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Last week we saw revival (Taijuan Walker), heartache (James Paxton) and blessing in disguise (Stephen Strasburg). So how do we attack the situation?

In terms of Paxton, the Mariners do not have a clear replacement with Danny Hultzen on the disabled list for Double-A Jackson. A potential speculative add this week in deep AL Only leagues could be on Mike Montgomery. Obviously that could change at any time if they announce their planned starter for Tuesday. However, regardless of who they announce, Montgomery seems like the logical long-term solution if Paxton is out for more than the minimum 15 days on the disabled list.

Montgomery once had prospect status as a former first round pick by the Kansas City Royals in 2008. He is the forgotten man in the Wil Myers for James Shields trade back in 2012, but has pitched fairly well this season since moving on from Tampa Bay. He has a 4-3 record with a 3.74 ERA in nine starts. Those are not “ace” numbers by any means, but for the Pacific Coast League, they are more than respectable.

In terms of Strasburg, I mention blessing in disguise as he it is not news to say he was “under-performing.” In addition, a guy like Strasburg has the ceiling that makes it impossible to bench him in any given week. In his place, Taylor Jordan will likely draw the start next week, regardless of Strasburg’s long term outlook. Unfortunately for Jordan, Toronto does not seem like an ideal match-up for his 2015 debut in Washington’s rotation.

Long story short, while it is important to note that not all “lights out” Triple-A numbers translate into success, and sometimes, mediocre numbers in Triple-A do not necessarily mean to avoid when they get their shot at the Majors.

5 Pitchers to Start June Off Right:

1. Taijuan Walker, SP, Seattle Mariners

I began the article with him, and he comes in at number one on the list. I am hesitant about Walker and his inconsistencies, however, then I saw one statistic:  his home splits. He has a 2.22 ERA with 28 strikeouts at Safeco Field this season. So, it has not been all bad. He draws the home start on Wednesday against the New York Yankees. He may just be worth the risk, granted a major risk.

2. Josh Collmenter, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

It was fun while it lasted, but the Atlanta Braves’ lineup is brutal. They have scored 13 runs in the past week entering Saturday. In perspective, the Texas Rangers have scored 55. Collmenter draws the Braves for a home start on Tuesday, and aside from his struggles this season, he has generally pitched well at Chase Field.

3. C.J. Wilson, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Wilson draws “murderers row” of lineups on Tuesday with a start at home against the Tampa Bay Rays. Yes, that was sarcasm. Tampa has really struggled against left handed pitching this season, although they have struggled against all pitching this season for a matter of fact. Nevertheless, I like Wilson to continue his early success this season.

4. Kyle Hendricks, SP, Chicago Cubs

Hendricks is red hot, and the Miami Marlins are so not. Plus, he gets a two start week this week. I think the momentum from a 2.81 ERA in 5 May starts carries over into June.

5. Archie Bradley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

I know last week I expressed patience with Bradley until he proves he’s back to where he was at the beginning of the year. Well, I am contradicting myself as I can’t pass up a home start against the Atlanta Braves. Bradley is 2-0 with 2.35 ERA at Chase Field this season.

5 Pitcher to Avoid as We Welcome in June:

1. Taylor Jordan/Taylor Hill/A.J. Cole, SP, Washington Nationals

I was actually wanting to put Jordan on the first list as I think he will be a major money saver in daily leagues. However, in saying that, he was dominant in Triple-A, which could drive his ownership up, and a start against Toronto on Wednesday (if he replaces Strasburg), seems like bad news. If the Nationals elect to go with Hill or Cole, I would avoid them as well.

2. Jimmy Nelson, SP, Milwaukee Brewers

Nelson is 0-3 in three appearances against the St. Louis Cardinals in his career. He is 1-3 with a 4.55 ERA on the road this season. He draws John Lackey and the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Wednesday, which does not seem like a winning combination.

3. Francisco Liriano, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Liriano draws a start against the San Francisco Giants this week, a team that has had a lot of success this season against lefties. On top of that, the Giants have scored 54 runs in their last eight games.

4. Jeff Samardzija, SP, Chicago White Sox

Samardzija has really struggled on the road this season, and he draws the start in Texas against the Rangers, a team that, as stated above, is really rolling right now. Samardzija just has not shown any reason to take that kind of risk this week.

5. Chris Heston, SP, San Francisco Giants

Heston has been a little too inconsistent for my liking this year, and has mainly taken advantage of weak hitting offenses. Pittsburgh, the team he starts against on Wednesday, does not fall under that category lately. Without a ton of strikeout potential against the Pirates, I think he regresses to the mean this week.

Hopefully, you can find one or two winners from the starting pitchers to start list, and avoid some losers in the other list!

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