Buehrle @ Gausman – Gausman was sharp last time but this is a rough matchup
Tomlin @ Lester – check Tomlin’s stats!
Scherzer @ Sale – more games like this please, Baseball Gods
Miley @ Feldman
Whitley @ Elias
Greinke @ Simon Stults @ Kendrick – Kendrick at home vs. anemic Padres, why not!
Big Erv @ Chacin
Treinen @ Hudson
Samardzija @ Volquez
Lohse @ Niese
Hughes @ Stroman – OK I’m warming up to Stroman now
Bauer @ Ventura
R. De La Rosa @ W. Chen
Wacha @ Bedard
Turner @ Darvish
Verlander @ Danks
McCarthy @ Keuchel – McCarthy’s skills are solid but he’s better at home and Astros are raking lately
Milone @ Weaver
Tanaka @ Young
T. Ross @ Hamels – item of note: Hamels has thrown 125 pitches in back-to-back starts
Hammel @ Cumpton
Ryu @ Cueto
Peralta @ deGrom – hard to argue with deGrom’s results so far
Teheran @ Matzek
Roark @ Cain
Workman @ Tillman
Correia @ Happ
Wainwright @ Odorizzi – not trusting Jake yet vs. any decent offense
Koehler @ Lewis
Verlander @ Danks – not trusting Danks vs. elite offenses yet
Kluber @ Vargas
Pomeranz @ Santiago
Nuno @ Iwakuma
Peacock @ Arroyo – Peacock’s control is improving and K rate is rising…
Kennedy @ Burnett
T. Wood @ Liriano – just. Say. NO!
Beckett @ Leake
Estrada @ Matsuzaka
Minor @ Nicasio
Fister @ Bumgarner
I’m kind of liking this three pitch/three ditch format, so here we go.
Francisco Liriano (vs. CHC, @MIA)
Back in March, Liriano was viewed by many as a solid mid-rotation fantasy starter, at the very least. Coming off a dominant bounce back season in 2013, that seemed like a more than reasonable expectation. But he’s been a lot more hittable this season and has battled control issues (4.67 BB/9). The good news is that he’s continuing to strike out more than a batter per inning and sports a 3.45 ERA over his last three starts. The Cubs are a sub-par offensive team and while the Marlins are no pushover, at least that start will come on the road, where Liriano boasts a 2.84 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Owners who drafted Liriano this year are probably so fed up with his erratic performance that I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s currently sitting on the waiver wire in the vast majority of 12-team mixed leagues. He’s risky of course, as he’s always been prone to the disaster outing, but the Pirates lefty could be a risk worth taking for next week.
Ryan Vogelsong (vs. WAS, vs. COL)
Following two straight stellar seasons in 2011 and 2012, Vogelsong was a colossal bust in an injury-plagued 2013 campaign, finishing with a 5.73 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. And he got off to a shaky start this year (7.71 ERA over his first four starts). But something has clicked since, as he’s rattled off six quality starts in eight tries, with the two non-quality outings being of the not so terrible 6+ IP, 4 ER variety. Both of his matchups next week are at home, where he’s 2-1 with a 2.15 ERA through six starts. The Nationals rank 13th in the NL in runs scored on the road and the Rockies lineup is far less dangerous away from Coors Field.
Travis Wood (@PIT, @PHI)
Wood is really nothing special, and his overall stat line this season isn’t pretty. That said, his 5.04 ERA is skewed by a pair of disaster outings. The Pirates and Phillies are both middle of the pack offenses at best and Wood has allowed three earned runs or less in eight of his 12 starts this season. Again, he’s nothing special, and maybe he isn’t quite special enough to use in a 12-team mixed league. But owners in deeper formats should think about it.
Chris Tillman (vs. BOS, vs. TOR)
I really expected better from Tillman. This is a guy who went 25-10 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 48 starts spanning from 2012-2013, so I didn’t see this coming at all. Most of his struggles have come recently though, as he’s allowed at least five earned runs in three of his last four starts. But I’m not giving up on Tillman just yet, and I wouldn’t drop him in mixed leagues of 12 teams or more. Would I start him next week? Absolutely not. I don’t think you can comfortably start any non-elite pitcher against the Blue Jays right now, and while the Red Sox offense has underperformed this year, there’s still a lot of talent in that lineup. Tillman needs to be benched in all mixed leagues.
