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Pitching Value Meter: Crowning Achievement

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 June 23-29

AMERICAN LEAGUE

START

1. Felix Hernandez - BOS, CLE
Note: I usually point out that most sub-3.00 ERAs are not "real," meaning they aren't supported by the skills, but Hernandez's 1.86 FIP says his 2.22 ERA might actually be too high for his skills
2. Chris Sale - at BAL, at TOR
Note: Since returning from the DL - 2.13 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and 46 Ks in 38 IP with a 15.3 K:BB ratio
3. Alex Cobb - PIT, at BAL
Note: Sputtered a bit upon returning from the DL, but has allowed just 1 ER in 13.3 IP over his last two starts
4. Yu Darvish - MIN
5. Masahiro Tanaka - BOS
6. David Price - PIT
Note: He's gone 8 IP in each of his last three and fanned 10+ in each of his last four
7. Scott Kazmir - at NYM
Note: Durability is still a question, but he's been amazing with just one start over 3 ER
8. Max Scherzer - at HOU
Note: Mixed in his first CG among five other horrendous starts yielding a 6.86 ERA in his last six; 38 Ks and 4.2 K:BB ratio in those 39.3 IP says he hasn't been a total disaster
9. Anibal Sanchez - at TEX
Note: Went more than 5 IP just once in his first six; has gone 6+ IP in each of his last six
10. Sonny Gray - at NYM
11. Jon Lester - at NYY
12. Phil Hughes - at TEX
Note: Amazingly some still aren't buying in; I advised getting the jump on him back in PVM 6
13. Corey Kluber - at ARI
Note: A little shaky in three straight before a hard-luck 7 IP/2 ER loss to DET
14. Hisashi Iwakuma - BOS
15. Chris Archer - PIT
Note: He has a 0.89 ERA with 43 Ks in his last seven with four scoreless outings
16. Yordano Ventura - LAA
17. Dallas Keuchel - DET
Note: He had nice outings in April, but his 7.7 IP/2 ER gem at DET on May 8th felt like his coming out party
18. Garrett Richards - MIN
19. C.J. Wilson - MIN, at KC
20. John Lackey - at SEA, at NYY
21. Drew Smyly - at TEX, at HOU
Note: A lack of run support has left him with a 1-2 record in June despite a 1.89 ERA in 19 IP
22. Jose Quintana - at BAL, at TOR
23. James Shields - LAD
Note: He's been unspectacular during KC's 13-5 June surge with a 4.81 ERA in four starts
24. Jesse Chavez - at MIA
Note: The Ks have tailed off since April, but he's still been useful, especially considering he cost nothing
25. Kevin Gausman - TB
Note: He'll be back up for Friday's doubleheader
26. Justin Verlander - at HOU
Note: Yes, I'm still starting him even if it's while holding my nose
27. Collin McHugh - ATL
Note: I continue to marvel at the exquisite K rate
28. Jered Weaver - at KC
29. Matt Shoemaker - at KC
Note: Needs to cut the HRs, but everything is prime yielding a 2.96 xFIP
30. Trevor Bauer - at SEA
Note: Still far from perfect, but the improved control makes him much more palatable
31. Rick Porcello - at TEX
32. Mark Buehrle - NYY, CWS
33. Chase Whitley - at TOR, BOS
Note: I'm buying even with this tough slate, he's been impressive with his control-oriented approach
34. Hiroki Kuroda - at TOR
Note: He may be breaking free from his malaise with three gems in his last four, but the skills are still unimpressive
35. Danny Duffy - LAD
36. R.A. Dickey - CWS
37. Jake Odorizzi - at BAL
38. Justin Masterson - at ARI, at SEA
Note: Even with the glimpses of quality lately, the inconsistency makes him tough to trust
39. Kyle Gibson - at LAA, at TEX
40. Wei-Yin Chen - CWS, TB
Note: Gotta set it and forget it with Chen, he'll have ups and downs, but he'll find that high-3.00s, low-4.00s level by season's end
41. Jarred Cosart - ATL
42. Marcus Stroman - CWS
43. Jason Vargas - LAA
Note: Since that second 7 ER outing back in mid-May - 2.31 ERA, 1.26 WHIP in 35 IP over five starts
44. Roenis Elias - CLE
Note: CLE is vulnerable against lefties

CONSIDER


45. David Phelps - at TOR
Note: I like what he's done as a starter, but I worry about him facing TOR in back-to-back outings
46. John Danks - at TOR
47. Chris Tillman - TB

