Week 6 is approaching and it is time to get your pitching in order, whether you play head to head or in some other format. Here is your cheat sheet to use in evaluating your rotation options this week.
These are the pitchers I want to have on my roster, this week and every week, actually. Some new names here, including the Royals' rookie Ventura, Nathan Eovaldi who has made a serious case to be considered the second best pitcher on the Marlins, and the return of Clayton Kershaw. Jeff Samardzija is a good option these days as well, together with his rotation-mates Travis Wood and Jason Hammel.
These pitchers are ranked in the order I would want to add them to my roster, were they available. I usually consider this middle tier to be composed of smaller sub-tiers, and this period, the first tier runs from Weaver to Harang. I am not a huge fan of Weaver, but he just gets the job done, and therefore, I have to respect his abilities. Miller has been a bit disappointing to his owners but when we look at his output, it has only been a couple of poor outings that have soured fantasy players on him. Harang had a recent disaster pop up out of nowhere, but he had been stellar, and I would consider the 9 runs allowed to the Marlins to be an aberration, not a growing trend. Same advice pertains to Perez, as I would expect him to return to his stingy ways this week. Deduno, if he can stretch out his arm and move from the pen to the rotation, could be effective, and with the potential for limiting baserunners in place, he is my favorite Twins starter right now, not that that says a whole lot. Happ is a pitcher I've rostered now for a couple of seasons, and as a mew member of the Toronto six man rotation, I would expect him to continue his success that he has shown coming out of the pen.
The next sub-tier begins with Tillman and runs through Elias. Tillman has struggled his last three outings, but has the strikeout potential and skill to turn things around, and I especially like his second start vs Houston. Lyles has been a real find for the Rockies, having gone 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in six starts. If he is available, pick him up. Cain missed his last start, cutting his hand in the clubhouse and that drops him down to the second tier for now. Expect him to return to top tier status once his wound heals. Quintana and Archer are both pitching sloppily, letting too many base runners cross the dish in their appearances. I like Quintana's match ups better than Archer's, but I also like Archer's offense better than that backing Quintana. Phelps and Kendrick have been putting up good numbers, Phelps out of the pen and Kendrick from the rotation. Kendrick has been unlucky, and his record should be better than 0-2 given his peripherals. Phelps will replace the suspended Michael Pineda so don't count on him getting two starts, but that is his schedule for now. Elias has been a good source for Ks, and if he can continue to pitch like he did in dominating the Yankees, he will move up in my rankings, but right now he is sitting at the bottom of the second sub-tier.
The third sub-tier is dicey, running from Alvarez to McAllister. I like Alvarez and Young best of this group, but I don't really want to have to rely on any of them for two starts. Young has the worst match ups here, but I am not so wowed by any match up to suggest that you must pick up one of these guys. Desperation is what drives any claim you make for the third sub-tier pitchers, and I hate to act out of desperation in fantasy.
I would not waste my roster space on any of these guys right now, although I could not tell you to drop Bailey if you won him. His inability to keep the ball in the park, sporting an awful 1.83 HR/9 ratio so far this season. The rest need to prove their consistency to me before I would consider starting them this year.
Should you have questions regarding fantasy baseball, especially starting pitching, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org to continue the discussion.