Thursday, April 8, 2010

Ahead of the Curve

April 8, 2010

By Bret Sayre

Close your eyes and imagine you are Ryan Howard coming up to the plate, cheered on by a raucous weeknight crowd at Citizens Bank Park. It’s the seventh inning and the Phillies are down three runs, but there are two guys on base. Now you open your eyes and see Mike Pelfrey on the mound. Clearly, you’re pretty excited. Ball one. You step out of the box and return only to see Ubaldo Jimenez. Now extra thoughts start crossing your mind. You can feel your hands becoming slightly more defensive. You work the count to 3-2 and step out again. Now Jimenez is gone and Johan Santana is there. This is about to get good.

Baseball, more than anything else, is a game of matchups, and unfortunately we don’t have rosters filled with stars like Ryan Howard. Maybe you’ve got Kelly Johnson, Doug Davis and John Maine as the 23rd, 24th and 25th guys on your roster. Taking advantage of matchups is key as you try and get the most out of those final round draft picks or waiver pickups, and that’s where we think we can help. Since is it not only more helpful to look at this information for pitchers rather than hitters, but it’s a much more common strategy, we will be doing our due diligence to find helpful pitchers – and for more than just one spot start. In “Ahead of the Curve”, we will glance into the future to see what pitchers have the most advantageous matchups over the next 4-5 starts.

This column will start running every Thursday here at Fantasy Beards, but for our first go-through, let’s focus on pitchers who personally have delicious April matchups. Now, while some choices will be more obvious than others, we’ll try to focus on pitchers who may be available either on the waiver wire or potentially for a small trade. I mean, how much good does it really do for me to tell you that Adam Wainwright has a solid April schedule (HOU, NYM, @SF, ATL)? He’s already awesome. Where’s the value added in that?

So let’s get to the meat of this. Here are some guys who have the tastiest upcoming matchups for the next few weeks (superstars like Wainwright excluded), depending on your level of desperation, of course:

Jered Weaver - @OAK, @TOR, DET, CLE
Justin Duchscherer – @SEA, BAL, CLE, @TOR
Doug Davis - @CHC, @WAS, CHC, @SD
Tom Gorzellany - @CIN, HOU, @NYM, WAS
Anibal Sanchez – LAD, CIN, @HOU, SD
J.A. Happ - @HOU, WAS, @ATL, @SF
Johnny Cueto - @FLA, @PIT, SD, @HOU
Aaron Cook – NYM, @WAS, FLA, @SF
Carl Pavano – BOS, KC, @KC, @CLE
Gavin Floyd – CLE, @TOR, @CLE, SEA, @NYY

Now this clearly will not take into account future rainouts, injuries and manager-induced rotation changes. And if it did, well, that would be an entirely different issue altogether. So stay tuned for an updated version of this list again next Thursday, right here at your destination for all of the fantasy analysis people who live outside of their parent’s basements don’t have the time to do - Fantasy Beards!

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