The trade deadline was three days ago. By now fantasy experts like Trojan Croftbell and Cocky Karazola have picked over these deals until the bones were showing, and gone over the “slashes” these guys compiled while “toeing the rubber” and talked you, and themselves really, in-and-out of pickups until they were dizzy. There’s no other way to analyze this. Unless you take some of the moving parts to Week 19 of the Two-Startapalooza party!
What happens to the headlining acts is obvious. Jon Lester is a must-start almost every week. In the post-season, he becomes Orel Hershiser ’88, or at least Billy Beane and any long-time A’s fan that shudders at the thought of Orel Hershiser ’88 hopes. David Price scratches the surface of the Must-Start layer some weeks, but more often than not he’ll break the barrier thanks to some interesting non-sabermetrical splits. This year, Price had way better numbers away from the Trop (6-2, 2.74 ERA) than inside of it (5-6, 3.41). Which also means he had the same numbers on grass than on turf, and of course the Tigers play on the green stuff in Detroit (as opposed to the Rockies, who play on the green stuff in Denver, but that’s different).
Then there’s the other guys. It might not seem like what happened to John Lackey and bed crapper Justin Masterson matters as much, but as Twitter pal Ralph Lifshitz pointed out to me on my feed (@NiceRazzball), the Cardinals can turn anyone into a solid starter (see: Jake Westbrook and Joel Pineiro, Lifshitz said, and to that I say point taken). That being said, and I feel like I’m going to be saying that a lot this week – getting something out of Lackey is one thing, but getting the Masterbaterson to get right on a consistent basis is something else. Can you imagine rolling that guy out in the playoffs? Yipes!
Drew Smyly, who got the shaft in the Price deal and goes from a nice park on a winning team to a mediocre team in a crappy stadium, falls down at least one tier per week. He becomes a stat-piler guy for those in search of Two-Starters. Jesse Chavez falls off the radar completely, as he ends up in the A’s bullpen. I’ll miss seeing his oops-I-crapped-my-pants mug every week.
A few of these guys get a double dip this week. For some more Two-Starters, keep on reading…
Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles! Felix has the best matchups, so Felix is John. Kershaw is Paul, Scherzer being the old Tiger is George, and Price lookin’ kinda goofy gets to be Ringo.
First of all, let me tell you how long it took me to finally find Jeff Samardzija in my secret Stat Cave database (some website you use every day). Couldn’t spell it. S-a-r-m-a-r-d-z-j-a. Nope. S-a-m-a-r-d-i-z-i-ja. Na-uh. S-a-m-a-r-d-z-j-i-z-h-a-n-d-m-y-b-a-d. Not it either. I was starting to feel like one of the Bobs in “Office Space,” and I was expecting Jeff to jump out of the computer at me to yell his name in my face like Samir. Hmmm…Samir … Samardzija! But there are real reasons to give Samardzija the stink eye, and not just because his goatee-mustache combo has this greasy Three Dog Night look to it. For one, his FIP. He’s currently ranked 33rd in MLB. That’s behind the likes of Ian Kennedy, Scott Kazmir and Dallas Keuchel and just above the likes of Henderson Alvarez, Jake Odorizzi and Bartolo Colon. You might say, well, that first group consists of some pretty good pitchers. And I would counter by saying well yes, but if the A’s had landed Keuchel or Kennedy a few weeks back in advance of the deadline, would people have been flipping their Lidz goin’ cray-cray? Nope. And then what if they had traded for Odorizzi or Colon? A’s fans woulda been like huh? His K/9 is down one whole point, but his BB/9 is down one whole point too, so that’s a wash there. I guess I just don’t like Samardzija because he’s not a winning pitcher. He went 9-13 for the Cubs in 2012, 8-13 last year, and 4-8 overall this year, but 2-7 before coming over from Chicago to Oakland. Fine, he pitched for the Cubs. But the past two years he earned those records with ERAs of 3.81 and 4.34, respectively. I just don’t think Samardzija is who we think he is. He’s not a rip-roaring blow your face off Number 1. Do you think Billy Beane goes all in and deals Yoenis Cespedes for Jon Lester at the deadline if Samardzija comes over and smokes the first five teams he faces? All that being said, Samardzija has a nice week set up for him.
Hiroki Kuroda (DET, CLE), Charlie Morton (MIA, SD), Jason Hammel (TB, MIN), Danny Duffy (@ARI, SF), Tim Hudson (@NYM, @KC), Matt Garza (SF, LAD), Kevin Gausman (@WSH, STL), Alfredo Simon (@CLE, MIA), Brandon McCarthy (DET, CLE), Tim Lincecum (@MIL, @KC), Brad Hand (@PIT, @CIN)
I feel OK about starting these guys. Some decent streamers here, with Morton pulling the best matchups. Simon has had an unexpectedly nice year, but he looks like he’s running out of gas, like he’s been piling Alfredo down his throat.
I don’t feel OK about starting these guys. You could start Buehrle hoping he reaches back and remembers that he once knew how to pitch in 2014, and you could start Tyler “Jason Biggs” Skaggs and hope he doesn’t make an insensitive Tweet about a plane crash. But there are better options. By the way, Zach McAllister was going to go in here, but the Indians sent him down with no word of a replacement.
These are the guys you’ll see when you oversleep or forget to check your phone for probable pitchers in the morning. That being said, fantasy baseball isn’t real baseball or real life, so don’t let it ruin your day.