Week Ahead: No Average Joe

Seth Trachtman

Pitchers get back on track after Tommy John surgery at different paces. Joe Ross is the latest example.

The Nationals right-hander was a solid middle of the rotation starter in his first two seasons before losing velocity in his third campaign in 2017, and eventually undergoing the elbow ligament procedure. He struggled last season in three starts and was inconsistent between starting and relief this year until recently.

Since getting called up from Triple-A and rejoining the Nats rotation on July 21, Ross has a 3.21 ERA in 28 innings. He’s particularly looked like his old self in August, with only one run allowed in 18 innings over three starts. Ross has looked like a completely different pitcher since returning to the majors in July, showing the best velocity of his career and also reintroducing his curveball, effectively making him a four-pitch pitcher again.

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The control has still been sub-par and makes Ross a bit of a risk to rely on, but there’s no reason to think he won’t be a quality pitcher overall down the stretch considering the quality of his stuff and overall track record. Ross’ ERA still stands near 6.00 due to his early-season struggles, so there should still be an opportunity to add him in most leagues.

-It’s probably too late for Chris Archer to match the value fantasy owners paid on draft day, but he is continuing to come around. He’s coming off his second 10 strikeout game of the season and has allowed three or fewer earned runs in eight of his 10 starts since June 22. During his first three starts in August, Archer has a dominant 25/4 K/BB in 17 innings with a 3.18 ERA. The hope is that he can continue to keep the run of improved command going in his upcoming two-start week vs. Washington and Cincinnati.

-Kolby Allard is showing a full three mph increase in his velocity at the major league level compared to his three appearances last year, and the results have been strong thus far. The 21-year-old posted a 3.99 ERA in 21 starts at Triple-A before the Rangers promoted him, and the former Braves prospect continues to show that his strikeout increase at Triple-A (8.3 K/9) wasn’t a fluke. Allard is a risk in a shallower league, especially with a home hitter’s park in Texas, but he’s looking like a viable option in deep leagues down the stretch.

-Ivan Nova was one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball for most of the season, but he’s on quite a run lately. The veteran has brought down his ERA from 5.86 to 4.51 with a five-start stretch in which he’s allowed two earned runs in 37 innings. Over that time, he’s finally been able to keep the ball in the park (two home runs allowed) and walked only six batters. Still, there should be some major skepticism, considering he’s held opposing batters to a .168 BABIP with only 17 strikeouts. With a 5.4 K/9, the second lowest among qualified pitchers this season, the upside probably doesn’t outweigh the risk.

Going Twice…

Notes: Probable pitchers as of Friday, August 16, and are subject to change.

American League

Strong Plays

Gerrit Cole: DET, LAA
Shane Bieber: @NYM, KC
Chris Sale: PHI, @SD

Decent Plays

Kyle Gibson: CHW, DET
Wade Miley: DET, LAA
Domingo German: @OAK, @LAD
Jalen Beeks: SEA, @BAL
Brendan McKay: SEA, @BAL
Brad Keller: @BAL, @CLE
Kolby Allard: LAA, @CHW
Marco Gonzales: @TB, TOR
Spencer Turnbull: @HOU, @MIN
Ivan Nova: @MIN, TEX

At Your Own Risk

Dylan Bundy: KC, TB
Dillon Peters: @TEX, @HOU
Sean Reid-Foley: @LAD, @SEA
John Means: KC, TB
Pedro Payano: LAA, @CHW
Ross Detwiler: @MIN, TEX
Edwin Jackson: @HOU, @MIN


National League

Strong Plays

Clayton Kershaw: TOR, NYY
Stephen Strasburg: @PIT, @CHC

Decent Plays

Trevor Bauer: SD, @PIT
Dallas Keuchel: MIA, @NYM
Cole Hamels: SF, WAS
Chris Archer: WAS, CIN
Joe Ross: @PIT, @CHC
Zach Davies: @STL, ARI
Steven Matz: CLE, ATL
Dakota Hudson: MIL, COL

At Your Own Risk

Jon Duplantier: COL, @MIL
Kyle Freeland: @ARI, @STL
Shaun Anderson: @CHC, @OAK
Elieser Hernandez: @ATL, PHI
Trevor Williams: WAS, CIN
Michael Wacha: MIL, COL
Jeff Hoffman: @ARI, @STL


Streamer City

The following pitchers are generally available in over 50 percent of fantasy leagues and have favorable match-ups this week:

American League

Wednesday, August 21: Mike Montgomery @ BAL
Montgomery has quietly turned it on lately, with only two earned runs and 19/1 K/BB over his last two starts. Baltimore’s OPS vs. lefties remains fifth worst in MLB at .716.

Saturday, August 24: Martin Perez vs. DET
Perez might have saved his rotation spot with a strong start at Milwaukee, and he could build on it vs. Detroit, who rank eighth worst in OPS against southpaws.

Sunday, August 24: Brett Anderson vs. SF
Anderson offers very little upside for fantasy owners with his inability to miss bats, but he’s coming off a strong start at San Francisco and gets to face the Giants again next week. San Fran has a .690 OPS against lefties, third worst.

National League

Wednesday, August 21: Mike Leake vs. COL
Leake hasn’t pitched well since being traded to Arizona, but the Rockies away from Coors Field should help cure him. The Rox have a .676 OPS on the road, second worst in MLB.

Friday, August 23: Mitch Keller vs. CIN
It’s been an up and down rookie campaign for Keller, but he looked excellent in his return to the majors this week and faces a Cincinnati club that ranks 18th in OPS against right-handers.

Saturday, August 14: Zach Eflin @ MIA
Eflin is back in the Phillies rotation out of necessity with Jake Arrieta going on the IL, and the hope is the move to the bullpen was able to recuperate him physically. He held opposing teams scoreless in three of his last four relief appearances and could be worth the risk against the Marlins lineup ranking last in OPS against right-handers.


Total Games

American League

8: TEX

National League

5: PHI, SF


The Infirmary

Here’s some injuries to prominent players from the last week, and other players to watch for in the coming week. You can get a full listing of injured players at Rotoworld's Injury Page.

Jake Arrieta: Out indefinitely (elbow)
Javier Baez: Day-to-day (illness)
Ryan Borucki: Out for the season (elbow)
Jay Bruce: Placed on IL (elbow)
Mark Canha: Day-to-day (hand)
Michael Chavis: Placed on IL (shoulder)
Steve Cishek: Placed on IL (hip)
Gerrit Cole: Day-to-day (hamstring)
Nelson Cruz: Placed on IL (wrist)
Corey Dickerson: Day-to-day (hand)
Steven Duggar: Out for the season (shoulder)
Avisail Garcia: Placed on IL (oblique)
Jon Gray: Day-to-day (ankle)
Lourdes Gurriel: Placed on IL (quad)
Jason Heyward: Day-to-day (knee)
Rhys Hoskins: Day-to-day (hand)
JaCoby Jones: Out for the season (wrist)
Ian Kinsler: Placed on IL (neck)
Jose Martinez: Placed on IL (shoulder)
Jeff McNeil: Placed on IL (hamstring)
Kristopher Negron: Day-to-day (nose)
A.J. Pollock: Day-to-day (groin)
Robbie Ray: Placed on IL (back)
Pablo Sandoval: Placed on IL (elbow)
Kevan Smith: Placed on IL (back)
Fernando Tatis Jr.: Out for the season (back)
Joey Votto: Day-to-day (back)
Tyler White: Placed on IL (back)

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