Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/5
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I don’t know of any fantasy league that uses a trade deadline later than August 31st. So, no longer can you upgrade your pitching staff via trade. Now you must focus solely on the waiver wire. As for next week’s two-start pitchers, there are actually plenty of quality choices for various league sizes. Let’s get to it.
Standard mixed leagues
Bartolo Colon (@CIN, @ATL)
The owner of a 12-7 record to go along with a 3.35 ERA and 1.24 WHIP through 28 appearances (27 starts) this season, the 43-year-old Colon is still getting the job done. After a shaky July (5.51 ERA), the Mets righty rebounded nicely in August to the tune of a 2.61 ERA across six starts. Don’t be surprised if Colon carries over his August success into the early part of September, as he will be rewarded with a pair of favorable matchups next week. Both the Reds and the Braves rank in the bottom third of the Majors in OPS and in two starts versus the Braves this season, Colon boasts a 0.60 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.
Brandon Finnegan (vs. NYM, @PIT)
Wednesday’s dominant performance against the Angels marked the third straight start in which Finnegan has tossed at least six innings while allowing two or fewer runs and recording at least eight strikeouts. Perhaps more importantly, it marked the third straight start in which the 23-year-old has issued two or fewer free passes. Consistently throwing strikes has been a challenge for Finnegan this season (4.2 BB/9 rate), so maybe the talented southpaw is finally taking the next step in his development as a big league pitcher. Finnegan is a strong two-start option for next week, as the Mets rank 27th in the Majors in runs scored this season while the Pirates rank among the bottom four teams in both runs scored and OPS since the All-Star break.
Tyler Anderson (vs. SF, @SD)
Through 15 big league starts, Anderson carries a 3.43 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 8.3 K/9 rate. Pretty good for a pitcher who calls hitter-friendly Coors Field home. In fact, the 26-year-old southpaw has pitched better at home than on the road, posting a 3.11 ERA at Coors compared to a 4.21 ERA away from Colorado. And Coors Field is where he will open next week, versus a Giants offense that has struggled since the All-Star break, ranking 13th in the NL in runs scored. As for his other opponent, the Padres are fresh off a month of August in which they ranked last in the Majors in OPS and 27th in runs. Owners in all mixed leagues should not hesitate to start Anderson next week.
James Paxton (vs. TEX, @OAK)
With one tough matchup followed by one favorable matchup next week, Paxton is a true borderline call in 12-team mixed leagues but a quality option in deeper formats. The bad news is that over his last two starts, the Mariners righty has posted a 6.30 ERA and 1.70 WHIP, and the Rangers rank 4th in the AL in runs scored. On the other hand, the Texas offense has cooled off since the All-Star break, ranking only 8th in the Junior Circuit in runs. As for the A’s, they rank last in the AL in both runs scored and OPS this season.
Deeper mixed leagues
Luke Weaver (@PIT, vs. MIL)
Weaver’s exceptional minor league numbers (1.78 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 8.7 K/9 in 38 starts) hint that he is big league ready. The fact that he’s coming off back-to-back quality starts for the Cardinals in which he has racked up a combined 17 strikeouts across 12 innings proves hat the 23-year-old is big league ready. And he should continue to pitch well next week, when he faces a Pirates team that ranked 27th in the Majors in OPS in August followed by a Brewers squad that placed in the bottom half of the NL in both runs scored and OPS last month. Weaver’s thin major league track record (four starts) relegates him to deep mixed league status for the time being, but he could be worth adding in 12-team formats sooner rather than later.
Chad Kuhl (vs. STL, vs. CIN)
Kuhl has opened his big league career by recording six quality starts in nine tries. Although the Pirates righty is unlikely to contribute significantly in the strikeouts department, his ability to limit free passes (2.4 BB/9) will serve him well going forward. For owners in deep mixed leagues scouring the waiver wire for some pitching help, Kuhl just might be the best available option, irrespective of his two-start status for next week. Still, the two-start factor certainly adds to his appeal. As for the matchups, the Reds rank 13th in the NL in OPS on the road, and despite ranking 3rd in the NL in runs scored this season, St. Louis places only 9th in the Senior Circuit in runs scored since the All-Star break.