Two-Start Pitchers 2017: April 17-23: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

Just like that we are halfway through the first month of the season, but don’t fret as we still have five and half months to go. Keep in mind that with Patriot’s Day on Monday in Boston, we have an earlier deadline than usual for lineup submission.

Let’s take a look at the pitchers who will be taking the mound twice this week and where the peaks and valleys can be found. With some teams playing five games, and a lot of aces pitching this past weekend, you will see a dip in quality pretty quickly. However that doesn’t mean there isn’t value to be found, just know the risk and tread carefully.

Tier One:

  1. Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals – at Atlanta; at New York Mets
  2. Yu Darvish – Texas Rangers – at Oakland; vs. Kansas City

Tier Two:

  1. Marcus Stroman – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. Boston; at LA Angels
  2. Michael Fulmer – Detroit Tigers – at Tampa Bay; at Minnesota

Tier Three:

  1. John Lackey – Chicago Cubs – vs. Milwaukee; at Cincinnati
  2. Danny Salazar – Cleveland Indians – at Minnesota; at Chicago White Sox
  3. Kevin Gausman – Baltimore Orioles – at Cincinnati; vs. Boston

Tier Four:

  1. Ivan Nova – Pittsburgh Pirates – at St. Louis; vs. New York Yankees
  2. Mike Leake – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. Pittsburgh; at Milwaukee
  3. Robbie Ray – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Los Angeles Dodgers; vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
  4. Lance Lynn – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. Pittsburgh; at Milwaukee

Tier Five:

  1. Joe Musgrove – Houston Astros – vs. Los Angeles Angels; at Tampa Bay
  2. Amir Garrett – Cincinnati Reds – vs. Baltimore; vs. Chicago Cubs
  3. Jimmy Nelson – Milwaukee Brewers – at Chicago Cubs; vs. St. Louis
  4. Blake Snell – Tampa Bay Rays – at Boston; vs Houston
  5. Shelby Miller – Arizona Diamondbacks – at San Diego; vs Los Angeles Dodgers
  6. Mike Foltynewicz – Atlanta Braves – vs. Washington; at Philadelphia
  7. Zack Wheeler – New York Mets – vs. Philadelphia; vs. Washington
  8. Jordan Montgomery – New York Yankees – vs. Chicago White Sox; at Pittsburgh
  9. Chase Anderson – Milwaukee Brewers – at Chicago Cubs; vs. St. Louis
  10. Jason Hammel – Kansas City Royals – vs. San Francisco; at Texas
  11. Brandon McCarthy – Los Angeles Dodgers – vs. Arizona; at Arizona
  12. Tom Koehler – Miami Marlins – at Seattle; at San Diego
  13. Jamie Garcia – Atlanta Braves – vs. San Diego; at Philadelphia
  14. Andrew Triggs – Oakland A’s – vs. Texas; vs. Seattle
  15. Steven Wright – Boston Red Sox – vs. Tampa Bay; at Baltimore
  16. Derek Holland – Chicago White Sox – at New York Yankees; vs. Cleveland
  17. Eduardo Rodriguez – Boston Red Sox – at Toronto; at Baltimore
  18. Mike Fiers – Houston Astros – vs. Los Angeles; at Tampa Bay
  19. Phil Hughes – Minnesota Twins – vs. Cleveland; vs. Detroit
  20. Matt Andriese – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Detroit; vs. Houston

Tier Six:

  1. Ariel Miranda – Seattle Mariners  – vs. Miami; at Oakland
  2. Kyle Freeland – Colorado Rockies – at Los Angeles Dodgers; vs San Francisco
  3. Josh Tomlin – Cleveland Indians – at Minnesota; at Chicago White Sox
  4. Ricky Nolasco – Los Angeles Angels – at Houston; vs. Toronto
  5. Kyle Gibson – Minnesota Twins – vs. Cleveland; vs. Detroit
  6. Jesse Hahn – Oakland A’s – vs. Texas; vs. Seattle
  7. A.J. Griffin – Texas Rangers – at Oakland; vs. Kansas City
  8. Clay Buchholz – Philadelphia Phillies – at New York Mets; vs. Atlanta
  9. Jered Weaver – San Diego Padres – at Atlanta; vs. Miami
  10. Jesse Chavez – Los Angeles Angels – at Houston; vs. Toronto
  11. Yovani Gallardo – Seattle Mariners – vs. Miami; at Oakland
  12. Zach Lee – San Diego Padres – vs. Arizona; vs. Miami

