Fantasy Forecaster updated Monday, June 16, at 4:15 p.m. ET.
On tap: Prospect debuts have been coming fast and furious, and we'll enjoy another this week, as the Miami Marlins promoted Andrew Heaney to join their rotation beginning on Thursday. With a favorable matchup at home versus the New York Mets, Heaney is well worth activating in most any fantasy league right away.
Week 12 represents a rebound opportunity for the 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young winner, Justin Verlander. He has struggled to the tune of a 7.41 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in his past six starts, his fastball velocity down markedly from that standout 2011 campaign, but a Monday start versus the Kansas City Royals provides him as soft a cushion as he could ask.
Gio Gonzalez, a 21-game winner in 2012, returns to the Washington Nationals' rotation on Wednesday after missing more than four weeks with a shoulder injury. It's opportune timing, as his team plays its six-game schedule entirely at home. The Nationals, after all, have the majors' lowest ERA at home this season (2.39).
Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish faces a familiar foe against whom he has historically struggled: He has never won at O.co Coliseum in three career starts, his ERA there 7.71, and in nine career starts versus the Oakland Athletics, he has a 1-7 record, 4.72 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. Still, as productive as he has been of late -- he has struck out 10 or more batters in four of his past six starts -- he's ranked with confidence that he can finally overcome this challenging matchup.
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Pitching scuttlebutt | Week 12 pitcher rankings | Pitching advantages
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It's another Monday of only night games, granting fantasy owners in weekly leagues additional time to lock in their Week 12 lineups. The action kicks off with the Los Angeles Angels at Cleveland Indians at 7:05 p.m. ET on Monday.
As for daily league owners, keep in mind that there is at least one day/afternoon game on each of the next six days: Tuesday has a 3:40 p.m. ET game (San Diego Padres at Seattle Mariners); Wednesday has eight day games, the first beginning at 12:10 p.m. ET (Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves); Thursday has four day games, the first beginning at 12:05 p.m. ET (Angels at Indians); Friday has a 4:05 p.m. ET game (Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs); Saturday has nine day games, the first beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET (Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees); and Sunday, as always, has 14 day games, the first beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET (Detroit Tigers at Indians).
This week's interleague series:
• San Diego Padres at Seattle Mariners (two games, Monday-Tuesday)
• San Francisco Giants at Chicago White Sox (two games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• Houston Astros at Washington Nationals (two games, Tuesday-Wednesday)
• Seattle Mariners at San Diego Padres (two games, Wednesday-Thursday)
• Toronto Blue Jays at Cincinnati Reds (three games, Friday-Sunday)
Four Blue Jays hitters have totaled 179 of their 204 starts between first base, third base and designated hitter this season: Edwin Encarnacion (52 at first, 14 at DH), Juan Francisco (30 at third, seven at DH and three at first), Brett Lawrie (38 at third) and Adam Lind (22 at DH, 13 at first). They'll have to squeeze into just two positions for three of the team's six games this week, and they must keep three things in mind: Encarnacion has the most Wins Above Replacement of the three (2.5, to Lind's 1.2 and Francisco's 0.8); but Encarnacion hasn't made a start at third base since June 26, 2013; and Encarnacion is the only right-hander of the three, while the opposing Reds have an entirely right-handed rotation. It's quite a predicament for the Blue Jays, yet skills will presumably win out, meaning Encarnacion will probably handle first base and Francisco third base with Lind limited to merely pinch-hitting duty. Fantasy owners should surely plan that way, rather than for the alternative. But would anyone be entirely shocked if Encarnacion sneaks in a start (or starts) at third, with a Francisco-Lind first base rotation across the diamond, or the Blue Jays -- gasp -- actually sit Encarnacion once (or twice)?
Chris Carter sat out the Astros' previous two games in National League parks this season (June 9-10 at Arizona), and that'll probably be the arrangement again Tuesday against right-handed Tanner Roark. Might they sit first baseman Jon Singleton on Wednesday, against left-handed Gio Gonzalez? Perhaps, though Singleton is 4-for-11 (.364 AVG) with two homers against lefties thus far, meaning fantasy owners should plan around Carter being the hitter whose playing time suffers more.
No single player either substantially gains or loses value during the Padres-Mariners "rivalry" series. Carlos Quentin was the Padres' DH for their most recent three-game interleague series at Chicago, but with the Mariners pitching a righty and a lefty during their two games in Seattle, Tommy Medica and Seth Smith might each pick up a single start in left field. As for the Mariners, injuries to Corey Hart, Michael Saunders and Justin Smoak had depleted their DH options, resulting in a nightly "half-day" rotation in the role. The recently recalled Jesus Montero is the one who suffers most, as he was ticketed for the right-handed half of a DH role.