Jake Peavy (@BAL, vs. CLE)
Although Peavy has turned in a few dominant performances this year, the consistency just hasn’t been there, as he’s allowed at least five earned runs in five of his 12 starts while registering a career-low 1.83 K/BB ratio. As in the case of Tillman, I’m not giving up on Peavy, as the track record suggests that improvement should be expected. Then again, maybe this is a sign that the end is drawing near. Regardless, I’d play it safe and bench him next week in all mixed leagues. These aren’t exactly easy matchups either.
Mike Leake (vs. LAD, @MIL)
The owner of a 3.29 ERA and 1.11 WHIP through 12 starts this year, Leake is certainly proving that last season’s breakout campaign was no fluke. However, he is coming off his worst performance of 2014 (5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER vs. SF), and the fact that he’s not a big strikeout pitcher limits his upside to the point where he needs to consistently excel in the ERA and WHIP departments to maintain mixed league value. And he might. But with a tough pair of matchups on tap for next week, I’d lean towards benching him in favor of a more exciting two-start, or even one-start, alternative. In deeper mixed leagues, it’s entirely possible that you don’t have a more exciting alternative. But in a 12-team mixed, you probably do.
Miller @ Buehrle – Shelby struggling lately and this is a rough matchup.
Feldman @ Gibson – Picking on Astros no longer a good idea.
Tomlin @ Tepesch
Elias @ Cobb – Elias coming off CG SHO and Rays lineup is underperforming.
Gray @ M. Gonzalez
Lester @ Scherzer
Phelps @ Duffy – Duffy a decent gamble in deeper leagues though.
Sale @ Shoemaker
Wolf @ Samardzija
Garza @ Volquez – Garza starting to right the ship.
R. Hernandez @ Simon – Simon fading a bit but still worth using here.
Greinke @ Chacin
Colon @ Hudson
Treinen @ Cashner – Returning Cashner might be on a pitch count though.
Big Erv @ Miley – Miley has a 6.43 ERA at home this year.
J. Garcia @ Hutchison – Keep an eye on Garcia going forward but this isn’t a good spot to pitch him.
Kazmir @ Jimenez – This one could get ugly in a hurry for Ubaldo.
King Felix @ Archer – Archer finding his groove.
Kuroda @ Shields
McHugh @ Deduno – Very favorable matchup for McHugh, who has to be taken seriously at this point.
Masterson @ Saunders – Not giving up on Masterson but this is a scary matchup.
Quintana @ Wilson – Expect Wilson to bounce back from disaster outing.
Lackey @ An. Sanchez
Buchanan @ Bailey – Homer showing signs of life.
Gallardo @ Morton – Could be 2-1 or 10-9. I’ll chance it.
Alvarez @ Arrieta – Alvarez 21 IP, 0 ER over his last three starts.
Wheeler @ Lincecum – Lincecum is DTM.
Zimmermann @ Stults
Kershaw @ J. De La Rosa
Harang @ C. Anderson
TBD (SEA) @ Price – Eventually, Price’s exceptional K rate and K/BB will be reflected in his ERA.
Peavy @ Norris
Nolasco @ Dickey – Dickey has been very inconsistent this season but I do like the matchup.
House @ Martinez
Porcello @ Noesi – Still not sold on Porcello but he’s been solid for the most part.
Nuno @ Vargas – Vargas has a 1.77 ERA over his last three starts and Yankees have had trouble scoring runs on a consistent basis.
Chavez @ Richards
Haren @ Cingrani
Jackson @ Morton
Floyd @ Bergman
Cosart @ Collmenter
Strasburg @ Vogelsong – Vogelsong quietly regaining ’11 and ’12 form.
Milone @ W. Chen – still don’t like Milone on the road
Lynn @ Stroman
R. De La Rosa @ Smyly
Young @ Bedard – neither team can score right now, so why not?
Bauer @ Darvish
Whitley @ Guthrie
Keuchel @ Hughes – who’da thunk it??
