Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 4/22
Here’s installment #3 of my weekly two-start pitcher notes. Be sure to catch today’s podcast as Jason Collette joins Cory and JB to talk about a number of these options plus much more.
Justin Masterson (@CWS, @KC)
I honestly don’t know what to make of Masterson. After getting off to a brilliant start to the season (3-0, 0.41 ERA through his first three starts), the Indians’ righty was roughed up a bit by the Red Sox on Wednesday. Last year, Masterson was a far better pitcher at home than on the road, so the fact that both of these matchups are on the road isn’t exactly comforting, as is the fact that he was mediocre vs. the White Sox (1-1, 4.18 ERA, 1.68 WHIP) and flat-out awful vs. the Royals (0-2, 8.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP). If you’re convinced that he’s an improved pitcher, go ahead and start him. But I’m playing it safe and ditching.
Dan Haren (vs. STL, vs. CIN)
This one is painful as I’ve always been a huge Haren fan. But the bottom line is that he hasn’t shown us anything so far to make us think that he will be a reliable fantasy option this year. The good news is that he’s still striking out guys and he’s still walking very few. The bad news is that he’s giving up way too many hits and throwing way too many pitches per inning. We classified Haren as a Pitch or Ditch guy on our recently released Pitch or Ditch category chart and even in a two-start week, I’ll pass. These are two scary matchups and Haren has a lot of work to do before my confidence in him can be restored.
Derek Holland (@LAA, @MIN)
A 411 favorite heading into this season, Holland has so far even outperformed our expectations. While he pitched to a quality 3.65 ERA on the road last year, he struggled at home, but that hasn’t been a problem this time around as he’s allowed a combined four runs over his first two home starts. He gets a pair of road starts next week, one against a sub-par Twins’ offense and the other against an Angels’ lineup that he already dominated this year (7 IP, 2 ER). Pitch with confidence!
Tony Cingrani (vs. CHC, @WAS)
Cingrani pitched fairly well in his big league debut on Thursday, though 102 pitches in five innings is way too many. But the 8 K’s were nice. I like the vs. CHC matchup but I’m a little wary of the @WAS one, so if you’re in a shallower league you might want to bench him. But in mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, I think I’d take a chance on him. He’s a big-time prospect and at least you know the strikeouts will be there.
Ross Detwiler (vs. STL, vs. CIN)
Three starts, 20 innings pitched, two earned runs. Detwiler is on a major roll to open the season and two of his three matchups (@CIN, vs. ATL) were tough ones. These upcoming two matchups worry me somewhat, but both are at home, where Detwiler went 8-2 with a 2.59 ERA last season. In deeper mixed leagues and of course in NL-only formats, he’s a pitch.
Patrick Corbin (@SF, vs. COL)
Corbin pitched to mediocre results as a rookie last year, but his sophomore campaign has been a different story. Two earned runs or less in each of his first three outings and although the Giants and Rockies haven’t had much trouble putting runs on the board thus far, I’m throwing Corbin out there in mixed leagues of 12 teams or more. These matchups aren’t scary enough to convince me otherwise.
Jose Quintana (vs. CLE, vs. TB)
One poor outing followed by two exceptional ones. The 17 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings should be taken with a grain of salt considering that his strikeout rate last season was mediocre, but I am intrigued by his low walk rate and relatively low home run allowed rate. These matchups aren’t terrible but they’re not great either. A real toss-up, but I’ll take a chance on him. Who knows, maybe the strikeout uptick is real.
Wade Davis (@DET, vs. CLE)
12 scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts over his last two starts has placed Davis firmly on the mixed league radar. After putting up exceptional numbers while pitching out of the bullpen for the Rays last year, Davis has made a seamless transition back into a starting role and generally speaking, I’m buying into him. But not next week. This is a situation where one bad start @DET could ruin whatever good he does in his vs. CLE outing. I need to see more before I can trust him against offensive juggernauts. Ditch.
Jason Vargas (vs. TEX, @SEA)
Vargas proved to be a capable spot-starter last year but he’s battled inconsistency thus far in 2013 and is coming off two straight brutal performances, both against less than intimidating lineups. The @SEA start might be decent but facing the Rangers, even at home, will be a challenge. I don’t want any part of this. Ditch.
Miguel Gonzalez (vs. TOR, @OAK)
After making a strong impression during his 2012 rookie campaign, Gonzalez has been OK but not great this season. Don’t expect a lot of strikeouts but he does seem to have a knack for stringing together quality starts. These are decent matchups, so pitch.
Ricky Nolasco (@MIN, vs. CHC)
One of the more frustrating starting pitchers to own, Nolasco has registered a respectable 3.86 ERA through four starts to go along with a stellar 1.24 WHIP and 15-to-6 K/BB ratio. You just never know when Ricky is going to blow up but I really like these matchups and I’ll always be tempted by his consistently low walk rate.
Bartolo Colon (@BOS, vs. BAL)
Speaking of low walk rates, Colon has yet to issue a free pass through 19 innings this year. The problem is that he’s allowed more than a hit per inning and has historically been extremely home run prone. Bartolo’s current 3.32 ERA and 1.05 WHIP is due for a stat correction, and that might happen during his start at Fenway. And even though his second start will be at home, the Orioles can hit. In 12-team mixed leagues, I’ll take the conservative route and ditch. Feel free to pitch him in deeper mixed leagues though.