Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: 5/20-5/26
Another week, another round of injuries. Zack Greinke, who is listed as a two-start pitcher pending his MRI results, Kenta Maeda, and Carlos Rodon are the latest pitchers to go down with injuries. (Or maybe “injuries” in the case of Maeda.) It’s a continued trend that fantasy owners have to navigate.
Along with the below-listed pitchers, keep an eye on minor leaguers who should get the call soon since we are apparently in call-up season. Zac Gallen, Jesus Luzardo, Forrest Whitley, Josh James, and Lucas Sims are some pitchers I’m looking to add if I have the room to stash to help navigate the land of pitching.
Like I do every week, I’ll break the pitchers down the two-start pitchers 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.
Let’s look at the two-start pitchers for Week 8, as projected on CBS as of May 17 at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Don’t Think Twice
Justin Verlander (5/21 vs. CHW, 5/26 vs. BOS)
Trevor Bauer (5/21 vs. OAK, 5/26 vs. TB)
Patrick Corbin (5/20 @NYM, 5/25 vs. MIA)
Zack Greinke (5/20 @SD, 5/26 @SF)*
Caleb Smith (5/21 @DET, 5/26 @WAS)
Domingo German (5/21 @BAL, 5/26 @KC)
*Status unknown at the time of publication after he left with an abdominal injury Wednesday. He’s getting an MRI Friday.
Zack Wheeler (5/21 vs. WAS, 5/26 vs. DET)
Wheeler was coming off of two strong starts, where he had his control under, well, control, before allowing six runs to the Nationals on Thursday. Despite his struggles against Washington, neither of these offenses should strike fear in anyone right now. There’s a chance that Trea Turner is back for this game, but either way, I’m comfortable rolling Wheeler out there.
German Marquez (5/21 @PIT, 5/26 vs. BAL)
These are two great offenses for Marquez to face. I don’t like that he has to pitch at home again, where he has a 5.34 ERA and a 4.01 FIP, but it helps that it’s against one of the worst lineups in baseball. I’m OK with rolling him out this week in all formats.
Mike Soroka (5/20 @SF, 5/25 @STL)
Soroka is so good. The only complaint I have is that I wish he’d strike out more batters. With another solid week, he’s in the “Don’t Think Twice” tier.
J.A. Happ (5/20 @BAL, 5/25 @KC)
Happ’s strikeouts have gone away. He was one of the “safe” pitchers whom I’ve targeted the past few years. I don’t feel safe rostering him in most 10- to 12-team leagues now, but for these matchups, I’m fine streaming him. He’s over-owned at this point overall, though.
Jose Quintana (5/21 vs. PHI, 5/26 vs. CIN)
Since allowing eight runs against Milwaukee in his second start of the season, Quintana has been on a roll. He’s allowed 13 combined runs over his last 44.1 innings pitched. I like him this week — even if it’s against two offenses that can flip the switch at any time.
Jake Odorizzi (5/20 vs. LAA, 5/26 vs. CHW)
Odorizzi is widely owned, but I went back and forth between putting him in this tier or the tier below. He had his worst start his last time out — against the Angels, who he’ll face this upcoming week again — and he has the ability to implode at any second. I like the matchups to continue rolling him out there, though, after his solid start to his season.
Mike Minor (5/20 vs. SEA, 5/26 @LAA)
I like the gains we’ve seen from Minor this year in general, and neither matchup really scares me. He is coming off two straight so-so outings, though, so proceed with caution.
In The Danger Zone
Zach Eflin (5/21 @CHC, 5/26 @MIL)
Eflin has two bad matchups on the road. He doesn’t generate any strikeouts, and he has the third-highest gap between his ERA and his FIP. Bad times are ahead.
Jake Arrieta (5/20 @CHC, 5/25 @MIL)
In three of his last four games, Arrieta has failed to score more than five points in Yahoo points leagues. He faces two good offenses in less than ideal ballparks, depending on the wind in Chicago.
Eduardo Rodriguez (5/20 @TOR, 5/25 @HOU)
When you finally buy into Rodriguez, he goes on a streak where he just sinks your numbers, or he goes on the IL. I don’t like him in a hitter-friendly venue and against arguably the top offense in the American League.
Matt Strahm (5/20 vs. ARI, 5/26 @TOR)
Strahm’s season so far has been split into two halves. The first four starts, he was under a strikeout per inning, which made him a streamer. In his last four starts, the strikeouts have returned, with him up over a strikeout per inning. I wish the velocity was higher, but it’s been hard to complain about the results as of late.
Marcus Stroman (5/21 vs. BOS, 5/26 vs. SD)
After a great stretch to start the season, Stroman has been roughed up over his past three starts before bouncing back Thursday against the White Sox. The Boston matchup scares me, but I still trust him going forward.
Yu Darvish (5/20 vs. PHI, 5/25 vs. CIN)
Hey, finally a good start for Darvish. While he wasn’t walking guys left and right in his Wednesday start, it’s not enough for me to trust him again.
Chris Archer (5/21 vs. COL, 5/26 vs. LAD)
Yikes. Archer was crushed in his first start off the IL Wednesday. I like his matchup against the Rockies at home, but the Dodgers will always give me pause on starting a pitcher. I’m OK with Archer if you need strikeouts.
Streamers Owned in Under 50% of Leagues
Julio Teheran (5/21 @SF, 5/26 @STL)
Wade Miley (5/20 vs. CHW, 5/25 vs. BOS)
It’s a small tier this week, as there are a lot of guys I’m not starting unless I’m absolutely desperate below. Both guys are streamable this week, as both have one great and one not-so-great matchup. I lean Teheran, slightly.
Streamers Owned in Under 25% of Leagues
Jeff Samardzija (5/22 vs. ATL, 5/26 vs. ARI)
Brett Anderson (5/20 @ CLE, 5/26 vs. SEA)
Mike Leake (5/20 @TEX, 5/26 @OAK)
This group really doesn’t excite me at all. None of the guys are enticing enough to start outside of points leagues, where you get rewarded for innings pitched.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
Felix Pena (5/20 vs. MIN, 5/26 vs. TEX)
Andrew Cashner (5/20 vs. NYY, 5/25 @COL)
David Hess (5/21 vs. NYY, 5/26 @COL)
Manny Banuelos (5/20 @HOU, 5/25 @MIN)
Edwin Jackson (5/20 vs. BOS, 5/25 vs. SD)
Gregory Soto (5/21 vs. MIA, 5/26 @NYM)
Dylan Covey (5/21 @HOU, 5/26 @MIN)