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. 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 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.
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through the week. These are subject to change.
Trevor Bauer (@SEA, ATL)
Noah Syndergaard (@PHI, @STL)
Stephen Strasburg (SFG, @MIA)
Luis Castillo (@LAD, @SD)
Chris Sale (BAL, @TB)
Aaron Nola (NYM, @COL)
Matt Boyd (PIT, CHW)
Shane Bieber (@SEA, ATL)
Clayton Kershaw (CIN, @MIL)
Masahiro Tanaka (BOS, KCR)
- There’s no question you’re rolling with Trevor Bauer, Noah Syndergaard, and Aaron Nola next week. Nola in Coors Field is a little concerning but he’s too talented to keep on your bench given his potential upside.
- Stephen Strasburg may have the two easiest matchups next week. I’m setting the strikeouts over/under at 17.5 for Mr. Strasburg.
- It appears we are finally witnessing the Luis Castillo breakout we had hoped for prior to the 2018 season. His changeup is working to perfection and his swinging strike rate is all the way up to 16.7% through his first three starts. You can feel confident with both starts and the matchup in San Diego could net double-digit strikeouts.
- I’m not giving up on Chris Sale just yet. He’s been too good for too long to fall apart unless he’s dealing with an injury. He touched 94-95 mph in his last start, so let’s hope he busts out next week.
- Wait, are Shane Bieber and Matt Boyd in must-start territory? Go big or go home, right? Boyd is striking out everyone in sight and features one of the better sliders in the game. Besides, his matchups are at home and relatively easy. Bieber has two difficult matchups but has been extremely sharp early this season. He’s been fortunate in terms of BABIP but his swing and miss potential has jumped up through his first three starts.
Collin McHugh (@OAK, @TEX)
Kenta Maeda (CIN, @MIL)
Jose Quintana (@MIA, ARI)
Yusei Kikuchi (CLE, @LAA)
Joey Lucchesi (COL, CIN)
Trevor Richards (CHC, WAS)
Yu Darvish (@MIA, ARI)
Jon Gray (@SDP, @LAD)
Matt Shoemaker (@MIN, @STL)
Robbie Ray (@ATL, @CHC)
- There are some good pitchers in this tier, especially at the bottom. While I can foresee some serious upside with guys like Yu Darvish, Robbie Ray, and Jon Gray, we also know what the floor looks like with them. Darvish kept the walks under control and was unlucky in his last start. The Marlins are weak enough to make me feel confident in slotting him into the lineup but the second start versus the Diamondbacks gives me pause. Ray, on the other hand, can’t find the plate. Feel free to deploy him if you’re looking for strikeouts and not ratios. Gray is a must-start in San Diego and depending on how your week goes, you can make the decision against the tougher Dodgers on Sunday.
- I really like Collin McHugh and Kenta Maeda this year. McHugh has compiled the highest pitch value on his slider thus far in 2019. He’s also throwing it over 40% of the time. He should be fine for both starts but a quality start with great ratios in Texas might be a bit tougher. Maeda has been unlucky in terms of home runs and his in-zone contact rate against sits at a career-low right now. I think he performs well but may not reach quality start territory in both outings.
- Two home starts for Joey Lucchesi has me excited. Yes, he got blown up against the Giants of all teams in his last outing but he was squeezed a little and was hit with the BABIP bug. He’s added a cutter to his arsenal which could be exactly what he needs to make it as a starter. Cincinnati is a team that can get hot in a hurry, which is why he sits in the middle of this tier. If Trevor Richards’s matchups against the Cubs and Nationals were not at home, he’d be dropped a tier. He needs to find the zone a bit more but his changeup is straight nasty. I’m cautiously optimistic with Richards next week.
- Matt Shoemaker will come down to earth at some point, but that splitter is money right now. He has a couple of difficult matchups on the road, so proceed at your own peril next week.
Freddy Peralta (STL, LAD)
Jake Odorizzi (TOR, @BAL)
Brandon Woodruff (STL, LAD)
Nick Pivetta (NYM, @COL)
Mike Minor (LAA, HOU)
Kevin Gausman (ARI, @CLE)
Dereck Rodriguez (@WAS, @PIT)
Tyler Mahle (@LAD, @SD)
Aaron Sanchez (@MIN, @OAK)
Martin Perez (TOR, @BAL)
- Freddy Peralta really scares me. He followed up an 11-strikeout, eight-inning scoreless outing with a seven-earned-run blowup in just 3.1 innings. It’s crazy that he throws his fastball nearly 80% of the time. He may be destined for the bullpen, but the one silver lining is how well Peralta pitched at home last year. His teammate Brandon Woodruff has a higher floor but lower upside. If you’re a gambling person, go with Peralta, otherwise pick your battles with Woodruff.
