No matter what we do with pitching this season,it seems like we just can’t get ahead. Whether it’s another injury (like Tyler Glasnow) or just a poor performance, things require just that much more effort. Whatever you do don’t get cocky, as things can change in an instant. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been strong pitching performances, and there are pitchers who have been succeeding, but there is an extra level of stress involved.
With that in mind let’s take a look at who is taking the mound twice this week and how they rank:
- Aaron Nola – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. Milwaukee; vs. Colorado
- Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians – at Chicago White Sox; vs. Baltimore
- Jose Berrios – Minnesota Twins – vs. LA Angels; at Seattle
- Charlie Morton – Tampa Bay Rays – at Miami; at NY Yankees
- Shane Bieber – Cleveland Indians – at Chicago White Sox; vs. Baltimore
- Kyle Hendricks – Chicago Cubs – at Cincinnati; at Washington
- Matthew Boyd – Detroit Tigers – vs. Houston; vs. Oakland
- Luke Weaver – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Pittsburgh; vs. San Francisco
- Robbie Ray – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Pittsburgh; vs. San Francisco
- Jack Flaherty – St. Louis Cardinals – at Atlanta; at Texas
- Brandon Woodruff – Milwaukee Brewers – at Philadelphia; at Atlanta
- Brad Peacock – Houston Astros – at Detroit; at Boston
- Yusel Kikuchi – Seattle Mariners – vs. Oakland; vs. Minnesota
- Jerad Eickhoff – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. Milwaukee; vs. Colorado
- Mike Foltynewicz – Atlanta Braves – vs. St. Louis; vs. Milwaukee
- Kyle Gibson – Minnesota Twins – vs. LA Angels; at Seattle
- Joe Musgrove – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Arizona; at San Diego
- Tyler Skaggs – LA Angels – at Minnesota; vs. Kansas City
- Mike Fiers – Oakland A’s – at Seattle; at Detroit
- Reynaldo Lopez – Chicago White Sox – vs. Cleveland; vs. Toronto
- Sonny Gray – Cincinnati Reds – vs. Chicago Cubs; vs. LA Dodgers
- Danny Duffy – Kansas City Royals – vs. Texas; at LA Angels
- Trent Thornton – Toronto Blue Jays – at San Francisco; at Chicago White Sox
- Kyle Freeland – Colorado Rockies – at Boston; at Philadelphia
- Freddy Peralta – Milwaukee Brewers – at Philadelphia; at Atlanta
- Jeremy Hellickson – Washington Nationals – vs. NY Mets; vs. Chicago Cubs
- Nick Kingham – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Arizona; at San Diego
- Andrew Cashner – Baltimore Orioles – at NY Yankees; at Cleveland
- Manny Banuelos – Chicago White Sox – vs. Cleveland; vs. Toronto
- Jonathan Loaisiga – NY Yankees – vs. Baltimore; vs. Tampa Bay
- Wilmer Font – NY Mets – at Washington; at Miami
- David Hess – Baltimore Orioles – at NY Yankees; at Cleveland
- Shelby Miller – Texas Rangers – at Kansas City; vs. St. Louis
- Ryan Carpenter – Detroit Tigers – vs. Houston; vs. Oakland
- After a rough start things have gotten better for Aaron Nola. Considering he entered 2019 as one of the top starting pitching option this shouldn’t exactly be a surprise, and it is one of many examples as to why you shouldn’t overreact to the first few weeks. Over his last three starts Nola is sporting a 1.47 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 18.1 innings. The fact that he takes the mound twice this week works in your favor from a fantasy perspective, as he looks to improve upon his overall 4.57 ERA. While things didn’t go according to plan to start the season, he has struck out 45 batters in 43.1 innings. We are still waiting for him to get out of the seventh inning, 6.2 is his longest start, but he has come a long way from the 7.45 ERA he had after his April 15th start against the Mets. As long as he continues to limit both the walks and strikeouts, we should get closer to his 3.88 xFIP and what was expected of him on draft day.
- Facing the Astros is never easy, and while I’m going to downgrade Matt Boyd a little bit it doesn’t mean he is going to come out of my lineup. The fact that he is making two starts this week, the second is at home against Oakland, helps as the left-hander has the opportunity to make for any trouble he gets into against Houston. That is based on the 24 strikeouts Boyd has in his last 19 innings of work and the fact that he is currently striking out 11.26 batters per nine innings. On its own that is impressive, but Boyd is doing it while walking just 1.97 batters. His ERA is 2.86 and based on his FIP (2.29) and xFIP (3.39) that is a pretty average indication of what we can expect. So far he is also seeing a considerable increase in his ground ball rate (29% to 38.7%), with the majority of that corresponding to a decrease in fly ball percentage, and hitters are getting line drives off Boyd at a rate of just 18.5%.
- The move to Arizona has worked out for Luke Weaver so far, and he continues to have success. Weaver has yet to allow more than three runs in a start (only twice), and for the season his ERA sits at 2.98. With a 1.06 WHIP he is also keeping the traffic of the bases while striking out 50 batters in 45.1 innings. While Weaver is striking out two more batters per inning than he did last season, the critical thing is the fact that he cut his walks down from 3.56 to 1.99. Aside from increasing the use of his cutter, 4.8% to 14.4%, the improved control is really the big difference we are seeing . This is also a favorable week as he faces the Pirates and Giants.
- Brandon Woodruff showed earlier this season that he can be a good hitter, but the pitching is now coming along as well. A 3-0 record with a 1.69 ERA in his last three starts will do that for you. Each match-up, on the road against the Phillies and Braves, should present some level of a challenge but the strikeouts alone are worth the starting spot. While Woodruff’s WHIP of 1.37 is alarming, the fact that he is walking just 2.55 batters per nine innings works in his favor. If you really want to find the culprit for his WHIP and 4.25 ERA, we don’t have to look any further than his .385 BABIP. That helps to explain his 2.86 FIP and 3.30 xFIP, and if anything he might be an intriguing buy low option.
- Another young pitcher who didn’t garner much attention on draft day, but has been impressive as of late, is Kyle Gibson. While he hasn’t really gotten the opportunity to take advantage of the weak competition in the AL Central, he has faced both the Blue Jays and Orioles twice. After giving up five runs to the Royals in his first start of the season things have improved each start, and his ERA is down to 4.19. While Gibson’s xFIP is 3.50, I’m not sure we can expect him to pitch to that level on a continuous basis as the home run ball is often an issue. This week he faces the Angels and a Mariners team that has slowed down offensively. The fact that he strikes out a batter an inning helps to maintain the right-hander’s value.
- At 36% ownership Danny Duffy will likely be a popular waiver wire add this week. The left-hander has made three starts and he picked up his first victory against the Astros earlier this week. In his three starts he has allowed three, one, and two runs respectively while striking out 12 batters. Last season he had a 4.88 ERA after putting up a 3.51 and 3.81 ERA in the two years prior. His true success is going to be whether or not he can improve upon the four batters per nine innings he walked last season. So far in 2019 he is striking out about six batters per nine innings and that is a situation to watch as his FIP is 4.59. I would tread carefully.