Two-Start Pitchers 2016: August 15-21: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

We are cruising through August and September will be here before we know it, meaning there is not as much baseball left as you make think. If you are looking for some extra strikeouts or to gain ground in wins or quality starts, then starts must be maximized. With that in mind let’s take a look at who is taking the mound twice and how they rank.

Tier One:

  1. Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians – vs. Chicago White Sox; vs. Toronto
  2. Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals – at Colorado; at Atlanta
  3. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners – at LA Angels; vs. Milwaukee
  4. Jon Lester – Chicago Cubs – vs. Milwaukee; at Colorado

Tier Two:

  1. Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers – vs. Kansas City; vs. Boston
  2. Jose Quintana – Chicago White Sox – at Cleveland; vs. Oakland
  3. Danny Duffy – Kansas City Royals – at Detroit; vs. Minnesota
  4. Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets – at Arizona; at San Francisco
  5. Kenta Maeda – LA Dodgers – at Philadelphia; at Cleveland
  6. Jason Hammel – Chicago Cubs – vs. Milwaukee; at Colorado
  7. Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros – vs. St. Louis; at Baltimore

Tier Three:

  1. Anthony DeSclafani – Cincinnati Reds – vs. Miami; vs. LA Dodgers
  2. Matt Moore – San Francisco Giants – vs. Pittsburgh; vs. NY Mets
  3. Gio Gonzalez – Washington Nationals – at Colorado; at Atlanta
  4. Ian Kennedy – Kansas City Royals – at Detroit; vs. Minnesota
  5. Ervin Santana – Minnesota Twins – at Atlanta; at Kansas City
  6. Drew Smyly – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. San Diego; vs. Texas
  7. Jeff Samardzjia – San Francisco Giants – vs. Pittsburgh; vs. NY Mets
  8. Drew Pomeranz – Boston Red Sox – at Cleveland; at Detroit

Tier Four:

  1. Bartolo Colon – New York Mets – at Arizona; at San Francisco
  2. Vince Velasquez – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. LA Dodgers; vs. St. Louis
  3. Josh Tomlin – Cleveland Indians – vs. Boston; vs. Toronto

Tier Five:

  1. David Phelps – Miami Marlins – at Cincinnati; at Pittsburgh
  2. Eduardo Rodriguez – Boston Red Sox – at Baltimore; at Detroit
  3. Braden Shipley – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. NY Mets; at San Diego
  4. Robbie Ray – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. NY Mets; at San Diego
  5. Martin Perez – Texas Rangers – vs. Oakland; at Tampa Bay
  6. Daniel Norris – Detroit Tigers – vs. Kansas City; vs. Boston
  7. Yovani Gallardo – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Boston; vs. Houston
  8. Brandon Finnegan – Cincinnati Reds – vs. Miami; vs. LA Dodgers
  9. Ryan Vogelsong – Pittsburgh Pirates – at San Francisco; vs. Miami

Tier Six:

  1. Matt Garza – Milwaukee Brewers – at Chicago Cubs; at Seattle
  2. Jorge De La Rosa – Colorado Rockies – vs. Washington; vs. Chicago Cubs
  3. Luis Perdomo – San Diego Padres – at Tampa Bay; vs. Arizona
  4. Joel De LA Cruz – Atlanta Braves – vs. Minnesota; vs. Washington
  5. Ross Detwiler – Oakland A’s – at Texas; at Chicago White Sox
  6. Ricky Nolasco – LA Angels – vs. Seattle; vs. NY Yankees
  7. Jhoulys Chacin – LA Angels – vs. Seattle; vs. NY Yankees

Notes:

