Guh, we are in absolute free fall mode. I’m tryin’ folks! It’s a weird state of affairs with pitching this year, which makes it hard to find anyone worthwhile with a pulse under 50 percent ownership. I won’t quit, though I’ll understand if you tune me out for a bit.
Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 11)
20 quality starts
Here are this week’s recs (with team wRC+ for this season in parentheses):
RHP Joe Biagini – 6.1% ESPN – v. BAL (93), v. BOS (94)
Up until the last two starts, Biagini had been fairly interesting as a starter. Right now, he’s got a 4.91 ERA, .688 OPS against and 36-11 K/BB ratio in 44 innings as a starter, but two starts ago, here’s what his numbers looked like: 3.38 ERA, 31-9 K/BB ratio in 37.1 innings and a .554 OPS against. I still think he’s interesting, though. First of all, he’s got a couple interesting matchups this week, as both teams aren’t particularly good offensively. Second of all, as a starter, he’s managed to sustain his groundball rate (58.2 percent in the rotation, 58.3 percent as a reliever), which is certainly among the elite rates in the game. He’s also making both of these starts at home, where he has a 2.93 ERA this season as opposed to a 5.66 mark on the road.
RHP Alex Cobb – 33.1% ESPN – @PIT (90), @BAL (93)
Cobb has been so-so in his return to the Rays rotation this season — 4.05 ERA (4.15 FIP), 6.4 K/9 and 1.39 WHIP — but it’s also a matter of an accomplished pitcher against a couple iffy offenses this week. After the Mariners rocked him in his first start of the month, Cobb has been really good over his last three outings: 2.29 ERA in 19.2 innings, 14-5 K/BB ratio and .698 OPS against. Also, just two of his last 11 starts have resulted in more than three earned runs, and he’s posted a 3.76 ERA over that stretch. At the very least, he feels stable, which is what we’re truly seeking here.
RHP Mike Fiers – 41.7% ESPN – v. OAK (98), @NYY (116)
His season numbers — 3.81 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 5.65 FIP and 2.1 HR/9 — don’t do justice of how far he’s come since a brutal start. Fiers headed into Minnesota on May 30 with a 5.21 ERA — having allowed an MLB-worst 18 home runs to that point. Opposing batters were hitting a ridiculous .287/.350/.622 of him to that point. Fiers held the Twins in check that night at Target Field, which started a five-game stretch that has his season back on track. Since then, he’s got a 1.72 ERA, .522 OPS against and 29-11 K/BB ratio in 31.1 innings. Perhaps most importantly, he’s also allowed zero home runs in the meantime. He’ll be put to the test this week, as he’s facing the A’s for the second time in a row and the toughest offense in the game other than his in the Yankees. Still, in a week that isn’t particularly strong pitching-wise, we’ll take a shot with him.
Last two out: Junior Guerra (@CIN, v. MIA) and Mike Clevinger (v. TEX, @DET)
Woof. I don’t know what has happened. I’ve taken a real beating over the last couple weeks, and I apologize for anyone who has taken my advice. I’ll continue to write this column in vain, but completely understand if people don’t trust me again for a long, long time. Anyway, so here goes:
Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 10)
17 quality starts
RHP Jason Hammel – 8.7% ESPN – v. BOS (98), v. TOR (92)
Surely neither his team’s nor his season have been much to write home about — 5.05 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 4.40 FIP — but Hammel has been better of late, and it’s not like he hasn’t had stretches where he was really, really good recently. That includes the month of June, where over the 20.1 innings he’s thrown this month, he’s posted a 2.21 ERA with 15 strikeouts and just one walk in three starts. Of course, that includes a start against the woeful Giants last time out, but he did also make solid starts against the Indians and Astros. Back up to his last five starts — since a rough outing against the Yankees on May 16 at home — and Hammel still has a 3.52 ERA and 24-7 K/BB ratio in 30.2 innings. That’s a string of five pretty good starts, or about 15 percent of a season. We’ll give him a spin here in a couple interesting matchups.
LHP Francisco Liriano – 10.5% ESPN – @TEX (89), @KC (82)
I understand being scared to death to trust Liriano — the literal definition of a human time bomb — but these two matchups were too good for me to ignore. If you don’t like it, there are a couple names at the bottom of this post to consider otherwise. It’s not like Liriano has been all bad this season, as he’s fanning a batter per inning. If that feels like a bit of a reach for you, at least he’s been pretty good in June, too: 17 innings, 19-5 K/BB ratio and 3.71 ERA. One thing that might give you pause is that this month, opposing batters are hitting .231/.278/.462 against him. He isn’t giving up much, but when he does, it’s big. He does have a 12 percent swinging strike rate this month, though — so there’s potential for some big strikeout games this upcoming week.
