The month of April is officially in the books. With it came revelations, disappointments, two No-Hitters, and two of the greatest stretches of pitching we’ve seen in recent memory courtesy of Jacob DeGrom and Corbin Burnes. Each week I have not been able to help myself when it comes to gushing over DeGrom. This week we get two starts from DeGrom which shall be a treat for some and infuriating for those having to deal with facing him and that goes doubly for the players. We’ve got a nice slate of pitchers on the docket this week so let’s get going.
THE MUST STARTS:
1. Jacob DeGrom NYM:(5/3 @ STL)(5/8 vs ARI)
– Do I need to say anything here?
2. Tyler Glasnow TB: (5/3 @ LAA)(5/8 @ OAK)
– His mom wants him to stop cursing while he pitches. I for one, am a baseball superstitionist (If that’s a word) so please don’t do anything different Tyler Glasnow. With that said he has solidified himself as a top-tier ace this year. He has 56 K’s in 37.2 IP to go along with a 0.80 WHIP and a 1.67 ERA. Start him with impunity.
3. Aaron Nola PHI: (5/4 vs MIL)(5/9 @ ATL)
– Nola has been his usual steady self so far this year. If he struggles with his fastball command he can find himself with a high pitch count leading to an early exit, but blow-ups are few and far between.
4. Walker Buehler LAD: (5/3 @ CHC)(5/9 @ LAA)
– Buehler got roughed up by the Reds last week but he’s found his swing and miss stuff which is key. After 12 K’s in his first 3 starts he has 19 in his last 2.
5. Sandy Alcantara MIA: (5/4 vs ARI)(5/9 vs MIL)
– The Ace of the Marlins staff is steady as predicted. He’s blossomed into a really nice pitcher and this year is pitching to the tune of a 3.19 ERA over 36.2 IP. Paired with 36 K’s and a 0.98 WHIP you can trust him wholeheartedly. Both of these matchups seem fortuitous.
6. Zack Greinke HOU: (5/4 @ NYY)(5/9 vs TOR)
– Another trustworthy name to add to the list. He shows no signs of decline. We’ll see which Yankees offense shows up and the same can be said for the Blue Jays. My money is on Greinke to limit damage and pitch effectively and deep in both these games.
7. Aaron Civale CLE: (5/3 @ KC)(5/8 vs CIN)
– Civale is proving that a control pitcher can still be successful in this league. He’s not going to get a ton of strikeouts but he limits hard contact and opponents are batting a measly .188 average against him this year. His command of the strike zone leads him to pitch deeper into games. He’s not a household name, but he’s quietly strung together some really nice starts and I expect that to continue this week.
8. Shohei Ohtani LAA: (5/3 vs TB)(5/9 vs LAD)
– I Struggled with putting him in the must-start section but I can’t help it. How often do we see Ohtani make 2 starts in a week! His pitch count has kept him from going 6 innings in all of his starts but the strikeout stuff is there obviously. He has to put it all together in one of these starts and I’m going to venture a guess and say it’ll be against the Rays.
9. Kenta Maeda MIN: (5/3 vs TEX)(5/8 @ DET)
– Boy has he been bad this year. Truly terrible but these matchups are juicy. If he does not right the ship in these 2 starts it’s time to press the panic button.
10. German Marquez COL: (5/3 vs SF)(5/9 @ STL)
– Strangely enough, Marquez has been better at home than away this year. He’s got great stuff and has an effortless delivery which lends itself to durability. The bad news is, this season his strikeouts are down a bit, he’s barely averaging a K per inning. He’s also walking a ton of batters leading to a high WHIP. He was not good in his start last week against the Giants but expect a better performance this week. I’m starting him.
11. Max Fried ATL:
– The epitome of questionable here. If he gets activated off the IL as expected for Monday or Tuesday’s game he’ll be in line to make 2 starts which will come against the Nats and the Phillies. Fried was a stud last year, but before he got hurt this year he was dreadful. I would stay away for now and see how he pitches before starting him again.
12. Kyle Gibson TEX: (5/4 @ MIN)(5/9 vs SEA)
– If he pitches well in both these games we will have no choice but to trust him completely. He’s in the best stretch of his career right now so you absolutely have to start him but if things go wrong don’t be surprised. He has 5 straight QS and the matchups are pretty decent, lets see if the vet can keep it up.
