After a four-day break, all of Major League baseball is back in action on Friday with a full 15-game schedule on tap across the country. Whether you loved the break or hated the hardball hiatus, it’s time to get your lineup locked in and set up for the start of what for most leagues is a double-week session. Here are the starting pitchers to target as your first pickups of the second half.
Before we get to the picks, first some general rules for this daily post (archive here): 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’s Friday’s best widely available options:
Clay Buchholz-Boston Red Sox (37.0%)
Buchholz had a disastrous start to the season through April and May and they hit the DL for most of June. However, his recent starts have shown he may be turning it around and be ready to contribute to the Red Sox and your fantasy team in the second half.
In his start on Sunday, he threw a complete game shutout against the Astros striking out 12, walking none, and allowing just three hits. He has turned in four pretty solid starts since returning and has his ERA back under six despite it reaching over seven before he hit the DL.
Buchholz has been streaky his entire career, but if he’s going good he could be a second-half ace for your staff going forward. He starts the second half by taking the ball Friday night at Fenway as the Sox host the Royals. He has to oppose James Shields son may not get a ton of run support but his upside still makes him the top option on most wires.