Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/16
Today marked our final phone guest show of 2013, and we had a good one in Paul Sporer of Baseball Prospectus. Be sure to catch the podcast when it comes out later, as Paul and Cory will discuss most of these two-start pitchers in addition to answering a bunch of listener questions. But here’s my take on some of next week’s tougher two-start pitcher decisions.
Lance Lynn (@COL, @MIL)
There’s no way around it. Coming off an impressive first full big league season, Lynn has been a disappointment this year. And even though his last start was his best one in a long time, Lynn had allowed at least four runs in each of his previous five outings. His home/road splits are extreme (3.00 ERA at home compared to 5.59 ERA on the road) and @COL is about as tough as it gets from a road matchup perspective. I wouldn’t hesitate to draft Lynn next year if the price is right, as most of his peripheral stats haven’t changed much from last year, so luck might be playing a factor in his elevated ERA. But for the rest of 2013, you’re better off staying away unless the matchup is ideal. And these matchups are far from ideal.
Dan Haren (vs. ATL, vs. MIA)
I wrote about Haren yesterday, declaring him both YPNM and DTM. Has my opinion changed over the last 24 hours? Ah, no. Chances are he’ll fare better against the Marlins than he did in his most recent bout with The Fish, but he’s been the model of inconsistency all season, so who knows. Yeah, Haren was excellent vs. the Braves when he faced them back in early-May (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), but the reality is that Atlanta ranks 1st in the NL in home runs, and the longball has been Haren’s chief nemesis throughout his career. And he’s yet to beat it (26 homers allowed in 27 starts this season). Plain and simple, he cannot be trusted. Ditch.
Andy Pettitte (@TOR, vs. SF)
Although Pettitte’s days of being a high-end starting pitcher are long over, he’s very quietly having a solid season. The 41-year-old southpaw is on a nice roll right now, having strung together six consecutive quality starts, and neither the Blue Jays nor Giants boast top-tier lineups. Next week is as good a time as any to trot Pettitte out there.
Scott Feldman (@BOS, @TB)
Like Pettitte, Feldman isn’t exactly an intimidating prescense on the mound. But he’s gotten the job done this season, particularly of late (3 ER or less in each of his last six starts). As far as next week goes, the good news is that the Rays rank dead last in the AL in runs scored since the All-Star break. The bad news is that he gets the Red Sox at Fenway. The bad news outweighs the good news. Ditch.
Rick Porcello (vs. SEA, vs. CHW)
Starting Porcello is always risky, as he’s liable to blow up at any moment. But overall, he’s putting up decent numbers this year, especially the 3-to-1 K/BB ratio. The Mariners and White Sox rank next to last and last respectively in the AL in runs scored this season, and in five starts vs. the Pale Hose, he’s 4-0 with a 2.02 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. In mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, I’d lean towards pitching Porcello.
Scott Kazmir (@KC, vs. HOU)
After opening the season in roller-coaster fashion, Kazmir has settled down nicely in the second half, registering a 3.67 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 9.17 K/9 and 2.17 BB/9 over 10 starts since the Midsummer Classic. The @KC matchup is of medium difficulty but the vs. HOU start is plenty tasty. Ultimately though, Kazmir’s greatly improved control combined with his high strikeout upside would lead me to pitch.
Wily Peralta (vs. CHC, vs. STL)
Predicting what this guy is going to do from one start to the next is pretty much impossible, but Peralta has been effective more times than not this season. The problem is that I tend to bench any borderline pitcher who’s facing the Cardinals, especially a pitcher who sports an 8.44 ERA vs. the Cards in three starts this year. Would I pitch Wily vs. the Cubs? Absolutely. But I’ll take the conservative route and pass on starting him for this two-start week.
Juan Nicasio (vs. STL, vs. ARI)
Even though Nicasio has pitched fairly well of late, this is a similar situation to Peralta in that the vs. STL matchup would scare me off. In two starts vs. the Diamondbacks this year, Nicasio is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA, so you’ve got to like him for that one. But a great performance vs. ARI would be all for naught if he gets torched by the Cardinals. That’s why I’m ditching Juan in all mixed leagues.