Two-Start Pitchers 2014: August 4 – 10: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Rotations around the league needed a little bit of reshuffling, following one of the craziest trade deadline in recent memory.  While that has helped bolster an already impressive group of two-start pitchers (welcome David Price), this week is loaded with options.  While you could argue that it’s a bit of a top heavy group, there are amply risks and opportunities worth considering.  Time is quickly running short, so let’s take a look at how things shake out for the coming week and which risks are going to be worth taking:

 

Tier 1 – The Elite

  • Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. LAA, at Mil
  • Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners – vs. Atl, vs. CWS
  • Johnny Cueto – Cincinnati Reds – at Cle, vs. Mia

 

Tier 2 – Not Quite Elite

  • David Price – Detroit Tigers – at NYY, at Tor
  • Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers – at NYY, at Tor
  • Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians – vs. Cin, at NYY
  • Zack Greinke – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. LAA, at Mil
  • Jeff Samardzija – Oakland A’s – vs. TB, vs. Min
  • Alex Cobb – Tampa Bay Rays – at Oak, at CHC

 

Tier 3 – More Risk, But Among The Better Options

  • Gio Gonzalez – Washington Nationals – vs. NYM, at Atl
  • Tim Hudson – San Francisco Giants – at NYM, at KC
  • Garrett Richards – Los Angeles Angels – at LAD, vs. Bos

 

Tier 4 – Solid Options

  • Zack Wheeler – New York Mets – at Was, at Phi
  • John Lackey – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. Bos, at Bal
  • Tanner Roark – Washington Nationals – vs. Bal, at Atl
  • Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros – at Phi, vs. Tex
  • Alfredo Simon – Cincinnati Reds – at Cle, vs. Mia
  • Charlie Morton – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Mia, vs. SD

 

Tier 5 – Maybe

  • Jimmy Nelson – Milwaukee Brewers – vs. SF, vs. LAD
  • Hiroki Kuroda – New York Yankees – vs. Det, vs. Cle
  • Wade Miley – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. KC, vs. Col
  • Jason Hammel – Oakland A’s – vs. TB, vs. Min
  • John Danks – Chicago White Sox – vs. Tex, at Sea
  • Dillon Gee – New York Mets – vs. SF, at Phi
  • Brett Anderson – Colorado Rockies – vs. CHC, at Ari
  • Kevin Gausman – Baltimore Orioles – at Was, vs. Stl
  • Phil Hughes – Minnesota Twins – vs. SD, at Oak
  • Brandon McCarthy – New York Yankees – vs. Det, vs. Cle
  • Danny Duffy – Kansas City Royals – at Ari, vs. SF
  • Mark Buehrle – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. Bal, vs. Det
  • Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants – at Mil, at KC
  • Bud Norris – Baltimore Orioles – at Tor, vs. Stl
  • Rubby De La Rosa – Boston Red Sox – at Stl, at LAA

 

Tier 6 – Not A Chance

  • Travis Wood – Chicago Cubs – at Col, vs. TB
  • Kyle Kendrick – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. Hou, vs. NYM
  • Brad Hand – Miami Marlins – at Pit, at Cin
  • Hector Noesi – Chicago White Sox – vs. Tex, at Sea
  • Hector Santiago – Los Angeles Angels – at LAD, vs. Bos

 

Thoughts:

  • Generally we would put Gio Gonzalez into Tier 2, but he’s clearly struggled of late.  He’s failed to go 4.0 innings in two of his past three starts, including allowing 5 ER over 3.2 IP against the Phillies in his last outing.  That said he’s actually been better on the road this season (3.51 ERA) and the start against the Mets isn’t going to scare you (entering Friday they were 24th in the league in SLG against LHP at .366).  He’s still a must use, just a riskier one than normal.
  • John Lackey gets traded to the NL and promptly gets lined up with his former team (Boston Red Sox) and another former foe in the Baltimore Orioles.  Wasn’t part of the advantage of this move supposed to be getting him out of the AL?
  • Has Zack Wheeler finally figured things out?  He’s coming off a month of July where he posted a 1.67 ERA and, maybe more importantly, had a 2.51 BB/9.  While the ERA is unlikely to be repeated, if he can continue to throw strikes he’s going to continue to be a solid fantasy option.
  • Not only is Tim Lincecum coming off a pair of poor outings, he makes two starts on the road this week where he owns a 5.44 ERA (3.51 at home).  There’s no way anyone should consider him a must use option.
  • If Danny Duffy was showing his strikeout potential than he’d likely be a must use option.  As we’ve said multiple times, however, he simply isn’t and the upside hasn’t appeared to be there either (7.0% SwStr%).  That’s not to say that he can’t be used, it’s more a matter of your alternatives.
  • Jason Hammel has been a disaster since arriving in Oakland, we all know that, but this could be the week where he turns things around.  The A’s have decided to keep him in the rotation (for now) and he gets two teams that have had their offensive issues.  It makes sense to be a little bit weary of him, but don’t completely write him off.
  • We have to like Wade Miley’s matchups, but his split is telling as he’s thrived on the road (3.00 ERA) and struggled at home (5.45 ERA).  The problem has been the long ball, as he’s allowed 13 HR in his home starts, and that helps to keep his overall potential limited.  There’s hope that he can produce, but he’s hardly a must use option.
  • Dillon Gee has hit a really tough stretch, allowing 15 ER over his last 16.2 IP (three starts).  While there’s upside and the opponents aren’t going to scare you, are you ready to trust him?
  • As it is Charlie Morton is significantly better at home (2.18 ERA) than on the road (4.52 ERA).  Now throw in that the Marlins have a .362 SLG on the road (25th) and the Padres are a league worst .334 SLG on the road and what is there not to like?

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com

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One comment

  1. Bryan Shisler says:

    I’ve removed Tim Lincecum from my lineup (only starting him at home and in SD) and added in Kevin Gausman (2 starts). I see you have him under “maybe”, not too reassuring. Other than his age, he has good bats behind him, pitching in WA and ST at home, please share more of your thoughts on this one as I could forgo the 2 start week and start Peralta or Salazar. Head-to-Head total weekly pts.

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