Buster Posey was the Giants' DH for eight of their 19 interleague games the past two seasons (2012-13), that freeing up Hector Sanchez for starts behind the plate. In two-catcher, NL-only leagues, Sanchez is worth a one-week look.
The chart below lists each of the 30 MLB teams' schedules and projected starting pitchers, and provides a projected Bill James Game Score for each day's starter. Pitchers scheduled to start at least twice this week are in gold/beige boxes.
• Miguel Gonzalez (oblique) made a rehabilitation start for Double-A Bowie on June 11, and will rejoin the Baltimore Orioles' rotation on Tuesday. Though manager Buck Showalter has claimed that he won't use a six-man rotation, that Kevin Gausman has already been named Wednesday's starter suggests that, at least for this week, the team will use six starters.
• Felix Doubront (shoulder) was scheduled to make his final rehabilitation start for Triple-A Pawtucket on June 15, setting him up for either a Friday or Saturday return with the Boston Red Sox. It is unclear whether he would replace Brandon Workman or Rubby De La Rosa in the rotation, but the one who remains would presumably start the other game, as Clay Buchholz (knee) was only beginning a rehab stint of his own for Pawtucket on June 13.
• Zach McAllister (back) was scheduled for another rehabilitation start with Triple-A Columbus on June 14, and it's presumed that he will rejoin the Cleveland Indians' rotation after that. He's on the same schedule as T.J. House and is expected to replace the rookie Thursday of Week 12.
• The Los Angeles Angels pushed fifth starter Matt Shoemaker back in their rotation to Tuesday, and when his second turn of fantasy's Week 12 arrives Sunday, a day after Tyler Skaggs (hamstring) will be eligible to return from the DL. It's unclear whether Skaggs will be ready by then, however.
• Mat Latos (elbow, knee) rejoined the Cincinnati Reds' rotation June 14, replacing Tony Cingrani, setting Latos up for a Friday start in fantasy's Week 12.
• The Miami Marlins haven't yet announced their full rotation plans, but as Randy Wolf, their originally scheduled Thursday starter, was designated for assignment on Monday, Andrew Heaney is likely to make his debut then. Anthony DeSclafani, also promoted Monday, appears likely to replace Jacob Turner in the rotation beginning on Tuesday.
• With Francisco Liriano (oblique) on the DL, the Pittsburgh Pirates needed Vance Worley to fill in on June 15. That turn comes up again on Saturday of Week 12, and Worley is the most likely pitcher to get the call.
• Gio Gonzalez (shoulder) made a rehabilitation start for Class A Potomac on June 12, lining him up for a return to the Washington Nationals' rotation on Wednesday. Blake Treinen is the most likely pitcher to be replaced.
1. Yu Darvish (TEX) -- Tue-@OAK (Milone)
2. Max Scherzer (DET) -- Tue-KC (Ventura), Sun-@CLE (Tomlin)
3. Clayton Kershaw (LAD) -- Wed-COL (De La Rosa)
4. Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) -- Tue-TOR (Stroman), Sun-BAL (Tillman)
5. Felix Hernandez (SEA) -- Wed-@SD (Cashner)
6. Johnny Cueto (CIN) -- Tue-@PIT (Cumpton), Sun-TOR (Stroman)
7. Chris Sale (CWS) -- Wed-SF (Hudson)
8. Stephen Strasburg (WSH) -- Fri-ATL (Minor)
9. Cole Hamels (PHI) -- Mon-@ATL (Teheran), Sat-@STL (Wainwright)
10. David Price (TB) -- Fri-HOU (Cosart)
11. Madison Bumgarner (SF) -- Sun-@ARI (Miley)
12. Adam Wainwright (StL) -- Sat-PHI (Hamels)
