by Ray Kuhn
In leagues where there are no innings limits, it is important to maximize your innings. However, you do not want to do that at the expense of poor performance. Quality is better than quantity.
Each week during the season we will break down all of the pitchers scheduled to make two starts in the upcoming week. Just like when assembling your rotation, we will break the pitchers down by tier. In all formats every pitcher within the first two tiers should be owned no questions asked. Pitchers in the third and fourth tiers are likely owned in all formats, but some could be borderline starting decisions depending on the league structure and your roster composition. The fifth tier has pitchers who will likely be available in most if not all leagues and could be either the deepest of sleepers or do the most damage to your ratios.
Within each tier, the pitchers are also ranked. Starting decisions should be made accordingly.
Here are the Week 4 Two Start Pitchers:
|Tier||Pitcher||Opponent #1||Opponent #2|
|Tier 1||Felix Hernandez||@ HOU||vs. LAA|
|Clayton Kershaw||@ NYM||vs. MIL|
|CC Sabathia||@ TB||vs. TOR|
|Jon Lester||vs. OAK||vs. HOU|
|Max Scherzer||vs. KC||vs. ATL|
|Cole Hamels||vs. PIT||@ NYM|
|David Price||vs. NYY||@ CHW|
|Tier 2||R.A. Dickey||@ BAL||@ NYY|
|Matt Moore||vs. NYY||@ CHW|
|Yovani Gallardo||@ SD||@ LAD|
|A.J. Burnett||@ PHI||@ STL|
|Jonathon Niese||vs. LAD||vs. PHI|
|Tier 3||Alexi Ogando||@ LAA||@ MIN|
|Hisashi Iwakuma||@ HOU||vs. LAA|
|Justin Masterson||@ CHW||@ KC|
|Derek Holland||@ LAA||@ MIN|
|Shelby Miller||@ WAS||vs. PIT|
|Wade Miley||@ SF||vs. COL|
|Ryan Vogelsong||vs. ARI||@ SD|
|A.J. Griffin||@ BOS||vs. BAL|
|Kyle Lohse||@ SD||@ LAD|
|Tier 4||Wade Davis||@ DET||vs. CLE|
|Ross Detwiler||vs. STL||vs. CIN|
|Dan Haren||vs. STL||vs. CIN|
|Jose Quintana||vs. CLE||vs. TB|
|Travis Wood||@ CIN||@ MIA|
|Ricky Nolasco||@ MIN||vs. CHC|
|Patrick Corbin||@ SF||vs. COL|
|Bud Norris||vs. SEA||@ BOS|
|Bartolo Colon||@ BOS||vs. BAL|
|Tier 5||Tony Cingrani||vs. CHC||@ WAS|
|Carlos Villanueva||@ CIN||@ MIA|
|Mike Leake||vs. CHC||@ WAS|
|Phil Hughes||@ TB||vs. TOR|
|Miguel Gonzalez||vs. TOR||@ OAK|
|Jason Vargas||vs. TEX||@ SEA|
|Chris Tillman||vs. TOR||@ OAK|
|Jason Marquis||vs. MIL||vs. SF|
|Joe Blanton||vs. TEX||@ SEA|
|J.A. Happ||@ BAL||@ NYY|
|Alfredo Aceves||vs. OAK||vs. HOU|
|Mike Pelfrey||vs. MIA||vs. TEX|
|Brad Peacock||vs. SEA||@ BOS|
|Dylan Axelrod||vs. CLE||vs. TB|
|Jeff Locke||@ PHI||@ STL|
- This week’s options are just a little better than last week. Now that the rotations have started to cycle through a few times, there are some top starters taking the hill twice this week. Getting two starts from your aces this week will certainly have a positive benefit on your team. But if your ace is not making two starts this week, fear not, because there are still a lot of other very good pitchers to choose from. And for that reason, there is less of a reason to take a risk on an option that might not be as strong or you might not be as comfortable with.
- Obviously you are going to look at statistics when making your roster decisions for the week. But heed the warning that it is early. Before writing of a player based on poor statistics, take a look at the composition of how they earned. It is very possible, that it can be pinned on just one poor start, and the overall body of work is actually better than it appears.
- Do not be scared off of David Price’s early season numbers. Yes his ERA is ugly to say the least, 6.26 to go with a WHIP of 1.57, and Tampa is 0-4 in his starts, but don’t hold that against him. Run support has been an issue this year, and Price has 21 strikeouts in 23 innings so far this season. Also, he has two quality starts this season where in 12 innings Price only gave up three runs, so all has not been bad. Hopefully you don’t need convincing to start Price this week, but you should without question.
- It was a shame for R.A Dickey to see his best start of the season short circuited the other night with an ankle injury. Every indication thus far, is that his ankle is fine which puts him on pace to make his two starts this week. Dickey has had a slow start to his career in Toronto (4.30 ERA and 1.35 WHIP), but it’s really attributable to one poor start against the Red Sox (7 runs over 4.2 innings). In his other three starts, Dickey pitched 6, 6.1, and 6 innings giving up 3, 0, and 1 runs respectively. The ankle is the only reason why I have Dickey in the second tier.
- The Red Sox put the brakes on Justin Masterson’s early season success. Last year Masterson took a step back in his development, but he seemed to be reversing that trend with his first three starts of 2013. Masterson hurled a complete game shutout against the White Sox prior to taking the loss to Boston giving up four runs in five innings. Prior to that Masterson gave up one run over 13 innings to start the season. Don’t overrate him based on his early season success, but keep in mind that he is a pretty good starter despite the fact that he will not overpower hitters. If he is still available in your league, put a claim on him.
- Shelby Miller is proving the Cardinals right for putting him into the rotation. We knew he had the talent and projected as an ace, but he has proved it so far in 2013. Miller faces the Pirates again this week after going six innings against him in his last start giving up two runs. In 18.3 innings Miller has 18 strikeouts to go along with his ERA of 1.96 and WHIP of .87. The road might be as smooth as that all season, but Miller is proving to be comfortable in the major leagues.
- Tony Cingrani is another pitching prospect who has received a lot of hype so far this season. In his major league debut against the Marlins, it must be kept in mind it was the Marlins, Cingrani pitched five innings to earn the win. In those five innings he only allowed one run while striking out eight batters. First of all, he does not appear to have anything more than these next two starts guaranteed. Secondly, it took him 102 pitches to get through those five innings allowing five runs and three walks. This is not to take anything away from Cingrani, but just maintain some level of skepticism when making your roster decision. I also might be erring a little too much on the side of caution by placing him in the fifth tier, but as much as he is talented, there is some risk here.
- Dan Haren was a popular sleeper/bounceback candidate going into this season, but 2013 has not started off well for him. In his first three starts Haren sports an ERA of 8.10 and WHIP of 2.03. Those are certainly numbers that warrant a double take. The right hander is attributing some of his early season woes on the fact that he is throwing his fastball too much in relation to his other pitchers. Regardless of the cause or the specific reason, Haren has not looked comfortable so far this season. I think he will figure it out, but until then he is a risk. The inclination would be to let him prove it first, especially on a week where he starts twice. Two more starts similar to his first three could really do some damage to your ratios.
- Here we are with Ricky Nolasco once again. He has some talent, but also seems to underachieve. Granted run support will be an issue for the Marlins right hander, but he has started of the season with some success. The ERA of 3.86 is not bad and the WHIP of 1.24 is bearable, but there is some level of risk here. Nolasco really is not a strikeout pitcher (15 in 23 innings), and wins are certainly an issue. Tread carefully here as I am not sure Nolasco is worth the risk.