by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Coming off a week with few good options, this week those looking at the two start options are treated with a slew of good ones. Several of the top pitchers in the game are set to toe the rubber twice, as well as many of the guys in the middle tiers. Who should we be looking to avoid? Who are the streamers worth considering? Let’s take a look at all the options:
Tier 1 (The Elite):
- Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. Mia, vs. SD
- Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets – vs. Cin, vs. SF
- Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants – vs. SD, at NYM
- Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox – at Tor, at Bal
- Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Col, vs. Cin
- David Price – Boston Red Sox – at Atl, vs. NYY
- We’ve talked about Bumgarner’s issues thus far this season, though he looked strong in his last start and that matchup with the Padres is one we want to take advantage of. The Mets have been an all or nothing team this season, so if he can keep the ball in the ballpark there’s reason to believe that he will have significant success.
- David Price has struggled at Fenway Park this season, including allowing 5 ER over 5.0 IP and 8 ER over 3.2 IP. The Yankees offense has struggled, thus far, and the Braves are a team he should completely shut down. If it weren’t for the matchups he’d likely have fallen into Tier 2.
Tier 2 (Not Quite Elite, But Great Plays):
- Danny Salazar – Cleveland Indians – at Min, at Phi
- Cole Hamels – Texas Rangers – vs. NYY, vs. LAA
- Zack Greinke – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Stl, vs. Col
- Jordan Zimmermann – Detroit Tigers – vs. Oak, at Min
- Marcus Stroman – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. CWS, at TB
- Taijuan Walker – Seattle Mariners – vs. Hou, vs. KC
- Carlos Martinez – St. Louis Cardinals – at Ari, vs. Was
- Zack Greinke struggled in his first two starts (11 ER over 10.0 IP) before thriving in his next two (3 ER over 14.0 IP). The difference? The first two were at home while the second two were on the road. It will be interesting to see if he can pitch well in Arizona, with two starts at home this week, but that risk helps to suppress his ranking. He did pitch well there as a visitor in ’14, with a 0.68 ERA.
- We all know that there’s going to be a regression from Jordan Zimmermann, at some point, but with the way he’s pitched and his matchups it’s hard not to like him. That said, the risk of a regression keeps him from being ranked a little bit higher within the tier.
Tier 3 (Solid, Must Use Options):
- Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Bal, vs. Tor
- Garrett Richards – Los Angeles Angels – vs. KC, at Tex
- Raisel Iglesias – Cincinnati Reds – at NYM, at Pit
- Joe Ross – Washington Nationals – vs. Phi, at Stl
- We all know that Archer has had a miserable start to his season and there’s a good chance he struggles to recover completely this week given his matchups. Obviously there’s upside, but it’s going to be hard to depend on him.
- Joe Ross was forced from his last outing due to a blister, so it remains to be seen if it will impact his status for the coming week. For now we are keeping him on the rankings as normal and a matchup with the Phillies is certainly appealing, but monitor the news just in case.
Tier 4 (Decent Options):
- Jake Odorizzi – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Bal, vs. Tor
- Vincent Velasquez – Philadelphia Phillies – at Was, vs. Cle
- Kyle Hendricks – Chicago Cubs – vs. Mil, vs. Atl
- Drew Pomeranz – San Diego Padres – at SF, at LAD
- Ian Kennedy – Kansas City Royals – at LAA, at Sea
- Wei-Yin Chen – Miami Marlins – at LAD, at Mil
- Jaime Garcia – St. Louis Cardinals – at Ari, vs. Was
- Jimmy Nelson – Milwaukee Brewers – at CHC, vs. Mia
- It would be easy to slide Odorizzi into Tier 3, but his biggest question is the long ball (though it hasn’t been an issue quite yet). Given these two matchups would it really be a surprise if it reared its ugly head, though?
- Vincent Velasquez came back down to earth in his last start and the offenses he faces this week are much better than the Padres’ group that whiffed 16 times against him. He’s usable, but keep that in mind before expecting can’t miss performances.
- We’d feel a lot better about Pomeranz if his starts were coming in San Diego, but he still will be pitching in two more favorable locales. It’s hard not to like him with the way he’s been throwing thus far.
Tier 5 (Questionable Options, But Potentially Viable):
- Nathan Eovaldi – New York Yankees – at Tex, at Bos
- Rick Porcello – Boston Red Sox – at Atl, vs. NYY
- Kevin Gausman – Baltimore Orioles – at TB, vs. CWS
- Rich Hill – Oakland A’s – at Det, vs. Hou
- Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves – vs. Bos, at CHC
- Ross Stripling – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. Mia, vs. SD
- Kendall Graveman – Oakland A’s – at Det, vs. Hou
- Shelby Miller – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Stl, vs. Col
- Ubaldo Jimenez – Baltimore Orioles – at TB, vs. CWS
- Chad Bettis – Colorado Rockies – vs. Pit, at Ari
- Mike Pelfrey – Detroit Tigers – vs. Oak, at Min
- Doug Fister – Houston Astros – at Sea, at Oak
- Brandon Finnegan – Cincinnati Reds – at NYM, at Pit
- We want to trust Teheran, don’t we? However the way he’s pitched (5.64 ERA) coupled with the matchups makes him more of a borderline option than a recommended one.
- The only reason Nathan Eovaldi isn’t bumped into Tier 4 is because of the matchups and threat that home runs continue to plague him. Otherwise it’s hard not to like him.
- We’d be recommending Gausman (as a Tier 4 option) if it wasn’t for the fact that these will represent his first starts of the season. Given the matchups there’s no reason to be overly aggressive.
Tier 6 (Not A Chance):
- Jorge De La Rosa – Colorado Rockies – vs. Pit, at Ari
- Jeff Locke – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Col, vs. Cin
- Tom Koehler – Miami Marlins – at LAD, at Mil
- Tommy Milone – Minnesota Twins – vs. Cle, vs. Det
- John Danks – Chicago White Sox – at Tor, at Bal
- Matt Wisler – Atlanta Braves – vs. Bos, at CHC
Sources – Fangraphs, CBS Sports
Make sure to check out all of Rotoprofessor’s Preseason Top 10 Prospect Lists: