Every Friday for the remainder of the season I will be looking at Two-Start pitchers for the week ahead and placing them into tiers. A couple of important notes regarding two-start pitchers. One, we will be looking at this on Fridays meaning that this is just a projection and all matchups and rotations are subject to change. Second, all of the rotation projections come from the Roster Resource SP Grid. This is a valuable resource and one I recommend you use if you do not already.
Lastly, it is important to realize that in weekly leagues just because a pitcher has two starts, that does not automatically make them more valuable than a single start pitcher. This is especially true in weekly head to head leagues where two bad starts could torpedo your ratios and set you back. The calculus on this does change in Roto leagues as the season grinds to a close but we can revisit that as the season goes on.
Two-Start Pitcher Tiers:
No Doubt – These are the guys who you do not even need to think about placing in your lineup regardless of match-up. This will typically be the smallest tier and I won’t provide much commentary on them.
Should Starts – These are the pitchers with solid match-ups or above-average pitchers with slightly tougher match-ups. If you own them start them.
Proceed With Caution – These arms have difficult match-ups or just aren’t very good and as a result, should only be started if you have no other options.
No -These guys should stay far away from your lineup no matter how desperate you are at the moment as they could end up destroying your ratios.
Note: the order within the tiers is not as important as the tier itself.
Two-Start Pitchers for the Week of June 24
Zach Greinke – LAD, @SF: The Dodgers matchup is a tough one but Greinke has been excellent this season and the SF road match-up makes this an easy call
Clayton Kershaw – @ARI, @COL: Going to Coors makes this a tougher call and could blow up in my face but he is still Kershaw and he is a guy that I cannot justify benching even though the Diamondbacks have quietly built a powerful offense
Gerrit Cole – PIT, SEA: Cole may be the top two-start pitcher of the week getting two average offenses
Blake Snell – @MIN, TEX: While the Twins matchup is rough and Snell is coming off a horrible outing against the Yankees, he is still the reigning Cy Young award winner and his FIP is still below his ERA. The Rangers can hit but are susceptible to strikeouts especially against lefties
Madison Bumgarner – COL, ARI: Bumgarner almost garnered No doubt status and while he hasn’t been an ace, he has been decidedly solid in 2019. A double-tap at home against division opponents is exciting but it’s unlikely he can pull off two wins with how bad his own team is and the DBacks offense is quite good against lefties. Should still be a good play but I can’t justify calling one of the No Doubt two-start pitchers
Adam Plutko – KC, @BAL: This is one of my top plays of the week as Plutko is nothing special but he gets two bad offenses. He should have an easy path to two wins if he can manage to make it through 5 innings which he could not do last time out. The major concern for Plutko is keeping the ball in the yard and the trip to Camden could exacerbate those problems. A total of 10 innings with a low WHIP and average ERA and a chance at two wins is what I’m looking for from him this week. It’s not sexy but it’ll help your team.
Jake Arrieta – NYM, @MIA: Arrieta, similar to Bumgarner, almost garnered No Doubt status but he is not ultimately deserving of being placed there. He gets two struggling offenses this week and with his own team’s offense supporting him he has a path to two wins
Robbie Ray – LAD, @SF: Ray is the definition of frustrating as it is impossible to predict what his next outing is going to look like. He will though post some insane K numbers and for that reason, we need to take advantage of this two-step. He should get a win against the Giants and the Dodgers could take advantage of his control issues or he could dominate LA and give 5 homers to the Giants. That is the Robbie Ray experience in a nutshell. Good news is he has gotten his homer issues somewhat under control so far in 2019.
Max Fried – @CHC, @NYM: Fried has not been the best of the Braves young hurlers but he has been slightly above average. He gets a tough matchup with the Cubs at Wrigley which could be even more dangerous if the wind is blowing out. However, he gets the Mets as well and that’s a match-up I want to target. Fire up the young Braves lefty this week.
Andrew Heaney – CIN, OAK: Heaney has been bad in his 25 innings since coming off the IL but the one thing that has returned is his strikeout ability. Homers have been a major issue and both offenses have power upside but Heaney is too talented to keep struggling like this. He seems to be avoiding his change-up early on compared to past seasons but it’s still early in his season and I like his chances of putting in an above average week.
Zach Davies – SEA, PIT: Davies started the year on fire and has returned to the levels expected by his peripherals of late, but he gets two average offenses and with his powerful lineup supporting him he always has a chance to steal two wins.
Kyle Gibson – TB, @CWS: Gibson has quietly had a solid season improving upon his K gains from last season while also lowering his walks. Like most of baseball, he has had some homer issues. He should easily be able to rack up the K’s against the White Sox and the Rays offense is also fairly susceptible to the strikeout.
