The days are ticking off in June and we find ourselves with another Saturday edition of two-start pitchers coming up this week. Injuries are starting to exact a toll on rotations, making selecting starters, especially two-start options, all the more important.
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This Week’s Two-Start Pitchers
You may notice that there are fewer top-shelf options here. Be mindful of the deGrom situation. As we went live with this Saturday morning, he is still listed as the Mets’ probable starter on Monday. Keep an eye on it as it could change quickly. Also to note, the Padres look to be going with Yu Darvish (which bumps Blake Snell to one start ) and Brady Singer looks to get two, health permitting, for the Kansas City Royals this week. We all know things can change rapidly in the world of starting pitchers, especially those with double dips during the week.
Gerritt Cole vs. Kansas City, @ Boston: Elite. No discussion needed.
Tyler Mahle @ Minnesota, vs. Atlanta: Mahle has come into his own with a 7-2 record and 3.39 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. And the 90 strikeouts in 74 innings is ace-like stuff. He’s an automatic start for me now, every time, and should be for you too.
Julio Urias @ San Diego, vs. Chicago Cubs: He’s become what we expected of him when he first came up, and he’s still only 24. Urias has given the Dodgers a 9-2 record, 3.54 ERA, and a 1.00 WHIP. He’s in the conversation for the elite pitchers in the game. Start and do not even think about it.
Yu Darvish vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, vs. Arizona: No brainer here. Darvish was originally going to start on Sunday, but the Padres’ desire to keep Dinelson Lamet on five days’ rest bumped Darvish to Monday. He’s 6-2 with a 2.57 ERA and 97 punchouts. I wish I had him.
Clayton Kershaw @ San Diego, vs. Chicago Cubs: Kershaw just continues to be terrific and build his Hall of Fame career. Sporting an 8-6 record and 3.36 ERA and 1.01 WHIP while piling up 101 Ks in 88 innings. Why not use him? He limits walks and just takes the ball every five days and gets it done.
Sandy Alcantara vs. Toronto, vs. Washington: I have long been a champion of his work. The 4-6 record doesn’t support how good he has been; an outstanding 3.09 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Strikeouts remain in the 23% range, and you would like that to be higher, but this works. The fastball velocity is in the 98th percentile, and the chase rate is in the 90th percentile. He has an elite change-up and is using it 27% of the time this year as opposed to 10% in 2020. Use, use, use.
Jacob deGrom vs. Atlanta, vs. Philadelphia: It’s questionable what he is doing this coming week having left his last start with another nagging injury. He’s 6-2 and the ERA is 0.54. That is not a typo. The WHIP is 0.51. a whopping 111 punchouts in 67 innings. It’s a no-brainer to start him every time, but you may be taking pause based on the health. The Mets are calling him day-to-day for now, Do not be surprised if he is limited or gets a break to heal up. He’s the most valuable pitcher in baseball and the Mets can ill afford to lose him. UPDATE: deGrom made his regularly scheduled between starts bullpen session on Friday.
Kyle Gibson vs. Oakland, vs. Kansas City: Gibson may be one of the most underrated pitchers of 2021. He’s 4-0 with a sterling 2.09 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. Many players probably have used him in the past as an innings eater but Gibson has taken a step forward and turned into a must-start at this time. Gibson is getting great results with his slider and changeup, increasing his number of ground balls and limiting home runs and hard contact. Start him.
Charlie Morton @ NYM, @ Cincinnati: The death knell you heard for Morton earlier in the season has stopped. He’s now 6-3 and has the ERA down to 4.03. The curve spin is elite. He’s 4-2 in his last nine starts with an ERA of 3.50. That’s very usable for your team and you may have missed a chance to buy low on him. The guy is a warrior who keeps hitters off-balance and uncomfortable. Use him if you have him.
The middle shelf two-start options give us some really nice options this week. There is inconsistency here, though, so buyer beware. If they were more consistent they’d be in the top-shelf for us. There is risk here but some talented arms that could help you this week.
