Today marks the return of the two-start starter pieces. With the help of Joe Tarring this week, I’ve tried to get some very low usage pitchers for you to consider for this go-round. This year, I’m going to make a concerted effort to track the stats of the pitchers I choose, so you know whether to go with my advice, or run in the other direction.
Also: I fully understand that rotations are subject to change. I pull my data on Friday mornings from ESPN.com’s ‘probables’, so with this in mind please realize I look at Monday starters (guaranteed 2x considering five-man rotation and one or fewer off days the rest of the week) as well as Tuesday’s (if no off day later in the week). Lots of things can change over the weekend, but we’re just trying to be preemptive here.
This week will also be necessarily brief. We don’t have much of a statistical basis here yet for this season, and a lot of teams are drastically different than last year. It would be disingenuous for me to suggest otherwise.
This week’s specials:
Ubaldo Jimenez– 10 percent Yahoo!/8.7 percent ESPN – (v. NYY, v. CWS)
It wasn’t so long ago that Jimenez was one of the best and brightest hurlers in the National League. And while he’s fallen on hard times in the interim — doesn’t seem like that trade was so good for either side — he did look pretty good in his season debut, combining strikeouts and groundballs in a win over what looks to be a very good Jays team. The velocity was down a bit again for the fourth straight season, but that was also one start. Justin Verlander’s velocity was way down as well, so this isn’t exactly substantive yet.
But nonetheless, when it comes to two-start guys, you could probably do better or worse. The Indians, at least in my view, should be pretty good. The should support the pitchers offensively, and at the very least they should catch just about every fly ball struck at Progressive Field. That may not help Jimenez much if his current trends continue, but it looks like he’ll have a pretty decent team around him to help keep him up as it pertains to winning ballgames.
Kevin Slowey– 1 percent Yahoo!/0.0 percent ESPN – (v. ATL, v. PHI)
Are you aware of the story of Sisyphus? OK sorry, but I had to drop that reference in there in case any Minneapolis-based media members read. The biggest story here isn’t necessarily Slowey as a pitcher, or the fact that his offense may or may not help him out at all, but that he’s landed in a park that should play up his skill set. Slowey sends more things into the air than NASA with a career 47.8 percent fly ball rate. The Marlins park should be one of the more accommodating scenes for this type of pitcher, and both starts next week are at home.
The Marlins should also be at least decent at tracking down bird chasers, especially with Giancarlo Stanton out there. Slowey should continue to be a decent play, especially if he can rein in his usually stellar control.
Joe Saunders – 2 percent Yahoo!/0.2 percent ESPN – (@HOU, v. LAA)
You don’t have to love Saunders’ as a whole, but he gets a pair of pretty good matchups here. Warning: Brief SSS analysis ahead. The Astros have a .206 wOBA so far, and are striking out in 44.3% of their plate appearances. That’s 12% more than the Braves, the next closest team which also could boast of its .326 collective wOBA. The Astros are doing a lot of really good things behind the scenes, but right now on the field it’s going to be somewhat tough to watch. So go get Saunders.
The Halos can hit, but Saunders is going to get a bunch of grounders and he has Brendan Ryan over there to pick a lot of them up. Kyle Seager does a pretty good job at third, too. It’s not a ‘fall over yourself’ sort of matchup, but the first half of this two-start week should make it worth it.
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