For the second straight year, the Giants rotation has been an unexpected disaster as their high-priced top three all spending time on the DL. The team has found a bright spot beyond those top three, however.
Rookie Andrew Suarez has lowered his ERA from 5.65 at the start of June to 3.92 now. Over that time, the lefty has done the same thing that he did earlier in the year, showing outstanding command and control with 35/7 K/BB in 41.1 innings, resulting in a 2.40 ERA during that stretch.
As he showed in the minors, Suarez’s control has been truly elite with a 1.7 BB/9, ranking eighth best in baseball among starting pitchers. He’s also shown an uncharacteristically high 52 percent groundball rate, helping him produce impressive ERA metrics that include a 3.54 FIP, 3.14 xFIP, and 3.41 SIERA as his home run rate has come down recently.
A former second-round pick, Suarez has a career 3.11 ERA and 2.1 BB/9 in the minors, and he’s finally getting comfortable in San Francisco. The great control has made his transition to the majors much easier, and Suarez has now proven through 78 innings that his repertoire, which features a fastball averaging 92 mph and often used slider, can play in the majors.
The ERA metrics show that the best could be yet to come, and Suarez’s recent success allowed him to remain in the rotation with the Giants big three of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Jeff Samardzija all finally off the DL as of this weekend. As fantasy owners are finding out, even in difficult matchups like Suarez’s visit to Coors Field on Wednesday or his early-week challenge next week vs. the Cubs, he’s becoming a must-start.
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-Justin Verlander had an important start on Thursday night and got back on track after a rough month of June. The ace had the worst starts of his season consecutively at the end the month, and resulting in a human-like 4.34 ERA for the month. Still, there looks like little reason to be concerned considering Verlander’s 46/9 K/BB in 37.1 innings and bounce back performance against the White Sox, as he continues to average 95 mph on his fastball.
-Brewers starter Chase Anderson hasn’t pitched like he did last year, but he’s starting to get on track at the right time. His ERA is now below 4.00 after three consecutive starts with only one earned run allowed. Anderson’s velocity has slowly but surely neared what he showed last season, with the right-hander having the best velocity of the season in his most recent start. He has a chance to lower his ERA even further next week with favorable starts at Miami and Pittsburgh.
-Mike Minor has gotten back on track since the start of June, allowing three earned runs or less in his last five starts as a direct result of finally keeping the ball in the park. His ERA is 2.53 over that time in 32 innings. Unfortunately, the lefty has a difficult schedule to close out the first half at Boston and Baltimore, two places that can be rough on pitchers with long ball issues.
-It’s still a good time to invest in Rockies hitters, with 41 home games remaining (compared to only 31 road games by the end of this weekend). Colorado has a full slate of home games in the upcoming week.
-Fantasy owners with weekly lineups have a chance to take advantage of a wildly busy week. Six teams will be playing eight games in the week to close out the first half as a result of doubleheaders. That could give you a few opportunities to get some extra games in, which should be a consideration and potential tiebreaker if you have a lineup decision to make..
Note: Probable pitchers as of Friday, July 6, and are subject to change.
