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. Luckily, we are blessed with some much better two-start options this week.
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through the week. These are subject to change.
Justin Verlander (@MIN, @LAA)
Trevor Bauer (@MIA, SEA)
Blake Snell (@KCR, @BAL)
Zack Wheeler (CIN, @MIL)
Patrick Corbin (STL, @PHI)
Luis Castillo (@NYM, SFG)
Mike Soroka (SDP, @MIA)
- Finally, we have some reliable aces! Justin Verlander and Trevor Bauer have been two of very few aces who haven’t struggled to start the year. They are looking like locks to finish as top-five starting pitchers this year, and I love these starts next week.
- I’m not concerned about Blake Snell‘s tough start against the Royals. I’d say he was Still ILL, but he did only miss one start. He was rolling before the stint, so I’m not worried. Zack Wheeler got back on track with 11 strikeouts in seven shutout innings against the Phils this week. Let’s forget about his first two starts of the season; he’s fine.
- Patrick Corbin has two tough starts next week but looks every bit as good as he did in 2018. It’s a little odd that he’s throwing his fastball more and his slider less, but it’s worked thus far. Luis Castillo is due for some regression but he also has given up some of weakest contact in the league. His strikeout metrics have improved, so he should be just fine against the Mets and should dominate the Giants.
- I love me some Mike Soroka, especially with those matchups. The Marlins are dead last in wOBA (.265) and both the Padres and Marlins are in the bottom five in terms of strikeout rate. My only concern is how deep he’ll go. He hasn’t gone six innings in either start so in quality starts leagues, you may want to think twice about the Padres start.
Chris Paddack (@ATL, LAD)
Kenta Maeda (@SFG, @SDP)
German Marquez (@MIL, ARI)
Eduardo Rodriguez (OAK, @CHW)
Jake Junis (TBR, @DET)
Julio Teheran (SDP, @MIA)
- Chris Paddack has been lights out to start his career but dates with the Braves and Dodgers next week have me a bit worried. His 30% strikeout rate is fantastic but I’m seeing negative regression there based on his current 30.2% CSW rate. At some point, his .138 BABIP will catch up to him. I’m not saying it will happen next week, but the Braves and Dodgers can straight up mash.
- It seems like Kenta Maeda is giving us alternating outings. One great, one terrible. His matchups next week make him much more palatable. I like him for both starts in weekly leagues. In daily leagues, he’s a must-start at the Giants then see if you need him in San Diego at the end of the week.
- It’s too bad German Marquez has a road start in Milwaukee, tough draw. He weathered the storm at home this week, and I think if you own him, you’ve got to start him. The strikeouts will be there and you know he can go deep into games. Eduardo Rodriguez seems to have turned a corner with 21 strikeouts and a 3.00 ERA in his past three starts. Oakland on the road is tough, but he should pile up the strikeouts against the White Sox.
- You know why Julio Teheran is in this tier. His matchups are cake. I might be crazy, but I’m hanging with Julio down by the school yard this week. I like his chances against the Marlins and could give you a Dusty Donut versus the Padres. He’s available in 45% of FantasyPros Yahoo/ESPN consensus leagues. He’s not a bad two-start streamer next week.
Jake Odorizzi (HOU, @NYY)
Frankie Montas (@BOS, @PIT)
Kyle Freeland (@MIL, ARI)
Merrill Kelly (NYY, @COL)
Jeff Samardzija (LAD, @CIN)
Kyle Gibson (HOU, @NYY)
Tanner Roark (@NYM, SFG)
Rick Porcello (OAK, @CHW)
David Hess (@CHW, TBR)
Brad Keller (TBR, @DET)
Sandy Alcantara (CLE, ATL)
- At the top, we have a couple of risky options in Jake Odorizzi and Frankie Montas. They both can provide solid swing-and-miss numbers with Odorizzi flirting with 30% CSW. Montas throws 97-plus mph with a good slider and splitter. It’s amazing he doesn’t strike out more batters. You know to bench him in Boston but his start at PNC Park looks tasty.
- I’m lumping Kyle Freeland, Merill Kelly, and Jeff Samardzija in the same group. I think they are all quality pitchers but have two difficult matchups. Freeland’s strikeout rate has increased this year; unfortunately, so has his home run rate and hard contact against. I prefer the start in Miller Park against the Brewers. They are 13th in wOBA and have a near 26% strikeout rate as a team. Despite Christian Yelich‘s heroics, as a team, they haven’t been great. I’ll take the lefty to neutralize the Brewers. I think Kelly can handle the broken Yankees at home. Between the injuries and no designated hitter, he should provide a quality start and good ratios. Shark has a 3.00 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP, and it looks kind of legit. The Reds still aren’t hitting and strike out quite a bit. I can see starting him there, but I can’t advise rolling with him versus the Dodgers.
- No way I’m touching Kyle Gibson against the Astros, but Gibby is coming off a nice outing against the Orioles and hasn’t given up a homer in his past two starts. Feel free to roll the dice against the broken Yankees.
- Ugh, I’m just not that into Rick Porcello. His matchups are not that bad, but he’s really struggling early this season. He never had great strikeout stuff, and the metrics are trending in the wrong direction. There’s no real upside here. I might throw David Hess out there against the White Sox and Brad Keller against the Tigers, but that’s it. They won’t provide much in terms of strikeouts, and wins are scant with their respective clubs. Keep them both on the bench for their starts against the Rays.
Michael Wacha (@WSH, @CHC)
Jhoulys Chacin (COL, NYM)
Adam Wainwright (@WSH, @CHC)
Freddy Peralta (COL, NYM)
Nick Margevicius (@ATL, LAD)
Anibal Sanchez (STL, @PHI)
Michael Pineda (HOU, @NYY)
Clay Buchholz (@LAA, @TEX)
Adrian Sampson (PIT, TOR)
Ivan Nova (BAL, BOS)
Jason Vargas (CIN, @MIL)
Ervin Santana (BAL, BOS)
- There are a whole bunch of pitchers I’m staying away from next week. Michael Wacha and Freddy Peralta are both coming off the IL, so I’m out for their matchups early in the week. Wacha’s 25% strikeout rate is a mirage based on his CSW rate of just 26%. The Cubs should lay the wood to him in his second start next week. Against the Mets, Peralta could strikeout 10 or give up seven earned runs. I’d put a 10% chance on the former and a 25% chance on the latter. Pass. Jhoulys Chacin has a very good slider and one of the worst fastballs in the game that averages 89 mph. Two home starts are not ideal for him.
- I really thought the success of the pitch mix change for Anibal Sanchez was going to carry over to 2019. It has not. I don’t think he’s that far off, but he has really struggled to find the zone. Both the Cardinals and Phillies are patient; he won’t last more than five in either outing.
- After a nice start to the season, Michael Pineda is looking more like Michael Piñata in recent outings. The matchups are not favorable, and he has just five strikeouts in his last two starts. There’s limited upside here.
- The poor White Sox finally have rid themselves of James Shields (who was traded for Fernando Taits Jr. BTW), and now are left with Ivan Nova and Ervin Santana. Sorry White Sox fans but Nova in the American League in a hitters park just isn’t going to work, and Santana might be the worst pitcher in baseball right now.
Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire