As we have now passed the Major League non-waiver trade deadline, watch certain teams closely. Teams who have decided that they are out of the running are likely to do things that will benefit their team for the future, rather than what might be of benefit right now.
For instance, while the Houston Astros traded their two biggest stars in Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, they have turned to youngsters to build their experience. The Astros brought up Brett Wallace to see what he can do in the big league lineup. Though his glove is substandard, will his bat measure up? They are likely to give him the next nine weeks of baseball to find out. That time in the lineup can affect the owners of Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, and Carlos Lee if Wallace doesn’t live up to his hype. A downgrade from Berkman to a poor-hitting Wallace will hurt other Astros. But if Wallace is the real deal, the rest of the offense can benefit.
You also have to keep an eye on the competitors. Teams will juggle their rotations to either rest starters or position certain pitchers to face or avoid certain teams. The Tampa Bay Rays will bring up studly prospect Jeremy Hellickson to start Monday, but will likely be send him back down afterward. This is being done to give their five starters extra rest to make sure they have enough gas in the tank for their playoff run.
The moral of the story is to watch how each MLB team uses your fantasy players and plan their starts accordingly. There is little more frustrating than seeing your guy not playing in games that you expected them to do so.
Now, the projected 2-start pitchers for this week. For those of you in leagues who require you to set your lineup at the beginning of the week, these are guys you should strongly consider:
Five best bets for double-start pitchers this week
1. Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball. You don’t really need to know he gets the Marlins on the road or the Mets at home, but there you go.
2. Tim Hudson gets two weak offenses (vs NYM, vs SF) at home. He’s been awesome since returning from Tommy John surgery, so play him with confidence.
3. Trevor Cahill gets two good offenses at home. The Royals and Rangers are coming to town, but Cahill has been lights out lately and has only yielded a 2.19 ERA at home this season. He should reward you this week.
4. Mat Latos gets the Dodgers at home and Arizona on the road. Arizona has already given up and the Dodgers shouldn’t be too long for it. Latos is the next young star pitcher, so ride him this week and see what he does for your fantasy squad.
5. I don’t like the second matchup in the Bronx (at NYY), but the first one against the Cleveland White Flaggers is very promising for Josh Beckett. If you can pull him after the first start, you might want to do so, but Beckett is a big game pitcher.