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NL Pitching Planner:  April 9 – April 15

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NL Pitching Planner: April 9 – April 15

Posted on 07 April 2012 by Mark Sherrard

The 2012 season is already underway and has featured many quality starts so far. In the NL, Kyle Lohse, Tommy Hanson, Johan Santana, Roy Halladay, Erik Bedard, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Dempster and Johnny Cueto have all given up one or less runs in their first starts.

For those of you in weekly or head-to-head leagues, decision time is looming for your starters for next week. Here’s a look at the two start pitchers and those with favorable matchups for week 2 for the NL.

Two Start Pitchers

No-Brainers

Clayton Kershaw: 4/10 vs Pit; 4/15 vs SD

Cole Hamels: 4/9 vs Mia; 4/15 vs NYM

Shaun Marcum: 4/9 @ ChC; 4/14 @ Atl

Kershaw should be in your starting lineup at all times, but especially when facing the likes of Pittsburgh and San Diego.  Hamels gets to square off against a rebuilding Mets team and a Marlins team that has started slowly out of the gate.  Marcum gets to face the AAA Cubs and an Atlanta team that recently has not been known for its offense.

Not too shabby

Brandon Beachy: 4/9 @ Hou; 4/15 vs Mil

Trevor Cahill: 4/10 @ SD; 4/15 @ Col

Jhoulys Chacin: 4/9 vs SF; 4/15 vs Ari

Kevin Correia: 4/10 @ LAD; 4/15 @ SF

Edwin Jackson: 4/9 @ NYM; 4/14 vs Cin

Mike Leake: 4/10 vs Stl; 4/15 @ Was

Mike Pelfrey: 4/9 vs Was; 4/15 @ Phi

Anibal Sanchez: 4/9 @ Phi; 4/15 vs Hou

Jake Westbrook: 4/9 @ Cin; 4/14 vs Chi

All of these pitchers have at least one start against a shaky offense or have pitched well against their opponents in the past.  I particularly like the matchups for Beachy and Chacin.

Shaky at best

Homer Bailey: 4/9 vs Stl; 4/14 @ Was

Ross Detwiler: 4/10 @ NYM; 4/15 vs Cin

J.A. Happ: 4/9 vs Atl; 4/15 @ Mia

Paul Maholm: 4/10 vs Mil; 4/15 @ Stl

Chris Narveson: 4/10 vs ChC; 4/15 @ Atl

Chris Volstad: 4/9 vs Mil; 4/14 @ Stl

Barry Zito: 4/9 @ Col; 4/14 vs Pit

Most of these guys are just not strong enough pitchers to take a chance on or are too inconsistent to rely on.  Its best to avoid them or risk getting burned.

Other Favorable Matchups

Tommy Hanson: 4/11 @ Hou

Pretty much any pitcher against the Astros is a favorable matchup, but considering that Hanson has a career 0.97 ERA against them, its especially so.

Roy Halladay: 4/11 vs Mia

Halladay is a good start against practically everyone and with a career 2.51 ERA against the Marlins, there is no reason to sit him.

Ian Kennedy: 4/12 @ SD

Kennedy holds a career ERA of 2.01 against the Padres and benefits from pitching in Petco for this matchup.

Ricky Nolasco: 4/13 vs Hou and Carlos Zambrano: 4/14 vs Hou

Not only do Nolasco and Zambrano get to face the lowly Astros, but they get to do so in their home park, which is already getting a reputation as a pitchers’ park.

Coming up we’ll take a look at the AL pitchers’ matchups.

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Finding keepers: Milwaukee Brewers

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Finding keepers: Milwaukee Brewers

Posted on 06 March 2012 by Mark Sherrard

The Milwaukee Brewers are expected to have a good team in 2012, which means that finding keepers on their team may be a bit more difficult, as players tend to be overvalued on winning teams.

That said, there are still some players who may be under-the-radar for the Brew Crew.

1B Mat Gamel finally gets his shot at a starting role with the departure of Prince Fielder. Gamel has spent parts of the last 4 years at AAA Nashville, with a slash line of .301/.374/.512. He should be able to hit for a good average while adding 15-20 homeruns.

SP Randy Wolf is often forgotten about, sitting behind the likes of Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and Yovanni Gallardo in the Brewers rotation. However, he posted a lower ERA than Greinke in 2011 and matched Marcum with 13 wins (3rd best on the team).

RP Marco Estrada is definitely a player under most people’s radars. He posted a 4.08 ERA with 88 strikeouts in 92.2 innings last year, splitting time between the bullpen and starting. As a starter, he posted a 3.70 ERA and a 1.09 whip in 7 starts and could overtake Chris Narveson for the fifth starter spot.

SP Zack Greinke’s 3.83 ERA last year was good, but there are certain indicators that say it could have been a lot better. He suffered through a very unlucky first half of the season. His .349 BABIP during the first half led to an unsightly 5.45 ERA. Once his BABIP normalized in the second half (.304), he posted a 2.59 ERA. If he can carry that forward into 2012, he could put together a season reminiscent of his 2009 Cy Young year.

2B/3B Taylor Green put himself back in the Brewers plans after a breakout season at Nashville in 2011. He hit .336/.413/.583 with 22 homeruns and earned a cup of coffee with the big club down the stretch. Capable of playing both second and third, he will likely fill the utility role in 2012 and could see significant playing time if either Rickie Weeks or Aramis Ramirez go down with an injury.

With recent news that he will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery, OF Corey Hart‘s value will take a hit come draft day. That is the perfect opportunity for owners looking for keepers to pounce. Hart hit .285/.356/.510 with 26 homeruns in 2011 and should not miss a significant amount of time. However, make sure you track of his recovery for any setbacks.

C Jonathan Lucroy is not a sexy pick for your catcher’s spot, but you could do a lot worse. He hit a very quiet .265 with 12 homers last year and should be able to build on those results in 2012. While other owners are chasing the Buster Posey‘s of the world, try to sneak Lucroy through in the later stages of your draft.

All of the above players have keeper potential, at the right price. Here are some players on the Brewers who will likely not become keepers.

2B Rickie Weeks was once considered a 5 category second baseman, but injuries have long since sapped his speed and he has only one year where has has played over 130 games in his 7 years in the majors. Some owner will still look at Weeks as a 5 category guy and overdraft him. Don’t be that guy.

3B Aramis Ramirez put up some good numbers in 2011, his contract year. With third base being a surprisingly weak position, someone will likely overpay for Ramirez. Given that Ramirez has had recent injury problems and will turn 34 in June, its best to pass.

At age 35, SS Alex Gonzalez‘ is in the down slope of his career. He still has a little pop, but will not do much for your team average.

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