SIT


48. Erasmo Ramirez - BOS
Note: I was high on these next two guys coming into the season, but they need to show some consistency before being trusted
49. Hector Santiago - MIN
50. Drew Hutchison - NYY
Note: The 8.72 home ERA is a small 21.7 IP sample, but the 7.29 FIP says it's somewhat legit so beware
51. Josh Tomlin - at SEA
52. Brad Peacock - DET
53. Tommy Milone - at MIA
54. Colby Lewis - DET, MIN
55. Scott Feldman - ATL, DET
56. Rubby De La Rosa - at NYY
Note: The BOS rotation is up in the air and this could end being Clay Buchholz by the time Friday rolls around
57. Ubaldo Jimenez - CWS
58. Ricky Nolasco - at LAA
59. Bud Norris - TB
60. Erik Bedard - at BAL
61. Chris Young - CLE
Note: I'm still not trusting that ERA
62. Miguel Gonzalez - CWS
63. Jeremy Guthrie - LAD, LAA
64. Kevin Correia - at TEX
65. Jake Peavy - at SEA
66. Brad Mills - at MIA
67. J.A. Happ - CWS
68. Nick Tepesch - DET
69. Nick Martinez - MIN
70. Felix Doubront - at SEA
71. Yohan Pino - at LAA
Note: The 30-year old made his MLB debut last week, but I'm unsure if he'll remain in the rotation replacing Samuel Deduno
72. Hector Noesi - at BAL
73. Andre Rienzo - at TOR
74. Vidal Nuno - BOS
75. Joe Saunders - DET

NATIONAL LEAGUE

START

1. Clayton Kershaw - at KC, STL
Note: If the 7 ER outing vs. ARI bumped him from the unquestioned top spot, he reacquired it shortly after, and has used June to put a stranglehold on it capped off by the brilliant no-no
2. Zack Greinke - at KC, STL
3. Cole Hamels - MIA
Note: Hope you bought when he has a low-4.00s ERA in late-May despite skills befitting a much lower ERA (now 2.78)
4. Madison Bumgarner - CIN
Note: Gets a very different CIN than the one he decimated on June 5th, but I still trust him to handle them
5. Adam Wainwright - at LAD
6. Johnny Cueto - at SF
7. Julio Teheran - at PHI
Note: Had just 26 Ks in his first 43 IP of the season; now has 38 in his last 43.7 IP
8. Stephen Strasburg - at MIL
9. Jordan Zimmermann - at MIL
Note: He's emerged from his May funk (5.06 ERA, 38 H in 26.7 IP) to post an 0.84 ERA in 32 June IP with just 17 H allowed
10. Michael Wacha - at LAD
Note: You never like to lose starts, but I'll take 30 ace-level starts over 33 that might include some disasters if they see him fatiguing a bit
11. Andrew Cashner - at SF, ARI
12. Jeff Samardzija - CIN, WAS
Note: Rebounded nicely from the 8 ER massacre at MIL w/2.84 ERA, 23 Ks, and 3.8 K:BB ratio in last three outings
13. Tim Hudson - SD, CIN
14. Bartolo Colon - OAK, at PIT
Note: He's allowed 2 or fewer in each of his last six outings
15. Gio Gonzalez - at MIL, at CHC
16. Doug Fister - at CHC
17. Hyun-Jin Ryu - STL
18. Jason Hammel - WAS
19. Jake Arrieta - CIN
Note: Don't forget, he was once a blue-chip prospect with BAL
20. Josh Beckett - STL
Note: Since the no-no - 2.63 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 24 Ks, and 6.0 K:BB ratio in 24 IP
21. Tyson Ross - ARI
Note: Last four perfectly encapsulate his volatility - 6 IP/1 ER, 5.3 IP/5 ER, 7 IP/0 ER, and 5.7 IP/5 ER
22. Mat Latos - at CHC
Note: Still getting his footing, but 5 ER vs. TOR is hardly a crime
23. Gerrit Cole - NYM
Note: Few softer matchups available than the Mets as your first start off the DL
24. Jon Niese - at PIT
Note: He's an out away from six straight QS (5.7 IP/2 ER vs. PIT on May 27th); has a 2.83 ERA in 41.3 IP over those six starts
25. Nathan Eovaldi - at PHI, OAK
Note: Some of the inconsistency that plagued him before has returned; still a high-ceiling profile
26. Homer Bailey - at CHC, at SF
Note: Still not operating at peak, but he's slowly chiseling down that ERA
27. Lance Lynn - at COL, at LAD
Note: This is a tough slate for the oft-frustrating righty
28. Aaron Harang - at HOU, at PHI
29. Matt Cain - SD, CIN
Note: Diminished stuff has sapped the already-tenuous margin for error he'd been playing with for years
30. Yovani Gallardo - WAS, COL
31. Matt Garza - WAS, COL
32. Ian Kennedy - at SF
Note: Homers keeping him from the ERA that this skillset would usually yield
33. Zack Wheeler - OAK
Note: Love the 3-hitter in MIA, but OAK is scary as is Wheeler's volatility so far
34. A.J. Burnett - MIA
Note: Pleased by the 2.22 ERA over his last three, but just 10 Ks in 24.3 IP is alarming
35. Mike Minor - at HOU
Note: Lots of highs in that 4.20 ERA, but the lows include three 11 H outings and half of his 28 ER this year tied up in two of them
36. Tanner Roark - at CHC
37. Alfredo Simon - at CHC, at SF
Note: 10 of his 30 ER have come in two poor starts - his only two bad ones out of 14
38. Andrew Heaney - at PHI, OAK
Note: Impressive debut was overshadowed by Wheeler's shutout
39. Jeff Locke - at TB, NYM
40. Tim Lincecum - SD
Note: Lots of mid- and low-tier plays getting a shot against SD this week
41. Henderson Alvarez - at PHI
Note: Has six scoreless outings this year including three shutouts
42. Brandon McCarthy - at SD
43. Ervin Santana - at PHI
44. Wade Miley - CLE
Note: The skills really aren't bad, but an 18% HR/FB rate has blown up his ERA
45. Alex Wood - at HOU
Note: Likely to rejoin the rotation in place of Floyd
46. Travis Wood - WAS
47. Ryan Vogelsong - CIN
48. Mike Leake - at SF
49. Kyle Lohse - COL
Note: I'll still run Lohse and Peralta out there because it's in Miller Park
50. Wily Peralta - COL
51. Jesse Hahn - at SF
Note: Posted back-to-back beauties after struggling in his MLB debut

CONSIDER


52. Jaime Garcia - at COL
Note: He's displayed some strong skills so far, but I worry about a trip to Coors
53. Charlie Morton - at TB
Note: I think familiarity got him last time out at CHC; they've seen him four times - two gems, two duds
54. Chase Anderson - CLE
Note: He's been a revelation for the D'Backs, but CLE smashes righties
55. David Buchanan - MIA, ATL
56. Josh Collmenter - at SD
Note: It's easy to confidently pick on SD as you'll see with this next one, too…
57. Mike Bolsinger - at SD
Note: If you're just looking to pile up starts for the week, take a shot on him in this cushy matchup as Petco should protect his HR tendencies

SIT


58. Dan Haren - at KC
Note: I'm concerned that the back is an issue again; only started him last week because it was in SD
59. Edwin Jackson - CIN
60. Marco Estrada - WAS
Note: 7 ER was actually better than I expected in Coors
61. Shelby Miller - at COL
Note: Noooope!
62. Jacob deGrom - at PIT
63. Daisuke Matsuzaka - at PIT
64. Jhoulys Chacin - STL, at MIL
65. Jorge De La Rosa - STL, at MIL
66. Edinson Volquez - at TB, NYM
67. Tom Koehler - at PHI
68. Kyle Kendrick - ATL
69. Anthony DeSclafani - OAK
70. Brandon Cumpton - NYM
71. Christian Friedrich - at MIL
72. Tyler Matzek - at MIL
73. Eric Stults - ARI
74. Roberto Hernandez - ATL
75. Christian Bergman - STL