Chris Bassitt – @STL, @LAA: Both of these offenses seem more potent than they are on paper although the Angels are trending up with the return of Upton. The Cardinals are fading and Bassitt has had a good start to his 2019 season. The Angels do not strike out a ton but the combination of not overwhelming match-ups and Bassitt’s improved skill-set makes him an attractive play.
Zach Eflin– NYM, @MIA: Eflin was one of last week’s two-start pitchers but rain-outs pushed him back. He does not really do anything special but the combination of his talented offense and the weaker matchups for the coming week make him an extremely viable option.
Jon Gray – @SF, LAD: This could really come back to bite me but this is all about that sweet SF matchup. Gray flirted with the Proceed With Caution tier. At moments he has looked like the former top prospect he once was and he has actually pitched slightly better at home this season. The Dodgers in Coors is scary, but I think he puts up gaudy enough numbers in the SF matchup to make it all worth it.
Erick Fedde – @MIA, @DET: Fedde is easily my favorite under-owned two-start pitcher for this week. His 36 innings have been nothing special but his 8% swinging strike rate is similar to last season when he posted a K/9 just over 8. He gets two miserable offenses and is only owned in 18% of Fantrax leagues. The hope with him is decent ratios and few K’s and two cheap wins. He should be freely available on the majority of waiver wires.
PROCEED WITH CAUTION:
Trevor Richards – WSH, PHI – His home ballpark certainly helps him and he might slip into the tier above depending on your thoughts on the Nationals offense. But as much as I love Richards, his control issues and two difficult matchups make this one I want to avoid if I have the available options to do so. That being said, he is right on the border and anyone who prefers him over Jon Gray I would not argue with.
Julio Teheran – @CHC, @NYM: Above I ranked his teammate Max Fried as a Should Start and did not feel great about it. Teheran is similar to Fried however, he has yet to show susceptibility to the long ball and his control is worse. Teheran is outperforming his FIP by almost a full run and his xFIP by a run and a half. It’s going to collapse soon and I think this is the week it happens. This same Mets lineup shredded him last time out.
Jon Lester – ATL, @CIN: This year seems as it may finally be the end of the road for Lester. His ERA is around league average, but he has been a victim of the juiced ball. He has seen his K’s jump but faces two powerful lineups with plenty of right-handed pop. I don’t want to be running him out in my lineups unless I have to.
Steven Matz – @PHI, ATL: Essentially, Matz has been what he was last season, league average with some K’s and walks. However, this season his home run issues have been amplified in the new environment. Matz is one of the more Jekyll and Hyde pitchers in the game and with two above average offenses on the docket this is a Mr. Hyde week. Use at your own risk.
Drew Pomeranz – COL, ARI: Pomeranz is lucky he gets to pitch in SF or else his numbers would look even worse. His elevated walk rate and insanely bad HR/9 make him a completely unattractive play even before considering the matchups. The road Rockies are not formidable, but that Arizona lineup is better than you may think.
Aaron Sanchez – @NYY, KC: Sanchez gets the honors of facing the Yankee lineup at full strength which many pitchers have not had to do yet. His high FB rates with that ballpark and their power mean this is a prime blow up spot. Too big of a risk to even take my chances with that KC start.
Jeff Hoffman – @SF, LAD: Similarly to Sanchez, Hoffman is just not talented enough for me to take my chances with him facing the Dodgers in Coors just to get the SF start. He would need to be almost perfect to overcome my expectations for the home start against that Dodgers lineup.
Brad Keller – @CLE, @TOR: Keller followed up his solid 2018 with a very disappointing start to 2019. While the matchups are solid on paper, the Cleveland offense is improving and that Toronto lineup has a ton of pop and could take advantage of a pitch to contact type like Keller. There are better choices for this week.
Ross Stripling/Julio Urias? – @ARI, @COL: As I have stated many times, I really like this DBacks offense and any starter in Coors is a concern. Stripling or Urias will likely take over Rich Hill’s rotation spot and while I like them both as pitchers, this is a tough double. I am also not 100% they will even pitch deep enough into the game to qualify for wins.
Jesse Chavez – @DET, @TB: it has been reported that Chavez will take over the rotation spot of Joe Palumbo. He has a great matchup and a below average one this upcoming week. He has not thrown more than five innings all year and his relief appearance this week was the only time he reached five. While the skills have been interesting I want to see him perform in a starting capacity before jumping in fully. You could do worse though if you are in a pinch and want to take a chance.
Ivan Nova – @BOS, MIN
Tyler Chatwood – ATL, @CIN
Jordan Zimermann – TEX, WSH
Walter Lockett – @PHI, ATL
Marco Gonzales – @MIL, @ HOU
Trevor Williams – @HOU, @MIL
Just don’t do it to yourself, it won’t end well.
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