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Pitching Value Meter: Maximum Strength

Paul Sporer

Paul Sporer

Sporer covers pitching for RotoWire. He also writes for Baseball Prospectus and publishes an annual guide on starting pitcher. In his spare time, he roots for the Tigers.

As always, remember that rotations are subject to change, so if you see something that isn't correct, assume that it was a change that has occurred since this was written and feel free to politely bring it up in the comments, and I'll let you know where the new arm slots.

For the week April 7-13

AMERICAN LEAGUE

START

1. Max Scherzer - at LAD, at SD
Note: Dodgers can be tough, but two worthwhile venues plus a pitcher batting
2. C.J. Wilson - at HOU, NYM
3. Scott Kazmir - at MIN, at SEA
Note: We'll see if the M's continue to impress, but you still have to start Kaz
4. Justin Verlander - at SD
Note: This will be fun
5. Chris Sale - CLE
6. Yu Darvish - HOU
Note: This is what we call "a soft landing" upon returning from the DL
7. Felix Hernandez - OAK
8. David Price - at CIN
9. James Shields - at MIN
10. Jered Weaver - NYM
11. Corey Kluber - SD, at CWS
Note: Losing faith after one rough start would be silly
12. James Paxton - LAA, OAK
Note: It's early, but you have to quickly strike in an active league, so scoop Paxton
13. Hiroki Kuroda - BAL, BOS
Note: Yankee duo has some tough matchups, but I can't bench either, especially in AL-only
14. Ivan Nova - BAL, BOS
15. Sonny Gray - at SEA
Note: Picking up where 2013 left off for the young righty
16. Justin Masterson - at CWS
17. Anibal Sanchez - at LAD
Note: Rain delay limited started to 4 IP; could have one more monitored start before shackles come off
18. Alex Cobb - at CIN
19. Chris Archer - at KC
20. Danny Salazar - SD
Note: Didn't deliver the ace-level opener you might've wanted, but he will have days where he's wobbly
21. Erasmo Ramirez - OAK
Note: Showed flashes last year; talent is there
22. Masahiro Tanaka - BAL
Note: Settled down nicely after a HR to his first MLB batter ever
23. Dan Straily - at MIN
24. Rick Porcello - at SD
Note: Won't leverage the park as much as some with his huge GB lean, but this is still a juicy matchup
25. Jon Lester - at NYY
26. Clay Buchholz - at NYY
27. R.A Dickey - at BAL
28. Matt Moore - at KC, at CIN
Note: Not the trustworthy asset his pedigree portends ... not yet, at least
29. John Lackey - TEX, at NYY
30. Jason Vargas - TB, at MIN
Note: Solid two-start slate keeps him ahead of more intriguing one-start arms
31. Ubaldo Jimenez - at NYY, TOR
Note: Showed the upside and downside of having Jimenez in his opener; early enough to still start regardless
32. Zach McAllister - SD, at CWS
33. Jarred Cosart - LAA, at TEX
Note: I don't like the trip to Texas, but his first start showed a lot more than the 1.95 ERA from last year
34. Hector Santiago - at SEA
35. Chris Tillman - TOR
Note: Not the best matchup for a homer-prone starter
36. Yordano Ventura - TB
Note: MLB-debut was pushed back, so we're still flying kind of blind
37. Phil Hughes - OAK
Note: You shouldn't have started him in Chicago anyway so this shouldn't really change your opinion
38. Tommy Milone - at SEA
Note: Either at home or somewhere like here
39. CC Sabathia - BOS
Note: I have some trepidation with him; still starting him, but definitely closely monitoring
40. Tyler Skaggs - NYM
41. Michael Pineda - BOS
Note: Strong debut from the one-time stud
42. Drew Hutchison - at BAL
43. Colby Lewis - HOU
Note: Another Ranger with a helluva soft landing
44. Ricky Nolasco - KC
45. Mark Buehrle - HOU, at BAL
Note: Tremendous first start, but he has a few super-gems every year; I remain dubious overall
46. Jesse Chavez - at MIN
Note: Looked sharp in his MLB debut as a starter
47. Brandon Morrow - HOU
48. Dustin McGowan - HOU
49. Jake Odorizzi - at KC
Note: Strong debut against tough opponent earns him another look
50. Kyle Gibson - KC
51. Martin Perez - at BOS
Note: Taking a shot here, even with a tough matchup