MLB TOP 100

1. Clayton Kershaw - at KC, STL
Note: If the 7 ER outing vs. ARI bumped him from the unquestioned top spot, he reacquired it shortly after, and has used June to put a stranglehold on it capped off by the brilliant no-no
2. Felix Hernandez - BOS, CLE
Note: I usually point out that most sub-3.00 ERAs are not "real," meaning they aren't supported by the skills, but Hernandez's 1.86 FIP says his 2.22 ERA might actually be too high for his skills
3. Zack Greinke - at KC, STL
4. Chris Sale - at BAL, at TOR
Note: Since returning from the DL - 2.13 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and 46 Ks in 38 IP with a 15.3 K:BB ratio
5. Alex Cobb - PIT, at BAL
Note: Sputtered a bit upon returning from the DL, but has allowed just 1 ER in 13.3 IP over his last two starts
6. Cole Hamels - MIA
Note: Hope you bought when he has a low-4.00s ERA in late-May despite skills befitting a much lower ERA (now 2.78)
7. Yu Darvish - MIN
8. Masahiro Tanaka - BOS
9. David Price - PIT
Note: He's gone 8 IP in each of his last three and fanned 10+ in each of his last four
10. Madison Bumgarner - CIN
Note: Gets a very different CIN than the one he decimated on June 5th, but I still trust him to handle them
11. Adam Wainwright - at LAD
12. Johnny Cueto - at SF
13. Julio Teheran - at PHI
Note: Had just 26 Ks in his first 43 IP of the season; now has 38 in his last 43.7 IP
14. Scott Kazmir - at NYM
Note: Durability is still a question, but he's been amazing with just one start over 3 ER
15. Stephen Strasburg - at MIL
16. Jordan Zimmermann - at MIL
Note: He's emerged from his May funk (5.06 ERA, 38 H in 26.7 IP) to post an 0.84 ERA in 32 June IP with just 17 H allowed
17. Michael Wacha - at LAD
Note: You never like to lose starts, but I'll take 30 ace-level starts over 33 that might include some disasters if they see him fatiguing a bit
18. Max Scherzer - at HOU
Note: Mixed in his first CG among five other horrendous starts yielding a 6.86 ERA in his last six; 38 Ks and 4.2 K:BB ratio in those 39.3 IP says he hasn't been a total disaster
19. Anibal Sanchez - at TEX
Note: Went more than 5 IP just once in his first six; has gone 6+ IP in each of his last six
20. Sonny Gray - at NYM
21. Jon Lester - at NYY
22. Andrew Cashner - at SF, ARI
23. Jeff Samardzija - CIN, WAS
Note: Rebounded nicely from the 8 ER massacre at MIL w/2.84 ERA, 23 Ks, and 3.8 K:BB ratio in last three outings
24. Tim Hudson - SD, CIN
25. Bartolo Colon - OAK, at PIT
Note: He's allowed 2 or fewer in each of his last six outings
26. Gio Gonzalez - at MIL, at CHC
27. Phil Hughes - at TEX
Note: Amazingly some still aren't buying in; I advised getting the jump on him back in PVM 6
28. Corey Kluber - at ARI
Note: A little shaky in three straight before a hard-luck 7 IP/2 ER loss to DET
29. Hisashi Iwakuma - BOS
30. Doug Fister - at CHC
31. Chris Archer - PIT
Note: He has a 0.89 ERA with 43 Ks in his last seven with four scoreless outings
32. Yordano Ventura - LAA
33. Hyun-Jin Ryu - STL
34. Jason Hammel - WAS
35. Dallas Keuchel - DET
Note: He had nice outings in April, but his 7.7 IP/2 ER gem at DET on May 8th felt like his coming out party
36. Garrett Richards - MIN
37. C.J. Wilson - MIN, at KC
38. John Lackey - at SEA, at NYY
39. Drew Smyly - at TEX, at HOU
Note: A lack of run support has left him with a 1-2 record in June despite a 1.89 ERA in 19 IP
40. Jose Quintana - at BAL, at TOR
41. Jake Arrieta - CIN
Note: Don't forget, he was once a blue-chip prospect with BAL
42. Josh Beckett - STL
Note: Since the no-no - 2.63 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 24 Ks, and 6.0 K:BB ratio in 24 IP
43. Tyson Ross - ARI
Note: Last four perfectly encapsulate his volatility - 6 IP/1 ER, 5.3 IP/5 ER, 7 IP/0 ER, and 5.7 IP/5 ER
44. Mat Latos - at CHC
Note: Still getting his footing, but 5 ER vs. TOR is hardly a crime
45. Gerrit Cole - NYM
Note: Few softer matchups available than the Mets as your first start off the DL
46. Jon Niese - at PIT
Note: He's an out away from six straight QS (5.7 IP/2 ER vs. PIT on May 27th); has a 2.83 ERA in 41.3 IP over those six starts
47. James Shields - LAD
