Week three is in the books, and yet again, pitching voodoo was conjured up, this time by the unsuspecting lefty Carlos Rodon, who came within a “toe ball” HBP of a Perfect Game. He threw a No-No and has not allowed a run this year over 2 starts, so maybe, just maybe, this is the breakout campaign we’ve long-awaited.
I would also be negligent in my duties if I did not mention the fact that on Saturday, for the second straight start Jacob deGrom struck out 14 batters while allowing 3 unearned runs. The Mets did everything in their power to provide deGrom with a loss but the baseball gods were just on that day, promptly delivering deGrom a win after he was pulled.
So to stick with the theme of the Mets and No-Hitters, Marcus Stroman is my pick to furnish the Mets with their first officially unofficial No-Hitter ( We don’t count the Johan Santana Debacle). Alright, I’m supposed to talk about 2 Start Pitchers so without further adieu…Let’s get goin!
THE MUST STARTS
1. Brandon Woodruff MIL: (4/19 @ SD), (4/25 @ CHC)
– Overshadowed by the hot start of Corbin Burnes. Woodruff has quietly started the season with 19 K’s and a 0.76 WHIP over 17 IP, San Diego is a tough team, but he also has shut the Cubs down twice this year already. Expect more of the same from Woodruff.
2. Hyun-Jin Ryu TOR: (4/20 @ BOS), (4/25 @ TB)
– The veteran Lefty has looked great this season. Boston’s best hitters are righties but he can neutralize this lineup if he’s on. I’m not scared of Tampa either.
3. Jack Flaherty STL: (4/19 @ WAS), (4/25 vs CIN)
– Flaherty’s last start against the Nats was his best this season 6 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K’s. The Reds offense has been RED hot and he’ll take on another 2 start SP in Luis Castillo in this one. Pitcher’s duel? Possibly. Never the less Flaherty seems to be trending in the right direction.
4. Luis Castillo CIN: (4/20 vs ARI), (4/25 @ STL)
– His K/9 is down. His fastball velocity is down. He got shelled by the Cardinals in his first start of the season, and his only good start this year was against the Pirates. Doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement does it? It’s not. But I believe in the talent and the track record. A start against the D’Backs is just the medicine we’re looking for. And I also expect a better outing against the division rival Cardinals in the Sunday rubber match against Jack Flaherty.
5. Kenta Maeda MIN: (4/19 @ OAK), (4/25 vs PIT)
– The bad news is he’s not pitching deep into games right now. He’s also getting hit around to the tune of a 1.70 WHIP in 14.2 IP. The good news is he has 16 K’s in that time to pair with only 5 ER’s. These are two favorable matchups for him this week so expect good results for the vet.
6. Kyle Hendricks CHC: (4/20 vs NYM), (4/25 vs MIL)
– He’s as steady as they come. He had to build his innings up at the start of the season, but he’s a full go now. Going against a Mets lineup that I believe is overrated and a Brewers team that just put Christian Yelich on the IL, Hendricks is poised for two solid starts.
7. Joe Musgrove SDP: (4/19 vs MIL), (4/24 @ LAD)
– He didn’t pitch deep into his last start versus Pittsburgh, yet he has still only allowed 1 ER in three starts. The Padres pitching gurus have unlocked the talent that has always lied dormant beneath that bright yellow Pirates logo, the only reason he’s not ranked higher, is a start against Trevor Bauer and the Dodgers can present challenges for even the best in the game.
8. Carlos Rodon CHW: (4/19 @ BOS), (4/25 vs TEX)
– I’ve waited a long time to write this. I BELIEVE IN CARLOS RODON…(I think). After a No-Hitter his confidence should be at an all-time high, sure he’s going to Boston to play the hottest team in baseball, but I think the Red Sox were wildly overrated heading into the season and still are. Texas should be a nice cherry on top to end the week. DON’T LET ME DOWN RODON.
9. Marcus Stroman NYM: (4/20 @ CHC), (4/25 vs WAS)
– My pick to pitch a No-Hitter this week. Stroman looks like the guy the Mets thought they were trading for. 12 IP, 1 ER’s, 6 K’s. Groundballs there are, and groundballs there will be. I love what I’ve seen from him so far and with a matchup against a top-heavy Cubs lineup and equally top-heavy Nats lineup expect two solid starts from the sinkerballer.
10. Zack Wheeler PHI: (4/19 vs SF), (4/25 @ COL)
– Wheeler has been the victim of bad defense, some bad luck, and some high pitch counts early in games. I expect him to get back on track at home against the Giants. His ridiculously high groundball rate lends itself to pitching effectively at Coors Field.
11. Dylan Bundy LAA: (4/19 vs TEX), (4/24 @ HOU)
– To my surprise, Bundy has been really effective this year striking out 22 over 19 innings. He’s pitched well enough to earn three quality starts already, and a matchup versus Texas should extend that streak. In his last matchup against the Astros, he struck out 10 over 6 innings. We’ll see if he can have a similar day this time around, it would be a major confidence booster for me in the rankings.
12. Zac Gallen ARI: (4/20 @ CIN), (4/25 @ ATL)
– Gallen is one of my favorite pitchers in the game for one reason…he’s nasty. He had a late start to the season so he only pitched 4 innings in his first outing but he still racked up 8 K’s. He draws two tough offenses as he gets stretched out but he’s got the type of talent to stymy both. He’d be higher on this list if not for the late start.
13. Kevin Gausman SF: (4/19 @ PHI), (4/24 vs MIA)
– Gausman has looked really good this season. He ran into some bad luck in his last start allowing 5 runs on only 4 hits. The man armed with a great splitter has a good track record against Philly but with Gabe Kapler coming into town for the first time since being fired I can only imagine the Phillies will be playing this one with an extra chip on their shoulder. Miami is a good matchup for him, but they are a scrappy bunch.
14. Dustin May LAD: (4/19 @ SEA), (4/25 vs SD)
– He only has 2 starts so far because LA wasn’t in need of a 5th starter in week 2. In his 2 starts he has looked good though, 10.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 14 K’s, and a 1.16 WHIP. Seattle has been scrappy so far but the Dodgers should handle them, San Diego is a much tougher matchup but my belief is that he’ll pitch well in both these games.
15. Zach Plesac CLE: (4/20 vs CHW), (4/25 vs NYY)
– He looked pretty solid in his first two starts vs Detroit. Then he got obliterated by the White Sox in his last start to the tune of 6 runs in 0.2 IP. He draws the Sox again in his first matchup and the upside here is he can’t do any worse than his last start. On the other side, we’re all waiting for the Yankees to get hot but until that happens I’m not scared of this lineup against the soft-tosser.
16. Nathan Eovaldi BOS: (4/19 vs CHW), (4/24 vs SEA)
– Eovaldi has looked decent so far this year but I’m still not a believer. He doesn’t pitch deep into games normally and his strikeout rate is down. I don’t like the matchup against the White Sox with Rodon on the mound and a pretty good lineup. Seattle however could pay dividends.
17. Eduardo Rodriguez BOS: (4/20 vs TOR), (4/25 vs SEA)
– He gives you a solid floor for WHIP, but he doesn’t pitch deep into games normally like his mate above. I don’t particularly care for the matchup against the Blue Jays here.
18. Lance McCullers Jr. HOU: (4/20 @ COL), (4/24 vs LAA)
– He’s easing his way back into things in his return from Tommy John Surgery. After two decent starts, he then got roughed up in his last one for 6 ER’s. His walk rate is also alarming but he still needs time to get back into the swing of things. I don’t love the matchups here and I would avoid him if possible (I’ll be starting him).
19. Danny Duffy KCR: (4/19 vs TB), (4/25 @ DET)
– Duffy has looked strong in his two starts so far. 12 IP, 11 K’s, 4 BB, and a 1.17 WHIP. Good numbers and has two QS to boot. However, I don’t trust Duffy and you shouldn’t either. In a pinch this week you could do a lot worse though.
20. Jesus Luzardo OAK: (4/19 vs MIN), (4/25 @ BAL)
– All his arm talent hasn’t translated just yet. I’m not out on Luzardo by any means. You want to monitor him closely for sure. With that said He’s faced some tough matchups so far for a young pitcher trying to find his way. Oddly enough his best start of the season was against the Dodgers. Keep an eye on him this week. But I’d stay away for now.
21. Jameson Taillon NYY: (4/20 vs ATL), (4/25 @ CLE)
– It has not been easy for him since his return from Tommy John. He’s someone to continue monitoring, and you can start him in a pinch against Cleveland in daily leagues.
22. Chris Paddack SD: (4/20 vs MIL), (4/25 @ LAD)
– Ever since his hot start his rookie season it’s been all downhill. The talent is undeniable with his fastball changeup combo being lethal but his lack of a third pitch is holding him back immensely. His strikeouts are way down and he can’t get past the 5th inning these days. I would be fine starting him in daily points leagues against the Brewers. The Dodgers, however? I think not.
THE NO THANK YOU’S
Griffin Canning LAA:(4/20 vs TEX)(4/25 @ HOU), Joe Ross WAS: (4/19 vs STL)(4/25 @ NYM), Rich Hill TB: (4/19 @ KC)(4/25 vs TOR), Michael Fulmer DET: (4/20 vs PIT)(4/25 vs KC), Kohei Arihara TEX: (4/19 @ LAA)(4/25 @ CHW), Nick Neidert MIA: (4/20 vs BAL)(4/25 @ SF), Tyler Anderson PIT: (4/20 @ DET)(4/25 @ MIN).