Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: 4/8-4/14
We made it to Week 2, everyone. Let’s hope that we’ve all kept calm and haven’t overreacted with any panic moves or victory laps. There’s a long season ahead of us yet.
Each week, I’ll look at the pitchers scheduled to make two starts in the upcoming week. They are, of course, subject to change, but we want to get them out for you each Friday to help get ahead of your league when it comes to planning.
I’ll break the pitchers down into six categories:
- Don’t Think Twice – These are your aces that you start no matter what.
- Widely-Owned Options -Players owned in the majority of leagues who should provide a positive return.
- In the Danger Zone – It’s a dice roll to start them given matchups or other factors.
- Streamers Owned in Under 50% of Leagues – These guys should live on the waiver wire, but you can start them this week.
- Streamers Owned in Under 25% of Leagues – Same as above, but applied to deeper leagues.
- Not Unless You’re Desperate – I don’t recommend these guys unless you’re swinging for the fences.
The truth is, not a lot has changed yet from when we were drafting. There are certain trends we can look at (swinging strikes, velocity, new pitches), but it’s wise not to overreact to anything yet.
Let’s look at the two-start pitchers for Week 2.
Don’t Think Twice
Corey Kluber (4/9 @DET, 4/14 @KC)
Blake Snell (4/8 @ CHW, 4/14 @ TOR)
Aaron Nola (4/8 vs. WAS, 4/14 @ MIA)
Justin Verlander (4/8 vs. NYY, 4/14 @ SEA)
Zack Greinke (4/9 vs. TEX, 4/14 vs. SD)
German Marquez (4/9 vs. ATL, 4/14 @ SF)
I hate to put Marquez’s name here, because I’m ready for #VictoryLapTwitter to fill up my mentions for not having him as a set-and-forget option. The thing is, you always have to bet against Coors, so when Marquez has a start at Colorado in a two-start week, he will live in this section. He’s a filthy pitcher and a set-and-forget starter on the road, but not at home. Not ever.
Jameson Taillon (4/8 @ CHC, 4/14 @ WAS)
Taillon deserved better his last time out, but the Pirates’ bullpen blew it against the Cardinals. He’s a top-15 pitcher for me, but he has two tough matchups out of the pitcher-friendly PNC Park.
Masahiro Tanaka (4/8 @ HOU, 4/14 vs. CHW)
The matchup against the White Sox is a plus, but a pitcher going against Houston is an automatic downgrade. Tanaka should return plus-value for the week regardless.
Jon Lester (4/8 vs. PIT, 4/14 vs. LAA)
The matchups are fine, but the pitcher isn’t. In most weeks, Lester would live in the Danger Zone section. The matchups are good enough that I trust Lester to return plus-value in both starts.
Ross Stripling (4/9 @ STL, 4/14 vs. MIL)
The Dodgers are going to manipulate the IL all season, but Stripling is currently in line for two starts — even with the impending return of Clayton Kershaw. The Milwaukee matchup is scary, and St. Louis isn’t a walk in the park, but I’m banking on 12 innings with a strikeout per frame and at least one quality start from Stripling. Playing for the Dodgers always increases the win probability, too.
Joey Lucchesi (4/9 @ SF, 4/14 @ ARI)
Lucchesi is my third-favorite Padres pitcher on the season, but he’s their top option this week. He gets not only plus-matchups with the Giants and Diamondbacks, but they are both in pitcher-friendly environments.
Miles Mikolas (4/8 vs. LAD, 4/14 @ CIN)
It’s not time to panic on Mikolas yet, but is there anyone who didn’t expect regression from him this year? I’m anticipating a third bad start with the Dodgers on deck. While Cincinnati isn’t a great park for pitchers, Mikolas is an elite ground-ball pitcher, which should help against a good offense. There’s a buying opportunity after the Los Angeles start.
