This week’s two-start pitcher choices were unappealing to say the least and for the most part, it’s more of the same for next week. Here are my notes, and as always be sure to listen to today’s podcast as we’ll have our usual two-start pitcher segment with Cory, Mike and special guest Nando Di Fino of CBS Sports!
Julio Teheran (vs. MIN, @NYM)
After getting off to a shaky start to the season, Teheran has settled down nicely, allowing three runs or less in each of his last four starts while posting a superb 14-to-1 K/BB ratio. He gets a pair of appealing matchups next week, as the Twins are a mid-pack offense while the Mets’ lineup has struggled mightily of late. Pitch.
Scott Kazmir (vs. SEA, @BOS)
There’s no denying that Kazmir has pitched fairly well over his last four starts, but I still don’t trust him to the point where I’d roll him out there in a two-start week where one of the matchups (@BOS) is very scary. This is a situation where one blowup could ruin the entire week. I need to see more. Ditch.
Carlos Villanueva (@PIT, @CIN)
The month of May has not been kind to Villanueva, who has gone 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA and 1.79 WHIP in three starts. And he will likely be the odd man out once Matt Garza returns from the DL, which will probably happen sometime next week. While there’s no way I’d start him in a mixed league, you can do a lot worse in an NL-only. Villanueva still offers some strikeout upside, the @PIT matchup is a decent one, and he actually pitched very well at Great American Ball Park back in April. But like I said, in a mixed league I’m passing.
Bartolo Colon (@TEX, @HOU)
Colon’s the type of pitcher who can dominate or get roughed up by any lineup. His strikeouts are down this year but you’ve got to like the two walks over 47 1/3 innings! On the other hand, you can’t like the seven homers through eight starts. In a 12-team mixed league, I’d take the conservative route and ditch since the @TEX matchup certainly comes with disaster potential. But in a deeper mixed league and of course an AL-only, I think I’d give it a shot and hope he gets through the first outing in decent shape before tossing a gem @HOU. Then again, would you be at all surprised if the reverse happens?
Wade Davis (@HOU, vs. LAA)
Although Davis has managed to piece together a few quality performances this year, he’s also gotten lit up on a bunch of occasions. I’m not a big fan of these feast or famine types, especially when their strikeout rate is nothing special and their WHIP is 1.89. Even in a deeper mixed league and despite the semi-attractive matchups, I’d let Davis be someone else’s problem. Ditch.
Shaun Marcum (vs. CIN, vs. ATL)
I had high hopes for Marcum heading into the season, as one of the more consistent yet underrated hurlers in the Majors over the past few years would get a chance to pitch his home games at Citi Field. But neck and shoulder injuries kept him sidelined for almost the entire month of April and he’s kicked off his Mets’ career in mediocre fashion. And that’s being kind. The good news is that his latest outing (6 2/3 IP, 2 ER) on the road against the Cardinals was his best one to date, so maybe Marcum is finally putting it together. That said, both of these matchups are very tough, even at home. In an NL-only league, you probably don’t have many better options, so you’ll have to start Marcum out of necessity. But in a mixed league, I’m staying away. Keep an eye on Marcum though. He could be mixed league relevant rather soon.
Saunders @ McAllister
Morrow @ Phelps – playing it safe on Morrow ‘til he proves he’s healthy
R. Hernandez @ Jurrjens
Santiago @ Blanton
Dempster @ Diamond
An. Sanchez @ Grimm – tough matchup for Grimm, play it safe
Big Erv @ Milone – love Milone at home
Hefner @ Feldman
Arroyo @ Kendrick – Kendrick has to be trusted until he proves otherwise
Bedard @ Burnett
Capuano @ Medlen
McCarthy @ Koehler – McCarthy appears to be “back”
Estrada @ Lynn – Estrada was superb last time, but this ain’t the Pirates
Lincecum @ Nicasio
Zimmermann @ Stults
King Felix @ Masterson
Dickey @ Sabathia
Moore @ Tillman
Lackey @ P. Hernandez – Lackey has been solid, back on the radar
Peavy @ Vargas – Vargas worth a look in deeper leagues, though
Mendoza @ Griffin
Fister @ Holland
Miley @ Nolasco
Magill @ Minor
Bailey @ Pettibone
Norris @ Locke – Locke worth a shot at home vs. Astros
Lohse @ Gast
Gee @ Wood – Gee a pure home/away matchup play
Haren @ Cashner
Zito @ Chatwood
Iwakuma @ Kazmir – gotta go with Kazmir at home vs. Mariners
TBD (TB) @ Ortiz
Hughes @ F. Garcia – tough matchup for Hughes, but I’ll take the shot on the road
Colon @ Lindblom
Lester @ Axelrod
Guthrie @ Harrell
Correia @ Teheran
Cueto @ Marcum – whose spot is Cueto taking, Cingrani or Leake??
