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Two-Start Pitchers: Week of August 7, 2017

Now that rosters have somewhat settled after the trade deadline, we enter the dog days of summer and the two-thirds mark of the season. Most teams have made their case as contenders or pretenders by now. We may start to see more and more auditions by younger players for next season or extending rest to weary veterans in hopes of keeping them fresh for the stretch run. Keep a close eye on the disabled list before setting lineups for surprise announcements like these.

You will notice that our tiers are pretty balanced this week. After two weeks of top heavy two-start pitcher rankings, we see a good deal of leveling out of the talent in each tier. We have our usual suspects among the top players, but we are also seeing a good bit of up-and-comers entering the mix. Conversely, we have a few first-half darlings starting to wear out or find themselves falling down the ranks due to poor performances. These inconsistencies can make it a bit difficult for a fantasy owner to discern true talent.

These projected starts are subject to change due to rain outs, injury, performance issues, or managerial whims. I only offer my the opinion on the matchups; there are no guarantees on the actual starts.

Usual Top-Level Pitchers With One Possible Surprise…

  • Corey Kluber – (8/8 vs. COL-German Marquez; 8/13 @ TB-Austin Pruitt)
  • Chris Sale – (8/8 @ TB-Austin Pruitt; 8/13 @ NYY-CC Sabathia)
  • Max Scherzer* – (8/7 vs. MIA-Chris O’Grady; 8/12 vs. SF-Jeff Samardzija)
  • Jake Arrieta – (8/7 @ SF-Matt Moore ; 8/13 @ ARI-Zack Godley)
  • Gio Gonzalez* – (8/8 vs. MIA-Vance Worley; 8/12 vs. SF-Matt Moore)
  • Dallas Keuchel – (8/8 @ CHW-Derek Holland; 8/13 @ TEX-Nick Martinez)
  • Kenta Maeda – (8/8 @ ARI-Zack Godley; 8/13 vs. SD-Luis Perdomo)

Our top choices from week to week are always pretty close to no doubters. Sneaking in this week after four straight strong performances is Kenta Maeda. In those four starts, he is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, while striking out 18 in 22 innings. If he can continue this level of success and somehow find a way to get deeper into games, his rotation spot should be safe when Clayton Kershaw returns from injury. Injury issues always crop up late in the season.  Because of that, pay close attention to Max Scherzer and the injury report.  He removed himself from his last start on Thursday night after one inning due to a neck issue. Be sure he is cleared for his start on Monday before setting your lineup. The same would also be true for Gio Gonzalez. His wife is expecting their second child, and his next start has not been confirmed. If he has to miss a weekend start, his next likely turn would be early in the week, setting him up for a two-start week.

Starting To See Some Fresh Faces Rise In The Ranks…

  • Ervin Santana – (8/7 vs. MIL-Brent Suter; 8/12 @ DET-Jordan Zimmermann)
  • Michael Wacha – (8/8 @ KC-Trevor Cahill; 8/13 vs. ATL-Lucas Sims)
  • Jason Vargas – (8/7 vs. STL-Carlos Martinez; 8/12 @ CHW-Mike Pelfrey)
  • Dylan Bundy – (8/7 @ LAA- J.C. Ramirez; 8/13 @ OAK-Daniel Gossett)
  • Jhoulys Chacin – (8/7 @ CIN-Robert Stephenson; 8/12 @ LAD-Hyun Jin Ryu)
  • Zack Godley- (8/8 vs. LAD-Kenta Maeda; 8/13 vs. CHC-Jake Arrieta)
  • Brent Suter – (8/7 @ MIN-Ervin Santana; 8/12 vs. CIN-Robert Stephenson)

[the_ad id=”384″]Headlining the second tier this week is Ervin Santana. He is coming off a complete game effort against the Padres, allowing only two earned runs, striking out nine, and walking just one. He has a 1.11 WHIP and 3.28 ERA for the year heading into this week’s games against the Brewers and Tigers. Jhoulys Chacin has hung out on the periphery of the fantasy landscape for much of the year. He is sporting a 3.99 ERA and 1.259 WHIP on the year, but his last five games have been even better, as he’s pitched to the tune of 2.35 ERA and 1.043 WHIP with 22 strikeouts in 30 innings and a 4-0 record. He may have found a home in San Diego if he keeps it up and should be owned and utilized in all leagues going forward.