Madison Bumgarner (4/8 vs. SD, 4/13 vs. COL)
I’ll never understand why a pitcher isn’t charged with an earned run after he commits the error. Bumgarner gave up a grand slam his last time out, but he was charged with zero runs. Both matchups are fine at home, and I want to keep watching his cutter. I may look to sell him after these two matchups if someone believes the elite Bumgarner is back.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (4/8 @ STL, 4/13 vs. MIL)
Ryu is criminally underrated each year when he’s healthy. Both of his opponents were top 10 in wOBA last year against lefties. The win potential is there, but I don’t expect him to go deep into games.
In the Danger Zone
Kyle Freeland (4/8 vs. ATL, 4/13 @ SF)
Unlike Marquez, Freeland can’t just live on his pure stuff. He’ll be in this section anytime he has one start in Colorado, and don’t play him unless you’re desperate if he has two starts at home. The Giants matchup in San Francisco should allow him to break even, if not slightly above value.
Jhoulys Chacin (4/8 @ LAA, 4/14 @ LAD)
Two good parks for Chacin, and one fine matchup. However, there’s not enough upside to think that he can return positive results with the Dodgers on the schedule. I need two average-at-best matchups to feel OK starting him in a two-start week.
Marco Gonzales (4/9 @ KC, 4/14 vs. HOU)
Gonzales was underrated coming into the season, and he should return good value against the Royals as far as a win and runs go. But in the smallest of sample sizes, the Royals have the sixth-lowest strikeout percentage this year, which doesn’t bode well for a contact pitcher like Gonzales. Add those concerns to the matchup against the Astros, you’re looking at minimal upside in this two-start week.
Eric Lauer (4/8 @ SF, 4/13 @ ARI)
The good news for Lauer owners: He again gets the Giants, whom he looked good against on Opening Day. The bad news for Lauer owners: He again gets the Diamondbacks, who ripped him apart in his second start. Both ballparks should help him limit the damage.
Carlos Rodon (4/8 vs. TB, 4/14 @ NYY)
It was the Indians, sure, but Rodon’s most recent start reminds you of why people just can’t quit him. His slider was on, as it generated 14 swings and misses. The Rays and Yankees are both better than the Indians, but suddenly that New York matchup doesn’t seem as daunting.
Streamers Under 50%
Kyle Gibson (4/9 @ NYM, 4/14 vs. DET)
Jake Junis (4/9 vs. SEA, 4/14 vs. CLE)
Anibal Sanchez (4/8 @ PHI, 4/14 vs. PIT)
I hate to say that I’m interested in Zimmermann, but I’m definitely intrigued. He’s been using his curveball more, which has generated some nice swings and misses. I’m not sure if he will be a mixed-league guy, but he could be the latest veteran to reinvent himself and maintain some value. Although I like Minnesota, the matchups are good enough to take a shot on him this week.
Streamers Under 25%
Marco Estrada (4/8 @ BAL, 4/13 @ TEX)
Trevor Cahill (4/8 vs. MIL, 4/14 @ CHC)
Derek Holland (4/9 vs. SD, 4/14 vs. COL)
Oakland and Houston seem to get more out of their pitchers than any other teams in baseball. While you prefer Estrada to start at home, both matchups are pretty good for the veteran righty. The Texas offense can be sneaky good when it’s clicking, but I’m looking forward to taking advantage of Baltimore matchups whenever I can.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
Julio Teheran (4/8 @ COL, 4/13 vs. NYM)
Brett Anderson (4/9 @ BAL, 4/14 @ TEX)
Jason Vargas (4/9 vs. MIN, 4/14 @ ATL)
Jose Urena (4/9 @ CIN, 4/14 vs. PHI)
Felix Hernandez (4/8 @ KC, 4/13 vs. HOU)
Max Fried (4/9 @ COL, 4/14 vs. NYM)
Andrew Cashner (4/8 vs. OAK, 4/13 @ BOS)
Homer Bailey (4/8 vs. SEA, 4/13 vs. CLE)