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. Bare with me, this is a shallow week for two-start pitchers. Streaming will be extremely important. Make sure you check out Nick’s SP Roundup where he gives streaming advice at the end of the article.
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through the week. These are subject to change.
Carlos Carrasco (MIA, @HOU)
Jack Flaherty (MIL, CIN)
Chris Sale (DET, TBR)
Jake Arrieta (@NYM, MIA)
Kevin Gausman (@CIN, COL)
- We can all relax, Carrasco gave us a “cookie” with his last outing striking out 12. Go ahead and start him with confidence.
- Flaherty in the top tier after an absolute stinker in Milwaukee this week? Well, it’s because both of his starts are at home. Cincinnati is off to a slow start offensively, managing a wOBA of just .218 on the road. The Brewers are also a below-average club on road with just a .297 wOBA. Both teams strike out more than 23% of the time, so I think Flaherty puts together two really solid outings next week.
- Can somebody tell me what’s wrong with Sale? His velocity was up in the 95 to 96 mph range in his last start, which is a good sign. He can’t keep giving up 2.5 HR/9 or strand just 45% of base runners, right? His first-pitch strike rate is great, his slider still looks good, and he gets the Tigers at home to start the week. I hope that’s where he turns things around for the rest of the season.
- What a terrible week for two-start pitchers! It’s an extremely shallow week when Arrieta and Gausman find their way into the top tier. You’re not getting strikeouts from Jake, but he’s a rare pitcher who can manage contact and go seven-plus innings. He’s got a great shot at a couple of quality starts and potential wins. Gausman is killing it with his splitter getting more swings outside the zone which has elevated his strikeout rate. I kind of believe this as long as he can continue to get ahead of hitters.
Joe Musgrove (ARI, @LAD)
Kenta Maeda (@CHC, PIT)
Cole Hamels (LAD, @ARI)
Domingo German (@LAA, @SFG)
Nathan Eovaldi (DET, TBR)
Mike Minor (@OAK, @SEA)
J.A. Happ (@LAA, @SFG)
Zach Eflin (@NYM, MIA)
Pablo Lopez (@CLE, DET)
Eduardo Rodriguez (DET, NYY)
- I’ve been impressed with Musgrove early this season. He’s increased his slider usage by 10%, boosting his swinging-strike rate to an impressive 13.3% on the season. Yes, his BABIP is low, but he still has great control and rarely walks hitters, so he’s a solid play this week. If it weren’t for the start against the Dodgers, he’d be in the top tier.
- Typically, a stater with a 2.77 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP would be in the top tier, but Hamels finds himself here. I love that his changeup has performed well and he’s getting a ton of ground balls, but he’s giving up a lot of contact. It hasn’t hurt him because of his minuscule walk rate and .222 BABIP. He still has a home run problem and the Dodgers, well, they hit home runs. Be cautious here, but he’s a no-doubt start in Arizona.
- German looks like he’s getting two starts next week, but make sure you double check the rotation on Sunday before you decide to roll with him. He’s coming off a nine-strikeout, zero-walk performance, so he should have no problem with the Giants. The Angels have that Mike Trout guy, so if he loses some control, the Angels could make him pay.
- Happ has gotten off to a rough start and his velocity is down a tick, but that’s about the only issue I see. Based on his swinging-strike rate, I’d expect his strikeout numbers to go up. Get him in your lineup for the start in Oracle Park against the Giants and his start on the road versus the LA Trouts isn’t too bad either.
- Minor is coming off his best outing of the year, and I like that both starts are on the road. His skills look solid, so give him a go for both starts in deeper formats. In shallow formats, believe it or not, I prefer that start in Oakland.
- I know there’s been a lot of Lopez’s, Lopezi? Anyways, this one is Pablo Lopez with the Marlins. He has the ability to miss bats and has been unlucky with an elevated BABIP. I like these matchups for Lopez, so he’s a great streaming option if he’s available.
