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Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Two-Star Ace or Kershaw?

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 looks incorrect, assume that it was a change that occurred since this was written and feel free to politely bring it up in the comments, I'll let you know where the new arm slots.

For the week Sept. 21-27

AMERICAN LEAGUE

START

RANKPITCHEROPPCOMMENTS
1David PriceNYY, TBKeuchel and Gray have opened the AL Cy door and now Price has to be the frontrunner
2Chris Saleat DET
3Chris Archerat BOS, at TORTOR just doesn't scare Archer like they do everyone else: 2.51 ERA, 1.01 WHIP in 82.3 IP (1.66 in 43.3 at TOR)
4Dallas KeuchelLAA, TEXWhat a terrible time for a dud, both for the Astros and fantasy teams w/Keuchel; he'll rebound
5Danny Salazarat MIN, at KC
6Felix Hernandezat LAAA lot more Felixesque since that nightmare at BOS: 3.16 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 33 Ks in 37 IP
7Justin VerlanderMINNearly half of his 2H ER (12 of 26) were allowed in 2 of 12 starts: 2.79 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 23% K, and 5% BB in 84 IP
8Cole Hamelsat HOU
9Sonny GraySF
10Corey Kluberat MINHad an abbreviated return after 18 days off, should be ready for a regular workload next time out
11Lance McCullersLAA
12Johnny CuetoSEA
13Garrett RichardsSEAHe probably gets some leniency on this season bc of the injury, but this is pretty standard regression from last yr's big season
14Collin McHughTEX
15Hisashi Iwakumaat KC, at LAAThe no-hitter is the standout, but his whole 2H has been solid: 3.42 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 23% K, and 5% BB in 79 IP
16Derek Hollandat HOU
17Masahiro Tanakaat TORFour key arms heading to TOR late in the season: Archer, Odorizzi, Tanaka, and Severino
18Jake Odorizziat TORHe's been great and awful in 2 starts at TOR: 8 IP/1 ER, 4.3 IP/6 ER; feeling lucky?
19Carlos Carrascoat KC
20Marcus StromanNYYLooks solid through two starts, definitely good enough to start
21Michael PinedaCWS
22Jose Quintanaat DETOn track for a third straight season of 200 IP w/a mid-3.00s ERA; needs a W to finally get off that career-high of 9
23Eduardo RodriguezTB, BAL
24Ervin SantanaCLE, at DETHave you noticed Santana's surge: 1.55 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 32 Ks in 29 IP
25Luis Severinoat TOR, CWSBounced back nicely from that dud v. TOR w/a 5.7 IP/1 ER effort at TB w/7 Ks
26Mike FiersLAA
27Scott KazmirTEX
28Carlos Rodonat NYYDid you notice his 6 straight QS yielding a 1.76 ERA w/41 Ks in 41 IP?
29Taijuan Walkerat LAA
30Yordano VenturaSEA
31Erasmo Ramirezat BOSIt's tough sending anyone into BOS these days, but I think you have to start all three of these guys
32Drew Smylyat BOSThe Ks have been strong since his return from the DL: 41 in 37.7 IP
33Kevin Gausmanat BOS
34Kyle Gibsonat DET
35Andrew Heaneyat HOUHe's rebounded w/shutout efforts both times he's been smashed
36Yovani Gallardoat OAK
37Colby Lewisat OAKHe owns OAK this year (4 ER in 27 IP w/0 HR allowed)
38Marco EstradaNYYLucky to have allowed just a 4.09 ERA in four starts v. NYY w/6 HRs allowed in 22 IP
39R.A. DickeyTB
40Rick PorcelloTBAllowed 7 ER in his first four starts back from the DL until TOR got him for 5
41Kris MedlenCLE
42Matt ShoemakerSEAReturning to the rotation on the heels of two 7+ IP gems during which he allowed just 1 ER
43Martin Perezat OAK, at HOU
44Edinson VolquezCLE
45Cody Andersonat MIN
46Hector Santiagoat HOU
47James Paxtonat KC
48Tyler Duffeyat DETTOR obliterated him for 6 ER in 2 IP during his MLB debut, but since then he has a 2.45 ERA and 36 Ks in 36.3 IP
49Rich HillBALWe’re still going off of one start until we see what he does in TOR this Sunday

