SP Future Schedules – Week 9

Justin Wick breaks down the good and bad starter schedules ahead

Great Schedules


Max Scherzer (WAS)   5/30 vs. MIL   6/4 @ PHI   6/9 @ TB

*Avoids ATL 5/31-6/3, SF 6/10-13

Max Scherzer has dominated in his last five starts, posting a 1.62 ERA and lowering his season figure to a 2.27. He last faced the Reds and their 11th-ranked wRC+ (7 IP, 2 ER), and will now look ahead to the 22nd and 21st in the Brewers and Phillies. Scherzer will be forced to then work around the tough-hitting Rays (seventh in wRC+), but his continued momentum could be more than enough to push him into another easier stretch with the Pirates and Mets on the horizon. The Nationals have only one off day until the middle of June (6/7), and, presumably, Scherzer will jump the off day and stay on a five-day cycle.


Jon Gray (COL)   5/28 @ PIT   6/2 vs. TEX   6/8 @ MIA

The Rockies will venture out of Coors Field for two of Jon Gray’s next three starts. He will start tonight in Pittsburgh and the game will feature the two worst wRC+ figures in baseball. He will look ahead to the Rangers at 17th, but a later start in June against the Marlins (22nd) solidifies Gray’s spot on the good schedule list. Gray has surprisingly pitched better at home than on the road this year, but his road figures may soon rival his showings at Coors if he furthers his recent success.


Max Fried (ATL)   5/29 @ NYM   6/3 vs. WAS   6/8 @ PHI

*Avoids LAD 6/4-6

Max Fried has allowed one earned run in each of his past four starts, lowering his season ERA to a 4.63. (It was in the 15’s after his first three starts.) He faced the Nationals, Blue Jays, Mets, and Pirates in his last four outings and he will soon match up again with the Mets and Nationals. The Phillies will await later in June; Fried faced them on Opening Day and tossed five innings, allowing two earned runs.


Dylan Cease (CHW)   6/1 @ CLE   6/6 vs. DET   6/11 @ DET

*May avoid HOU 6/17-20

Dylan Cease just worked six innings of one-run ball against Baltimore; he will look ahead to some other opponents that hold similar wOBA and wRC+ figures in his next three starts. The White Sox will also look to separate themselves against those division rivals and Cease is likely one of the guys the White Sox want out there to pull away from Cleveland. (The White Sox lead the division by 1.5 games.)


Randy Dobnak (MIN)   5/28 vs. KC   6/2 @ BAL

After shutting out his opponent in three of his last four starts, Randy Dobnak will relish some bottom-third wRC+ on his schedule as the Royals and Orioles await. It could turn a little more sour for Dobnak later into June as the Yankees are next on his schedule (6/8), but he will take on either the Mariners or Rangers after that.


James Kaprielian (OAK)   5/31 @ SEA   6/5 @ COL   6/10 vs. KC

*Avoids LAA 5/28-30

This schedule has a lot of long-term variance with off days on June 3 and 7, but things are lining up quite nicely before Oakland’s toughest schedule challenge in June: the Angels and Yankees. James Kaprielian last pitched on Wednesday and shut out the Mariners over seven innings, and it appears the A’s are sticking with him in the rotation after going to him five days after a previous start. He will face those same Mariners on Monday and while a start at Coors Field will come after, the Rockies currently rank dead last in wRC+.


Ryan Yarbrough (TB)   5/30 vs. PHI   6/4 @ TEX   6/9 vs. WAS

*Avoids NYY 5/31-6/3

Ryan Yarbrough’s season figures have taken a hit in his last two starts; he went six frames and allowed three earned in each of them. He faced the Orioles first and the Blue Jays second, with a respective wRC+ ranking of 19th and fifth. His next three opponents—the Phillies, Rangers, and Nationals—have wRC+ figures that rank 20th, 17th, and 16th, which is a little more favorable than his earlier matchups with the Yankees (twice), Angels, Astros, and Red Sox.