RHP Robert Gsellman – 9.2% ESPN – @LAD (102), @SF (77)
It’s been a rough season, but I’ve always believed in the talent here, and hopefully it can come to roost this week. Since a rough start against th Brewers a month ago sent him to the bullpen, Gsellman has been pretty darn good. In six appearances (four starts) in the meantime, he’s posted a 2.25 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 28 innings (eight walks) and an opponents’ slash line against of .204/.268/.320. I’m especially salivating over the matchup against the Giants, but it’s not like the Dodgers have absolutely obliterated opposing pitchers this year, either. Sure, they have the ability to make life difficult, but it’s not like facing this year’s Yankees. It’s the classic give-to-get scenario either way, because again, I really like his chances against San Fran.
Last two out: Brad Peacock (@OAK, @SEA) and Scott Feldman (v. TB, v. TOR)
We’re back for another week of #2xSP, and I’ve opted not to include Sean Manaea (v. TOR, @TBR) because even through he’s under our 50% regulation (46.2% ESPN), I still don’t feel like he’d be available in that many leagues. If he is in yours, I would pounce all over that, of course.
Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 8):
16 quality starts
RHP Joe Musgrove – 6.6% ESPN – @KCR (76), v. LAA (92)
Musgrove is expected to come off the disabled list to make this start. If he doesn’t, we’ll default to Jaime Garcia (15.7 percent, v. PHI, v. NYM). If he does, he’s been fairly solid lately — including seven shutout innings against a sturdy O’s offense last time out — with a couple really, really nice matchups this week. The Royals have been dreadful offensively all season, and this is the perfect time to catch the Mike Trout-less Angels, who are also without Cameron Maybin, too.
RHP Dinelson Lamet – 13.8% ESPN – v. ARI (97), v. KCR (76)
We’re gambling here with a guy who has made just two career starts spanning 10 innings, but man have they been good: three earned runs (2.70 ERA), 16-3 K/BB ratio and .211 batting average against. We’d be more skeptical if he hadn’t shut down the Cubs last time out, and these two matchups are pretty solid as well — especially the Royals one. Lamet throws gas (95.4 mph average fastball) and in a very limited sampling, his slider (24.2 percent whiff rate) and changeup (16.1 percent) have been dirty.
RHP Junior Guerra – 17.7% ESPN – v. SF (74), @ARI (97)
Guerra is a layup at this point. He’s somehow still owned in under 20 percent of leagues — of course, the injury plays a huge part in that — but since coming off the disabled list he’s been very good, as he’s at a 1.84 ERA this season with 13 strikeouts and a .151 BAA through 14.2 innings. Like each of the others this week, he’s got one terrific matchup and one that is so-so. He’s basically on the reverse Lamet gamut. We’ll see who handles it better, but my money’s on Guerra, the 32-year-old sophomore. Maybe they’ll both rack up a couple quality starts. Wouldn’t that be nice?
After being stuck in baby purgatory — trust me, I mean that in a good way — the past couple weeks, I’m back with a nine-day old beauty (see below) and a three-man slate this week that I don’t totally love, but think could work due to some matchup stuff.
What beautiful eyes you have!
A post shared by Brandon Warne (@brandon.r.warne) on May 21, 2017 at 4:50pm PDT
What beautiful eyes you have!
A post shared by Brandon Warne (@brandon.r.warne) on May 21, 2017 at 4:50pm PDT
Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 7)
14 quality starts
LHP Matt Moore – 31.8% ESPN – v. WAS (113), @PHI (90)
It’s hasn’t been a great season for Matty Mo — 5.28 ERA, 4.93 FIP, 1.53 WHIP — but here’s what we’re tapping into this week. The tougher of the two matchups for the 27-year-old lefty is at home against the Nationals. Moore’s splits carry about the biggest discrepancy you could imagine, as he’s got a 2.57 ERA at home and a 1.14 WHIP, while on the road he’s got a 7.80 ERA and 1.90 WHIP. Facing the Phillies at home should be a much easier matchup that can cushion that road ERA, but don’t be surprised if he holds down the Nationals while still allowing a good day to Bryce Harper. Somehow, lefties have hit the lefty hard this season: .404/.469/.825.
