Fantasy Baseball

Use caution on Moore, Feliz this week

Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers
Feliz was far from solid this spring.
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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

Trevor Cahill (@SD, @COL)
After posting a sub-3.00 ERA in 2010, Cahill came crashing back to earth last season, finishing with a 4.16 ERA and bloated 1.42 WHIP. However, the former Oakland pitcher was resilient, with over 200 innings in a league-leading 34 starts with the A’s. While he does leave the pitcher-friendly confines of O.co Coliseum, Cahill has an improved defense at his back. And while the Rockies have an enhanced offense, they scored just 10 runs in a three-game set against the woeful Astros. Throw in a putrid San Diego lineup, and all thumbs are up for Cahill this week.

Ivan Nova (@BAL, LAA)
Nova’s .283 BABIP and 4.16 xFIP suggest regression is probable in 2012 for the Pinstripe pitcher. Yet one can’t overlook Nova’s 16 wins from the 2011 campaign, victories that were the byproduct of a New York offense that finished with the second-most runs in baseball. With the Bronx Bombers set to face Baltimore’s Brian Matusz and either journeyman Jerome Williams or prospect Garret Richards when the Angels come to town over the weekend during his starts, Nova just has to be adequate to secure two W’s for his fantasy owners this week.

Mike Leake (STL, @WAS)
Leake was quietly effective in the second half last year, owning a 3.33 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 11 games after the All-Star break. Like Nova, Leake benefits from opportunistic matchups this week in St. Louis’ Kyle Lohse and Washington’s Ross Detwiler. (Call me crazy, but I don’t think Lohse is going to replicate his two-hit performance from Opening Night.) He won’t do much for your team’s strikeout total, but Leake’s durability and penchant for producing ground balls makes him a sound start.

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Other Start ‘Ems
Brandon Beachy (@HOU, MIL)
CJ Wilson (@MIN, @NYY)
Clayton Kershaw (PIT, @SD)
Yu Darvish (SEA, @MIN)
Anibal Sanchez (@PHI, HOU)
Cole Hamels (MIA, NYM)

Sit ‘Em

Neftali Feliz (SEA, @MIN)
The Mariners and Twins are far from daunting offenses; alas, I’m not a huge fan of pitchers making the transition from reliever to starter, at least in their first season of the conversion. Feliz did little to alleviate these worries in spring training, submitting a 4.85 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in four starts in camp. Throw in the fact that Feliz was dealing with a shoulder issue in March, as well as his elevated 4.3 BB/9 rate last season, and there’s too much not to like about the 2010 Rookie of the Year to trust him in his first start in the Bigs.

Edwin Jackson (@NYM, CIN)
Starts against a putrid New York lineup and unsteady Cincinnati squad seem conducive for a Jackson endorsement. However, Jackson’s robust 24.9 line-drive percentage and 3.73 xFIP from last season scare the bejesus out of me, as both are good measurements for future pitching performance. Or in Jackson’s case, serve as a crystal ball for upcoming catastrophe. Even in NL-only leagues, avoid Jackson at all costs.

Rick Porcello (TB, @CHW)
Don’t be fooled by the 14 wins from last season, as Porcello’s 4.75 ERA and 1.40 WHIP offset any dividends gained by the bountiful victory total. In his defense, Porcello’s BABIP and xFIP project improvement for the Detroit pitcher, but facing formidable foes in Tampa and Chicago will not facilitate progress this week.

Other Sit ‘Ems
Brian Matusz (@NYY, @TOR)
Felix Doubront (@TOR, TB)
Chris Volstad (MIL, @STL)
Paul Maholm (MIL, @STL)
JA Happ (ATL, @MIA)
Luis Mendoza (@OAK, CLE)
Barry Zito (@COL, PIT)
Nick Blackburn (LAA, TEX)
Chris Narveson (@CHC, @ATL)
Hector Noesi (@TEX, OAK)
Carl Pavano (LAA, TEX)
Jake Westbrook (@CIN, CHC)

Use Caution

Matt Moore (@DET, @BOS)
Moore’s postseason brilliance last fall (0.90 ERA, 0.60 WHIP in 10 innings) has owners itching to deploy the neophyte’s services this season. While I do like his forecast for 2012, not ecstatic about Moore’s matchups in Detroit and Boston this week. If you decide to ride with the left-hander, try to temper expectations with dangerous and dexterous lineups on the slate.

Josh Tomlin (CHW, @KC)
True, Tomlin possessed a 4.25 ERA in 2011, and the Cleveland lineup won’t provide a consistent stream of run support this season. Yet Tomlin’s 1.07 WHIP is nothing to scuff at, or his league-low 1.1 BB/9 mark for that matter. Both the White Sox and Royals pack a punch, yet for deeper leagues or AL-only formats, proprietors can do a lot worse than Tomlin this week.

Shaun Marcum (@CHC, @ATL)
Marcum is often the forgotten man in Milwaukee’s rotation thanks to Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke. Marcum’s 3.54 ERA and 1.15 WHIP won’t blow anyone away, but it’s also production many owners will take from their fourth or fifth fantasy starting spot. The Brewers offense is still intimidating despite the absence of Prince Fielder, and Marcum’s proclivity to pitch deep into games can correlate to a healthy win total. The Braves may be an NL East contender, but the Cubs should be a cellar dweller all year, making this week somewhat favorable to deploy Marcum.

OUCH!

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

Other Cautions
Chris Sale (@CLE, DET)
Homer Bailey (STL, @WAS)
Jhoulys Chacin (SF, ARI)
Ross Detwiler (@NYM, CIN)
Edinson Volquez (ARI, @LAD)
Tommy Milone (KC, @SEA)
Mike Pelfrey (WAS, @PHI)
Kevin Correia (@LAD, @SF)
Blake Beavan (@TEX, OAK)
Henderson Alvarez (BOS, BAL)

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