Ian Anderson @ NYM, @ Cincinnati: Anderson has been hard to roster this season based on his inconsistency. I drafted him to be a high-upside three and have been mildly disappointed. Case in point: two starts ago he limited the Phillies to four hits and no runs and chipped in four strikeouts. The next start he went four innings against Boston, surrendering four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts. I don’t know what to think. In my league context I have little choice but to start him; the lineups he is facing give me some pause.
Zach Eflin vs. Washington, @ NYM: Hard luck follows Eflin around; only two wins but helpful numbers with 77 Ks in 79 innings and a usable 3.99 ERA. His xERA is a half run lower at 3.50. I drafted him and use him every week. Eflin doesn’t usually hurt himself; his BB% is in the 99th percentile. Quite honestly the results in the win-loss ledger should be better. Keep using him.
Eduardo Rodriguez @ Tampa Bay, vs. NYY: Many people thought he was a sleeper pick this year, and he has turned out to simply be sleepy. The 5-4 record helps, but the bloated 6.21 ERA and 1.47 WHIP will sink your ship. But take heed: his xERA is 3.50 and he’s got 78 strikeouts in 66.2 innings. But in 13 starts he has given up four earned runs or more nine times. You should pass until you see better results.
Ross Stripling @ Miami, vs. Baltimore: I have been desperate for starters after losing John Means, Jack Flaherty, and Sonny Gray. Stripling has helped several of my teams stay afloat. The surface stats tell us he’s only 2-4 with a 4.64 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. But since June 1st, he’s 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 innings. Is he any of those guys I previously mentioned? No. But knowing managers can have him rostered and use him in weeks like this one.
Blake Snell vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, vs. Arizona (as of this writing, Snell will not get two starts, but left the note in here to give you food for thought on him): If you’ve read what I have written before, you may know that I am not the biggest Blake Snell fan. He’s 2-3 with a ghastly 5.73 ERA and terrible 1.57 WHIP. It’s not that I don’t like him as a pitcher; I would roster him, but not as an ace. The numbers don’t lie either: the xERA is 5.28, so it’s not like he has been unlucky. He redeems those numbers with 85 strikeouts in 61.1 innings. Nine hits and seven runs in 3.1 innings in Colorado last week with a paltry one strikeout. What are you going to do? I feel like if you own him you have to start him, right?
Adbert Alzolay vs. Cleveland, @ Los Angeles Dodgers: Alzolay is 4-5 with a healthy 4.06 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. Good against the Padres before (five innings, a run, seven punchouts), in the next start against the Padres, he went only three innings and surrendered five walks and four earned runs. Can you trust him as more than a streamer yet? I am on the fence but won’t start him this week, especially coming off a blister and the 10 day IL stint. He is scheduled right now for two starts this coming week, but that could change over the weekend. Stay tuned.
Aaron Civale @ Chicago Cubs, @ Minnesota: Civale has raced out to 10 wins and stellar peripherals, 3.48 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Again, he won’t give you a plethora of strikeouts, but he doesn’t walk anyone despite giving up several home runs, 14 in 14 starts. But he gives you wins and ratio controls and is worth starting in every format.
Tarik Skubal vs. St. Louis, vs. Houston: I love Skubal and his seemingly unlimited potential. Look, he’s young and will be inconsistent, but he’s certainly worth owning. He’s 4-7 and the ERA is trending downwards, to 4.36. The WHIP is high at 1.45. There is also the case of his 81 strikeouts in 66 innings. The key, as it s for most pitchers, is limiting the damage via walks and home runs. He’s 4-3 through May and June thus far, with 63 Ks and a 3.47 ERA, and a 1.34 WHIP. More than usable stuff there. If the matchups concern you, I get that, but I would use him in both starts this week.