RHP Mike Clevinger – 24.1% ESPN – v. OAK (103), @KCR (75)
The numbers don’t all exactly match up, but Clevinger has been really good through four appearances for the Indians this season. He’s got a 1.56 ERA (2.75 FIP), and has a 0.98 WHIP despite walking 11 batters through 17.1 innings. You can pretty easily guess why; he’s allowed just a .111/.262/.130 line to the 65 batters he’s faced in the big leagues so far this season. It can be hard to recommend a guy with command issues or just 70 big league innings, but he’s coming off shutting down a really strong Astros offense last time out: seven innings, two hits, no runs, eight strikeouts and two walks. It’ll be interesting to see how the rotation shakes out when Corey Kluber returns. Could Clevinger push someone like Josh Tomlin or Trevor Bauer out? It doesn’t seem impossible.
LHP Tyler Anderson – 11.3% ESPN – v. SEA (101), @SDP (77)
Similarly to with Moore, I’m leaning on the fact that Anderson has done some good work at home, where his tougher matchup of the two will take place this week. In his parts of two seasons in the majors, Anderson has posted a 3.50 ERA in home starts and a 5.52 mark on the road. The Mariners might be a fairly tough matchup, but again I’ll gamble on those splits along with the fact that, when right, Anderson is a groundball kind of guy with good strikeout and walk rates. He’s also been really good in May (.696 OPS against, 3.06 ERA, 25 strikeouts in 17.2 innings) after an awful April (7.71 ERA, 1.005 OPS against, 24 strikeouts in 30.1 innings).
We’re 40 weeks plus two days on Warne baby watch — Harper Elizabeth was due Wednesday — so I’m pumping out as much #content as possible. Last week we ended up getting tied up a bit so I had to share my recs on my twitter account — follow me @Brandon_Warne, if you wish — and if needed, I’ll be doing that next week under the hashtag #2xSP. Baby will be induced Tuesday night into Wednesday morning if she isn’t here yet, so that might tie us up next time around. So just keep that in mind, thanks!
Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 5)
10 quality starts
RHP Zack Wheeler – 18.4% ESPN – @ARI (93), v. LAA (89)
I’ve been a big Wheeler guy for awhile now, and I love the matchups this week. You can sort of see the outline of a pitcher on the right track, too. He’s fanning 8.1 batters per nine and inducing grounders at a 55.6 percent rate. As a result, his 4.18 ERA is backed by a 3.85 xFIP and 4.23 FIP. In other words, he’s been decent and I think there’s room to improve. The strand rate should go up and help mitigate the BABIP drop, and in the meantime I’m always looking to gamble on talent rather than a so-so pitcher with easy matchups. I don’t know, maybe the baby delirium has me talking out of both sides of my mouth, but I like Wheeler this week. Who’d have thought he’d be one of the last men standing in this rotation?
RHP Brandon McCarthy – 38.4% ESPN – @SFG (71), v. MIA (92)
There are obvious health risks here, but when healthy, McCarthy is damn solid. Of course, we haven’t seen that since 2014. Still, I’ll take the risk this week with a couple nice matchups. When on the mound this season (29 innings), McCarthy has been solid, with a 3.10 ERA (3.57 FIP), 7.8 K/9 and a good walk rate (2.8 BB/9). He’s kept the ball in the yard (for the most part) and on the ground — at least better than his recent work had indicated. Also, in a small sample size he’s throwing harder this year (93.1 mph versus a career average of 90.9). What do you think?
RHP Jerad Eickhoff – 31.4% ESPN – @TEX (87), @PIT (83)
Eickhoff is off to a bit of a rocky start, but let’s be honest — he wouldn’t be available if that weren’t the case. Eickhoff was quietly very solid for the Phillies last year (3.65 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 1.9 BB/9) and has a couple of accommodating matchups this week. He’s pitched a bit better (4.11 FIP) than his ERA (4.76) would indicate, and honestly besides that, I’m not sure what else to say. Good pitcher, bad stretch and good matchups. Let’s play!
We’re back at it after an up-and-down start to Week 3, but I think we have a fairly good trio — including oddly enough, a holdover — heading into Week 4. Let’s dive right in.
Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 3):
7 quality starts
LHP Hector Santiago – 23.9% ESPN – v. OAK (106), v. BOS (99)
Santiago’s one of those guys who won’t wow you on the mound, but you look up in the fifth and you’re down 4-2 and aren’t sure how he’s kept you at bay. He works high in the zone with a low-90s fastball and doesn’t have especially good control, but just battles with every pitch and executes when he needs to. He’s been a consistent FIP beater for his entire career, which makes it sort of crazy that he was traded for Ricky Nolasco — among others — considering the latter does the exact opposite. What stands out for Santiago this year — in addition to improved walk rates — is that he’s changed his changeup grip and it appears to be working wonders. It has a little less fade than his screwball — which he still throws — and that allows him simply another look with which to attack batters. So far, that changeup has a 14 percent whiff rate this season — well above the 9.6 percent mark he’s had on it over his career.
