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Fantasy Baseball 2014: 10 Pitchers to Avoid on Opening Day

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MLB Opening Day Pitchers

Fantasy Baseball: MLB Opening Day Pitchers

MLB's opening day is one of the best days for baseball fans, but can be agonizing for fantasy baseball players. Opening day can be full of anomalies before players settle into the season. That is no different for pitchers who are often expected to be the ace of the staff. This post features all starting pitchers, but there are relievers to stay away from too, especially the closers that should not get a chance for a save.

10. Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

10. Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon McCarthy gets the ball in the opener for the Arizona Diamondbacks at home in Chase Field. However, McCarthy was only 3-5 at home last year giving up about a walk per inning and 90 hits in 80.2 innings pitched. McCarthy faces off with Giants' ace Madison Bumgarner, who recorded a 9-5 record away from home last year averaging almost a strikeout per inning.

9. Chris Tillman

Chris Tillman
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

9. Chris Tillman

Chris Tillman
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Tillman has been battling a flu bug recently, so he enters opening day at less than 100 percent. He also comes off a very mediocre Spring Training. He faces a Boston Red Sox team that pounded the ball in Spring Training with Jon Lester on the mound.

8. Dillon Gee

Dillon Gee
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

8. Dillon Gee

Dillon Gee
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dillon Gee inherited the opening day start because Matt Harvey and Jon Niese are battling injuries. Gee started slow last year and will face Stephen Strasburg. Gee is happy to be the opening day starter, but even he seemed to be reluctant when talking about the opportunity.

7. Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

7. Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The question is was 2013 a rebirth of Francisco Liriano or was it just a mirage. Liriano has been battling injuries in the spring but says he has stuck to the timeline. It is a groin injury that could hinder his ability with a delivery that emphasizes a late, powerful release. Liriano should still be a value to fantasy owners, but you may want to be cautious on opening day.

6. Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

6. Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Liriano will face off with Jeff Samardzija who had a rough spring. He finished spring training with a 5.14 ERA and gave up 12 runs, all earned. He was 1-3 in five starts against the Pirates last year and again the 11 runs he gave up were all earned. Owners can expect a good strikeout total from opening day, but that may be it.

5. Jered Weaver

Jered Weaver
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

5. Jered Weaver

Jered Weaver
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Jered Weaver gets the ball once again for the Angels on opening day. It will be a tall task despite starting at home as his mound opponent is Felix Hernandez. The big stat that lessens Weaver's value is his rate of strikeouts. This stat category has declined in each of the last three years and a revamped Mariners' lineup could see a lot of balls in the contact zone.

4. Jorge De La Rosa

Jorge De La Rosa
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

4. Jorge De La Rosa

Jorge De La Rosa
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Jorge De La Rosa is one of the few pitchers that figured out how to pitch in Colorado, but will start the season on the road. His Spring Training was not one to build on as his ERA finished above five. He got off to a slow start last year with his second worst monthly ERA of the year and will see Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez on the bump against him. He will be okay on the year, but opening day is questionable.

3. Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

3. Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Nolasco's move to Minnesota does not bring confidence to fantasy owners. He comes off a 5.50 ERA in the spring giving up 20 hits in 18 innings of action. His mound opponent, Chris Sale, seems to have the advantage. The only player on the White Sox that Nolasco has had success striking out is Adam Dunn. He has whiffed 10 times while four others White Sox have struck out only once against Nolasco.

2. Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

2. Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot of hype surrounding Sonny Gray as he heads into his first full MLB season. He broke his thumb late in the 2013 season, which could bring caution. He was named the starter after Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin encountered elbow injuries. He will be intriguing as the season wears on, but opening day duties may come with too much pressure for the youngster.

1. Scott Feldman

Scott Feldman
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

1. Scott Feldman

Scott Feldman
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Admittedly this is an easy call as Scott Feldman and the Astros will face the New York Yankees' ace C.C. Sabathia. Feldman was playing in "B" games at the beginning of March and is now the opening day starter for Houston. Feldman was 0-2 in the spring giving up 21 hits in 16.2 innings.