Two-Start Pitchers 2018: May 28 – June 3: Ranking The Options & Finding Those Worthy (Velasquez, Koch & More)

by Ray Kuhn

Thanks to Memorial Day we have a full slate of baseball on deck this week. We also close out the second full month of the season, and as we look to June it is time for reflection about your place in the standings and your plan moving forward. Let’s take a look at your options if you are looking to maximize your starts this week:

 

Tier One:

  1. Justin Verlander – Houston Astros – at NY Yankees; vs. Boston
  2. Jacob deGrom – New York Mets – at Atlanta; vs. Chicago Cubs
  3. Charlie Morton – Houston Astros – at NY Yankees; vs. Boston

Tier Two:

  1. Jon Lester – Chicago Cubs – at Pittsburgh; at NY Mets
  2. Jake Arrieta – Philadelphia Phillies – at LA Dodgers; at San Francisco
  3. Gio Gonzalez – Washington Nationals – at Baltimore; at Atlanta
  4. Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays – at Oakland; at Seattle
  5. Luke Weaver – St. Louis Cardinals – at Milwaukee; vs. Pittsburgh
  6. David Price – Boston Red Sox – vs. Toronto; at Houston

Tier Three:

  1. Michael Wacha – St. Louis Cardinals – at Milwaukee; vs. Pittsburgh
  2. Kenta Maeda – LA Dodgers – vs. Philadelphia; at Colorado
  3. Mike Clevinger – Cleveland Indians – vs. Chicago White Sox; at Minnesota
  4. Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Washington; vs. NY Yankees
  5. Tyson Ross – San Diego Padres – vs. Miami; vs. Cincinnati
  6. Michael Fulmer – Detroit Tigers – vs. LA Angels; vs. Toronto
  7. Rick Porcello – Boston Red Sox – vs. Toronto; at Houston

Tier Four:

  1. Vince Velasquez – Philadelphia Phillies – at LA Dodgers; at San Francisco
  2. Tyler Skaggs – LA Angels – at Detroit; vs. Texas
  3. Aaron Sanchez – Toronto Blue Jays – at Boston; at Detroit
  4. Jake Junis – Kansas City Royals – vs. Minnesota; vs. Oakland
  5. Jeremy Hellickson – Washington Nationals – at Baltimore; at Atlanta
  6. Marco Gonzales – Seattle Mariners – vs. Texas; vs. Tampa Bay
  7. Steven Matz – New York Mets – at Atlanta; vs. Chicago Cubs
  8. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners – vs. Texas; vs. Tampa Bay

Tier Five:

  1. Matthew Boyd – Detroit Tigers – vs. LA Angels; vs. Toronto
  2. Brandon McCarthy – Atlanta Braves – vs. NY Mets; vs. Gio Gonzalez
  3. Caleb Smith – Miami Marlins – at San Diego; at Arizona
  4. Tyler Chatwood – Chicago Cubs – at Pittsburgh; at NY Mets
  5. Dan Straily – Miami Marlins – at San Diego; at Arizona
  6. Chad Kuhl – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Chicago Cubs; at St. Louis
  7. CC Sabathia – New York Yankees – vs. Houston; at Baltimore
  8. Nick Tropeano – LA Angels – at Detroit; vs. Texas
  9. Lance Lynn – Minnesota Twins – at Kansas City; vs. Cleveland
  10. Brent Suter – Milwaukee Brewers – vs. St. Louis; at Chicago White Sox
  11. Adam Plutko – Cleveland Indians – vs. Chicago White Sox; at Minnesota
  12. Ivan Nova – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Chicago Cubs; at St. Louis
  13. Matt Koch – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Cincinnati; vs. Miami
  14. Doug Fister – Texas Rangers – at Seattle; at LA Angels
  15. Chad Bettis – Colorado Rockies – vs. San Francisco; vs. LA Dodgers
  16. Alex Cobb – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Washington; vs. NY Yankees
  17. Kyle Gibson – Minnesota Twins – at Kansas City; vs. Cleveland
  18. Dylan Covey – Chicago White Sox – at Cleveland; vs. Milwaukee

Tier Six:

  1. Homer Bailey – Cincinnati Reds – at Arizona; at San Diego
  2. Daniel Gossett – Oakland A’s – vs. Tampa Bay; at Kansas City
  3. Domingo German – New York Yankees – vs. Houston; at Baltimore
  4. Andrew Suarez – San Francisco Giants – at Colorado; vs. Philadelphia
  5. Eric Lauer – San Diego Padres – vs. Miami; vs. Cincinnati
  6. Austin Bibens-Dirkx – Texas Rangers – at Seattle; at LA Angels

Notes:

