Last week I lamented the plight of the innings limits and pitchers being shut down, pushed back, or skipped. I was bitten by it last weekend when the Yanks swapped Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia for their Sunday and Monday starts. Pineda was my last pitcher of the week. I was out of moves for the week, and I lost K’s by 2 strikeouts. That was just enough to knock me out of the playoffs in that league. You can’t stop this cycle from happening, all you can do is prepare for it.
I committed some other sins this week as well. I held on to Anibal Sanchez after he made me look smart a few weeks ago, only to get burned by him. Same thing with Chad Green of the Yanks. I broke my own rule of “Don’t fall in love” and held onto him far too long. Admittedly, my Yankee Homerism played into the decision, as it did with Luis Cessa, and I held on one start too many with both of them. Those two may be high quality SP for years to come, but they are not yet, and I have to remind myself of those things all the time. The worst thing that happened is that I put in a waiver claim for Alex Reyes of the Cards earlier this week. I was sure I had a better waiver position than my arch nemesis in that league who had the better seeding in the playoffs, but when i looked the next morning, his waiver claim took Reyes. I was angry and frustrated, but knew I needed another start, so I went to the wire and hastily grabbed Jared Cosart for a spot yesterday. I don’t need to tell you how badly he was creamed. Just like you should not grocery shop when you’re hungry, you should not spot start when your are angry or frustrated. Take my word for it.
Don’t they know we are in our playoffs now? How can they do this?
In case you missed it last week, here is a pretty good article from pitcherlist.com that outlines 2016 starting pitchers that may be on innings limits and projects the date they will hit it. Some, like Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez have already been limited by optioning him, though they brought him back already. But there are some pretty big names on that list. Are you counting on Jose Fernandez for the next 4 weeks? pitcherlist.com: The Mega Innings Shutdown Article
Trivia Question: What notoriously slow starting AL East pitcher has a lifetime 2.88 ERA in the month of September in 73 starts covering 500 innings pitched? Answer Below.
Lets do it: I’ll pick my favorites from the under 50% owned group, and I’ll discuss their September availability as one of the factors to compare. If you want an opinion between any two or more email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you my take. Or visit my thread on Reddit which is active all day Sunday on the fantasybaseball Sub Reddit. Percentages listed are from Fantrax, so an over 50% owned pitcher might make the list if they are lower in ESPN, CBS, etc.
SPOT STARTS –
- CC Sabathia, SP, NYY (51% owned) Vs TB, THU: This is Money Time of year and CC is usually Money when it counts. It is still an AL East match up so I can’t promise he will help your ratios, but he has always had success against the Rays. Four of his last five starts have been Quality Starts and he has 35 K’s in his last 31 innings pitched. Hitters have a .232 average against CC for the past month. That may not have been my most scientific analysis right there, but here is a nugget to chew on. We all know about CC’s April struggles, but did you know his lifetime September ERA is 2.88 in 73 games covering 500 innings. That is NOT a misprint, NOR a small sample size. There is always risk with CC, especially with his walk rate at a career high and Evan Longoria, who has a .400 lifetime average and 7 HR against CC in the lineup, but I’ll go with the September track record and his usual bulldog mentality at a time when pitchers are being shut down all over baseball.
- Tyler Chatwood, SP, COL (57% owned) @ SD, FRI: Chatwood is not a dominating strikeout pitcher (16.1%K Rate, 6.2/9), and he also walks a few too many batters (10.4% BB Rate, 4.0/9), especially for a pitcher living in the rare air for 81 games. In fact his 1.50 K/BB ratio is absurdly bad for a pitcher who has already won 10 games in 2016. In 22 starts this season he has only given up five runs or more four times. I don’t think Felix can say that this season. His 3.94 ERA is well supported by a 4.26 FIP and a .287 Babip against. For you WAR buffs he is at 3.1 for the season so far. He is, along with a couple of other Rocky pitchers, proving that a pitcher can be successful calling Denver home. He has a minuscule 1.8% HR rate, mainly due to an obscene 1.35 GB/FB ratio.(League avg is .83) Not sustainable you say? His lifetime (5 years, almost 500 innings pitched) HR Rate is 2.1% and his lifetime GB/FB ratio is 1.18. He has 11 Quality Starts so far and other than one rough patch in July, has pitched nearly as well at home as on the road. Next week he gets a breather facing the Padres in San Diego (sea level) on Friday. The Padres are hitting a woeful .227 against right-handers this season and have batted a limp .198 as a team over the past month against all pitching. I used a lot of adjectives in this analysis, likely every one that I know.
- Tyler Anderson, SP, COL (59.7% owned) Vs SF, TUE: Yes, two home games in Denver made my list this week. Anderson gets the SF Giants on Tuesday night, a team that has hit .228 over the past 2 weeks, and has more injuries than HR this season. The Giants also hit 20 points lower on the road than at home. He would have been a two start pitcher next week, getting to pitch in SD Sunday had the Rockettes not gone to a six dancer rotation (Yes, to curb innings, not to mess with us) Like his teammate Tyler Chatwood, Anderson keeps it on the ground. He has a sparkling 1.20 GB/FB rate, 23% line drive rate where the league average is 26%, and a 2.7% HR rate.
