Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: 8/26-9/1
As promised, in the lede this week I am going to look at some fantasy-relevant pitchers who are having their innings managed or, in the worst case, could be shut down soon. Both situations are, of course, a gut-punch to fantasy managers, but it’s to be expected late in the season.
It is an argument for those who want to finish the season at the end of August, though, to limit the luck involved to win your league.
Let’s get into those pitchers, shall we?
Mike Minor: Career high in innings: 204.2 (2013), 2019 innings: 167.2, 2018 innings: 157
Mike Soroka: Career high in innings: 153.2 (2017), 2019 innings: 141.2, 2018 innings: 56.1
Chris Paddack: Career high in innings: 90 (2018), 2019 innings: 115, 2018 innings: 90
Sonny Gray: Career high in innings: 219 (2014), 2019 innings: 138.2, 2018 innings: 130.1
Domingo German: Career high in innings: 123.2 (2014), 2019 innings: 121.1, 2018 innings: 94
Caleb Smith: Career high in innings: 135 (2015), 2019 innings: 127, 2018 innings: 77.1
Brendan McKay: Career high in innings: 78.1 (2018), 2019 innings: 106.1, 2018 innings: 78.1
Max Fried: Career high in innings: 118.2 (2013), 2019 innings: 131.1, 2018 innings: 111.1
Zac Gallen: Career high in innings: 147.2 (2017), 2019 innings: 142.2, 2018 innings: 133.1
Like I do every week, I’ll break down the two-start pitchers into six categories:
- Don’t Think Twice – These are your aces that you start no matter what.
- Widely Rostered Options – Players rostered 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 Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues – These guys should live on the waiver wire, but you can start them this week.
- Streamers Rostered 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 take a look at those pitchers scheduled to make two starts for the upcoming week, as projected on CBS as of Friday morning.
Don’t Think Twice
Walker Buehler (8/26 @SD, 8/31 @ARI)
Charlie Morton (8/27 @HOU, 9/1 vs. CLE)
Luis Castillo (8/27 @MIA, 8/31 @STL)
Lucas Giolito (8/27 vs. MIN, 9/1 @ATL)
Sonny Gray (8/26 @MIA, 8/31 @STL)
Yu Darvish (8/27 @NYM, 9/1 vs. MIL)
Widely Rostered Options
Mike Minor (8/27 @LAA, 9/1 vs. SEA)
After a rough stretch, Minor seemed to be figuring it out and looking like the pitcher we saw a lot of in the first half. He has instead given up 11 runs in his past two starts. He gets the same Angels that he allowed six earned runs to Wednesday. I’m starting him, but I don’t have nearly as much confidence in him now as I did in June.
In the Danger Zone
German Marquez (8/27 vs. BOS, 9/1 vs. PIT)
You should know the drill with Marquez by now. When he’s on the road, you start him. When he’s at home, you bench him. When he’s at home against the Red Sox, you don’t think twice about it. You’re benching him.
Kenta Maeda (8/27 @SD, 9/1 @ARI)
The matchups and ballparks for Maeda are solid, but he’s gone more than 5.2 innings just once since July 12. That’s a seven-start span. I’m benching him unless I can use him as a reliever in a points-league setting.
Mike Fiers (8/27 @KC, 9/1 @NYY)
His quality start streak is over, and we’ve seen Fiers somewhat come back to Earth of late. The Kansas City matchup is good, but if it’s a weekly lineup, I’m benching him with the Bronx Bombers on the schedule for his second start.
Julio Teheran (8/26 @COL, 9/1 vs. CHW)
No thanks. Just no.
Marcus Stroman (8/27 vs. CHC, 9/1 @PHI)
Here I thought going to the NL East would be a big upgrade for Stroman. Instead, he’s gone six innings just once and has yet to record a quality start. Quantity is his biggest fantasy asset. He has no significant damage to his hamstring, so he should avoid the IL, but there’s a chance he may have to miss his first start against the Cubs. It’s probably easier to avoid the headache and bench Stroman if you have adequate alternatives.
Caleb Smith (8/16 vs. CIN, 8/31 @WAS)
Smith may be running out of steam as we get to the stretch run. He’s struggled in two of his past three games, but pitched well against the Dodgers in between two bad starts against the Braves. I’m starting him, but I would be lying if I said I’m confident he’ll produce. The Nationals are red hot right now.
Chris Paddack (8/27 vs. LAD, 9/1 @SF)
I’m going to go ahead and say that Paddack won’t make both of these starts with the way the Padres have managed their starters this year.
Miles Mikolas (8/27 @MIL, 9/1 vs. CIN)
Mikolas is more of a points-league option this week given his opponents. I don’t see how he’s going to help you much in category-based leagues beyond maybe falling into a win and helping your WHIP.
Cal Quantrill (8/26 vs. LAD, 8/31 @SF)
See Paddack, Chris.
Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues
Brad Keller (8/26 vs. OAK, 8/31 vs. BAL)
Michael Pineda (8/27 @CHW, 9/1 @DET)
Mike Montgomery (8/27 vs. OAK, 9/1 vs. BAL)
I like all three of these guys this week, actually. Keller is my favorite, and it’s odd that he’s owned in so few leagues. He’s an elite ground-ball pitcher, which is huge in this current offensive environment. Pineda has two great matchups, and the potential for a double-win week is high.
Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues
Anthony DeSclafani (8/28 @MIA, 9/1 @STL)
If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m being very selective with my two-start matchups. There are a lot of name-value guys in the tier below, but there’s no chance I’m starting them with everything on the line in seasonal leagues. I’d start DeSclafani in a 15-team league where needing an extra starter. The Marlins matchup is too enticing to pass up.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
Rick Porcello (8/27 @COL, 9/1 @LAA)
J.A. Happ (8/26 @SEA, 9/1 vs. OAK)
Joe Musgrove (8/26 @PHI, 8/31 @COL)
Adam Wainwright (8/26 @MIL, 8/31 vs. CIN)
Mike Leake (8/26 @SF, 9/1 vs. LAD)
Gio Gonzalez (8/26 vs. STL, 9/1 @CHC)
Homer Bailey (8/26 @KC, 8/31 @NYY)
Adam Plutko (8/27 @DET, 9/1 @TB)
Sandy Alcantara (8/27 vs. CIN, 9/1 @WAS)
Jacob Waguespack (8/27 vs. ATL, 9/1 vs. HOU)
Tyler Beede (8/26 vs. ARI, 9/1 vs. SD)
Steven Brault (8/27 @PHI, 9/1 @COL)
Daniel Norris (8/27 vs. CLE, 9/1 vs. MIN)
Patrick Sandoval (8/27 vs. TEX, 9/1 vs. BOS)