No Doubt

Player 1st Start 2nd Start
Trevor Bauer At SEA vs. ATL
Stephen Strasburg vs. SF At MIA
Noah Syndergaard At PHI At STL
Luis Castillo At LAD At SD
Masahiro Tanaka vs. BOS vs. KC
Clayton Kershaw vs. CIN At MIL
Aaron Nola vs. NYM At COL

The wait is over and it’s time to get busy living with Clayton Kershaw coming back this week to face Puig in his return to La La Land. In his 2 minor league rehab starts, combined he went 10.1 IP with 4 ER, 12 Ks, and 2 BBs. We might expect better from Kershaw throwing to minor leaguers, but they were rehab starts and at least velocity seemed to be fine based on reports. I know he wasn’t drafted like the Kershaw of old, and he may not be, but you’re throwing Kershaw if you drafted him.


Throw ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

Player 1st Start 2nd Start
Collin McHugh At OAK At TEX
Matthew Boyd vs. PIT vs. CHW
Max Fried vs. ARI At CLE
Matt Shoemaker At MIN At OAK
Joey Lucchesi vs. COL vs. CIN
Kenta Maeda vs. CIN At MIL
Robbie Ray At ATL At CHC

It feels like there is a bigger drop off this week from the no doubt starters to the next group. I don’t feel overly confident in these guys. It’s a mixed bag of match ups, but given some of the starts guys like Boyd, Fried, and Shoemaker are off to, you have to ride the wave.

My podcast co-host, Donkey Teeth, and I discussed Max Fried briefly on the latest episode. The 18.4% K rate is not ideal from a guy that has shown 30% K rate stuff in the minors and even in his swing man role from last season. It’s early in the season with small sample sizes, but Fried is among the pitchers who has yet to allow a barreled ball on the season. He’s top 40 in average exit velocity, top 35 in hard hit rate allowed, and has a 62.9% ground ball rate.


Brown Paper Bag

Player 1st Start 2nd Start
Yusei Kikuchi vs. CLE At LAA
Yu Darvish At MIA vs. ARI
Freddy Peralta vs. STL vs. LAD
Kyle Gibson vs. TOR At BAL
Nick Pivetta vs. NYM At COL
Martin Perez vs. TOR At BAL
Mike Leake vs. CLE At LAA
Mike Minor vs. LAA vs. HOU

Whether it is breathing into the brown paper bag or drinking something out of one, these guys may have you needing some kind of relief after you throw them out there. This group is full of under performers on the season, but each has at least one plus match up, if not two, this week, and I think you have to roll them out there in weekly lineup leagues.

I wasn’t one of the people who had Yu Darvish in his top 20, but did like the upside shot given where he was going in drafts. Well, his WHIP is higher than the ERA of 24 other pitchers that have at least 10 IP on the season. He has a higher BB rate than K rate. If that wasn’t enough, his average velocity is down below 93 for the first time in his career with his max velocity under 96. He’s had early season velocity troubles before, but with the slider hanging and no control over any of his pitches, I’m throwing him in 2 starts at Miami and home for the Diamondbacks, but hand me that 40 just in case.

I don’t’ have a free Streamonator pick for the week, but know that everyone in this grouping had a positive rating after you combined the 2 start values.


Eyes Wide Shut

Player 1st Start 2nd Start
Brandon Woodruff vs. STL vs. LAD
Trevor Richards vs. CHC vs. WAS
Ervin Santana vs. KC At DET
Dylan Bundy At TB vs. MIN
Aaron Sanchez At MIN At OAK

The new ball from a couple years ago, not to be confused with the potentially new, new ball this season, may have been the cause for Aaron Sanchez blister and finger issues. It’s hard to say if the ball is the cause of his injuries, but multiple pitchers have commented on the changes. Hopefully, he’s figured out a way to move forward without these issues.

He did allow 4 runs last time out, but only 1 earned after Grichuk had a miscommunication with new team member, Socrates Brito. I’m not ready to say Sanchez is back to his 2016 form though as he’s still not throwing the sinker as much as he did when things were going well and it’s getting the worst whiff rates of his career. It looked like the sinker was hanging a bit in the last start, but the vertical movement is still as strong as ever. The ground ball rate isn’t quite as strong as it used to be, but I’m watching intently this week to see if it’s just a good start or if there’s more of a bounce back here.


I Immediately Regret This Decision

Player 1st Start 2nd Start
Reynaldo Lopez vs. KC At DET
Dereck Rodriguez At WAS At PIT
Jorge Lopez At CHW At NYY
Tyler Mahle At LAD At SD
Dakota Hudson At MIL vs. NYM
Matt Harvey At TEX vs. SEA
Felix Pena At TEX vs. SEA

Of the group here, Reynaldo Lopez has the best match ups despite his poor, awful, horrendous start to the season. To be fair, he has been beaten up by the Mariners who lead the league in most offensive categories right now and the Rays who are top 10 in runs scored and OBP, and 6th in total bases and average. Those excuses don’t help your WHIP or ERA if you threw him out there, but two plus match ups this week hopefully can get him on track.

Only Tyler Mahle and Dereck Rodriguez have performed out of this group with D Rod having his struggles in the first inning against the Rays, but getting it together and finishing out strong. There’s a case for him to be moved up to the next grouping, but the match ups don’t favor him this week. However, before I sound all rosy on D Rod, you should know that his average fastball velocity has slowly declined since his call up last season from 94 down to 89.56 in his last outing. He pitched at decreased velocity most of last season, but it’s something to monitor.

