Welcome folks, to the final 2018 version of Two Startapalooza! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the format, and with any luck I’ve been able to help you out in some way with these posts. The best of times are probably in the past, sadly, because if you need two start pitcher help here in the final week of the season, you’re in tough shape. Not only are a solid chunk of these guys probably going to get shuffled out of their second start, most of the pitchers that are widely available with two starts this week are…not good. Tiers 1 and 2 are where the action is at, but those guys are already owned, so just smoke ’em if you got ’em. Tier 3 does have some names that could be lower owned, like Cole Hamels, Kevin Gausman, or Derek Holland. Tier 4 is about as bad as it’s been all season, and at this point I don’t have to describe Tier 5 other than just to say: mucky muck. As with last week, keep a keen eye on the rotations up until the final minute, because they are apt to change quite a bit. Good luck this week!!

As with last week, the wOBA rankings are team second half splits against left-handed or right-handed pitching.

Tier 1
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Max Scherzer MIA 29th 23.7 @COL 26th 24.7
Corey Kluber @CHW 21st 25.6 @KC 6th 22.3
Clayton Kershaw (L) @ARI 11th 21.7 @SF 30th 26.7
Noah Syndergaard ATL 13th 19.9 MIA 29th 23.7
  • Noah Syndergaard (NYM) – Thor gets the Marlins boost here, which is the only reason he’s not in Tier 2. Can you imagine a movie where Thor is just beating the hell out of a bunch of marlins with that giant hammer? Superhero work dried up and he had to get a gig at Chicken Of The Sea. Terrifying. Thor hasn’t really been himself over the second half, with a 3.75 ERA and an 8.40 K/9. Those numbers aren’t bad of course, but that’s not the ace that we have come to know and love. There is no velocity drop here, nor is there a huge shift in pitch mix. He has traded some sinkers for more fourseamers in September, but there isn’t a big difference in results there. I’m not quite sure what has him thrown off, but you’re starting him here regardless, and I’m still in for 2019 assuming there’s an injury discount baked into his ADP.

Tier 2
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
J.A. Happ (L) @TB 5th 23.4 @BOS 14th 21.4
Luis Severino @TB 8th 20.4 @BOS 9th 20
Stephen Strasburg MIA 29th 23.7 @COL 26th 24.7
Jose Berrios DET 28th 23.7 CHW 21st 25.6
Jameson Taillon @CHC 23rd 22.3 @CIN 24th 23.5
David Price (L) BAL 29th 24.9 NYY 12th 21.8
  • Jameson Taillon (PIT) – Taillon has taken a huge step forward this year thanks to the implementation of that slider. Even better, he’s done it relatively under the radar. Hopefully it stays that way during the 2019 preseason. The Cubs aren’t really thought of as a favorable matchup, but the numbers do tell us they’re an offense not to be feared over the second half. The Reds are punchless in general, and Taillon is great at limiting the long ball, making his start in Cinci appear plenty favorable. Fire him up in all formats, and buy in next year.

Tier 3
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Cole Hamels (L) PIT 19th 22.1 STL 1st 20.3
Dallas Keuchel @TOR 7th 22.3 @BAL 15th 22
Robbie Ray LAD 2nd 24.4 @SD 27th 25.7
Jon Gray PHI 19th 23.8 WSH 3rd 18.6
Kevin Gausman @NYM 14th 22.6 @PHI 19th 23.8
Derek Holland (L) SD 16th 22.4 LAD 8th 23.3
Chris Archer @CHC 23rd 22.3 @CIN 24th 23.5
  • Chris Archer (PIT) – Well lookee here, another Pirate! Yarr!! This Pirate is a bit less desirable than the prior Pirate, however. Not due to a peg leg or a touch of scurvy (just a touch), but rather because he is a lesser pitcher! What does piracy have to do with pitching? Everything, ye scalawag! Who would have thought at the outset of the season that Taillon would be the far superior option to Archer in September? Archer has posted an ugly 4.78 ERA over the second half, though all is not lost. His FIP says he should be more like a 3.89 pitcher, and his strikeout rate is huge at 10.34 K/9 with a 2.78 BB/9. He’s dealt with under-performing his FIP for years, of course, so it’s hard to say he’ll suddenly stop allowing so much hard contact, which feeds into the elevated BABIP. He’s worth the gamble this week with nice matchups, but don’t get your hopes up too high.

Tier 4
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Mike Leake OAK 1st 20.6 TEX 4th 22.6
Chase Anderson @STL 17th 22.2 DET 28th 23.7
Vince Velasquez @COL 26th 24.7 ATL 13th 19.9
Edwin Jackson @SEA 22nd 19.9 @LAA 10th 23.2
Felix Pena TEX 4th 22.6 OAK 1st 20.6
Sandy Alcantara @WSH 3rd 18.6 @NYM 14th 22.6
Ryan Yarbrough (L) NYY 12th 21.8 TOR 20th 22.6
  • Ryan Yarbrough (TB) – Is there a more ridiculous pitching line this year than Yarbrough’s 139.1 innings with just six games started…and 15 wins?! He hasn’t even been bad overall, with a 3.88 ERA / 1.28 WHIP. The strikeout rate is roughly league average, so that combined with an iffy date in Washington keeps him down in Tier 4. Still, he’s a very interesting story from 2018, and it makes me wonder where these “primary pitchers” are going to be drafted in 2019. Baseball is getting weird, and I like it.

Tier 5
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Eric Skoglund (L) @CIN 9th 23.2 CLE 13th 18.6
Zach Eflin @COL 26th 24.7 ATL 13th 19.9
Tyler Anderson (L) PHI 17th 24.2 WSH 10th 23
Aaron Sanchez HOU 25th 18.4 @TB 8th 20.4
Mike Montgomery (L) PIT 19th 22.1 STL 1st 20.3
Brett Anderson (L) @SEA 23rd 18.6 @LAA 27th 21.2
James Shields CLE 5th 15.6 @MIN 16th 21.7
Dylan Covey CLE 5th 15.6 @MIN 16th 21.7
Yovani Gallardo @LAA 10th 23.2 @SEA 22nd 19.9
  • Brett Anderson (OAK) – Lots of lefties in this Tier this week for some random reason, and among them I shall crown Anderson my favorite. He’s pitching for a surprisingly good team in the A’s, and has decent matchups against the slumping offenses of the Mariners and Angels. His ceiling is low because of an extreme adversity to strikeouts (4.68 K/9 on the season), but he also limits the free passes and the long ball. His 3.96 ERA and 3.92 FIP tell us results-wise he is a capable enough option. If strikeouts are a category in your matchup, he clearly becomes less attractive. And hey, stop streaming pitchers based on their looks! This isn’t a meat market!

*All starters are projected for two starts as of Friday evening.

You can find Dokken on Twitter @NathanDokken

  1. Babatino says:
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    I was checking out the Stream-o-nator and almost grabbed Felix Pena, but then I saw this post; now I’m very confused. Your insight would be greatly appreciated!

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Babatino: I’m not exactly sure the nuts and bolts that go into the Streamonator. He’s not a terrible option, but he faces two offenses I’d prefer not to trifle with if there are other streamers available.

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