Charge the Mound: Week 19
There are some guys that I just cannot, on principle, take off this list. Jose Fernandez who has struck out 27 batters in his last 16 innings of work, might get shut down before the end of the season which obviously limits his viability as a fantasy pitcher. But damn if his numbers aren’t super sexy. Matt Harvey falls into a similar category. The guy is dominating and seems to be getting stronger as the year goes on. He may run into an innings limit, but until that’s announced by the Mets, Harvey is one of the top few pitchers in the game.
- Clayton Kershaw
Kershaw took the loss his last time out when he faced the Cardinals. He only gave up 2 earned runs but his 6 inning appearance was his shortest since June 21st when he went 6 against the Padres. His next start comes on Sunday against the Rays.
- Yu Darvish
Since coming of the DL on July 22nd, opposing batters are hitting .191 against Darvish. He’s also striking out 33.4% of those batters. On the season, Darvish is striking out 32.7% of the guys he faces. He needs just 8 Ks to reach the 200 strikeout mark. Assuming he keeps up his K%, he’ll strike out his 200th batter in the 6th inning of his next start against the Astros. Since it’s the Astros, he might just get it in the 3rd inning.
- David Price
Price went 9 innings for the 4th time since July 1st but didn’t factor in the decision of the 10 inning win for the Rays. When he landed on the DL in May his ERA stood at 5.24, since coming off the DL he’s brought it all the way down to 3.36 in just 7 starts. Over those games he has a sick 1.57 ERA. Price will take the ball against the Dodgers on Friday.
- Felix Hernandez
Felix’s next start will come against the Brewers and the King has to be happy about that. It’s easy to point the finger at the Mariner’s offense, but Felix has gotten 4.22 runs per game of support, which compares pretty well with his rotation mate Hisashi Iwakuma, who’s gotten run support to the tune of 4.38 runs per game .
- Max Scherzer
Scherzer picked up his league leading 17th win against the Indians on Thursday. He’s actually lost ground in the strikeout totals race to Matt Harvey who took over 2nd place on the list (behind Yu Darvish). Scherzer is still an elite pitcher who is capable of raking up Ks like Matt Moore rakes up walks.
- Adam Wainwright
Wainwright’s next start has been pushed back until next Tuesday. Manager Mike Matheny wants his ace ready for a clash with the NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates. I also think Matheny is looking to get Wainwright a bit of rest. Wainwright has logged 50 innings since July 1 and they haven’t been very good. Over that span he has a 3.78 ERA, 20.8% strikeout rate and a 4.4% walk rate. Prior to that stretch his ERA was 2.22, K% was 23.3% and his BB% was 2.4%. So whether he’s tiring or it’s just a rough stretch, I think Wainwright will be well served by a little extra rest.
- Matt Harvey
Over his last 4 starts, Harvey’s K:BB ratio is 33:1. In his most recent start he got his first complete game shutout. In that game he struck out 6 Rockies and brought his season ERA down to 2.09. I love Harvey and am still scared of the Mets shutting him down, but ride this horse while he’s still pitching. He’s having an amazing season and it will continue.
- Madison Bumgarner
Bumgarner hasn’t pitched fewer than 7 innings since June 8th against the Diamondbacks. He’s delivering elite innings (on pace for 228 IP), strikeouts (on pace for 222 Ks), ERA of 2.75 and a WHIP of 0.981.
- Justin Verlander
I actually could have used Verlander as the butt of my previous Matt Moore walks joke because JV has the same walk total that Matt Moore does. Granted he’s also started 3 more games than Moore, but not a great sign for Verlander. However, Verlander has just given up 1 earned run in each of his last 2 outings, while striking out 13 in 14 innings of work. I need to see it consistently to have him ranked higher, but he’s still one of the top pitchers in the game, he’s just having a bad year.
- Hiroki Kuroda
Kuroda got saddled with the loss even though he delivered a quality start. He went 7 innings and gave up 3 earned runs against the White Sox. Many in the community like to point out that Kuroda doesn’t strike anyone out. Who cares? He has a elite ERA and WHIP over 146.2 innings. Find your strikeouts elsewhere. Right now, he’s elite in my book.
- Jered Weaver
Weaver gave up 3 earned runs over 7.2 innings of work against the Blue Jays. Even with those earned runs, he was still able to keep his ERA at 2.90 on the season. After giving up 2 home runs against the Pirates on June 21st, he’s only given up 2 home runs in his last 8 starts.
- Stephen Strasburg
Even though Strasburg has been inconsistent lately, he still owns a 3.01 ERA and a 25.7% strikeout rate. He’s down here because of the inconsistency. He has proven that he can be one of the best pitchers in the game.
- Chris Sale
Sale bounced back nicely after giving up 5 earned runs in 5 innings against the Indians on August 1st. In his next start, against the Yankees, he limited them to one unearned run over 7.1 innings. He did match his season high of 4 walks against New York.
- Mike Minor
Minor wasn’t exactly sharp in his last outing. He only struck out 3 and walked 3 as well. The Nationals were making solid contact against Minor but he was able to work out of it for 6 innings. He didn’t factor in the decision. Next up for Minor and the Braves are the Miami Marlins.
- Hisashi Iwakuma
Kuma got his groove back. Here’s a really easy game of “Which one of these is not like the other?” In his last 5 games his ERA is 1.91 and his OPS against is .589. In the 5 starts before that his ERA was 6.83 and his OPS against was .936. I’ll lump his first 14 starts of the season together because they all sparkled, ERA of 1.79 and OPS against of .545.
- Anibal Sanchez
When you’re on a pitching staff that boasts of the MLB wins leader, Max Scherzer and arguably the best pitcher in baseball, it’s easy to overlook Anibal Sanchez. But he is, fairly quietly, having a spectacular season. After 19 starts, he has a 2.58 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP while striking out 26.9% of the batters he’s faced.
- Cole Hamels
The Phillies have lost all 4 of Hamels’ most recent starts. In those 4 games Hamels has a 2.67 ERA. Makes me kind of feel bad for the guy. Unlike Felix Hernandez and the Mariners run support, the Phillies are just giving Hamels 3.13 runs per game this season.
- Cliff Lee
Lee has been struggling of late. At least compared to the numbers that we’re used to seeing from him. He’s only made 4 starts since July 1st, due to a stiff neck. In those 4 starts, Lee has a 5.92 ERA and a .947 OPS against. That’s not good folks. Lee will look to right the ship on Saturday against the Nationals.
- Julio Teheran
For the first time in his major league career, Teheran has a sub 3.00 ERA. It’s pretty sweet that it comes after 22 starts this season. In his last 4 games Teheran has given up just 3 earned runs total. Next up for Teheran are the Phillies on Monday.
- Jose Fernandez
For this season, all of the same innings limit worries apply, but there is no way I can leave Fernandez off this list. He’s special. When he turned 21 years old on July 31, he had a 2.71 ERA and a 7-5 record in the majors. Dude is bananas.