Mitch Keller (PIT)   5/28 vs. COL   6/3 vs. MIA

It’s been a tough go for Mitch Keller in his past three starts (13 1/3 IP, 9.45 ERA), but he will finally have some relief as the Pirates play host to the Rockies and Marlins. Both Colorado and Miami rank in MLB’s bottom third of wRC+ and Keller ends a streak of four consecutive opponents with above-average wRC+. He also features a wide margin between his ERA and FIP (7.41/4.84), so perhaps some more ‘predictive’ metrics will suggest he will turn things around. In his last three starts, opponents have shown for a .400 BABIP or above, so he hasn’t exactly been lucky with his contact allowed.


Adrian Houser (MIL)   6/1 vs. DET   6/6 vs. ARI   6/11 vs. PIT

*Avoids CIN 6/8-10

Arizona looks to be the toughest offensive threat on this future schedule, and their cold streak has landed them behind the Rockies right now in the NL West. Adrian Houser could use a favorable schedule after allowing six runs to the Reds in his last start (4 IP). The Brewers will take on the Reds again in early June but if Houser stays on his current schedule, he won’t have to worry about it.


Bad Schedules


Matt Harvey (BAL)   5/28 @ CHW   6/2 vs. MIN   6/8 vs. NYM

Matt Harvey gets a gauntlet of an AL Central schedule to close May and kick off June. The White Sox await this evening, with the second-best wRC+ in baseball. The Twins loom on the horizon, eager to ride their ninth-ranked wRC+ into some more favorable divisional standings. Harvey may get to breathe a little easier with the Mets after that (24th), but they could see a few of their many injured players return by then.


Framber Valdez (HOU)   5/28 vs. SD   6/2 vs. BOS   6/8 @ BOS

*First start of year/schedule may change

Boston holds the fourth-best wRC+ and is rivaling other top teams in several other categories. The Padres aren’t quite there with the 14th-best wRC+, but they will look to cement themselves in the NL West with the surging Dodgers and the surprising Giants battling it out in the standings. Framber Valdez is scheduled to make his first start of the season tonight with the Padres, so the Astros may elect to give him some extra rest between starts. This could potentially mean facing the Red Sox only once.


Casey Mize (DET)   5/28 vs. NYY   6/3 @ CHW   ***6/8 vs. SEA

The Yankees have the 16th-ranked wRC+ right now but much is due to their slow start to the season. Casey Mize will look ahead to them this evening after facing the struggling bats of the Mariners and Royals (26th/23rd in wRC+). Mize allowed one earned run to the Mariners over 7 2/3 frames in mid-May but also allowed three earned to the White Sox over six innings in late April.


Kris Bubic (KC)   5/28 @ MIN   6/3 vs. MIN   6/8 @ LAA

*Avoids PIT 5/31-6/1

It isn’t desirable to avoid the 29th-ranked wRC+ in favor of the eighth-best—in consecutive starts. Kris Bubic could have his hands full in the coming days as the Twins will seek to rewrite the divisional standings during their relatively favorable stretch. Bubic will then take on the Angels; their bats have fluctuated with the recent injury to Mike Trout, but they still have the eighth-best wRC+ in baseball.


Dane Dunning (TEX)   6/1 @ COL   6/6 vs. TB   6/11 @ LAA   6/16 @ HOU   6/21 vs. OAK

Dane Dunning isn’t lining up to pitch again in May, as he will instead open a tough June slate at Coors Field. The Rockies’ offense will be the most favorable on his schedule, but it will take a sharp turn with the Rays, Angels, Astros, and A’s on the horizon. Dunning faced the Angels in his last start and allowed seven earned runs in four innings. He faced the Astros previously in May, allowing four earned in four frames.


