Two-Start Pitchers 2017: April 10-16: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

One week does not make a big enough sample size, but having a week’s worth of regular season action is better to use to evaluate things as opposed to Spring Training and 2016 results. We also need to be careful not to overreact in either direction.  With that in mind let’s take a look at the pitchers who will be taking the mound twice this week:

Tier One:

  1. Chris Sale – Boston Red Sox – at Detroit; vs. Tampa Bay
  2. Jacob deGrom – New York Mets – at Philadelphia; at Miami
  3. Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers – vs. Boston; at Cleveland
  4. Jon Lester – Chicago Cubs – vs. LA Dodgers; vs. Pittsburgh

Tier Two:

  1. Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians – vs. Chicago White Sox; vs. Detroit
  2. Matt Harvey – New York Mets – at Philadelphia; at Miami
  3. Cole Hamels – Texas Rangers – at LA Angels; at Seattle

Tier Three:

  1. James Paxton – Seattle Mariners – vs. Houston; vs. Texas
  2. Tanner Roark – Washington Nationals – vs. St. Louis; vs. Philadelphia
  3. J.A. Happ – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. Milwaukee; vs. Baltimore
  4. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals – at Washington; at New York Yankees

Tier Four:

  1. Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Cincinnati; at Chicago Cubs
  2. Matt Moore – San Francisco Giants – vs. Arizona; vs. Colorado
  3. Jeff Samardzija – San Francisco Giants – vs. Arizona; vs. Colorado
  4. Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles – at Boston; at Toronto
  5. Jerad Eickhoff – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. New York Mets; at Washington
  6. Charlie Morton – Houston Astros – at Seattle; at Oakland
  7. Brandon Finnegan – Cincinnati Reds – at Pittsburgh; vs. Milwaukee
  8. Alex Cobb – Tampa Bay Rays – at New York Yankees; at Boston

Tier Five:

  1. Taijuan Walker – Arizona Diamondbacks – at San Francisco; at LA Dodgers
  2. Ian Kennedy – Kansas City Royals – vs. Oakland; vs. LA Angels
  3. Drew Pomeranz – Boston Red Sox – vs. Baltimore; vs. Tampa Bay
  4. Tyler Chatwood – Colorado Rockies – vs. San Diego; at San Francisco
  5. Tyler Glasnow – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Cincinnati; at Chicago Cubs
  6. Michael Pineda – New York Yankees – vs. Tampa Bay; vs. St. Louis
  7. Jharel Cotton – Oakland A’s – at Kansas City; vs. Houston
  8. Antonio Senzatela – Colorado Rockies – vs. San Diego; at San Francisco
  9. James Shields – Chicago White Sox – at Cleveland; at Minnesota
  10. Luis Severino – New York Yankees – vs Tampa Bay; vs. St. Louis
  11. Dan Straily – Miami Marlins – vs. Atlanta; vs. New York Mets

Tier Six:

  1. Alex Wood – Los Angeles Dodgers – at Chicago Cubs; vs. Arizona
  2. Wily Peralta – Milwaukee Brewers – at Toronto; at Cincinnati
  3. Hector Santiago – Minnesota Twins – at Detroit; vs. Chicago White Sox
  4. Rookie Davis – Cincinnati Reds – at Pittsburgh; vs. Milwaukee
  5. Trevor Cahill – San Diego Padres – at Colorado; at Atlanta
  6. Matthew Boyd – Detroit Tigers – vs. Minnesota; at Cleveland

Notes: 

  • Aside from only lasting six innings, he threw 95 pitches, it’s hard to have many complaints about Jacob deGrom’s season debut. Last year was a “rough one”, although you have to put it in context with the expectations (3.04 ERA and 1.20 WHIP) as he ended the season on the disabled list after elbow surgery. Entering the season his goal was to eclipse 200 innings, and he certainly looks strong enough to do so. In his first start he limited the Braves to two hits and a walk while striking out six batters. He likely won’t be challenged too much this week even though he makes both of his starts on the road in Philadelphia and Miami.
  • One of the popular ascending stocks in drafts this winter was James Paxton. With an ERA that was substantially higher than his FIP last season (3.79 compared to 2.85), coupled with his talent, it was deserved. He now needs to stay healthy and put it all together. The southpaw got things off on the right foot last week, and he begins this week with his second straight start against the Astros. In his first start it was hard to do much better as his it was essentially identical to deGrom’s with just with one less strikeout, though Paxton’s came on the road against a much stronger lineup. This week he gets Astros once again and the Rangers (his platoon split will help against Roughned Odor and Nomar Mazara) in the friendly confines of Safeco Field.
  • It has always been more about potential than actual results for Taijuan Walker. The expectation is that a change of scenery, along with improved health after surgery to remove multiple bone chips in his foot, would lead to him reaching expectations in 2017. We also have to remember that the right-hander is still just 24 years old. Walker began his career in the National League with a victory over the Giants at home, but he did allow four runs in six innings of work. Had it not been his first start of the season it might not have looked as bad as it did as he was left with a 6.00 ERA. He allowed seven hits while striking out seven batters, but more importantly he walked just one. He faces the Giants once again this week, but it comes in San Francisco, and then ends the week facing the Dodgers, also on the road. Each lineup will offer some resistance, but Walker will also benefit from the park shift. These starts will help give us a better idea of what to expect from him this season.
  • Don’t sleep on Charlie Morton. As of Saturday afternoon he was still available in 50% of CBS leagues. After impressing this spring he held the Mariners to two runs over six innings of work in his season debut while allowing five hits and two walks. Morton, who is now fully healthy after making just four starts last year after a hamstring injury, hit 96 miles per hour with his fastball and struck out four. With a lot of divisional play to open the season he will make his second start of the season in Seattle before pitching in Oakland. Both parks should benefit the right-hander, and the A’s offense isn’t exactly imposing.
  • After a rain out on Thursday Tyler Glasnow’s season debut was pushed back and he will now be taking the mound twice this week. There are few debut’s more anticipated, as he is one of the top pitching prospects in the game with the major question being his control. We saw what Glasnow is truly capable of thanks to his 133 strikeouts and 1.87 ERA in 110.2 innings in Triple-A. It’s hard not to feel good about his season debut, at home against his Reds, but his second start of the week takes him to Wrigley Field. Any troubles with his control could lead to some serious damage, so I would tread with caution at first.
  • Last season was a tough one for Alex Wood as he battled injuries and managed just 60.3 innings; 14 games and 10 starts. Wood, who put up a 3.73 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, was slated for the bullpen but a blister issue for Rich Hill has thrust him into the rotation. The southpaw must hit the ground running, his first start of the season comes in Wrigley Field, and then he ends the week pitching at home against the Diamondbacks. Wood won’t be counted on for strikeouts, 139 in 189.2 innings in 2015, but he did strikeout 170 batters in 171.1 innings in 2014 with a 2.79 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. If he has success it will be interesting to see if he finds a way to stick in the rotation, but he is also an interesting option this week for those looking to stream starting pitching.

One comment

  1. Steve says:

    I’m torn on Matt Moore vs Arizona. Moore had 2 great starts vs Arizona last season, and he was doing well the first four innings last week before imploding (with no help from defense).

    Moore is so unpredictable, but it’s a double edge sword because he could throw 10+ K any given night.

    How do you feel about Moore tonight in San Fran vs Arizona?

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