SIT

RANKPITCHEROPPCOMMENTS
50Wei-Yin Chenat BOSTough to send a HR-prone Chen into Fenway
51Chris Tillmanat WASSustained success seems to elude him: 2.97 ERA in Jun-Jul, 7.52 ERA in Aug-Sep
52Josh Tomlinat KC
53Jeff Samardzijaat DET, at NYYPoop
54Erik Johnsonat DET, at NYYIt's a tiny sample, but w/4 HRs allowed in his two MLB starts, I'm afraid of both of these matchups
55Adam Warrenat TOR, CWS
56CC SabathiaCWS
57Tommy MiloneCLE
58Roenis Eliasat KC
59John Danksat NYY
60Daniel NorrisCWS
61Aaron BrooksSF
62Sean NolinTEX
63Matt Mooreat BOS, at TOR
64Alfredo SimonMIN
65Mark BuehrleTB
66Wade MileyTB
67Henry OwensTB, BAL
68Cody MartinTEX, SF
69Mike Wrightat WAS, at BOS
70Ubaldo Jimenezat WAS
71Jeremy GuthrieSEA, CLE
72Jered Weaverat HOU, SEARumors suggest Kyle Seager had to be alerted of the HBP from Weaver as he didn’t feel the 42 MPH fastball from the right-hander
73Felix DoubrontTEX
74Mike PelfreyCLE
75Randy WolfCWS
76Kyle LobsteinCWS

NATIONAL LEAGUE

START

RANKPITCHEROPPCOMMENTS
1Clayton KershawARII think we're back to "no one above Kershaw" status, even a two-start ace (although none exist this week w/deGrom getting skipped)
2Jake ArrietaMILHis 8-game win streak was snapped despite an 8 IP/1 ER gem at PIT (ended w/no-decision)
3Zack GreinkeARI
4Stephen StrasburgPHIHe has three 12+ K outings this year, all since the start of Aug: 2.38 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 37% K, and 3% BB in 45.3 IP
5Madison Bumgarnerat SDHe has four 12+ K outings this year, three since the start of Aug: 1.73 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 31% K, and 4% BB in 67.7 IP (w/2 SHO)
6Jacob deGromat CIN
7Jose FernandezATLThe beauty of Fern is he only needs 5-6 IP to beast out: 1.66 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 31 Ks in 21.7 IP over his L4 starts
8Max ScherzerBAL
9Gerrit Coleat CHCHe's allowed just 5 ER v. CHC in 18.3 IP this year w/20 Ks
10Michael WachaMILWeirdly hasn't faced this division foe at all this year
11Jon LesterPIT
12Noah Syndergaardat CINHasn't thrown fewer than 94 pitches in an outing since the start of July
13Steven MatzATLThere probably isn't a better matchup in the final weeks than facing the Braves
14Jordan ZimmermannPHI
15Julio Teheranat MIANYY smashing him is the only blemish his L9 starts: 3.54 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in 56 IP incl. 4 QS on the road
16John LackeyCIN, MIL
17Jaime GarciaCIN, MILAllowed 17 ER in his first 13 starts; has allowed 14 in his last four; value him around the low-to-mid 3.00s for these few starts
18Tyson RossSF
19Patrick Corbinat LAD
20Gio GonzalezBAL, PHIHe's been markedly better at home (3.04 to 4.61 ERA) and both matchups are prime
21Shelby Millerat NYM, at MIAThe first 8 of his 14 straight Ls were really unfortunate: 3.03 ERA in 92 IP, but the last 6 are on him, too: 5.56 ERA in 34 IP
22Carlos MartinezMILIt seems whenver I start worrying about Martinez, he drops 8 strong innings; still think they could manipulate his IP count for Oct.
23Lance LynnCIN
24Francisco Lirianoat CHCVery pedestrian 2H for Liriano: 4.47 ERA, 1.64 WHIP in 52.3 IP over 10 starts; I could see sitting him in tight ERA/WHIP races
25Mike Leakeat OAK
26Taylor Jungmannat STL
27Anthony DeSclafaniNYMHaving a great 2H that would look even better w/out two 6 ER duds which account for 43% of his ER over the 68 IP
28Bartolo ColonATL, at CIN
29James ShieldsARI
30Matt Harveyat CINI just don't know if this is going to be a regular start or a tandem start where he goes 3-4 IP and then turn it over to Niese or something
31Ian KennedySF
32Logan VerrettATL
33Aaron Nolaat WASLooks like he'll avoid a shutdown, but two 6 ER gms in his last three have ballooned his ERA
34Andrew CashnerSFOne of my biggest disappointments for 2015
35Mike BolsingerARI, at COL
36A.J. Burnettat COL, at CHCThis is a pretty fierce pair of matchups as the Cubs can go off on anyone
37John Lambat STL, NYM
38Chris Hestonat SD, at OAK
39Jason HammelMIL, PITTale of two halves: 2.86/5.43 ERA, 0.95/1.55 WHIP, but 9.1/9.2 K9 so he's still missing bats; still wonder how much the hamstring plays in
40Robbie Rayat LAD, at SD
41Rubby De La Rosaat LADThe problem w/guys like this late is that their downside is massive (5+ ER)
42Kyle HendricksMIL
43Jake Peavyat SD
44Jerad Eickhoffat WASOnly one bad outing among his 5 and it was at BOS which is pretty excusable
45Jhoulys Chacinat LAD, at SD
46Jorge De La RosaPIT
47Tom KoehlerPHIStill riding that 2.97 ERA at home for Koehler
48Brett Andersonat COLAnderson has been solid all year and Happ has dominated w/PIT, but I have a hard time taking either into COL
49J.A. Happat COL

