Two-Start Pitchers: Week 15 (July 7-13)

Hannah Foslien

Ranking and tiering the two-start pitchers for Week 15, including Jake Odorizzi, Tyler Skaggs and Jason Vargas.

My Week 14 recommendations were a mixed-bag. Jesse Hahn pitched five shut-out innings in a victory against the Reds, striking out nine and walking two. Danny Duffy also earned the win in his first turn, going 5 2/3 innings against the Twins while allowing one run on four hits and striking out three. Collin McHugh couldn't keep the mojo going in Houston, giving up five runs in six innings at the hands of the Mariners (but he did strike out eight). All three starters are scheduled to go today to wrap up the holiday weekend.

Results (through half of Week 14)

32-20
7.16 K/9
2.47 BB/9
3.43 ERA
1.13 WHIP
Start!

Masahiro Tanaka: Tue-@CLE (Bauer), Sun-@BAL (Chen)
Stephen Strasburg: Mon-BAL (Tillman), Sat-@PHI (Hamels)
Adam Wainwright: Mon-PIT (Morton), Sat-@MIL (Estrada)
Johnny Cueto: Tue-CHC, Gm. 1 (Wood), Sun-PIT (Worley)
Madison Bumgarner: Tue-@OAK (Gray), Sun-ARI (Anderson)
Julio Teheran: Tue-@NYM (DeGrom), Sun-@CHC (Wood)
Sonny Gray: Tue-SF (Bumgarner), Sun-@SEA (Young)

Tier 1

Cole Hamels: Mon-@MIL (Estrada), Sat-WSH (Strasburg)
Hisashi Iwakuma: Mon-MIN (Correia), Sat-OAK (Chavez)
Justin Verlander: Tue-LAD (Ryu), Sun-@KC (Vargas)
Jered Weaver: Mon-TOR (Happ), Sat-@TEX (Martinez)
Hyun-Jin Ryu: Tue-@DET (Verlander), Sun-SD (Ross)
Jesse Chavez: Mon-SF (Vogelsong), Sat-@SEA (Iwakuma)
James Shields: Mon-@TB (Odorizzi), Sat-DET (Porcello)
Doug Fister: Tue-BAL (Chen), Sun-@PHI (Kendrick)

Tier 2

Mike Minor: Mon-@NYM (Matsuzaka), Sat-@CHC (Jackson)
Jake Odorizzi: Mon-KC (Shields), Sun-TOR (Happ)
Tyler Skaggs: Tue-TOR (Dickey), Sun-@TEX (Mikolas)
Jason Vargas: Tue-@TB (Bedard), Sun-DET (Verlander)
Charlie Morton: Mon-@STL (Wainwright), Sat-@CIN (Leake)
Mike Leake: Mon-CHC (Jackson), Sat-PIT (Morton)
Tyson Ross: Tue-@COL (Morales), Sun-@LAD (Ryu)
Ian Kennedy: Mon-@COL (Matzek), Sat-@LAD (Beckett)
Jacob deGrom: Tue-ATL (Teheran), Sun-MIA (Koehler)
Carlos Martinez: Tue-PIT (Worley), Sun-@MIL (Peralta)

Tier 3

Tom Koehler: Mon-@ARI (Anderson), Sun-@NYM (DeGrom)
Wily Peralta: Tue-PHI (Kendrick), Sun-STL (Martinez)
Travis Wood: Tue-@CIN, Gm. 1 (Cueto), Sun-ATL (Teheran)
Trevor Bauer: Tue-NYY (Tanaka), Sun-CWS (Danks)
Chris Tillman: Mon-@WSH (Strasburg), Sat-NYY (Nuno)
Brandon Workman: Tue-CWS (Danks), Sun-@HOU (Cosart)
Vance Worley: Tue-@STL (Martinez), Sun-@CIN (Cueto)
Phil Hughes: Tue-@SEA (Young), Sun-@COL (Matzek)
Justin Masterson: Mon-NYY (Nuno), Sat-CWS (Carroll)
Marco Estrada: Mon-PHI (Hamels), Sat-STL (Wainwright)
Ryan Vogelsong: Mon-@OAK (Chavez), Sat-ARI (Miley)
Wei-Yin Chen: Tue-@WSH (Fister), Sun-NYY (Tanaka)
Tyler Matzek: Mon-SD (Kennedy), Sun-MIN (Hughes)
Chris Young: Tue-MIN (Hughes), Sun-OAK (Gray)

