Pitching Primer: Week 14

Fri Jun 21 12:20pm ET
Contributing Writer

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Cole is ready to make impact

There are several top-tier starting pitchers who are projected to take the mound twice each in Week 14. However, not all of the two-start pitchers stand out as appealing fantasy options. Let’s dig into the matchups for five of them and discuss what it could mean for their stat lines.

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees: at NYM, at TOR

Cole began the season on the shelf with an elbow injury, dealing a huge blow to the Yankees starting rotation. He finally made his season debut Wednesday, allowing two runs over four innings against the Orioles. He threw 62 total pitches, recording five strikeouts along the way.

With Cole having been limited in his last outing, it’s going to take some time for him to get back up to 100 pitches. He could throw around 75 pitches in his first outing of the week against the Mets, then maybe get up to around 90 in his second outing against the Blues Jays. Even in a somewhat limited capacity, Cole can still be very valuable for his two-start week.

Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies: at DET, vs. MIA

After getting crushed by the Red Sox, Nola bounced back to limit the Padres to three runs over six innings in his last outing. While he has given up 13 home runs over 94 innings, he has been able to limit the damage because of his 1.06 WHIP. If there is an area of concern with him, it’s that his strikeout rate is down to 22.5 percent. That is well below his career mark of 26.9 percent.

Even with Nola’s disappointing strikeout numbers, he has a 3.54 ERA and a 3.95 FIP. He also has two great matchups for Week 14. The Tigers have the sixth-worst OPS in baseball, while the Marlins have the second-worst OPS. The Marlins have also scored the second-fewest runs. Start Nola with confidence.

Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds: vs. PIT, at STL

Greene had a masterful performance versus the Pirates in his last start, allowing two hits and recording nine strikeouts over 6.1 scoreless innings. He has made 15 starts this season, giving up three or fewer runs in 11 of them. His strikeout rate is down a bit this season at 26.6 percent, but a key area of improvement has been him allowing just 0.8 HR/9. Last season, he gave up 1.5 HR/9.

Greene has the potential to produce another gaudy strikeout total during his rematch with the Pirates, who have struck out the fourth-most times in baseball. The Cardinals have their own issues, scoring the fifth-fewest runs in baseball. Greene could be a major asset for fantasy managers this week.

Taj Bradley, Tampa Bay Rays: vs. SEA, vs. WAS

Bradley has significant home run issues. He has given up 1.8 HR/9 this season, which comes on the heels of him allowing 2.0 HR/9 last season. Still, he can be an overpowering force on the mound with his career 28.3 percent strikeout rate. He has made eight starts this season, giving up two or fewer runs in six of them.

Two underwhelming lineups await Bradley for Week 14. The Mariners have scored the eighth-fewest runs and struck out the most times in baseball. Bradley’s inability to keep hitters inside the ballpark might not be an issue against the Nationals, who have hit the third-fewest home runs. Check the waiver wire to see if Bradley might still be available in your league,

Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs: at SF, at MIL

Hendricks began this season by allowing at least five runs in each of his first four starts. During that span, he allowed seven home runs over 17 innings. Things didn’t get much better after that and was eventually moved into the bullpen. He was performing well enough in that role that the Cubs turned him to make a start Wednesday against the Giants. He responded by allowing one run and recording eight strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.

With Ben Brown (neck) and Jordan Wicks (oblique) out, it looks like Hendricks will have another chance to be a starter. As good as he looked against the Giants in his last outing, he’s still too risky to deploy in most formats. He has a bloated 1.58 WHIP for the season and comes with very little strikeout upside, given that he has just a 17.2 percent strikeout rate. The Brewers are also a tough matchup, considering that they have scored the fifth-most runs in baseball.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

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