Note: He's been unspectacular during KC's 13-5 June surge with a 4.81 ERA in four starts
48. Jesse Chavez - at MIA
Note: The Ks have tailed off since April, but he's still been useful, especially considering he cost nothing
49. Kevin Gausman - TB
Note: He'll be back up for Friday's doubleheader
50. Justin Verlander - at HOU
Note: Yes, I'm still starting him even if it's while holding my nose
51. Collin McHugh - ATL
Note: I continue to marvel at the exquisite K rate
52. Nathan Eovaldi - at PHI, OAK
Note: Some of the inconsistency that plagued him before has returned; still a high-ceiling profile
53. Homer Bailey - at CHC, at SF
Note: Still not operating at peak, but he's slowly chiseling down that ERA
54. Lance Lynn - at COL, at LAD
Note: This is a tough slate for the oft-frustrating righty
55. Aaron Harang - at HOU, at PHI
56. Matt Cain - SD, CIN
Note: Diminished stuff has sapped the already-tenuous margin for error he'd been playing with for years
57. Yovani Gallardo - WAS, COL
58. Matt Garza - WAS, COL
59. Ian Kennedy - at SF
Note: Homers keeping him from the ERA that this skillset would usually yield
60. Zack Wheeler - OAK
Note: Love the 3-hitter in MIA, but OAK is scary as is Wheeler's volatility so far
61. A.J. Burnett - MIA
Note: Pleased by the 2.22 ERA over his last three, but just 10 Ks in 24.3 IP is alarming
62. Mike Minor - at HOU
Note: Lots of highs in that 4.20 ERA, but the lows include three 11 H outings and half of his 28 ER this year tied up in two of them
63. Tanner Roark - at CHC
64. Alfredo Simon - at CHC, at SF
Note: 10 of his 30 ER have come in two poor starts - his only two bad ones out of 14
65. Andrew Heaney - at PHI, OAK
Note: Impressive debut was overshadowed by Wheeler's shutout
66. Jeff Locke - at TB, NYM
67. Jered Weaver - at KC
68. Matt Shoemaker - at KC
Note: Needs to cut the HRs, but everything is prime yielding a 2.96 xFIP
69. Trevor Bauer - at SEA
Note: Still far from perfect, but the improved control makes him much more palatable
70. Rick Porcello - at TEX
71. Mark Buehrle - NYY, CWS
72. Chase Whitley - at TOR, BOS
Note: I'm buying even with this tough slate, he's been impressive with his control-oriented approach
73. Hiroki Kuroda - at TOR
Note: He may be breaking free from his malaise with three gems in his last four, but the skills are still unimpressive
74. Danny Duffy - LAD
75. Tim Lincecum - SD
Note: Lots of mid- and low-tier plays getting a shot against SD this week
76. Henderson Alvarez - at PHI
Note: Has six scoreless outings this year including three shutouts
77. Brandon McCarthy - at SD
78. Ervin Santana - at PHI
79. Wade Miley - CLE
Note: The skills really aren't bad, but an 18% HR/FB rate has blown up his ERA
80. Alex Wood - at HOU
Note: Likely to rejoin the rotation in place of Floyd
81. Travis Wood - WAS
82. Ryan Vogelsong - CIN
83. Mike Leake - at SF
84. R.A. Dickey - CWS
85. Jake Odorizzi - at BAL
86. Kyle Lohse - COL
Note: I'll still run Lohse and Peralta out there because it's in Miller Park
87. Wily Peralta - COL
88. Jesse Hahn - at SF
Note: Posted back-to-back beauties after struggling in his MLB debut
89. Justin Masterson - at ARI, at SEA
Note: Even with the glimpses of quality lately, the inconsistency makes him tough to trust
90. Kyle Gibson - at LAA, at TEX
91. Wei-Yin Chen - CWS, TB
Note: Gotta set it and forget it with Chen, he'll have ups and downs, but he'll find that high-3.00s, low-4.00s level by season's end
92. Jarred Cosart - ATL
93. Marcus Stroman - CWS
94. Jason Vargas - LAA
Note: Since that second 7 ER outing back in mid-May - 2.31 ERA, 1.26 WHIP in 35 IP over five starts
95. Roenis Elias - CLE
Note: CLE is vulnerable against lefties
96. Jaime Garcia - at COL
Note: He's displayed some strong skills so far, but I worry about a trip to Coors
97. Charlie Morton - at TB
Note: I think familiarity got him last time out at CHC; they've seen him four times - two gems, two duds
98. Chase Anderson - CLE
Note: He's been a revelation for the D'Backs, but CLE smashes righties
99. David Buchanan - MIA, ATL
100. Josh Collmenter - at SD
Note: It's easy to confidently pick on SD as you'll see with this next one, too…