Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/26
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And so we’ve reached the end. Here’s the final installment of my two-start pitcher notes for the 2016 season, and good luck over these final 10 days.
Standard mixed leagues
Bartolo Colon (@MIA, @PHI)
Pitching in his age-43 season, Colon has quietly been one of the most reliable hurlers in the game this year (14-7, 3.12 ERA, 1.19 WHIP), yet he can still be found on the waiver wire in some shallower mixed leagues. Coming off five straight quality starts, the veteran righty should be started with confidence in all leagues next week, when he closes out the season with a pair of favorable matchups. The Marlins and Phillies rank 27th and 30th, respectively, in the Majors in runs scored and in six combined starts versus these two clubs this season, Colon boasts a 2.45 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.
Jerad Eickhoff (@ATL, vs. NYM)
Eickhoff’s mediocre August (4.85 ERA) prompted some mixed league owners to drop him, figuring that the 26-year-old, who is pitching in his first full big league season, had run out of gas. Not so fast! Through four September outings, Eickhoff is 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. The Phillies righty should once again be owned in all leagues, and he’s a strong two-start option for next week. Although the Braves offense has improved significantly in the second half, Eickhoff’s dominance over Atlanta this season (1.88 ERA, 1.00 WHIP in four starts) cannot be discounted. As for the Mets, New York ranks 20th in the Majors in runs scored this month and Eickhoff has fared well versus the Amazins this season, registering a 3.00 ERA and 1.17 WHIP across three starts.
Collin McHugh (vs. SEA, @LAA)
The owner of a 1.53 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 8.7 K/9 rate over his last three starts, McHugh is doing his best to turn around what has been a disappointing 2016 campaign. The Astros righty could end his season on a high note, as he sports a 1.84 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in seven combined starts versus the Mariners and Angels this year. Plus, despite his overall inconsistency this season, McHugh has been a consistent source of strikeouts (8.8 K/9), which adds to his two-start appeal.
Deeper mixed leagues
Archie Bradley (@WAS, vs. SD)
Having allowed three runs or fewer in five of his last six starts, Bradley heads into a two-start week with one challenging matchup followed by a promising matchup. The Nationals rank in the top third of the NL in both runs scored and OPS, and Washington roughed up Bradley to the tune of seven earned runs over 3 1/3 innings back on August 1. On the other hand, the Padres rank last in the Majors in OPS since the All-Star break and Bradley is fresh off a solid performance versus San Diego on Tuesday (5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 7 K). There is some risk involved in pitching Bradley next week, but his impressive recent results combined with his stellar strikeout rate (8.7 K/9 this season) makes him worth the risk for those in deeper formats.
Clay Buchholz (@NYY, vs. TOR)
Speaking of risk, starting Buchholz next week is very risky, as his second matchup will come against a high-powered Blue Jays offense that earlier this month tagged Clay for six runs over three innings. But in two games (one start) against the Yankees this season, Buchholz has tossed 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball, and the veteran righty has allowed two runs or fewer in three of his last four starts. Buchholz should also continue to benefit from plenty of run support, as the Red Sox are the highest-scoring team in the Majors. He could prove to be a difference maker for owners in need of wins.