Another week, another Clayton Kershaw start pushed to Monday. At least this week they moved the start before I wrote and submitted this article. If they move it again Saturday morning, then I will be convinced that Dave Roberts is just doing this to troll me every week. As of now, he is your top two-start starter for Week 12. He might even deserve his own tier.

For Week 12, there aren’t a ton of attractive options after our first two tiers. In previous weeks, we have had middle-of-the-road arms with some good peripherals or some recent success that were available in the majority of leagues. This week, though, I’m not crazy about any of the starters on this list that are going to be available in most leagues. Just look at the numbers in the chart below.

After staring at the names below for what felt like days, the name I finally settled on was Francis Martes. Martes started and won his first MLB game a couple days ago, going five innings, striking out seven, and giving up one run on three hits and two walks. Here is what an unimpressed Grey said about him at the time:

Francis Martes – 5 IP, 1 ER, 5 baserunners, 7 Ks, ERA at 5.19.  He’s recommended only in leagues where you have to own one player who a healthy horse cannot carry.  Martes is 21 years old and 250 pounds!  By the time, he’s 40 he’s going to eat Bartolo.

The ERA is perhaps a bit misleading since it includes a relief appearance in which he went 3 2/3 innings and gave up four runs. The main positive that jumps out at you is the strikeouts, as his 9.35 K/9 is quite good for a youngster through his first nine innings in the big leagues. But (you knew there would be a but after such a positive lede), there are some pretty big red flags. Ahem:

While Martes is a top pitching prospect for the Astros, he has been, well, not good in Triple-A this season. While he is striking out 10.58 per nine innings in eight starts, he is also walking an astronomical 7.79 batters per nine, which is a big reason behind his 2.10 WHIP and 5.00+ ERA. His numbers in Double-A in 2016 are much better, though, so it is possible he was just going through a bit of an adjustment period at a new level this season.

It also doesn’t hurt that he happens to be pitching for one of the best teams in baseball right now, giving him a decent chance at two wins if he can avoid disaster in his two starts. I like him as a roll of the dice for Week 12 with the potential for strikeouts and wins, but I will admit that he terrifies me.

A few other notes before the chart:

  • Matt Shoemaker – While he is, as of this writing on Friday night, scheduled to start twice in Week 12, he is very much questionable after leaving his last start with forearm tightness (we won’t mention here what forearm tightness often leads to…). Even if he is cleared for his next start, I am staying away from Shoemaker this week, especially in weekly lineup leagues.
  • Brad Peacock – Prospector Ralph broke down Peacock earlier this week in a really in-depth and terrific piece. If you are considering Peacock for this week, check it out. Actually, even if you aren’t considering him, you should still check it out. It’s pretty darn good.
  • Mike Montgomery – Montgomery is tentatively scheduled to start two games for the Cubs this week. He is taking the rotation spot of Kyle Hendricks, and while his MRI of his showed no new injuries, they still aren’t sure when he is going to be able to return. Montgomery is definitely going to start at least one game, it just isn’t a 100% lock he is going to get his second start (though if I had to guess right now, I would think he does).
  • Jordan Zimmerman – The runner-up to be focused this week, Zimmerman’s numbers so far in 2017 have not been good. But Z has now thrown three quality starts in a row, including an eight inning, two-run gem against the Diamondbacks last time out. Could he be turning things around?

Pitchers are listed in order by rank. Colors represent 8 toughest or 8 easiest opponents according to team wOBA for last 14 days.


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Clayton Kershaw LAD NYM, COL 2.23/3.21 9.74/1.48
Zack Greinke ARI @COL, PHI 3.00/3.33 10.40/1.90
Corey Kluber CLE @BAL, MIN 4.15/3.26 11.02/2.72
Johnny Cueto SF @ATL, NYM 4.57/4.45 8.93/2.60
Jon Lester CHC SD, @MIA 3.89/3.52 9.29/3.02


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Michael Pineda NYY LAA, TEX 3.71/4.27 8.92/2.09
Sonny Gray OAK HOU, @CHW 4.44/3.32 9.06/2.91
Gerrit Cole PIT @MIL, @STL 4.54/4.57 7.45/2.16
Ervin Santana MIN CHW, @CLE 2.56/4.68 6.44/3.22
Jake Odorizzi TB CIN, BAL 3.77/5.15 7.98/3.05
Dylan Bundy BAL CLE, @TB 3.29/4.47 6.47/2.67
Justin Verlander DET @SEA, @SD 4.50/4.50 8.23/4.61


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Julio Teheran ATL SF, MIL 4.86/5.67 6.44/3.62
Edinson Volquez MIA WAS, CHC 3.72/4.25 8.42/4.80
Francisco Liriano TOR @TEX, @KC 5.36/4.39 9.73/5.56
Mike Leake STL @PHI, PIT 3.14/3.74 6.38/1.67
Brad Peacock HOU @OAK, @SEA 3.00/2.34 13.38/5.08
*Matt Shoemaker LAA @NYY, @BOS 4.52/5.10 8.00/3.24
Brandon McCarthy LAD NYM, COL 3.14/3.20 7.29/2.43
Marco Estrada TOR @TEX, @KC 4.54/3.72 10.18/2.21
Zack Wheeler NYM @LAD, @SF 4.48/4.36 8.25/4.06


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Matt Garza MIL PIT, @ATL 4.17/4.06 6.70/2.54
Scott Feldman CIN @TB, @WAS 4.29/4.28 7.18/3.13
Andrew Cashner TEX TOR, @NYY 3.50/4.55 4.28/4.02
Sam Gaviglio SEA DET, HOU 3.41/5.93 6.29/2.10
Clayton Richard SD @CHC, DET 4.30/3.86 6.55/2.25
Ariel Miranda SEA DET, HOU 4.17/5.04 7.53/3.48
German Marquez COL ARI, @LAD 4.19/3.92 8.55/3.19
Jordan Zimmermann DET @SEA, @SD 5.35/5.78 5.71/2.62
Tanner Roark WAS @MIA, CIN 4.39/4.15 7.39/2.89
Francis Martes HOU @OAK, @SEA 5.19/4.63 9.35/4.15


Player Opponents ERA/FIP K9/BB9
Nick Martinez TEX TOR, @NYY 4.67/5.86 4.83/1.83
Miguel Gonzalez CHW @MIN, OAK 5.49/5.17 5.15/2.97
Jason Hammel KC BOS, TOR 5.05/4.41 6.94/3.03
Robert Gsellman NYM @LAD, @SF 5.50/4.58 6.68/3.01
***Mike Montgomery CHC SD, @MIA 2.56/3.88 6.90/4.73
Jeremy Hellickson PHI STL, @ARI 4.91/5.91 3.97/2.69
Chad Kuhl PIT @MIL, @STL 5.61/4.23 7.13/3.79
Zach Davies MIL PIT, @ATL 4.91/5.10 6.26/3.19
Josh Tomlin CLE @BAL, MIN 5.83/4.05 6.46/0.76
Matt Moore SF @ATL, NYM 6.00/4.74 7.50/3.58
R.A. Dickey ATL SF, MIL 5.35/6.02 5.35/3.96
**Daniel Gossett OAK HOU, @CHW 16.20/11.23 2.70/2.70
Chris Tillman BAL CLE, @TB 8.07/6.27 6.56/4.79

* Injury concern

** Numbers represent one start

*** Not guaranteed to get two starts if Hendricks returns

All pitchers are projected for two starts as of Friday night. 

If you would prefer to see the above tables as a color-coded graphic, we’ve got that too!

(Tap to enlarge)

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