Just a few pitching notes from last night’s games to keep you entertained until tomorrow’s big All-Surprise/All-Disappointment team podcast…
-After limiting the Mariners to one run on five hits over six innings last night, Rick Porcello is now 7-2 with a solid 3.93 ERA in 11 starts since the All-Star break. Keep in mind that he’s still just 24 years of age, pitches in a favorable ballpark for a very good team and is a former top prospect. There’s certainly room for growth here. Add Porcello to the post-hype sleeper list for 2014.
-Matt Garza began his Rangers tenure in impressive fashion, with back-to-back stellar performances against the Yankees and Angels. Since then, he’s been a headache for his fantasy owners, posting just one quality start in nine tries. Garza’s final two projected starts (@KC, vs. LAA) aren’t all that favorable, and the bottom line is that he cannot be trusted outside of deep mixed leagues. Depending on your categorical needs, I’d lean towards benching him in 12-teamers.
-Andrew Cashner’s one-hitter last night marked his fifth straight start of allowing two runs or less while pitching at least seven innings. Better yet, he’s whiffed at least seven batters in five of his last six outings. Cashner turned 27 last week, and coming off a successful first season as primarily a starter, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he delivers a career best season in 2014. He won’t be dirt cheap on draft day, but there’s still plenty of profit potential.
Diamond @ Danks – I’m done with Danks
Vargas @ Griffin – Just FYI, A’s and Angels are 3rd and 4th in MLB in OPS in September
Holland @ Archer – Dutch having a very poor second half for fading Rangers
Hughes @ Happ
Iwakuma @ Verlander
W. Chen @ Peavy
Salazar @ B. Chen – you’ll only get ~80 pitches from Salazar but they’ll probably be good ones!
Reynolds @ Peacock – high risk/high reward on Peacock, chase K’s if necessary
A. Wood @ Ohlendorf
Eovaldi @ Miner
Ross @ Morton – do you trust Ross after his last meltdown? Pirates O is improved
Cain @ Harang
Rusin @ Thornburg
Wainwright @ Chatwood
Fife @ McCarthy – Fife gets the start in place of resting Kershaw… McCarthy much better at home
Pettitte @ Dickey
Maurer @ An. Sanchez
Feldman @ Dempster – don’t trust either in this matchup
Tepesch @ Hellickson
Pelfrey @ Quintana
Kluber @ Ventura
Leake @ Lyles
Richards @ Griffin
Minor @ Haren (Gm 1)
F. Garcia @ Roark (Gm 2) – Roark hasn’t allowed a HR yet; Braves lead NL in homers… who do ya got??
Flynn @ Halladay
Stults @ Locke
Petit @ Wheeler
Samardzija @ Estrada – Shark is running on fumes, I’ll pass
Kelly @ Nicasio – Kelly has a 2.28 ERA in 13 starts, good enough for me
Greinke @ Corbin – tough call on Corbin, who has faded somewhat and has a tough matchup
Sabathia @ Lester – Sabathia risky here but he’s been a lot better over his last two starts.
Colon @ Darvish – Bartolo has a 3.00 ERA in three starts vs. TEX this season.
Tillman @ Rogers – Tillman is 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA and 8.51 K/9 since ASB.
Big Erv @ Fister
Jimenez @ Rienzo – Ubaldo is rolling. 1.94 ERA since ASB!
Moore @ Albers
Weaver @ Oberholtzer
Bailey @ Hellweg
Alvarez @ Matsuzaka (Gm 1)
Turner @ Torres (Gm 2) – Great matchup for both.
Hamels @ G. Gonzalez
Baker @ Cole
Erlin @ Medlen
Paxton @ Wacha
Oswalt @ Miley
Lincecum @ Nolasco – Tough matchup for Tiny Tim but he’s been solid lately, for the most part.
M. Gonzalez @ Buehrle – Gonzalez not a bad choice in deeper leagues though.
Guthrie @ Scherzer
McAllister @ Sale
Price @ P. Hernandez
Williams @ Clemens
Parker @ Perez – Perez a borderline call.
Nova @ Buchholz – I don’t trust Nova vs. BOS.
Koehler @ Gee
Smith @ Teheran
Cloyd @ Zimmiermann
T. Wood @ Liriano
Arroyo @ Gallardo – Gallardo has righted the ship.
E. Ramirez @ S. Miller – Bad matchup for Erasmo.
Vogelsong @ Volquez
Chacin @ Delgado – Delgado should get back on track here.
Saunders @ Porcello – Good matchup for Porcello.
Garza @ Cobb – Not giving up on Garza just yet.
