Cheers to you all out there in Razzland as we dive headfirst into the final week of the regular season! It’s been a mega weird year for pitching. Between the whole Opener/Primary Pitcher thing catching fire and fewer starters pitching deep into games, starting pitching is turning into a relatively fluid position. Looking towards 2019, it will be very interesting to see not only where the Primary Pitchers are drafted, but where the other uber-relievers are taken. Josh Hader is the most prominent name of the bunch, but there are plenty of other useful long relievers like Chad Green, Jeremy Jeffress, and Collin McHugh that are terrific for cheap K’s and ratio stabilization in deeper leagues. Heck, even in 10-12 team leagues with no move limits they make great fill-in options between streamers.
Anyway, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We’ve got one week left in front of us, and if you’re reading this you are probably still in the fight. There’s less movement than last week since I weighted our SP’s by skill and opponent last week and now basically there’s just 1-2 fewer starts left on the table. I’ll roll through some of the more notable options for the final week of the season. I also wanted to thank all of you for reading this year. I was truly impressed by the great commenters. Even if you disagreed pretty hard with something I wrote, you presented your case respectfully rather than getting all Twitter angry. I hope I’ve been able to help your season in some way with my analysis. Good luck in your final week, and I’ll catch you next year!
- Chris Sale, BOS (-7) – The drop here is simply because we don’t know how deep Sale may pitch into his final start against the Yankees. It’s not an easy matchup to begin with, but even as Sale works his way back to normalcy from his DL stint, I consider him matchup-proof. He’s only pitched 3 and 3.1 innings in his last two starts, so if he only goes 4-5 innings in his last start, that doesn’t do you much good. I would still trot him out in almost every case and hope for 8 K’s in 5 IP or something, but it’s riskier than you’d like with a title potentially on the line.
- Stephen Strasburg, WSH (+7) – Stras embarrassed the Fish his last time out, striking out 11 over six innings with two walks and two runs. He gets Miami again in his next start, but unfortunately will finish the season in Colorado. You’re starting him anyway.
- Walker Buehler, LAD (+9) – Buehler has been just plain silly over the second half, posting a 2.14 ERA / 0.89 WHIP over 67.1 innings with an 11.23 K/9 and 2.54 BB/9. Jinkies, Velma. He’s even pitched six innings or more in eight of his last ten starts, something I really didn’t think we’d see from him this year. He’s a straight up stud who looks like a top 20 pitcher for 2019. Fire him up this week in humidor-enhanced Arizona.
- Madison Bumgarner, SF (-6) – Bummy has to take on the Dodgers in his last start, in which he is very unlikely to pick up the win. On top of that, he’s kind of been a JAG (just a guy) this year. An 11.6% K-BB% is completely underwhelming, and his 4.00 FIP is the worst of his career. I’ll be wary to invest next year. Even though he’s just 29, he’s got a lot of innings on that arm. I’m worried he could be the next Felix Hernandez.
- Luis Castillo, CIN (+10) – Castillo took advantage of the Fish just like Stras did, shutting them out over 8.1 innings with five K’s and one walk. The Reds have not one but two days off next week, so there’s a chance Castillo doesn’t pitch again this year. I think they’ll squeeze him in for one more start, but keep an eye on the schedule just in case. You wouldn’t want to get Munsoned here in the final week of the season.
- Trevor Bauer, CLE (SP48) – Bauer is back, baby!! Well, sort of. He only tossed an inning and a third in his return from the DL, and with only one week left to get stretched out, he probably won’t get through too many innings. The Indians have mentioned that he could be utilized out of the bullpen in the playoffs, so it’s possible they limit him to 2-3 innings per start next week (he lines up for two: @CHW, @KC). He should probably be looked at as a Josh Hader type this next week, so if you need wins you should look elsewhere.
- Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD (+30) – Ryu shut out the Rockies over seven innings in his last start, and he (for now) lines up against the Padres and Giants to round out the season. That is just about as good as it gets. Hopefully the Dodgers actually let him get those two starts, because if he does he can take full advantage of those two tanking teams…and so can you. Shoryuken your opponents with Ryu!!!
- Wade Miley, MIL (+11) – I’m still not believing that Miley is really good per se, but good enough to count on for two more starts while he’s rolling here in the second half. The matchups are decent with Pittsburgh the day this is posted, and randomly the Tigers in the last series of the season. You can go back to forgetting Miley next year.
The Top 100 Starting Pitchers
You can find Dokken on Twitter @NathanDokken