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Two-Start Pitchers: Week 7 (May 18-24)

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Ranking and tiering the two-start pitchers in Week 7, including Rubby De La Rosa, Drew Hutchison and Carlos Frias.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Woof. Josh Collmenter was a bad choice. As much as Collmenter felt like a safe pick in a light slate of two-start options, I should have exercised more caution against the National - and Bryce Harper. Collmenter was touched up for nine runs on eight hits in 1 1/3 innings; he'll get a second start against the Phillies today, and it can only go up from here, right? Wily Peralta continued his hot pitching, holding the White Sox to two runs on six hits with four strikeouts in six innings. Hey! That's a quality start! Unfortunately, he didn't pick up the win. And, my last pick, Nathan Eovaldi, barely missed a quality start of his own, giving up four runs on six hits with six strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings against the Rays. He lost his two-start status, however, and will next go Tuesday at Washington. Welcome Eovaldi back to your bench. My overall numbers aren't pretty, but I'm feeling good about my picks in Week 7.

My results

7-13 (11 quality starts, 30 starts total)
5.39 ERA
1.37 WHIP
7.48 K/9
2.56 BB/9

Start!

Matt Harvey: Mon-STL (Lackey), Sat-@PIT (Cole)
Chris Sale: Mon-CLE (Kluber), Sat-MIN (May)
Sonny Gray: Tue-@HOU (Hernandez), Sun-@TB (Karns)
Johnny Cueto: Tue-@KC (Ventura), Sun-@CLE (Bauer)
Corey Kluber: Mon-@CWS (Sale), Sat-CIN (DeSclafani)
Cole Hamels: Mon-@COL (Lyles), Sat-@WSH (Scherzer)
Michael Wacha: Tue-@NYM (Niese), Sun-@KC (Volquez)

Tier 1

James Shields: Tue-CHC (Hammel), Sun-@LAD (Frias)
Anibal Sanchez: Tue-MIL (Nelson), Sun-HOU (Hernandez)
Jason Hammel: Tue-@SD (Shields), Sun-@ARI (Hellickson)
John Lackey: Mon-@NYM (Harvey), Sat-@KC (Duffy)
Trevor Bauer: Tue-@CWS (Quintana), Sun-CIN  (Cueto)
Jose Quintana: Tue-CLE (Bauer), Sun-MIN (Gibson)
Rubby De La Rosa: Mon-@MIA (Haren), Sat-CHC (Arrieta)

Tier 2

Carlos Frias: Tue-@SF (Hudson), Sun-SD (Shields)
Drew Hutchison: Tue-LAA (Santiago), Sun-SEA (Walker)
Mike Fiers: Mon-@DET (Lobstein), Sat-@ATL (Miller)
Nathan Karns: Tue-@ATL (Foltynewicz), Sun-OAK (Gray)
Drew Pomeranz: Mon-@HOU (TBD), Sat-@TB (Archer)
Dan Haren: Mon-ARI (De La Rosa), Sat-BAL (Jimenez)
Jimmy Nelson: Tue-@DET (Sanchez), Sun-@ATL (Foltynewicz)

Tier 3

Jonathon Niese: Tue-STL (Wacha), Sun-@PIT (Burnett)
Mike Foltynewicz: Tue-TB (Karns), Sun-MIL (Nelson)
*Jarred Cosart: Tue-ARI (Hellickson), Sun-BAL (Tillman)
C.J. Wilson: Mon-@TOR (Sanchez), Sat-@BOS (Wright)
Yovani Gallardo: Tue-@BOS (Miley), Sun-@NYY (Eovaldi)
Kyle Lobstein: Mon-MIL (Fiers), Sat-HOU (TBD)

