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Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 11

MLB: New York Mets at Oakland Athletics


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

Updated PoD Category Chart (9/9)

Collin McHugh has allowed 2 ER or less in each of his last seven starts

Collin McHugh has allowed 2 ER or less in each of his last seven starts

Zach here,

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!

POD Chart 9-9

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

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, September 10

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers


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.”

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 9

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics


May @ Bauer – Bauer has been very volatile; pitch if your categories warrant aggressiveness
Archer @ Kuroda
@ Buehrle
Vargas @ Scherzer - solid year for Vargas, but a very unfavorable matchup
@ 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.”

Zach’s Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/8

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Tampa Bay Rays


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.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, September 6-8

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Colorado Rockies



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

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 5

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Washington Nationals


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


Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 4

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at St. Louis Cardinals


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

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, September 3

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Arizona Diamondbacks


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.”

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 2

MLB: San Diego Padres at Minnesota Twins


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.


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