Ahead of the Curve: It's Going To Be A Rockie Road

Slidered!

We went through this in the middle of April when we discussed the Miami Marlins' very pitcher friendly schedule which would last about six weeks. We're finally getting to the end of it now, and Anibal Sanchez and Carlos Zambrano both have an ERA under 3.00, Ricky Nolasco has 5 wins, Mark Buehrle's been solid and while Josh Johnson's stats look disappointing, he's been very unlucky. As I said back then, there are going to be these types of stretches for a couple of teams each year, both good and bad. I assume you can probably guess where I'm going with this.

It's no great secret that you don't love a pitcher that throws half of his games in Coors Field. However, you could usually count on nice match-ups versus the lesser-hitting opponents of the NL West and their favorable ballparks (Chase Field excepted). However, the Rockies have a stretch of nine series, of which they will play eight in hitters' parks -- and the ninth series is against the Big Boys from Motown with the DH. Let's take a look at the gory details:

@CIN, HOU, LAD, @ARZ, LAA, OAK, @DET, @PHI, @TEX

You picked up Christian Friedrich after his great first two starts? That's awesome, but he's probably not leaving your bench for a while. You still believe in Juan Nicasio as a sleeper for this season? Don't think about activating him until conditions improve. You own Jamie Moyer or Guillermo Moscoso is anything other than a fantasy league where only players with last names that start with the letters M-O are eligible to be owned? Just stop it. Honestly, I'd drop any Rockies pitcher in any reasonably shallow league right now and grab someone more likely to be used in the next month.

On that note, let's move on!

THE POTENTIAL OUTPERFORMERS

Homer Bailey (@PIT, PIT, DET, @NYM, MIN)

Fresh off his best start of the season Thursday night against the #Barves, Homer Bailey is a constant tease of what he was supposed to be when he was one of the top-10 prospects in all of baseball coming up through the Reds system. Not only does this stretch contain three starts against the Pirates and Mets, but he also gets Detroit and Minnesota at home -- and each of these clubs loses a bit of their offensive spark without the DH. He's widely available, as I tabbed him as my #streameroftheday for this most recent start, but I'd expect that ownership to go up sharply in the next couple of weeks.

More after the jump..

Trevor Cahill (@SF, @SD, OAK, @LAA, SEA)

The old adage says you can erase a lot of mistakes by missing bats. Well, you can also erase a lot of mistakes by inducing ground balls at a 63.5% clip. That is borderline obscene and second to only the master himself, Derek Lowe, in all of MLB. In fact, no one else even has a rate over 60%. So what to watch for with Cahill? His stuff has always been better than his strikeout rate, and this season is no exception. Over the last three seasons, Cahill has increased in swinging strike rate from 5.9% to 7.6% to 9.0% this season, but his K% has been pretty stagnant: 15.1%, 16.3%, 16.2% over the same time period. If these two shall meet, Cahill could see his value tick up nicely.

Scott Feldman (SEA, @OAK, @SF, HOU, @SD)

If there was ever a schedule built to keep someone in a rotation, it's this one. However, it is Scott Feldman we're talking about. With a number of arms waiting in the wings in Texas (and possibly one lurking in Arkansas), Feldman better show up in his next start or else he'll lose a chance to not only be relevant again in fantasy leagues, but to make him a bit of money in the off-season. But let's start small -- maybe we can work on getting more strikeouts than walks, OK Scott?

Anthony Bass (@NYM, @CHC, SF, @SEA, @OAK, SEA)

Schedule is still awesome. And if you're unsure of him, read this piece on him by Paul Sporer, the most recent addition to the Baseball Prospectus Fantasy team (though the post is on his personal site and free). I mean, finish this post first, of course, but then go check out Paul's take on the Bass man.

Madison Bumgarner (@MIA, CHC, @SD, HOU, @SEA, @OAK)

As if you needed another reason to target Bumgarner.

