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Potential Final Week 2-Start Fliers: Who’s Worth The Gamble?

Thursday, September 22, 2016 8:42
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(Before It's News)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The final week of the season is always difficult to maneuver when setting your pitching, as there are several factors that could influence your decisions:

  • Innings limits
  • Contenders shutting down/limiting their starters to preserve them for the playoffs
  • Any minor ailment leading to a shutdown

Of course, we are all also trying to maximize our innings/starts, as we try to grab any point possible.  With that in mind, here are a few risky starters who are currently lined up to make two starts and are worth considering for proactive adds:

Mike Clevinger – Cleveland Indians
at Detroit, at Kansas City

The Indian’s rotation is banged up, which has led to Clevinger returning.  They are going to want to rest the players who are healthy, so there’s little reason to think that he won’t get to make both of these starts (especially since innings also aren’t an issue).

The biggest concern hanging over him is the long ball, though he’s also struggled with his control in the Majors (4.96 BB/9).  The latter hasn’t been an issue in the minors over the past two seasons:

  • Double-A – 2.28 BB/9
  • Triple-A – 3.39 BB/9

He also has shown strikeout stuff, both at Triple-A (9.39 K/9) and in the Majors (8.54 K/9, courtesy of a 9.9% SwStr%).  That’s enough to make him worth the gamble, especially for a pitcher who is a near lock to get the ball.

Buck Farmer – Detroit Tigers
vs. Cleveland, at Atlanta

While Farmer has worked as a reliever in the Majors, he’s made 20 starts at Triple-A (his last of which came on August 27, when he threw 6.0 innings).  In other words he should be plenty stretched out, and his time in the bullpen has conserved his innings so there’s little reason to think that he won’t make both of these starts (though the Tigers have been utilizing a five-man rotation, so it’s hardly a given that he makes one, let alone both).  If the Tigers are eliminated from contention before Sunday, you would think there’s a good chance he makes the second start (though it’s not a guarantee).

He was showing strikeouts (8.37 K/9) and control (2.52 BB/9) while at Triple-A this season, and also had enough groundballs (1.04 GO/AO).  Cleveland is an offense that could scare you, though their .387 SLG in September is among the ten worst in baseball.  The Braves have been among the better offenses in the league of late, though they also aren’t a team that we are going to avoid.

Given his makeup, Farmer is a pretty good gamble to take (though keep in mind that he’s definitely a gamble).

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com

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