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Two-Start Pitchers: Week Two (8/3-8/9)

The first full week of Major League Baseball was a crazy one. With COVID-19 breakouts, injuries, and more, it has been an eventful week. Last week featured a plethora of two-start pitchers due to an 11-day week. Some performed well, and others did not.

Over the last week, I have worked to refine a formula to rank each two-start pitcher for the following week. I have incorporated three factors that I think are the most effective when looking to determine who you should start or sit.

Team wRC+(versus left-handed or right-handed pitching), ballpark factors(wOBA), and the starting pitchers xFIP are all incorporated. With the season still new and numbers not stabilized, I will be using 2019 data and then including in the previous two-weeks statistics as the season progresses. For ballpark factors, I am using Derek Carty’s “The Bat Park Factors.” Taking all of these factors into effect is helpful when looking at whether a two-start pitcher is a viable start for the upcoming week.

It is also important to note that just because a starting pitcher will make two starts does not make that pitcher more valuable than a single start pitcher. In a weekly head-to-head league, two bad starts will likely cost you in the ratio categories. This weekly article will help you find the best two-start pitchers to help you succeed.

Two-Start Pitcher’s Tier Description:

Must-Start: These pitchers are no doubters for the week. Most of these two-start pitchers should be started every time they pitch.

Should-Start: Two-start pitchers in the should-start tier are good options for the week but may have some hesitations for different reasons.

Questionable: Two-start pitchers in this tier may be used for deeper leagues but should most likely not be started.

Sit: Do not start these pitchers.

*Reminder that this article was published Friday morning, starters for the following week are subject to change.

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PitcherStart 1Team wRC+(LHP/RHP)Start 2Team wRC+(LHP/RHP)
Jacob deGrom@Atlanta102.83Miami78.42
Gerrit Cole@Baltimore87.61@Tampa Bay103.16
Max ScherzerNew York Mets100.9Baltimore87.61
Rich HillPittsburgh76.5@Kansas City81.94
Jose BerriosPittsburgh98.04@Kansas City85.21
Brandon WoodruffChicago White Sox87.51Cincinnati87.46
Sonny GrayCleveland91.67@Milwaukee95.78
Aaron Nola@Miami78.42Atlanta102.83

Jacob deGrom, RHP, New York Mets

Jacob deGrom has looked like his normal self in his first two starts. A 1.64 ERA and a 0.55 WHIP are incredibly helpful to your Fantasy team. He has been pumping his fastball at an AVERAGE of 99 miles-per-hour. deGrom is still not full strength after being shut down in summer camp with back tightness. The fact that he is already performing at such a high level has me excited to see what he can do as the season progresses.

deGrom should be started every time out, as he is arguably the best pitcher in baseball. This week he finds himself as the highest-ranked of the two-start pitchers.  He has matchups with a Braves team he pitched well against last time out and a depleted Marlins team.

Rich Hill and Jose Berrios, LHP/RHP, Minnesota Twins

Rich Hill is back and pitching well. In his first start of the season against the Cardinals, he pitched five shutout innings. He only struck out two batters, but I would expect that number to rise in future starts. When he is healthy, Hill has been one of the best pitchers in the game. I am hopeful he can remain healthy in this short season and be a useful starting pitcher.

Jose Berrios had a shaky first start to the season against the White Sox. He gave up five runs in four innings and only struck out one batter. It was not the kind of start Twins fans and Fantasy owners were expecting. Berrios will have completed a second start when this article, against the Chicago Cubs.

Both Hill and Berrios get starts against Pittsburgh and Kansas City next week. Two of the weaker lineups in baseball. Pittsburgh has the second-worst wRC+ against right-handed pitching at 47. Both teams are well below average against left-handed pitching. The matchups plus the talent level makes both Twins pitchers a must start.

Sonny Gray, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

Sonny Gray is off to a scorching hot start to the season! Gray has picked up the win in both of his starts and produced a 44.4 percent strikeout rate in 12.2 innings pitched. A 0.71 ERA and a 0.55 WHIP are also beneficial to your Fantasy team. Gray draws starts at home against Cleveland and on the road against Milwaukee. Both teams have struggled against right-handed pitching. The Indians have an 82 wRC+ against right-handed pitching, and the Brewers have a 78 wRC+. While it is a small sample, it is worth mentioning. Gray should be in line for two more solid starts next week!


PitcherStart 1Team wRC+(LHP/RHP)Start 2Team wRC+(LHP/RHP)
Charlie MortonBoston109.09New York Yankees114.32
Chris PaddackLos Angeles Dodgers114.88Arizona86.9
Lucas Giolito@Milwaukee95.78Cleveland91.67
Kyle HendricksKansas City85.21@St. Louis93.12
German MarquezSan Francisco 83.08@Seattle 95.6
Mike SorokaNew York Mets100.9@Philadelphia88.6
Max FriedToronto91.1@Philadelphia98.7
Frankie MontasTexas88.92Houston112.94
Dustin May@San Diego84.3San Francisco83.08

Kyle Hendricks, RHP, Chicago Cubs

Kyle Hendricks was dominant on Opening Day, firing a complete-game shutout, striking out nine batters. He remains the lone pitcher to throw a nine-inning complete game in 2020. His next start against the Brewers, he was brought back down to earth. In just 4.1 innings, Hendricks gave up six earned runs and only struck out three batters.