- Ivan Nova, PIT (51% owned) Vs CIN, THU: Nova has an attractive date with Cinci in Pittsburgh. The Pirates must be happy with the tidy profit they have made on the Nova trade so far. Six of his last nine starts are QS and in the other three he gave up a total of 10 runs. He has put up a consistent and serviceable 6.8/1.8 K/BB and is sporting an excellent 1.15 GB/FB rate. Nova’s opponents are batting .176 against him for the past 3 weeks. The Reds hit .276 in August, their best month so far (see what trading Jay Bruce will do for you, ask the Mets). So this is more about Nova than about the match up at this point.
- Derrek Holland, SP, TEX (52% owned) @ SEA, THU: He’s been on my Do Not Start List several times this season, but now he finally looks like he is in mid season form. His ERA for the season is 4.57 but in 3 starts since coming off the DL it is 2.00. On the season he is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA Vs Seattle. Left handed batters are slashing .215/.271/.262 against him for the season which should help him get through the meat (Cano/Seager/Martin) of the M’s order, though righty swinger Nelson Cruz will be right in between them. The M’s are hitting .243 over the past two weeks with only a .314 OBP in the month of August.They do hit better at home than on the road, however they are only hitting .243 against left handers at home for the season. I have bad luck with Holland myself, so I won’t pick him up this week. I don’t want to jinx anyone, besides I have to listen to myself more often, right?
- ***Two Starts***Luke Weaver, SP, STL (37% owned) @ PIT, TUE & VS MIL, SUN: Weaver, who just turned 23 last week, was a 2014 1st round draft pick out of
Florida State, but he is pitching like he’s been here a while. Use the usual rookie pitcher caution, but he has not had a bad stretch yet as a pro. In 2015, his first full season, Weaver went 10-6 with a 1.95 ERA and per nine rates of 7.7 K’s, 1.7 BB and .4 HR in A ball. He followed that up this season with 13 AA & AAA starts going 7-3 with an even better 1.30 ERA and .928 WHIP, increasing his K rate to 10.0, reducing his BB rate to 1.3 and maintaining the .40 HR rate. His four start MLB career is picking right up where he left off in the minors striking out 23 batters in his last 17 innings pitched. In his most recent start in Milwaukee, he went 6 IP giving up three runs on four hits, only two walks and 10 strikeouts. Who needs Adam Wainwright anyway? He gets a Pittsburgh team on the road that is hitting .253 Vs righties, though they hit better at home. Greg Polanco is the only Bucs hitter with more than 20 HR or 60 RBI. Milwaukee is hitting .219 the past two weeks, .228 for the past month and only .243 vs righties. They hit .241 away from Milwaukee. If you are skiddish, just use him for the Brewer game. Talk about your boy and girl next door. Not For the Faint of Heart:
- ***Two Start Pitcher***Chad Kuhl, SP, PIT (45.1% owned) Vs STL, MON & Vs CIN, SAT: Kuhl is settling into the BUCS rotation pretty well. Five of his last six starts have been Quality Starts.
- Jose Urena, SP, MIA (9% owned) Vs PHI, TUE: Urena keeps on spitting out Quality Starts with nothing more than Major League replacement level peripherals.He has a great math up Tuesday.
- Matt Boyd, SP, DET (41% owned) @ CHW, TUE: Three of last 4 starts are QS.
- AJ Griffin SP, TEX (46.8% owned) @ SEA, WED: 7-3 after getting a W Vs Houston last week where he was one out shy of a QS. Texas has a 6 man rotation going.
- Alex Cobb, SP, TB @ NYY, THU: Pitched well in first start back from TJ surgery. Expect innings limits as the Rays have nothing to play for.
- DO NOT START:
Tom Koehler, SP, MIA (61.6% owned) Vs LAD, SAT: Yes, last week I was lauding his 7 game QS streak, and then he rattled off a clunker, but such is life when spotting. This week he gets the Dodgers in Miami. The Dodgers hit 40 points higher against righties than lefties, and over 80% of their HR are off RHP’s. They also hit better on the road than at home.
***Two Starts***Matt Andriese, SP, TB (43.9% owned) Vs BAL, MON & @ NYY, SUN: I think this guy NEEDS his innings limited. He has talent but I don’t think he is ready.
***Two Starts***Kendal Graveman, SP, OAK (59%owned) VS LAA, MON & Vs SEA, SUN: Graveman’s Monday 9/5 start was bumped up to today, 9/4. So he loses 2 start eligibility next week but if you can grab him right now you can start him today. I’m not saying don’t use him against Seattle next SAT, in fact he is pitching quite well of late. I’m just making sure we don’t pick up Graveman thinking we’re getting a two start week.
Sean Manaea, SP, OAK (41% owned) @ Vs SEA, FRI: He was originally scheduled for this Sunday, 9/4, but instead was skipped when Graveman moved up a day. The manager said Manaea my miss another start. Innings management during prime time.
***Two Starts***Luis Cessa, SP, NYY (17% owned) Vs TOR, MON & VS TB SUN: I’d use him in the Tampa Game though.
Closer Merry-Go-Round: Like last week, so much has happened among the closer ranks that I’ll discuss them in a separate article soon.
*”CLEW” = Closer En Waiting
** IRS + H = Inherited Runners stranded plus Holds
See you next week. Thanks for reading.