Ahead of the Curve: Managing the Minefield of September

He won't #@%$ us over! He's Mr. September!

With the expansion of rosters in September, day-to-day roster management can get very tricky. An extra starting pitcher here, an extra hitter there -- and before you know it, you've got two pitchers on your staff in a six-man rotation and an outfielder in a platoon. Right now, we have no less than five teams who have added a sixth member to their rotation, which can really throw off the types of scheduling predictions I'm trying to make here. Will the Marlins keep Nate Eovaldi, Wade LeBlanc and Jacob Turner all in their rotation? Are the Indians trying to set a record for the worst six-man rotation in history?

And that's without mentioning the pitchers on potential innings limits. Guys who have been strong performers this year, like Michael Fiers, Alex Cobb and Jarrod Parker. And that's without even mentioning that Strasburg guy. These pitchers could be shut down at any time between now and the end of the season -- and you're lucky if you know about it more than one turn in advance. In fact, when Joe Maddon came out this week and said that Cobb would make three more starts, I was more relieved than bummed since I can now prepare for it.

But we march on and do our best to take home a title, despite these September minefields. After all, we're less than four weeks from the end of the season. But anyway, here's what you came for:

THE POTENTIAL OUTPERFORMERS

Kris Medlen (@NYM, WSH, @MIA, MIA, @PIT)

What Medlen has done since returning to the Braves rotation has been nothing short of spectacular. You know the stats -- 0.54 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 10.0 K/BB. On top of that, hitters have had a 468 OPS against him. That's lower than Brandon Wood's career 514 OPS. Kris Medlen is turning every hitter he faces into a crappier version of Brandon Wood. Insane.

More after the jump...

Cole Hamels (COL, @HOU, @NYM, WSH, @MIA)

If you are relying on Hamels as your ace and need him to come through down the stretch, his schedule certainly will not be the reason why that doesn't happen. 2012 has really been a career year for Hamels, but not in the "correct" sense of the word. All of Hamels important rate stats have been almost identically in line with what he's done in his career (K rate, BB rate, GB rate, HR rate, swinging strike rate, contact rate). You wanted Cole Hamels, you got Cole Hamels.

Chris Sale (KC, DET, @KC, CLE)

I haven't put my baseball boyfriend in the spotlight lately, so he's making his triumphant return. Detroit will be the one tough start in this slate, but Kansas City and Cleveland are great match-ups for a left-handed strikeout pitcher. The important thing to note here though, is that Robin Ventura came out and definitively said that they will not skip Sale the rest of the season, nor give him extra time between starts. Let's all just hope his arm holds up.

Wade Miley (@SD, SF, SD, @SF, CHC)

One of this year's breakout pitchers, Miley refuses to regress to the mean that many of us (myself included) still believe to be inevitable. And based on the match-ups he has the rest of the way, this regression may not come until 2013 -- such is life pitching in the NL West sometimes. And the one start outside the division is against the Cubs and their 61 wRC+ against LHP. If you're not entirely sure what that means, it's lower than both Jeff Franceour (67 wRC+) and Michael Young (69 wRC+). Ouch.

Dan Haren (OAK, @KC, CHW, SEA, @SEA)

In an encouraging sign, Dan Haren allowed one run in six innings with seven strikeouts against Oakland on Wednesday. In a not-so-encouraging sign, he also averaged 87.7 MPH on his four-seam fastball - which is terrible even compared to his already poor 2012 average velocity of 89.1 MPH. His schedule may be very favorable, and will certainly help to limit his downside, but expecting much from him come playoff time may be a fool's errand.

Other Potential Outperformers:

Tyler Skaggs (@SD, SF, SD, @COL, CHC)
White Sox Mystery Starter (KC, @MIN, @KC, CLE)
Homer Bailey (HOU, PIT, @CHC, MLW, @PIT)
Bronson Arroyo (HOU, @MIA, @CHC, MLW)
Rick Porcello (@CHW, @CLE, MIN, KC, @KC)
Doug Fister (@CHW, @CLE, MIN, KC, @KC)
Felix Hernandez (OAK, @TOR, BAL, @LAA, @OAK)
Kyle Lohse (MLW, @SD, HOU, @HOU)
Matt Harrison (@TB, SEA, @SEA, OAK, @OAK)
Ryan Dempster (CLE, SEA, @SEA, OAK, @OAK)

THE POTENTIAL UNDERPERFORMERS

David Price (TEX, @NYY, BOS, @BOS, @CHW)

If Price wants to make a run at his first Cy Young award, he's really going to have to earn it. There's no string of match-ups that could possibly cause you to get cute with Price in the playoffs, but you'll certainly feel better if you have one or two guys on the outperformer list to match with him.

Jarrod Parker (@LAA, BAL, @NYY, @TEX, TEX)

As you can probably tell, it's going to be a rough month to be an A's pitcher. Hopefully you at least have one of the guys going up against the Mariners at Safeco this weekend..

Ricky Romero (@BOS, BOS, @NYY, @BAL, NYY)

Would someone please let the Ricky Romero misery end? Can't we just make up an injury for him or say he has some sort of innings limit? Please?

Other Potential Underperformers:

Bud Norris (@CIN, PHI, @STL, STL, @MLW)
Edgar Gonzalez (@CIN, PHI, @STL, STL)
Jeremy Guthrie (@CHW, LAA, CLE, @DET, DET)
Bruce Chen (@CHW, LAA, CHW, @DET)
Joe Blanton (@ARZ, STL, @CIN, COL)
Aaron Harang (@ARZ, @WSH, @CIN, COL)
Jacob Turner (@WSH, CIN, ATL, @ATL)
Dan Straily? (@LAA, BAL, @NYY, @TEX, TEX)
Ross Detwiler (MIA, @ATL, LAD, @PHI, @STL)

#STREAMEROFTHEDAY UPDATE

As you may know, I post a streamer of the day owned in less than 10% of leagues on a daily basis at @dynastyguru on Twitter. And as a staple of this column, I'm going to review my picks as the season goes on. Here are the final numbers for the past seven days of #streameroftheday picks:

2 wins, 3.12 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 39 K's in 40 1/3 innings.

And the details:

Date Pitcher Opp IP ER H BB K ERA WHIP Dec
31-Aug Mike Leake HOU 6 2 7 2 6 3.00 1.50 W
1-Sep Marco Estrada PIT 7 1 4 1 10 1.29 0.71 ND
2-Sep Travis Wood SF 5 2/3 2 7 1 2 3.18 1.41 ND
3-Sep Pat Corbin SF 5 4 7 0 6 7.20 1.40 ND
4-Sep Zach Britton TOR 7 0 4 2 8 - 0.86 W
5-Sep Miguel Gonzalez TOR 6 1/3 5 7 0 4 7.11 1.11 L
6-Sep Jhoulys Chacin ATL 3 1/3 0 7 3 3 - 3.00 L

Another strong week with some very familiar names. I'm pretty sad that it looks like Marco Estrada has finally graduated from #streameroftheday status, as he's now nearly 20% owned. Same for Zach Britton, who's shot up to 25% after another fantastic outing against the Blue Jays. Looks like we're going to have get some new blood in here for the stretch drive. Here's my updated track record since the All-Star Break:

29 wins (in 55 starts) with a 2.78 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 260 K in 333 2/3 IP.

Follow me on Twitter at @dynastyguru.
Check out more of my stuff at The Dynasty Guru.

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