First a look at the running totals through half of week eight:
Here’s a look at this week’s recs, with team wOBA in parentheses:
RHP Henderson Alvarez – 4.9% ESPN/12% Yahoo!/55% own, 27% start CBS – v. TB (.307), @CHC (.293)
Alvarez has dealt back-to-back scoreless outings after a couple dust-ups versus the Giants and Padres, and over his past five starts the right-hander also has a complete game shutout win over the Mets back on May 6. Last time out Alvarez was shutting down the Nationals when he had to leave after five innings with some elbow stiffness. We’ll monitor the situation, and should the righty not be able to make his start, a substitute recommendation will be made. Alvarez has been his usual groundballing self this year, and the strikeouts continue to creep up a bit. Still, at just 5.4 per nine — versus an NL starter average of 7.4 per nine — the fireballing right-hander still doesn’t seem to strike out as many as someone whose fastball routinely reaches the mid-90s. It should hardly matter much this week however, as the 24-year-old gets a pair of pretty accommodating matchups.
RHP Collin McHugh – 14.7% ESPN/23% Yahoo!/43% own, 26% start CBS – @ARI (.307), v. TB (.307)
It’s probably fair to say the strikeout explosion (10.0 per nine as of this writing) for McHugh is a bit surprising. Granted, it’s only been 45 frames, but this is a guy who fanned just 11 hitters in 26 innings just one season ago (3.8 K/9). Repertoire-wise McHugh has seen a bit of added oomph to his fastball, and has thrown more curveballs at the expense of the heater and the changeup. According to PITCHf/x, it’s been the curveball that’s been particularly lethal this year, inducing a strikeout rate of 18.8 percent and a contact rate of just 53.1 percent. The slider checks in at an also-respectable 15.5 SwStr% as well.
Now it’s worth noting that grabbing McHugh is a gamble; the Astros have only committed to a six-man rotation through this next turn. McHugh starts on Tuesday, so he’ll need somebody dropped from the rotation to make that second start. Given the other two start options this week, and the likelihood that the Astros could move back to a standard five-man tilt along with McHugh’s body of work so far, that’s a risk I’d be willing to take.
LHP Jaime Garcia – 22.4% ESPN/21% Yahoo!/57% own, 40% start CBS – v. KC (.292), @TOR (.344)
There are a couple of dynamics at play here. First, the “he probably won’t be a streaming option for long” bit with Garcia, who when healthy will be rostered in almost all somewhat deep leagues. But that “when healthy” rule has plagued the lefty, who has only twice broken the 150 inning barrier and that was in consecutive seasons back in 2010-’11. He’s only thrown 189.2 innings since in the successive three calendar years (though with a 3.84 ERA and solid rates across the board). The returns have been generally positive through Garcia’s first couple starts this year, with 12 strikeouts and no walks, and the only dus-up being a pair of homers in the first start against the Braves — one each for Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton.
The second dynamic is the “don’t start anyone versus Toronto right now” dynamic, but with such a paucity of quality options this week, well, those are the breaks. Such is life in #2xSP territory.