SIT


52. Tanner Scheppers - at BOS, HOU
Note: Each of these next four just has a too tough a first matchup to mess with in most formats
53. Felipe Paulino - at COL, CLE
54. Jose Quintana - at COL, CLE
55. Felix Doubront - TEX, at NYY
56. Brett Oberholtzer - at TOR, at TEX
Note: He'll be a worthy stream option multiple times this year, but not against this slate
57. Garrett Richards - at SEA
58. Roenis Elias - LAA
Note: Impressive debut, but I'm asking for more before trusting
59. Jake Peavy - TEX
60. Kevin Correia - OAK, KC
Note: Similar to Buehrle, but down a level or two; he'll have gems, but when?
61. Robbie Ross - at BOS
62. Bruce Chen - at MIN
63. Scott Feldman - at TEX
64. John Danks - CLE
65. Wei-Yin Chen - at NYY
66. Carlos Carrasco - at CWS
67. Jeremy Guthrie - TB
68. Bud Norris - TOR
69. Miguel Gonzalez - at NYY
70. Mike Pelfrey - OAK
71. Erik Johnson - at COL
72. Dallas Keuchel - at TOR
73. Lucas Harrell - at TOR
74. Drew Smyly - Tigers don't need a fifth starter this week
75. Chris Young - Mariners don't need a fifth start this week

NATIONAL LEAGUE

START

1. Jose Fernandez - at PHI
Note: Even with one start, he gets top billing; he's been that amazing
2. Homer Bailey - at STL, TB
Note: Not really panicked after ugly opener
3. Tony Cingrani - at STL, TB
Note: Still relying on his FB 82 percent of the time, still dominating
4. Michael Wacha - CIN, CHC
5. Adam Wainwright - CHC
Note: These next five could outperform several two-start starters given their lower-tier opponent
6. Gerrit Cole - at CHC
7. A.J. Burnett - MIA
8. Gio Gonzalez - MIA
9. Jordan Zimmermann - MIA
10. Stephen Strasburg - at ATL
Note: Mixed bag of success against the Braves; faces them Saturday night
11. Zack Greinke - at ARI
12. Julio Teheran - WAS
13. Andrew Cashner - DET
Note: Tough matchup, but his talent requires all-opponents, all-formats usage
14. Cliff Lee - MIL
15. Madison Bumgarner - COL
16. Dan Haren - DET, at ARI
Note: Healthy Haren will be quite a bargain for those who invested this year
17. Matt Cain - COL
18. Jeff Samardzija - at STL
19. Johnny Cueto - TB
20. Francisco Liriano - at MIL
21. Hyun-Jin Ryu - DET
Note: What on earth was that disaster against SF? I don't see a major cause for concern, though
22. Yovani Gallardo - PIT
23. Shelby Miller - CIN
24. Lance Lynn - CIN
25. Bartolo Colon - at ATL, at LAA
26. Charlie Morton - at CHC, at MIL
Note: Sneaky two-start play this week, and his value is on the rise
27. Kyle Lohse - at PHI, PIT
Note: Rarely feel great about him, but keep him in the lineup and the stats are usually quite solid
28. Tyson Ross - at CLE, DET
29. Tim Hudson - ARI, COL
30. Nathan Eovaldi - at PHI
Note: Consistency is the key, and he was consistent inning-to-inning in his debut
31. Marco Estrada - at PHI
32. Matt Garza - at PHI
33. Dillon Gee - at LAA
Note: When will Mets learn that he can't seem to go much beyond 90 pitches?
34. Alex Wood - WAS
Note: Tremendous debut against a strong lineup; gets another tough challenge this week
35. Jenrry Mejia - at ATL
Note: Strikeout pitch against a strikeout lineup
36. Zack Wheeler - at ATL
37. Wade Miley - LAD
38. Wandy Rodriguez - at CHC
Note: Another Pirate to keep an eye on, with health he has a lot of value
39. Wily Peralta - PIT
40. Jason Hammel - PIT
Note: I'm intrigued by Hammel in Chicago, especially if healthy
41. Travis Wood - PIT
42. Robbie Erlin - at CLE
Note: I like this young lefty at home and in pitcher-friendly ballparks that won't severely punish his flyball ways
43. Ervin Santana - NYM
Note: Santana's debut and Niese's second outing, both could be limited IP-wise
44. Jon Niese - at LAA
45. Joe Kelly - CHC
46. Tanner Roark - MIA
Note: Nice matchup as he continues to make his case to stay in the rotation when Fister returns
47. Edwin Jackson - PIT, at STL
48. Trevor Cahill - at SF, LAD
49. Mike Leake - at STL
50. Eric Stults - at CLE
51. Kyle Kendrick - MIL, MIA
Note: Blown away by his big debut in Texas, but I'm still not really buying