SIT


RANKPITCHEROPPCOMMENTS
50Justin NicolinoATLLooking for an off-the-radar spot start? This could be your guy, espec. if you don't need Ks (8% K rate)
51Alex WoodARI, at COLOne excellent outing isn't enough to send him into Coors this late into the season
52Jon GrayPIT, LAD
53Tanner RoarkBAL
54Wily Peraltaat CHC, at STL
55Brandon Finneganat STL
56Zach Daviesat CHC
57Adam ConleyPHI
58Ariel Penaat STL
59Alec Asherat MIA
60Jeremy Hellicksonat SD
61Jarred CosartPHI
62Charlie Mortonat COL
63Jeff Lockeat COL
64Dan HarenPIT
65Chad BettisPIT
66Robbie ErlinARI
67Casey KellyARI
68Adam Morganat WAS
69Chris RusinPIT
70Tim Hudsonat OAK
71Michael Lorenzenat STL, NYM
72Aaron Harangat MIA
73Yohan FlandeLAD
74Brad HandATL
75Ryan Weberat MIA
76David Buchananat MIA
77Kyle KendrickLAD
78Williams Perezat NYM
79Matt Wislerat NYM
80Josh SmithNYM
81Jimmy Nelson Replacementat CHC, at STLNelson was hit by a line drive, I'd be surprised if he pitched again this year