Not this week

Aaron Harang: Tue-@COL (Bettis), Sun-@WSH (Strasburg)
Jeremy Hellickson: Tue-@MIA (Cosart), Sun-CHC (Hammel)
Roberto Hernandez: Tue-OAK (Gray), Sun-@DET (Sanchez)
Tim Hudson: Tue-LAD (Frias), Sun-@COL (Bettis)
Jordan Lyles: Mon-PHI (Hamels), Sat-SF, Gm. 1 (Heston)
Wade Miley: Tue-TEX (Gallardo), Sun-LAA (Santiago)
Aaron Sanchez: Mon-LAA (Wilson), Sat-SEA (Paxton)
Hector Santiago: Tue-@TOR (Hutchison), Sun-@BOS (Miley)
Chris Tillman: Tue-SEA (Walker), Sun-@MIA (Cosart)
Taijuan Walker: Tue-@BAL (Tillman), Sun-@TOR (Hutchison)

My Week 7 Picks

Rubby De La Rosa, Diamondbacks (@MIA, CHC)

De La Rosa is quietly having a good season in the desert, going 4-2 in his first seven starts with a 4.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 42/12 K/BB ratio in 44 innings. He's increased his strikeout rate from 16.8 percent to 23.1, and decreased his walk rate from 7.9 percent to 6.6, while upping his swinging strike rate from 8.2 percent to 10.7. One big difference is in his first-pitch strike rate (52.4 percent in 2014, 63.2 percent in 2015). I don't think we've seen the best of De La Rosa, who owns a 4.13 FIP, 3.48 xFIP and 3.53 SIERA. He's not allowing as much hard contact, and his home run to fly ball rate is a tad over his career average. In Week 7, De La Rosa travels to pitcher friendly Miami before coming home against the Cubs. I'm obviously more confident in the start against the Marlins, but the Cubs can be beat, especially when facing a pitcher for the first time (trust me, I'm a Cubs fan), and own a major-league leading 25.2 percent strikeout rate. Plus, they rank middle of the pack in terms of wRC+. Loving DLR this week. He's gone seven innings in three out of his last four starts against the Nationals, Padres and Pirates.

Drew Hutchison, Blue Jays (LAA, SEA)

Hutchison was a popular sleeper heading into 2015, but some horrible starts, including three with six earned runs or more - have really hurt his overall numbers: mostly notably a 6.17 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. Well, in is his last two turns, Hutchison is 1-0 with three earned runs allowed in 11 innings with 15 strikeouts and two walks. He still allowed 12 hits, but we've seen his walk rate decline significantly since his five-walk game against Boston on April 28. In his last three turns, he's walked just one batter in each game, bringing his walk rate to 7.3 percent, which is more in line with his career average of 7.6. I'm still weary of using Hutchison in a lot of his AL East starts, but this week offers two opponents from the AL West: the Angels and Mariners. Hutchison has been a much better pitcher at home (3.57 ERA at home, 8.03 ERA on the road), and the Angels are one of the worst offenses in the league, according to wRC+. Their 82 wRC+ entering Saturday is the 27th worst in the league, while the Mariners are in the middle at 97. The one guy you really worry about in Seattle's offense is Nelson Cruz, but he's just 3 for 18 without a home run against the 24-year-old right-hander. In fact, Seattle is hitting just .211/.262/.395 against Hutchison in 38 at-bats. Small sample size, but two home starts for Hutchison, who is coming off two strong starts, might be turning things around.

Carlos Frias, Dodgers (@SF, SD)

I'm not too familiar with Frias, who has gone 3-0 without a loss in his first five starts with a 2.89 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 16/4 K/BB ratio in 18 2/3 innings, but I think he'll be a tough out against the Giants and Padres, which haven't seen much of the 25-year-old righty. Averaging 96 mph on his fastball, Frias also mixes in a nasty cutter that gets a lot of whiffs. His swinging strike rate outside the strike zone is an impressive 37.5 percent, and is pounding the strike zone early and often (65.4 percent first-pitch strike rate). I think teams might catch up to Frias as we get deeper into the season, but I'm willing to ride the hot streak in a week that presents OK matchups. The Giants are a tougher team away from their home ballpark, but still rank in the bottom third in terms of run scored. The Padres have been hit and miss lately, including being held to two or fewer runs in four our of their last 10 (entering Saturday).

Stats from FanGraphs.com