The lower shelf two-start options this week have possibilities for you; to me it depends upon what you consider an acceptable level of risk. In the right leagues and format, these are usable guys, albeit with some warts.
Ryan Yarbrough vs. Boston, vs. Los Angeles Angels: He’s 4-3 with a pedestrian 4.14 ERA and a good 1.15 WHIP. Yarbrough is in the 96th percentile for hard-hit rate and doesn’t walk anyone. But he doesn’t give you much in terms of Ks. He’s a good guy to fill in the back of your rotation, but don’t look here for any kind of breakout. He is what he is, and that is usable.
Cole Irvin @ Texas, @ San Francisco: Do you buy it? He’s 4-7, has a 3.89 ERA, and a meager 56 strikeouts in 81 innings. He limits walks and hard contact but is not going to help in many places. I just feel like the risk far outweighs the reward. Many are still running with him and as long as you don’t think more growth is coming, you can use him, too. I avoid him.
Brady Singer @ NYY, @ Texas: I would rate Singer higher if we were sure that he was healthy and likely to give us some innings. But he left his last start after three innings with a sore shoulder. The team is downplaying the severity of it and prescribed two extra days of rest for him this week. Apparently, he is also on a pitch count as well, at least in that last start. This makes him difficult to project and lowers his value this week. Use caution.
Keegan Akin vs. Houston, @ Toronto: Have you ever believed in a player who gets results that belies the talent? That is Akin for me this year, I drafted him as a filler with upside and there has been no upside this year: 0-2, 5.76 ERA. But the xERA is 4.01, suggesting he has been pitching in some bad luck. That bad luck likely continues this week against two offenses that can mash. Stay away from Akin this week.
Jake Odorizzi @ Baltimore, @ Detroit: It’s easy to say no, do not use him, but let’s take a deeper dive into him. He’s 1-3 with a 5.68 ERA, but the xERA is 3.84. The thing is, he’s just not good enough to warrant being more than a streamer, and even as that, you need to be really careful where you use him. These are the two best matchups one could hope for if you need to use him. I won’t be.
The lowest shelf options for two-start pitchers this week don’t give us much, and I would recommend passing on these guys until we see some better results. Do not use unless you absolutely have no choice.
Merrill Kelly vs. Milwaukee, @ San Diego: Kelly is 2-7 and a 5.40 ERA. The 70+ Ks help, but the 1.37 WHIP is higher than you would like in your rotation. I would pass on Kelly this week.
J.A. Happ vs. Cincinnati, vs. Cleveland: There is nothing to discuss here. Don’t do it.
Tyler Anderson vs. Chicago White Sox, @ St. Louis: Ten hits and six earned runs last week in six innings. The June ERA is 5.71. Pass.
Eli Morgan @ Chicago Cubs, @ Minnesota: Not a great start for Morgan, who will seemingly get two more turns through the decimated Cleveland rotation this week. He’s given up three home runs in six innings in the bigs, and although he struck out five in his last start, which covered 3.2 innings, we need to see more before using him in any of our leagues. Pass this week.
Jorge Lopez vs. Houston, @ Toronto: At 2-8 with a 5.95 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. Egads! The guy tries really hard but he shouldn’t be trying on your roster.
Johan Oviedo @Detroit, vs. Pittsburgh: Oviedo is 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA. The one thing he does well is limit hard contact, but the 16.9% K rate and 11% BB rate leave much to be desired. If you like the matchups, go for it, but Oviedo is not particularly recommended.
Jordan Lyles vs. Oakland, vs. Kansas City: There is nothing to recommend here unless he starts showing some improvement. Pass.
For more great Fantasy Baseball check out Mick Ciallela’s Rest of Season Rankings! Mick was the No. 1 Ranker on FantasyPros.com for the 2020 MLB season.
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To create these starting pitcher rankings, I looked at a larger sample size of data. There is a lot of uncertainty with starting rotations, so we are not sure who will get two starts outside.