Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/8
Shelby Miller (@CIN, vs. COL)
Fresh off an exceptional rookie campaign, Miller hasn’t been anything close to the same pitcher this season. He’s rarely terrible, but 11 quality starts in 27 tries simply doesn’t cut it. That said, three of those quality starts have come in his last three tries. The Reds have scored the fewest runs of any team in the Majors since the All-Star break while the Rockies rank next to last in the Majors in both runs scored and batting average on the road, ahead of only the Padres. Miller is certainly worth a pickup if he’s available in your 12-team mixed league, which is a distinct possibility.
Miguel Gonzalez (@BOS, vs. NYY)
At first glance, Gonzalez’s matchups might not seem great. That is until you realize that the Yankees and Red Sox rank 12th and 15th respectively in the AL in runs scored. Oh, and Gonzalez sports a 2.11 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in seven starts since the All-Star break and has a pretty good offense supporting him. He’s a strong play in any mixed league of 12 teams or more.
Marcus Stroman (vs. CHC, vs. TB)
Although the consistency hasn’t quite been there, Stroman has managed to piece together a number of dominant performances in his rookie season. The stat that impresses me the most is his exceptional 89-to-26 K/BB ratio. Both of Stroman’s starts next week will be at home, where he’s 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA. The Cubs and Rays each rank in the bottom third in the Majors in runs scored.
Jason Vargas (@DET, vs. BOS)
Very quietly, Vargas is putting together quite a season. The strikeout rate will never be great and he has allowed more hits than innings pitched. But his 1.8 BB/9 more than makes up for the mediocre hit rate, and Vargas does a fine job keeping the ball in the park (15 HR allowed in 169 IP). The @DET matchup is a challenging one, as the Tigers have now surpassed Oakland as the highest scoring team in the Majors, so Vargas is probably more of a deep mixed league option. But keep in mind that he boasts a 2.12 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 12 road starts this season. As for the Red Sox, I’ve already alluded to their offensive futility.
Justin Verlander (vs. KC, vs. CLE)
Like I mentioned in the Pitch or Ditch post, Verlander continues to be an enigma. Every time you think he has turned the corner, he takes a step backward, the latest example being Wednesday’s 6 ER outing against the Indians. So now he gets to face the very same Indians squad followed by a Royals team that has given him problems this year (1-2, 5.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP). If you’re chasing wins and strikeouts, feel free to trot him out there. But personally, I just can’t deal with this guy anymore.
Hector Santiago (@TEX, vs. HOU)
I’m still a big believer in Santiago, and he’s proven to be a very useful spot-start option in deeper mixed leagues this year. But his most recent start, on the road against the Twins, was mediocre at best. The Rangers have had a hard time scoring runs this season, but this start will be on the road, where Santiago’s ERA is more than a full run higher than it is at home, and in a hitter’s park. What about the Astros? To tell you the truth, their offense is flat out scary these days. Since the All-Star break, Houston ranks 4th in the AL in runs and 2nd in homers. This is a close call, but in a 12-team mixed league, I’d lean towards ditching.