13. Michael Wacha (STL) -- Tue-NYM (Niese), Sun-PHI (Kendrick)
14. Julio Teheran (ATL) -- Mon-PHI (Hamels), Sat-@WSH (Fister)
15. Doug Fister (WSH) -- Sat-ATL (Teheran)
16. Jordan Zimmermann (WSH) -- Thu-ATL (Floyd)
17. Tyson Ross (SD) -- Mon-@SEA (Young), Sat-LAD (Beckett)
18. Tanner Roark (WSH) -- Tue-HOU (Keuchel), Sun-ATL (Santana)
19. Jeff Samardzija (CHC) -- Tue-@MIA (DeSclafani)
20. Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD) -- Mon-COL (Matzek), Sun-@SD (Stults)
21. Homer Bailey (CIN) -- Thu-@PIT (Locke)
22. Anibal Sanchez (DET) -- Thu-KC (Duffy)
23. Sonny Gray (OAK) -- Wed-TEX (Tepesch)
24. Phil Hughes (MIN) -- Tue-@BOS (Lester), Sun-CWS (Danks)
25. Dallas Keuchel (HOU) -- Tue-@WSH (Roark), Sun-@TB (Bedard)
26. Drew Smyly (DET) -- Wed-KC (Guthrie)
27. Scott Kazmir (OAK) -- Thu-BOS (Peavy)
28. Justin Verlander (DET) -- Mon-KC (Vargas), Sat-@CLE (Bauer)
29. Jason Hammel (CHC) -- Mon-@MIA (Koehler), Sun-PIT (Cumpton)
30. Zack Greinke (LAD) -- Tue-COL (Chacin)
31. Jesse Chavez (OAK) -- Fri-BOS (Doubront)
32. James Shields (KC) -- Fri-SEA (Iwakuma)
33. Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) -- Fri-@KC (Shields)
34. A.J. Burnett (PHI) -- Fri-@STL (Garcia)
35. John Lackey (BOS) -- Wed-MIN (Gibson)
36. Jon Lester (BOS) -- Tue-MIN (Hughes), Sun-@OAK (Milone)
37. Gio Gonzalez (WSH) -- Wed-HOU (Feldman)
38. Jered Weaver (LAA) -- Mon-@CLE (Bauer), Sat-TEX (Martinez)
39. Jake Odorizzi (TB) -- Mon-BAL (Chen), Sat-HOU (Peacock)
40. Tim Hudson (SF) -- Wed-@CWS (Sale)
41. Marcus Stroman (TOR) -- Tue-@NYY (Tanaka), Sun-@CIN (Cueto)
42. Ervin Santana (ATL) -- Tue-PHI (Kendrick), Sun-@WSH (Roark)
43. Jacob deGrom (NYM) -- Mon-@STL (Martinez), Sat-@MIA (Koehler)
44. Kyle Lohse (MIL) -- Tue-@ARI (Miley), Sun-@COL (Matzek)
45. Andrew Cashner (SD) -- Wed-SEA (Hernandez)
46. Mike Minor (ATL) -- Fri-@WSH (Strasburg)
47. Chris Archer (TB) -- Thu-HOU (McHugh)
48. Josh Beckett (LAD) -- Sat-@SD (Ross)
49. Alfredo Simon (CIN) -- Wed-@PIT (Volquez)
50. Corey Kluber (CLE) -- Fri-DET (Porcello)
51. R.A. Dickey (TOR) -- Fri-@CIN (Latos)
52. Jonathon Niese (NYM) -- Tue-@STL (Wacha), Sun-@MIA (DeSclafani)
53. Alex Cobb (TB) -- Wed-BAL (Gausman)
54. Yordano Ventura (KC) -- Tue-@DET (Scherzer), Sun-SEA (Elias)
55. Zack Wheeler (NYM) -- Thu-@MIA (Heaney)
56. Mat Latos (CIN) -- Fri-TOR (Dickey)
57. Jake Arrieta (CHC) -- Wed-@MIA (Eovaldi)
58. Josh Collmenter (ARI) -- Thu-MIL (Gallardo)
59. Jaime Garcia (STL) -- Fri-PHI (Burnett)
60. Roenis Elias (SEA) -- Tue-SD (Stults), Sun-@KC (Ventura)
61. Shelby Miller (STL) -- Thu-PHI (Buchanan)
62. Jake Peavy (BOS) -- Thu-@OAK (Kazmir)
63. Matt Cain (SF) -- Tue-@CWS (Danks)
64. Wade Miley (ARI) -- Tue-MIL (Lohse), Sun-SF (Bumgarner)
65. Justin Masterson (CLE) -- Wed-LAA (Wilson)
66. Andrew Heaney (MIA) -- Thu-NYM (Wheeler)
67. Ian Kennedy (SD) -- Fri-LAD (Haren)
68. Lance Lynn (STL) -- Wed-NYM (Colon)
69. Tom Koehler (MIA) -- Mon-CHC (Hammel), Sat-NYM (DeGrom)
70. Chris Young (SEA) -- Mon-SD (Ross), Sat-@KC (Vargas)
71. Matt Garza (MIL) -- Wed-@ARI (Anderson)
72. Dan Haren (LAD) -- Fri-@SD (Kennedy)
73. Jose Quintana (CWS) -- Thu-@MIN (Deduno)
74. Collin McHugh (HOU) -- Thu-@TB (Archer)
75. C.J. Wilson (LAA) -- Wed-@CLE (Masterson)
Two-start options for AL-/NL-only leagues:
Trevor Bauer (CLE) -- Mon-LAA (Weaver), Sat-DET (Verlander)
John Danks (CWS) -- Tue-SF (Cain), Sun-@MIN (Hughes)
Rubby De La Rosa (BOS) -- Mon-MIN (Correia), Sat-@OAK (Pomeranz)
