Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: 5/27-6/2
Why couldn’t Zack Greinke just have received his second start this week instead of next? He goes from pitching in San Francisco to pitching in Colorado. That’s like going from a filet mignon to a fast-food burger.
It made me question my process when laying out this week’s two-start pitcher column. Typically, as I’ve stated before, I’ll automatically drop any pitcher who is starting in Colorado down a tier. Coors Field isn’t just a hitter’s park; it’s a ballpark in its own weird, random, extreme tier.
It’s not like Greinke has great lifetime numbers (4.21 ERA, 1.45 WHIP) in Coors. But sometimes, you just have to go against your process, and that’s what I’m doing with Greinke.
After getting roughed up in his first start of the season against the Dodgers, Greinke has been arguably the best pitcher in baseball. He’s delivering quality outings when reliable pitching is hard to find. Even if he gets smoked in Coors, I won’t regret telling you to start him.
It’s a valuable lesson for fantasy owners to have the willingness to pivot and challenge themselves and their process.
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 9, as projected on CBS as of May 24 at 10 a.m. ET.
Don’t Think Twice
Max Scherzer (5/27 vs. MIA, 6/1 @CIN)
Gerrit Cole (5/27 vs. CHC, 6/2 @OAK)
Stephen Strasburg (5/28 @ATL, 6/2 @CIN)
Jacob deGrom (5/27 @LAD, 6/1 @ARI)
Clayton Kershaw (5/27 vs. NYM, 6/1 vs. PHI)
Zack Greinke (5/27 @COL, 6/1 vs. NYM)
Luis Castillo (5/27 vs. PIT, 6/2 vs. WAS)
Cole Hamels (5/27 @HOU, 6/2 @STL)
It’s been an up-and-down season so far for Hamels. I was out on him early, and he started the season strong with a stretch of three good starts. Then he had two subpar starts, which made me question if I was right all along. But then, of course, he put together two more good starts, followed by two lackluster outings.
This is a big week for Hamels, and he faces two tough offenses. I’m leaving him in my lineup, though, and rolling with whatever punches come my way.
Masahiro Tanaka (5/28 vs. SD, 6/2 vs. BOS)
Tanaka has been on a nice roll lately. The Boston matchup scares me, but he should return value in his two-start week. He’s been throwing the slider more than ever this year, and the results have been great, as it’s his top graded pitch on FanGraphs. He has a 35.7 percent whiff rate with the pitch, up from 31.3 percent last year.
Rick Porcello (5/27 vs. CLE, 6/1 @NYY)
After failing to get through six innings in his first four starts of the season, Porcello has eclipsed the six-inning mark in his past six outings. I like him more in points leagues, but I’ll roll him out regardless of the format next week.
Rich Hill (5/28 vs. NYM, 6/2 vs. PHI)
The Mets are a juicy matchup for Hill, who has gotten it going as of late. Let’s just hope that the team doesn’t shift behind him and leave the whole left side of the field wide open.
In the Danger Zone
Jordan Lyles (5/28 @CIN, 6/2 vs. MIL)
I’m close to buying in on Lyles, especially after his outing last weekend. The Pirates, whose rotation is decimated, are counting on him, too. If he makes it through these two matchups, especially the Milwaukee one, with plus-outings after a rough start against the Rockies, I’m in going forward.
Marco Gonzales (5/28 vs. TEX, 6/2 vs. LAA)
Gonzales, like Miles Mikolas, walked a tightrope last season as a pitcher who put together a good fantasy season without a lot of strikeouts. He hasn’t quite fallen off as much as Mikolas, but it’s been a bumpy ride. I’ll start him in points leagues, and if I absolutely need a two-start option this week, I’ll put him in my lineup in category-based leagues.
Lucas Giolito (5/28 vs. KC, 6/2 vs. CLE)
It’s a weird thing trusting Giolito after so many failed experiences in the past. The matchups are good next week, so I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that the recent gains stay.
Matt Strahm (5/27 @NYY, 6/2 vs. MIA)
Originally scheduled to be a two-start pitcher this week, Strahm had his Sunday start bumped to Monday in favor of Chris Paddack. He’s rewarded with pitching in Yankee Stadium instead of facing the Blue Jays, whom Paddack will get instead. Strahm will, though, get the Marlins next weekend to make up for the so-so first start.
Chris Bassitt (5/27 vs. LAA, 6/2 vs. HOU)
After two straight good starts — including one eight-inning gem — Bassitt was knocked around by the Indians on Tuesday to the tune of three earned runs and six walks over 3.2 innings. He gets both the Angels and Astros in Oakland, which makes me feel safer rolling with him.
Streamers Owned in Under 50% of Leagues
Gio Gonzalez (5/27 @MIN, 6/2 @PIT)
Sonny Gray (5/27 vs. PIT, 6/1 vs. WAS)
Steven Matz (5/28 @LAD, 6/2 @ARI)
Of the three, I feel most comfortable with Gray because of the matchups. He’s coming off a good start against Milwaukee, and he faces two average offenses in Pittsburgh and Washington.
Streamers Owned in Under 25% of Leagues
Jeff Samardzija (5/28 @MIA, 6/2 @BAL)
Brad Keller (5/28 @CHW, 6/2 @TEX)
Lance Lynn (5/27 @SEA, 6/1 vs. KC)
Trevor Richards (5/28 vs. SF, 6/2 @SD)
Cole Irvin (5/28 vs. STL, 6/2 @LAD)
Samardzija is going to be my biggest waiver-wire target for the upcoming week. He gets the Marlins and the Orioles. You can’t ask for better matchups for a streamer.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
Jon Gray (5/27 vs. ARI, 6/1 vs. TOR)
Michael Wacha (5/28 @PHI, 6/2 vs. CHC)
Michael Pineda (5/27 vs. MIL, 6/2 @TB)
Jefry Rodriguez (5/27 @BOS, 6/1 @CHW)
Merrill Kelly (5/28 @COL, 6/2 vs. NYM)
Aaron Sanchez (5/27 @TB, 6/2 @COL)
Jose Urena (5/27 @WAS, 6/1 @SD)
Matt Harvey (5/28 @OAK, 6/2 @SEA)
Adam Plutko (5/28 @BOS, 6/2 @CHW)
Homer Bailey (5/27 @CHW, 6/1 @TEX)
Daniel Norris (5/27 @BAL, 6/2 @ATL)
Antonio Senzatela (5/28 vs. ARI, 6/2 vs. TOR)
Trevor Cahill (5/27 @OAK, 6/1 @SEA)
Ivan Nova (5/27 vs. KC, 6/1 vs. CLE)
Dan Straily (5/27 vs. DET, 6/2 vs. SF)
Adrian Sampson (5/28 @SEA, 6/2 vs. KC)