Welcome back, Pitcher List community! I hope this segment helps you formulate your pitching staff each week. Each Friday, I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and summarize my thoughts to help you set your rosters. You know the rules, there are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, Bench. Definitely Start features starters that are no-doubters for the week ahead, followed by Probably Start, which includes pitchers who look like good plays but may create a hesitation or two. Players labeled as Questionable are for deeper leagues or have one of two outings that should be skipped. Pitchers under Bench should be avoided despite their two starts. There are four teams who only have five games next week: Brewers, Cardinals, Dodgers, and Royals. Unfortunately, the top tier is a bit shallow, meaning the remaining tiers are full including the bench. Let’s dive in.
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through the week. These are subject to change.
Justin Verlander (CHW, BOS)
Patrick Corbin (@NYM, MIA)
Carlos Carrasco (OAK, TBR)
Trevor Bauer (OAK, TBR)
Caleb Smith (@DET, @WSH)
Domingo German (@BAL, @KCR)
Luke Weaver (@SDP, @SFG)
Mike Soroka (@SFG, @STL)
- Not many pitchers have been better than Verlander this year. Even with one start against the Red Sox, he’s the top dog next week. His underlying metrics spell regression, but he’s the same old (literally) Verlander. Speaking of regression, enter Bauer. I’m going to bet on his past skills and figure he rights the ship as he’s slated for two home starts against the Athletics and Rays. Both teams have essentially league-average offenses over the past two weeks.
- Corbin gets a couple of easy matchups where he’s likely to strike out a bunch of hitters. The Marlins are terrible, and the Mets have struck out nearly 30% of the time against left-handed pitchers. He’s an obvious start. Smith and German have pitched like aces this season, and both have earned a ranking in the top tier next week. There’s some good and bad in terms of their outings. On one hand, the matchups are decent; on the other hand, they are all on the road. At this point, I wouldn’t sit either given their success to date and the strikeout upside.
- Two road starts is the theme of this tier, I guess. When one of the starts involves the Giants, then I’m all for it. Weaver and Soroka have been very good. Maybe they don’t completely belong in this tier, but the matchups are not scary and both should help fantasy teams next week.
Zack Wheeler (WSH, DET)
German Marquez (@PIT, BAL)
Matt Strahm (ARI, @TOR)
Jose Quintana (PHI, CIN)
Eduardo Rodriguez (@TOR, @HOU)
Yu Darvish (PHI, CIN)
Julio Teheran (@SFG, @STL)
Jake Odorizzi (@LAA, CHW)
- What is happening with Wheeler? The strikeouts are there, the home runs are down, but his walks are up and he’s getting Singled Out. His first-pitch strike and zone rates are actually up, so I think the walks are coming down. I’d be buying Wheeler and would bump him up a tier, but the Nationals are starting to get healthy. The Tigers are a walk in the park given their lack of production and strikeout potential, so I’m thinking Wheeler rolls next week.
- The riddle wrapped in an enigma that is Marquez (is that the saying?). His recent starts haven’t been great, but four of the past six have been at home and the other two were in Milwaukee and Boston. He’s rocking a 31.9% CSW rate and should be just fine against the Pirates. The start against the Orioles could go either way, but Marquez should pile up the strikeouts. If I own him, I’m starting him in next week’s two-step.
- I like Strahm and Quintana for two starts next week. Quintana has tougher matchups, but both starts are at home, where he’s carrying a 2.36 ERA. He’s been solid outside of his eight-run blowup early last month. I was expecting more strikeouts from Strahm this year, but his CSW rate shows that his skills should provide at least a league-average strikeout rate.
- Your guess is as good as mine with Darvish. He’s pilled up 18 strikeouts and only three earned runs over his past two starts but is walking almost everyone else. Ask yourself, are you feeling lucky? Teheran and Odorizzi are here for their favorable matchups. Both have pitched well of late and have shown minor improvements, so I like both next week.
Marcus Stroman (BOS, SDP)
Mike Minor (SEA, @LAA)
Zach Eflin (@CHC, @MIL)
Chris Archer (COL, LAD)
J.A. Happ (@BAL, @KCR)
Spencer Turnbull (MIA, @NYM)
Wade Miley (CHW, BOS)
Jake Arrieta (@CHC, @MIL)
- Mr. Ground Chuck Stroman is throwing more sliders this year. As a result, he’s getting more swings and misses. Everything else screams Stroman. I want no part of him against the Red Sox, who are on fire. Go ahead and ride with him when the Padres come to town. Minor is a clear regression candidate based on his low home run and strand rates, so I’m sitting him against the Mariners. The Angels, on the other hand, have just a .284 wOBA against left-handed pitchers, so I feel confident in that matchup.
- I really wanted to put my boy Eflin up a tier, but he’s stuck with two difficult matchups on the road next week. I was encouraged by his last start against the Brewers, where he finished with an amazing 38.9% CSW rate and totaled a season-best 18 swinging strikes on just 90 pitches (12 on his four-seamer). He’s risky in shallow leagues, but I will roll the dice with him in 15-team leagues for the upside.
- Coming off the IL, Archer was definitely Still ILL. He gets two home starts, which is great, but one is against the Dodgers. I wouldn’t touch him there but could see him putting out quality stuff against the Rocky roads.
- Of the bottom three, Turnbull is the most interesting. Thursday’s start against the Athletics aside, which was not fully his fault, he’s provided decent metrics. He’s a great streaming option for his first start against leagues worst offense (Marlins) but a no-go in New York. The veterans Miley and Arrieta don’t do much for me. I prefer Miley to Arrieta next week if I had to choose, but maybe Jake can get up for a date with his former club in Wrigley.
Andrew Cashner (NYY, @COL)
Brett Anderson (@CLE, SEA)
Wilmer Font (WSH, DET)
Shaun Anderson (ATL, ARI)
Mike Leake (@TEX, @OAK)
Drew Smyly (SEA, @LAA)
Manny Banuelos (@HOU, @MIN)
Edwin Jackson (BOS, SDP)
Erick Fedde? (@NYM, MIA)
David Hess (NYY, @COL)
Michael Wacha (BOS, ATL)
Dylan Covey (@HOU, @MIN)
- The bench list is deep next week; that’s not good. Avoiding these pitchers should not be all that complicated next week. The Yankees are still broken, but Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, and Luke Voit can still mash. I’m staying away from Cashner next week even though he’s looked good of late. Do I even need to mention the start in Colorado?
- I was tempted to bump Font up to the next tier because of the start against the Tigers. Then I thought: It’s Wilmer Font, so no. None of these pitchers have anything positive going for them next week. They aren’t great pitchers, and their matchups are brutal. The rookie Giant, Anderson however, may be intriguing for two home starts, but it’s tough to trust a rookie who basically has just two pitches.
- Jackson made history this week by playing for his 14th major league team! That’s great, but I wouldn’t even think about grabbing him unless you’re some kind of masochist.
- Anibal Sanchez is heading to the IL, so Erick Fedde could take his place in the rotation. If he does in fact take Sanchez’s place, I could see the start against the Marlins with some potential but wouldn’t go after him in weekly leagues.
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)