Justin Verlander: OAK, DET
Gerrit Cole: OAK, DET
Trevor Bauer: CIN, NYY
Jose Berrios: KC, TB
Mike Clevinger: CIN, NYY
Eduardo Rodriguez: TEX, TOR
Sean Manaea: @HOU, @SF
Garrett Richards: SEA, @LAD
CC Sabathia: @BAL, @CLE
Masahiro Tanaka: @BAL, @CLE
Chris Archer: DET, @MIN
At Your Own Risk
Mike Minor: @BOS, @BAL
Daniel Mengden: @HOU, @SF
Mike Leake: @LAA, @COL
Francisco Liriano: @TB, @HOU
Danny Duffy: @MIN, @CHW
Yefry Ramirez: NYY, TEX
Aaron Slegers: KC, TB
Matt Andriese: DET, @MIN
Andrew Cashner: NYY, TEX
Aaron Nola: @NYM, @MIA
Clayton Kershaw: @SD, LAA
Chase Anderson: @MIA, @PIT
Kyle Hendricks: @SF, @SD
Andrew Suarez: CHC, OAK
Jhoulys Chacin: @MIA, @PIT
Patrick Corbin: @COL, @ATL
Joe Musgrove: WAS, MIL
Jose Urena: MIL, PHI
Zack Wheeler: PHI, WAS
Ivan Nova: WAS, MIL
At Your Own Risk
Anthony DeSclafani: @CLE, @STL
Eric Lauer: LAD, CHC
Tyler Anderson: ARI, SEA
Corey Oswalt: PHI, WAS
Jeremy Hellickson: @PIT, @NYM
Jefry Rodriguez: @PIT, @NYM
The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:
Tuesday, July 10: Aaron Slegers vs. KC
You are playing with fire by using the inexperienced Slegers next week, but the Royals matchup couldn’t be any more favorable. KC ranks dead last in OPS against right-handers (.656).
Friday, July 13: Brad Keller @ CHW
Keller is gaining more fantasy consideration by the week, and has a favorable matchup against a White Sox lineup that ranks just 21st in OPS vs. right-handers.
Saturday, July 14: James Shields vs. KC
Shields continues to pitch effectively after dropping his arm angle. He’s worth considering in mixed leagues with a 3.42 ERA and 61/28 K/BB since the start of May and going against an anemic Royals offense.
Wednesday, July 11: Luke Weaver @ CHW
Weaver has struggled this season, but it looks like he’s back on track after dominating the Giants on Thursday. He has a chance to build momentum against the White Sox.
Friday, July 13: Wei-Yin Chen vs. PHI
Chen hasn’t been reliable this year but he’s coming off of two good starts, and lefties have been Philadelphia’s kryptonite this season. They rank 25th against southpaws with a .681 OPS.
Friday, July 13: John Gant vs. CIN
The consistency hasn’t been there yet, but Gant has a solid matchup against a Reds lineup that’s been in the middle of the pack this season.
6: CLE, DET, KC, LAA, SEA, TEX, TOR
7: BOS, HOU, MIN, OAK, TB
8: BAL, NYY
5: ATL, STL
6: ARI, CHC, CIN, COL, MIA, SF
7: LAD, SD, WAS
8: MIL, NYM, PHI, PIT
Here’s some injuries to prominent players from the last week, and other players to watch for in the coming week. You can get a full listing of injured players at Rotoworld's Injury Page.
Sandy Alcantara: Placed on DL (shoulder)
Tim Anderson: Day-to-day (forearm)
Chad Bettis: Placed on DL (finger)
Lewis Brinson: Placed on DL (hip)
Kris Bryant: Could return this weekend (shoulder)
Lonnie Chisenhall: Placed on DL (calf)
Jarrod Dyson: Placed on DL (groin)
Zach Eflin: Left last start (blister)
Marco Estrada: Left last start (glute)
Erick Fedde: Placed on DL (shoulder)
Shane Greene: Placed on DL (shoulder)
Mitch Haniger: Day-to-day (knee)
Rich Hill: Left last start (neck)
Ian Kennedy: Will return next week (oblique)
Leonys Martin: Placed on DL (hamstring)
Brian McCann: Out 4-6 weeks (knee)
Mitch Moreland: Day-to-day (back)
Mike Moustakas: Day-to-day (back)
Joe Musgrove: Could return next week (finger)
Tyler O’Neill: Placed on DL (hamstring)
Colby Rasmus: Left the team (retirement?)
J.T. Riddle: Day-to-day (hip)
Tyler Skaggs: Could return next week (groin)
Max Stassi: Day-to-day (hand)
Ryan Tepera: Placed on DL (elbow)
Gleyber Torres: Placed on DL (hip)
Vince Velasquez: Placed on DL (arm)
Chris Young: Placed on DL (hamstring)
Mike Zunino: Placed on DL (ankle)