- The year could not have started worse for Nick Pivetta. Now he’s faced with a two-start week against a solid Mets club and the Rockies in Coors Field. I don’t trust him in either start, but if you feel like you need the strikeouts, give him a shot against the Mets.
- Jake Odorizzi is scheduled to face two subpar offensive clubs with some serious swing and miss upside against the Blue Jays. The start against the Orioles scares me a little bit, especially in Camden Yards, particularly if the ball is juiced this year.
- I like the second matchups for both Kevin Gausman and Tyler Mahle. The Dodgers are absolutely mashing so I have a feeling Mahle’s poor peripherals are going to catch up with him against the machine that is the Dodgers. Gausman had a rough second outing and Arizona is surprisingly hot to start the season—I’d lean towards keeping him on the bench for that one.
- There isn’t much upside at all with Dereck Rodriguez so I’d sit him against the Nationals. If you feel the need to throw him out there, use him against the Pirates in PNC Park where he could get you a quality start.
Dakota Hudson (@MIL, NYM)
Reynaldo Lopez (KC, @DET)
Matt Harvey (@TEX, SEA)
Ervin Santana (KC, @DET)
Dylan Bundy (@TBR, MIN)
Jorge Lopez (@CHW, @NYY)
Mike Leake (CLE, @LAA)
Felix Pena (@TEX, SEA)
Lance Lynn (LAA, HOU)
Heath Fillmyer (@CHW, @NYY)
Tyler Anderson (@SD, PHI)
Dan Straily (@BOS, MIN)
- It gets ugly here at the bottom. Regardless of the matchups, I wouldn’t feel comfortable rolling Dan Straily, Tyler Anderson, Heath Fillmyer, or Lance Lynn out there for one start, let alone two. Don’t be tempted by Tyler Anderson’s matchup on the road against the Padres—he looks bad early and his velocity is down.
- There are two things in life I will never trust. One – politicians, two – pitchers with walk rates over 14%. Thus far in Dakota Hudson’s Major League career, he’s carried a 15% walk rate in his 37 innings pitched. Don’t let his K/9 fool you, his strikeout rate is just 20.4%. He’s an easy sit next week versus the Brewers in Milwaukee and the Mets at home.
- Given the decreased contact rates and 13.4% swinging strike rate, more punch-outs may be on the way for Matt Harvey. However, I’m not ready to find out against the Rangers in Arlington or with a showdown versus the surprisingly hot Mariners.
- Ervin Santana might end up having a serviceable season but he did not look good in his first outing. He’s got a ton of rust to shake off after throwing just over 50 innings across the minors and majors in 2018.
- Last season’s home run leader (not in a good way), Dylan Bundy is at it again giving up four more home runs in his most recent start against the Athletics. Don’t do this to yourself. The Rays are a good team and the Twins in Camden Yards are good for at least three bombs against Bundy.
Photo Credit: (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)
Did Tanaka have his start pushed back from Sunday against the Chi Sox?
Meredith marakavich of the yes network just announced that Paxton was starting Tuesday for the Yankees. Tanaka is starting this Sunday and should not be a 2 start pitcher next week. Y’all seriously do a great job though. I enjoy all the work done on this site!
Thanks for the comment and the update. I’d slot Paxton in above Kershaw, the Boston matchup will be tough but they have been struggling. Fewer concerns with KC.
Where does Kyle Gibson rank now?
Isn’t Tyler Glasnow going twice next week? Or can the Rays just not be predicted?
Thanks for the comment. CBS has Glasnow listed for Tuesday and ESPN has Glasnow listed for Wednesday but has an open spot for Tuesday. If he goes twice, he’s a must start v BAL at home and questionable v BOS on Sunday. He’d be near the top of the probable tier.
Hector Velazquez will spot-start on Monday. Sale will pitch on Tuesday against NYY instead.
Thanks for the update. The Red Sox may still use Sale twice as long as he’s healthy.
Thought Fried was the two starter in ATL. Gausman?
Your love affair with Yu Darvish worries me.