MLB TOP 100

RANKPITCHEROPPCOMMENTS
1Clayton KershawARII think we're back to "no one above Kershaw" status, even a two-start ace
2David PriceNYY, TBKeuchel and Gray have opened the AL Cy door and now Price has to be the frontrunner
3Jake ArrietaMILHis 8-game win streak was snapped despite an 8 IP/1 ER gem at PIT (ended w/no-decision)
4Zack GreinkeARI
5Stephen StrasburgPHIHe has three 12+ K outings this year, all since the start of Aug: 2.38 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 37% K, and 3% BB in 45.3 IP
6Madison Bumgarnerat SDHe has four 12+ K outings this year, three since the start of Aug: 1.73 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 31% K, and 4% BB in 67.7 IP (w/2 SHO)
7Jacob deGromat CIN
8Chris Saleat DET
9Chris Archerat BOS, at TORTOR just doesn't scare Archer like they do everyone else: 2.51 ERA, 1.01 WHIP in 82.3 IP (1.66 in 43.3 at TOR)
10Dallas KeuchelLAA, TEXWhat a terrible time for a dud, both for the Astros and fantasy teams w/Keuchel; he'll rebound
11Danny Salazarat MIN, at KC
12Jose FernandezATLThe beauty of Fern is he only needs 5-6 IP to beast out: 1.66 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 31 Ks in 21.7 IP over his L4 starts
13Max ScherzerBAL
14Gerrit Coleat CHCHe's allowed just 5 ER v. CHC in 18.3 IP this year w/20 Ks
15Michael WachaMILWeirdly hasn't faced this division foe at all this year
16Felix Hernandezat LAAA lot more Felixesque since that nightmare at BOS: 3.16 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and 33 Ks in 37 IP
17Justin VerlanderMINNearly half of his 2H ER (12 of 26) were allowed in 2 of 12 starts: 2.79 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 23% K, and 5% BB in 84 IP
18Cole Hamelsat HOU
19Sonny GraySF
20Corey Kluberat MINHad an abbreviated return after 18 days off, should be ready for a regular workload next time out
21Jon LesterPIT
22Noah Syndergaardat CINHasn't thrown fewer than 94 pitches in an outing since the start of July
23Steven MatzATLThere probably isn't a better matchup in the final weeks than facing the Braves
24Jordan ZimmermannPHI
25Julio Teheranat MIANYY smashing him is the only blemish his L9 starts: 3.54 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in 56 IP incl. 4 QS on the road
26John LackeyCIN, MIL
27Jaime GarciaCIN, MILAllowed 17 ER in his first 13 starts; has allowed 14 in his last four; value him around the low-to-mid 3.00s for these few starts
28Tyson RossSF
29Patrick Corbinat LAD
30Gio GonzalezBAL, PHIHe's been markedly better at home (3.04 to 4.61 ERA) and both matchups are prime
31Lance McCullersLAA
32Johnny CuetoSEA
33Garrett RichardsSEAHe probably gets some leniency on this season bc of the injury, but this is pretty standard regression from last yr's big season
34Collin McHughTEX
35Hisashi Iwakumaat KC, at LAAThe no-hitter is the standout, but his whole 2H has been solid: 3.42 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 23% K, and 5% BB in 79 IP
36Derek Hollandat HOU
37Masahiro Tanakaat TORFour key arms heading to TOR late in the season: Archer, Odorizzi, Tanaka, and Severino
38Jake Odorizziat TORHe's been great and awful in 2 starts at TOR: 8 IP/1 ER, 4.3 IP/6 ER; feeling lucky?
39Carlos Carrascoat KC
40Marcus StromanNYYLooks solid through two starts, definitely good enough to start
41Michael PinedaCWS
42Jose Quintanaat DETOn track for a third straight season of 200 IP w/a mid-3.00s ERA; needs a W to finally get off that career-high of 9
43Eduardo RodriguezTB, BAL
44Shelby Millerat NYM, at MIAThe first 8 of his 14 straight Ls were really unfortunate: 3.03 ERA in 92 IP, but the last 6 are on him, too: 5.56 ERA in 34 IP