Jake Odorizzi (@HOU, BAL)
Luke Weaver (@PIT, CHC)
Sonny Gray (@ATL, @STL)
Brad Peacock (MIN, CLE)
Trevor Williams (ARI, @LAD)
Spencer Turnbull (@BOS, @CHW)
Brad Keller (@TBR, LAA)
Steven Matz (PHI, MIL)
Anibal Sanchez (@COL, OAK)
Trent Thornton (SFG, OAK)
Zack Godley (@PIT, CHC)
Wade Miley (MIN, CLE)
Ivan Nova (@BAL, DET)
Yonny Chirinos or Bullpen (KCR, @BOS)
- Wow, there’s a lot of one-good, one-bad options this week. Matz and Odorizzi both scare me but provide solid upside. I’m leaning toward Odorizzi over Matz next week because the Phillies and Brewers have deep lineups. Plus, Matz got the Dylan Bundy treatment last week against the Phils giving up six earned runs without recording an out! Odorizzi, on the other hand, carries a very nice 30.4% strikeout rate with the metrics to back it up. I’d hold off using him against the Astros, but he’s a must-start at home against the Orioles.
- I’ve been a fan of Weaver, and he was pumping 97 mph in his last outing. I love the upside against the Pirates but not so much versus the Cubs at home.
- Peacock may be back in the rotation with a seven-game slate on tap for the Astros. Unfortunately, Peacock has been pitching out of the bullpen and hasn’t thrown more than five innings since April 1. I might sit him versus the Twins because of a potential pitch limit and reap the benefits against the Indians at the end of the week. He’d be up one tier if I knew he could go six innings, but oh well.
- Both young pitchers Thornton and Turnbull have one great and one bad matchup. I’m not starting Thornton against the Athletics at home because they can mash on the road, and just do the smart thing and sit Turnbull in Boston. I worry about how many innings Thornton will throw, but he should easily get a strikeout per inning with good ratios against the Giants. Turnbull has been better than Thorton but gets a tougher matchup in Chicago; however, I’m still confident in his abilities.
- Are we ready to let Godley back into our lives? Eh, not quite. He’s really relying on that great curve, but his fastball is just terrible. He is a streamer against the Pirates, but it’s a bad idea to role him out there against the Cubs.
Erik Swanson (@SDP, TEX)
Lance Lynn (@OAK, @SEA)
David Hess (CHW, @MIN)
Jeremy Hellickson (@COL, SDP)
Matt Harvey (NYY, @KCR)
Tyson Ross (@BOS, @CHW)
Corbin Burnes (@STL, @NYM)
Marco Estrada (TEX, @TOR)
Chris Stratton (NYY, @KCR)
- It’s been an impressive start thus far for Swanson, but his fastball-heavy approach may not bode well in his two starts this week. He only throws around 92 mph,and I need to see more from his secondaries before I give him a little rope.
- Hess and Hellickson are opposites in that Hess is a fly-ball pitcher and Hellickson gets more worm burners with his increased sinker usage. They are similar in the fact that neither can induce many swings and misses and have at least one bad matchup. I won’t be considering either of them at all this week. I guess they have more in common than I thought!
- Harvey has been bad, but at least he didn’t give up a home run in his last outing. He threw his slider more in his past two starts, which has induced more swings and misses. Unfortunately, it hasn’t shown up yet in his strikeout rate. That being said, you don’t need me to tell you to keep him in the bench against the Yankees. The Royals are sneaky good as well with a wOBA of .315 as a team and have a below-average strikeout rate. You don’t need this headache right now. Oh, I almost forgot, the Angels get seven games next week; that means it’s Chris Stratton time. It’s a no from me, bro.
- I have a feeling Burnes is on the verge of being sent down to the minors. He needs a pitch mix change that doesn’t involve so many fastballs down the heart of the plate. Both the Cardinals and Mets can hit bombs, so don’t stream Burnes here.
- Just no on “Launch-Angle King” Estrada. His HR/FB rate isn’t even elevated, yet he’s given up seven homers in five starts. Why? Because he carries a 66% fly-ball rate! Ross has tough starts on the road. While I like his increased ground-ball rate, he continues to struggle with an elevated walk rate. You may want to look for another kind of poultry next week.
Photo by Tim Spyers/Icon Sportswire)