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Buy and Sell: Starting Pitchers for Week 13

I really did it this time. I’ve dug deep into the discount bin to find you another four starting pitchers to buy. Depending on the depth of your league, including NL-Only and AL-Only formats, some of these guys might not even be owned yet and can prove to be sleepers for your fantasy team. I think they should all be owned.

In addition, as I usually do, I’ve identified another two starting pitchers who are performing over their heads and should be placed on the trading block before their value starts to dwindle. I’ve even managed to throw a little Star Wars reference into this article - see if you can find it. Check out my latest picks below for starting pitchers who should be bought and sold to improve your teams.


Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers To Buy

Danny Duffy, (Kansas City Royals)

By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsDanny Duffy sealed his fate and made it to this column after his impressive 6/14 start against the Chicago White Sox’s potent offense. In that start Duffy shut out the Sox and registered nine Ks and walked just one batter. The 25 year old left-hander has a mediocre won/loss record of 4-6, but an outstanding 2.80 ERA to go along with his sparkling 1.05 WHIP. With Kansas City’s bats finally starting to awaken from their season long slumber, Duffy should be able to tack on some wins down the stretch.

Although there are some stats that Duffy can improve up on such as his low 6.6% swinging strike rate and below average 4.35 SIERA, (SIERA is an ERA stand-in designed to measure how well a pitcher actually performs) there are other stats that suggest that Duffy should have a strong finish to his already fine season. For instance, opposing batters are hitting his pitches for line drives at a below average rate of 18.7% which is a good sign since line drives tend to turn into hits. His .186 batting average against and 6.1% HR/FB rate are both superb. He seems to have mastered how to use his blazing fastball, regularly clocked in the mid 90s, along with his excellent change and curve. With the Royals recent hot streak, he should be someone that you should seek to add to your fantasy roster.


Chris Archer, (Tampa Bay Rays)

It’s been a tough year for Tampa Bay, but one pitcher who is developing into a “Ray” of sunshine is Chris Archer (I know, that was a bit corny). On 5/11 Archer’s ERA stood at 5.16. By the start of play on 6/24, Archer had put together seven successive quality outings in which he didn’t give up more than two runs in any of those starts, helping him lower his ERA to a very respectable 3.14. His above average 3.76 SIERA indicates that his success is no fluke.

Much of his improvement is due to the fact that he’s done a good job of keeping the ball in the park this year. He has lowered his HR/FB rate from 11.7% last season to 4.2% so far this year. He throws a fastball in the mid 90s as well as a hard slider, and they have helped him maintain a 9% swinging strike rate this season and raise his K/9 rate to 8.27 from 7.06 last season. If the Rays are hoping to put together a winning streak that helps them contend for a playoff spot, they will need Archer to continue his recent wave of success. All signs point to the fact that he will continue to pitch well. Work out a deal for him and maybe he can help your team turn its season around and contend for a fantasy playoff spot as well.


Jesse Hahn, (San Diego Padres)

By August of every season there always seems to be one or two pitchers that come out of nowhere and put up some super impressive numbers. I think that Jesse Hahn could be one of this season’s pitchers. I know that Hahn pitches for the lowly Padres, but the good thing that comes along with that is being able to make half of your starts in the pitcher friendly confines of Petco Park. My choice of Hahn as a buy candidate isn’t so much for what he’s done in the major leagues thus far, but rather what he is capable of.

If you look at his minor league stats, you’ll see a kid who in his two full seasons as a starter will give you just about a strikeout per inning, a super low ERA and an outstanding WHIP. Before you say it, I am fully aware that minor league stats are not always a predictor of how good a pitcher will be in the major leagues, however Hahn’s very small major league sample size is quite impressive. In 16.7 innings of work in the majors, he has struck out 19 batters, and compiled a most impressive 2.16 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Look, we may not be able to consider Hahn a Jedi Knight yet, but the force seems to be with him. Hahn is a young pitcher who might be sitting there on your league’s waiver wire. If you have room for him on your roster pick him up, and who knows by late August you might have just picked up some credibility amongst your fellow fantasy baseball owners (and of course you’d owe it all to me).


Mat Latos, (Cincinnati Reds)

Mat Latos has made just two starts thus far this season after recovering from elbow and knee surgeries as well as a forearm injury. He excelled in his first start pitching six shutout innings, and gave up five runs in 5.2 innings in his second start of the season. The pounding he took in his second start has to make fantasy baseball owners who stashed him on their bench for a third of the season very worried. I always look on the bright side, and see it as an opportunity for you to trade for a potential number one or number two starter without having to give up too much. Sure, Latos’ numbers for this season aren’t where they should be, but we only have a tiny sample size to look at. If you check out Latos’ career stats you’ll find that he has a 10.4% swinging strike rate, .229 batting average against and a lifetime 3.35 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Trading for someone with that type of pedigree right after he has had a bad start is what winning fantasy baseball managers do. Now hop to it and go get him!


Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers To Sell

Dan Haren, (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dan Haren LA Dodgers MLB News

If you have Dan Haren on your roster the time to trade him is now! Haren is having a nice year with a 7-4 won/loss record and a 3.62 ERA. But based on his career track record, it’s just about time to put him on the trading block and get whatever value you can from him. For his long career, Haren has a 3.56 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in the first half. As the season grinds on he loses steam, as evidenced by his lifetime second half 3.97 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.

I’ve been playing fantasy sports for a long time and believe me I know from firsthand experience that those numbers paint an accurate picture of what will inevitably happen. But there are other signs that also point to a possible downturn in Haren’s year. For instance, his velocity which was once regularly clocked at 90 plus MPH in his prime, has dipped to 87.4 MPH this season. That reflects a drop of over one MPH from last season. His K% of 15.7 is at the lowest rate since 2003. He’s not fooling batters anymore. His way below average 6.7% swinging strike rate would attest to that. Dan Haren is a serviceable fourth or fifth starter in a major league rotation, but his value as a fantasy baseball starting pitcher will decline. Talk him up, remind your fellow fantasy baseball owners that he plays for a solid team, and trade him. You’ll then thank me later of course.


Jason Vargas, (Kansas City Royals)

Jason Vargas just pitched a brilliant game on 6/21. He threw 8.2 innings, gave up just two runs and didn’t walk anybody on route to his seventh win. That quality start brought his ERA down to 3.15 and his WHIP to 1.20. Don’t you think that now would be the perfect time to trade him? His below average 4.14 SIERA, points to the fact that you probably should. With Kansas City on a recent tear, fantasy baseball owners across the universe have been dissecting the Royals roster trying to concoct a plan where they could grab a piece of this white hot team. Take advantage of that!

I don’t foresee the bottom falling out for Vargas this season, but I certainly believe Vargas’ stats will normalize and return to a level that you would expect for a pitcher who has a lifetime ERA of close to 4.20. He’s been a bit inconsistent this season, and had a stretch from late April to mid May in which he gave up at least five runs in three of his five starts during that span. Before he potentially reverts back to that kind of pitcher, it might be best to squeeze all the value out of him that you can. Put him on the trading block and work some magic.


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