I’m not one to make excuses, but man this has been rough this year. With pitching injuries, the fluctuation of even moderate starters and the advent of the 10-day disabled list, trying to find viable candidates for these kinds of columns has been…..let’s just say a bit difficult. Thanks for hanging in there all season, as we’ve picked up some steam lately. Be sure to check out the #2xSP hashtag on Twitter if you don’t see this column, as I’ll list my recommendations there as well.
Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 15)
28 quality starts
Here are this week’s recs (with team wRC+ for this season in parentheses):
RHP Mike Foltynewicz – 36.3% ESPN – @PHI (85), v. MIA (96)
I’ve been a big fan of Folty’s all season long, as he’s taken a really nice step forward as a key cog in future Braves rotations. He’s improved every year in red and blue ERA-wise, and has stayed fairly consistent with strikeouts and walks while tightening up most other aspects of his game. The WHIP is still a bit concerning at 1.39, but he’s been prone to some really strong streaks this year. The best part here is that Folty also misses out on the mid-week series against the Dodgers — the No. 2 offense in baseball (111 wRC+).
RHP Jose Urena – 19.8% ESPN – v. WAS (107), @ ATL (89)
This is a weird week with the short slate on Monday and too many mid-tier pitchers going between the two days to find a ton of really nice guys to monitor. So I’ll hone in on Urena, who has fairly good numbers and at least one really good matchup this week. Urena throws the ever-loving hell out of the ball (95.6 mph) and has managed to skate by with so-so peripherals this year to post a 4.04 ERA. Outside of the fastball, he’s posted double-digit whiff rates on all three of his other pitches — including even 15 percent on his rarely-thrown sinker. I think there’s some potential here. I also like getting the tough matchup out of the way at home, where Urena has posted a 3.86 ERA. Then again, he’s also allowed a .363 wOBA at home (.270 road).
RHP Charlie Morton – 42.6% ESPN – v. TBR (105), v. TOR (90)
Morton also throws the hell out of the ball, and gets a really nice Toronto matchup to end his week. He’s throwing harder than he ever has — reaching as high a 98.4 mph on his sinker this year — and has powered up with a really, really dirty curve. Opposing batters have just a .410 OPS against the curve with an 18.8 percent whiff rate. I also like the fact that he’s backed by baseball’s best offense, and thus will have a better chance to grab wins in leagues where that matters. How good has the Astros offense been? They have a 130 wRC+ and the Dodgers are No. 2 at 111 (as we previously noted). That gap is the same size as the gap between the Dodgers and the No. 20 offense in baseball, the White Sox (92 wRC+). That’s bananas.
Last man out: RHP Ian Kennedy (@BAL, v. SEA)