Tyler Matzek (COL) -- Mon-@LAD (Ryu), Sun-MIL (Lohse)
Brandon McCarthy (ARI) -- Mon-MIL (Peralta), Sat-SF (Vogelsong)
Tommy Milone (OAK) -- Tue-TEX (Darvish), Sun-BOS (Lester)
Wily Peralta (MIL) -- Mon-@ARI (McCarthy), Sat-@COL (Nicasio)
Drew Pomeranz (OAK) -- Mon-TEX (Lewis), Sat-BOS (De La Rosa)
Jason Vargas (KC) -- Mon-@DET (Verlander), Sat-SEA (Young)
No-thank-yous, among two-start pitchers:
Erik Bedard (TB) -- Tue-BAL (Gonzalez), Sun-HOU (Keuchel)
Kevin Correia (MIN) -- Mon-@BOS (De La Rosa), Sat-CWS (Rienzo)
Brandon Cumpton (PIT) -- Tue-CIN (Cueto), Sun-@CHC (Hammel)
Anthony DeSclafani (MIA) -- Tue-CHC (Samardzija), Sun-NYM (Niese)
Kyle Kendrick (PHI) -- Tue-@ATL (Santana), Sun-@STL (Wacha)
Colby Lewis (TEX) -- Mon-@OAK (Pomeranz), Sun-@LAA (Shoemaker)
Matt Shoemaker (LAA) -- Tue-@CLE (Tomlin), Sun-TEX (Lewis)
Eric Stults (SD) -- Tue-@SEA (Elias), Sun-LAD (Ryu)
Josh Tomlin (CLE) -- Tue-LAA (Shoemaker), Sun-DET (Scherzer)
• The microscope will be on Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals this week, as the team's ace attempts to make his first start since reporting discomfort similar to tennis elbow. Wainwright will miss his Monday scheduled turn, Carlos Martinez filling in for him on a limited pitch count, but all signs point to Wainwright returning in time to pitch on Saturday. Whatever day Wainwright pitches, however, he'll enjoy a favorable matchup: The opposing New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies rank among the bottom 10 teams in terms of weighted on-base average (wOBA) and runs scored.
That's good news for the staff as a whole; as consider the Cardinals' starters ERAs during their past three turns through the rotation: Wainwright 4.19, Michael Wacha 3.71, Lance Lynn 3.12, Shelby Miller 4.71 and Jaime Garcia 4.26. All five warrant a place in your fantasy lineup -- Martinez the lone exception due to his relief struggles and the limited pitch count -- resulting in a sum that makes the team a strong choice in weekly based team competitions such as the Baseball Challenge.
• Though they don't have staff ace and No. 4 starter on the Player Rater (Felix Hernandez) lined up as their two-start pitcher, the Seattle Mariners nevertheless rate as the under-the-radar pitching staff of Week 12. After all, the opposing San Diego Padres and Kansas City Royals rank 30th and 23rd in terms of runs scored this season; combined they have averaged 3.6 runs per game the past three weeks (May 23-June 12).
Chris Young, the Mariners' Monday and Saturday starter, has a 3.74 ERA in his past nine starts despite what has been an extremely challenging schedule (@NYY, @OAK, KC, @MIN, @TEX, LAA, DET, @TB, NYY). He's an extreme fly-baller, so a pair of softer matchups should be welcomed by fantasy owners seeking a bargain two-start option. Roenis Elias, who couldn't locate anything but his curveball during his June 12 outing, also has a rebound opportunity against these two light-hitting offenses.
• Here are this week's Streamer's Delight picks (pitchers must be available in at least 75 percent of ESPN leagues as of our publishing time Friday):
1. Jaime Garcia (PHI, Friday): About the only reason he's not more widely owned is the fear that he'll miss time with some future injury. Garcia has a sparkling 0.95 WHIP through his first five starts, and current Philadelphia Phillies combined have .223/.291/.330 lifetime rates against him.