Notes:

  • On the surface there is a lot to like about Robbie Ray, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. We know all about his strikeout ability and his upside, but it comes with risk. You simply can’t talk about Ray without bringing up his control, or lack thereof. Pitching in Arizona has also proven to be difficult for the southpaw. That is where he opened the season, against the Giants, as he came a third of an inning short of quality start while allowing three runs on three hits and three walks. He followed that up with 6.2 scoreless innings in San Francisco in which he got into a little more trouble; four hits and five walks. That is always the concern, and he was lucky to dance his way out of trouble. This week he faces the Dodgers twice, once at home and once on the road, and we likely can expect more of the same. While Los Angeles’ lineup does pack a little more punch than the Giants, and will likely make him pay for any control issues, the strikeout upside is too much to ignore at this point in the season.
  • Can you really bench a pitcher who has a 1.42 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP? In reality it’s your team and you can do anything you want, and at times its certainly understandable. Amir Garrett has two major league starts under his belt, and both have been victories. After being promoted to Triple-A last season the inexperienced hurler (Garrett played college basketball) had some issues adjusting, but so far that hasn’t been the case in ’17. Garrett has allowed just two runs in 12.2 innings of work against the Cardinals and Pirates (both on the road), and now he makes his first two starts at home (against the Orioles and Cubs). Both offenses have the potential to explode, especially in the Great American Ballpark, and I would tread carefully. He could continue the success, and I like his forecast for this season, but it likely won’t be a smooth ride.
  • We must resist the urge to overrate a pitcher simply because he pitches in Oakland. The next candidate to fall prey to that is Andrew Triggs. Last season he didn’t do much too stand out from the pack, a 4.31 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 56.1 innings, and I would expect to see more of the same moving forward. Sure he will still have success, but it won’t be as smooth of a ride as you have thought from his first two starts. While he is 2-0 and hasn’t allowed a run in 11.2 innings, Triggs has just four strikeouts. Yes he is facing the Rangers and Mariners at home this week, but it is unlikely he will continue his scoreless streak.
  • This week is shaping up to be a tough one for Blake Snell. First he travels to Fenway Park to face a Red Sox team that will likely be at full strength, and then he faces an always difficult (and right-handed heavy) Houston squad. It is never a good sign when a pitcher has more walks than strikeouts, but that is the case with the southpaw (eight walks and six strikeouts). If an owner becomes inpatient after some struggles this week, there could be a buying opportunity.
  • So far this week there is a lot of risk, but also some reward. It is earlier in the season, so we could afford to take a little more risk when it comes to ERA and WHIP, but at the same time you don’t want to dig yourself into a hole. One low owned option worth a potential look is Jordan Montgomery. The Yankees’ hurler is owned in 30% of CBS leagues, and wasn’t even on New York’s radar for most of Spring Training. He pitched himself into consideration and took his first turn in the rotation last week against Tampa Bay. He allowed two runs in 4.2 innings on five hits and two walks while striking out seven. While he wasn’t found on many top prospect lists, Mongtomery knows how to pitch and got results throughout the minor leagues. The fact that his first start of the week is against the White Sox is also a bonus, and then he follows that up against the Pirates.

4 comments

  1. Carlito says:

    Heres two for you,

    1. Jimmie Nelson? Looks greta so far. Take a shot?

    2. Why does everyone keep saying Gausman is getting two starts? Orioles website has him going Wed not Tues.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      1) Worth grabbing and seeing if he can maintain it

      2) I’ve seen him listed on Tuesday, due to Monday’s off day

  2. Powder P says:

    Where would you put Cotton now that he will get 2 starts?

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