DETROIT, MI - MAY 02: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers throws a sixth inning pitch while playing the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on May 2, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. Kansas City won the game 3-2. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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A very light Thursday (only 6 games) means that only 36 pitchers will be making 2 starts this week, making all of the guys on this list a relatively hot commodity. A doubleheader between the White Sox and Indians on Monday threatened to throw each rotation in disarray, but both teams will be calling up spot starters, and their rotations will continue on uninterrupted.
This week, the online Google Spreadsheet (make sure you're viewing the correct week) contains some extra data that does not appear in this post for space reasons. We know that certain statistics start to stabilize fairly early on in the season, and many of the pitchers on this list have surpassed or are approaching 150 total batters faced (TBF), which is the point at which we can start to believe in K/PA (expressed as a percentage), GB%, and LD%. [Source] I have included all of these stats for each pitcher, as well as ERA, xFIP, and ERA-xFIP. Additionally, I have included the rank of each park as a run environment in 2011 and the rank of each offense faced (by OBP, as of 5/5).
Ratings (0 is the lowest possible score; 5 is the highest) are based on my own subjective opinion on a given pitcher's talent level and recent form, with considerations made for ballpark and opposing offense. I've included comments for all 36 pitchers. These are drive-by comments and many of them are based on small sample size, but I've tried to be as informative as possible. I'm happy to discuss any pitcher on a deeper level in the comments or on Twitter.
Follow the jump for this week's two start pitchers.
As always, probable starters are subject to change.
|Pitcher||This Week's Schedule||Own%||Rating||Comment|
|Justin Verlander||T (@SEA), Su (@OAK)||99||5||The reigning CY/MVP faces two very questionable teams.|
|Edwin Jackson||T (@PIT), Su (@CIN)||33||4.5||All of his numbers are up, and they're all (mostly) sustainable. Criminally underowned|
|James Shields||T (@NYY), Su (@BAL)||98||4||Doing so many things right. Only drawback is matchup @NYY|
|Roy Halladay||M (NYM), Su (SD)||99||4||Showing signs of aging, but you can't just bench him if you've got him|
|Jered Weaver||M (@MIN), Su (@TEX)||99||4||No reason to think he won't continue his no-hit stuff, but @TEX is a death trap|
|Wandy Rodriguez||M (MIA), Su (@PIT)||72||4||Some pretty tasty matchups, and he's not a guy who hurts himself.|
|Tommy Hanson||M (@CHC), Su (@STL)||94||4||Imagine what his numbers would look like with a normal BABIP (currently .330)|
|Ricky Romero||T (@OAK), Su (@MIN)||93||3.5||Hard contact (20.3 LD%) not turning into hits (.214 BABIP). Matchups in his favor, though|
|Lance Lynn||M (@ARI), Su (ATL)||86||3.5||I wish I'd jumped on this bandwagon sooner. Don't expect 1.60, but he's the real deal.|
|Doug Fister||M (@SEA), Sa (@OAK)||65||3.5||Returns from the DL with 2 very favorable matchups|
|Edinson Volquez||M (COL), Su (@PHI)||51||3.5||The walks are hard to swallow, but he's doing everything else right.|
|Jeff Samardzija||M (ATL), Su (@MIL)||29||3.5||Hard contact (26.7 LD%) is worrying. Ks are encouraging (9.09 K/9, 13.0 SwStrk%)|
|Jonathon Niese||M (@PHI), Su (@MIA)||45||3||Was last game against HOU the real Niese or a blip? Against these offenses, who cares?|
|Yovani Gallardo||M (CIN), Su (CHC)||95||3||Gallardo clearly needs to get Greinke to leave him alone|
|Philip Humber||M (@CLE), Su (KC)||25||3||Which Humber will show up this week? Crazy stat of the week: 70.8 FStrk%. Yeah.|
|Ted Lilly||M (SF), Su (COL)||71||3||A .169 BABIP with 84.1% LOB won't continue, esp as SwStrs continue to decline|
|Daniel Bard||T (@KC), Su (CLE)||36||2.5||F-Strike%: 63.4 - so why is he walking so many people?|
|Justin Masterson||T (CWS), Su (@BOS)||53||2.5||Fastball velocity drops, walks skyrocket. Still a reliable groundball machine|
|Matt Harrison||M (@BAL), Sa (LAA)||46||2.5||Dip in fastball velocity a source of problems; OTOH, GB% (53.8) is encouraging|
|Felix Doubront||M (@KC), Sa (CLE)||6||2.5||LD% and BABIP (.352) are a concern, SwStr% (8.2) suggests K-rate will drop|
|Josh Tomlin||M (CWS), Sa (@BOS)||3||2.5||Has feasted on CWS (x2), KC (x2), and SEA. BOS won't be so easy|
|Neftali Feliz||T (@BAL), Su (LAA)||76||2||Ks have dropped as expected, but walks continue to be a problem.|
|Jarrod Parker||T (TOR), Su (DET)||21||2||ERA (1.38) won't last - F-Strike%=48.1, LOB% = 86.7, 0 HR. When will regression come?|
|Ivan Nova||T (TB), Su (SEA)||54||2||K-rate appears to be unsustainable, and TB at home is not a good matchup|
|Joe Saunders||M (STL), Su (SF)||51||2||Increased use of 2-seamer has led to more GBs. Regression to ERA is coming.|
|Jake Arrieta||T (TEX), Su (TB)||16||2||Can he keep up a 7.75 K/9 with a 6.3 SwStr%? Probably not the week to find out|
|Drew Pomeranz||M (@SD), Su (@LAD)||6||2||LD%=33.9, BABIP=.310. Something's got to give.|
|Bronson Arroyo||M (@MIL), Su (WAS)||8||2||Only really worth the risk if both matchups are great. They're not.|
|Carlos Zambrano||M (@HOU), Su (NYM)||26||1.5||He's better than you think, but so are HOU and NYM.|
|A.J. Burnett||T (WAS), Su (HOU)||18||1.5||ERA-xFIP=5.11. That will happen when 10 GBs of 18 BIP turn into 12 hits.|
|Barry Zito||M (@LAD), Su (@ARI)||33||1.5||Almost every peripheral points to hard negative regression. Don't get sucked in.|
|Liam Hendriks||T (LAA), Su (TOR)||0||1||A lot like Liriano, but with fewer walks…and fewer strikeouts|
|Blake Beavan||M (DET), Su (@NYY)||2||1||Doesn't strike guys out (3.86 K/9) or induce GBs (33.9%). Where's the upside?|
|Francisco Liriano||M (LAA), Sa (TOR)||21||1||ERA-xFIP is 4.52…but ERA is 9.97|
|Jonathan Sanchez||M (BOS), Su (@CWS)||9||1||Continues to roll with a BB/9 above and a K/9 below 7.|
|Brian Matusz||M (TEX), Sa (TB)||1||1||At least he'll be pitching at home?|