Here’s this week’s installment of my two-start pitcher notes. Not a whole lot of appealing options for next week so don’t bench a clearly superior pitcher who will be making only one start in favor of one of these guys. There will be plenty of time to chase strikeouts and wins later. But as for this group, Hector Santiago is the one pitcher who I would make sure to grab.
And of course, be sure to listen to today’s podcast as we’ll have the usual two-start pitcher segment.
Barry Zito (@TOR, @COL)
Zito has been a pleasant surprise this season, both for the Giants and for his fantasy owners. Yeah, he’s had a couple of blowup starts, but in five of his seven outings, he’s allowed either one or zero runs and has pitched at least seven innings in four of those games. Still, I just have a bad feeling about next week. One would think that a stat correction is inevitable, and in five career starts at Rogers Centre, Zito is 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. His career numbers at Coors Field are actually very good (3-1, 3.25 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) but pitching any low-strikeout guy in Colorado is playing with fire. On last Friday’s podcast, Ron Shandler explained that he takes a conservative approach with two-start pitchers as one poor performance can ruin the entire week, and I think that the chances of Zito struggling in at least one of these starts are pretty high. Ditch.
Josh Beckett (vs. WAS, @ATL)
Like Zito, Beckett faces two tough matchups, and despite some strong performances, he’s been far from consistent thus far, allowing the opposition to bat .294 against him while allowing eight homers in seven starts. In a deep mixed league, maybe it will pay off to throw him out there for the strikeout upside. But in a 12-teamer, I’m passing.
Jake Westbrook (vs. NYM, vs. MIL)
Westbrook is the type of pitcher who can throw a gem in one start and then get pounded in the next. If his sinker isn’t working right, it can get very ugly very fast. Despite the sparkling 1.62 ERA, I’m not liking the 1.46 WHIP, and Jake has always been a pitch to contact guy, so he doesn’t really have the ability to work himself out of jams via the strikeout. And of course, one of the main reasons to pick up two-start pitchers is to gain ground in strikeouts. To me, the downside here outweighs the upside. Ditch.
Justin Grimm (@OAK, vs. DET)
The stat correction finally came for Grimm in his latest start and while the strikeouts are nice, the vs. DET matchup isn’t so nice. Oh yeah, and the A’s actually rank 3rd in the AL in runs scored at home. The bottom line is that Grimm is too unproven to trust in a two-start week unless both matchups are favorable. If you’re chasing strikeouts and aren’t concerned about ERA and WHIP, maybe he’s worth a try, but I’m holding off in a 12-team mixed until I see a little more. Keep an eye on Grimm going forward though.
Bud Norris (@DET, @PIT)
Norris’ strikeout ability and solid 3.40 ERA surely makes him a must-start for next week, right? Not really. The key here is that Bud will be on the road for both of these starts, and the road has not been too kind to him. Last season, Norris pitched to a 6.94 ERA away from Minute Maid Park. This season, his road ERA is 5.93 through three starts. Plus, there it is, that dreaded @DET matchup. Sorry for being such a downer, but I’m ditching on Norris as well.
Jeff Locke (vs. MIL, vs. HOU)
That’s now four straight starts with 3 ER or less for Locke, whose spot in the Pirates’ rotation appears secure for the foreseeable future. This is a little risky, but I’ll say pitch, albeit with some trepidation. Despite their surprisingly decent start to the season, the Astros’ lineup is still worth picking on and the Brewers’ offense has struggled to score on the road. Let’s just hope that Locke can ride this hot streak for a little while longer!
Hector Santiago (@MIN, @LAA)
Here’s a guy who I’m pitching with confidence next week. This year, Santiago has maintained his high strikeout rate while displaying much improved control. Thanks to Gavin Floyd’s injury, he now gets the opportunity to prove that his stellar pitching out of the bullpen can translate to the starting rotation. And I think he’s up for the task. Fresh off a dominant performance vs. the Mets and a decent outing on the road against the Rangers, Santiago gets two matchups that aren’t too scary. Both the Twins and Angels rank in the bottom half in the AL in runs scored at home and the Angels’ lineup has had a tough time vs. left-handed pitching. I like Santiago a lot for next week.
Chris Tillman (vs. SD, vs. TB)
Although we’re still seeing some inconsistency from Tillman and you would like the strikeout rate to be a little higher, the young righty has now posted four straight quality starts. These matchups aren’t great and Tillman has pitched a lot better on the road than at home this season, but I’ve been very impressed by him of late and there’s a point where recent performance trumps split stats. With Tillman, I think we’re at that point. I’ll roll the dice and pitch.
