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Pitching Value Meter: K Time for Tanaka

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 May 19-25

AMERICAN LEAGUE

START

1. Masahiro Tanaka - at CHC, at CWS
Note: The Chicagos are both in the top five of strikeout rate, this will be fun
2. Hisashi Iwakuma - at TEX, HOU
Note: So much for the finger lingering upon return
3. Felix Hernandez - HOU
4. Max Scherzer - at CLE
Note: Verlander has officially passed the torch
5. Yu Darvish - at DET
6. Corey Kluber - DET, at BAL
Note: 2.04 ERA and 47 Ks in his last five spanning 35.3 IP
7. Justin Verlander - at CLE, TEX
Note: Where are the Ks?!
8. Jon Lester - TOR
Note: His 4-5 rec. is criminal given how great he's been
9. James Shields - at LAA
10. David Price - BOS
11. Sonny Gray - at TB
Note: Gray and Kaz dominating has made the Griffin/Parker losses in the preseason much more palatable
12. Scott Kazmir - at TOR
13. Chris Sale - NYY
Note: A conservative ranking upon returning from the DL, but I'm definitely putting him right back in my lineup
14. Jered Weaver - HOU
Note: Allowed 3, 4, and 5 ER first three starts; hasn't allowed more than 2 ER in the six starts since then yielding a 1.86 ERA in 38.7 IP
15. Yordano Ventura - CWS
Note: Could log his second double-digit K game of the season against the White Sox
16. C.J. Wilson - KC
17. Anibal Sanchez - TEX
Note: Similar to Sale with the conservatism, but the Rangers aren't as scary as we thought… not yet, at least
18. Jose Quintana - at KC
Note: Quietly improving every year
19. Jesse Chavez - at TOR
20. Garrett Richards - HOU, KC
21. Drew Smyly - at CLE, TEX
Note: After a wobbly first start v. LAA, he's got a 2.22 ERA and 22 Ks in 24.3 IP over four starts
22. Dallas Keuchel - at LAA, at SEA
Note: He has been really impressive
23. Jason Vargas - CWS, at LAA
Note: Tough slate, but the skills are solid and can support an ERA in the 3.00s
24. Drew Pomeranz - at TB, at TOR
25. Phil Hughes - at SD
Note: Had 3 straight 5 IP/4 ER to start the season; 1.95 ERA and 23/1 K/BB ratio in 32.3 IP since
26. John Lackey - at TB
27. Jake Odorizzi - OAK, BOS
Note: Riding 11 scoreless inning streak with 18 Ks
28. Miguel Gonzalez - at PIT, CLE
29. Trevor Bauer - DET, at BAL
Note: He's shown some real improvements in the minors and now he gets a chance
30. Colby Lewis - SEA, at DET
31. Rick Porcello - TEX
Note: The K rate has dipped back down, but the BB rate has dipped even more to make up for it
32. Tyler Skaggs - HOU
Note: He only has one true disaster; deserves an ERA better than his 4.53
33. Hiroki Kuroda - at CWS
34. Chris Archer - OAK
Note: 5 BB in LAA, but otherwise a positive start with 5.7 scoreless and just two hits
35. R.A. Dickey - OAK
36. Roenis Elias - HOU
Note: Not a stud, but definitely useful in the right matchups
37. Chris Tillman - CLE
38. Justin Masterson - at BAL
Note: The lefties issues have returned with a vengeance
39. Ubaldo Jimenez - CLE
Note: He's been insane in May with an 0.46 ERA and 20 Ks in 19.7 IP, but CLE is tough on righties
40. Danny Duffy - at LAA
41. Wei-Yin Chen - at PIT
Note: Allowed 8 ER in his first two starts, but just 11 in his next six (2.78 ERA in 35.7 IP)
42. Tommy Milone - at TB
Note: It's not at home, but the Rays seem to crumble against mid-tier lefties
43. John Danks - NYY
44. Erik Bedard - OAK
Note: Cobb may be back, but Bedard has been really good of late with just 2 ER in his last four
45. Bud Norris - CLE
Note: The Ks have dipped again, but a career-best BB rate has mitigated that decline

SIT


46. Kyle Gibson - at SF
47. Mark Buehrle - at BOS
Note: He gets the one team that has ripped him this year
48. Chris Young - HOU
49. Collin McHugh - at LAA
Note: The component numbers are there, but I remain skeptical after just five starts
50. J.A. Happ - OAK
51. Ricky Nolasco - at SF
Note: Three straight QS have only brought his ERA down to 5.51
52. Jarred Cosart - at SEA
53. Drew Hutchison - at BOS
54. David Phelps - at CWS
55. Jake Peavy - at TB
Note: A complete lack of command-and-control is worrisome
56. Zach McAllister - DET
Note: He's guardrail-to-guardrail making it tough to trust him
57. Vidal Nuno - at CWS
58. Carson Whitley - at CHC
59. Marcus Stroman or Todd Redmond - OAK
60. Nick Tepesch - SEA
61. Robbie Ross - at DET
62. Nick Martinez - at DET
63. Felix Doubront - TOR, at TB
64. Scott Feldman - at LAA, at SEA
Note: When two starts is actually a negative
65. Brad Peacock - at SEA
66. Cesar Ramos - BOS
67. Clay Buchholz - TOR
Note: Pitching machines miss bats more frequently
68. Samuel Deduno - at SF
69. Kevin Correia - at SD
70. Matt Shoemaker - KC
71. Jeremy Guthrie - CWS
72. Josh Tomlin - DET
73. Brandon Maurer - at TEX
74. Andre Rienzo - at KC, NYY
75. Scott Carroll - at KC, NYY