  • At this point the temporary blight of Justin Verlander struggling is long forgotten. He is healthy and on pace for his most innings since 2012. In 160.1 innings so far this season he has 170 strikeouts while walking just 2.41 batters per nine innings. After struggling to start the season, a 5.46 ERA, and a rough June (4.73), Verlander has been on the mark. The right-hander had a 1.69 ERA for  July and so far in August has pitched to a 2.08 mark. Aside from 2014 and 2015, Verlander has benefited from low BABIPs across his career, and this season is no different at .265. The Tigers have managed to quiet the chatter surrounding Brad Ausmus’ job security and Verlander has victories in four of his last six starts. This week he faces the struggling Royals and the Red Sox, so chances are good that Verlander leaves the week with a victory.
  • It is safe to say that this has not been Dallas Keuchel’s year. However something good did happen to him last week despite allowing five runs in short order against the Twins, as those were swiftly erased from his record thanks to rain. Over his last seven starts he has seen his ERA drop by more than half a ran, but it still sits at 4.56 for the season. Keuchel proved last season he was a good pitcher, after all he won the Cy Young with a 2.48 ERA. Instead he has seen his BABIP jump from .269 to .304 (his career mark is .297) and his ERA to 4.56. his FIP of 3.88 shows that there should be better days ahead, as does his strand rate of 68.3%. However it was not a good development to have his strikeout rate drop by almost one per inning (8.38 to 7.66) with his walks rising by about the same margin (1.98 to 2.74). It is a tough week with the Cardinals at home and the Orioles in Baltimore, but at this point he has to be in your starting lineup.
  • San Francisco is one of the best at improving their team at the trading deadline, and this season appears to be no different.It is safe to say that the move to the National League has worked out well for Matt Moore. He is working on a streak of seven straight quality starts, and his last two have come while pitching for the Giants. During that stretch he has seen his ERA drop from 4.54 to 3.99 with his WHIP holding relatively stable at 1.28 as compared to 1.31. Moore has benefited from a .276 BABIP so far this season, and that is including his struggles in May that came with a .400 BABIP. He isn’t going to dominate opposing hitters, he is striking out 7.80 batters per nine innings with a 4.42 FIP, but he is getting results. This week he makes both of his starts at home against the Pirates and Mets so his string of quality starts should continue.
  • Essentially due to lack of other options, David Phelps is back in Miami’s rotation. That is not to discount Phelps’ performance overall this season and since the switch in roles. Phelps, who is still working to rebuild his stamina, didn’t exactly make his first start of the season in the best conditions (Coors Field), but he has allowed just one run (a Brandon Crawford home run) in 9.1 innings along with eight hits and four walks with nine strikeouts. In 52 games this season, 63.2 innings, Phelps has a 2.40 with a 1.16 WHIP along with 78 strikeouts. In facing the Reds and Pirates, although both on the road, he has two good match-ups ahead of him. At 22% ownership in CBS leagues, he is a worthy target.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez is talented, but he also been inconsistent. There is always some level of risk with young pitchers, and Rodriguez is no different. He brings a 5.43 ERA and 1.45 WHIP into this week, but in reality the damage was done in just three of his 12 starts. In those outings he allowed 19 earned runs and 23 hits in just 12.2 innings. If you remove those three starts he has allowed 49 hits in 52 innings with just 20 earned runs. In general the sample size is still small, and there is the possibility of another implosion, but his overall body of work has been better than it may appear at first glance. In Rodriguez’s last star, he went seven strong innings against the Yankees allowing just one run on three hits and a walk while striking out six. Facing the Orioles and Tigers likely won’t be easy, but Rodriguez is worth a look.

2 comments

  1. Logan says:

    Surprised to see Ray so low. Stashin just wrote an article about how he’s borderline elite right now and his matchups this week are good. Just curious what you’re seeing that I didn’t, I may need to be more cautious with him than I originally planned on.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I agree with you on Ray (and he pitched extremely well last night). Most people areound the internet appear to be cautious on him, but they coukld easily just be looking at the surface numbers in their rankings. He’s a must use in my book and has the potential to continue opening eyes. The biggest problem is his ability to go deep into games, but he’ll get there!

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