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.