Fantasy Baseball

Chen, Latos earn the nod

Jamie Moyer (Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE)
Moyer has been quietly effective in 2012.
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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

Bruce Chen (TOR, @MIN)
A baseball vagabond playing for his 10th franchise, Chen has been one of the few bright spots for 3-12 Kansas City. Through 18 innings on the young season, the de facto ace of the Royals rotation has 14 strikeouts, a 2.00 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Toronto employs one of the premier lineups on the Junior Circuit, but the Twins shouldn’t alarm many owners. Owned in just 4.3 percent of FOXSports.com leagues, Chen has validated his inclusion on your roster.

Mat Latos (SF, HOU)
It’s not quite time to sound the alarm on Latos, who owns a robust 8.22 ERA in three starts. Pundits who claim that the exodus from pitcher-friendly PETCO Park to the launching pad known as Great American Ball Park is the catalyst for this early catastrophe are erroneous, at least at this juncture, as 10.2 of his 15.1 innings of work have come on the road. Matchups at home against the Giants and Astros should provide a platform for Latos to bounce back this week.

Matt Garza (STL, @PHI)
So much for the offense deteriorating with the departure of Albert Pujols, as the Cardinals are second in the National League in runs scored. However, don’t let this dexterity deter you from implementing Garza this week, as the Chicago starter’s 21 strikeouts in 19.2 innings are too advantageous to place on the bench. For owners still apprehensive, Philadelphia’s woeful offense (43 runs is second-worst in the NL) should deliver dividends when the Cubbies travel to the City of Brotherly Love over the weekend.

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Other Start ‘Ems
Zack Greinke (HOU, @STL)
CC Sabathia (@TEX, DET)
Bartolo Colon (CHW, @BAL)
Madison Bumgarner (@NYM, SD)
Gio Gonzalez (@SD, @LAD)
David Price (LAA, @TEX)
Jaime Garcia (@CHC, MIL)
Brandon Morrow (@KC, SEA)
Derek Holland (NYY, TB)

Sit ‘Em

Jair Jurrjens (@LAD, PIT)
Hate to break it to Jurrjens proprietors waiting for the Atlanta pitcher to revert to his 2011 self (2.96 ERA, 1.22 WHIP last year), but you may be hanging around longer than you expect. While Jurrjens may have wielded a sub-3.00 ERA, his 4.23 xFIP suggested major regression for the 2012 season, a prophecy that has already come to fruition. In truth, the All-Star began to fall apart in the second half of last year, posting a 5.88 ERA in seven starts before being shutdown. If Jurrjens is on your squad, jettison him for any value while you still can.

Josh Beckett (@MIN, @CHW)
We warned you that Beckett would be in for a rough go in 2012, that his .245 BABIP and 3.58 xFIP were red flags. The sad thing is Beckett’s 5.03 ERA could actually be worse, illustrated by the Boston arm’s .213 BABIP and 6.24 FIP. Minnesota and Chicago are mercurial offenses, yet Beckett has failed to exemplify any evidence that a turnaround is near.

Josh Johnson (@NYM, ARI)
The good: Johnson’s new home park gets is surrendering the second-lowest volume of long shots in the majors, and faces foes ranking in the bottom half of runs scored in baseball this week. The bad: Johnson’s velocity has decelerated, demonstrated in his reduced strikeout rate (previous three-year average of 8.6 SO/9, currently owns a mark of 4.3). The ugly: Johnson’s WHIP is a staggering 2.04 thanks to conceding 15.1 hits per nine innings. Keep Johnson on the bench until he works his way back to decency.

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Other Sit ‘Ems
Tommy Hunter (TOR, OAK)
Max Scherzer (SEA, NYY)
Jonathan Sanchez (@CLE, @MIN)
Chris Capuano (ATL, WAS)
Jason Marquis (BOS, KC)
RA Dickey (MIA, @COL)
Clayton Richard (WAS, @SF)
Wade Miley (PHI, @MIA)

Use Caution

Jake Peavy (@OAK, BOS)
Peavy has commenced this season with three respectable starts, translating to a 2.75 ERA and 0.81 WHIP in 19.2 innings. Alas, it feels like we’ve seen this song and dance before, and if memory serves correctly, a trip to the disabled list is near, followed by a pedestrian return from the sidelines. Feel free to utilize Peavy, just be cognizant that history is not on his side.

Jon Lester (@MIN, @CHW)
I know all hell is breaking loose in Beantown, and a quick glance at Lester’s stats seem to tell a disastrous tale: 0-2 record, 5.82 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and just 12 strikeouts. Yet closer examination reveals that one calamity (two innings, seven runs against Texas on April 17) is clouding up the pitcher’s output. Understand the hesitation in deploying any Boston starter at the moment, but don’t let one start strain your confidence in the left-hander.

Jamie Moyer (@PIT, NYM)
Lost in all the age jokes and ridiculous statistical minutiae (although I do love the “has faced 8.9 percent of all MLB hitters EVER tidbit) has been Moyer’s actual performance, which has been fairly decent (2.55 ERA, 1.30 WHIP in 17.2 innings). He won’t do much for your team’s strikeout totals, but matchups against the lowly offenses of Pittsburgh and New York should do wonders in the ERA and WHIP columns.

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Other Cautions
Gavin Floyd (@OAK, BOS)
Derek Lowe (KC, LAA)
Lucas Harrell (@MIL, @CIN)
Ervin Santana (@TB, @CLE)
Kyle Kendrick (@ARI, CHC)
Kevin Correia (COL, @ATL)
Tim Lincecum (@NYM, SD)
Henderson Alvarez (@BAL, SEA)
Dillon Gee (SF, @COL)
Jason Vargas (@DET, @TOR)

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