  1. krazyivan says:

    Could Tampa’s Chirinos have 2 outings next week? Assuming one or both get an opener in front of him what category would you put him in above? Thanks

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      Yonny wouldn’t line up for a 2 start week based on the rotation, but figuring out the Rays rotation is guess work at best. He would line up to throw Wednesday or Thursday after appearing on Friday, but that was after an opener. I think it’s likely a 1 start week for Yonny. Pretty straight forward, would throw him vs Baltimore, but not Boston. He’d be in the Brown Paper Bag category for me if he does make 2 starts though.

  2. Curt C says:

    Glasnow, Bieber?

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      Thanks for the notes.

      It does look like Bieber should line up for a 2 start week Tuesday at Seattle and Sunday home vs the Braves. He’s close to No Doubt or top of the next grouping.

      As I mentioned above, figuring out the TB rotation is mostly guess work. I’ve seen Glasnow going Tuesday in some places and Wednesday in others. You’re starting him either way.

  3. Taco Bellinger says:

    Musgrove? What tier would he be on? Pirates shuffling rotation.

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      Musgrove at Detroit and home for San Fran would be squarely in my Throw Em if you Got Em tier. However, they do have 2 days off this week, so, they’d have to skip somebody in the rotation to throw Musgrove on Sunday.

  4. Schmohawks Bob says:

    Kershawshank Redemption — Awesome job coming up with that one!

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      I’ve played enough to have no shortage of great, or awful, team puns based on players. I’m sure there will be many more coming this season.

  5. Handy Afterall says:

    Not technically a 2-start question, but what would you say about Happ? He was terrible in spring training, and it hasn’t gotten any better since.
    That being said… if I drop him, my options aren’t exactly surefire locks, either;

    Hunnynut Chirinos
    T Williams

    Format is weekly h2h, cats are w, k, era, whip, saves. I’m punting saves.

    Other SPs are:
    Da German

    Maybe burnes is the odd man out, rather than happ, but even corbin bernsen seems like he has more upside than happ right now.

    What says

    Have fun,

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      I think the drop would be Corbin Burnes over Happ for me. Neither has gotten off to a great start, but Happ’s track record says he should get it figured out. I don’t like that his velocity is the lowest it has been since 2013 though. He added a couple of mph in 2014 and that’s when he started to develop into a better pitcher. I’m willing to give him another start or 2, but you’re right that he hasn’t given us much to hang on to this season.

      All of that being said, I do like Touki as an upside shot. Has massive K upside and looks to be getting Newcomb’s spot in the rotation. If it’s a 10 team or shallow 12 team, I’d go ahead and make the swap now, but any deeper I’m probably holding on to Happ.

      ……Or just use streamonator each week and use that last spot to stream.

      • Handy Afterall says:

        Thanks B_Don.

        My original streaming slot was immediately filled with D German, and he’s been too good for me to drop.

        I may be a blinded by my gooey infatuation with the movement on Burnes’ balls (side to side!) but I can’t believe he’ll be tossing multi-dinger games every outing like he has. How hard can it be to suddenly develop a plus changeup? Probably not very, right?

        I’ll do some mulling. Thanks for the insight.


  6. Kruk_Ain't_An_Athlete says:

    Hey, 14-team OBP 5×5 roto and pitching is QS, Saves+Holds instead of S,W
    What do you think about Sonny Grey this week? I’m benching him right now.
    and 2 RPs

    One more question, Yandy Diaz is on my bench at 3B elig but I’m starting 3B Eduardo Escobar (3b/ss)
    SS Willy Adames (ss only)
    MI Freddy Galvis (ss only)

    bench Scott Kingery

    I need to open up a spot. Who goes?

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      I’d also be benching Sonny Gray for now. He’s been pretty solid this year other than his lack of innings in a couple of his starts, but going to the Dodgers coming off an injury, albeit a minor one apparently, doesn’t seem like a good mix for results.

      I think it’s Kingery that goes. I know he’s hit a little bit when given the opportunity, but playing time is so sporadic.

  7. JB says:

    Is Paxson on a two-start week v BOS and v KC?

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      It does look like Paxton now lines up for those 2 with BOS and KC at home. With the Boston start, I’m not sure he is a No Doubt starter, but is likely in the Throw Em If You Got Em category.

  8. plastered says:

    Swap out Mikolas for Arrieta?

    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      For the ROS, I’d still probably rather have Mikolas. If it’s a shallow league though, I have no problem making the swap, or using that spot for streaming or riding the hot hand. I’d like to think you have somebody better to drop other than Mikolas. He hasn’t been great, but has 3 straight decent starts after getting beat up in his first of the season.

  9. Harley Earl says:

    I’d like to know how Tanaka is going to pitch against Boston and Kansas City this week considering he was on the mound for five innings getting his ass kicked by the White Sox today.


    • B_Don

      B_Don says:

      I typically put together the initial list on Friday and try to update it based on information I can find on Saturday, but it’s hard to plan for all the rotations, especially early in the season. Thanks for the update. Nobody can hide from early season monster, Tim Anderson.

      • Harley Earl says:

        You got that right. Anderson is a beast!

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