Hamels @ Sanabia – mismatch of the day, so Marlins will probably win 7-2
Kershaw @ Gallardo
Corbin @ Garland
S. Miller @ Marquis
Detwiler @ Vogelsong – Detwiler not 100%, Vogelsong simply terrible
***ZACH SAYS “For Sunday, I’d take a chance on Tillman. He’s now strung together five straight quality starts and the Rays’ offense currently ranks next to last in the AL in runs scored on the road. For Monday, there’s no way I’m starting Hughes coming off his dreadful performance vs. the Mariners. In fact, I wouldn’t be opposed to flat out dropping him in any mixed league. He’s been way too erratic this year.”
Hellickson @ Hammel – both have pitched better than the ERA would show
Maurer @ Jimenez – Ubaldo’s velocity is up, mechanics are tighter and it’s the Mariners
Buehrle @ Kuroda
Porcello @ Tepesch
Buchholz @ Worley
Sale @ Wilson – Wilson isn’t very good, but frankly neither are the White Sox
Shields @ Parker – Parker slowly rounding into form
Harvey @ Jackson
Cingrani @ Lee – important outing for Cingrani with Cueto back on Monday
Lyles @ Gomez
Cahill @ Slowey – back on Slowey train at home despite blowup in L.A.
Ryu @ Maholm
W. Peralta @ J. Garcia
Bumgarner @ De La Rosa – not sold on DLR yet, not at home
G. Gonzalez @ Smith
Alright, the time has finally arrived for an updated Pitch or Ditch category chart! Click on the link below to download the PDF
A quick reminder as to how the chart works:
We’ve divided all of the current starting rotation pitchers in the Majors into five groups: Aces, Grads (pitchers who should not be dropped and can be started almost all the time), Pitch or Ditch (guys who you should be picking up to start in favorable matchups but do not deserve a regular roster spot), DTMs (guys who we are fed up with and would not start under any circumstances for the time being) and Indifferents (guys who we don’t feel any ill-will towards but who just aren’t that good). Keep in mind that we’re basing this on a standard 12-team mixed league.
Here are the changes we’ve made to the chart since the mid-April version:
Harvey grad to ace
Bailey PoD to grad
Jimenez DTM to PoD
Kazmir indifferent to PoD
Grimm indifferent to PoD
Feldman indifferent to PoD
Slowey indifferent to PoD
Vogelsong grad to PoD
Jackson grad to PoD
Niese grad to PoD
Beckett grad to PoD
Worley PoD to indifferent
Sanabia PoD to indifferent
By the way, Ryan Vogelsong has completely ruined the ERA/WHIP of two of my teams (fortunately, I had the sense to bench him Wednesday night). Personally, he’s DTM, but to be nice, we’ve listed him as PoD. He’s on a short leash though.
Feel free to post your questions and/or comments.
Marquis @ F. Garcia
Axelrod @ Pelfrey
Gallardo @ Wandy – going on the working assumption that Gallardo actually pitches better at some point
Lester @ Price
Marcum @ S. Miller
Kluber @ Hamels
Ogando @ Straily – Straily hasn’t earned the trust to face tough offenses
Iwakuma @ Hughes
Leake @ Sanabia – Leake on the road, vs. the Marlins? Have to go for it
W. Davis @ Enright – the Angels are struggling so bad right now, take a shot on Davis
Keuchel @ Scherzer – over/under on Scherzer K’s? 14?