Other Potential Outperformers:

Ryan Dempster (@PIT, SD, @MLW, @MIN)
Chris Sale (@TB, SEA, HOU, @LAD, CHC, @MIN)
Bronson Arroyo (@PIT, @HOU, DET, @NYM)
Anibal Sanchez (WSH, ATL, TB, @TB, TOR)
Wily Peralta? (@LAD, PIT, SD, @MIN)
Ivan Nova (@OAK, @LAA, TB, @ATL, @WSH, @NYM)
Clayton Richard (@NYM, ARZ, SF, @SEA)
Matt Cain (@MIA, CHC, @SD, HOU, @LAA, @OAK)
Jaime Garcia (PHI, @NYM, @HOU, CHW, KC)
Adam Wainwright (PHI, @NYM, @HOU, CHW)

THE POTENTIAL UNDERPERFORMERS

Henderson Alvarez (@TEX, BOS, @CHW, WSH, @MLW)

I like Alvarez a lot, despite his lack of strikeouts. In time, I think he can be more of a 6.0 K/9 guy once his breaking ball develops more. Unfortunately for him, it's 2012 and it still hasn't -- as evidenced by his 2.7 K/9 rate. Hence, the ERA (3.30) and xFIP (4.48) don't exactly line up, and that's not something you want to see when a pitcher is heading into a stretch of schedule likely to undo his luck-fueled performance. Take cover or try and deal him while you still can in redraft leagues.

Wade Miley (MLW, @SD, COL, @TEX)

There's nothing wrong with Wade Miley as a person. By all accounts he's a really nice guy (I'm making that up, but it might be true). Did you know that his first name is really Allen? Regardless, he will not keep a 2.14 ERA with his current peripherals (5.8 K/9, 83% strand, 4.3% HR/FB rate). And unfortunately for Miley, when this all gets corrected, he probably won't even get to keep his rotation spot, as the #freetrevorbauer movement will continue to be breathing down his neck.

Justin Verlander (@BOS, NYY, @CIN, COL, STL, @TEX)

This schedule for anyone else would be a huge warning about impending doom. For Verlander, it's a merely a yawn.

Other Potential Underperformers:

Lucas Harrell (@LAD, @COL, STL, @CHW, @TEX)
Jordan Lyles (@COL, CIN, @CHW, @TEX)
Jonathan Niese (PHI, STL, @NYY, @TB, BAL)
Bartolo Colon (NYY, @KC, TEX, @COL)
Tom Milone (NYY, @KC, TEX, @COL)

#STREAMEROFTHEDAY UPDATE

As you may know, I post a streamer of the day owned in less than 10% of leagues on a daily basis at @tfw_bret on Twitter. And as a staple of this column, I'm going to review my picks as the season goes on. Here are the final numbers for the past seven #streameroftheday picks:

1 win, 5.45 ERA, 1.57 WHIP and 30 K's in 36 innings.

And the details:

Date Pitcher Opp IP ER H BB K ERA WHIP Dec
18-May Jarrod Parker SF 2 6 4 4 0 27.00 4.00 L
19-May Randall Delgado TB 4 4 3 5 2 9.00 2.00 L
20-May Anthony Bass LAA 6 2 5 3 6 3.00 1.33 ND
21-May Jerome Williams OAK 6 1/3 2 5 5 2 2.84 1.58 L
22-May Juan Nicasio MIA 5 5 9 3 6 9.00 2.40 L
23-May Jarrod Parker LAA 7 1 5 1 8 1.29 0.86 ND
24-May Homer Bailey ATL 6 2 4 1 6 3.00 0.83 W

Not my finest week, but I acquitted myself alright after being very let down by Jarrod Parker's dud of a start in San Francisco to start the week and Randall Delgado's one mistake pitch to Matt Joyce. Sad to say, but this will probably be the last week Anthony Bass is eligible for this status as his ownership has already jumped to nearly 20% as of last night.

Follow me on Twitter at @tfw_bret

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