Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: 8/17-8/23
We are already more than 25 percent through the season. Well, besides the Cardinals, who have only played five games but will have three doubleheaders in the span of five days. We knew weird things would happen with the short season, but did any of us predict that the Marlins would be in first place, the Rockies would be in first place, and the Orioles would be a playoff team at this point in the season?
Things change quickly, so it’s important to stay ahead of the curve for this season and maximize your outings.
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-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
Chris Paddack (SD) (8/18 @TEX, 8/23 vs. HOU)
Carlos Carrasco (CLE) (8/18 @PIT, 8/23 vs. DET)
Zack Greinke (HOU) (8/18 vs. COL, 8/23 @SD)
Kyle Hendricks (CHC) (8/17 vs. STL, 8/23 vs. CHW)
Dylan Bundy (LAA) (8/17 vs. SF, 8/22 @OAK)
Stephen Strasburg (WSH) (8/17 @ATL, 8/22 vs. MIA)
Blake Snell (TB) (8/18 @NYY, 8/23 vs. TOR)
Zac Gallen (ARI) (8/17 vs. OAK, 8/22 @SF)
Jack Flaherty (STL) (8/17 @CHC, 8/23 vs. CIN)
Hyun-Jin Ryu (TOR) (8/17 @BAL, 8/22 @TB)
Kenta Maeda (MIN) (8/17 vs. KC, 8/22 @KC)
Ross Stripling (LAD) (8/17 vs. SEA, 8/22 vs. COL)
Stripling was hit around in his last outing against the Padres, but his season-long line still looks solid. He’ll have the chance to bounce back with the struggling Mariners and a Rockies team who struggles on the road.
Julio Urias (LAD) (8/18 vs. SEA, 8/23 vs. COL)
Unlike Stripling, Urias handled the Padres on Wednesday. You’d like to see more strikeouts from Urias, as he has just 13 in 21.1 innings, but the matchups this week are extremely ripe.
Nate Pearson (TOR) (8/18 @BAL, 8/23 @TB)
Hey, even Pedro Martinez had an off night every now and then. Kidding, of course, but after looking like he belonged in his first two starts against the Nationals and Braves, Pearson was roughed up in a major way against the NL East-leading Marlins. The sentence still feels weird to type. He had trouble locating during the outing, but we’ve routinely watched him paint the corners and attack high in the zone with his blow-you-away fastball. He should bounce back from the rough outing against Baltimore and Tampa.
In the Danger Zone
Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) (8/18 vs. TB, 8/23 @NYM)
Tanaka would be a tier higher, but the Yankees are taking a cautious approach with the veteran. He’s been limited to 51, 59, and 66 pitches, respectively, in his first three outings.
Mike Minor (TEX) (8/17 vs. SD, 8/22 @SEA)
Minor was limited to 76 pitches against the Mariners, and he didn’t give up a run. This is coming off of back-to-back starts where he struggled and allowed 11 earned runs. He should be able to handle the Mariners on the back end of his week, but the start against the Padres could present a challenge for the veteran southpaw.
Jake Arrieta (PHI) (8/19 @BOS, 8/23 @ATL)
Not so great, Bob. Arrieta was fine in his first two starts, but he was hit around by the Orioles on Thursday. He now gets Boston and Atlanta, who aren’t quite the offensive forces we expected them to be, but it’s hard to trust Arrieta at all.
Matthew Boyd (DET) (8/18 @CHW, 8/23 @CLE)
We write for category-based leagues here, but using points as a reference, Boyd has -1, 5, -1.5, and -3.5 points in each of his four respective starts, leaving him with -1 points on the season. That’s … not good for a player many expected to break out this year. The White Sox just lit him up to the tune of seven earned runs. Start at your own risk.
Chris Bassitt (OAK) (8/18 @ARI, 8/23 vs. LAA)
There was really no good category to put Bassitt in. He’s not rostered in enough leagues to be in the tier above, nor is he rostered in as few to be in the tier below. He’s just kind of here, with limited upside but a solid floor.
Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues
Griffin Canning (LAA) (8/18 vs. SF, 8/23 @OAK)
Like Boyd, we expected more from Canning once we knew he was getting the green light to pitch this season. He’s had one good start this year, against Texas, but outside of that start, he hasn’t thrown five innings in his other three outings. The Giants matchup makes him usable this week.
Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues
Jordan Montgomery (NYY) (8/17 vs. BOS, 8/22 @NYM)
Montgomery has, overall, been solid this year in three starts, as he had one bad start sandwiched in between two good starts. He limited the Red Sox to one run on five hits in 5.2 innings in his first start of the season. He’ll get Boston again, along with the Mets. You’d like to see more strikeouts from Montgomery, but he should limit runs and get a win with the offense backing him.
Zach Davies (SD) (8/17 @TEX, 8/22 vs. HOU)
It’s tough to buy in to Davies still, but he’s allowing fewer hard-hit balls this year and is struggling to miss many bats. It’s a gamble with the Astros on the schedule, but the Padres are red hot right now. Ride the wave.
Dylan Cease (CWS) (8/18 vs. DET, 8/23 @CHC)
One earned run (five total) is nice to see from Cease, but the biggest takeaway from his start against the Cubs is that he walked zero batters. He’s scheduled to get the Tigers and the Cubs in a two-start week. He’s allowed just three earned runs over his past 17 innings. You’re starting him.
David Peterson (NYM) (8/18 @MIA, 8/23 vs. NYY)
Peterson isn’t worried about his sore shoulder, but any injured arm for a Mets pitcher is a cause for concern. You’re counting on him to handle the Marlins Tuesday in order to net a positive return on the week with the Yankees serving as the backend start.
Martin Perez (BOS) (8/17 @NYY, 8/22 @BAL)
It’s probably better to avoid Perez here. The 3.38 ERA and 3.88 FIP look nice, but then you see the 5.25 xFIP and 5.47 SIERA. Perez also has the 25th highest FB rate (36.7 percent), but the third-lowest HR/FB rate (4.5 percent). Don’t touch him.
Alex Cobb (BAL) (8/17 vs. TOR, 8/22 vs. BOS)
Speaking of home run rate, while there’s a lot to like here with Cobb so far, he has a 30 percent HR/FB rate. That leads all of baseball! He has two home starts against two offenses who, who they get going, can do serious damage.
Brandon Bielak (HOU) (8/17 vs. COL, 8/22 @SD)
Bielak hasn’t missed a ton of bats, but he’s kept the runs off the board. He does have control issues, though, as he’s walked seven batters over his last 12 innings. You’re rolling the dice here with him in hopes that the Astros offense carries him to a win.
Not Unless You’re Desperate
Kyle Freeland (COL) (8/17 @HOU, 8/22 @LAD)
Zach Eflin (PHI) (8/18 @BOS, 8/22 @ATL)
Mike Fiers (OAK) (8/17 @ARI, 8/22 vs. LAA)
Antonio Senzatela (COL) (8/18 @HOU, 8/23 @LAD)
Anibal Sanchez (WSH) (8/18 @ATL, 8/23 vs. MIA)
Luke Weaver (ARI) (8/18 vs. OAK, 8/23 @SF)
Tyler Alexander (DET) (8/17 @CHW, 8/22 @CLE)
Trevor Williams (PIT) (8/18 vs. CLE, 8/23 vs. MIL)
Kris Bubic (KC) (8/17 @MIN, 8/23 vs. MIN)
Jordan Yamamoto (MIA) (8/17 vs. NYM, 8/22 @WAS)
Wade Miley (CIN) (8/18 @KC, 8/23 @STL)
Jordan Lyles (TEX) (8/18 vs. SD, 8/23 @SEA)
Zack Godley (BOS) (8/18 vs. PHI, 8/23 @BAL)
Gio Gonzalez (CWS) (8/17 vs. DET, 8/22 @CHC)
Wade LeBlanc (BAL) (8/18 vs. TOR, 8/23 vs. BOS)
Eric Lauer (MIL) (8/18 @MIN, 8/23 @PIT)
Robert Gsellman (NYM) (8/17 @MIA, 8/22 vs. NYY)
Justin Dunn (SEA) (8/17 @LAD, 8/23 vs. TEX)
Tyler Anderson (SF) (8/17 @LAA, 8/22 vs. ARI)
Trevor Cahill (SF) (8/18 @LAA, 8/23 vs. ARI)
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