13. Nick Pivetta BOS: (5/4 vs DET)(5/9 @ BAL)
– Is the Nick Pivetta breakout finally here? Sorry Phillies, it’s 3 years too late. Pivetta is enjoying his best stretch of pitching in his career to the tune of 2.81 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. He also has 25 K’s in 25.2 IP. Solid numbers but I’m still not sold. With that said, you can not ask for 2 better matchups in a 2 start week so you absolutely have to start him.
14. Frankie Montas OAK: (5/3 vs TOR)(5/9 vs TB)
– A puzzle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a riddle. I still don’t know what to think of Montas this year. He reminds me of Carlos Rodon in years past right now. Opponents are batting .286 against him and he has 1.50 WHIP in 5 starts. Based on the way he’s been trending since last year I’d be willing to say only one of these starts is good and my guess would be the one against Tampa. I would save him for Daily Leagues only.
15. J.A. Happ MIN: (5/4 vs TEX)(5/9 @ DET)
– He’s not striking anyone out these days. Just 13 K’s in 23 IP this year. The impressive part about it is he has a 1.96 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and opponents are batting just .150 this year. These matchups are great and I expect him to keep both these lineups off balance with his pitch mix. Start him.
16. Jakob Junis KC: (5/3 vs CLE)(5/8 vs CHW)
– He’s striking batters out at a better clip than he ever has in his career right now. He’s never averaged more than a strikeout per inning and this year he has 27 K’s in 23.1 innings. He also has a career-low .233 BAA right now. He’s gone on similar hot streaks in his career before so it feels like only a matter of time until he comes back down to his true level of pitching. It may come this week.
17. Domingo German NYY: (5/4 vs HOU)(5/9 vs WAS)
– He seems to be getting comfortable on the hill again after a shaky start to the season. He’s logged 2 QS in his last 2 starts and if he shows out against Houston that will go a long way in regaining some faith.
18. Kyle Hendricks CHC: (5/3 vs LAD)(5/9 vs PIT)
– He’s had a peculiar start to the season. 2 QS against the Brewers and 2 starts against the Braves where he got demolished. He’s also allowed 10 Home Runs already which is astounding. He’s a daily league only play for me this week and that’s for the start against the Pirates. Is this the beginning of the end for the soft tosser? It might be, but we need more time to figure it out.
19. Steven Matz TOR: (5/3 @ OAK)(5/8 HOU)
– Another Daily play for me against Oakland only. His strikeout and walk numbers are right about in line with his career averages, but his WHIP is at 1.15 which .15 lower than his career average. This is due to his opponents batting a meager .216 this year against him. His hot start does not have me fooled. We know who he is.
20. Tyler Anderson PIT: (5/3 @ SD)(5/9 @ CHC)
– He’s seen both of these teams this year, the Cubs twice already. In the 3 starts versus both these teams, he’s at 15.2 IP, 24 H, 7 ER, 3 HR, 4 BB, and 14 K’s. Not great numbers but he was able to limit the damage. A 3rd time through against the Cubs this early in the season could spell trouble for the 31-year-old. And the last time he pitched against the Padres they were without catalyst Fernando Tatis. I’d stay away from him this week.
21. Dane Dunning TEX: (5/3 @ MIN)(5/8 vs SEA)
– After a strong start to the year Dunning has cooled off in his last 2 starts. However, after getting knocked around in the first inning of his last start he showed some resolve by settling down and getting in a groove. He’s young and he’s got some talent and you could do a lot worse on the waiver wire this week.
22. Shane McClanahan TB:
– If it were not the Tampa Bay Rays we would have a clearer picture of how McClanahan is going to be deployed. The working assumption is he should get 2 starts this week. With that out of the way, this guy looked great in his MLB debut. He showcased the filthy stuff that made him such a highly regarded prospect. Couple his talent with the great development staff down in Tampa and who knows the lefty could turn into another budding pitching star out of the Rays Pitching factory.
23. Aaron Sanchez SF: (5/3 @ COL)(5/9 vs SD)
– He really had a hard time with control in his last start. I don’t like him Colorado either. I think you can start him in Roto if you are looking for a hole to plug.
DONT WANT EM’
Cole Irvin OAK: (5/4 vs TOR)(5/9 vs TB), Casey Mize DET: (5/4 @ BOS)(5/9 vs MIN), Carlos Martinez STL: (5/3 vs NYM)(5/8 vs COL), Adrian Hauser MIL: (5/3 @ PHI)(5/8 @ MIA), Mike Minor KC: (5/4 vs CLE)(5/9 vs CHW), Eric Fedde WAS:(5/4 vs ATL)(5/9 @ NYY), Eric Lauer MIL:(5/4 @ PHI)(5/9 @ MIA).