Fantasy Baseball

Norris, Lewis gambles this week

Bud Norris, Houston Astros
Norris looks to rebound after back-to-back shellackings.
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Joel Beall

Joel Beall is a writer for FOXSports.com and WhatIfSports.com. He lives with a Golden Tee machine and a jump shot that’s currently broken. Reach Joel on Twitter @FOXSportsBeall.

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KISS OF APPROVAL

See which players comprise the starting lineups for the 2012 All-Star Game on FOX.

Start ‘Em

Josh Beckett (@MIA, @CHC
Since his infamous implosion against the Indians on May 10 (following a missed start due to, ahem, “golfgate”), Beckett has been quietly effective, holding opponents to a .227 average and flaunting a 2.21 ERA in his last five starts. Better yet, in four of these five outings, Beckett has surrendered just two runs or less. The Marlins and Cubs rank in the bottom third in the league in runs, giving Beckett the opportunity to continue this pitching proficiency.

Adam Wainwright (CHW, KC)
While we usually are not prone to endorsing a starter with an ERA hovering near 5.00, Wainwright has been solid as of late, relinquishing three runs or less in four of his past five appearances, with the only blemish a bruising at the hands of the Mets on the night of Johan Santana’s no-no. As alluded to above, Wainwright’s 4.97 ERA is disconcerting, but his .322 BABIP, 3.66 FIP and 3.22 xFIP illustrate the former All-Star has been the victim of bad luck. Expect fortune to turn his way this week against the White Sox and Royals.

Josh Johnson (BOS, @TB)
Johnson’s early-spring output was so atrocious that, after six straight starts of relinquishing three runs or less (boasting a 2.95 ERA during that time frame), the Miami ace’s season ERA stands at a 4.56 mark. Boston and Tampa Bay do not present the calmest of waters to wade through, yet Johnson’s sabermetrics (robust .370 BABIP, 2.91 FIP) allude to better days on the horizon. For those in net win leagues, Johnson might be hampered this week, but the ERA, WHIP and strikeout contributions are too bountiful to pass up.

POWER RANKINGS

See if your favorite team is pointed in the right direction this week.

Other Start ‘Ems
Ian Kennedy (@TEX, @LAA)
Johnny Cueto (CLE, @NYM)
Brandon Morrow (WAS, PHI)
Felix Hernandez (SD, SF)
Madison Bumgarner (HOU, @SEA)
Zack Greinke (@KC, @MIN)

Sit ‘Em

Chris Capuano (LAA, CHW)
Try to put aside the eight accumulated wins and focus on the fundamental factors of Capuano’s dazzling start. Capuano’s .228 BABIP is ridiculously small, just behind Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy for lowest on the Senior Circuit. If this wasn’t a big enough red flag, the discrepancy between Capuano’s 2.82 ERA to his 3.95 FIP and 4.07 xFIP is quite disconcerting. Throw in the White Sox’s explosive offense and the Angels starting to show signs of life at the plate, and Capuano looks to be headed for stormy weather.

Chris Young (@TB, CIN)
After Young’s 2012 debut last week against the Nationals (five innings, six hits, one walk, two earned runs), I received multiple reader emails asking if the 6’10” righty was a must-own in NL-formats. How about we pump the breaks ever so slightly, Mets fans. I know everyone is still excited about Santana’s performance a few days ago, but Young hasn’t pitched 100 innings in a season since 2008. Let’s give the guy another outing or two before endorsing Young’s acquirement. With the Rays and Reds on slate this week, it should give us a good idea of the gas left in Young’s tank.

Clayton Richard (@SEA, @OAK)
I’m sure many owners will lick their lips once they see the Mariners and A’s on tap for Richard, though their excitement is erroneous. Thanks to his own putrid offense, Richard has a league-leading seven losses to his credit, and though Seattle and Oakland are often viewed as pitchers’ paradises, the San Diego starter possesses a 6.57 ERA and 1.57 WHIP on the road this season. There’s too much risk in approving Richard this week.

Other Sit ‘Ems
Randall Delgado (NYY, BAL)
Wei Yin Chen (PIT, @ATL)
Paul Maholm (DET, BOS)
Jose Quintana (@STL, @LAD)
Max Scherzer (@CHC, COL)
Luis Mendoza (MIL, @STL)
Nick Blackburn (PHI, MIL)

Use Caution

Bud Norris (@SF, @TEX)
Norris has been at the business end of two consecutive beat-downs, giving up 13 earned runs in his last 7.2 innings. However, before this thrashing, Norris had a six-game stretch where he suppressed adversaries to a .216 average and racked up 40 punch-outs, correlating to a 1.69 ERA in that time frame. The San Fran offense doesn’t strike fear into opponents, although a date with baseball’s best offense in Texas will surely inflict such a sentiment. In deeper leagues or NL-only formats, Norris’ assistances of Ks and WHIP are worth the gamble.

Garrett Richards (@LAD, ARI)
A former first-round pick, Richards was commendable in his first start of the season, going seven strong innings of one-run ball against the Mariners last week. With Matt Kemp on the sidelines and Arizona stuck in stall, it would seem apropos to give Richards a shot this week. It is worth noting, however, that Richards was knocked around in Triple-A Salt Lake before getting the call-up this year, yielding a 4.31 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 56.1 innings. Granted, the Pacific Coast League is an offensively-fueled division, but Richards’ performance was far from formidable. Only give him a look for those in desperate need of Ws.

Colby Lewis (ARI, HOU)
April is beginning to look like a mirage for Lewis proprietors. After posting a 3-0 record, 1.93 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in the opening month, the 32-year-old has been lit up like the Fourth of July, allowing 10 bombs in his last seven starts to go with a 4.37 ERA in this span. Lewis’ challengers this week aren’t the most daunting of tasks; conversely, Lewis is far from an awe-inspiring arm at this juncture. The Rangers offense will facilitate enough runs to make him a candidate for victories, but your team’s ERA and WHIP totals could be damaged in the process.

HEAD FIRST

See which MLB players missed time in recent years due to concussions.

Other Cautions
Jeanmar Gomez (@CIN, PIT)
Jeremy Guthrie (OAK, @DET)
Edwin Jackson (@TOR, NYY)
Alex Cobb (NYM, MIA)
Ivan Nova (@ATL, @WAS)
Bartolo Colon (@COL, SD)
Kyle Kendrick (@MIN, @TOR)
Brad Lincoln (@BAL, @CLE)

Tagged: Red Sox, Angels, White Sox, Mariners, Rangers, Braves, Astros, Dodgers, Mets, Cardinals, Padres, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Colby Lewis, Josh Beckett, Chris Capuano, Chris Young, Adam Wainwright, Josh Johnson, Clayton Richard, Bud Norris

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