Fantasy Baseball

Ride Minor, Moore this week

Mike Minor, Atlanta Braves
Minor has been lights-out in his last three starts.
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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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Start ‘Em

Mike Minor (PIT, @COL)
The 24-year-old is 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 15 strikeouts in his past three starts against respectable foes in Milwaukee, Arizona and Los Angeles. While Colorado is third on the Senior Circuit in runs scored, Pittsburgh is in the basement, crossing the plate just 49 times in 21 games. The catalyst for the Atlanta pitcher’s early success has been a reduction in free passes, with a 1.71 BB/9 rate in 26.1 innings compared to last season’s mark of 3.27. Throw in his 2.53 FIP compared to his 3.42 ERA, and there’s a lot to like about Minor this week.

Mark Buehrle (ARI, @SD)
Buehrle has made a smooth transition to the National League, posting a 2.63 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in four starts on the young season. His .271 BABIP and 3.75 FIX suggest the ERA and WHIP are due for a bump, yet working in two pitcher-friendly yards this week (Marlins Park, PETCO Park) will repel that regression for a little longer. For owners still on the fence on inserting Buehrle, the Diamondbacks (.244 team average) and Padres (.212) are struggling mightily at the plate. Considering the Miami ace is conceding less than a walk per nine innings, hard to envision Arizona or San Diego mounting much of an offensive attack.

Matt Moore (SEA, OAK)
Moore’s 4.68 ERA and 1.56 WHIP is undoubtedly causing apprehension amongst owners, but a rough outing against Boston on April 15 (eight hits, four walks, six runs) is jading the season figures, as Moore has surrendered seven earned runs in 18.2 innings of work outside of his foray in Beantown. This week’s matchups against middling offenses in Seattle (eighth in the American League in runs) and Oakland (last in the category) should provide Moore a platform to shine.

MLB STANDINGS

Who's clinched? Who's still in the playoff picture? Check all the divisional races.

Other Start ‘Ems
Trevor Cahill (@WAS, @NYM)
Brandon Beachy (PHI, @COL)
C.J. Wilson (MIN, TOR)
Yu Darvish (@TOR, @CLE)
Matt Cain (MIA, MIL)
Felix Hernandez (@TB, MIN)
Cole Hamels (@ATL, @WAS)
Jordan Zimmermann (ARI, PHI)
Ricky Nolasco (@SF, @SD)
Vance Worley (CHC, @WAS)
James McDonald (@ATL, CIN)
Jeremy Hellickson (SEA, OAK)

Sit ‘Em

Ubaldo Jimenez (@CHW, TEX)
Jimenez hasn’t been awful by any means, but he hasn’t been solid either, posting a 4.50 ERA with a 1.50 WHIP in 24 innings. Sabermetrics, however, point that Jimenez has actually been lucky to achieve these feats, with a .253 BABIP and 5.24 FIP in four starts. Taking on Texas, the hottest lineup in the majors, should slay any lingering providence for the former All-Star. Furthermore, while the White Sox have been pedestrian with the bat thus far, U.S. Cellular Field maintains its reputation as a launching pad, making a seemingly safe start a risky endeavor as well. In short, Jimenez is best left on the bench this week.

Bud Norris (NYM, STL)
The Houston up-and-comer’s punch-out propensity (career 8.8 SO/9 mark in just under 400 innings at the big-league level) made him an intriguing late-round draft prospect. Alas, while he’s still racking up the Ks (22 strikeouts in four starts), Norris owns a bloated 5.84 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. His .320 BABIP indicates a decrease is on the horizon, although a 5.01 FIP negates most of this encouraging news. Norris takes on one of the most potent offenses in the NL this week in the Cardinals, as well as the surprisingly adequate Mets lineup. Until he curbs his submission of homers (1.82 HR/9), Norris is a weak link in your fantasy rotation.

Charlie Morton (@STL, CIN)
Morton has been effective in April, brandishing a 2.65 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 17 innings for the Buccos. Yet not the most promising of opponents this week against division rivals St. Louis and Cincinnati. Granted, Morton was lights-out against the Reds in 2011 (3-0, 0.93 ERA, 0.93 WHIP in four starts), but Cincinnati wields a slightly-improved lineup from a season ago. Factor in the putridness of the Pittsburgh offense and Morton may be on the hook for two losses this week.

Other Sit ‘Ems
Clay Buchholz (OAK, BAL)
Chris Volstad (@PHI, LAD)
Jeff Samardzija (@CIN, LAD)
Juan Nicasio (LAD, ATL)
J.A. Happ (NYM, STL)
Luke Hochevar (@DET, NYY)
Jonathan Sanchez (@DET, NYY)
Jerome Williams (MIN, TOR)
Aaron Harang (@COL, @CHC)
Randy Wolf (@SD, @SF)
Nick Blackburn (@LAA,@SEA)
Phil Hughes (BAL, @KC)
Drew Hutchison (TEX, @LAA)

Use Caution

Jason Hammel (@NYY, @BOS)
Entering the season with a career record of 34-45, Hammel has been one of the primary facilitators for Baltimore’s auspicious start, submitting a 1.73 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in four performances for the Orioles. However, this week’s slate against the Yankees and Red Sox, two of the top three offenses in the AL, doesn't forecast further triumph for Hammel. Understandable if you want to ride the hot hand, just be aware of his worthy challengers, as well as his truncated .254 BABIP, when setting your lineup.

Tommy Milone (@BOS, @TB)
Milone has made the most of his opportunity, allowing just six runs in 27 innings for the A’s with 13 strikeouts and a 0.85 WHIP. Nonetheless, Milone’s two starts on the road haven’t been as prosperous as his outings at home, with a 4.91 ERA in 11 innings away from Oakland. The Red Sox and Rays are two of the more potent teams at the plate in the league, and Milone’s .205 BABIP hints at forthcoming trouble. Only utilize in AL-only formats or deeper leagues.

Bronson Arroyo (CHC, @PIT)
At 35, Arroyo seems to be rejuvenated after his worst season as a starter in 2011 (9-12 record, 5.07 ERA, 1.37 WHIP in just under 200 innings), yielding eight runs in four starts in 2012. With meetings versus two of the more destitute teams in the National League, one would think this strong performance would continue. However, Arroyo is a notoriously streaky-starter, meaning it’s not out of the realm of reason that a shellacking may be approaching. Feel free to start Arroyo, especially in NL-only leagues, but bear in a mind a rough start or two is in his immediate future.

OUCH!

Who's in and who's out? Check the complete MLB disabled list.

Other Cautions
Patrick Corbin (@WAS, @NYM)
Duane Below (KC, CHW)
Hiroki Kuroda (BAL, @KC)
R.A. Dickey (@HOU, ARI)
Joe Wieland (MIL, MIA)
Adam Wainwright (PIT, @HOU)
Hector Noesi (@TB, MIN)
Kyle Drabek (TEX, @LAA)
Chris Sale (CLE, @DET)

Tagged: Orioles, Red Sox, White Sox, Indians, Yankees, Athletics, Braves, Cubs, Reds, Astros, Pirates, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Rays, Mark Buehrle, Bronson Arroyo, Jason Hammel, Ubaldo Jimenez, Charlie Morton, Bud Norris

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