Adbert Alzolay (CHC)   5/28 vs. CIN   6/2 vs. SD   6/7 @ SD

Cincinnati is still hitting well (ninth in wRC+). San Diego hasn’t quite matched it (14th), but Fernando Tatís Jr., Will Myers, and Eric Hosmer could all be hitting their stride after spending time on the COVID list. Adbert Alzolay has allowed at least two runs in all eight of his outings this year, and his last two starts came against Washington and St. Louis.


David Peterson (NYM)   5/29 vs. ATL   6/3 @ SD   6/8 @ BAL

After taking on the Rockies earlier this week, David Peterson will now welcome the 10th and 14th-best wRC+ onto his schedule. His struggles earlier in the year against the Braves (4 2/3 IP, 3 ER) could mean a tough ticket for Saturday night. Peterson took on the Braves and Rays before he faced the Rockies, so he’s seen a rather up-and-down schedule for his opponents as of late. It will continue as the Orioles (19th in wRC+) await later in July, but like Alzolay, he will first have to get past the resurgent Padres.


Soon To Be A Great Schedule


Shohei Ohtani (LAA)   5/28 @ OAK   6/3 vs. SEA   6/8 vs. KC

*Schedule may change (Ohtani doesn’t always follow a five-day starter cycle)

Oakland is currently sticking it out with the fifth-best wRC+ while Seattle and Kansas City have the fifth and seventh-worst. Shohei Ohtani hasn’t often stayed on a standard five-day cycle for his starts this year, going 16 days between his first two starts of the year and eight days between his two most recent pitching appearances. No matter how the Angels will roll him out as a pitcher, it could be relatively favorable beyond the Oakland series.


Sandy Alcantara (MIA)   5/30 @ BOS   6/4 @ PIT   6/9 vs. COL

wRC+ ranks in succession: 4th, 29th, 30th. This is about as close to extreme as you can get for this kind of schedule. Sandy Alcantara faced the Phillies in his past two starts (20th), but his previous test against a top-third wRC+ was against the Dodgers (5/14) where he allowed eight earned runs and did not complete two innings.


Kevin Gausman (SF)   5/30 @ LAD   6/4 vs. CHC   6/9 @ TEX

wRC+ ranks in succession: 3rd, 13th, 17th. It will be a gradual transition to favorable for Kevin Gausman but it may not matter who he faces; he’s currently on an 11-inning scoreless streak in his last two starts. He also didn’t get his crack at the Dodgers while they swept his Giants last weekend, so Saturday’s matchup could make for some prime viewing. Gausman will look to start opposite Julio Urias.


Chris Paddack (SD)   5/31 @ CHC   6/5 vs. NYM   6/11 @ NYM

This schedule could be dependent on how hurt the Mets are going into June; their 24th-ranked wRC+ could be a direct reflection of their struggles with injuries. Chris Paddack has consecutive starts with the Mets to kick off June and it could be a while until the Mets are at full strength. Paddack will first take on the Cubs at Wrigley, however, and they hold the 13th-best wRC+.


Soon To Be A Bad Schedule


Martin Perez (BOS)   5/28 vs. MIA   6/2 @ HOU   6/8 vs. HOU

The Astros will have to power through the Dodgers and Padres before they get a crack at Martin Perez and the Red Sox, so there is a chance that Perez will face a little more tired version of Houston in consecutive starts. He will first take on the colder offensive lineup of the Marlins, however, an opponent Perez hasn’t been accustomed to since leaving the NL for the AL in 2019. He shut out the Angels two starts ago (6 IP), but allowed three to the Phillies in his last start (6 IP).


Ross Stripling (TOR)   5/29 @ CLE   6/4 vs. HOU   6/9 @ CHW   6/14 @ BOS

Ross Stripling has the AL’s three best wRC+ figures on his future schedule, but he will kick it off with 25th-ranked Cleveland. Stripling has little relief in an otherwise tough stretch, having faced the Rays, Red Sox, Braves (twice), Astros, Angels, and Yankees this year. Only the Yankees have a below-average wRC+ (at 99).


Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire | 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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