Charge the Mound: Week 17
Our first real post-All Star break starting pitcher rankings. Nothing too crazy up at the top of the list. Wainwright, Kershaw and Darvish man the top 3 posts. David Price returns to the list after a disappointing start to the season, followed by an injury. There will be some starters on the move as we approach the trading deadline next week. I can’t imagine any of the guys on this list moving this season. Cliff Lee is the only one that I’ve heard even a whisper of a trade about. Even though the White Sox are rebuilding, they have been adamant that they’re not moving Chris Sale. All the other top 20 starters will be sticking with their current teams.
- Adam Wainwright
He’s an ace, true number 1 stud. He has gone fewer than 6 innings in only one start this season, May 4 against the Brewers. He’s consistent, he strikes out enough guys (22%) and doesn’t walk anyone (2.8%). That obscene walk percentage is lowest of his career by more than half. His previous best BB% was 6.2% in 2010.
- Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw gave up 2 home runs in his last start against the Nationals. Only one other time this season has he given up more than 1 homer in a game. That was April 17th against the Padres, when he gave up 3 long balls. He’ll face the Reds on Friday in LA.
- Yu Darvish
Darvish came back strong from his DL stint against the Yankees. He went 6.1 of shutout ball. He struck out 4 and walked 2 but limited the impotent Yankees offense to 2 hits. With Darvish back on his game, the Rangers will try and ride him all the way into the playoffs. He has some more support in the rotation with the addition of Matt Garza as well.
- David Price
Lately, Price has been pitching like I expected him to pitch at the beginning of the season. In the 5 games he’s started after coming off of the disabled list, he’s throw 3 complete games (a total of 41 innings), and compiled an ERA of 1.76 and an opponents OPS of .546. Safe to say he’s back to his dominating form. I like Price a lot for the rest of the season and I think he has the potential to continue to climb up this list.
- Max Scherzer
After a long layoff over the All Star break, Scherzer came back, seemingly without any rust at all. He went 8 innings against the White Sox and only gave up 4 hits and 2 earned runs. He managed to not walk anyone, but he also only struck out 5, which was his lowest K total of the season.
- Felix Hernandez
Felix has ripped off a very tidy 5 game stretch. In his last 5 starts, he has a 1.54 ERA, .614 OPS against and 25% strikeout rate. Felix takes the hill on Friday at home against the Twins.
- Stephen Strasburg
In his last start, Strasburg went 8 innings only giving up 2 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 12 Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately for him, he was saddled with the loss. Strasburg faltered a bit heading into the All Star break, but has bounced back nicely after the time off. Next week he goes up against the Tigers.
- Justin Verlander
Not really sure here guys. I can’t really make myself drop Verlander from the top 10 on skills alone, but he just hasn’t been performing. It seems like every few games he’ll rip off a shut out just to make sure we’re still paying attention, but then he’ll go on a 3-4 game earned run bender that screws his fantasy owners. I’m off JV for this year. I still think he’s a great pitcher, but some guys have seasons where the just don’t have it. I think 2013 is that for Verlander.
- Matt Harvey
The potential for limited innings is the only reason Harvey is this low. I love this guy. If he were not on an innings limit I would have him in the top 5 for sure. He’s notched double digit strikeouts in 3 of his last 6 games. He sure doesn’t seem to be tiring, but the Mets would be smart to start ratcheting down his innings and be sure to take care of his arm.
- Cliff Lee
Lee has given up 4+ earned runs in his last 3 outings. He’s been able to limit his walks, but he’s been allowing too many hits in general and specifically too many home runs. Over the last 3 starts, he’s given up 8 home runs (that’s a 9.7% HR rate).
- Chris Sale
Sale is another guys who’s striking out a ton of guys. This season he’s striking out 27.6% of opposing batters. Over his last 10 starts he’s striking out 31.6%. I can see why the White Sox want to keep this guy around. He’s been dominant.
- Hiroki Kuroda
I think Kuroda is the most underrated pitcher in baseball. There was a lot of chatter on Twitter about how Kuroda wasn’t an All Star. He’s been the a consistent performer on my fantasy pitching staff. He’s just super steady and just dominates in the ratios.
- Madison Bumgarner
Lucky 7s. Bumgarner has gone 7 innings in each of his last 7 starts. Over that stretch he’s struck out 49 batters (7×7). Coincidence? Definitely, but it’s fun to play with numbers. Bumgarner has really settled into form. He’s sporting a 2.93 ERA with 128 Ks through 132 inning this season. He’s on pace for 225 innings and 218 strikeouts.
- Jordan Zimmermann
Zimmermann has fallen off a bit lately and let Stephen Strasburg climb back to the top of the Nationals rotation. He’s still a valuable pitcher who will give you good ratios down the stretch.
- Jered Weaver
Weaver has quietly put together a very strong 2013 campaign. His record is only 5-5, but he’s got a 2.98 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP with a 20% strikeout percentage. In 3 of his last 5 starts, he’s given up zero earned runs. If the Angels were playing better, we’d be hearing more about Weaver. Don’t sleep on him. He’s a top of the rotation guy.
- Hisashi Iwakuma
After a brief hiccup at the beginning of this month, Kuma has straightened himself out. In his last start he went 6 innings, striking out 9 and not surrendering an earned run. Iwakuma leads the Mariners against the Red Sox next week.
- Mike Minor
When you’re ERA is sub 3.00 and your WHIP is sub 1.10, you’re on my list, especially when you can strikeout 23.6% of opposing batters.
- James Shields
After keeping a sub 3.00 ERA for the months of May and June, Shields’ ERA now sits at 3.24. It’s still a very tidy ERA but lately he’s stuggled a bit. In the month July, his ERA is 4.44 and he’s striking out 16.9% of the batters he’s faced. On the season his K% is 20.9%. Shields’ next start is Friday against the White Sox.
- Matt Moore
Moore has been hit or miss this season. After a terrible June (8.39 ERA), he’s gotten on track in July and posted a 0.91 ERA is his 4 starts in July. He’s still a bit of a WHIP concern because of his control issues, but he’s got the stuff to miss bats.
- Derek Holland
I’m not a huge Derek Holland guy, but he’s put up 6 straight quality starts. Over that stretch, he has a 2.25 ERA and a .631 OPS. He’s a guy that strikes out over 21% of the batters he faces and has limited his walk rate to 6.8%.