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Ahead of the Curve: Are We Really Doing a Six-Man Rotation?

First Kate Upton, now this upcoming schedule. Could things really be going any better for Justin Verlander?
First Kate Upton, now this upcoming schedule. Could things really be going any better for Justin Verlander?

Right now 40% of the National League East is using a six-man rotation. The Braves are going with your more standard "oops, we have six viable starters and we can't bring ourselves to send one to the bullpen or minors" option. The Mets, on the other hand, are going with the "please for the love of all that is good, let all of our starters finish the year with their arms attached -- except for our rubber-armed knuckleballer who it would be super cool to get 20 wins" method.

Regardless of why these teams are going against conventional wisdom (and just regular old wisdom as well) by doing this, it is very important as fantasy owners to be aware of these developments. When there's only about 45 games left in the season, you can't underestimate the difference between the value of a player in a five-man rotation versus one in a six-man rotation -- it's a simple math problem. A pitcher in a five-man rotation will have nine starts left. A pitcher in a six-man rotation will have either 7 or 8 starts left -- and that's not even including the ramifications of the Mets maneuvering a six-man rotation around keeping R.A. Dickey on regular (or even short) rest.

So if wins and strikeouts are important to you, avoid pitchers on the Mets (non-Dickey variety) and Braves if given reasonably similar options. And for the record, I know that the Braves are only supposed to be doing this temporarily -- but with Medlen's shutout last night, I think they may stick it out longer than they had originally planned.

This week's potential over/underperformers are after the jump...


Justin Verlander (BAL, TOR, @KC, CLE, @LAA, @CLE, OAK, KC, @MIN)

If you're competing against a team with Justin Verlander down the stretch of the 2012 season, I'm sorry. Whether it's Roto or H2H, Verlander's combination of immense talent and attractive schedule should put him in good position to be the top SP over the final month and a half of the season.

Clayton Kershaw (SF, MIA, ARZ, SD)

Sticking in the ridiculously awesome division, Clayton Kershaw gets his next four starts in the comfortable confines of Chavez Ravine. For his career, Kershaw has had an ERA nearly a run lower at home than on the road (2.44 vs. 3.37) and this year the split has been even higher than that (2.27 vs. 3.62). Plus, all four match-ups are against underwhelming offenses to boot.

Hisashi Iwakuma (MIN, CLE, @MIN, LAA, OAK)

If you're looking for a stopgap option in deeper leagues, look no further than the 2012 Japanese import that absolutely no one has been talking about. It's tough to beat a stretch of five starts in which four are at Safeco, the most pitchingest of pitchers parks, and the fifth is at Target Field against the hapless Twins. Even owners in leagues as shallow as 12-team mixed should be looking at Iwakuma as a nice temporary pickup.

Scott Feldman (BAL, MIN, @CLE, @KC, CLE, SEA, @SEA, OAK, @OAK)

I tweeted earlier this week (while Ryan Dempster was being hammered around by the Yankees) that you should not bail on any of your Rangers starters because their schedule as a team gets much easier in another week or so. Well, we're even closer to that right now. The Rangers have a series in Toronto this weekend, but you'll get the gist of what they are in store for after that by looking at Feldman's schedule. Being in the AL West can have it's advantages (and just imagine next year when Houston is there!)

Zach McAllister (@OAK, @SEA, OAK, TEX, @MIN)

McAllister is being highlighted for one reason and one reason only -- to throw out some fun stats. In 78 innings pitched this season, Zach McAllister has allowed 18 unearned runs. Yes, you read that right. If McAllister's ERA just consisted of his unearned runs, it would still be 2.08. To say he can't quite hold things together after his team makes errors behind him is like saying the Obama/Romney election ads have not been super flattering towards each other.

