Today is September 20. There are less than two weeks left in the Major League regular season, and that means starting pitchers only have two (maybe three) starts left this season. Just because your stud starter got you this far doesn’t mean you owe him anything, though. If the remaining matchups aren’t in his favor, then why waste a roster spot on him? Jarrod Parker is a prime example.
Jarrod Parker, OAK, 42% Owned
Parker has been a revelation for Oakland. He’s been so good that it’s rather surprising he’s owned in just 42 percent of fantasy leagues. He also has a 2.41 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in three September starts, so it might be more surprising that I’m telling you to drop him. But the problem with Parker isn’t his performance, it’s his opponents.
Parker is scheduled to start three more times for Oakland: at the Yankees, at the Rangers, and home against the Rangers. That means Parker will have to pitch three times against baseball’s first and fourth best offenses, the Rangers and Yankees, respectively, and twice he’ll have to do it on the road where Parker has a 4.95 ERA and 1.44 WHIP.
In the interest of full disclosure, Parker has started two games against Texas and New York, pitching a combined 16 innings while allowing just one earned run. If his stellar performance in those two starts outweighs 12 starts of mostly regrettable results on the road, then you go ahead and plug Parker into your starting lineup, but I will tell you that all 16 of those great innings came in Oakland.
C.J. Wilson, LAA, 94% Owned
C.J. Wilson has been terrible of late. He’s even been terrible longer than just “of late.” Through July 13, Wilson had 15 quality starts in his 19 outings (79%) and he had a sparkling 2.43 ERA. Since July 13, Wilson has just five quality starts in 12 outings (42%) and has posted a 5.94 ERA over that span. Frankly, fantasy owners should have dropped him a month ago. I can understand why teams coasting into the playoffs might want to hold onto someone of Wilson’s caliber and pray he turns things around, but head-to-head managers who are currently in playoff matchups should find better options.
Why has Wilson been so terrible? Simply, it’s been a combination of poor control, declining fastball velocities, and rising off-speed velocities. If control was the only issue and the quality of his stuff wasn’t in a downward spiral, it might be worth holding onto Wilson. That isn’t the case, and it’s highly unlikely he gets things righted in the next two weeks.
It also doesn’t help that Wilson’s next start is against the Texas Rangers. Wilson has started four games against his former team this season, and he’s lasted a total of just 17.1 innings. In those 17.1 innings, he’s managed a 7.27 ERA and a 1.90 WHIP. On the bright side, Wilson faces the Mariners at home and then in Seattle in his final two starts of the year, but what in Wilson’s performance suggests those are good places to risk running him out there?