The List 9/3: Analyzing All Starting Pitchers Based On ROS Schedules

Nick Pollack outlines every expected ROS Starting Pitcher matchup and ranks the Top 100 Starting Pitchers.

If you missed the update last week, today and next Monday I instead review the expected rest of season probable pitchers and sorting pitchers in a loose rank based on their expected matchups. The final two Mondays will be one massive Sit/Start table.

I began doing this a few years ago when I realized how heavily I began shifting from ranking pitchers based on their skill set to heavily weighing their expected matchups as the season’s end approached on the horizon. There’s simply more value than ever knowing who pitchers are facing and there’s no reason beating around the bush.

So today, for the second week in a row, The List will be separated into three parts: Opponent ranks, expected team schedules, and loosely ranked groupings of expected starts.

Disclaimer: This is incredibly hard to accomplish. Considering how even my streaming picks one or two days out often changes, you can imagine how difficult it can be to accurately predict which teams every pitcher with face in the next five weeks. Reasons for displaced rotations can be:

  • Injuries
  • Days-off that skip a fifth rotation spot or a pitcher simply gets skipped
  • Days-off needed where teams make it a six-man rotation for a week or two
  • Call-ups that steal rotation spots
  • Double-headers and rain-outs
  • The Dodgers being the stupid Dodgers
  • Openers are a thing because I needed a proper bane for my existence

But I’m going to try my best because that’s all we can do at this point. I appreciate all of your for your patience as I had to color in every individual cell using Dan Wist’s awesome table tool & this would have taken even longer with Colin Charles’ amazing help outlining expected schedules.

Let’s do it.

Team Offense Ranks

 

I’ve elected to group opposing offenses into five categories and color-coded them to help y’all easily identify good and bad estimated schedules.

Team Offense Ranks

I’m curious if you disagree or agree based on these, it can be hard to properly assess the strength of a team. Should it be over the full year? Since the second half? Based on wRC+? Strikeout rate? Etc.

This week, I’ve made a few changes:

  • Raised the Diamondbacks from Tier 3 to Tier 2
  • Raised the Cardinals from Tier 4 to Tier 3
  • Raised both the Giants and Blue Jays from Tier 5 to Tier 4
  • Lowered the White Sox and Royals to Tier 5

Nothing massive, no sweeping changes, but moves I think that needed to be done. Let me know if you think more tweaking should be done for next week.

And here are the updated expected schedules for each team moving forward. A week has passed and there is already so much to update.

 

Expected Matchups By Team

Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Zero changes from last week. THANK YOU ARIZONA.
  • There’s a chance that Zac Gallen loses a start or two due to the Diamondbacks preserving his arm for next season. It could mean Taylor Clarke squeezes in as a sixth man or simply takes his turn in the rotation once or twice.

 

Atlanta Braves
  • Like Arizona, it’s the same old, same old.
  • Be cautious with Teheran as he may not be worthwhile until that KC start.
  • Keep an eye on Mike Soroka and Max Fried as they could be limited down the stretch in favor of call-ups to be preserved for the playoffs.

 

Baltimore Orioles
  • It’s too bad the Orioles get some lovely schedules when we really don’t want to stream any of them.
  • There’s a spot start today, September 3rd as they host a Double-header with the Rays, then a possible four-man rotation without Ty Blach after. Keep that in mind if you’re planning on running with Means or Wojciechowski.

 

Boston Red Sox
  • It’s unclear if Brian Johnson will keep that “rotation” spot, which is more like a bullpen game
  • Take note of Nathan Eovaldi after this week’s Twins matchup.

 

Chicago Cubs
  • No changes here Darvish should make his next start. Otherwise, it’s Tyler Chatwoodwho you should not care about. At all.
  • The Cubs have such a wonderful ROS schedule. Hopefully their arms can step up and take full advantage.

 

Chicago White Sox
  • The White Sox have a double-header on the 27th, leaving the 28th open for a spot starter of their choosing. You want nothing to do with that.
  • Ivan Nova gets a beautiful run to close the year after his next outing against the Tribe. This could work.

 

Cincinnati Reds
  • Alex Wood is dealing with back trouble again, with Lucas Sims taking his spot today, but Tyler Mahle sliding into the rotation on Friday.
  • Mahle could be of use against the Mariners if he sticks and don’t ignore Sims if you gets another start or two.

