Starting Pitcher Chart – April 25th, 2024

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Not only is it a typically small Thursday slate, but it’s very straightforward, too. Nine of the 13 recommendations got the 3-x treatment as they are either fantasy aces or really solid fantasy options with an elite matchup like Nasty Nestor facing the A’s. And the three 1-x guys are really longshots that you probably won’t (and shouldn’t) start in most situations.

At this time last year…

  • Hunter Brown had a 3.09 ERA/2.61 FIP combo through 4 starts, he wound up with a 5.09 ERA…
  • Drew Smyly had a 3.13 ERA/3.30 FIP combo through 4 starts, he wound up with a 5.00 ERA…
  • Johan Oviedo had a 2.22 ERA/3.79 FIP combo through 4 starts, he wound up with a 4.31 ERA…
  • Chris Bassitt had a 4.82 ERA/5.58 FIP combo through 5 starts, he wound up with a 3.60 ERA…
  • Corbin Burnes had a 4.55 ERA/4.38 FIP combo through 5 starts, he wound up with a 3.39 ERA…
  • Dean Kremer had a 6.20 ERA/6.50 FIP combo through 5 starts, he wound up with a 4.12 ERA…
  • David Peterson had a 7.36 ERA/5.51 FIP combo through 5 starts, he wound up with a 3.83 ERA…
  • Logan Webb had a 4.40 ERA/3.94 FIP combo through 5 starts, he wound up with a 3.25 ERA…

You get the point. This is obviously a random group of 8 pitchers and yes, I “cherry-picked” them in that I found guys who would help underscore my point. What is that point? That it’s early. That’s seemingly the point of everything I write or say in April and while I realize that might be a little repetitive, I think it’s necessary when I see the day-to-day reactions that fantasy managers have to both fast and slow starts alike. The constant standings watching makes manager antsy to “fix things” when patience with the vast majority of your roster is almost always the best idea. Cases like the 8 above are why I’ve really tried to narrow my thinking down to the next 2-4 weeks when it comes player analysis.

Who cares about “rest of season” with someone like Mitchell Parker? Let’s cross each successive bridge as we get to them. For now, I’m picking up the lefty for his start at Miami this weekend and we’ll assess from there. If he throws a gem, I might even start him at Texas next week given what he did to the Astros and Dodgers to open his career. He does line up for Baltimore after the Texas start so the challenges keep coming after this reprieve in Miami (knowing baseball and how silly she often is, he’ll get merked this weekend and bounce back with gems v. TEX & BAL).

From the examples above, we were never anywhere near cutting Burnes or Webb, but you better believe people were asking questions about “what’s wrong” with them, just as we’re seeing this year with the likes of Joe Musgrove, George Kirby, and Jesús Luzardo. And I’ll grant that all three might not bounce back this year, but I’m pretty damn far from even benching any of them, let alone cutting them. Conversely, guys like Griffin Canning (7.50 ERA), Garrett Crochet (6.37), and Logan Allen (5.06) are valid cuts in shallower formats, but don’t forget about them going forward as they could improve their HR rates and be the Kremers and Petersons of this year.

Hell, things move so fast at times that Crochet was the game’s next great ace 3 starts in (2.00 ERA, 21 Ks in 18 IP) and now we’re talking about cutting him in shallower leagues. Again, I know I’ve beat this point home a good bit just in this space let alone on the podcast and in my chats, but I just don’t want fantasy managers making unforced errors with bad decisions that can be avoided. I do want to point out that someone you cut turning it around doesn’t automatically make that a bad decision. As my friend Scott Pianowski points out, if you’re never cutting someone “too soon” in a shallow league, you’re likely holding onto guys too long.

The challenge of shallow leagues is the roster churning. Where you can wait out guys in the bottom quarter of your roster in 15s, you need to burn-and-churn in 10s and 12s hoping to strike gold on the next big breakout. Or even just playing the hot hand with similarly talented players. Sometimes you simply hold a guy in a 15 because there’s nothing better available, but in 10s and 12s, there is always someone with a similar profile talent-wise who might have a better schedule or is playing more often (that’s more a hitter situation, of course).

