Pitchers I Can’t Pick Up – Week 3

Welcome to a new week of fantasy baseball!

I hope you caught the article last week in which I brilliantly advocated dropping Michael Pineda, after which, he went out and threw one of the best games of his career by pitching a perfect game through seven innings before allowing a home run in the eighth.

So it goes in fantasy baseball. And so it goes for Pineda.

If you want to roster Pineda or deride me for bailing on him last week, I don’t blame you. He always has the capability to perform like this, but for some reason or the other it doesn’t always happen. The only thing consistent about his game is the number of strikeouts and if that’s all you need, then Pineda has a place on your roster. He’s looked good so far though, so maybe this is the year he puts it all together. But for right now, it’s far too early in the year to tell if he will be able to emerge as a stud, so let’s table the Pineda talk for now and revisit this in late summer.

It only gets better from here on out, folks.

Amir Garrett – 40.5% (ESPN) / 47% (Yahoo) / 79% (CBS)

As a Reds fan, believe me when I say that I really want to believe in Amir Garrett. The Reds are in desperate need of an ace and the former basketball player has the makings of a potential stud pitcher. However, there are a few things keeping from endorsing him as a pickup for your team. For one, he’s currently averaging 1.42 BB/9 and seeing as his average BB/9 in AAA last year was 4.12, I have to imagine he’s due to start walking a lot more batters in the future. He also pitches in one of the consistently worst parks for pitchers in Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, so when those walks start showing up, he will likely get punished for it. Top it off with some tough upcoming matchups (vs BAL, @MIL, @STL), and I can’t believe in Garrett just yet.

Pitcher I’d Rather Own: Luis Severino – 21.0% (ESPN) / 36% (Yahoo) / 69% (CBS)

Severino is yet another Yankees pitcher who struggles with consistency and at 23, it may take him some more time to find that consistency. But his first two starts were electric, with a K:BB ratio of 17:2 and peripherals that suggest he could be in for some minor positive regression, and it has me excited for what could be to come. While he’s got a tough schedule ahead, this week he faces off against the White Sox and I’m taking a flier on him to see what happens.

Jason Vargas – 28.9% (ESPN) / 48% (Yahoo) / 40% (CBS)

After Jason Vargas posted two wins in his first two starts with 6+ strikeouts and 1 walk or less in each, many owners rushed out to add him to their teams. I was left wondering, “Who the hell are you and what have you done with Jason Vargas??”

It’s clear what we have here is a classic Space Jam situation. Jason Vargas is obviously sucking the star power away from another pitcher in the MLB (Carlos Martinez in nearby St. Louis, perhaps?) and using it to pitch at an otherworldly level. His SIERA this year currently stands at 2.48, a far cry from his career SIERA of 4.47. Looking at his upcoming schedule, he stands to benefit from a few unintimidating matchups (vs SF, @CHW, vs MIN) so it’s definitely possible he keeps the magic going a little while longer. But I wouldn’t call that a given. It’s been three years since the 34 year old pitched a full healthy season, so his career numbers are going to give us a better picture of what we can expect than a handful of starts between now and last year, when he returned from an injury late in the season. That indicates a pitcher with a K/9 below 6 and a SIERA of 4.47, which is what I anticipate Vargas returning to once his secret stuff runs out.

Pitcher I’d Rather Own: Joe Musgrove – 14.1% (ESPN) / 30% (Yahoo) / 59% (CBS)

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He’s had a rough start to the season, but Musgrove is a young player with some serious upside that he flashed last year when the Astros called him up. This week he’s got two starts against the Angels and at the Rays, so I expect him to pitch closer to the 7.98 K/9 mark he posted last year in a limited number of starts. He’s also got a pretty solid upcoming schedule ( ), so I like the idea of picking him up to see what happens.

Jeremy Hellickson – 36.8% (ESPN) / 55% (Yahoo) / 66% (CBS)

This one will be easy. I’m going to give you two numbers: 2.65 and 1.59. Can you tell which one is Hellickson’s K/9 and which one is his BB/9? Can you tell why this is a huge red flag when projecting Hellickson’s performance over the rest of the year?

He’s got an ERA of 1.59 and a WHIP of 0.82, but you shouldn’t be fooled. His entire profile screams regression with a 0.182 BABIP, 88.2% strand rate, 3.7% HR/FB rate, and the cherry on top, a 5.70 SIERA. That’s the second-worst SIERA among qualified starters, only behind Hisashi Iwakuma. If you had even an inkling of a notion to pick him up, don’t. Just don’t.


Pitcher I’d Rather Own: Mike Leake – 29.4% (ESPN) / 49% (Yahoo) / 75% (CBS)

This isn’t a full endorsement of Leake, as he’s shown stretches of being a really good pitcher before reverting back to mediocrity before. I’m willing to bet it will happen again, as his batted ball profile and strand rate show he’s been getting a little lucky so far, but we’ve seen breakouts happen from unlikelier places. You could do a lot worse if you’re looking for a pitcher with a two start week. One thing for sure-I’d pick him up over Hellickson every time.

You can find me on Twitter impersonating Bill Murray here.

All stats courtesy of fangraphs.com and all images courtesy of mlb.com.

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