 

Cleveland Indians
  • Keep in mind, Corey Kluber could return in September, possibly directly taking over Plutko’s rotation spot. Three starts as a tune-up against Detroit, Chicago, and Washington may be it.
  • Note: Zach Plesac was pushed down two days since last week, now entirely missing the Twins, while Aaron Civale is likely a drop as he’s deadweight until the 19th.

 

Colorado Rockies
  • With all matchups inside Coors, I moved teams up two tiers, so hosting the Pirates = 2nd tiers and Brewers + Brewers = Top tier.
  • In all likelihood, the only starts that could matter here are a possible desperate stream of Lambert and Melville on the road against the Giants and Padres. And even that is bad
  • Jeff Hoffman took over for the injured German Marquez and should not be on your radar.

 

Detroit Tigers
  • The Tigers have already messed everything up, doing combined Norris/VerHagen games and giving Edwin Jackson a rotation spot. I’m willing to wager something else will go down.
  • There is a double-header against the White Sox on the 27th, with Turnbull able to pitch on four-days rest, but Zimmermann just on three-days for the 28th. Likely one of the Norris/Verhagen for that day. They’ll figure something out.

 

Houston Astros
  • Framber Valdez did indeed get the start over the weekend…and properly bungled it. He’s still there for now, though, and he could be a decent gamble with his schedule ahead.

 

Kansas City Royals
  • Say hi to the first proper six-man rotation! It’s not fully confirmed, but Jorge Lopez is starting on Saturday and it could stick for the rest of the year – no real reason not to.
  • Brad Keller has been shut down the rest of the year, a fear we had after tossing sub 93 mph in his final start. We’ll see you in deep leagues next year.

 

Los Angeles Angels
  • Heaney was bumped a day to face the Red Sox – and struggle at that – and loses a start to end the year. It’s too bad, really. Start him for the White Sox and Rays, but I have to preach caution against the Yankees and maybe the A’s after.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Everyone, please. THIS IS THE WORST ONE. Maeda has already been shifted to the pen, Urias is starting but in a limited role, and Stripling and May are splitting starts, but not splitting starts, but maybe they are?
  • Almost forgot. It’s also a six-man rotation…but really not as guys will get skipped. So I’m not making one. I want you to see where starters would line up and understand that guys are just going to move around. The good news is that all of these starts are average or below, which means you’re starting them anyway. Phew.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu may get a break in September – same with Walker Buehler – so keep an eye on it all. I’m sorry this one will be obsolete in hours, but there’s no hope.

 

Miami Marlins
  • There’s a good amount of upside here inside the Marlins, without a ton of really scary matchups, save for the Nationals twice.
  • Look to possibly stream a few if you need the big-swing plays.
  • Robert Dugger replaces the injured Jordan Yamamoto and could present some sneaky plays.
  • Yes, I’m upset that Alcantara is making six more starts just for the sake of this table’s beauty.
  • In actuality, Alcantara may be another “final day winner” like he was last year. Keep it in mind.

 

Milwaukee Brewers
  • While I love Houser gets an extra start, it’s not cool that his final one would come in Coors.
  • Jordan Lyles is the only one outside of Houser I’d consider much here, save for back-to-back stream with Gio Gonzalez and maybe Zach Davies in mid-September.

 

Minnesota Twins

 

New York Mets
  • Despite Matz’s hot streak, he has a rugged path to the finish line, without a single 4th or 5th tier matchup.
  • I wonder if these matchups make Marcus Stroman an easy drop in favor of what’s on your wire.

 

New York Yankees
  • The Yanks have a ton of lax games ahead, especially Paxton with 5/6 games coming from the two bottom tiers
  • CC Sabathia went and got himself hurt in his final month of the year, leaving a hole for September Callups to possibly get some interesting matchups down the stretch. If CC does return, he could be an interesting start.

 

Oakland Athletics
  • Sean Manea has returned! And created a six-man rotation!
  • The new rotation shakeup takes away some of the value of Chris Bassitt and Tanner Roark because we can’t have nice things…
  • …while Homer Bailey now has four easy starts that could be a difference maker for your squads.

