Two-Start Pitchers 2019: September 9-15: Ranking The Options & Finding Those Worthy (Jordan Lyles, James Paxton & More)

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We are now at the point in the season where there is some doubt and unknown. Teams now have very different goals, and in a lot of cases, it might not necessarily be tied to winning the game at hand. There are some interesting lineups taking the field, innings counts are coming into play, and some banged up players are being handled with greater caution. Under the notion that things are subject to change, let’s take a look at how our options rank among those pitchers taking the mound twice:

Tier One:

  1. Jacob deGrom – NY Mets – vs. Arizona; vs. LA Dodgers
  2. Zack Greinke – Houston Astros – vs. Oakland; at Kansas City
  3. Shane Bieber – Cleveland Indians – at LA Angels; vs. Minnesota
  4. Aaron Nola – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. Atlanta; vs. Boston

Tier Two:

  1. Jose Berrios – Minnesota Twins – vs. Washington; at Cleveland
  2. Kyle Hendricks – Chicago Cubs – at San Diego; vs. Pittsburgh
  3. Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants – vs. Pittsburgh; vs. Miami
  4. Lance Lynn – Texas Rangers – vs. Tampa Bay; vs. Oakland

Tier Three:

  1. James Paxton – NY Yankees – at Boston; at Toronto
  2. Eduardo Rodriguez – Boston Red Sox – vs. NY Yankees; at Philadelphia
  3. Max Fried – Atlanta Braves – at Philadelphia; at Washington
  4. Jose Quintana – Chicago Cubs – at San Diego; vs. Pittsburgh
  5. Zack Wheeler – NY Mets – vs. Arizona; vs. LA Dodgers
  6. Kenta Maeda – LA Dodgers – at Baltimore; at NY Mets
  7. Zack Gallen – Arizona Diamondbacks – at NY Mets; vs. Cincinnati
  8. Wade Miley – Houston Astros – vs. Oakland; at Kansas City

Tier Four:

  1. Trevor Bauer – Cincinnati Reds – at Seattle; at Arizona
  2. Mike Fiers – Oakland A’s – at Houston; at Texas
  3. Trevor Williams – Pittsburgh Pirates – at San Francisco; at Chicago Cubs
  4. Jordan Lyles – Milwaukee Brewers – at Miami; at St. Louis

Tier Five:

  1. Anibal Sanchez – Washington Nationals – at Minnesota; vs. Atlanta
  2. Merrill Kelly – Arizona Diamondbacks – at NY Mets; vs. Cincinnati
  3. Chase Anderson – Milwaukee Brewers – at Miami; at St. Louis
  4. Mike Foltynewicz – Atlanta Braves – at Philadelphia; at Washington
  5. Ivan Nova – Chicago White Sox – vs. Kansas City; at Seattle
  6. John Means – Baltimore Orioles – vs. LA Dodgers; at Detroit
  7. Jake Junis – Kansas City Royals – at Chicago White Sox; vs. Houston
  8. Michael Wacha – St. Louis Cardinals – at Colorado; vs. Milwaukee
  9. Justus Sheffield – Seattle Mariners – vs. Cincinnati; vs. Chicago White Sox
  10. Elieser Hernandez – Miami Marlins – vs. Milwaukee; at San Francisco
  11. Patrick Sandoval – LA Angels – vs. Cleveland; vs. Tampa Bay
  12. Logan Webb – San Francisco Giants – vs. Pittsburgh; vs. Miami

Tier Six:

  1. Robert Dugger – Miami Marlins – vs. Milwaukee; at San Francisco
  2. Cal Quantrill – San Diego Padres – vs. Chicago Cubs; at Colorado
  3. Dario Agrazal – Pittsburgh Pirates – at San Francisco; at Chicago Cubs
  4. Edwin Jackson – Detroit Tigers – vs. NY Yankees; vs. Baltimore
  5. Chi Chi Gonzalez – Colorado Rockies – vs. St. Louis; vs. San Diego

Notes:

  • While Zack Greinke hasn’t gotten the “Houston bump” like we expected, a 5.40 ERA in his last three starts, I wouldn’t be concerned. Even with the Astros playing things a little cautiously regarding some injured players, there are still one of the best teams in baseball. And Greinke has also proved himself to be one of the better, and more consistent, pitchers as well. Even while struggling, Greinke has walked just one batter in his last three starts, and for the season it’s hard to beat his ERA of 3.09 and 1.02 WHIP. In his first start of the week, Greinke gets the A’s whose place in the division race really is just a mathematical formality, and the right-hander should then be able to dispatch the Royals without much of a problem.
  • After a less than smooth start to his career with the Yankees, James Paxton has been rounding into form as of late. The southpaw is undefeated in his last three starts, with just a 1.93 ERA, and he has struck out an impressive 27 batters in that stretch. Over the past two plus months, Paxton has essentially been exactly what the Yankees thought they were acquiring, with one exception. The problem, is that the exception came in Fenway Park, and Paxton allowed seven runs in stadium in which he makes his first start of the week. Things should get better against the Blue Jays, but regardless of how Paxton fares in Boston, his 166 strikeouts over 132 innings will be an asset. His recent success should make you feel a lot better, but don’t say we didn’t warn you either. Even though he should be in your starting lineup for weekly leagues, benching him on Monday could be the right decision depending on your situation.
  • Things couldn’t have been any worse for Wade Miley than they were in his last start. The southpaw didn’t even record an out as he allowed five runs on five hits and a walk, so any recent stats you look at for Miley, are going to be clouded by that implosion. Overall, Miley has been one of the more reliable starting pitchers of the season, and it shows in his 13 victories as run support and bullpen support has been readily available. Compared to his 3.35 ERA, Miley has been out pitching his metrics (4.46 FIP), but it’s also hard to argue with the results we are seeing. The body of work in total has been difficult to question, he took a 3.06 ERA into his last start, so I would feel comfortable with giving Miley the chance to make up for his very recent struggles.
  • The recent run of success for Jordan Lyles has to put him on our radar for this week. Seeing that Lyles is also facing the Marlins in his first start of the week only helps to cement that sentiment. In his last start, Lyles tamed the mighty Astros allowing just two runs in 6.1 innings, and he has a 2.56 ERA and 1.06 WHIP which also forces us to pay attention. The overall body of work has been choppy for Lyles this season, 4.46 ERA and 1.34 WHIP, but it’s not something that can hurt you too badly at this point in the season, and he will give you a shot at two victories. At this point in the year, while really at any time, but especially now as you try and gain ground in the standings, you want to maximize your strikeouts, and overall Lyles has 124 in 121 innings so far in 2019.
  • At this time of year, unless you really don’t care about your ratios, and I feel like I should emphasis really, it’s hard to take risks while looking for victories. And I also say victories alone, because the majority of these pitchers don’t offer much in the way of strikeouts. Sometimes, a strong middle reliever might be the better option, because one of the worst feelings this time of year, is seeing your ratios, and place in the standings, just plummet.
  • Sometimes in head-to-head leagues, you don’t exactly have that luxury, and its all about grabbing as many innings as possible and just throwing statistics (for lack of a better term) up against the wall. I understand, that might sound crude, but head-to-head leagues require a totally different strategy.
  • Some options that I do like more than others, are Merrill Kelly and Justus Sheffield, but a strong outing is just as possible as a blowup.

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