Kluber @ Scherzer
R. Ortiz @ Lester – Morrow scratched from this start
Volquez @ Cobb
Hanson @ Axelrod – White Sox are 28th in MLB in OPS vs. righties, go for it
Hughes @ W. Davis
Hammel @ Pelfrey
Ogando @ Keuchel
Straily @ Iwakuma – not trusting Straily right now, gaudy minor league numbers or not
Samardzija @ Detwiler – Detwiler cooling, but home start vs. weak Cubs beckons
Gallardo @ Cingrani
Wandy @ Marcum – not much conviction on either recommendation though
Garland @ S. Miller
Cloyd @ Kennedy
J. Fernandez @ Magill – Dodgers are 28th in MLB in OPS vs. righties!
T. Hudson @ Cain
Minor @ Leake
King Felix @ Burnett
Westbrook @ Villanueva – Westbrook still hot but Villanueva cooling
Nolasco @ Marquis
Pettibone @ Zito – risk/reward on Zito, but he’s at home sooo…
Fister @ Haren
Mendoza @ Tillman
Griffin @ Masterson – not trusting Masterson vs. A’s lefty power
Peavy @ Hefner
P. Hernandez @ TBD (BOS) – Doubront demoted to bullpen
Romero @ Moore
Blanton @ Norris – Norris at home vs. scuffling Angels…
Holland @ Lohse
Phelps @ Nicasio
Miley @ Kershaw
An. Sanchez @ Zimmermann
Big Erv @ W. Chen – BIG ERV!!
Milone @ McAllister – tough matchup but I’m a fan
Harang @ McDonald – McDonald MUCH tougher at home
Medlen @ Bailey
Sale @ Harvey
Diamond @ Dempster
Happ @ R. Hernandez – Happ a blue plate special for deeper leagues
Lynn @ Wood – Wood’s been getting it done, but scary matchup
Wilson @ Lyles
Grimm @ W. Peralta – bench but don’t cut scuffling Peralta
Kuroda @ De La Rosa
McCarthy @ Beckett – McCarthy’s indicators suggest improvement is coming
Sanabia @ Stults – at home vs. Marlins? YEP!
Kendrick @ Lincecum
Correia @ Kazmir – Correia’s getting it done, but regression is a cruel mistress
Colon @ Hughes – do you trust Hughes at home vs. the #1 scoring offense in MLB?
Iwakuma @ Dickey
F. Garcia @ Hanson – tough call on Hanson but I’ll play it safe vs. O’s
Quintana @ W. Davis
Scherzer @ Harrell
Lackey @ Ogando
Cingrani @ Samardzija
Wainwright @ Gallardo
Strasburg @ Locke – have to go for it w/ Locke vs. struggling Nats
J. Fernandez @ Hamels
Niese @ Teheran – risky start for Niese on the road, but I’ll take the shot
Price @ Garland
Corbin @ Richard – sticking with Richard at home
Lilly @ Vogelsong – assuming Lilly starts, I’m going for it
Pelfrey @ Kluber
Straily @ Pettitte
Saunders @ Morrow – hang with ‘em on Morrow
Peavy @ Shields
Lester @ Darvish
Hammel @ Richards
Verlander @ Humber
Harvey @ Hudson
G. Gonzalez @ Wandy
J. Garcia @ Estrada – Garcia better at home, but he’s rolling
Latos @ Jackson – Jackson is DTM
Slowey @ Halladay – Slowey worth a gamble in deeper leagues
Kennedy @ Volquez
Cobb @ Chatwood
Ryu @ Cain
Parker @ Jimenez – I like Parker better at home but appears to be turning the corner
Worley @ Buchholz
Buehrle @ Hellickson
Maholm @ Arroyo – not risking Maholm in GABP
Tepesch @ Feldman – blue plate special!
Cahill @ Capuano
LeBlanc @ Cashner
Lee @ Bumgarner
Here’s the latest installment of my two-start pitcher notes for all you weekly leaguers. Remember that these are mostly geared towards 12-team mixed leagues. Be sure to check out today’s podcast as we’re joined by the one and only Ron Shandler! Cory and Ron will go over many of these two-start options in addition to answering a bunch of listener questions.