NATIONAL LEAGUE

START

1. Adam Wainwright - ARI, at CIN
Note: Hard to say he's underrated, but doesn't get enough love in "Best Overall" discussion
2. Stephen Strasburg - CIN, at PIT
Note: Had a 6.00 ERA thru four starts, but has a 1.89 ERA in his last four; he's fine
3. Julio Teheran - MIL, COL
Note: After 13 Ks in his first four, he has 33 in his last five; still has ace-potential
4. Clayton Kershaw - at PHI
Note: He and Cueto can do more in one than many can do in two
5. Johnny Cueto - at WAS
6. Zack Greinke - at NYM
Note: He has 61 Ks in nine starts despite one getting rain-shortened
7. Jeff Samardzija - at SD
8. Wily Peralta - at ATL, at MIA
Note: He's allowed more than 2 ER just once (and it was 3 ER); there's still K upside here, too
9. Mike Minor - MIL, COL
10. Jordan Zimmermann - at PIT
11. Andrew Cashner - CHC
Note: He's gone fewer than 6 IP just once; also tons of K upside here
12. Cliff Lee - LAD
Note: His 69 hits are the most allowed in baseball, but LAD is lagging v. lefties
13. Ervin Santana - MIL
14. Michael Wacha - ARI
Note: Having him at 14 just shows how deep NL pitching is right now
15. Marco Estrada - at MIA
16. Gio Gonzalez - at PIT
17. Madison Bumgarner - at COL, MIN
Note: Still using him regardless of matchup, but don't feel as confident as in the past
18. A.J. Burnett - at MIA, LAD
19. Ian Kennedy - MIN, CHC
Note: I figured we'd see a dud sooner or later, but still really liking what he's shown
20. Josh Beckett - at NYM, at PHI
21. Francisco Liriano - BAL, WAS
22. Yovani Gallardo - at ATL, at MIA
23. Mike Leake - at WAS, STL
24. Dan Haren - at PHI
Note: I hate hearing that the back is acting up, that's the root of all of his issues the last two years
25. Homer Bailey - STL
Note: Turning it around, stay the course
26. Tyson Ross - MIN
Note: A little worried with him facing a walk-heavy team like Minny
27. Gerrit Cole - WAS
28. Cole Hamels - at MIA
Note: Miami headed back home… will they turn back into the '27 Yankees?
29. Nathan Eovaldi - PHI
30. Travis Wood - at SD
31. Doug Fister - CIN
Note: Actually Fister at 31 shows the NL's depth more than Wacha at 14
32. Tony Cingrani - STL
33. Lance Lynn - ARI
Note: We're seeing more of the same from last year which was plenty good, but I'm hoping for some consistency
34. Kyle Lohse - at ATL
35. Matt Garza - at ATL
36. Jason Hammel - NYY
Note: First rough outing as a Cub shouldn't make you lose your faith entirely
37. Aaron Harang - MIL
Note: Focus less on the name and more on the skills he's showing
38. Wade Miley - at STL
Note: Cardinals are a nightmare against lefties
39. Tim Hudson - at COL
40. Alfredo Simon - at WAS
Note: The Reds couldn't have asked for a better fill-in for Latos
41. Jon Niese - LAD
Note: He's still yet to allow more than 3 ER in an outing
42. Gavin Floyd - COL
43. Robbie Erlin - CHC
Note: A perfect streamer at home, especially against a meager Cubs offense
44. Shelby Miller - at CIN
45. Brandon McCarthy - at STL, at NYM
Note: I'm buying the strikeout gains
46. Tanner Roark - CIN
47. Henderson Alvarez - PHI
48. Bronson Arroyo - at NYM
Note: His last four have yielded a 0.91 ERA and WHIP in 29.7 IP
49. Jordan Lyles - at ATL
50. Edwin Jackson - at SD
Note: If you can't use him here, where can you use him?

