Two-Start Pitchers 2014: July 28 – August 4: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The baseball season feels like it is flying by, doesn’t it?  This week the trade deadline is upon us, meaning it’s time to make that big push towards the finish line.  While we don’t want to take any unnecessary risks, you may be willing to gamble on a pitcher that you ordinarily wouldn’t.

The deadline itself could wreak havoc, though, so you have to be careful.  Quite a few pitchers currently scheduled for two starts, like Bartolo Colon, Jorge De La Rosa and A.J. Burnett, have found their names in trade rumors.  If dealt, they could lose a start so keep that in mind.

With all that said, let’s take a look at how our rankings currently look:

 

Tier 1 – The Elite

  • Yu Darvish – Texas Rangers – vs. NYY, at Cle

 

Tier 2 – Not Quite Elite

  • Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies – at NYM, at Was
  • Tyson Ross – San Diego Padres – vs. Stl, vs. Atl
  • Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals – at Mia, vs. Phi
  • Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants – vs. Pit, at NYM

 

Tier 3 – More Risk, But Among The Better Options

  • Anibal Sanchez – Detroit Tigers – vs. CWS, vs. Col
  • Hisashi Iwakuma – Seattle Mariners – at Cle, at Bal
  • Jordan Zimmermann – Washington Nationals – at Mia, vs. Phi
  • James Shields – Kansas City Royals – vs. Min, at Oak
  • Ervin Santana – Atlanta Braves – vs. SD, at SD
  • Homer Bailey – Cincinnati Reds – vs. Ari, at Mia

 

Tier 4 – Solid Options

  • Jered Weaver – Los Angeles Angels – at Bal, at TB
  • Lance Lynn – St. Louis Cardinals – at SD, vs. Mil
  • Jesse Chavez – Oakland A’s – at Hou, vs. KC
  • Trevor Bauer – Cleveland Indians – vs. Sea, vs. Tex
  • Jose Quintana – Chicago White Sox – at Det, vs. Min
  • Francisco Liriano – Pittsburgh Pirates – at SF, at Ari
  • Ian Kennedy – San Diego Padres – at Atl, vs. Atl
  • Marcus Stroman – Toronto Blue Jays – at Bos, at Hou
  • Bartolo Colon – New York Mets – vs. Phi, vs. SF
  • Kyle Lohse – Milwaukee Brewers – at TB, at Stl
  • Jake Odorizzi – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Mil, vs. LAA
  • A.J. Burnett – Pittsburgh Pirates – at NYM, at Was
  • Henderson Alvarez – Miami Marlins – vs. Was, vs. Cin
  • Josh Beckett – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. Atl, vs. CHC

 

Tier 5 – Maybe?

  • Mike Leake – Cincinnati Reds – vs. Ari, at Mia
  • Clay Buchholz – Boston Red Sox – vs. Tor, vs. NYY
  • Phil Hughes – Minnesota Twins – at KC, at CWS
  • Aaron Harang – Atlanta Braves – at LAD, at SD
  • R.A. Dickey – Toronto Blue Jays – at Bos, at Hou
  • Vance Worley – Pittsburgh Pirates – at SF, at Ari
  • Chase Anderson – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Cin, vs. Pit
  • David Phelps – New York Yankees – at Tex, at Bos
  • Nathan Eovaldi – Miami Marlins – vs. Was, vs. Cin
  • Jorge De La Rosa – Colorado Rockies – at CHC, at Det
  • Chris Tillman – Baltimore Orioles – vs. LAA, vs. Sea

 

Tier 6 – Not A Chance

  • Tsuyoshi Wada – Chicago Cubs – vs. Col, at LAD
  • Scott Feldman – Houston Astros – vs. Oak, vs. Tor
  • Trevor Cahill – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Cin, vs. Pit
  • Edwin Jackson – Chicago Cubs – vs. Col, at LAD
  • Brad Peacock – Houston Astros – vs. Oak, vs. Tor

 

 

Thoughts:

  • Cole Hamels has been very good overall, but he’s been spectacular on the road this season with a 1.93 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.  The real difference between him pitching at home and the road is the home run ball, with 7 allowed at home and just 1 on the road.  In other words, it’s hard not to like him this week.
  • While Homer Bailey’s overall numbers are not impressive (4.22 ERA, 1.31 WHIP), we’ve consistently talked about how the underlying numbers tell a much better story.  Well he’s actually been getting better results of late (3.35 ERA in June, 3.32 ERA in July) and he has two favorable matchups.
  • It’s nearly impossible to sit Kyle Lohse, though he has been significantly better at home (2.32 ERA) than on the road (3.74 ERA) this season.  Given the two matchups he has, he has to be suppressed down the rankings a little bit as well.
  • Marcus Stroman has been fantastic as a starting pitcher, with a 2.21 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, but he’s also benefited from a .256 BABIP (15.6% line drive rate is likely unsustainable) and 81.2% strand rate.  The start at Houston is obviously attractive, but pitching at Boston could be trouble, and any young pitcher has the potential to struggle at times.
  • It has been a solid season for Jake Odorizzi, but he does have the potential to be a little bit homer prone (44.6% fly ball rate, 22.0% line drive rate).  Given the matchups, there’s definitely a lot of risk involved.  That doesn’t mean that he should be avoided, just go in with your eyes open and realize that there is risk.
  • Trevor Bauer has been on a good stretch overall (3.16 ERA in July with 30 K in 31.1 IP) and has a pair of favorable matchups, both coming at home.  Considering his 2.82 ERA at home (compared to a 5.18 mark on the road) how can you not like him for the coming week?  Consider him a must use option in all formats with the chance to make a real difference.
  • Phil Hughes hurt his shin in his last start and could get pushed back, especially if Kyle Gibson is ready to return to the rotation.  Keep that in mind before slotting him into your lineup.
  • Even without the trade rumors A.J. Burnett would be a risky option this week, despite a start against the Mets.  He’s struggled on the road, with a 4.73 ERA, and the start against the Nationals is not a slam dunk.  It’s hard to imagine sitting him, but just know the risks going in.
  • Assuming Colon isn’t traded, he’s a must use fantasy option with two starts at home.  For now we have to assume he’s going to stay in New York, though that’s hardly a guarantee given the rumors.
  • At least Jorge De La Rosa has two starts on the road, right?  Of course one of them comes against the Tigers.
  • Scott Feldman has been bad to begin with, but two starts at home against offenses that can hit the ball out of the ballpark?  No thank you, there are certainly better gambles to take.

Make sure to check out all of our Rest of Season Rankings:

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