45Carlos MartinezMILIt seems whenver I start worrying about Martinez, he drops 8 strong innings; still think they could manipulate his IP count for Oct.
46Lance LynnCIN
47Francisco Lirianoat CHCVery pedestrian 2H for Liriano: 4.47 ERA, 1.64 WHIP in 52.3 IP over 10 starts; I could see sitting him in tight ERA/WHIP races
48Mike Leakeat OAK
49Taylor Jungmannat STL
50Anthony DeSclafaniNYMHaving a great 2H that would look even better w/out two 6 ER duds which account for 43% of his ER over the 68 IP
51Ervin SantanaCLE, at DETHave you noticed Santana's surge: 1.55 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 32 Ks in 29 IP
52Luis Severinoat TOR, CWSBounced back nicely from that dud v. TOR w/a 5.7 IP/1 ER effort at TB w/7 Ks
53Bartolo ColonATL, at CIN
54James ShieldsARI
55Matt Harveyat CINI just don't know if this is going to be a regular start or a tandem start where he goes 3-4 IP and then turn it over to Niese or something
56Mike FiersLAA
57Scott KazmirTEX
58Carlos Rodonat NYYDid you notice his 6 straight QS yielding a 1.76 ERA w/41 Ks in 41 IP?
59Taijuan Walkerat LAA
60Yordano VenturaSEA
61Ian KennedySF
62Logan VerrettATL
63Aaron Nolaat WASLooks like he'll avoid a shutdown, but two 6 ER gms in his last three have ballooned his ERA
64Erasmo Ramirezat BOSIt's tough sending anyone into BOS these days, but I think you have to start all three of these guys
65Drew Smylyat BOSThe Ks have been strong since his return from the DL: 41 in 37.7 IP
66Kevin Gausmanat BOS
67Andrew CashnerSFOne of my biggest disappointments for 2015
68Mike BolsingerARI, at COL
69A.J. Burnettat COL, at CHCThis is a pretty fierce pair of matchups as the Cubs can go off on anyone
70John Lambat STL, NYM
71Chris Hestonat SD, at OAK
72Jason HammelMIL, PITTale of two halves: 2.86/5.43 ERA, 0.95/1.55 WHIP, but 9.1/9.2 K9 so he's still missing bats; still wonder how much the hamstring plays in
73Robbie Rayat LAD, at SD
74Kyle Gibsonat DET
75Andrew Heaneyat HOUHe's rebounded w/shutout efforts both times he's been smashed
76Yovani Gallardoat OAK
77Colby Lewisat OAKHe owns OAK this year (4 ER in 27 IP w/0 HR allowed)
78Rubby De La Rosaat LADThe problem w/guys like this late is that their downside is massive (5+ ER)
79Kyle HendricksMIL
80Marco EstradaNYYLucky to have allowed just a 4.09 ERA in four starts v. NYY w/6 HRs allowed in 22 IP
81R.A. DickeyTB
82Rick PorcelloTBAllowed 7 ER in his first four starts back from the DL until TOR got him for 5
83Kris MedlenCLE
84Matt ShoemakerSEAReturning to the rotation on the heels of two 7+ IP gems during which he allowed just 1 ER
85Martin Perezat OAK, at HOU
86Edinson VolquezCLE
87Cody Andersonat MIN
88Hector Santiagoat HOU
89James Paxtonat KC
90Tyler Duffeyat DETTOR obliterated him for 6 ER in 2 IP during his MLB debut, but since then he has a 2.45 ERA and 36 Ks in 36.3 IP
91Rich HillBALWe’re still going off of one start until we see what he does in TOR this Sunday
92Jake Peavyat SD
93Jerad Eickhoffat WASOnly one bad outing among his 5 and it was at BOS which is pretty excusable
94Jhoulys Chacinat LAD, at SD
95Jorge De La RosaPIT
96Tom KoehlerPHIStill riding that 2.97 ERA at home for Koehler
97Wei-Yin Chenat BOSTough to send a HR-prone Chen into Fenway
98Brett Andersonat COLAnderson has been solid all year and Happ has dominated w/PIT, but I have a hard time taking either into COL
99J.A. Happat COL
100Justin NicolinoATLLooking for an off-the-radar spot start? This could be your guy, espec. if you don't need Ks (8% K rate)