CONSIDER


51. Jake Arrieta - NYY, at SD
Note: The former prospect has some intrigue, especially in a two-start week
52. Anthony DeSclafani - PHI, MIL
Note: I like both recently called rookies in a two-start week, but let your league format dictate the usage
53. Rafael Montero - LAD, ARI
54. Jorge De La Rosa - SF
55. Zack Wheeler - ARI
Note: His inconsistency has been a bit of a surprise
56. Bartolo Colon - ARI
Note: He either dominates or gets killed, I think he irons out the issues
57. Jaime Garcia - at CIN
Note: It'll be his first start in just over a year
58. Ryan Vogelsong - MIN

SIT


59. Matt Cain - at COL
Note: I just have to pass here right now
60. Charlie Morton - WAS
61. Tim Lincecum - MIN
62. Jacob DeGrom - LAD
Note: An unheralded prospect who should be watched
63. Tom Koehler - MIL
64. Wandy Rodriguez - BAL
65. Eric Stults - CHC
66. Edinson Volquez - WAS
67. Chase Anderson - at NYM
68. Franklin Morales - SF, at ATL
69. Kyle Kendrick - at MIA
70. Paul Maholm - at NYM
71. Juan Nicasio - at ATL
72. Jacob Turner - MIL
73. Jhoulys Chacin - SF
74. Roberto Hernandez - LAD
75. Josh Collmenter - at STL

MLB TOP 100

1. Masahiro Tanaka - at CHC, at CWS
2. Adam Wainwright - ARI, at CIN
3. Stephen Strasburg - CIN, at PIT
4. Hisashi Iwakuma - at TEX, HOU
5. Julio Teheran - MIL, COL
6. Clayton Kershaw - at PHI
7. Johnny Cueto - at WAS
8. Felix Hernandez - HOU
9. Max Scherzer - at CLE
10. Zack Greinke - at NYM
11. Yu Darvish - at DET
12. Corey Kluber - DET, at BAL
13. Justin Verlander - at CLE, TEX
14. Jeff Samardzija - at SD
15. Wily Peralta - at ATL, at MIA
16. Mike Minor - MIL, COL
17. Jordan Zimmermann - at PIT
18. Andrew Cashner - CHC
19. Cliff Lee - LAD
20. Ervin Santana - MIL
21. Michael Wacha - ARI
22. Marco Estrada - at MIA
23. Gio Gonzalez - at PIT
24. Jon Lester - TOR
25. James Shields - at LAA
26. David Price - BOS
27. Sonny Gray - at TB
28. Scott Kazmir - at TOR
29. Chris Sale - NYY
30. Jered Weaver - HOU
31. Yordano Ventura - CWS
32. Madison Bumgarner - at COL, MIN
33. A.J. Burnett - at MIA, LAD
34. Ian Kennedy - MIN, CHC
35. Josh Beckett - at NYM, at PHI
36. Francisco Liriano - BAL, WAS
37. Yovani Gallardo - at ATL, at MIA
38. Mike Leake - at WAS, STL
39. Anibal Sanchez - TEX
40. C.J. Wilson - KC
41. Jose Quintana - at KC
42. Jesse Chavez - at TOR
43. Dan Haren - at PHI
44. Homer Bailey - STL
45. Tyson Ross - MIN
46. Gerrit Cole - WAS
47. Cole Hamels - at MIA
48. Nathan Eovaldi - PHI
49. Travis Wood - at SD
50. Doug Fister - CIN
51. Tony Cingrani - STL
52. Garrett Richards - HOU, KC
53. Drew Smyly - at CLE, TEX
54. Dallas Keuchel - at LAA, at SEA
55. Jason Vargas - CWS, at LAA
56. Drew Pomeranz - at TB, at TOR
57. Phil Hughes - at SD
58. Lance Lynn - ARI
59. Kyle Lohse - at ATL
60. Matt Garza - at ATL
61. John Lackey - at TB
62. Jason Hammel - NYY
63. Aaron Harang - MIL
64. Wade Miley - at STL
65. Tim Hudson - at COL
66. Alfredo Simon - at WAS
67. Jon Niese - LAD
68. Gavin Floyd - COL
69. Robbie Erlin - CHC
70. Shelby Miller - at CIN
71. Brandon McCarthy - at STL, at NYM
72. Jake Odorizzi - OAK, BOS
73. Miguel Gonzalez - at PIT, CLE
74. Trevor Bauer - DET, at BAL
75. Colby Lewis - SEA, at DET
76. Rick Porcello - TEX
77. Tyler Skaggs - HOU
78. Hiroki Kuroda - at CWS
79. Chris Archer - OAK
80. R.A. Dickey - OAK
81. Roenis Elias - HOU
82. Tanner Roark - CIN
83. Chris Tillman - CLE
84. Justin Masterson - at BAL
85. Ubaldo Jimenez - CLE
86. Danny Duffy - at LAA
87. Henderson Alvarez - PHI
88. Bronson Arroyo - at NYM
89. Jordan Lyles - at ATL
90. Edwin Jackson - at SD
91. Wei-Yin Chen - at PIT
92. Tommy Milone - at TB
93. John Danks - NYY
94. Erik Bedard - OAK
95. Bud Norris - CLE
96. Jake Arrieta - NYY, at SD
97. Anthony DeSclafani - PHI, MIL
98. Rafael Montero - LAD, ARI
99. Jorge De La Rosa - SF
100. Zack Wheeler - ARI