SIT


52. Tim Lincecum - ARI
Note: Do you really trust him anymore? Plus, it's getting comical how much Goldschmidt owns him
53. Taylor Jordan - at ATL
54. Brett Anderson - at SF
Note: Sure SF's park is nice, but that lineup is better than you think
55. Jorge de la Rosa - at SF
56. Bronson Arroyo - at SF
57. Brandon McCarthy - LAD
58. Ian Kennedy - DET
59. Aaron Harang - NYM, WAS
Note: Would've loved to see the double no-hitter, and yet I'm still not buying ... at all
60. Henderson Alvarez - at WAS, at PHI
61. David Hale - NYM
62. Jacob Turner - at WAS
63. Tom Koehler - at WAS
64. Ryan Vogelsong - ARI
65. Roberto Hernandez - MIL
66. Randall Delgado - at SF
67. Carlos Villanueva - at STL
68. Edinson Volquez - at MIL
69. Paul Maholm - at ARI
70. Phillies Fifth Starter - MIA
71. Juan Nicasio - CWS
72. Franklin Morales - CWS
73. Jordan Lyles - CWS, at SF
74. Alfredo Simon
Note: soon to be Mat Latos; Reds don't need a fifth starter
75. Josh Beckett - Dodgers don't need a fifth starter

MLB TOP 100


1. Max Scherzer - at LAD, at SD
2. C.J. Wilson - at HOU, NYM
3. Scott Kazmir - at MIN, at SEA
4. Justin Verlander - at SD
5. Jose Fernandez - at PHI
6. Homer Bailey - at STL, TB
7. Michael Wacha - CIN, CHC
8. Chris Sale - CLE
9. Yu Darvish - HOU
10. Adam Wainwright - CHC
11. Gerrit Cole - at CHC
12. A.J. Burnett - MIA
13. Gio Gonzalez - MIA
14. Jordan Zimmermann - MIA
15. Stephen Strasburg - at ATL
16. Zack Greinke - at ARI
17. Julio Teheran - WAS
18. Felix Hernandez - OAK
19. David Price - at CIN
20. James Shields - at MIN
21. Jered Weaver - NYM
22. Andrew Cashner - DET
23. Cliff Lee - MIL
24. Madison Bumgarner - COL
25. Dan Haren - DET, at ARI
26. Tony Cingrani - at STL, TB
27. Corey Kluber - SD, at CWS
28. James Paxton - LAA, OAK
29. Matt Cain - COL
30. Jeff Samardzija - at STL
31. Johnny Cueto - TB
32. Ivan Nova - BAL, BOS
33. Hiroki Kuroda - BAL, BOS
34. Sonny Gray - at SEA
35. Justin Masterson - at CWS
36. Anibal Sanchez - at LAD
37. Alex Cobb - at CIN
38. Chris Archer - at KC
39. Francisco Liriano - at MIL
40. Erasmo Ramirez - OAK
41. Hyun-Jin Ryu - DET
42. Yovani Gallardo - PIT
43. Shelby Miller - CIN
44. Lance Lynn - CIN
45. Danny Salazar - SD
46. Matt Moore - at KC, at CIN
47. Bartolo Colon - at ATL, at LAA
48. Charlie Morton - at CHC, at MIL
49. Kyle Lohse - at PHI, PIT
50. Tyson Ross - at CLE, DET
51. John Lackey - TEX, at NYY
52. Tim Hudson - ARI, COL
53. Jason Vargas - TB, at MIN
54. Jon Lester - at NYY
55. Masahiro Tanaka - BAL
56. Dan Straily - at MIN
57. Clay Buchholz - at NYY
58. Rick Porcello - at SD
59. Nathan Eovaldi - at PHI
60. Marco Estrada - at PHI
61. Matt Garza - at PHI
62. Ubaldo Jimenez - at NYY, TOR
63. Zach McAllister - SD, at CWS
64. Jarred Cosart - LAA, at TEX
65. Hector Santiago - at SEA
66. Dillon Gee - at LAA
67. Alex Wood - WAS
68. Zack Wheeler - at ATL
69. Chris Tillman - TOR
70. Yordano Ventura - TB
71. Wade Miley - LAD
72. Ervin Santana - NYM
73. Jon Niese - at LAA
74. Wandy Rodriguez - at CHC
75. Wily Peralta - PIT
76. Jason Hammel - PIT
77. Travis Wood - PIT
78. Robbie Erlin - at CLE
79. Phil Hughes - OAK
80. Tommy Milone - at SEA
81. Colby Lewis - HOU
82. Joe Kelly - CHC
83. Jenrry Mejia - at ATL
84. Tanner Roark - MIA
85. CC Sabathia - BOS
86. R.A Dickey - at BAL
87. Trevor Cahill - at SF, LAD
88. Mike Leake - at STL
89. Eric Stults - at CLE
90. Kyle Kendrick - MIL, MIA
91. Edwin Jackson - PIT, at STL
92. Drew Hutchison - at BAL
93. Ricky Nolasco - KC
94. Tyler Skaggs - NYM
95. Michael Pineda - BOS
96. Mark Buehrle - HOU, at BAL
97. Jesse Chavez - at MIN
98. Brandon Morrow - HOU
99. Dustin McGowan - HOU
100. Jake Odorizzi - at KC