Fantasy MLB Spot Starting: 04.15.11

Welcome to 4th and Home’s latest daily article called Spot Starting where we will highlight Starting Pitchers who are likely available on your league’s waiver wire and are projected to be starters the following day.  As we’ve discussed a lot on this site, starting pitchers are a lot less consistent and hard to predict year to year.  We’ve also pointed out all the value to be had in Starters late in drafts and off the waiver wire.  Using the last guy(s) on your bench as a flex position that you drop/add can be a very useful strategy to pad your pitching stats, especially in daily leagues.  On days when you have open pitcher slots it’s always advantageous to scan the waiver wire for favorable match ups.  Pitchers might be hard to project year to year, but it’s much easier to look at single game match ups and splits, much as you might do in Fantasy Football with your Defense.  One minor caveat is to be mindful of your league’s rules on maximum number of moves you can make in a season.  For instance, the league I play in allows 60 moves.  In a 22 week season, that’s around 3 per week.  Allowing for DL moves and other waiver pickups, if you do 1-2 Spot Starts per week, you should be just fine and you might just pick up a few extra head to head wins or eke out a pitching category.

For our purposes we will limit our discussions only to Starting Pitchers available in under 50% of Yahoo leagues.

For games on April 15th these selected pitchers might be had in your league with percent owned, team, and opponent:

Matt Harrison 47% (TEX) @ NYY

Aaron Harang 26% (SD) @ HOU

Brett Cecil 20% (TOR) @ BOS

Wade Davis 16% (TB) vs. MIN

J.A. Happ 15% (HOU) vs. SD

Jon Garland 9% (LAD) vs. StL

My Pick: Aaron Harang at the Astros. 

Alternate: J.A. Happ vs. the Padres

Harang certainly isn’t a glamorous name, but he’s been a serviceable MLB pitcher and is quietly off to a nice start in 2011 winning both his starts against good teams in the Giants and Dodgers.  He’s allowed a single ER in each game, 8Ks in 12IP.  His career splits at Minute Maid Park are well above his career line including a win in 2010 with 2ER, 8H, 6ks, 1BB in 6IP.

If Harang is not available or you’re not a fan, an even slicker play could be Harang’s opponent Happ if for no other reason than the Padres have one the worst lineups in baseball averaging a paltry 3.5 runs/game.

Harrison, Cecil and Davis all have terrible career splits versus their opponents.  Garland is coming off the DL to make his debut which I could never recommend, not to mention the Cardinals are killing the ball right now.

Choose wisely and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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