As you prepare for your Fourth of July celebrations and prep your fantasy baseball team for some fireworks, don’t forget to keep an eye on the sky (or the accuweather mobile app) for the latest on the storm system expected to affect the East Coast on Friday. Rain may put a damper on some of the outdoor games that the MLB scheduled for today which is always a headline event for our National Pastime, but still expect plenty of excitement in the games that are played. Also be wary of the early lock time with the first game scheduled for 11:05 AM in Washington when many leagues will lock their rosters.
If you need to get a starting pitcher before those rosters lock, check out my daily options which appear right here on Fansided (archive here). You can bookmark the archive page or follow me on twitter for links to the daily posts of options to pick up. Here are the basic ground rules: recent results are on the final slide of this post, and my choices are always available in at least half of ESPN leagues when I pick them (each player’s ownership percentage is included in parentheses after their team name). I also include a risk and reward ranking for each selection on a scale of 1-5 with five being the most risk and the most reward.
Here are the options I like for your 4th of July pickups:
Jonathon Niese-New York Mets (37.0%)
Niese and the Mets are playing at home which means weather could be a factor in whether he takes the mound Friday night or on Saturday, but either way he makes a nice play against the Rangers in this interleague series.
Niese has been about as reliable as any pitcher this season coming in with a 5-4 record and a 2.88 ERA. In his 16 starts this season, he has a total of 13 that would earn the “Quality Start” tag. Only one was a really ugly outing but it was compounded by errors resulting in unearned runs. He has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any start this season. June wasn’t his best month but he still had a 3.10 ERA and went 2-1. One of the reasons his ERA was a bit higher was that five of his six starts came on the road. At home, Niese has a 2.62 ERA and has held opponents to a .233 average. He doesn’t pile up strikeouts, but does usually turn in a very solid outing especially at home.
Texas’s lineup has been beset by injuries and isn’t one to avoid anymore, so roll with Niese as long as the weather looks good or you can afford to hold him until a Saturday start.