by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
With the fantasy season quickly flying by, fantasy owners need to make the decision if a pitcher is worth the risk. Is the upside enough? Does the downside risk outweigh the potential reward? Those decisions are becoming more and more important as every start is vital.
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:
- Ivan Nova doesn’t have the easiest of schedules, but he continues to show improved strikeout stuff (8.97 K/9), very good control (2.58 BB/9) and an above average groundball rate (53.0%). With that skill set he’s developed into a must use option regardless of the matchup, especially when he has two starts.
- While Rick Porcello has a 4.33 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, he has shown more strikeout ability (6.73 K/9) to go along with great control and groundball stuff. Throw in two favorable matchups and what’s not to like? Consider him a viable option in all formats.
- It hasn’t been a very good season for Jon Lester and it’s been even worse on the road (4.72 ERA over 16 starts). Makes it difficult to consider him a trustworthy option, don’t you think?
- Alexi Ogando has a favorable matchup against the Astros, but the numbers since returning from the DL certainly haven’t been impressive (5.28 ERA in three August starts). Throw in 54 K over 80.1 IP over the entire season and it’s impossible to consider him a must use option.
- While his overall numbers are impressive, Patrick Corbin pitchers in a pair of hitter’s ballparks this week. Couple in the fact that his ERA on the road is 3.39 (as compared to 1.86 at home) and there’s justification in being skeptical. That’s not to say not to use him, but we have to downgrade him at least one tier.
- Neither of Tony Cingrani’s matchups is going to send you running away from using him and he has 111 K over 94.0 IP. What is there not to like about him?
- Both Tim Lincecum and Dan Haren can basically be put into a Tier 3a. They are worth using, but their continued struggles makes it nearly impossible to consider them must use options (despite generally pitching better of late, besides a recent hiccup from Lincecum).
- The split is stark for Andrew Cashner, with a 2.51 ERA at home and 4.93 on the road. With a pair of home starts, get him active in all formats.