Astros rookie pitcher Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 1.29 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) draws the light-hitting, power-deficient Padres at home on Thursday.
Mixed-league roto owners, are you in need of a waiver-wire pitcher before Thursday's slate of games?
Here's my free-agent choice (from the majority of 12-team leagues) for one day of fantasy stardom:
Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros (vs. Padres)
1. In two MLB starts this season, Keuchel has a 1-0 mark, 1.29 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 5/5 K-BB ratio (spanning 14 innings).
2. Over 475 minor league innings, Keuchel posted respectable numbers in the Houston organization: 24-29, 3.85 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 314/99 K-BB ratio.
3. The Astros' pitchers, cumulatively speaking, have commendable marks through 41 home games: 23-18, 3.45 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 307 strikeouts in 373 innings.
4. The Padres, Keuchel's Thursday opponent, rank 15th of 16 National League teams in runs, homers and RBIs. San Diego also ranks dead-last in batting average (.221).
5. I would by lying to y'all if I hadn't awarded one bonus point to a guy named "Dallas" pitching in Houston today. HA!
The Next Five For Thursday
1. Trevor Bauer (Diamondbacks) @ Braves—The next great starting pitcher—perhaps in the class of Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg—makes his MLB debut in Atlanta (three minutes from my house). But let's give him a pressure-free start or two to get acclimated to big-league hitters.
2. Brett Cecil (Blue Jays) vs. Angels—The Toronto starter (2.45 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) would have been a good choice for today's marquee slot if he wasn't facing the Angels' eminently bankable trio of Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo.
3. Kyle Kendrick (Phillies) vs. Pirates—Kendrick has been painfully mediocre in the last five weeks, but he does draw the Pirates on Thursday. That has to be worth something, right?
4. Andrew Cashner (Padres) @ Astros—This San Diego fire-baller may need a start or two to stretch his arm out for starter's innings. But the talent is there—Cashner had a 2.75 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 183 strikeouts in 196.1 minor league innings.
5. Zach McAllister (Indians) @ Orioles—A solid No. 5 starter prospect, McAllister (3.96 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 22/6 K-BB ratio) should fare well in his second go-round with the Indians this season.
A Look Back
Last week's selection: Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco
Final tally: 3.1 innings, nine hits, nine runs, one strikeout and one walk. (For what it's worth, Nolasco stifled the Cardinals five days later.)
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.