Here we go, ladies and gents! It’s the home stretch! We’re into the last month of the season, and I moved some guys around on the list to reflect that. I don’t like to be super aggressive moving guys around for the most part. However, with just a couple weeks left, it’s more about “who do I trust now” than “who do I trust long-term”. More than ever it’s about immediate return and playing the matchups. This is the point where I’m a lot more apt to cut a fringy player for a matchup I like (shameless Streamonator plug here). We’re going to look at more risers and fallers this week as opposed to any new blood, since there isn’t much of interest. I imagine that will be quite different next week with September call ups flooding our rotations. We did have one last waiver trade of note (I guess) with Gio Gonzalez moving to Milwaukee. It’s a pretty lateral move for him, which is to say that his value will remain close to nil in mixed leagues. Perhaps the Brewers will be able to unlock something in him the way the Cubs have with Cole Hamels, but Milwaukee’s pitching coaches haven’t been known to work wonders, so I’m pessimistic on that potential outcome.
- German Marquez, COL (+33) – I’ve been raising Marquez over the last couple of weeks, but after his recent mutilation of the Padres, he needs to rise to top 40 territory. He gave up two runs to the Friars over eight innings, striking out 13 with just one walk. He has the fourth best August FIP among qualified starters. His 1.72 FIP over those 42 innings trails only Jacob DeGrom, Patrick Corbin, and Carlos Carrasco. His ERA has been 2.14, just in case you were wondering. He’s throwing over 40% curveballs and sliders these days, with each pitch netting over 20% whiffs. That has helped him achieve an 11.4 K/9 with a tiny 1.9 BB/9. This has the smell of a true breakout, and I’m buying everywhere. I’m even using all the bitcoin I have to acquire him! Which is zero bitcoin. I still don’t know how to acquire bitcoin.
- Anibal Sanchez, ATL (+11) – Anibal has had himself a very nice August, tossing 30.2 innings with a 2.93 ERA / 1.08 WHIP, 9.39 K/9, and 2.64 BB/9. The key for me, however, is the 0.88 HR/9. His continued ability to limit the long ball has brought him great success this year. Like I’ve mentioned in this space before, it’s thanks to more cutters (.124 ISO) and fewer sliders (.435 ISO). He deserves to be in the top 50, although he’s got a tough matchup with Boston coming up next that I would probably bench him for. He’ll get the Giants after that though, which is a full-go.
- Clay Buchholz, ARI (+13) – It only makes sense that Buchholz has continued to roll since I’ve sworn off ever owning him again. Buchholz put up a sterling 1.25 ERA over 36 August innings with a 0.96 WHIP, although his strikeout totals haven’t been great at 7.00 K/9. He’s really limiting the free passes (1.50 August BB/9), which counter-balances the lack of K’s a bit. He has got away with a 40% hard contact rate thanks to a ridiculous 94.3% strand rate, but his FIP only regresses him to a 3.26 mark. He’s got the Dodgers, Braves, and a date in Coors on the docket though, and none of those matchups are gravy. It’ll be a good test to see what he’s really worth.
- Stephen Strasburg, WSH (-15) – Strasburg’s velocity has been down since his return from the DL, hitting 92-93 in his start against the Phillies. As I write this, his velo is up a bit more to his 95 MPH average pre-injury, sitting 93-94 against the Brewers. Maybe he’ll continue to work up his velo in September, but he’s been a hot mess since late May. At this point in the season, you have to roll with the guys you trust, and right now it’s really hard to trust Stras. He’s still ranked as a guy you’re starting most of the time, but he’ll have a tough test next time out against the Cubs.
- Vince Velasquez, PHI (-13) – VV hasn’t had a terrible August by the results. A 4.15 ERA isn’t the end of the world. However, he has averaged just over four innings per start, and his walk rate has ballooned to 4.57 BB/9 over that span. No doubt those two things are related, as his pitch counts have risen quickly as he puts runners on via the base on balls. The Phillies just shuffled their rotation, pushing VV’s start back to Monday, and as a result he’ll get the Marlins and Mets next week. That lines up quite nicely for those looking to stream him, so who knows? Maybe he’ll be back up a few spots next week.
- Tyler Anderson, COL (-32) – I listed Anderson as a -32, but the reality is that he is -infinity, because he is off the list. The Rockies suddenly have a really nice 1-2-3 in Jon Gray, Kyle Freeland, and German Marquez. Anderson, unfortunately, has struggled where those three have improved. Anderson posted an absurd 11.39 ERA over 21.1 August innings. That’s remarkably bad. Just in case you may think that’s just bad luck, his batted ball data is such: 46.1% hard contact rate, 30.7% line drive rate. He’s getting TATTOOED. And not the fun kind of tattoo where you can put Betty Boop’s weird giant head on your thigh. The kind of tattooed that will lose you your league. He’s in the “untrustable” category with Dylan Bundy until further notice.
The Top 100 Starting Pitchers
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