Don’t be too proud to pick up someone you previously cut if they’re rounding back into form. I can definitely see a situation where Crochet becomes appealing again. But his case is exactly why I’m done worrying about “rest of season” on late round or waiver wire talent. The landscape is far too volatile to have any kind of certainty that far out on most players. With Crochet, volume is always going to be a concern regardless of whether or not he gets back on track anyway, so we’re looking at 2-3 week pockets with him. And maybe, just maybe, the guy we started that list with can reverse what he did in 2023 and instead of a good start going awry, perhaps Hunter Brown can find a rhythm here soon and turn around his horrendous 9.68 ERA through 5 starts.

Starter Notes April 25, 2024
1 Freddy Peralta MIL at PIT x x x 23 1.90 0.76 32% 23rd
2 Yoshinobu Yamamoto LAD at WSN x x x 22 4.50 1.14 27% 5th
3 Luis Castillo SEA at TEX x x x 28 4.40 1.36 25% 7th
4 Zack Wheeler PHI at CIN x x x 31 2.30 0.89 25% 16th
5 Cole Ragans KCR v TOR x x x 25 4.32 1.48 23% 9th Completely unbothered by his dud v. BAL
6 Nestor Cortes NYY v OAK x x x 29 3.41 1.07 19% 21st
7 Bailey Ober MIN v CHW x x x 18 4.91 1.15 17% 30th
8 José Berríos TOR at KCR x x x 31 0.85 1.01 15% 8th
9 Justin Verlander HOU at CHC x x x 6 3.00 0.67 19% 11th
10 Mitch Keller PIT v MIL x x 30 4.80 1.47 11% 2nd 2 up, 3 down over F5 w/lefties the big issue (176 pt. platoon split); MIL down their best lefty (Yelich), but still run 4 (3 LH, 1 SH) in their everyday lineup… OK passing here to wait for at OAK next wk
11 MacKenzie Gore WSN v LAD x 20 3.60 1.35 25% 12th The prudent move is oooobviouslyyyy to sit this one out but if that 2.83 SIERA & 25% K-BB have you feelin some type of way, I can see a deep league YOLO
12 Javier Assad CHC v HOU x 21 2.11 1.03 15% 10th I keep reiterating that HOU’s offense isn’t the problem so don’t blindly attack bc of their record, buuuttt Assad has been really solid so there are spots I’d run him
13 Randy Vásquez SDP at COL x 5 1.80 1.20 9% 13th COL is so bad that there is some potential here, but just understand the risk of an inexperienced SP in Coors
14 Nick Martinez CIN v PHI 17 4.76 1.24 16% 22nd I can see some streaming viability at some point, but rarely at home, especially against a solid PHI lineup (even w/their modest wOBA RK vR thus far)
15 Andrew Heaney TEX v SEA 17 6.35 1.41 8% 20th Elevated BB% the last 2 yrs (10% v. career 7%) has further exposed his HR issues
16 Alex Wood OAK at NYY 21 7.89 2.03 8% 17th
17 Michael Soroka CHW at MIN 24 7.50 1.79 -3% 28th
18 Triston McKenzie CLE v BOS 18 5.00 1.61 -5% 19th
19 Dakota Hudson COL v SDP 21 5.06 1.59 1% 6th
20 Jason Alexander BOS at CLE #N/A #N/A #N/A #N/A 15th
Recommendations for Roto 5×5 Leagues

The chart includes their 2024 stats (this changed over from last year’s stats on April 22nd), their opponent’s wOBA versus the pitcher’s handedness from this year so far (this is changed as of April 11th), my general start/sit recommendation for 10-team, 12-team, and 15-team (or more) leagues, and then a note about them (notes will be more statistical-based once we get some sample to work with). Obviously, there are league sizes beyond those three so it’s essentially a shallow, medium, deep. If a pitcher only has an “x” in 15-team, it doesn’t mean there’s no potential use in 10s and 12s, but it’s basically a riskier stream for those spots.

These are general recommendations, and your league situation will carry more weight whether you are protecting ratios or chasing counting numbers. This is for standard 5×5 roto leagues. The thresholds for H2H starts are generally lower, especially in points leagues so I thought there would be more value focusing on roto.

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and Content Director for OOTP Perfect Team. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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1 month ago

Looks like Ober is getting pushed to tomorrow – where does Woods-Richardson slot into your chart this morning? Facing the CWS is always a good matchup