Two-Start Pitchers: Week 17 (July 22-28): Tiered Rankings, Sleepers & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The first full week out of the All-Star Break doesn’t offer the best mix of two-start options as a lot of team’s used their top pitchers during the short week.  That said, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some intriguing options to consider, including a returning Yu Darvish or Matt Garza (though he’s a risky option since he could be dealt at any time).  Here’s a quick breakdown of the tiers (and remember, the pitchers are also ranked within each tier):

  • Tier 1 – The Elite
  • Tier 2 – Not quite elite, but among the better options
  • Tier 3 – Solid options
  • Tier 4 – Borderline options only usable under the right circumstance
  • Tier 5 – Options worth avoiding

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the week ahead:

Notes:

  • Generally we are concerned about pitchers coming off the DL, but Yu Darvish draws the low octane New York Yankees in his first start.  Is that really something that is going to concern anyone?
  • Jarrod Parker has been on quite a roll of late and also draws a start against the Astros, always a positive.  However, the start against the Angels is highly risky, Parker has not been a strikeout pitcher (6.08 K/9) and could see a regression in his line drive rate and BABIP (16.0% and .248, respectively).  He’s a viable option, just know the risks going in.
  • Hector Santiago has been highly impressive as a starting pitcher, with a 3.13 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 9.91 K/9.  However, before we get too excited keep in mind that he has a 20.5% line drive rate yet a .262 BABIP and 79.8% strand rate.  Things could go south quickly, making him a somewhat risky play (especially with the Tigers on the schedule).
  • Since returning to the Yankees on June 23 Ivan Nova has made four starts, allowing 8 ER over 29.1 IP with 28 K.  The matchups haven’t been particularly easy, either, including two starts against the Orioles and one against the Rays.  Since last season Nova has shown an improved strikeout rate and in 2013 is back to generating a significant number of groundballs (51.4%).  Add in good control (2.77 BB/9) and what’s not to like?  On the flipside, teammate Phil Hughes is prone to the long ball, so starting in Texas and at home could be a recipe for absolute disaster.  While Nova is a very good start, Hughes is incredibly risky (and could be moved soon).
  • Alexi Ogando hasn’t started since June 5.  While he has potential, especially given some of the other names taking the mound for two starts this week, he’s a risky option.
  • Considering the rumors that are flying around, don’t consider it a guarantee that Matt Garza takes the mound for either of his starts this week.  He easily could be traded (maybe even by the time this article is published).  He’s a must use option regardless, just don’t bank on two starts.
  • Patrick Corbin is likely due for a regression, but the matchups and his impressive marks at home (1.58 ERA) make it impossible not to put him in the top tier.  Just be warned that he could have a stumble, given his .246 BABIP and 81.9% strand rate.
  • No hitter or not, does anyone actually trust Tim Lincecum?  One start, no matter how impressive, doesn’t wipe away all of the potential concerns.  He’s a viable option, for sure, but not a must use one.
  • It’s probably a surprise that Jhoulys Chacin is ranked so highly, but his numbers are actually pretty good overall (3.50 ERA, 1.26 WHIP), though his home numbers are not impressive (4.48 ERA).  That said, he has two favorable matchups, so he is worth rolling the dice on.
  • Both Tony Cingrani and Gerrit Cole have potential, but they also are going to be inconsistent (as they’ve already proven).  It all depends on your other options.
  • Andrew Cashner has a telling split, with a 2.50 ERA at home and 5.14 ERA on the road.  With two road starts are you putting much faith in him?  He’s usable for the desperate (thanks to his potential), but hardly a trustworthy option.

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