Deep League Points Pitchers
As a reader of dynasty baseball articles and websites, one of the least talked about formats is Head to Head Points. H2H Points is still very popular among the redraft, cash league crowds, and there are many keeper and dynasty leagues that use the scoring as well. The strategy may be lacking in points leagues; they are definitely on the beginner side of the fantasy baseball spectrum. The game is very straight forward: outscore your opponent, categories do not apply. There is no worrying about making sure you have stolen bases covered at the draft. No need to chase saves; in fact, find a starting pitcher that has relief pitcher eligibility, and you’ve found gold.
Starting pitching is king in most points leagues, dynasty leagues included. I play in some leagues where Jefry Rodriguez, filling in for an injured Mike Clevinger, is a hot commodity. Homer Bailey is owned, and when you choose the “Starting Pitchers this week” button, no names appear. You can wait until the Rodriguez types get the call and blow your FAAB or waiver priority, or you can try to be a week or two ahead of the rest of your league and stash some guys who may have value in the weeks ahead.
We are talking deep league SP here, AL West edition, plug your nose and dive in…
Erik Swanson, SEA
Swanson picked up a little steam last season in the dynasty world when he was still in the Yankees farm system. The then 24-year-old opened the season in Double-A Trenton, making 7 starts, pitching 42.2 innings. In those innings, he managed to maintain an 11.6 K/9 (34.8 K%) and put up a sparkling 0.42 ERA with a .088 WHIP. A promotion to Triple-A slowed him down a little, but he still put up solid numbers. An afterthought in the Yankees system, he was part of the trade that sent James Paxton to New York. Swanson got the call to the Mariners big club and made a couple of appearances and was sent back down. He was quickly recalled as Wade LeBlanc found himself on the IL and that may give Swanson a chance to start. Currently, 8% owned on Fantrax, you should be able to grab Swanson for cheap.
Jose Suarez, LAA
Missing time in spring training because of a sore shoulder is never good news for a pitcher. Luckily, the diagnosis was mild shoulder soreness, and his lack of spring training appearance worries have been calmed as he has shown up healthy and been pitching in extended spring training games. Suarez is not the top pitching prospect in the Angels system (most believe that is Griffin Canning), but he is probably the closest. At 20-years-old he was able to log 117 innings, most of those with the Triple-A team after starting the season down in A ball. The lefty has plenty of suspect SPs in front of him on the big league roster, including Chris Stratton, who has yet to complete 5IP in any of his 3 starts. At 21, Suarez can slot in as the SP4 or SP5 for the Angels for the last 2/3’s of 2019 and beyond. At 8% ownership on Fantrax, he should be ready for you to add.
Daniel Mengden, OAK
A surprise cut, likely due to a rare 4th option, caused confusion amongst fantasy owners. Seemingly a lock for the 4th starter slot in Oakland, Mengden and his 80-grade mustache were sent out to Vegas to spend some time in Triple-A. The two guys ahead of him, Aaron Brooks and Frankie Montas have done nothing to warrant a change. Brooks has sandwiched two quality starts in between a rough outing in Houston on the road and Montas has been solid in all 3 of his starts to open 2019. With top prospect Jesus Luzardo shutdown, Mengden is next man up. He has stayed sharp in Vegas, tossing 11 innings with a 16:2 K/BB ratio. It’s just a matter of time before the clock strikes midnight on Brooks, or the oft-injured Brett Anderson takes his annual turn(s) on the IL. 17% ownership is fairly high, and you may need to be in a league where the owner lost their patience or jumped ship for another recent call-up to find him on the wire.