2. Marcus Stroman (@NYY, Tuesday): He's 3-for-3 in quality starts thus far in the big leagues, and the New York Yankees tend to struggle against breaking pitches -- Stroman's strength is his slider -- with .224/.250/.280 rates and the majors' 10th-worst hard contact rate (.105) against them.
3. Edinson Volquez (CIN, Wednesday): PNC Park has treated him quite nicely thus far, as he has a 3.22 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in his nine games (eight starts) there.
4. Wei-Yin Chen (@TB, Monday): He's 6-for-9 in quality starts with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in his career against the Tampa Bay Rays, who have the majors' fourth-worst wOBA the past two weeks (May 30-June 12).
5. Marcus Stroman (@CIN, Sunday): Like Tuesday, Sunday is a poor day for streaming, other than Stroman. The Cincinnati Reds, incidentally, have batted a ghastly .149 and missed on a third of their swings against sliders this season.
6. Tom Koehler (NYM, Saturday): He has the New York Mets' number, with a 2.12 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in his past five starts against them. Koehler, and the Miami Marlins' entire staff, it seems, enjoys a bit of a home-field advantage, as well: He has a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in his six starts at Marlins Park.
7. Drew Hutchison (@NYY, Thursday): His road splits are difficult to ignore, as he has a 2.03 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in eight road starts. On a day light on streaming options, that's a track record at least worth your consideration.
Best days to stream (accounting both quality and quantity of candidates): Friday, Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday.
The chart below lists each of the 30 teams' total number of scheduled games, home games and games versus right- and left-handed pitchers, and provides a matchup rating for the week's games in terms of overall offense, offense for left- and right-handed hitters and base stealing. Matchup ratings for each individual game are listed under the corresponding date.
• Here are this week's "volume plays," defined as the teams that play the most home games, or games against right- or left-handed starters:
Home games: Cleveland Indians 7, Oakland Athletics 7, Tampa Bay Rays 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 7, Miami Marlins 7, St. Louis Cardinals 7, New York Yankees 6, Washington Nationals 6, San Diego Padres 5. No other team plays more than four home games.
Versus RH: New York Mets 7, Chicago White Sox 6, Cleveland Indians 6, Los Angeles Angels 6, Toronto Blue Jays 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 6, Atlanta Braves 6, Miami Marlins 6, Philadelphia Phillies 6. Eleven teams face five right-handed starters.
Versus LH: Boston Red Sox 3, Houston Astros 3, Minnesota Twins 3, Texas Rangers 3, Los Angeles Dodgers 3, San Francisco Giants 3. Twelve teams face two left-handed starters.
• That the aforementioned Darvish draws the Athletics as his Week 12 opponent means that the Los Angeles Angels, the Rangers' other opponent, will miss him. That's a significant advantage: The Rangers will pitch Joe Saunders, Nick Martinez and Colby Lewis, none of whom has a seasonal WHIP beneath 1.71, during their three-game series in Anaheim. Couple that with a Cleveland Indians series that will feature the still-learning Trevor Bauer (Monday) and fresh-off-the-DL Zach McAllister (Thursday), and Angels hitters are well worth your consideration.
It's big news -- as is the fact that six of the Rangers' games come against right-handed starters -- for outfielders Kole Calhoun and Josh Hamilton, who only recently returned from the DL themselves. Hamilton is a .333/.368/.500 hitter in nine games since his activation, Calhoun .255/.333/.412 in 17 games since his.
• Predictably, Arizona's Chase Field and Colorado's Coors Field again rate as hitter-friendly ballparks thus far in 2014 -- though Chase Field's numbers rate only a little better than league average -- meaning that the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, who call a hitter-friendly venue their home, should enjoy another week of good hitting. Slugger Khris Davis is one of the hottest hitters in the game, owner of .354/.434/.692 triple-slash rates in his past 18 contests. In fact, six Brewers regulars sport batting averages of .300 or better and wOBAs of .360 or better during the past three weeks (May 23-June 12): Davis, Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun are five of them, and all of them are must-starts considering the matchups.
But the sixth is where opportunity takes hold: Scooter Gennett, who has started 19 of the team's past 20 games against a right-hander at second base, is a .320/.368/.520 hitter during that time span, and he should capitalize upon a week in which five of the Brewers' projected opponents are right-handed. Mark Reynolds also warrants your lineup spot, considering he's a lifetime .507 slugger with 60 home runs in 282 career games at Chase Field, and a .267/.381/.552 hitter with eight home runs in 31 career games at Coors Field.