Two-Start Pitchers 2018: May 7-13: Ranking The Options & Finding Those Worthy (Mikolas, Darvish & More)

by Ray Kuhn

While there are options this week, some stronger than others, it might be best not hone in those pitchers taking the mound twice as there is also a lot of risk (even at the top of the rankings).  Let’s take a look at how our choices rank for this week and try to determine who should be trusted and who should be avoided:

 

Tier One:

  1. Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians – at Detroit; at Houston
  2. Jose Quintana – Chicago Cubs – vs. Atlanta; at Cincinnati

Tier Two:

  1. Sean Manaea – Oakland A’s – at Boston; at Toronto
  2. Patrick Corbin – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Milwaukee; at NY Mets
  3. Lance McCullers – Houston Astros – at LA Angels; vs. Cleveland
  4. Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves – at Chicago Cubs; vs. Miami
  5. Yu Darvish – Chicago Cubs – at Atlanta; at Cincinnati
  6. Rick Porcello – Boston Red Sox – vs. Oakland; vs. Baltimore
  7. Miles Mikolas – St. Louis Cardinals – at Minnesota; vs. Philadelphia

Tier Three:

  1. Alex Wood – LA Dodgers – at Miami; at Washington
  2. Mike Foltynewicz – Atlanta Braves – vs. Chicago Cubs; vs. Miami

Tier Four:

  1. Joey Lucchesi – San Diego Padres – vs. Colorado; at Pittsburgh
  2. Jake Odorizzi – Minnesota Twins – vs. Seattle; vs. Milwaukee
  3. Tyler Anderson – Colorado Rockies – at San Diego; at San Francisco
  4. Tyler Chatwood – Chicago Cubs – at Atlanta; at Cincinnati
  5. Reynaldo Lopez – Chicago White Sox – at Pittsburgh; vs. Texas

Tier Five:

  1. Tyler Mahle – Cincinnati Reds – at San Francisco; vs. Chicago Cubs
  2. Zack Wheeler – New York Mets – vs. Toronto; vs. Arizona
  3. Eduardo Rodriguez – Boston Red Sox – vs. Oakland; vs. Baltimore
  4. Andrew Heaney – LA Angels – vs. Houston; vs. Tampa Bay
  5. Daniel Mengden – Oakland A’s – at Boston; at Toronto
  6. Trevor Williams – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Chicago White Sox; vs. San Diego
  7. Junior Guerra – Milwaukee Brewers – at Arizona; at Minnesota
  8. Ty Blach – San Francisco Giants – vs. Cincinnati; vs. Colorado
  9. Chris Stratton – San Francisco Giants – vs. Cincinnati; vs. Colorado
  10. Wei-Yin Chen – Miami Marlins – vs. LA Dodgers; at Atlanta
  11. Mike Fiers – Detroit Tigers – vs. Cleveland; at Seattle
  12. Jamie Garcia – Toronto Blue Jays – at NY Mets; vs. Oakland
  13. Andrew Cashner – Texas Rangers – vs. Philadelphia; at Boston
  14. Mike Minor – Texas Rangers – at Seattle; at Chicago White Sox

Tier Six:

  1. Sal Romano – Cincinnati Reds – at San Francisco; vs. Chicago Cubs
  2. Wade LeBlanc – Seattle Mariners – at Minnesota; vs. Detroit
  3. Ryan Yarbrough – Tampa Bay Rays – at Kansas City; at LA Angels
  4. Eric Skoglund – Kansas City Royals – vs. Tampa Bay; vs. NY Yankees

Notes:

