Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 7/18
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Hope you all enjoyed the four-day break from obsessing over box scores, because you won’t get another one until the evening of October 2. Anyway, the first post-break installment of the two-start pitcher series will be exclusive to the blog, so let’s get started.
Standard mixed leagues
Junior Guerra (@PIT, vs. CHC)
Sporting a 3.06 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 7.9 K/9 rate through 13 starts, Guerra should be owned in all leagues by now. But the Brewers righty is still available in some shallower formats, and mixed league owners may be hesitant to pitch him next week, as the Pirates and Cubs both rank in the top-5 in the NL in runs. That said, the 31-year-old has pitched well enough this season to deserve the nod in all two-start weeks. Plus, he registered a quality start versus the Cubs back on May 19, his lone outing against the highest-scoring club in the Senior Circuit.
Mike Leake (vs. SD, vs. LAD)
Coming off a mediocre performance against the Pirates, Leake bounced back in a big way in his last start, holding the Brewers to one run across seven innings while racking up a season-high 10 strikeouts. Although the Cardinals righty is unlikely to post consistently high strikeout totals going forward (6.2 K/9 rate this season), the 28-year-old has a knack for limiting free passes (career 2.2 BB/9 rate). This is a big reason why he continues to be a reliable fantasy asset in the ERA and WHIP departments. Being that the Dodgers and Padres rank 25th and 26th, respectively, in the Majors in OPS, owners in most league formats should feel comfortable starting Leake next week.
Kevin Gausman (@NYY, vs. CLE)
Consistency continues to be a challenge for Gausman, but the Orioles righty has proven to be a valuable fantasy asset this season thanks in large part to his high-end strikeout ability (8.5 K/9 rate). The 25-year-old makes for a fine starting option next week. In two starts this season versus a Yankees team that ranks 14th in the AL in OPS, Gausman has allowed just one run across 14 innings. While the Indians rank 6th in the AL in OPS, Cleveland places only 13th in the Junior Circuit in OPS on the road, and Gausman boasts a 2.79 ERA at home.
Deeper mixed leagues
Brandon Finnegan (vs. ATL, vs. ARI)
Finnegan’s first full season in the big leagues has been one of mixed results, and the 23-year-old has struggled over his last two starts, allowing a combined 13 runs across 7 1/3 innings. But both of next week’s outings will be at home, where the Reds lefty has notched three straight quality starts, and the Braves rank last in the Majors in runs scored, batting average and OPS. As for the Diamondbacks, despite ranking a solid 9th in the Majors in OPS this season, the Arizona offense has cooled off lately, ranking 21st in OPS this month. Finnegan might be a little too risky for 12-team mixed league purposes, but in deeper formats, he’s an intriguing two-start choice.
Tyler Anderson (vs. TB, vs. ATL)
Since making his big league debut last month, Anderson has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his first six starts while posting a 32-to-6 K/BB ratio over 35 2/3 innings. For now, the Rockies southpaw should only be considered in deeper leagues due to his limited track record. But Anderson could reward his fantasy owners with a pair of quality outings next week, as the Rays and Braves both rank among the bottom five teams in the Majors in runs scored.