Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 6/17
Here’s the latest installment of my two-start pitcher notes. And as always, be sure to catch today’s podcast as Cory will give his take on a bunch of these guys. The podcast also features excellent in-depth prospect analysis from special guest Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus. Trust me, you don’t want to miss that!
Jarrod Parker (@TEX, @SEA)
Thursday’s gem vs. the Yankees marked Parker’s seventh straight quality start, and he’s 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 0.84 WHIP over his first three June outings. Now that the 24-year-old has clearly put his early-season struggles behind him, he’s back to being a guy who you should pitch in just about every matchup. Facing the Rangers on the road is always tough but Parker actually pitched well in Texas back in late-May (7 IP, 6 H, 3 ER). And the @SEA matchup more than makes up for the @TEX risk, as the Mariners rank next to last in the AL in runs scored and dead last in batting average. Pitch with confidence!
Travis Wood (@STL, vs. HOU)
I keep waiting for Wood to turn back into a pumpkin but it just hasn’t happened yet. And who knows, it might never happen. Look, Wood is a quality pitcher, but he’s just not a 2.65 ERA, 1.00 WHIP pitcher. And the @STL matchup worries me. It worries me a lot. In a 12-team mixed league, I’d pass on Wood for next week, as you don’t want to be the one starting him when the stat correction does happen. In deeper mixed leagues, you probably don’t have many better options, but I’d still think twice before pitching him.
Jeremy Hellickson (@BOS, @NYY)
What’s happened to this guy? He’s gotten worse and worse each year since his outstanding first full season in the bigs back in 2011. His walk and strikeout rates haven’t changed much since last year and his home run rate has gone up a bit, but not by a whole lot. His hit rate, on the other hand, has skyrocketed. Although you can’t ignore Hellickson’s accomplishments through the 2012 season, it’s also true that he benefited from some fortunate BABIPs and strand rates. Maybe he’s just not a high-end pitcher after all. I’m not saying that he won’t significantly improve upon his current performance level, but the bottom line is that he cannot be trusted in the tougher matchups. And next week is about as tough as it gets. Ditch!
Dan Haren (@PHI, vs. COL)
Heading into this season, I really liked Haren as an undervalued pitcher who you could draft at a No. 4-type SP cost but get back No. 2-type production. Was I wrong on that one! After posting back-to-back quality starts against the Phillies and then the Orioles, Haren has now put up two straight stinkers (9 IP, 10 ER) and is simply giving up way too many homers. 17 home runs through 13 starts? That’s ridiculous. In standard 12-team mixed leagues, Haren is borderline waiver wire material. Regardless, he doesn’t belong anywhere near your lineup right now. Ditch.
Jorge De La Rosa (@TOR, @WAS)
DLR got off to a red-hot start to the season but has stumbled of late. His upside combined with his still solid numbers this year makes him worth a roster spot in the majority of 12-team mixed leagues, but my confidence in him isn’t at the level where I’d pitch him regardless of the matchup. In other words, he’s still a PoD guy. That said, I do like these matchups and would lean towards pitching him for the two-start week.
Phil Hughes (vs. LAD, vs. TB)
Inconsistency continues to be a major issue for Hughes. While the K/BB rate has been solid, the home run ball has plagued him (13 longnballs allowed in 13 starts) and he’s giving up well over a hit per inning. With one favorable matchup followed by one matchup of medium difficulty, Hughes is far from a no-brainer pitch, and if you have better alternatives, benching him isn’t a bad idea. But I’d give it a shot, if for no other reason than that his recent track record vs. the Rays is actually pretty good.
Ubaldo Jimenez (vs. KC, vs. MIN)
Yeah, Ubaldo is a headache to own, but in terms of matchups, you can’t get much better than this. The Royals and Twins are both sub-par offenses and Jimenez already dominated Kansas City once this season (7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER). Ubaldo’s 7.53 home ERA is the one major factor that would give me pause. While I personally won’t be picking him up (I’ve instituted a “No Ubaldo” policy no matter what) and don’t think you should go out of your way to add him, if you’re thinking about rolling the dice on him in a deep mixed league, this is the week to do it.
Bud Norris (vs. CHW, @ CHC)
While Norris’ home/road splits are still significant, they’re nowhere near as drastic as they were last year, and his overall numbers this season are very strong. Even though one of these starts will come on the road, the Cubs’ lineup is mediocre at best and Norris has surprisingly pitched very well away from Minute Maid Park of late (13 IP, 3 ER, 12 K in last two road starts). I’d pitch Bud in all but the shallowest of mixed leagues.
Jason Vargas (vs. SEA, vs. PIT)
This one is simple:
Vargas at home this season: 4-1, 3.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP
Vargas on the road this season: 1-3, 4.42 ERA, 1.58 WHIP
Two starts at home = Pitch
Jose Quintana (@HOU, @KC)
The nice thing about Quintana is that you’re pretty much assured of a quality performance. He might not dominate, but he won’t turn in a disaster outing either. We’re talking 3 ER or less in eight of 13 starts and 4 ER or less in 12 of 13 starts. The Astros and Royals rank 12th and 13th in the AL respectively in runs scored and Quintana’s road ERA is more than half a run lower than his home mark. I’m feeling good about pitching him.