 50% or more of Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues. For deep league players, the third is available in 85% or more of Yahoo! leagues.
Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee (40% owned)
Nelson previously cracked this article when he was at sub-15% ownership, but he’s gotten even better lately. Nelson currently carries a 24:1 K/BB ratio over the last two weeks. This supports his 2.25 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Since a blow-up outing a few weeks ago, he has the 24 strikeouts in a minuscule 15 innings. This week he gets the floundering Giants, who are currently sorting out which AAA-level outfielders to use. Even if you don’t trust Nelson, he has at least another heavy strikeout game in him based on matchup alone.
Ty Blach, San Francisco (23% owned)
Blach is fresh off a complete game shutout against the woeful Phillies, but he’s been useful over the entire year. He carries a 3.24 ERA and 1.11 WHIP on the year, both stupendous. His strikeouts are the only bugaboo. He has a 1.77 K/BB rate which is borderline awful, but a decent groundball rate helps offset this. He has eight starts this year that break down to one blow up in Cincy (3 IP, 8 ER) and six quality starts. If he had gone one more inning in his first start, he would have qualified there, too (5 IP, 2 ER).
Since the blowup start, however, Blach has a run of five consecutive quality starts, with at least 7 IP in each start and three runs allowed just once. The strikeouts won’t be there, but he should drive down your ERA & WHIP. This week he gets the Brewers, who have cooled off since their hot start and may be a sneaky matchup. Blach has done a great job of limiting fly balls, so the swing happy Brewers will have trouble with their strikeout-or-dinger approach.
Joe Biagini, Toronto (14% owned)
So far this year, Biagini has a 3.31 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and a 7.9 K/9. That’s a pretty good stretch for a pitcher who is freely available in 86% of leagues. However, that’s essentially the baseball player we saw Biagini be last year, but his ownership doesn’t reflect over 100 innings of 3.16 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Biagini strikes out slightly fewer batters this year, but he offsets that by getting the magical 60% groundball rate. Groundballs have the lowest expected average, and while a strikeout is ideal, many pitchers are moving towards inducing weak contact (like Biagini).
Biagini started the season as a reliever in Toronto, but they moved him to the rotation on May 7. Since then, he carries a very good 3.26 ERA, an overwhelming 63% groundball rate (which drives his .253 BABIP). His K/9 is still a little low, but he struck out thirteen batters in thirteen innings his last two starts, so he could be moving towards striking more players out as he grows into his starter role. The Blue Jays gradually increased his pitch count every start, so as he becomes more comfortable, he should get more strikeouts.