Gibson @ Kluber (Gm 1)
Nolasco @ House (Gm 2)
Kazmir @ Sale – Kazmir 5.96 ERA since the break, and bad matchup… play it safe
Cobb @ Pineda
Rasmus @ Martinez
Buchholz @ Hendriks
Lynn @ Cueto
Delgado @ Peavy
Liriano @ Burnett
Roark @ Colon – tempting on Colon, but the Nationals are locked in now
Eovaldi @ Fiers
There was no way we were going to let the 2014 season come to an end without posting one final update to our Pitch or Ditch category chart!
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-July.
Kluber grad to ace
McCarthy PoD to grad
Porcello PoD to grad
Duffy PoD to grad
Hughes PoD to grad
Shoemaker PoD to grad
Keuchel PoD to grad
McHugh PoD to grad
Wheeler PoD to grad
deGrom PoD to grad
Roark PoD to grad
Liriano PoD to grad
Nuno indifferent to PoD
Buehrle grad to PoD
Burnett grad to PoD
Nolasco PoD to DTM
W. Chen @ Workman
Shields @ Porcello
Gibson @ House
Odorizzi @ Capuano
Hendricks @ Hutchison – tough matchup for Hendricks but the results don’t lie
Shoemaker @ Tepesch
Samardzija @ Bassitt
Tropeano @ Iwakuma
Harang @ Strasburg
Worley @ Williams – Worley may be fading, but play the matchup
Lackey @ Simon – Simon 1-7, 5.27 ERA since All-Star
Matzek @ Montero – have to roll Matzek again after the shutout last time
Cosart @ Peralta – not trusting Cosart though, much tougher matchup
Collmenter @ Vogelsong
Kennedy @ Haren – risk/reward on both, play it based on your categories
***ZACH SAYS “Kennedy is a toss-up but I’d definitely pitch Haren. He’s 4-2 with a 3.18 ERA since the beginning of August and the Padres are the worst offense in baseball. Agree on rest.”
May @ Bauer – Bauer has been very volatile; pitch if your categories warrant aggressiveness
Archer @ Kuroda
Arrieta @ Buehrle
Vargas @ Scherzer - solid year for Vargas, but a very unfavorable matchup
Tillman @ Ranaudo
Santiago @ Lewis – has anyone looked at the Rangers’ lineup lately?
Lester @ Danks
McHugh @ Elias
Big Erv @ Zimmermann
Volquez @ Buchanan – I’ll let you know when I’m ready to trust Volquez again
Wacha @ Leake
Bergman @ deGrom
Koehler @ Garza – very tempting on Koehler, though…
Cashner @ R. Hernandez
Miley @ Petit – blue-plate special for risk-reward hunters
***ZACH SAYS “I’d absolutely go for it with Miley, who is 5-3 with a 2.55 ERA on the road this year. Agree on rest.”
Shelby Miller (@CIN, vs. COL)
Fresh off an exceptional rookie campaign, Miller hasn’t been anything close to the same pitcher this season. He’s rarely terrible, but 11 quality starts in 27 tries simply doesn’t cut it. That said, three of those quality starts have come in his last three tries. The Reds have scored the fewest runs of any team in the Majors since the All-Star break while the Rockies rank next to last in the Majors in both runs scored and batting average on the road, ahead of only the Padres. Miller is certainly worth a pickup if he’s available in your 12-team mixed league, which is a distinct possibility.
Miguel Gonzalez (@BOS, vs. NYY)
At first glance, Gonzalez’s matchups might not seem great. That is until you realize that the Yankees and Red Sox rank 12th and 15th respectively in the AL in runs scored. Oh, and Gonzalez sports a 2.11 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in seven starts since the All-Star break and has a pretty good offense supporting him. He’s a strong play in any mixed league of 12 teams or more.
Marcus Stroman (vs. CHC, vs. TB)
Although the consistency hasn’t quite been there, Stroman has managed to piece together a number of dominant performances in his rookie season. The stat that impresses me the most is his exceptional 89-to-26 K/BB ratio. Both of Stroman’s starts next week will be at home, where he’s 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA. The Cubs and Rays each rank in the bottom third in the Majors in runs scored.
Jason Vargas (@DET, vs. BOS)
Very quietly, Vargas is putting together quite a season. The strikeout rate will never be great and he has allowed more hits than innings pitched. But his 1.8 BB/9 more than makes up for the mediocre hit rate, and Vargas does a fine job keeping the ball in the park (15 HR allowed in 169 IP). The @DET matchup is a challenging one, as the Tigers have now surpassed Oakland as the highest scoring team in the Majors, so Vargas is probably more of a deep mixed league option. But keep in mind that he boasts a 2.12 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 12 road starts this season. As for the Red Sox, I’ve already alluded to their offensive futility.
Justin Verlander (vs. KC, vs. CLE)
Like I mentioned in the Pitch or Ditch post, Verlander continues to be an enigma. Every time you think he has turned the corner, he takes a step backward, the latest example being Wednesday’s 6 ER outing against the Indians. So now he gets to face the very same Indians squad followed by a Royals team that has given him problems this year (1-2, 5.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP). If you’re chasing wins and strikeouts, feel free to trot him out there. But personally, I just can’t deal with this guy anymore.
Hector Santiago (@TEX, vs. HOU)
I’m still a big believer in Santiago, and he’s proven to be a very useful spot-start option in deeper mixed leagues this year. But his most recent start, on the road against the Twins, was mediocre at best. The Rangers have had a hard time scoring runs this season, but this start will be on the road, where Santiago’s ERA is more than a full run higher than it is at home, and in a hitter’s park. What about the Astros? To tell you the truth, their offense is flat out scary these days. Since the All-Star break, Houston ranks 4th in the AL in runs and 2nd in homers. This is a close call, but in a 12-team mixed league, I’d lean towards ditching.