Hendriks @ E. Johnson
Kazmir @ Shields – Kazmir’s control has improved significantly in the second half.
Cueto @ Bedard
Wilson @ Gray
Minor @ Haren – Haren a dangerous start here.
Dyson @ Lee
Cashner @ Burnett
Jackson @ W. Peralta – Peralta very inconsistent but I’ll give him a shot.
Lynn @ McHugh – Disaster alert for Lynn.
Ryu @ Cahill
Today marked our final phone guest show of 2013, and we had a good one in Paul Sporer of Baseball Prospectus. Be sure to catch the podcast when it comes out later, as Paul and Cory will discuss most of these two-start pitchers in addition to answering a bunch of listener questions. But here’s my take on some of next week’s tougher two-start pitcher decisions.
Lance Lynn (@COL, @MIL)
There’s no way around it. Coming off an impressive first full big league season, Lynn has been a disappointment this year. And even though his last start was his best one in a long time, Lynn had allowed at least four runs in each of his previous five outings. His home/road splits are extreme (3.00 ERA at home compared to 5.59 ERA on the road) and @COL is about as tough as it gets from a road matchup perspective. I wouldn’t hesitate to draft Lynn next year if the price is right, as most of his peripheral stats haven’t changed much from last year, so luck might be playing a factor in his elevated ERA. But for the rest of 2013, you’re better off staying away unless the matchup is ideal. And these matchups are far from ideal.
Dan Haren (vs. ATL, vs. MIA)
I wrote about Haren yesterday, declaring him both YPNM and DTM. Has my opinion changed over the last 24 hours? Ah, no. Chances are he’ll fare better against the Marlins than he did in his most recent bout with The Fish, but he’s been the model of inconsistency all season, so who knows. Yeah, Haren was excellent vs. the Braves when he faced them back in early-May (8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER), but the reality is that Atlanta ranks 1st in the NL in home runs, and the longball has been Haren’s chief nemesis throughout his career. And he’s yet to beat it (26 homers allowed in 27 starts this season). Plain and simple, he cannot be trusted. Ditch.
Andy Pettitte (@TOR, vs. SF)
Although Pettitte’s days of being a high-end starting pitcher are long over, he’s very quietly having a solid season. The 41-year-old southpaw is on a nice roll right now, having strung together six consecutive quality starts, and neither the Blue Jays nor Giants boast top-tier lineups. Next week is as good a time as any to trot Pettitte out there.
Scott Feldman (@BOS, @TB)
Like Pettitte, Feldman isn’t exactly an intimidating prescense on the mound. But he’s gotten the job done this season, particularly of late (3 ER or less in each of his last six starts). As far as next week goes, the good news is that the Rays rank dead last in the AL in runs scored since the All-Star break. The bad news is that he gets the Red Sox at Fenway. The bad news outweighs the good news. Ditch.
Rick Porcello (vs. SEA, vs. CHW)
Starting Porcello is always risky, as he’s liable to blow up at any moment. But overall, he’s putting up decent numbers this year, especially the 3-to-1 K/BB ratio. The Mariners and White Sox rank next to last and last respectively in the AL in runs scored this season, and in five starts vs. the Pale Hose, he’s 4-0 with a 2.02 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. In mixed leagues of 12 teams or more, I’d lean towards pitching Porcello.
Scott Kazmir (@KC, vs. HOU)
After opening the season in roller-coaster fashion, Kazmir has settled down nicely in the second half, registering a 3.67 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 9.17 K/9 and 2.17 BB/9 over 10 starts since the Midsummer Classic. The @KC matchup is of medium difficulty but the vs. HOU start is plenty tasty. Ultimately though, Kazmir’s greatly improved control combined with his high strikeout upside would lead me to pitch.
Wily Peralta (vs. CHC, vs. STL)
Predicting what this guy is going to do from one start to the next is pretty much impossible, but Peralta has been effective more times than not this season. The problem is that I tend to bench any borderline pitcher who’s facing the Cardinals, especially a pitcher who sports an 8.44 ERA vs. the Cards in three starts this year. Would I pitch Wily vs. the Cubs? Absolutely. But I’ll take the conservative route and pass on starting him for this two-start week.
Juan Nicasio (vs. STL, vs. ARI)
Even though Nicasio has pitched fairly well of late, this is a similar situation to Peralta in that the vs. STL matchup would scare me off. In two starts vs. the Diamondbacks this year, Nicasio is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA, so you’ve got to like him for that one. But a great performance vs. ARI would be all for naught if he gets torched by the Cardinals. That’s why I’m ditching Juan in all mixed leagues.
