Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 7/7

MLB: Miami Marlins at Texas Rangers


Tom Koehler (@ARI, @NYM)

Yeah, Koehler did experience a regression period following his red-hot start to the season, but the regression period really wasn’t too bad. Regardless, he’s clearly back on track now, as he boasts a 1.89 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 9.9 K/9 over his last three starts. Slowly but surely, I’m starting to become a long-term believer in this guy. The @ARI matchup is a tough one, but Koehler has absolutely dominated the Mets this year, registering a 2.70 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in three starts against the Amazins. All in all, I think the reward here outweighs the risk.

Jason Vargas (@TB, vs. DET)

Vargas has been a quality start machine this season, reeling off 14 of them in 18 tries. Although he won’t help you much in strikeouts, his ability to limit free passes (2.7 career BB/9) often gets overlooked. While the Rays offense has improved of late, Tampa Bay still ranks 13th in the AL in runs scored. On paper, the vs. DET matchup might seem unfavorable, as he got roughed up the last time he faced the Tigers at home. But in his two other starts against Detroit this season, he allowed a combined three earned runs over 14 innings. Pitching Vargas next week is far from a no-brainer, but in mixed leagues of 12 or more teams, I’d give it a shot.

Trevor Bauer (vs. NYY, vs. CHW)

Despite Bauer’s mediocre ERA and WHIP, there’s still reason for optimism, as he sports a solid 8.2 K/9 and has significantly improved his control, lowering his BB/9 from 8.5 over four starts last season to 3.4 through 10 starts this year. And remember that the kid is still just 23 years of age. The Yankee lineup has been wildly inconsistent this season while the White Sox are coming off a month of June in which they scored the second-fewest runs in the AL.


Phil Hughes (@SEA, @COL)

Since limiting the Red Sox to two runs over eight innings back on June 17, Hughes has seen his ERA rise from 3.09 to 3.95. His most recent start, in which he allowed seven runs to the Yankees, was by far his worst outing of the season. Further regression could be in store for Hughes next week, as the home run prone righty travels to Coors Field to face a Rockies club that leads the Majors in runs scored at home. Meanwhile, the once inept Mariners offense isn’t as much of a joke anymore, as they now rank in the middle of the pack in runs scored. If Hughes manages to get through next week unscathed, maybe I’ll hop back on the bandwagon. But for now, I’m ditching.

Ryan Vogelsong (@OAK, vs. ARI)

I’ve been impressed by Vogelsong’s overall performance this year, but I would stay away from him next week. The A’s are the highest-scoring team in the Majors and he will be facing them on the road in an AL park. Vogelsong’s home/road splits are dramatic, as he carries a 3.06 ERA and 1.09 WHIP at home as opposed to a 5.20 ERA and 1.65 WHIP away from AT&T Park. The good news is that he will be making one home start, but the @OAK matchup makes pitching him not worth the risk. Plus, he has not been sharp against the Diamondbacks this season (7.20 ERA, 1.60 WHIP).

Chris Tillman (@WAS, vs. NYY)

After winning 16 games last year and establishing himself as a reliable middle of the rotation fantasy starter, Tillman has given his owners fits this season, mainly because you never know what you’re going to get from one start to the next. He did post a stellar 3.10 ERA in June but his first outing this month was mediocre at best (5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). Both the Nationals and the Yankees have struggled to score runs this year, so maybe Tillman will use next week’s schedule to his advantage. Then again, the Nats just got Bryce Harper back and the Yankees are at least starting to show some signs of life at the plate. But most importantly, my confidence in Tillman will remain limited until I see more consistency.


Procedural question rather than a trade evaluation. I’m the commissioner of a league and one of the managers just dropped Greinke. He didn’t pick anybody up, nor did he have someone come off the DL. He claims he had the league app open on his phone and it was a “butt-drop”. Weird but whatever. It’s a league of friends and I don’t want to poison the atmosphere, but neither do I want to set a precedent that requires me to be handing out do-overs al the time. Possible complicating factors: the manager in question is in the lead be a healthy amount, and I have the #1 waiver priority (in fact I put in a waiver claim before the manager asked for a reversal).

I’d grant the reversal. As long as there isn’t a fishy element to the move (and it doesn’t sound like there is) it seems like an innocent enough mistake. Plus, you are a league of friends. There’s absolutely no reasonable explanation why he would drop Greinke.


What is your projection for Sonny Gray going forward? Do you think he gets shut down early? I’m contemplating trying to trade him now before he gets shut down.

I’m not convinced that will happen, as Gray did exceed the 180 IP mark last year between the Minors and Majors and the A’s will need him for the postseason. Maybe they will more closely monitor his innings in September, but I think a complete shut down is unlikely.


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