Welcome back to Dixon’s Picks. Before we get going, I want to wish a Happy Memorial Day to everyone out there. It’s certainly a day to have fun, but take some time to remember what we’re honoring today. I actually got to spend some time last week with some old friends, who are both in the Armed Forces. I am certainly not ashamed to say that these are two of my heroes. They deserve all the praise in the world every day, but certainly today is a day to be thankful to those who serve and have served, whether they’re still with us or not.
Anyway, baseball on Memorial Day is a great tradition. Since it features a lot of unusual Monday day games, most of you guys are probably in a hurry to make some moves for the day, so let’s get to it.
Scott Diamond – Minnesota Twins
Projected Starts: Monday vs. Oakland. Sunday at Cleveland
Right off the bat, I should clarify that I am not telling anyone to stream against the Indians. They are a pretty good offense, notably when it comes to getting on base. The purpose of having Dixon’s Picks on Monday, however, is for the benefit of people in weekly league. In roto leagues, one week to the other makes no difference.
So, those in weekly leagues should pick Scott Diamond up for Monday’s start and see how things are looking on Sunday. If you’re in need of some counted stats and aren’t concerned with WHIP and ERA, put Diamond in the lineup on Sunday. If you don’t want to gamble, then don’t.
But while I am not recommending you start him against the Indians, it’s not the worst of ideas. After all, in four starts this year, Diamond has gone against the Angels, Blue Jays, Brewers, and White Sox. While he gives up hits, walks are rare, and the run totals have been respectable. The only time he’s thrown and it wasn’t a quality start was against the Brewers, where he went 5 1/3 and allowed three earned. Not a quality start, but hardly getting shelled.
The A’s are a good offense to stream against at all times. You can decide what to do against the Indians based on your own team, but I am certainly not expecting a terrible outing.
Diamond’s Projections for the week
Bronson Arroyo – Cincinnati Reds
Projected Starts: Monday at Pittsburgh. Sunday at Houston
Just as a quick note, I stream a lot of players every week. In our head to head league, I rarely ever lose strikeouts, because I stream so often. Now, my K’s per nine innings totals are never high, but that doesn’t matter. If I throw two guys who have a seven-inning, four strikeout game, that’s eight strikeouts, albeit not with a great average. If someone throws one starter who throws seven innings with seven strikeouts, his guy had the better start, but extrapolating that out, my guys will have the better week in that category.
The risk comes with stats like WHIP, which is why I look for low walk guys, which perfectly describes Bronson Arroyo. He enters the week with 58 2/3 innings thrown and 66 hits, not good. But by the same token, Arroyo has only eight walks, leading to a cool WHIP of 1.26. No, that won’t lead the league, but for a guy available in almost 95 percent of leagues, it’s not bad at all.
Arroyo is an especially nice play this week as the Pirates and Astros are both in the bottom-third in most major offensive categories. If you don’t beat yourself with the walk against these teams, you are going to have a good day. Again, I will repeat, eight walks in nine starts. If you don’t like those odds, something’s wrong with you.
He’ll be around the plate against two unimposing offenses. In all, there is nothing that I don’t like about this play.
Arroyo’s Projections for the week
Jeff Suppan – San Diego Padres. Travis Wood – Chicago Cubs
Projected Starts: Monday vs. each other in Chicago
Both of these guys do go twice this week, but Sunday’s matchups aren’t great. Jeff Suppan will be at home against the Diamondbacks, while Travis Wood will be in San Francisco. Wood is probably the better play there, but I wouldn’t suggest either.
But I am always looking for guys going twice. Taking both starting pitchers when two of the worst offenses in the league are going against each other works for me. As it happens, these pitchers are both available in more than 99 percent of leagues. Obviously, you won’t get two wins, but the other numbers will be quite nice for you.
I look at these offenses, and I don’t see much happening. Wood has been good thus far and Suppan’s struggles have been against far better offenses than the Cubs. Again, you won’t get two wins from one game, but you will be off to a good start in nearly all other statistics.
Suppan and Wood’s Combined Projections for the week
Joaquin Arias – Infielder, San Francisco Giants
Week’s Schedule: 3 vs. AZ, 3 vs. CHC
Arias has a few things working well for him here. For one, he’s swinging too good of a bat for the Giants to even consider benching him. The top of the order guys in San Francisco get on base well, but beyond the five spot, their offense takes a big drop, if Arias is riding the pine, that is. He should not ride the pine for that reason and also, reason number two, his swing is custom built for the gaps of AT&T Park, which is where he will be for all six games this week.
The way that guys like Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, and Buster Posey have been swinging, Joaquin Arias will have plenty of chances to drive runs in. He is swinging a good bat right now, hitting a lot of line drives. With men on base, those will produce runs.
Lastly, what works for Arias is that he has eligibility at second, third, and short, which aren’t the deepest of positions. He reached base in every game last week, even hitting one over the fence. While I am not normally big on average over one week, note that Arias went 0-for-3 on Sunday (drawing a walk to reach base), and still hit .345. Over a week, if you have a guy who goes 0-for-3 one day and still hits at a strong clip that week, it’s a sign that he’s seeing the ball well.
Look for good things to continue, especially against two teams that are near or in the bottom-third of most major pitching pitching categories.
Arias’ Projections for the week