Two-Start Pitchers 2014: September 1-7: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

And it’s down the stretch we come!  It’s more important than ever to make smart decisions when streaming pitchers, as each start feels more important (and we are starting to face the risk of pitchers being shut down).  Who do we trust?  Which gamble should we take?

On pitcher who has made himself interesting has been Carlos Carrasco:

Carrasco has been inconsistent and disappointing so far in his career, but are the tides starting to turn for the 27 year old? It is hard to ignore a pitcher who consistently averages 93-plus miles per hour with his fastball and is now starting to see some real improvement in his control since returning from the minor leagues and the bullpen. In his last four starts, spanning 24.2 innings, Carrasco has struck 23 batters while allowing just two earned runs and three walks. That performance should not be ignored, especially as he takes the mound twice this week at home against the Tigers and White Sox.

Let’s take a look at all of the two-start options for the coming week:

Pitcher Opponent #1 Opponent #2
Tier 1    
David Price at Cleveland vs. San Francisco
Corey Kluber vs. Detroit vs. Chicago White Sox
Cole Hamels at Atlanta at Washington
Julio Teheran vs. Philadephia at Miami
     
Tier 2    
Adam Wainwright vs. Pittsburgh at Milwaukee
Gio Gonzalez at LA Dodgers vs. Philadelphia
Zack Wheeler at Miami at Cincinnati
Lance Lynn vs. Pittsburgh at Milwaukee
     
Tier 3    
Tyson Ross vs. Arizona at Colorado
Mat Latos at Baltimore vs. New York Mets
Yovani Gallardo at Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis
Phil Hughes at Baltimore vs. LA Angels
Yordano Ventura vs. Texas at NY Yankees
Gerritt Cole at St. Louis at Chicago Cubs
James Paxton at Oakland at Texas
Drew Smyly vs. Boston vs. Baltimore
Tim Hudson at Colorado at Detroit
RA Dickey at Tampa Bay at Boston
     
Tier 4    
Carlos Carrasco vs. Detroit vs. Chicago White Sox
Kevin Gausman vs. Minnesota at Tampa Bay
Jeremy Hellickson vs. Toronto vs. Baltimore
Henderson Alvarez vs. NY Mets vs. Atlanta
Jason Hammel vs. Seattle vs. Houston
Roenis Elias at Oakland at Texas
     
Tier 5    
Bud Norris vs. Cincinnati at Tampa Bay
Wade Miley at San Diego at LA Dodgers
Hector Santiago at Houston at Minnesota
Shane Greene vs. Boston vs. Kansas City
Jimmy Nelson at Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis
Roberto Hernandez vs. Washington vs. Arizona
Colby Lewis at Kansas City vs. Seattle
Joe Kelly at NY Yankees vs. Toronto
Rubby De La Rosa at Tampa Bay vs. Toronto
     
Tier 6    
Odrisamer Despaigne vs. Arizona at Colorado
Trevor Cahill at San Diego at LA Dodgers
Tommy Milone vs. Chicago White Sox vs. LA Angels
Nick Tepesch at Kansas City vs. Seattle
Franklin Morales vs. San Francisco vs. San Diego
Jacob Turner vs. Miwaukee vs. Pittsburgh

 

Thoughts:

  • Adam Wainwright is a stud and a fantasy ace. He falls under the category of “set it and forget it”, but his recent performance is calling that into question. By no stretch am I going to overreact and bench Wainwright, especially in a week where he starts twice. Yes, I know his ERA after the All-Star break is 4.68 and he recently alluded to going through a dead arm period, but there is still not enough there for me to bench him. The problem is that if this was a pitcher without Wainwright’s past performance and name recognition, I would be advocating that you stay away from him if you have better options. He has allowed 49 hits and 14 walks in his last 45.1 innings while striking out just 31 batters, but he has still managed to have five quality starts in his last seven. You have every right to be cautious, and maybe I would keep my distance in daily formats until he proves otherwise, but in weekly formats he should be started.
  • For the most part, the $48 million that Phil Hughes received this off-season from the Twins was criticized. So far that criticism has proved to be generally unfounded and he has become a starter you can rely on. The two big things that have worked in the right-hander’s favor is the decrease in home runs and the fact that he has walked just 15 batters in 172.2 innings, while striking out 152. You would expect to see him with a WHIP a little lower than 1.18, but that is hard to argue with along with Hughes’ 3.70 ERA. He also is showing no signs of slowing down as he has five straight quality starts were has averaged 7.2 innings per start while allowing a total of four earned runs. That is enough for me to start him regardless of his matchups this week.
  • Drew Smyly is not David Price, and that is alright, but he also should be overlooked. Look at and appreciate Smyly for what he is, which is a solid starting pitcher who is useful this week. The left-hander is at 141.1 innings on the season and he is quickly approaching his limit which is between 150 and 160 innings for the season. With four weeks remaining in the season this is something you should be aware of, as the end is near. He is scheduled to make two starts this week, which makes him a useful start, but his value after this week should be called into question. However, even though he is going to make both starts you have to wonder how deeply he will be allowed to work into the game which will hamper his already below average strikeout numbers (23 in his last 30.2 innings). Despite that it is hard not to start Smyly this week as he faces the Red Sox and Orioles, both at home. With an ERA of 3.31 and a FIP of 3.76 on the season he should be in all starting lineups.
  • What should we make of Shane Greene? There have been starts where he has looked dominating, some where he is mediocre at best and others that are a little more stressful. Yes there is risk, but towards the bottom of your pitching staff risk is generally going to be a necessary evil. Greene does allow a lot of base runners, 17 walks in 55.1 innings and a 1.27 WHIP, but he is usually able to limit the damage. As a positive, Greene’s overall ERA of 3.09 still looks very good and he has struck out 54 batters so far this season. He makes two starts at home this week, and while there is risk he is still one of the better bottom tier options.
  • Last season and earlier this season, Tommy Milone was a pleasant surprise. Well at least at home he was. Milone is not a strikeout pitcher, 70 in 113.1 innings, but he could be counted on to pitch deep into games and give you good ratios. This season he has struggled and takes a 4.21 ERA and 1.37 WHIP into this week. He does make both starts at home, against the White Sox and Angels, but he has been struggling as of late. In his last four starts, he has only pitched 16 innings allowing 31 hits, 7 walks and 15 earned runs. With no strikeout upside and minimal chance of a win, there is just too much risk here.

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