Photo credit: By Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
With the penultimate lineup deadline looming in weekly leagues, it’s time to take a closer look at our benches. Many of us have been stashing players whom we like but, as often as not, don’t make the cut for our active roster on a week-to-week basis. There may be players we hang onto “just in case.” But there are few enough games left on the calendar that it is much easier now to isolate those players who won’t benefit from a favorable schedule from here on out.
Below are six starting pitchers I would want to keep around if it were any earlier in the season. With two weeks to go, though, they are expendable. I’m not saying these are pitchers who need to be dropped, but rather, if you need space to pick up another player, these are pitchers you can let go of without major consequence.
Note: My next post over the weekend will have a list of droppable hitters.
Michael Fulmer: He will make his next start on Friday at the Indians, so in Week 25, Fulmer lines up for one start at the Twins. He’s not been much of a strikeout pitcher since the All-Star break — just 45 Ks in 67 innings — so if you need more Ks, this one start won’t likely be of much help. He could get two starts in Week 26, but you can only really count on him facing the Indians again. That matchup is tough enough that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t start Fulmer, unless I could be absolutely assured he would face the Braves as well.
Jameson Taillon: At most, he would have two starts left after this weekend. I don’t worry too much about matchups with Taillon, but facing the Nationals in Week 25 and the Cubs in Week 26 is not a point in his favor. With the Pirates keeping tabs on Taillon’s innings and pitch count, there are better one-start options out there for these two weeks.
Jeremy Hellickson: It looks like Hellickson will finish out the season (and his Phillies career?) with two one-start weeks, facing the Mets both times. I don’t like the combination of Hellickson’s flyball tendencies and the National League leaders in flyball rate. The Mets having already hit seven homers against Hellickson in 20 innings this season doesn’t make me feel better about it.
Michael Pineda: If he gets just one start next week at the Rays, Pineda may not last more than five innings. If he gets a second start, that means he is pitching a game at Rogers Centre. While Pineda has allowed only three homers over his last seven starts, that’s still a matchup and venue I do not trust. And if Pineda doesn’t face the Jays in Week 25, he could still face them in Week 26.
Gio Gonzalez: He’s been better in the second half, posting a 3.54 ERA, and he’s a good pitcher to have around for two-start weeks. Gonzalez doesn’t have any of those left. He will have one-start weeks against the Pirates and Diamondbacks, but even though those are pretty good matchups, I can’t get excited about them.
Sean Manaea: After missing time with a sore back, Manaea was in good form on Wednesday at the Royals. That could bode well for Tuesday’s start against the Astros, but I’m concerned that Manaea won’t be allowed to go deep into the game, as he made only 67 pitches against the Royals. Then in Week 26, Manaea appears destined for a one-start week against the Angels, which is a terrible matchup for strikeouts.