Other Potential Outperformers:

Ian Kennedy (@HOU, SD, @LAD, @SF, LAD, SD)
Wade Miley (@HOU, MIA, CIN, @LAD, @SD, SF)
Pat Corbin (@HOU, SD, CIN, @SF, @SD, SF)
Jake Peavy (@KC, SEA, @BAL, MIN, KC, @MIN, @KC, CLE)
Tyler Chatwood (MIA, @NYM, @CHC, SD)
Zack Greinke (TB, @DET, @SEA, @OAK, OAK, @KC, CHW, SEA, @SEA)
Mark Rogers (CHC, @PIT, PIT, @MIA)
Nick Blackburn (@SEA, @OAK, SEA, @KC, CLE, KC, @CLE)
Tom Milone (CLE, MIN, @CLE, BOS, @SEA)
Ross Ohlendorf (SF, PIT, ATL, @LAD, ARZ, COL, @SF, LAD)
Matt Cain (@SD, @LAD, @HOU, @CHC, LAD,
Jake Westbrook (PIT, HOU, @PIT, @WSH, MLW, @LAD, HOU, @HOU, WSH)
Kyle Lohse (HOU, @PIT, @WSH, MLW, @SD, HOU, @CHC, WSH)
Derek Holland (BAL, MIN, @CLE, @KC, CLE)


Alex Cobb (@LAA, OAK, @TEX, NYY, TEX, @NYY, BOS, @BOS)

There's no doubt about it, Cobb has been great in August -- going 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and 6.0 K/BB rate in 21 IP -- but you may really want to think about moving him. His next two match-ups aren't terrible, but after that Cobb gets home-and-homes with three of the AL's biggest and baddest offenses. As much as I like his skill set, that's a lot of potential downside. Of course, Jeff Niemann could come back and take Cobb's rotation spot anyway (which would be another good reason to deal him now).

Clayton Richard (SF, @ARZ, @COL, @LAD, STL, @ARZ, @SF)

I've been a huge proponent of streaming Clayton Richard in pitchers' parks all season long. However, he's about to become a lot less helpful in that regard. Only two starts of his next seven are going to come in PETCO, and one of them is against likely the best offense in the National League.

J.A. Happ (TEX, @DET, @NYY, TB, @BOS, BOS, @NYY, @BAL, NYY)

There's no word I know of that is strong enough to describe this stretch, so I'm not even going to try. In conclusion, if you see J.A. Happ on the streets of Toronto (or a town near you), please give him a hug and tell him it's going to be OK.

Other Potential Underperformers:

Tommy Hunter (@DET, @TEX, CHW, @NYY, NYY, TB)
Chris Tillman (@TEX, CHW, @NYY, NYY, TB)
Franklin Morales (@NYY, LAA, @LAA, @OAK, TOR, @TOR)
Roy Halladay (CIN, WSH, @ATL, @CIN)
Jordan Zimmermann (ATL, @PHI, STL, CHC)


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:

5 wins, 1.86 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 36 K's in 48 1/3 innings.

And the details:

Date Pitcher Opp IP ER H BB K ERA WHIP Dec
10-Aug Mark Rogers HOU 7 1 3 2 8 1.29 0.71 ND
11-Aug Marco Estrada HOU 4 4 7 0 3 9.00 1.75 ND
12-Aug Pat Corbin WSH 7 2 4 0 7 2.57 0.57 W
13-Aug Alex Cobb SEA 7 1 4 2 5 1.29 0.86 W
14-Aug Lucas Harrell CHC 8 1 6 2 7 1.13 1.00 W
15-Aug Mike Leake NYM 9 1 4 0 4 1.00 0.44 W
16-Aug Dan Straily KC 6 1/3 0 3 2 2 - 0.79 W

I'm usually not one to pat myself on the back too much, but I've been on fire lately. If I were one of the basketball players in NBA Jam, my computer screen would explode into flames each time I hit typed a name into my "Compose New Tweet" box. And to throw some more fun stats out there for you, here's my track record since the All-Star Break:

20 wins (in 35 starts) with a 2.84 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 157 K in 212 2/3 IP.

What are you waiting for? Follow me on Twitter at @dynastyguru.