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Pitching Primer: Week 12

Sun Jun 9 10:48am ET
Contributing Writer

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Skenes can rack up strikeouts

A busy schedule in Week 12 leaves us with plenty of projected two-start pitchers. The question is, will their matchups make them someone to deploy in fantasy, or might it be better to bench them? Let’s highlight five pitchers and discuss what to do with them for the week.

Paul Skenes, Pittsburgh Pirates: at STL, at COL

Skenes has been as advertised since being call up from the minors, allowing three or fewer runs in each of his five starts. Across 27 innings, he has racked up 38 strikeouts. That comes on the heels of him recording 45 strikeouts over 27 1/3 innings at Triple-A. What is even more impressive about his early success is that four of his five starts have come against teams ranked inside the top-half of baseball in runs scored.

Skenes starts off the week with a great matchup against the Cardinals, who have scored the third-fewest runs in baseball. Facing the Rockies at Coors Field for his second outing isn’t ideal, but the Rockies have struck out the fifth-most times in baseball. With his strikeout upside, even a start at Coors Field shouldn’t deter fantasy managers from starting Skenes in Week 12.

Jordan Montgomery, Arizona Diamondbacks: vs. LAA, vs. CWS

Montgomery has allowed 14 runs over six innings in his last two starts. After posting a 1.19 WHIP last season, he has a 1.73 WHIP this year. He has probably been a bit unlucky, given that his 4.74 FIP is significantly better than his 6.80 ERA. However, his strikeout rate dropping to 13.8 percent has really hammered his fantasy appeal.

As bad as Montgomery has been, it might be difficult to bench him with the two matchups awaiting him for Week 12. Not only have the White Sox scored the fewest runs in baseball, but the Angels have scored the ninth-fewest runs. For those who play in 12 and 15-team leagues, it’s still worth taking a chance on Montgomery. This could be the week that he gets back on track.

Erick Fedde, Chicago White Sox: at SEA, at ARI

Pitching in the KBO last year has seemed to benefit Fedde. Now a member of the White Sox, he has a 3.27 ERA that is backed by a 3.54 FIP over 13 starts. He has just an 18.3 percent strikeout rate for his career, but that mark sits at 23.5 percent this year. He has added a sweeper to his arsenal, which has a 22.3 percent whiff rate.

Fedde’s first start will come against a Mariners team that has struck out the most times in baseball while also scoring the fifth-fewest runs. The Diamondbacks have a .769 OPS versus left-handed pitchers, but just a .677 OPS against righties. The stars could be aligning for Fedde to produce two more valuable stat lines.

Seth Lugo, Kansas City Royals: vs. NYY, at LAD

The Royals adding Lugo in the offseason has proven to be a smashing success. Over his 13 starts, he has a 2.13 ERA and a 3.47 FIP. He has a valuable 1.16 WHIP for his career and that mark is even lower this season at 1.02. Strikeouts still aren’t his forte, but he has given up just eight home runs over 84 1/3 innings.

Lugo is going to be tested this week, to say the least. The Yankees have scored the most runs and have the highest OPS in baseball. The Dodgers have scored the third-most runs and have the second-highest OPS. Combine these two matchups with Lugo’s limited strikeout upside and benching him might be the correct move.

Chris Paddack, Minnesota Twins: vs. COL, vs. OAK

Paddack was hammered by the Yankees in his last start, giving up seven runs over four innings. He has faced them two times this year, allowing a combined 12 runs over nine innings. His WHIP is once again too high at 1.42 and he has already given up 11 home runs over 65 innings. If there is a silver lining, it’s that his 4.15 FIP indicates that he hasn’t pitched as poorly as his 5.26 ERA would lead one to believe.

Even with his underwhelming production, Paddack is an appealing streaming option for Week 12. The Rockies have a .730 OPS at home, but that number drops to .645 on the road. The Athletics have scored the fourth-fewest runs in baseball, while also striking out the second-most times. Don’t sleep on Paddack, especially in deeper formats.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

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