 

Philadelphia Phillies
  • There is a double-header against the Nationals on the 25th, but they’ll use a spot-starter for that.
  • The Phils have a terribly rough scheule save for the final series against the Marlins and the short-term of Reds and Mets.
  • It spells “toss back” for guys like Vince Velasquez, Zach Eflin, and Jason Vargas if you’re holding onto them for whatever reason.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Mitch Keller is the interesting one here, who could capitalize on every matchup ahead with his strong three-pitch repertoire. The floor is obviously low, but there may not be a bigger pickup to make.
  • I didn’t think I’d want to chase Musgrove’s good schedule, but he did hit a new velocity peak last week. I understand your reservations – I have them too – just something to consider.

 

San Diego Padres
  • The Padres are adding a spot start today to spread out the arms of their young staff and it’s unclear if it’s a true six-man rotation or not. I’m treating it like not for now, but monitor the situation.
  • It doesn’t change a whole lot if they do go six-man as all starters have it rough after this weekend’s series hosting the Rockies. Be cautious here.

 

San Francisco Giants
  • It may be time to let Jeff Samardzija go after hit a wall last time out and has two terrible matchups across his last three. Don’t let Loose Lips sink your ships.
  • Johnny Cueto is expected to return around the start of September, it’s possible he takes over for Dereck Rodriguez‘s or Tyler Beede‘s spot directly. Keep watch as he’s worth the pickup when he arrives (DLH, of course).

 

St. Louis Cardinals

 

Seattle Mariners
  • Justus Sheffield entered the rotation spot of Wade LeBlanc and nothing is messy. Yes, I’m surprised.
  • Is he worth a pickup? Not really, maybe after the Astros’ start against the White Sox and Orioles, but even there he still has a low floor that may not be worth it.
  • With just four starts left, Yusei Kikuchi will likely pitch all four without another day off, or possibly take a day near the end to stretch out all four games.

 

Tampa Bay Rays
  • Oh great, we’ve reached the Rays.
  • With Brendan McKay returning, a Double-Header today, September 3rd, against the Orioles, and a lack of clarity on when/who Mckay replaces, we’re messy again.
  • McKay could be a good pickup for the Rangers on the 12th if you’re a gambling man – it depends on how he looks on Friday.
  • This may include a good amount of spot-starts in the future, so pay attention.

 

Texas Rangers
  • Don’t rule out Kolby Allard or Brock Burke taking advantage of the rare decent matchups they have in the short term.
  • Let’s collectively hope the 2019 magic of Lance Lynn powers through a different stretch to end the month.
  • Yes, I’m rolling with Mike Minor through it all at this point.

 

Toronto Blue Jays
  • It looks like it’s Wilmer Font and a collection of Brock StewartZack Godley for two starts out of five. In other words, “no” and ” please no”.
  • Font is going today instead of Jacob Waguespack in a quick four-man rotation turnaround, but I didn’t want to make a really weird table for that. I mean, it’s the Jays.

 

Washington Nationals
  • There is a spot-start for a double-header on the 25th against the Phillies, you won’t want that.
  • The Nationals changed the order of their rotation this weekend, making Scherzer lineup for a possible Day 163 game or the wild-card game. Makes sense here.

 

Starting Pitcher ROS Buckets

 

With these schedules in mind, let’s start grouping these schedules into different buckets.

This is mostly to help you strategize future starts and get a sense of who is out there that can help your teams in September. Matchups will be wrong, pitchers in the upside tier could easily be valuable than others. Please understand.

Let’s get to it then.

Just Start These Guys

 

I didn’t change much of anything this week, except for one major thing.

I removed the ranks. I know some of you liked them, but they really didn’t do much good. Sure, there is a loose order here that I’m retaining from last time, but honestly, it comes more down to each individual start at this point, especially since you’re not trading like earlier in the season.

Hopefully these tables with help sift for you how to be thinking about these starters down the stretch. Feel free to find me on Twitter for specific scenarios.

 

High Risk/Reward

 

We have potential aces in Bauer, Heaney, Berrios, and Boyd here, with guys that could take a step forward in Gallen, Wheeler, and Folty. Chris Paddack is likely to miss a few of these outings, or at least have a different schedule as he is skipped or pushed a day or two. Meanwhile, I hesitated where to put Eduardo Rodriguez and Dinelson Lametbut each could be highly valuable in some key matchups. Lamet could be moved all the way to the “Upside” tier, just to give you a sense of the rankings not matter much at all.

