The time is now… There are about 10 weeks left in the regular season, and those will come and go before we know it. Each week represents an opportunity to maximize your potential for wins and strikeouts, while also remaining aware of your ratios. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how our options rank among those pitchers who are taking the mound twice:
- Gerrit Cole – Houston Astros – vs. Oakland; at St. Louis
- Chris Sale – Boston Red Sox – at Tampa Bay; vs. NY Yankees
- Trevor Bauer – Cleveland Indians – at Toronto; at Kansas City
- Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals – vs. Colorado; vs. LA Dodgers
- Mike Clevinger – Cleveland Indians – at Toronto; at Kansas City
- Robbie Ray – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Baltimore; at Miami
- Yu Darvish – Chciago Cubs – at San Francisco; at Milwaukee
- Chris Paddack – San Diego Padres – at NY Mets; vs. San Francisco
- Domingo German – NY Yankees – at Minnesota; at Boston
- Dallas Keuchel – Atlanta Braves – at Kansas City; at Philadelphia
- Eduardo Rodriguez – Boston Red Sox – at Tampa Bay; vs. NY Yankees
- Sonny Gray – Cincinnati Reds – at Milwaukee; vs. Colorado
- Kyle Gibson – Minnesota Twins – vs. NY Yankees; at Chicago White Sox
- Wade Miley – Houston Astros – vs. Oakland; at St. Louis
- Dakota Hudson – St. Louis Cardinals – at Pittsburgh; vs. Houston
- Yonny Chirinos – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Boston; at Toronto
- Jon Gray – Colorado Rockies – at Washington; at Cincinnati
- Martin Perez – Minnesota Twins – vs. NY Yankees; at Chicago White Sox
- Chris Archer – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. St. Louis; at NY Mets
- Mike Fiers – Oakland A’s – at Houston; vs. Texas
- CC Sabathia – NY Yankees – at Minnesota; at Boston
- Daniel Ponce de Leon – St. Louis Cardinals – at Pittsburgh; vs. Houston
- Chase Anderson – Milwaukee Brewers – vs. Cincinnati; vs. Chicago Cubs
- Marco Gonzales – Seattle Mariners – vs. Texas; vs. Detroit
- Danny Duffy – Kansas City Royals – at Atlanta; vs. Cleveland
- Jason Vargas – NY Mets – vs. San Diego; vs. Pittsburgh
- Trevor Richards – Miami Marlins – at Chicago White Sox; vs. Arizona
- Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles – at Arizona; at LA Angels
- Shaun Anderson – San Francisco Giants – vs. Chicago Cubs; at San Diego
- Peter Lambert – Colorado Rockies – at Washington; at Cincinnati
- Ryan Borucki – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. Cleveland; vs. Tampa Bay
- Homer Bailey – Oakland A’s – at Houston; vs. Texas
- Ivan Nova – Chicago White Sox – vs. Miami; vs. Minnesota
- Spencer Turnbull – Detroit Tigers – vs. Philadelphia; at Seattle
- Aaron Brooks – Baltimore Orioles – at Arizona; at LA Angels
- Dario Agrazal – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. St. Louis; at NY Mets
- Jesse Chavez – Texas Rangers – at Seattle; at Oakland
- Dylan Covey – Chicago White Sox – vs. Miami; vs. Minnesota
- While we are still waiting for the Indians to take the training wheels off Mike Clevinger and let him get deep into the game, his disastrous debut against the Orioles is certainly behind him. When he returned to action he promptly gave up seven runs in 1.2 innings, but since then he has allowed two runs in 17 innings over his last three starts. In his most recent start Clevinger truly was dominant, as he picked up his third victory of the season against Detroit striking out 12 batters as he generated 23 swinging strikes. Of that 16 came on his breaking pitches, and for the season he has 58 strikeouts in 35.1 innings to go along with his 3.57 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. This week he faces the Blue Jays and Royals, so there is no reason why he can’t continue his success.
- At this point it is unknown where Robbie Ray will be pitching in August, but we know that he will be striking out his share of batters. The knock, and it likely will follow him although certain teams might be able to refine him, has been his control though it hasn’t appeared to cause a problem with his overall results. Despite walking 57 batters in 117 innings, Ray has been able to limit the damage to a 3.92 ERA (though that also entails having to absorb his 1.30 WHIP). Ray has already struck out 152 batters and having him take the mound twice this week could give you a nice boost. The fact that he is doing so against the Orioles and Marlins is a positive, as is the fact that in his last three starts he has walked just eight batters.
- If you look at the overall body of work, a 4.11 ERA with a 3.85 xFIP is pretty respectable. Add in a strikeout an inning and things are we are looking at a middle to back end of the fantasy rotation option. Despite Jon Gray’s 5.71 ERA in his last three starts, for the most part the results have been pretty good for the talented, if not erratic at times, right-hander. What is a little surprising is that Gray’s ERA on the road (4.29) is actually worse than his his ERA at home (3.90). This makes him a little more difficult, as we can’t just blindly say to start him on the road and sit him at Coors Field, and instead he is a week by week option. While he is facing the Nationals and Reds, if Gray is on your roster, which he should be, then you have to be starting him.
- Finally… This is the Yu Darvish we have been waiting and looking for. We know the right-hander is capable of pitching to a high level, and over his last three starts it has happened. Over this stretch he has a 1.93 ERA in 18.2 innings with just one walk and 21 strikeouts. Darvish has gotten his ERA for the season down to 4.46 (with a WHIP of 1.24), and he is no longer a buy-low candidate. In 20 starts he has just three victories, but if he keeps on pitching like this they should come. With an overall 4.13 walks per innings, it is a good sign that Darvish appeared to improve his command over his last three starts. In fact he hasn’t walked more than three batters in a game since June 5th, and he is striking out 10.40 batters per nine innings. This is why we kept him on our rosters for the whole season.
- It doesn’t get any better for Chris Paddack after he flirted with a no-hitter in his last start, but it’s clear that his mid-season rest in the minor leagues has done him good. In the Mets and Giants he shouldn’t have an issue with his opponents, and in his last four starts he has allowed just four runs. The Padres are still going to be careful with him when it comes to pitch counts and innings limits, but he does have 95 strikeouts in 90 innings so overpowering the opposition is not an issue. He has a 2.70 ERA and 0.87 WHIP, and it’s hard to ask for anything more from him. He has benefited from a .209 BABIP, a 3.76 FIP illustrates that, but it is clear that opposing hitters haven’t had much luck.
- What do we make of Dario Agrazal? In four starts with the Pirates he is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA, so that certainly has our attention. The fact that he is 11% owned in CBS leagues also helps, and catching him in a week where is making two starts isn’t a bad thing. With a 1.35 WHIP base runners (21 hits and seven walks in 22 innings) are always lurking, though he has done well to limit the damage. With that being said, it shouldn’t be surprising that Agrazal’s FIP is 5.72, and he has an xFIP of 6.65. The rookie only has seven strikeouts, so he isn’t exactly missing bats. Agrazal has never been a strikeout threat in the minor leagues, and I will be staying away.