RHP Robert Gsellman – 14.1% ESPN – @ATL (88), v. MIA (93)
I know the Braves pummeled him last time out — Kurt Suzuki? C’mon man! — but I’ll always gamble on the talent, and I love Gsellman in that respect. He’s still striking out a batter per inning and putting the ball on the ground (57.1 percent), and even despite the fact that he’s facing the Braves for a second time in a row, I think he can beat up on both of these teams. If you like someone else better that’s fine, but I’ll always, always gamble on the talent in these things.
LHP Daniel Norris – 11.9% ESPN – v. CLE (112), @OAK (106)
I really liked Norris last year — 9.2 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 3.38 ERA — and think he’s bound to round into form here eventually. This is another “gamble on the talent” kind of guy, with a higher groundball rate and lower home run rate than last year. To me, those things are tougher to correct than walk and strikeout rates, where he’s faltering compared to last season. His velo is up and he’s throwing more sliders….I think the strikeouts are just around the corner.
Sorry for being so late on this one friends. I had Twins coverage the last two days that pushed into my time. Also, this was one of my least favorite weeks in what’s now I think four years of doing this. A limited slate on Monday and a rather ugly one on Tuesday has left me with some options I don’t particularly love, but I do hope through a mix of matchups and other things we have a good one here.
Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 2):
5 quality starts
LHP Wei-Yin Chen – 4.7% ESPN – @PHI (96), v. PIT (81) Read the rest of this entry »
Now we’re off and running with the second week of #2xSP, and after an uneven but mostly good second week, we think we have some pretty good pitchers to give a look to as Week 2 gets underway.
Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 1):
2 quality starts
Brandon Finnegan (two innings, five walks) kind of blew up our rates, but Jerad Eickhoff and Dylan Bundy managed to give us a stretch of quality starts that only Meat Loaf could appreciate. This week, we have some familiar names who are a bit off the radar for some reason or another. Give ‘em a look.
RHP Lance Lynn – 21.6% ESPN – v. PIT (67), @MIL (86)
The good thing from Lynn is that he’s run his pitch count up and around 100 for each of his first two starts after returning from Tommy John surgery which cost him all of the 2016 season. The bad thing is that he’s only managed 10.1 innings to show for it, with six earned runs (5.23 ERA), an 8-5 K/BB ratio and a WHIP of 1.45. On the positive side, he’s allowed a batting average of just .238 and is pretty much at his career groundball rate (44.1 percent). After allowing three home runs last time out I could see being gunshy about throwing him out there, but I’m taking a shot with a couple of weak inter-divisional offenses coming up on this slate. Sure, there’s a chance each of them turns it around just in time for Lynn to come to town, but I’ll take that gamble. When Lynn is right, he’s good for strikeouts, grounders and most importantly, wins/quality starts. Read the rest of this entry »
Hey, we’re back for another season of #2xSP! As you may already know, we’ll try gear this article up for Thursday afternoons during the season. It’s a two-way street, so if you see something you’d like to have changed or something that should be altered, let me know and I’m willing to listen!
Here’s how we finished last season:
61 quality starts
That’s not too bad considering we do below 50 percent ownership, no? If you want us to go lower, we can consider that as well. Pardon the brevity this weekend — we have a baby shower tomorrow and I’m in crazy prep mode!
Here are this week’s recs (usually with team wRC+ for this season in parentheses, but not this week since the season just started):
RHP Jerad Eickhoff – 45.2% ESPN – v. NYM, @WAS
He just sneaks in under the wire in terms of ownership, and is coming off falling on the short side of a duel with our second guy this week. Eickhoff does pretty much everything well but not excellently, though the penchant for allowing home runs is a little concerning. Still, solid strikeout rate, no walks and at least so far this year it looks like he might try keep the ball on the ground a bit. Give him a spin! Read the rest of this entry »
It’s time again for all of us to do our 10 Bold Prediction articles. So here are mine:
1. Robbie Ray finishes as a top-10 starter in the NL
I’m on the hype train for Ray, who is currently going off the board as the No. 57 starter in NFBC drafts around 214th overall. The slider is legit, he was much harder to hit in the second half (.313 wOBA against) than the first (.347), he can induce grounders (45.7 percent) and I fully believe throwing to Jeff Mathis will help him quite a bit. The sky’s the limit here.
2. Joe Panik bounces back, finishes as a top-10 top-15 NFBC second baseman Read the rest of this entry »