T. Hudson @ Kennedy
Vogelsong @ R. Ortiz – Morrow pushed back to Saturday
Garland @ Samardzija
Detwiler @ Greinke – Detwiler regressing a little but Dodgers are soooo bad
Kazmir @ Pettibone – time to start taking Kazmir seriously…
King Felix @ Sabathia
Lackey @ Moore – Lackey looking very good so far…
Peavy @ Correia
Guthrie @ Vargas – Vargas worth a look in deeper leagues, for the home start
Lohse @ Locke – tough matchup for Locke and K/BB says play it safe
Zito @ Dickey – don’t trust Zito on the road but like Dickey vs. Giants
Bailey @ Nolasco
Gee @ Gast
Holland @ Colon – Colon still worth a look at home though.
Cashner @ Tillman - could be a lot of K’s here
Harrell @ Fister
Francis @ Villanueva – Villanueva fading as Garza nears return
Teheran @ Corbin
Haren @ Kershaw
Buehrle @ Buchholz
Smith @ Hellickson
Jimenez @ Verlander – keep an eye on Ubaldo… velocity is back up and pitching well lately
J. Williams @ Quintana
Pettitte @ Shields
S. Johnson @ Worley
Darvish @ Bedard
Parker @ Maurer – last chance for Parker to save his rotation spot?
Liriano @ Niese
J. Chacin @ Wainwright
Jackson @ Strasburg
Maholm @ Bumgarner
Burgos @ Latos – Burgos will start in place of Estrada, who is pushed to Monday
Lee @ Cahill
Slowey @ Ryu – ride the Slowey train!
McAllister @ Porcello – tough matchup for McAllister but I’m a fan
Morrow @ Dempster – bench but don’t cut Morrow, especially coming off stiff neck
Stults @ R. Hernandez
Kuroda @ Big Erv – have to roll Big Erv, right?
W. Chen @ Diamond
Tepesch @ Lyles – favorable matchup for Tepesch
Milone @ Saunders – check the home/away splits on both of these guys… seriously
Wilson @ Sale
W. Peralta @ Arroyo – bench but don’t cut talented but inconsistent Peralta
Gomez @ Harvey
Feldman @ G. Gonzalez – Feldman is rolling, have to go with it
De La Rosa @ J. Garcia
Medlen @ Lincecum
LeBlanc @ Capuano
Kendrick @ McCarthy – tough matchup for McCarthy but he’s this close to getting it together
Phelps @ Masterson (Gm 1 of doubleheader) – still don’t trust Masterson vs. any team with good lefties
Nuno @ Bauer (Gm 2 of doubleheader)
Norris @ An. Sanchez – Anibal might strike out 20 vs. whiff-tastic Astros
Santiago @ P. Hernandez
Mendoza @ Blanton
Grimm @ Griffin
Hefner @ Lynn
Estrada @ Burnett – Estrada pushed back from Friday; hang with ‘em
Nicasio @ Wood
Minor @ Miley
Zimmermann @ Beckett – what reason is there to start Beckett, really?
***ZACH SAYS “Cory’s loyalty to McCarthy is truly admirable but I need to see more before I can trust him. He’s coming off just his first quality start of the season and the Phillies’ lineup isn’t exactly one to pick on.”
Here’s this week’s installment of my two-start pitcher notes. Not a whole lot of appealing options for next week so don’t bench a clearly superior pitcher who will be making only one start in favor of one of these guys. There will be plenty of time to chase strikeouts and wins later. But as for this group, Hector Santiago is the one pitcher who I would make sure to grab.
And of course, be sure to listen to today’s podcast as we’ll have the usual two-start pitcher segment.
Barry Zito (@TOR, @COL)
Zito has been a pleasant surprise this season, both for the Giants and for his fantasy owners. Yeah, he’s had a couple of blowup starts, but in five of his seven outings, he’s allowed either one or zero runs and has pitched at least seven innings in four of those games. Still, I just have a bad feeling about next week. One would think that a stat correction is inevitable, and in five career starts at Rogers Centre, Zito is 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. His career numbers at Coors Field are actually very good (3-1, 3.25 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) but pitching any low-strikeout guy in Colorado is playing with fire. On last Friday’s podcast, Ron Shandler explained that he takes a conservative approach with two-start pitchers as one poor performance can ruin the entire week, and I think that the chances of Zito struggling in at least one of these starts are pretty high. Ditch.