Not this week

Chase Anderson: Mon-MIA (Koehler), Sun-@SF (Bumgarner)
Clay Buchholz: Mon-CWS (Carroll), Sat-@HOU (McHugh)
Scott Carroll: Mon-@BOS (Buchholz), Sat-@CLE (Masterson)
Kevin Correia: Mon-@SEA (Iwakuma), Sat-@COL (Flande)
Jarred Cosart: Mon-@TEX (Martinez), Sun-BOS (Workman)
John Danks: Tue-@BOS (Workman), Sun-@CLE (Bauer)
J.A. Happ: Mon-@LAA (Weaver), Sun-@TB (Odorizzi)
Edwin Jackson: Mon-@CIN (Leake), Sat-ATL (Minor)
Kyle Kendrick: Tue-@MIL (Peralta), Sun-WSH (Fister)
Nick Martinez: Mon-HOU (Cosart), Sat-LAA (Weaver)
Daisuke Matsuzaka: Mon-ATL (Minor), Sat-MIA (Alvarez)
Miles Mikolas: Tue-HOU (Peacock), Sun-LAA (Skaggs)
Vidal Nuno: Mon-@CLE (Masterson), Sat-@BAL (Tillman)

My Week 15 Picks

Jake Odorizzi, Rays
2014: 4-7, 88.1 IP, 10.29 K/9, 3.57 BB/9, 33.3 GB%, 4.18 ERA, 1.35

I recommended Odorizzi three weeks ago in this column, and the 24-year-old right-hander went 1-0 with two runs allowed and 15 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings combined. Odorizzi has been inconsistent, and he hasn't made it through six innings in his past two starts, but he pitches significantly better at home. And, in Week 15, he gets both starts at home, against theRoyals and Blue Jays. In nine starts at Tropicana Field, Odorizzi owns a 2.70 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 61 strikeouts in 50 innings (compared to a 6.10 ERA, 1.70 WHIP and 40 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings on the road). Odorizzi has put up huge strikeout numbers, with 101 strikeouts in 88 1/3 innings, and he owns a very solid 3.40 FIP and 3.61 xFIP.

Tyler Skaggs, Angels
2014: 4-4, 84.1 IP, 6.83 K/9, 2.67 BB/9, 52.6 GB%, 4.16 ERA, 1.20 WHIP

I discussed Skaggs in the last head-to-head risers and fallers column. The 22-year southpaw returned from a hamstring injury on Wednesday, holding the White Sox to two runs on five hits and one walk and striking out six. Skaggs is a former top prospect in the Diamondbacks organization, but he's since moved to a much better situation in Anaheim. Right now, expect roughly seven strikeouts per nine, a 3.50-4.00 ERA and a 1.15-1.20 WHIP. Skaggs gets the Blue Jays at home and the Rangers on the road in Week 14. Toronto lives and dies with the home run, and Skaggs doesn't give up many big flies, as his 52.6 percent groundball rate is the 17th highest mark in baseball. While he draws Yu Darvish in Texas, the Rangers have been woeful with the 25th lowest wOBA and 26th lowest wRC+ over the last 30 days.

Jason Vargas, Royals
2014: 8-3, 119.1 IP, 5.96 K/9, 2.04 BB/9, 41.5 GB%, 3.32 ERA, 1.22 WHIP

Vargas continues to be one of the more underrated starting pitchers in baseball. What he does is the opposite of sexy, but it works. There are few strikeouts, fewer walks and lots of quality innings. Vargas has already tossed 119 innings, which is sixth highest in the league behind Johnny Cueto, David Price, Felix Hernandez, Julio Teheran and Adam Wainwright. Despite allowing six runs against the Angels two starts ago (he followed it up with seven donuts against the Twins), I expect vintage Vargas to return in Week 15. He's been successful in two out of his last three starts against the Tigers, and the Rays are no offensive juggernaut. (He pitched eight innings of one-run ball against Tampa in April, for what it's worth.) There's not much guesswork involved when using Vargas; just throw him out there per usual.

Stats from FanGraphs.

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