  • Is now the time to sell on Patrick Corbin? There is no argument about the success the southpaw has had, but can we expect it to continue for the rest of the season? On the surface it is a little troubling that his velocity has been down over his last two starts, but we have yet to see a performance dip. While Corbin’s ERA in his last three starts is just 2.55, he has sat more in the 89-90 mph range as opposed to being closer to 93 miles per hour to begin the season. His FIP is still 2.94 despite a BABIP of .217, and overall it’s hard to argue with success. Perhaps his start to the season was too good to be true as he has been dealing with some command issues as of late as he has walked seven batters over his last three starts (against 19 strikeouts). This week Corbin faces the Brewers and the Mets, and there is no reason not to continue having faith. At the same time I would like to see the velocity decline correct itself.
  • I guess I was wrong. Going into, and during the beginning, of Spring Training I didn’t exactly have faith in Miles Mikolas but he has proven me wrong. Currently he is sporting a 5-0 record and the right-hander’s ERA is 2.51 to go along with a 0.96 WHIP. Overall,Mikolas has walked three batters in 46.2 innings, and it makes up for the fact that he isn’t an overpowering strikeout threat (35 K). While his 3.50 FIP and 3.10 xFIP do allow for some regression, we are still dealing with a solid starting pitcher,and it’s hard to argue with the results. After a 40.2% ground ball rate in 2014, his last in the major leagues, Mikolas is generating ground balls so far this season at a rate of 53.5%. While his .257 BABIP will likely begin to rise at some pointn, the right-hander has still shown that he can be a solid option for your rotation.
  • Yu Darvish is expected to return from the DL on Tuesday, and he  can ‘t be any worse than he has been to start the season. Or can he? He takes an ERA of 6.00 into this week , but he does have a FIP of 5.09 and his xFIP is even more attractive at 4.09. Perhaps the brief rest will work and it’s clear it’s too early to panic on the right-hander. While Darvish does have 20 strikeouts over his last 15 innings, the issue is that he also has nine walks in that stretch. Overall control has been an issue as he has walked 4.80 batters per nine innings, but on the bright side you have to like his 11.10 strikeouts per nine innings. Darvish’s 20% home run to fly ball rate should regress back to his career norm of 12.3% and that, along with an improvement in his control, should be enough to expect a bounce back.
  • If you are looking for a perfect pitching option, they tend to be difficult to find. Tyler Anderson falls into that category as you have to take the good with the bad. For starters you have to like the match-ups for this week as he faces the Padres and Giants on the road. Over his last three starts Anderson’s control has been improved with 3 BB against 13 strikeouts in 13.1 innings. Length really hasn’t been his strong suit, with one start of seven innings, and he logged just 38.1 innings in his eights starts; although one of those starts was 1.1 innings due to injuries. While his ERA is 4.23, with a WHIP of 1.33, he allowed seven runs in his first start of the season, four runs in his most recent start and then a combined seven runs in his other six starts. There certainly are worse options.
  • There’s a lot to like about Tyler Mahle, but there’s also a great deal to be apprehensive about, but there is enough here in a two start week (at San Francisco and at home against the Cubs) to warrant a look depending on your roster situation. In his last three starts, and this is sure to get your attention, Mahle has a 2.08 ERA. The rookie has 44 strikeouts in 44.1 innings this season, and his ratios are a good indication of the mixed bag he presents; 3.86 ERA, 4.89 FIP, 4.02 xFIP. What is troubling is his ground ball rate of just 37.7% and both his .274 BABIP and 83.3% strand rate allow for some regression.
  • If you are looking for streaming options this week, the lower end options aren’t going to generate much in the way of confidence. Currently Zack Wheeler at 38% is as low as I’m willing to go. While the right-hander hasn’t exactly been dominant in his six starts, it’s really his second to last start against the Rockies that’s the biggest problem. In that outing he just never got going, and he ultimately allowed eight runs. Overall he has a 5.03 ERA and 4.19 FIP, and in his last start (albeit against the Reds) Wheeler generated a cause for optimism. After working on changes to his routine he allowed just one run over six innings on four hits and three walks. Now he looks to build on that with two starts at home against Toronto and Arizona (though Saturday’s rain out could cost Wheeler his two starts).

8 comments

  1. Don says:

    To pick up Darvish should I drop Lucchesi , Soroka or Buehler? Thanks

  2. The Old Professor says:

    Was offered conforto and Darvish for Wacha and Encarnacion. I can use the pitching help but I’m not sure i see the upgrade from Wacha to Darvish.. Your thoughts?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Yeam if Darvish had shown signs I’d probably pull the trigger but as of today it’s just not worth it

  3. D.Mo says:

    Hi Professor,

    I love the Cubs…has that blinded me whereas IMMEDIATELY I benched Quintana (in favor of W.Buehler) when I saw he matches up vs hot hitting Atlanta and in Cincinnati…!?!?

    What am I missing that has you placing Q in Tier 1? I view him as Tier 4/5…

    Thank you.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Oh, I agree with you (and idsagree with Ray). A Quintana who is pitching well wouldn’t be a Tier 1 option for me (though I’m notoriously lower on him than most). I’m not against benching him in favor of a 1 start Buehler (who has a favorable matchup)

  4. Mark says:

    Who do you see having a better rest of the season between rafael devers and justin turner now that hes back? In a points league

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