Josh Beckett (vs. WAS, @ATL)
Like Zito, Beckett faces two tough matchups, and despite some strong performances, he’s been far from consistent thus far, allowing the opposition to bat .294 against him while allowing eight homers in seven starts. In a deep mixed league, maybe it will pay off to throw him out there for the strikeout upside. But in a 12-teamer, I’m passing.
Jake Westbrook (vs. NYM, vs. MIL)
Westbrook is the type of pitcher who can throw a gem in one start and then get pounded in the next. If his sinker isn’t working right, it can get very ugly very fast. Despite the sparkling 1.62 ERA, I’m not liking the 1.46 WHIP, and Jake has always been a pitch to contact guy, so he doesn’t really have the ability to work himself out of jams via the strikeout. And of course, one of the main reasons to pick up two-start pitchers is to gain ground in strikeouts. To me, the downside here outweighs the upside. Ditch.
Justin Grimm (@OAK, vs. DET)
The stat correction finally came for Grimm in his latest start and while the strikeouts are nice, the vs. DET matchup isn’t so nice. Oh yeah, and the A’s actually rank 3rd in the AL in runs scored at home. The bottom line is that Grimm is too unproven to trust in a two-start week unless both matchups are favorable. If you’re chasing strikeouts and aren’t concerned about ERA and WHIP, maybe he’s worth a try, but I’m holding off in a 12-team mixed until I see a little more. Keep an eye on Grimm going forward though.
Bud Norris (@DET, @PIT)
Norris’ strikeout ability and solid 3.40 ERA surely makes him a must-start for next week, right? Not really. The key here is that Bud will be on the road for both of these starts, and the road has not been too kind to him. Last season, Norris pitched to a 6.94 ERA away from Minute Maid Park. This season, his road ERA is 5.93 through three starts. Plus, there it is, that dreaded @DET matchup. Sorry for being such a downer, but I’m ditching on Norris as well.
Jeff Locke (vs. MIL, vs. HOU)
That’s now four straight starts with 3 ER or less for Locke, whose spot in the Pirates’ rotation appears secure for the foreseeable future. This is a little risky, but I’ll say pitch, albeit with some trepidation. Despite their surprisingly decent start to the season, the Astros’ lineup is still worth picking on and the Brewers’ offense has struggled to score on the road. Let’s just hope that Locke can ride this hot streak for a little while longer!
Hector Santiago (@MIN, @LAA)
Here’s a guy who I’m pitching with confidence next week. This year, Santiago has maintained his high strikeout rate while displaying much improved control. Thanks to Gavin Floyd’s injury, he now gets the opportunity to prove that his stellar pitching out of the bullpen can translate to the starting rotation. And I think he’s up for the task. Fresh off a dominant performance vs. the Mets and a decent outing on the road against the Rangers, Santiago gets two matchups that aren’t too scary. Both the Twins and Angels rank in the bottom half in the AL in runs scored at home and the Angels’ lineup has had a tough time vs. left-handed pitching. I like Santiago a lot for next week.
Chris Tillman (vs. SD, vs. TB)
Although we’re still seeing some inconsistency from Tillman and you would like the strikeout rate to be a little higher, the young righty has now posted four straight quality starts. These matchups aren’t great and Tillman has pitched a lot better on the road than at home this season, but I’ve been very impressed by him of late and there’s a point where recent performance trumps split stats. With Tillman, I think we’re at that point. I’ll roll the dice and pitch.
Kluber @ Scherzer
R. Ortiz @ Lester – Morrow scratched from this start
Volquez @ Cobb
Hanson @ Axelrod – White Sox are 28th in MLB in OPS vs. righties, go for it
Hughes @ W. Davis
Hammel @ Pelfrey
Ogando @ Keuchel
Straily @ Iwakuma – not trusting Straily right now, gaudy minor league numbers or not
Samardzija @ Detwiler – Detwiler cooling, but home start vs. weak Cubs beckons
Gallardo @ Cingrani
Wandy @ Marcum – not much conviction on either recommendation though
Garland @ S. Miller
Cloyd @ Kennedy
J. Fernandez @ Magill – Dodgers are 28th in MLB in OPS vs. righties!
T. Hudson @ Cain