Andrew Cashner (vs. MIA, @TB)
Since making the move from the bullpen to the starting rotation a couple weeks ago, Cashner has been maddeningly inconsistent. At times, he has looked like a dominant strikeout machine, but he has also battled some control issues. His most recent outing, on the road vs. the Cubs (4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K), was by far his worst one, so it’s hard to fully trust him heading into next week. But the strikeout upside is real and the vs. MIA matchup is extremely appealing. And it’s not like the Rays (10th in AL in runs scored and 12th in AVG) are offensive juggernauts. Pitch.
Jarrod Parker (@CLE, @SEA)
There’s no denying that Parker has been a colossal disappointment so far, but his latest performance (6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) was somewhat encouraging. Still, you can’t possibly like the 2.01 WHIP and 18-to-16 K/BB ratio. In mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, I’d take a chance on him next week as these matchups are far from scary. But if he fails to get the job done here, it might be time to consider cutting him in standard mixed leagues.
Bronson Arroyo (vs. ATL, vs. MIL)
Arroyo is a guy who on any given day could either toss a gem or turn in a disaster outing, and there’s simply no way to predict which Bronson will show up. For the most part, the good Arroyo has shown up this season, as he’s posted four quality starts in six tries. These matchups aren’t particularly unfavorable but they aren’t great either and Arroyo pitched significantly better on the road than at home last season. I guess the bottom line is that he makes me too nervous and I’d rather have someone else deal with the headache. Ditch.
James McDonald (vs. SEA, @NYM)
Another guy who frustrates his owners to no end, McDonald is sometimes nearly unhittable but sometimes has no idea where the ball is going. In 12-team mixed leagues, I’ll take the conservative route and ditch, and there’s a decent chance that he won’t even be making the @NYM start as the returns of Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton might bump him out of the rotation. The Pirates will need to choose between McDonald and Jeff Locke for their fifth starter spot and Locke has been the far more effective pitcher so far.
Jorge De La Rosa (vs. NYY, @STL)
I’m bullish on De La Rosa going forward and he is 4-for-6 in quality starts, but the Dodgers roughed him up pretty good on Tuesday and the reality is that he missed nearly the entire 2012 season. Let him work out the kinks first before pitching him in mixed leagues. Oh yeah, and I don’t like these matchups at all. But keep an eye on him as he could resurface on the mixed league radar fairly soon.
Nick Tepesch (@CHC, @HOU)
Tepesch did a fine job in the Minors last year and has gotten off to an equally impressive start in his first big league season, registering a 3.54 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 18-to-5 K/BB ratio over his first five outings. And on paper, these matchups are very favorable. In a 12-team mixed, I’d understand if you’re a bit hesitant to pitch him due to the limited track record, unless you’re the gambling type, but in a 15-teamer and of course an AL-only, I think I’d give it a shot.
Brandon McCarthy (@LAD, vs. PHI)
On today’s podcast, Cory and Ron said to pitch McCarthy, and while I understand their reasoning, I need to preach what I practice (I think that makes sense?) and say that if I owned McCarthy in any league (and I don’t), I would not feel at ease starting him. Zero quality starts in six tries so far and an OK but not great strikeout rate. Both the Dodgers and Phillies have been erratic offensively but both lineups have the ability to put plenty of runs on the board. I just don’t have a good feeling about this.
Zach McAllister (vs. OAK, @DET)
I’m a fan of McAllister and he’s certainly gotten off to an exceptional start this year, but it’s been too exceptional. I think a stat correction is in order, and I think it’ll happen next week. The Tigers boast one of the more dangerous lineups in baseball and these aren’t your older brother’s Oakland A’s. They can actually hit now. I’ll follow the same approach with McAllister as with De La Rosa. Ditch but monitor closely.
Leake @ Villanueva
Nolasco @ Pettibone – Nolasco pitching reasonably well but hard to trust in CBP
P. Hernandez @ Masterson – hard to trust Masterson vs. any lineup with decent lefty power
Griffin @ Sabathia – hang with ‘em on Griffin
Detwiler @ Burnett
King Felix @ Romero
Marcum @ Minor – tough matchup for Marcum if he’s not at 100%
Doubront @ Holland – risk/reward to both, but Holland pitching better
Santiago @ Guthrie – blue plate special!
Fister @ Norris
S. Miller @ Lohse
Moore @ Francis
M. Gonzalez @ Vargas
Miley @ Marquis
Kershaw @ Zito