Coco Crisp hit his 19th home run (yes, 19th!) of the season last night, and he’s done it in just 116 games. Crisp’s previous single-season career high was 16 back in 2005, and that was in 145 games. Is this power surge for real? I’m not buying it. An inflated 9.6% HR/FB ratio (this compared to his career 5.5% HR/FB) coupled with the fact that he entered 2013 with only three double-digit HR seasons to his record suggests that luck is playing a factor here. Be careful not to overrate Crisp in drafts next year. Draft him for his speed, not his power. But also keep in mind that at least one trip to the DL is likely. Personally though, I’m staying away. He’ll be 34 in November and isn’t even running as much this season as in years past.
After getting roughed up by the Reds yesterday, Jeff Samardzija has now allowed five runs or more in each of his last three starts. He’s tailed off big time since the All-Star break (5.09 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) and simply cannot be trusted down the stretch, especially since two of his final three projected starts will come against the Braves and Cardinals. Unless you’re desperate for strikeouts, feel free to cut “The Shark” in all non-keeper formats.
Continuing on the frustrating starting pitchers theme, Dan Haren delivered a gem last night vs. the Mets, this after getting pounded by the lowly Marlins. So in the one league where I own Haren, guess what I did? Yep, I started him against the Marlins and benched him last night. Look, Haren has been a longtime favorite of mine, but I give up trying to predict what he is going to do from one start to the next. He’s both YPNM (your problem, not mine, for those of you unfamiliar with this legendary 411 acronym) and DTM.
Jose Fernandez clearly has some growing up to do when it comes to his on-field behavior, but when it comes to the rookie’s on-field performance, he’s been nearly flawless. Last night, Fernandez ended his inaugural big league campaign in impressive fashion, dominating a strong Braves’ lineup and even hitting his first career homer for good measure. Can we just give him the NL Rookie of the Year award right now? I’m very curious to see where Fernandez gets taken in drafts next spring. I’m a believer in him, but chances are his price in redraft leagues will be way too high for my liking being that I usually wait until at least the 7th round in a 12-team mixed league to take my first starting pitcher and I wouldn’t feel all that comfortable with Fernandez as my ace. But this is all a mute point, as the chances of Fernandez even lasting into the 7th round are minute.
An all-new podcast will be coming your way tomorrow with the special guest being Paul Sporer of Baseball Prospectus.
Salazar @ Santiago – Salazar a good source of K’s even with pitch limits
Hammel @ Redmond – Redmond has good K potential but blow-up risk vs. O’s
B. Chen @ Verlander
Kuroda @ Lackey – Kuroda is slumping and it’s a brutal matchup… base your decision on your category needs
Straily @ Holland
Archer @ Correia
Vargas @ Keuchel – decent matchup for Vargas, who hasn’t shown much home/away split this year
Kendrick @ Strasburg
Arrieta @ Morton – assuming Morton’s foot is healthy
Hand @ Niese
Kennedy @ Hale – bad matchup for HR-prone Kennedy
Latos @ Lohse
Iwakuma @ Wainwright
Chatwood @ McCarthy – McCarthy’s last 5 home starts: 1.66 ERA, 0.82 WHIP
Bumgarner @ Kershaw
Shields @ Kazmir – hang with ‘em on Shields, who’s been dominant on the road
Burnett @ Garza
Dempster @ Cobb
Pettitte @ Feldman – Feldman is on a tear, might as well push it
Wilson @ Dickey
An. Sanchez @ Quintana – why not Anibal for AL Cy?
Gray @ Pelfrey
Peacock @ Maurer – Peacock showing excellent K upside
Samardzija @ Leake – both fading, but good matchup for Leake
Nicasio @ Petit – can Petit be perfect again?
Stults @ Lee – easy matchup but Stults is fading badly
Haren @ Weaver
Minor @ Fernandez
Estrada @ Lynn – Lynn has a 5.10 ERA since the break
Corbin @ Ryu – Corbin’s ERA is up 2 runs since the break
Nova @ M. Gonzalez
Guthrie @ McAllister
Williams @ Buehrle – Buehlre 2.21 ERA since All-Star
Buchholz @ Price – play it safe on Buchholz’s return
Liriano @ M. Perez
Porcello @ E. Johnson
Parker @ Hendriks –mismatch of the day
Lyles @ Saunders
Cashner @ Cloyd
Jackson @ Cingrani
Zimmermann @ Gee
Teheran @ Koehler – cushy return to the rotation for Teheran
W. Peralta @ S. Miller – Miller has been awful for awhile
Cahill @ Volquez – Cahill seems to be righting the ship but I’m still wary
De La Rosa @ Vogelsong