#2xSP: 6.20-6.26

Due to the request of a Twitter follower, we’ve fast-tracked 2xSP to Thursdays for the time being. We’ll see how it goes; adding a day into the mix can make things a bit more iffy when trying to accurately predict and project which guys actually make those first starts on Mondays and Tuesdays, but we aim to please, and thus here we are.

After going 3-for-3 in quality starts to get last week underway, the overall numbers have started to look pretty good. The strikeouts from the week before — thank you Matt Shoemaker and Danny Duffy — were also a nice boost.

Overall stats halfway through week 10:

22-17 record
3.76 ERA
8.3 K/9
2.9 K/BB
1.31 WHIP
35 quality starts

And now, onto this week’s recs with team wRC+ in parentheses:

RHP Archie Bradley – 12.5% ESPN – @PHI (72), @COL (96)

I don’t honestly love any of these picks this week, but when you get into this pattern of three per week, you kinda gotta stick to it. Bradley’s been giving up home runs left and right (five in his last two starts spanning 11.1 innings), but I’m hoping he can be the predator rather than the prey in this two matchups. He’s rolled up the strikeouts so far which is encouraging (39 in 35 innings), but I’ll admit that I’m a bit terrified of how he’ll pitch in Coors Field, as the Rockies have an .892 OPS at home (but just a 104 wRC+). Hopefully his 1.8 HR/9 is just a blip on the radar screen — the 21.2% HR/FB rate seems to suggest so — and the can rely on his groundball and strikeout tendencies to grab a couple nice starts here. At the very least, I’m hopeful of a quality start against the Phillies.

RHP Nate Karns – 22.7% ESPN – @DET (106), v. STL (114)

Karns is maybe the safest of the three picks, but also has the roughest week ahead with a pair of well above average offenses. Karns is coming off a pretty good start against his old friends in the Rays — five innings, eight strikeouts, two earned runs — but June hasn’t been good to him through three starts (6.75 ERA). Still, he was solid in May (33-9 K/BB ratio, 3.31 ERA) and not too bad in April, either (3.63). To be successful, he’ll have to keep the walks in check, which is his kryptonite. On the positive side, he hasn’t allowed a home run this month and has allowed just six all season — including just one since early May.

LHP James Paxton – 30.9% ESPN – @DET (106), v. STL (114)

This is my favorite of the three picks this week. Paxton’s last two starts have been molten fire, as he’s allowed just three earned runs with a 17-3 K/BB ratio. The funny thing is, I almost missed that he was starting on Tuesday and would have recommended Chad Bettis — I know! — instead. Paxton appears to have sold his soul to some deity, as he was always a hard thrower but not like this. He’s averaging 97.8 mph on his fastball, and has added in a cutter about a quarter of the time that’s coming in around 90-91. Four of his five pitches have double-digit whiff rates, and that even includes his four-seamer at 10.9 percent. It’s way too early to know if he’ll keep it up, but this appears to be a freight train worth jumping on with some long-haul potential.

In addition to Rotographs, Warne writes about the Minnesota Twins for The Athletic and is a sportswriter for Sportradar U.S. in downtown Minneapolis. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Warne, or feel free to email him to do podcasts or for any old reason at brandon.r.warne@gmail-dot-com

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6 years ago

I like the new day! helps us beat the competition in our leagues in the race to the WW