Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/19
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The penultimate two-start pitcher article is here! With only two and a half weeks remaining in the season, chances are you can accurately determine from looking at your league standings whether or not taking a chance on some of the riskier two-start pitchers as opposed to a safer one-starter is worth it. So, here’s the latest handful of intriguing choices, as always broken down by league size.
Standard mixed leagues
Carlos Rodon (@KC, @CLE)
Rodon struggled against the Indians on Wednesday (5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER), and he faces Cleveland again next week, so he might seem like a risky two-start option. But prior to his last outing, the White Sox southpaw had registered seven straight quality starts, so consistency has not been a problem for quite some time. Rodon, who sports a 5-2 record, 3.27 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 8.5 K/9 rate in nine starts since the All-Star break, deserves a pass for Wednesday’s performance, and owners in all leagues should feel comfortable starting him. The 23-year-old pitched well in his two previous starts versus Cleveland this season (2.92 ERA) and in four starts against the Royals, Rodon boasts a stellar 2.28 ERA.
A.J. Cole (@MIA, @PIT)
Cole has yet to record back-to-back quality starts since his big league call-up last month, and he needs to do a better job of keeping the ball in the park (six home runs allowed through five starts). But there is still a lot to like about the 24-year-old righty, most notably his strong strikeout rate (9.7 K/9). Cole is an ideal two-start choice for owners in need of some extra whiffs, and he certainly has the potential to help in other categories as well, as the Marlins and Pirates rank among the bottom seven teams in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS since the All-Star break.
Joe Musgrove (@OAK, vs. LAA)
Since his shaky performance on the road against the Rangers on September 3rd (4 1/3 IP, 8 H, 5 ER), Musgrove has delivered two straight quality starts despite facing a pair of teams (Cubs and Rangers) that rank among the top-5 in the Majors in runs scored this season. The young righty will have the benefit of two favorable matchups next week, as the A’s and Angels rank among the bottom three teams in the AL in both runs scored and OPS since the All-Star break. Musgrove’s high-end strikeout ability (47 K’s in 49 2/3 IP this season) only adds to his two-start appeal.
Deeper mixed leagues
Robert Gsellman (vs. ATL, vs. PHI)
Although Gsellman was not viewed as a top prospect upon his big league debut last month, he has acquitted himself rather well to the Majors. The 23-year-old carries an impressive 3.08 ERA through five appearances (four starts), and next week’s matchups are promising. The Braves offense, despite showing significant improvement in the second half (5th in the NL in runs scored), still ranks 14th in the Senior Circuit in runs and 13th in OPS for the season. As for the Phillies, they rank last in the Majors in both runs scored and OPS. Gsellman’s lack of a major league track record and pedestrian minor league strikeout rate (6.5 K/9) mostly limits his fantasy value to deeper leagues. But for next week in particular, he could even be a useful addition in some standard formats.
Yordano Ventura (vs. CHW, @DET)
Over his last two starts, Ventura has allowed a combined nine runs across 11 1/3 innings, so he is likely too risky to trust in standard 12-team mixed leagues. But owners in deeper formats who decide to take a chance on him for next week could be rewarded. Even after his latest two outings, the Royals righty still holds a 3.47 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break. Plus, the White Sox and Tigers rank 11th and 13th, respectively, in the AL in runs scored in the second half. And there’s more! In five starts versus Detroit this season, Ventura is 3-0 with a 1.76 ERA.