ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 20: Derek Holland #45 of the Texas Rangers starting pitcher against the Houston Astros at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 20, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
John Lannan – When the name John Lannan comes up in a baseball conversation the word sexy doesn’t come to mind. On the other hand, the word consistency should come up as Lannan has been a top of the Nationals rotation for the last three seasons. Before his last outing at Anaheim, Lannan was 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA and a 1.3 K: BB ratio. Lannan, is clearly a match up play so you can lower your team ERA and WHIP, so starting him at home vs. the Pirates is in your best interest. Pittsburgh has a .241 BA against lefties through three months, so expect a heavy dose of the circle change against the young and inexperienced Pirates lineup. With a 1.81 ERA at Nationals Park this season, scoop up Lannan who is owned in fewer than 10% of ESPN standard leagues.
Laynce Nix – Sticking with theme of Nationals, Nix is having an excellent season when the expectations were to be the fourth outfielder in Washington. Now three homeruns shy of his career high of 15, Nix should easily surpass 20. Nix is similar to a Matt Joyce where he is a platoon play as he dominates righties and is pedestrian against southpaws. Against right handed pitching Nix has a .306 BA, 12 HR and 29 RBI, making him a solid 4th outfielder or a nice utility player on your team. Nix has favorable matchups with James McDonald and Kevin Correia this weekend so making him a must start. He was out the previous two games with an Achilles injury but he should be good to go to contribute for your roster this weekend.
Derek Holland – A rough couple of starts of what Holland is currently going through, but his talents equate elite starter in this league. Holland is far from polished, but with the big strikeout ability he can take over a game. Going against a bottom tier offense that has the seventh most strikeouts in the Marlins, this is the perfect opponent for Holland. A free swinging Marlins team is what Holland needs to get back on track and improve on his 4.68 ERA. It was just a season ago where Holland had an 8.48 K/9 so Holland can take over a game easily. In keeper leagues, owners should pay close attention to Holland as a couple of great starts will have his ownership on the rise.
Jake Arrieta – With so many young starters in the Orioles rotation, Arrieta is having the most success between him Brian Matusz and Zach Britton. He upped his K/9 to 7.26 from 4.66 a season ago while compiling nine wins for the last place Orioles. The 25 year starter has improved from month to month and finished June with a 3.28 ERA and is looking like a number two starter for Baltimore going forward. While most fantasy owners would be hesitant to start Arrieta on the road in Atlanta, going against a team that is 4th in baseball in strikeouts (621) makes this a favorable match up. The Braves lineup is better on paper then on the field so the young right hander should be successful this weekend. Like Holland, monitor Arrieta in keeper leagues as we are looking at a 15 game winner for the future.