  • This may sound crazy to say, and I certainly don’t want to jinx anything, but a Mets’ pitcher has appeared to emerge from a minor injury unscathed. It’s also a little surprising for a minor, temporary injury, to remain as such. After Jacob deGrom’s last two starts that certainly is the case. The right-hander threw seven innings in each of those outings while striking out 13 Diamondback hitters to pick up his fourth win of the season before following that up with eight strikeouts against the Marlins. In those two starts deGrom allowed just one run on 10 hits while only walking two batters. So far he has 77 strikeouts in 58.1 innings while he is establishing himself as an ace. It’s hard not to look at the right-hander as the best pitcher in New York’s rotation, even though Noah Syndergaard receives more attention, considering his 1.54 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. He does have two solid opponents, Atlanta and the Cubs, but he should prove to be up to task.
  • Mike Clevinger’s week will certainly be an improvement on his last two starts. The right-hander has to be pleased that he is no longer facing the Astros. In 11.2 innings he allowed eight runs against Houston, and it could have been a lot worse considering the traffic on the bases; 15 hits and seven walks. Clevinger did manage to pick up 10 strikeouts, but his 3.32 ERA and WHIP of 1.22 reflect that damage. This week’s opponents, the White Sox and Twins, should offer a respite as he looks to get back on track. The two factors that have led to his early season success are his improved walk rate (2.91 per nine innings compared to 4.44 last season) and ground ball rate (47.2% compared to 39.5%). Don’t let his struggles against the Astros impact your outlook on him.
  • At this point I think it is safe to assume that David Price’s “carpel tunnel” issues (or just not wanting to face the Yankees in the Bronx) are past him. In his last three starts the southpaw is 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA and has given the Red Sox length with a 20.1 innings to go with 23 strikeouts while walking just six. While Price isn’t the same pitcher he was in the prime of his career, he also isn’t going to turn out to be a dud in his second season with Boston. Overall Price has a 4.08 ERA with a 3.76 FIP, and that certainly is enough to leave him in your lineup each week. The fact that his second start does come in Houston (after facing Toronto at home) is a little concerning, but the good still outweighs the bad. His 8.63 strikeouts per nine innings is right in line with his career mark of 8.64. Natural regression should improve Price’s 67.6% strand rate, and the southpaw just needs to get the walks down (3.45 per nine innings compared to his career average of 2.33), but this might be the new normal for the southpaw.
  • It’s hard to ignore Vincent Velasquez’s strikeout ability. In his last three starts, not only does he have a 2.16 ERA but he has 26 strikeouts in 16.1 innings. Overall, Velasquez is striking out 11.15 batters per nine innings, and that is something that can be a tremendous advantage in a week where he is making two starts. The fact that he is facing the Dodgers and Giants, two struggling offenses in pitcher’s parks, also is a plus. Velasquez has exhibited pretty solid control as he is walking just 3.31 batters per nine innings. With an overall ERA of 4.18 ERA, and an xFIP of 3.69, this might be the season we see him truly take the next step.
  • If you are looking to stream pitchers Matt Koch is an interesting option. For starters he has two favorable opponents in the Reds and the Marlins. Overall his ERA of 3.77 is also appealing. However, over his last three starts Koch is 0-3 with a 6.11 ERA in 17.2 innings with just eight strikeouts while walking five batters. A closer look at Koch’s ERA doesn’t generate much optimism as his FIP is 5.71 with an xFIP of 4.82. The lack of strikeouts are an issue, just 5.23 per nine innings, but he does do a good job of limiting walks (2.51). Koch’s .222 BABIP is bound to rise, but he has managed to have success and neither opponent should generate much of a threat. Streaming Koch this week is a risk/reward decision based on chasing wins; but if he does get blown up you won’t get the benefit in the strikeout department.
  • Another interesting option is Dan Straily. After starting the season on the disabled list the right-hander now has five starts under his belt for the Marlins. It is a risk/reward proposition, and perhaps the worst thing for him is that the Marlins don’t give him much of a chance at being victorious. The fact that as of Saturday afternoon he was owned in just 32% of CBS leagues does help as does his opponents for the week; San Diego and Arizona. So far his ERA is a solid 3.12 but it is his WHIP of 1.38 that presents some risk. Straily is not a strikeout pitcher, just 19, adding to the risk.

4 comments

  1. larry womack says:

    Need to drop a pitcher-
    G. Richards, Flaherty, Pivetta or Mikolas-who would you drop to add Reyes off DL?

    Thanks and have a great day tomorrow.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’d probably say Flaherty, as I still believe in the upside of the others (mostly Richards/Mikolas). That said, Flaherty would be a tough drop. Any chance of trading?

  2. Royal Pig says:

    Is Kingham a decent 2 start option if he fills in for Nova?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *