Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 4/13
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Welcome to the first 2015 installment of my Two-Start Pitcher Notes series. Every Friday, I will highlight several of the following week’s projected two-start pitchers and place them either in the Pitch section or the Ditch section. Keep in mind that I don’t need to tell you to pitch Stephen Strasburg in a two-start week. The borderline calls, based on either recent performance or the matchups, will be my focus.
OK, I think that covers it. Let’s get started.
Daniel Norris (vs. TB, vs. ATL)
Earning a spot in the Blue Jays rotation this spring after putting together an exceptional minor league campaign last season, Norris pitched better in his season debut last night than his stat line indicates, as two of his three earned runs and two of the six hits he allowed were courtesy of a pair of solo homers. His matchups next week are about as good as it gets, as both the Rays and Braves are expected to finish near the bottom of the league in runs scored this season. Keep in mind that this is a guy who led the Minors in strikeouts per nine innings last year while posting a 2.53 ERA. At this point, he belongs on all fantasy rosters.
Tom Koehler (@ATL, @NYM)
Koehler entered the Pitch or Ditch conversation last season, especially for his home starts (3.00 ERA). No, he won’t be making any home starts next week, but these matchups are quite appealing nonetheless. In nine combined starts against the Braves and Mets last year, Koehler registered a 2.88 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, and he was solid against the Braves in his 2015 season debut on Wednesday. In mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, go ahead and pitch him.
Tim Hudson (vs. COL, vs. ARI)
Hudson is old and boring, and don’t expect a lot of strikeouts. But he almost always puts together a quality performance. I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to pick him up if you have alternative options that offer a higher amount of upside, but the matchups are decent and maybe you can come away with a win or two to go along with strong ratios.
Mike Leake (@CHC, @STL)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Leake. I own him in a number of leagues. Even after his breakout season last year, I think he’s still being underrated. But unless you’re in a deep mixed (more than 12 teams) or NL-only league, benching him for next week is probably the right move. Not only was he very shaky on Wednesday, but Leake’s road ERA last season was 4.07, this compared to a 3.26 mark at home. The Cubs and Cardinals lineups have struggled so far, but I don’t expect that to last much longer. There’s just too much talent on those rosters.
Wei-Yin Chen (vs. NYY, @BOS)
Chen is another guy who always seems to be overlooked in fantasy. Actually, he’s kind of like the AL version of Mike Leake. I’ve chosen Chen a number of times over the years as a two-start Pitch, and he might even appear under the Pitch heading at some point during this season. But I’m not risking it next week, not with these matchups and not coming off a disappointing outing on Tuesday in a favorable matchup against the Rays.
Jeremy Hellickson (@SD, @SF)
Let’s face it, the Jeremy Hellickson that won Rookie of the Year honors is a thing of the past. The Jeremy Hellickson of 2015 is a mediocre pitcher who just got roughed up by the same Giants club that he will be facing next week. As for the Padres offense, the days of picking on them are a thing of the past. Forget 12-team mixed league, I wouldn’t pitch Hellickson in a 15-team mixed league. Even in an NL-only league, I’d have to think long and hard about it, and ultimately, I’d lean towards ditching.