Some Big Names Need To Turn Things Around…

  • Carlos Martinez – (8/7 @ KC-Jason Vargas; 8/12 vs. ATL-Mike Foltynewicz)
  • Jordan Zimmermann – (8/7 @ PIT-Trevor Williams; 8/12 vs. MIN-Ervin Santana)
  • J.A. Happ – (8/8 vs. NYY-CC Sabathia; 8/13 vs. PIT-Chad Kuhl)
  • Matt Garza – (8/8 @ MIN-Adalberto Mejia; 8/13 vs. CIN-Sal Romano)
  • J.C. Ramirez  – (8/7 vs. BAL-Dylan Bundy; 8/12 @ SEA-Erasmo Ramirez)
  • Matthew Boyd – (8/8 @ PIT-Chad Kuhl; 8/13 vs. MIN-Adalberto Mejia)
  • Jerad Eickhoff – (8/8 @ ATL-Julio Teheran; 8/13 vs. NYM-TBD)
  • CC Sabathia – (8/8 @ TOR-J.A. Happ; 8/13 vs. BOS-Chris Sale)

There is no denying the talent is there, but the results have been sporadic for Carlos Martinez. His 151 strikeouts in 140 innings this year speak to his level of ability. However, in his last five games he has an ERA of 5.28 and a WHIP of 1.552. He has given up 33 hits and 17 walks in those five starts over 29 innings. Outside of the 27 strikeouts, there is not much to hint at the quality pitcher he has shown to be in the past. He will need to show some level of consistency and get back to his dominant ways before I suggest him as a sure bet. Moving up the ladder we have journeyman J.C. Ramirez, who is having himself quite a nice season in the Angels rotation. J.C. has shown the ability to get deep into games with eight of his last 10 starts getting into the sixth inning or later. He’s limited damage with a solid, but unremarkable, 4.03 ERA and 1.319 WHIP. With 99 strikeouts in just under 130 innings, Ramirez is a nice piece to fill out a pitching staff, and getting an extra start this week only magnifies his usefulness.

Meh, There May Still Be A Gem To Be Found Here…

  • Kendall Graveman – (8/8 vs. SEA-Ariel Miranda; 8/13 vs. BAL-Dylan Bundy)
  • Chad Kuhl – (8/8 vs. DET-Mathew Boyd; 8/13 @ TOR-J.A. Happ)
  • Luis Perdomo – (8/8 @ CIN-Sal Romano; 8/13 @ LAD-Kenta Maeda)
  • Ariel Miranda – (8/8 @ OAK-Kendall Graveman; 8/13 vs. LAA-Parker Bridwell)
  • Trevor Cahill – (8/8 vs. STL-Michael Wacha; 8/13 @ CHW-Derek Holland)
  • Sal Romano – (8/8 vs. SD-Luis Perdomo; 8/13 @ MIL-Matt Garza)
  • Parker Bridwell – (8/8 vs. BAL-Jeremy Hellickson; 8/13 @ SEA-Ariel Miranda)
  • Trevor Williams – (8/7 vs. DET-Jordan Zimmermann; 8/12 @ TOR-TBD)

Sometimes in this tier you have to sift through the litter to find a potentially useful starter for a two-start period. That isn’t to say these guys are rock solid, but in a very deep league and for the right manager looking to take a chance, it is possible to get some usefulness. Kendall Graveman was activated Thursday and had a disastrous return, giving up seven earned runs in two innings with zero strikeouts. Shoulder injuries are always the most scary to me when it comes to pitchers, because there could be so many things wrong and it takes so long to recover. Graveman had a nice start to the season until ultimately going on the DL in May. With Oakland out of the playoff race, they will give Graveman every opportunity to pitch himself back into relevance. If he can shake the rust off and put this start behind him, he is at least a pitcher to keep an eye on.

Some Recognizable Names But Little Performance…

  • Vance Worley – (8/8 @ WAS-Max Scherzer; 8/13 vs. COL-Jeff Hoffman)
  • Derek Holland – (8/8 vs. HOU-Dallas Keuchel; 8/13 vs. KC-Trevor Cahill)
  • Chris O’Grady – (8/7 @ WAS-Gio Gonzalez; 8/12 vs. COL-Jon Gray)
  • Austin Pruitt- (8/8 vs. BOS-Chris Sale; 8/13 vs. CLE-Mike Clevinger)
  • Chris Flexen – (8/8 vs. TEX-Andrew Cashner; 8/13 @ PHI-Jake Thompson)Ma
  • Robert Stephenson – (8/7 vs. SD-Jhoulys Chacin; 8/12 @ MIL-Brent Suter)
  • Adalberto Mejia – (8/8 vs. MIL-Matt Garza; 8/13 @ DET-Matthew Boyd)
  • Matt Moore – (8/7 vs. CHC-Jake Arrieta; 8/13 @ WAS-Max Scherzer)

Do not let the last performance of Vance Worley fool you. Two hits in seven innings against a stout Nationals lineup with zero walks is commendable, but he registered only three strikeouts. In addition, on the year he is sporting a 5.31 ERA and 1.402 WHIP, numbers that are more indicative of his overall talent. You know what they say, “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while!” Along with Worley, everyone on this list should be avoided.

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