(Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire)
Every Friday I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and detail my thoughts about rolling with them on your roster. There are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, Bench. Definitely Start features starters that are no doubters for the week ahead followed by Probably Start with pitchers that 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 in the week ahead.
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through the week. These are subject to change.
Jameson Taillon (@NYM, @SDP)
J.A. Happ (@HOU, DET)
James Paxton (@BAL, KCR)
Corey Kluber (@STL, @OAK)
Michael Fulmer (OAK, @TOR)
Charlie Morton (TOR, @TBR)
Jon Lester (@LAD, MIN)
Ross Stripling (CHC, COL)
Gerrit Cole (TOR, @TBR)
- I debated most about J.A. Happ as he’s the only stud here who gets a tough opponent (save for Ross Stripling and the Cubs, Houston is a bit more dangerous, though). Nevertheless, Happ could return production there while the Tigers should return major dividends.
- Let’s all collectively hold hands and pray that Michael Fulmer can survive the sixth inning against two meh opponents.
- I’m still waiting for the ball to drop with Jon Lester, but I can’t turn away from two starts against hte Dodgers and Twins
- Charlie Morton has two easy starts here, though I can’t shake the idea that his recent spike in walks may burn him. Still roll with him, of course, and let’s hope the free passes dwindle.
David Price (LAA, @NYY)
Michael Soroka (CIN, @STL)
Joey Lucchesi (@TEX, PIT)
Kevin Gausman (SEA, LAA)
Gio Gonzalez (@TBR, @PHI)
Freddy Peralta (KCR, @CIN)
Zack Godley (@MIA, SFG)
Jake Arrieta (NYY, WSH)
Kenta Maeda (CHC, COL)
Cole Hamels (SDP, CHW)
Reynaldo Lopez (MIN, @TEX)
- Plenty of good options this week, though not many that are widely available on waiver wires. The closest calls here are Cole Hamels (terrible lineups), Reynaldo Lopez (bad opponents but volatile), Freddy Peralta (a Cherry Bomb against two poor offenses), and Joey Lucchesi (will a start against the Rangers be enough for him to get in a good groove for the Pirates?)
- Gio Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman have each had missteps lately, but are still worth the bid for the two start week ahead against easier opponents
- Zack Godley has looked improved in his last three, making him a bit easier to endorse with the Giants ahead. Praise the Marlins.
- It wasn’t a strong performance from Michael Soroka last time out, but don’t let that turn you away from the Reds and Cards.
Seth Lugo (PIT, @MIA)
Tyler Skaggs? (@BOS, @BAL)
Mike Montgomery (@LAD, MIN)
Jakob Junis (LAA, @SEA)
Lance Lynn (@CHW, @CHC)
Frankie Montas (@DET, CLE)
Felix Hernandez (@BAL, KCR)
Jonathan Loaisiga (@PHI, BOS)
Vince Velasquez (NYY, WSH)
- I can understand some waiting to lift Mike Montgomery into the second tier, though I recognize his floor is a bit lower than what he’s shown in the rotation thus far.
- Felix Hernandez gets two weak opponents after cruising through the Yankee and Red Sox lineups, though it’s not a lock that his small two-start sample will stick after a lot of pain prior.
- I’m far from a fan of Jonathan Loaisiga against the Red Sox, though he may be able to get enough strikeouts to make that start + an easy matchup with the Phillies worthwhile.
- There’s still confusion if Tyler Skaggs will miss another start after his late scratch Thursday. If he does go two, it could spell disaster against the Sawx, while you should be game for the Orioles.
Jordan Zimmermann (OAK, @TOR)
Andrew Cashner (SEA, LAA)
Shelby Miller (@MIA, SFG)
Dan Straily (ARI, NYM)
Felix Pena? (@BOS, @BAL)
Chris Bassitt (@DET, CLE)
Nathan Eovaldi (WSH, HOU)
Matt Harvey (@ATL, MIL)
John Gant? (CLE, ATL)
John Lamb (@BOS, @BAL)
Tyler Mahle (@ATL, MIL)
Jose Urena? (ARI, NYM)
Chad Bettis (@SFG, @LAD)
Derek Holland (COL, @ARI)
- It’s not known if Jose Urena is healthy after he felt something in his arm after his last start. Even so, his low ceiling makes him an easy arm to lay off this week
- Some pitchers here are never worth your time, including John Lamb, Andrew Casher, Jordan Zimmermann, Chad Bettis, Dan Straily, Chris Bassitt, Felix Pena, and Derek Holland.
- I can fathom Matt Harvey cultivating trust as the season continues, but not against the Braves and Brewers.
- Shelby Miller is returning from TJS, making for an easy DLH even against the Marlins, then the Giants are no joke.
- Poor Nathan Eovaldi, he’ll get easy matchups (finally!) after this week.
- With Michael Wacha hitting the DL, John Gant may get two starts in the week ahead. With the Indians and Braves in his sights, it makes for an easy bench.
I have a few matchup based thoughts, mainly from looking at team batting average, wrc+, and OPS, and using those numbers as guidelines to decide who to start. Which metrics do you find most helpful to determine the quality of an opponent?
Happ has the tigers and astros. Houston is a juggernaut. What I found surprising though, is that since May 1, the Tigers are a top 5 team in avg, ops, and wrc+ against lefties. Of course, losing Miggy likely knocks them down a tier. It still caught me off guard, and made me stop to think!
With respect to Gausman, you mention that he may have some easier starts this upcoming week. Lately, I’ve been considering the angels a no-go unless I have an excellent pitcher on the mound. After checking those same metrics, they rank 1st in ops, and wrc+ since May 1, and 8th in average (vs. rhp). I don’t think an Angels and Mariners week is all that easy for a pitcher of Gausman’s calibre, as the Mariners are still a top half offence.
I think that I’d rather roll with Hernandez over Gausman this week, if I were to suggest one swap of tiers.
Do you think I’m over emphasizing matchups vs. pitcher ability?
Thanks for the quality content :)
Where would Hendricks (MIN, @LAD) and Clevinger (@STL, @OAK) be?
How much of a hailmary would it be to start Shelby Miller for both games this week?
I believe Rich Hill should have two starts this week and Soroka was just placed on the DL.
Hill plays the Cubs again and then the Rockies. Where does he rank this week?
With Kershaw coming off the DL and pitching Saturday, looks like Hill is going Sunday and Maeda Monday.
If he gets the two starts (who really knows with the Dodgers), he’s in the second tier.
I am trying to add one more good SP to my rotation. Here are the list of pitchers who are probably available to make a trade for. Which three would you target?
Suter, R. Hill, Syndergaard, Happ, Hamels, Keuchel, Bumgarner, Lester, Archer, Clevinger, Greinke, G. Gonzalez, Freeland, Corbin, C. Martinez, Newcomb, Quintana, E. Rodriquez, Gray, Roark, Flaherty, M. Fulmer, M. Gonzales, Darvish
Here are the list of guys who I can send in a trade. Who would you send off?
Didi, Pollock, L. Cain, S. Marte, R. Ray, Kershaw, B. Hand or C. Kimbrel
Your help is greatly appreciated.