Next week, Hendricks gets two-starts with Kansas City and home and a road matchup with St. Louis. The Cardinals have been an average team against right-handed pitching so far this season. The Royals, however, are a bottom tier hitting team. The matchups should sit favorably for Hendricks to get back on the right track, which is why he is a “should-start” pitcher.

Lucas Giolito, RHP, Chicago White Sox

Lucas Giolitio has not gotten off to the start most Fantasy owners expected from him. After being drafted at an ADP of 44, Giolito has been hit hard for a 6.52 ERA in his first two starts. His start against the Twins, who have hit everyone hard, got Giolito off to a rough start allowing seven earned runs in 3.2 innings. He was able to get back on track with a six-inning outing against the White Sox, where he allowed zero earned runs.

Giolito will be tested again next week, having two-starts against Milwaukee and Cleveland. When you draft Giolito at an ADP of 44, you are expecting him to be a “must-start” pitcher. If he is able to handle the next two outings well, he will push back towards that must-start range. For week two, he remains among the should-start, two-start pitchers.

Chris Paddack, RHP, San Diego Padres

Like Lucas Giolito, Chris Paddack was also taken at a draft price of a “must-start” pitcher at 54 overall. Paddack is off to a great start in 2020, sporting a 1.64 ERA after two starts. He has pitched 11 innings and struck out ten hitters. It is also important to note his matchups have been with the Giants and the Diamondbacks.

Paddack gets a matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are arguably the best hitting team in baseball. Paddack did pitch well last time out against the Diamondbacks, pitching six shutout innings and striking out four batters. The start with the Dodgers is the only thing keeping him out of the “must-start” territory, but he still a pitcher you will likely want to start for both outings.


PitcherStart 1Team wRC+ (LHP/RHP)Start 2Team wRC+ (LHP/RHP)
Carlos Martinez@Detroit74.39Chicago Cubs103.78
Joe Musgrove@Minnesota 112.16Detroit74.39
Zach Plesac@Cincinnati 87.46@Chicago White Sox87.51
Matt BoydSt. Louis93.12@Pittsburgh98.71
Madison BumgarnerHouston113.19@San Diego99.09
Nate Pearson@Atlanta102.83@Boston109.09
Brady Singer@Chicago Cubs103.78Minnesota112.16
Framber Valdez@Arizona113.65@Oakland115.35
Justus SheffieldOakland115.35Colorado92.37
JA Happ@Baltimore90.15@Tampa Bay100.99
Josh LindblomChicago White Sox87.51Cincinnati 87.46
Daniel Ponce de Leon@Detroit74.39Chicago Cubs103.78

Zach Plesac, RHP, Cleveland Indians

Zach Plesac is likely to draw huge FAAB bids this weekend after his amazing outing against the White Sox. He pitched eight shutout innings with 11 strikeouts and zero walks. Many probably wonder why he found himself in the “questionable” tier for two-start pitchers.

First, there is much more to Plesac’s dazzling outing than just the stat line itself. The strike zone for that game was unusually wide. Plesac was a beneficiary of quite a few called strikes out of the zone. I do not want to knock Plesac’s outing because it was a great one. But, I want to see him perform at a high level again before elevating him into the “should-start” tier.

Plesac also gets a trip to Great American Ballpark to face a hot Cincinnati Reds offense. That start is enough to pump the breaks on a pitcher like Plesac. He will also meet the White Sox again for the second time in a week. If you feel comfortable, you can start him, but I would suggest waiting to see how he performs this coming week.

Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

Nate Pearson made his much anticipated Major League debut against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. Pearson was nothing short of impressive, pitching five scoreless innings with five strikeouts. He allowed two hits and two walks. You could not have asked much more from Pearson in his debut.

Pearson draws two-starts next week with a trip to Atlanta and Fenway Park to face off with the Red Sox. The Braves feature one of the better lineups in baseball. The Red Sox, while off to a cold start, can still be a strong team. With another solid start or two, Pearson could find himself in the “should-start” territory.


PitcherStart 1 Team wRC+ (LHP/RHP)Start 2Team wRC+ (LHP/RHP)
Daniel Mengden@Seattle95.6Houston122.94
Carlos Rodon@Milwaukee100.04Cleveland98.11
Ivan NovaSt. Louis93.12@Pittsburgh88.6
Danny DuffyChicago Cubs93.86Minnesota125.79
Kevin Gausman@Colorado82.12@Los Angeles Dodgers114.8
Derek Holland@Minnesota125.78Detroit85.48
Johnny Cueto@Colorado83.12@Los Angeles Dodgers114.88

The players in the “sit” tier either face tough matchups, like Johnny Cueto pitching in Coors Field and at Dodger Stadium, or are not Fantasy relevant starting pitchers. Derek Holland is an interesting name as he pitched well in his first start against the Brewers. But he gets to face a hot Twins lineup in his first of a two-start week. Holland also gets to face the Tigers, which is a favorable matchup. But, given Holland’s struggles in 2019, I have a hard time trusting his start against the Brewers. This leads him to be a “sit” for the week.

Thanks for taking the time to read. I hope you find success with your two-start pitchers for week two! As always, check back next Friday for our updated two-start pitchers for week three.

In the meantime, enjoy Jorge Montanez’s “Closer Rankings and Bullpen Depth Chart.”

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