Just how far can playing the matchups on free agency take you? Could a full season of waiver wire-caliber second basemen equal a year’s worth of Neil Walker? Those are the questions we seek to answer with another edition of our Spot Start Squad.
Tim Lincecum has been hot over the last month, tossing 32 innings of 3.00 ERA ball and striking out 32 batters, but those numbers are a mirage. In those 30 innings he’s walked 18 batters for a not-so-good 5.40 BB/9. Yasmani Grandal walks a lot (.383 OBP) and has hit safely in his last six games started. I’ll (almost) guarantee he gets on base at least once.
Ricky Nolasco is one of my favorite pitchers to start batters against because of his terrible batting average against — .290 since the start of last season. That makes Lucas Duda a great play, and his career numbers against Nolasco — 7-for-22 (.318) — back that up. Daniel Murphy is one of the softer high-average guys in the league, but a high-average hitter versus Nolasco is a goldmine.
Chris Nelson is on fire. ‘Nuff said.
I don’t particularly love Trevor Plouffe since, power aside, he’s not really that hot, but if first grade taught me anything it’s that two games are twice as good as one. That’s the same reason I picked Ben Revere, only it’s his speed and not his power that’s been featured of late.
Norichika Aoki is on fire as well. ‘Nuff said.
Justin Ruggiano has great numbers against Chris Young in a small, six at-bat sample, but it’s enough for me to go with him. Nate McClouth gets to face one of the league’s coldest pitchers in Felix Doubront. Seriously, Doubront has been Ricky Romero-esque over the last two months.
Alex Cobb has been awesome and he gets to take on a lackluster Toronto offense down in Tampa where he’s been pretty solid this year. Cobb has a 2.87 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 31.1 innings over the last month. If you need a second spot starter for tomorrow, try Homer Bailey. I left him off because his ERA at home is over 5.00, but he did well in his only start against the Dodgers this season and has been very good over his last several starts.