This week signals the second official week of the 2011 MLB regular season. By now, fans new and old to fantasy baseball are finished getting acquainted with the players on their roster. The second week is also a misleading one for new fantasy owners, as many of you have probably already hit the panic button. Remember, the MLB season starts in April and ends in the middle of October. Meaning to say, if some of your players struggle now, that doesn’t mean they will later on in the season. Here is a look at a few players we feel are must starts.
Joe Blanton, Pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies – Blanton entered the 2011 season as the forgotten man in the Phillies rotation, as he will is the fifth starter. To start the MLB season, Joe Blanton and the Philadelphia Phillies jumped out to a comfortable lead of seven to nothing over the New York Mets. However, the seven nothing lead was quickly evaporated, as Blanton couldn’t control his fastball, leading to a late collapse and a no decision.
The next couple of series in which Blanton will be pitching, come against the Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins. Historically, Blanton has had good numbers against both teams, and should be able to rebound after his shaky start against the Mets. Blanton is an underrated pitcher as despite his fifth starter status on Philadelphia, the big fellow has been a good number two on the Oakland Athletics. While he is 5-2 career against the Marlins, he IS NOT historically good against the Nats going 3-4 with a bloated 5.88 ERA, and 11 home runs surrendered...the most he's surrendered to any team in his career. Keep this in mind when setting you lineup!
Shaun Marcum, Pitcher, Milwaukee Brewers – At first glance you may be wondering why we would suggest giving Marcum a start this week after he was roughed up in his first start of the season against the Cincinnati Reds. However, consider that the former Blue Jays ace was able to wash away his performance against the Reds by shutting down a strong Atlanta Braves offense, and we like our chances starting him this week. Marcum similar to former mentor Doc Halladay is all about ground ball outs. Meaning to say, he won’t necessarily strike out that many hitters, but his bulldog mentality makes up for that.
The thing we like the most about Marcum, is that he has the ability similar to Blanton to go deep into ball games. For instance, despite being lit up like a Cheech and Chong film in his first start of the MLB season, Marcum was still able to go six and two thirds innings. Then in his second start against Atlanta he went exactly six innings. This week, Marcum faces Pittsburgh and Washington, two teams that are great for pitchers looking to rebound off of poor performances. What’s more, Marcum was a former short stop turned pitcher in college, which in turn means that in some fantasy leagues where pitchers offensive stats are counted, he is a good option.