by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There are very few high-end two-start options this week, leaving owners searching through the mid-tier guys to try and determine who is worth utilizing and who should be ignored. Where does the value lie? Who should we be rolling the dice on? Let’s take a look at how the options currently breakdown (keep it mind that the pitchers are ranked within each tier):
|American League Options||National League Options|
|Tier 1 – Elite Options|
|1)||CC Sabathia – New York Yankees – at Oak, at LAA||1)||Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. Ari, at Pit|
|2)||Jered Weaver – Los Angeles Angels – at Bal, vs. NYY|
|Tier 2 – Must Use Options|
|3)||Derek Holland – Texas Rangers – vs. Cle, vs. Tor||2)||Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies – at Min, at Col|
|4)||Alex Cobb – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Bos, vs. KC|
|Tier 3 – Good Plays In All Formats|
|5)||Hisashi Iwakuma – Seattle Mariners – vs. Hou, at Oak||3)||Homer Bailey – Cincinnati Reds – at CHC, vs. Mil|
|6)||Doug Fister – Detroit Tigers – at KC, at Min||4)||Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves – at SD, vs. SF|
|7)||Bartolo Colon – Oakland Athletics – vs. NYY, vs. Sea||5)||Tony Cingrani – Cincinnati Reds – at CHC, vs. Mil|
|8)||R.A. Dickey – Toronto Blue Jays – at CWS, at Tex||6)||Matt Garza – Chicago Cubs – vs. Cin, at NYM|
|Tier 4 – Borderline, Depending On Alternatives|
|9)||Dylan Axelrod – Chicago White Sox – vs. Tor, at Hou||7)||Scott Feldman – Chicago Cubs – vs. Cin, at NYM|
|10)||Alexi Ogando – Texas Rangers – vs. Cle, vs. Tor||8)||Yovani Gallardo – Milwaukee Brewers – at Mia, at Cin|
|11)||John Lackey – Boston Red Sox – at TB, at Bal||9)||Michael Wacha – St. Louis Cardinals – at NYM, at Mia|
|12)||Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians – at Tex, vs. Was||10)||Dan Haren – Washington Nationals – at Col, at Cle|
|13)||Jeremy Guthrie – Kansas City Royals – vs. Det, at TB||11)||Wade Miley – Arizona Diamondbacks – at LAD, at SD|
|14)||Miguel Gonzalez – Baltimore Orioles – vs. LAA, vs. Bos||12)||Jeremy Hefner – New York Mets – vs. Stl, vs. CHC|
|15)||Wade Davis – Kansas City Royals – vs. Det, at TB||13)||Ricky Nolasco – Miami Marlins – vs. Mil, vs. Stl|
|16)||Scott Kazmir – Cleveland Indians – at Tex, vs. Was||14)||Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. SF, vs. LAD|
|15)||Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants – at Pit, at Atl|
|Tier 5 – Not Recommended Options|
|17)||Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros – at Sea, vs. CWS||16)||Jason Marquis – San Diego Padres – vs. Atl, vs. Ari|
|18)||Roberto Hernandez – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Bos, vs. KC||17)||Jon Garland – Colorado Rockies – vs. Was, vs. Phi|
|19)||Freddy Garcia – Baltimore Orioles – vs. LAA, vs. Bos|
|20)||P.J. Walters – Minnesota Twins – vs. Phi, vs. Det|
|21)||Chad Jenkins – Toronto Blue Jays – at CWS, at Tex|
- Jered Weaver is tentatively listed as a two-start option, but that is not a guarantee. Thanks to a double-header the Angels will need to utilize a six-man rotation temporarily. They could opt to keep Weaver on regular rest (skipping Joe Blanton), but they also could just push him the day meaning they won’t have a two-start option.
- R.A. Dickey has struggled this season, but it’s hard to imagine sitting him down given his upside. That said, that start in Texas is definitely going to bring plenty of concern with it.
- We all may want to trust Alexi Ogando, but there is definitely reason to be skeptical about utilizing him this week. He’s benefitted from some luck (81.5% strand rate) and there’s always a risk that he gives up a lot of home runs (42.2% fly ball rate, 0.98 HR/FB vs. 1.23 mark in ’12). With both Toronto and Cleveland ranking in the Top 10 in HR, the week does have the potential to get ugly.
- Overall John Lackey has pitched well, we can’t argue that. However, his splits tell a slightly different story. He owns a 1.04 ERA at home vs. a 4.56 mark on the road. Considering both starts come away from Fenway, it’s hard to call him a good play.
- While Julio Teheran is coming off an impressive outing and has been generating strikeouts recently, but that hasn’t generally been the case with him. As it is his season strikeout rate is just 6.97 and he’s benefitted from an 81.7% strand rate. The matchups do work in his favor and he’s a recommended option, just don’t go expecting a repeat performance.
- Tony Cingrani is expected to return to the Majors on Tuesday and steps right into a pair of favorable matchups. He’s proven he can excel in the Majors, so don’t shy away from him.
- Speaking of rookies, Gerrit Cole is expected to join the Pirates rotation this week. He has failed to live up to expectations at Triple-A and all rookie pitchers carry with them an inherent risk. It’s not worth rolling the dice on him, despite his upside potential, unless your other options are subpar.
- Would anyone have expected Yovani Gallardo to be anything less than a Tier 3 option prior to the season? However this is where we are considering he’s consistently been hit hard (28.4% line drive rate) and his velocity is down (90.5 mph average fastball). In other words, use him at your own risk.