Here are this week’s recommendations (in an Oakland A’s edition of 2xSP):
Dan Haren – 43.0% ESPN – v. ATL (.319 team wOBA), v. MIA (.279)
Haren’s season figures don’t look great on the surface — 9-13, 5.02 ERA, 1.6 HR/9 — but they’re largely masking what was an absolutely brutal start for the Pepperdine product. On July 1, Haren’s season ERA sat at 6.15 after getting pounded by the Rockies his previous time out.
Since then, Haren’s made 12 starts, going 5-4 with a much more Haren-like 3.67 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 5.0 K/BB. That’s the kind of guy that the Nationals were expecting, though it’s certainly a bit too little, too late for this season. The Braves matchup sort of stinks, but the Marlins matchup for than makes up for it.
Trevor Cahill – 26.3% ESPN – v. LAD (.317), @COL (.323)
I had much higher hopes for Cahill — pretty sure I had him as an NL Cy sleeper — and it’s probably fair to say the Diamondbacks did too. He’s still getting a good number of grounders (56.5%), more strikeouts than his career rate (6.2 to 5.9), and isn’t getting riddled with home runs despite playing in a launchpad.
It sort of seems like a copout, but he just flat out isn’t pitching as well this year. A small bump in walks hasn’t helped, and he’s on pace to throw fewer innings this year, but ultimately Cahill will always be on a tightrope a bit with low strikeout rates and less than adequate control. Still, he’s a good enough pitcher to take with or without the benefit of good matchups, at least in my view.
He’s been pretty good the past few times out, putting together a 2.97 ERA in his last 33.1 innings pitched (5 starts), though his K/BB has been pretty ugly (21-17).
Sonny Gray – 43.6% ESPN – v. LAA (.328), v. MIN (.308)
Gray’s career is off to a scintillating start, as he’s already compiled +1.4 WAR in just under 50 big league innings pitched. In other words, he’s on just under a +6.0 WAR pace for 200 innings. And while there’s clearly issues with projecting a rookie that way, it’s just sort of interesting to see just how dominant he’s been (2.63/2.34/2.84).
Nothing about Gray’s peripherals screams unsustainable — maybe his HR rate — and he gets a couple great matchups this week. Get him in your lineups.
Also, the spreadsheet is completely updated.