Gausman @ Smyly – I’ll give Gausman a shot versus bottom tier Rays lineup.
Bumgarner @ Price
Duffy @ McCarthy
Feldman @ Kazmir – Kazmir coming off two straight blowups but both were against high-powered Angels offense.
Quintana @ Kluber
Happ @ R. De La Rosa – Still a fan of Rubby but this matchup scares me.
Rasmus @ Hughes – Rasmus not a bad PoD play in AL-only leagues though.
Young @ Martinez – Young really struggling right now. I’ll play it safe.
Liriano @ Doubront – Doubront worth a look in NL-only leagues.
Gee @ Cueto
Burnett @ Roark – Burnett can’t be trusted when facing the better lineups
Al. Wood @ Eovaldi
Lynn @ Lohse
T. Ross @ J. De La Rosa – DLR at home (9-2, 3.19 ERA) against worst offense in the Majors.
C. Anderson @ Greinke
Ventura @ Greene – Tough to have any confidence in Greene coming off disaster outing vs. BOS.
Noesi @ Carrasco – Carrasco just 3 ER over his last five starts (30 IP) with 34 K’s.
Dickey @ Kelly
Norris @ Hellickson – Norris a toss-up. Let your league’s standings make the decision for you. Not a good matchup for the struggling Hellickson.
Wilson @ TBD (MIN) – Wilson far from an automatic pitch though.
Paxton @ Holland – Holland has already returned to vintage form.
Keuchel @ Hammel – Hammel’s last two starts: 1.20 ERA, 0.53 WHIP.
Hudson @ Lobstein
Wheeler @ Latos
Teheran @ TBD (MIA) – Alvarez unlikely to make this start for Marlins.
Hamels @ G. Gonzalez
Wainwright @ Nelson
Cole @ T. Wood
Cahill @ Ryu
Despaigne @ Morales – Despaigne pitching well but I’ll sit this one out at Coors.
Weaver @ Salazar – Salazar is red-hot.
Guthrie @ Verlander – Your guess is as good as mine with Verlander.
Turner @ Stroman – Stroman – Stroman a bit risky though.
M. Gonzalez @ Kelly – Tough to sit Gonzalez right now.
Gray @ Noesi
Peacock @ King Felix
Minor @ Fister
Locke @ Kendrick – Kendrick a decent deep league play.
Miller @ Axelrod – Shelby looking to build on three straight quality starts.
Lyles @ Niese
Penny @ Gallardo
Despaigne @ Kershaw
Sale @ House – House for Sale! haha
Shields @ Pineda
Peavy @ Porcello – Peavy seems to be enjoying his new digs
Hutchison @ Buchholz – Not trusting Buchholz against a big offense, shutout or not
W. Chen @ Cobb
Iwakuma @ Baker
Shoemaker @ Nolasco – Shoemaker continues to defy expectations
Oberholtzer @ Samardzija
Worley @ Wada
Williams @ Strasburg
Colon @ Simon
Harang @ Cosart
Lackey @ Fiers
Stults @ Matzek
Nuno @ Haren – Nuno on a nice run in the desert, let’s give it a spin
Leake @ Tillman – Leake is pitching well lately but I don’t trust him in Baltimore
Scherzer @ Bauer – Bauer has two straight scoreless outings but I’m not risking it vs. Detroit
Workman @ Capuano
Buehrle @ Odorizzi – Odorizzi has been inconsistent lately and the Jays can rake
Elias @ R. Ross
Santiago @ Gibson
Wacha @ Peralta – not giving up on Peralta, but ditching here
Delgado @ Kennedy
King Felix @ Lester
Ranaudo @ Kuroda
Axelrod @ M. Gonzalez
Verlander @ Salazar – not the quality of matchup we anticipated back in April, but still…
Stroman @ Archer
Tepesch @ Vargas – Vargas has been solid and the Rangers look like a Triple-A team
Danks @ May
Weaver @ McHugh
Buchanan @ Big Erv
Volquez @ Miller – Volquez has surprised this year but I’m not trusting him
Zimmermann @ Frias
Vogelsong @ Bergman
deGrom @ Koehler – Koehler has a 2.69 ERA at home!
Garza @ Hendricks – ride the Hendricks wave vs. the righty-heavy Brewers
Collmenter @ Cashner – tempting to pitch Collmenter but I’ll stick with home starts only
***ZACH SAYS “I’d pitch Gonzalez, who has seven quality starts in his last eight outings. Ditch on Vogelsong at Coors. Agree on rest.”
Latos @ Norris – Norris not great lately but I’ll give him a try here.
Lobstein @ Carrasco – Tough to bench Carrasco right now.
Kelly @ Greene – Kelly worth a look in very deep mixed/AL-only.
Dickey @ Hellickson – Both a little risky though.
Holland @ Guthrie – Holland a great waiver wire addition if he’s out there, but let’s see how he does here before starting him.
Noesi @ Milone
Wilson @ Peacock
Paxton @ Gray
Kendrick @ Minor
Niese @ Penny
Gallardo @ Arrieta
Locke @ Wainwright – Feel free to pitch Locke if you wish. I just don’t trust him.
Petit @ Lyles – Not a good spot for Petit.
Fister @ Kershaw
Miley @ Despaigne – Miley just about an automatic pitch when on the road. Ditto for Despaigne when at home.