We should also welcome Caleb Smith to this bucket as he just hasn’t been the consistent arm we want him to be. I still like him, but he’s not a “just start him.” Meanwhile, Sean Manea has returned and definitely deserves your attention in all leagues.

David Price returns from the IL to hit the second table. Really tempted to put him in the first, but I’m not starting him against the Yankees so soon.

 

Good Schedules And/Or Decent Floor

I changed things a bit this week, creating three major tables after the standard “Aces and wanna be aces”:

  • Solid floor options mixed with those with good schedules
  • Upside plays where the pitcher could overcome their current assessment and prevail
  • Mediocre options who don’t have a good schedule or a poor arm who doesn’t have a great schedule.

This first table is a bit massive, but should help you get a good grasp on options you can consider moving forward. It’s not perfect, but I really did want to clump all the serviceable options together instead of creating a bigger distinction than there really is.

Alright, back to it, now with Upside plays.

Upside Plays

We have a lot of the same upside plays here, though I did give some wiggle room to some players who don’t have good schedules but aren’t the worst desperation plays like Joe Ross and Kolby Allard.

Don’t overlook Asher Wojciechowski or the possibility Dylan Cease gets it together by mid-September. And yes, even Brock Burke in the short-term or Sandy Alcantara by the end (Note, he does start today, but I didn’t want to make a sixth column just for him).

Poor Schedules To Avoid

Yes, I’m thrusting Marcus Stroman down here as I truly don’t believe he’s worth the gauntlet ahead, with Steven Matz edging him out just slightly to be in the Decent Floor bucket. I could have also put Aaron Civale down here, but I figure his back-half of the Tigers and White Sox should be noted above.

You may have noticed: I got rid of the final “Random matchups” table. If they aren’t listed here, it’s likely they have one random game they could work out, but in general aren’t worth your time. I don’t think you needed me for that.

I’ll be doing one more update of this next week, then with two weeks of the season left, it’ll just be day-by-day SIT/START from me. Good luck y’all :)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Rotographs contributor. Worked with CBS Sports, Grantland, Washington Post, and SB Nation. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum.

  • Avatar trytheveal says:

    Awesome work, Nick!

    You and Sporer briefly discussed it by the fire, but have you thought about what you might suggest we can do to further analyze a pitcher’s opponent? Righty vs. lefty splits? Home vs. road? wRC+ or wOBA over the past 30 days? Not looking for “the answer” but where would you start?

  • Avatar Frankie says:

    Is D Hudson’s schedule correct? Team page has D Hudson going on 9/11 @ COL. Ugh.

  • Avatar Warren Shinnamon says:

    I noticed that David Price didn’t make it into any of the Starting Pitcher ROS Buckets. Is he someone you are avoiding completely?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Ah, right! Added him to the second table. Thanks!

      • Avatar Warren Shinnamon says:

        Thanks! And, as always, thanks for the amazing work!

        • Avatar Brad R says:

          How much faith can we have with Williams considering his schedule and he’s on a decent start streak almost? Seems like a nice streamer target in points leagues rn. And do you like him or Duggar or Hernandez most ROS?

          Also, how close is Quintana considering his 2nd half (a couple blowups to dangerous offenses including the Nationals but still a 3.72 xFIP) and ROS schedule, how close is Quintana to a “just start these guys level”?

  • Avatar WheelhouseWreck says:

    Is Logan Webb relevant at all?

  • Avatar Steve says:

    I think you’re missing a Sept 9 start for the Red Sox? that pushes ERod back from a nice Toronto-SF double dip to the signIficantly worse NYY-Philadelphia combo. Ouch.

  • Avatar Facenda says:

    Great update, Nick! Thank you1

  • Avatar Chris says:

    I’ve been sitting on top waiver priority for a few weeks, and I’ve been planning on spending it on Luzardo if/when he is called up. However, Lance Lynn just hit the wire. Is it worth holding out for Luzardo in a keeper league?

  • Avatar Mario says:

    How likely are we to see Luzardo get a start or two with the big club? Trying to gauge his value for the ROS. Thanks!

  • Avatar Rick says:

    This is one of the most incredibly helpful features I’ve seen for fantasy baseball

  • Avatar Stephen Picciocca says:

    i’m very impressed! do yu run this chart year long?

  • Account / Login
    >