The easiest way to win pitching categories? Maximize your opportunities. That is not to say that owners should throw anyone out there to start for them, but there are ways to ensure risk is minimized. The beauty of looking at the HVaC scores for pitchers is we can target that value. Even better, by narrowing the window to look at the last two weeks, last week, or whatever the case might be, we can easily see who is going to be in the best position to help your team.
Many players have been mentioned a few times of late, but they remain widely available. Capitalize! With quarterfinals finishing up and semi-finals already underway or about to start, this is the time to leverage starters that are going unnoticed by your opponents.
All numbers are through games on September 11th and cover the last two weeks.
- Because of a few of the numbers you will see, I want to emphasize again that there is less weight put on ERA and WHIP than in wins, saves, and strikeouts. Remember, you can get buy making a mistake in those two categories. Two reasons for this. Most people still have elite pitchers that are going to bring these categories down and these players are those that can be found to stream or add for a week. Second, we need to control what we can control. Accumulation stats like wins and strikeouts give us as owners that opportunity.
- The best pitcher in Philadelphia really since the beginning of August but definitely over the last two weeks has been Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick already has a win this week and has a sub-1.00 WHIP in this recent stretch. He was a top-15 pitcher when last we looked and now his 7.35 HVaC score makes him a top-10 option. Less than 40 percent owned, this is a steal.
- I do not buy Homer Baileyâ€™s recent success. He will throw on Wednesday and it will be his first start in his last three not against the Astros. Bailey capitalized against a weak lineup by posting a sub-2.00 ERA and 0.68 WHIP with 18 strikeouts. This is a case where we need to pull the covers back. Bailey is not a top-20 option for this reason.
- No doubt we are seeing some great pitching down in Texas and Ryan Dempster has been a big part of that. What if you just wanted his numbers though but could not add him? There are options! Look at Hector Santiago. With 16 strikeouts, a 0.90 ERA, and a 1.20 ERA, an owner would get one more strikeout, a better WHIP and an ERA difference of only three-tenths of a run.
- Two players that are just over 80 percent owned are certainly starting to make their presence more known. Wandy Rodriguez has put up two wins with a 1.37 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. Those numbers put him number 11 overall in the last two weeks. The Pirates are not yet dead and Rodriguez will be a key to the final few weeks. Then there is Edwin Jackson. Jackson has struck out 20 in his two wins though he has struggled with a 4.91 ERA.
- The Cubs are preparing to shut down Jeff Samardzija. Though he is leading pitchers in the last two weeks with 27 strikeouts, his innings total has the Cubs thinking that he needs to take a seat as well. His complete game on Tuesday was more than likely his final start. Another example of a guy owners needed to leverage. His 2.58 ERA after the All-Star break went largely unnoticed.
- Just because a league is deep does not mean there is no help available. Both Mike Fiers and Tommy Milone have two wins and combined for 31 strikeouts in the last two weeks. Fiers has done it with a decent ERA at 3.45. Milone is only necessarily helping in wins, but could be helpful to owners when he pitches at home. Another interesting look? Check out Ervin Santana. Ignore the one win and look at the 0.80 WHIP and 2.63 ERA. Certainly can be frustrating to own, but he has gone on this type of run before.
- Still looking? Surely. Brandon Morrow has come back and posted a 1.56 WEHIP with 3.63 ERA with 15 strikeouts. Not getting into the top-25 of the HVaC with those numbers, but it does keep him inside the top-40. Hisashi Iwakuma is worth a look too. Two wins, a 1.06 WHIP, and a 2.12 ERA gives him a 13.40 HVaC score. Light on the strikeouts, but worth it in three other categories.
- Biggest surprise to me in the rankings? What about Zack Greinke and Ricky Nolasco coming in at numbers four and five overall. Nolasco has two complete game shutouts in his last three starts (both against Washington) and is suddenly trying to prove he is not a disappointment. Greinke has been a disaster in the American League. With four straight wins with starts of at least seven innings in each, Greinke is showing the value fantasy owners hoped he would have had all along.
Here is the rest of the top-50: