SP Future Schedules – Week 7

Justin Wick breaks down the good and bad starter schedules ahead


Great Schedules


Corey Kluber (NYY)   5/14 vs. BAL   5/19 @ TEX   5/25 vs. TOR

Avoids CHW 5/21-23

Corey Kluber has allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts (20 1/3 IP). His last three opponents have ranked 23rd or worse in wRC+; while Kluber’s schedule will get a little tougher with Texas (8th) and Toronto (13th), he has seen plenty of forward momentum and will continue his streak of easy opponents with Baltimore (24th) for the second time in four starts. In late August, he held the Orioles to one earned run in 6 2/3 innings. It could also be a matter of time until Texas begins to regress toward their wRC+ ranking in 2020 (28th).


Shane Bieber (CLE)   5/16 @ SEA   5/21 vs. MIN   5/26 @ DET

This isn’t exactly an ‘easy’ road ahead with the Twins on the horizon, but Cleveland plays six consecutive games against the 5th and 6th-best wRC+ (LAA/MIN) and Shane Bieber only has to pitch one of them. The Mariners and Tigers rank 29th and 30th in wOBA and Bieber is finally on the backside of a tough stretch than included the White Sox (twice), Reds and Yankees. Bieber has allowed eight total runs in his last three starts, but has also pitched at least six innings in all eight of his outings this year.


Dinelson Lamet (SD)*   5/17 vs. COL   5/22 vs. SEA   5/27 @ MIL

*Limited workload to begin the year (3 starts, 6 IP)

The Rockies at Petco, the Mariners at Petco, and the Brewers in Milwaukee: All three opponents rank in the bottom third of offensive fWAR and only the Brewers have a winning record. Dinelson Lamet has only tossed six innings on the year as he eases his way back from an elbow setback, but if his workload is to increase over his next few starts, these are some prime opponents for him to work through. Lamet has allowed one earned run over his six frames on the year.


Casey Mize (DET)   5/17 @ SEA   5/22 @ KC   5/27 vs. CLE

*Avoids CHC 5/14-16

The Tigers will soon take on the Yankees and White Sox, but any starter for Detroit will have a relatively desirable schedule until May 28th when the Yankees visit. Casey Mize will first square off against Seattle, Kansas City and Cleveland, each with a wRC+ of 92 or lower. Mize won’t have to worry about the Cubs over the weekend (14th in wOBA).


Lance McCullers Jr. (HOU)   5/16 vs. TEX   5/21 @ TEX

While Texas has shown for better offense than many would have predicted (10th in wRC+), they are currently 4th in the AL West standings. Their wRC+ was also a mere 76 last year. Lance McCullers Jr. is riding a hot hand, having tossed eight innings of one-run work against the Angels—a team that ranks 5th in wRC+. He will see the Dodgers after consecutive starts with Texas, however, and the Padres and Red Sox are on the Astros’ schedule after that.


Johnny Cueto (SF)   5/15 @ PIT   5/20 @ CIN   5/25 @ ARI

It was either the Reds, the Dodgers or both on this future schedule: Johnny Cueto will only make one start over that seven-day stretch between the two opponents. He will throw against Pittsburgh on Saturday and the Pirates have the second-worst record in the NL. Arizona has been hitting better than some would have projected (11th in wRC+), but they could also regress to their 2020 figure (26th) and they currently have the fourth-worst NL record.


Matt Harvey (BAL)   5/18 vs. TB   5/23 @ WAS

*Avoids NYY 5/14-16

Tampa Bay ranks 17th in wRC+ while Washington ranks 22nd. It could prove easier sailing for Matt Harvey than his last few outings, taking on his old Mets this week (4 1/3 IP, 7 ER) and previously the Red Sox (4 IP, 4 R/0 ER). His schedule could take a sharp turn after an outing with the Nationals, however, as he is eyeing the White Sox and Twins in consecutive starts (2nd and 6th in wRC+).


Marcus Stroman (NYM)   5/16 @ TB   5/21 @ MIA   5/26 vs. COL

*Avoids ATL 5/17-19

The Rays have seen some cold bats over the past week, posting the second-worst wRC+ over that span. Marcus Stroman will pitch against them on Sunday and await the Marlins next Friday; they have posted a wRC+ of 92 in the past seven days. He will then look ahead to the Rockies and the worst wRC+ in baseball, without having to pitch at Coors Field.


Adbert Alzolay (CHC)   5/16 @ DET   5/21 @ STL   5/26 at PIT

Detroit and Pittsburgh are projected to lose 95 games this year according to FanGraphs. Adbert Alzolay doesn’t have a ton of forward momentum having just allowed three earned runs to Cleveland over six innings, but his season strikeout percentage is also pushing 30—and so is the team figure for the Tigers (29.3; highest in baseball).


Bad Schedules


Dallas Keuchel (CHW)   5/17 @ MIN   5/22 @ NYY

*Avoids KC 5/14-16

Dallas Keuchel avoids four games against the Royals this weekend while Kansas City has fell off an offensive cliff since their early success. Their wRC+ ranks 27th in the past week while Keuchel’s next opponent, the Twins, have posted a wRC+ of 126 in that time. Keuchel will then look ahead to the Yankees, now just two games out of the AL East lead after a slow start to the season. This schedule will soon get easier as the White Sox will look ahead to Baltimore, Cleveland and Detroit for 12 consecutive games starting on May 27.


Logan Webb (SF)   5/17 @ CIN   5/22 vs. LAD   5/27 @ LAD

This could be the toughest schedule out of anybody. Logan Webb gets to face the 7th, 3rd and 3rd best wRC+ to close out May. Both the Reds and Dodgers are currently third in their respective divisions but it hasn’t been from a lack of offensive firepower. Meanwhile, the Giants have a target on their back as they lead the NL West, despite projections putting them well behind the Dodgers and Padres.


Freddy Peralta (MIL)   5/16 vs. ATL   5/21 @ CIN   5/26 vs. SD

Atlanta, Cincinnati and San Diego are all hovering around .500. Atlanta’s bats could take off at any time; they ranked 4th in offensive fWAR last year. Cincinnati’s offense could continue their hot streak; they rank 4th in wOBA this year. San Diego could also see the fruits of their spending labor pay off at any time, especially while they smell blood in the water with the struggling Dodgers. Freddy Peralta just pitched seven shutout innings against the Cardinals, so he is riding high into his tough stretch. He did allow five earned runs to the Phillies in his start before that, however (4 IP).


Kyle Gibson (TEX)   5/16 @ HOU   5/21 vs. HOU   5/26 @ LAA

This schedule actually avoids the Yankees (5/17-20) and is still bad. Houston is the league leader in wRC+ and the Angels aren’t far behind, ranking 5th. The two toughest offenses in the AL West will look ahead to Kyle Gibson while the Rangers fight to stay out of the divisional cellar. Gibson has been strong this year (2.28 ERA), and has also faced some tough offensive foes (MIN, BOS, CHW, early-season KC). His ERA would be a mere 1.34 if his first outing of the year were erased (1/3 IP, 5 ER), so he appears primed to work through these tough lineups.


Wes Benjamin (TEX) or other starter   5/14 @ HOU   5/19 vs. NYY   5/25 @ LAA

*Today: first start of season

This schedule avoids the Astros in a later series (5/21-23) and like Gibson, the schedule is still bad. Wes Benjamin has only made three appearances this year and none of them have been starts, so the Rangers may elect to place him back in the bullpen after Friday’s game. They have only one day off over their next 17 days, however, so Benjamin could make multiple starts during this current stretch for Texas.


Sean Manaea (OAK)   5/18 vs. HOU   5/23 @ LAA   5/28 vs. LAA

Sean Manaea’s future schedule is very similar to the Rangers, as the rest of May is an intensive intra-divisional month for many teams in the AL West. Manaea pitched on Thursday and gave up a dismal seven earned runs to Boston over two innings, but he also took a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Rays before that.


Martin Pérez (BOS)   5/15 vs. LAA   5/20 @ TOR   5/25 vs. ATL

*Avoids PHI 5/21-23

Martin Pérez’s schedule has taken a wide turn after facing the Orioles, Tigers, Rangers and Mariners. The Angels are next up for him; they are currently fourth in the AL West but it isn’t due to a lack of offense (6th in wRC+). Pérez will close out May with Toronto and Atlanta, ranking a respective 13th and 14th in wRC+ and looking to head up toward their 2020 figures (12th and 3rd).


Dylan Bundy (LAA)   5/15 @ BOS   5/20 vs. MIN

Dylan Bundy will start opposite Perez on Saturday, and the whole series in Anaheim looks to feature strong offense. The Angels have a doubleheader with the Twins scheduled for May 20th, one day after a series finale with Cleveland and one day before a series opener with Oakland. Bundy drew the short straw in being in line for that one day with Minnesota, but the Rangers are later on his schedule (5/25) which could provide much-needed relief. His last start was against the Dodgers; he allowed six earned runs and recorded one out in the fourth.


Jon Gray (COL)   5/15 vs. CIN   5/21 vs. ARI   5/26 @ NYM

Jon Gray has fared well in his last two starts — both at Coors Field — allowing just three earned runs in 11 2/3 innings. He faced the Padres and Giants, both atop the NL West right now. He will look ahead to an even tougher offensive lineup in the Reds on Saturday, and the Diamondbacks have exceeded many expectations offensively (6th in offensive fWAR). Gray will finish the month with the Mets; he did not face them when they visited Denver in April.


Soon To Be A Good Schedule


Chase Anderson (PHI)   5/16 @ TOR   5/21 vs. BOS   5/26 @ MIA

In the past week, Boston has ranked 18th in wRC+. Their full season figure ranks them 4th, so now could be an ideal time to face the Red Sox. Chase Anderson will first pitch against the Blue Jays, ranking 7th in wRC+ over the past week and 12th overall. Miami will be the third opponent in line for Anderson and could be his earliest opponent that is truly desirable, however; they haven’t faired particularly well in wRC+ over the past week (20th) or in the collective season (21st). This is truly a gradual shift to ‘good’ if Boston continues their recent hitting woes.


Soon To Be A Bad Schedule


Kwang Hyun Kim (STL)   5/16 @ SD   5/21 vs CHC   5/26 @ CHW

*Avoids PIT 5/18-19

The Padres haven’t exactly taken the offensive world by storm this year, ranking 20th in wRC+. The Cubs have improved their offensive figures immensely since the start of the year, but have posted the 8th-worst wRC+ in the past week. Kwang Hyun Kim will inevitably face some tough opponents with the White Sox later in the month, and potentially the Dodgers and Reds into June.


Design by J.R. Caines (@JRCainesDesign on Twitter and @caines_design on Instagram)

Justin Wick

Justin Wick is the communications supervisor for MLB's Arizona Fall League. He pitched collegiately at Creighton University (B.A. Journalism) and South Mountain Community College, and is a three-year veteran of the Northwoods League with the St. Cloud Rox. More of his work can be found on Purple Row covering the Colorado Rockies, and on Twitter @justwick.

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