Rienzo @ Weaver
Eovaldi @ Hammel
Lohse @ Cumpton
Hamels @ Cueto
Ryu @ Butler – Butler is one to watch
Teheran @ McCarthy – K rates and GB can’t make up for McCarthy’s hittability
Roark @ T. Ross
Niese @ Cain
***ZACH SAYS “I’m ditching Smyly. I know the Red Sox offense has struggled for much of the year but there’s still talent on that roster and Smyly has simply been too inconsistent to trust. I’d absolutely pitch Eovaldi. He hasn’t been quite as sharp lately but the guy still owns a 3.24 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 61-to-14 K/BB. That’s good enough for me. Agree on rest.”
Pomeranz @ Tanaka – not entirely sold yet on Pomeranz but have to roll with him
Happ @ Verlander
Turner @ Odorizzi – Rays are utterly lifeless right now… go for it on Turner
Skaggs @ Peacock – risk/reward on both but I’ll chase the K’s
M. Gonzalez @ Lewis
Wacha @ Ventura
Peralta @ Correia
Bumgarner @ Leake
Kendrick @ Fister
deGrom @ T. Wood – not sold yet on deGrom either, but that K rate…
Arroyo @ Nicasio
It’s Pitch or Ditch category chart time! Click on the link below to view our latest version, which happens to be our first update of the 2014 season.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the chart, this is something we started doing a few years ago (special shout out to longtime 411 fan Big Barry for the framework of the idea) to help guide you not only in your Pitch or Ditch decisions but also in knowing whether or not dropping a certain pitcher would be a mistake.
We’ve divided all of the current starting rotation pitchers into five groups: Aces, Grads, PoD, DTM and Indifferent.
Aces: Fairly straightforward. Elite starting pitchers with the track record to prove it.
Grads: Not ace-caliber but also not worth dropping under any circumstances. Grads should always be started, regardless of the matchup.
PoD: These pitchers do not quite deserve a permanent roster spot but should be picked up and started in favorable matchups. If their next matchup is not so favorable, feel free to drop them. Some PoD guys could earn Grad status if they string together several consecutive strong outings.
DTM: An old 411 acronym for “dead to me”, DTM pitchers are guys that we might have once liked but have repeatedly let us down to the point where we’ve had enough of them. It takes a lot to become DTM, but once you become DTM, it’s very tough to escape that category!
Indifferent: Pitchers who are just not that good and should not be rostered.
***Note that this chart is geared towards standard 12-team mixed leagues.
Here are the changes we’ve made since our last version from late-April.
Buehrle PoD to grad
Beckett PoD to grad
Kennedy PoD to grad
T. Ross PoD to grad
Kluber PoD to grad
Hammel PoD to grad
Peralta PoD to grad
Keuchel indifferent to PoD
McHugh indifferent to PoD
Rienzo indifferent to PoD
Young indifferent to PoD
Peacock indifferent to PoD
Nicasio indifferent to PoD
Vogelsong indifferent to PoD
Zimmermann ace to grad
Liriano grad to PoD
Wheeler grad to PoD
Archer grad to PoD
As always, your questions and comments are welcome!
Chavez @ Nuno
Workman @ Kluber
Dickey @ Porcello – Dickey has been too erratic to use vs. top offenses
Koehler @ Price
Norris @ Martinez
Wainwright @ Vargas
Estrada @ Nolasco
Richards @ Cosart
Iwakuma @ Minor
Liriano @ Kennedy – if you wanna risk Liriano vs. a weak offense that’s up to you
Burnett @ Strasburg – A.J. was terrible in May but so were Nationals… your call
Vogelsong @ Cingrani – Cingrani hasn’t been great, but not terrible either
Matsuzaka @ Jackson – coin flip on E-Jax vs. weak-hitting Mets
Collmenter @ Lyles
Danks @ Beckett
Peavy @ House – Peavy much better last time but very risky
Kazmir @ Kuroda
Hutchison @ An. Sanchez
Jimenez @ Saunders – does anyone have any clue with Ubaldo will do in any given start?
Wilson @ McHugh
Buchanan @ Zimmermann
E. Ramirez @ Floyd – Floyd a very pleasant surprise so far
Lincecum @ Bailey – Lincecum was somewhat better in May, and still hangin’ with Homer…
Archer @ Alvarez
Shields @ J. Garcia – Garcia very sharp since return
Wheeler @ Arrieta
Deduno @ Gallardo
C. Anderson @ De La Rosa
Noesi @ Haren
Cole @ Hahn