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Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: Week 4 (2021)

by Brendan Tuma | @toomuchtuma | Featured Writer
Apr 23, 2021

This is shaping up to be a pretty good week for two-start pitchers. In addition to the “Don’t Think Twice” guys, there’s a trio of “Widely-Rostered Options” who are becoming reliable fantasy arms. Of course, there’s also always some starters to shy away from. We’ll break down all the options using the following tiers:

  • 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.

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Don’t Think Twice

Widely-Rostered Options

Trevor Rogers (4/26 @MIL, 5/2 @WAS)
There’s an argument to be made that Rogers belongs in the “Don’t Think Twice” section, but I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight how impressed I’ve been with him thus far. Through four starts Rogers owns a 1.64 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts in 22 innings. However, those numbers come with a bottom 30th percentile walk rate and some less than ideal hard-hit data. Rogers isn’t perfect, and he’ll likely have an innings limit at some point, but the 23-year-old carries big-time strikeout upside and he’s on a roll entering Week 4.

Carlos Rodon (4/27 vs DET, 5/2 vs CLE)
We talked about Rodon last time, but rainouts caused his two-start week to be pushed back. Rodon’s velocity remained up in his most recent outing, though the five walks were a tad disappointing following the no-hitter. The longtime top prospect is probably a bit overvalued due to that no-no — his other two starts have only been five innings each. Still, he’s a different pitcher this year and next week’s matchups are juicy.

Tyler Mahle (4/26 @LAD, 5/2 vs CHC)
Mahle is another who maybe should’ve been on the “Don’t Think Twice” list, but the Dodgers matchup is a tough one. Still, he has earned the trust of fantasy managers by posting a 1.74 ERA through four starts (plus 31 strikeouts through 20 2/3 IP). “Spincinnati” as an organization continues to impress me overall. Mahle’s strikeout rate is currently in the 94 percentile in baseball.

Sean Manaea (4/26 @TB, 5/1 vs BAL)
Hopefully this doesn’t turn out to be a case of chasing recent results, as Manaea is coming off seven shutout frames versus the Twins. However, he was good in his previous two starts as well and thees matchups aren’t enough to scare me off. The southpaw is below the three aforementioned options in my two-start rankings.

Adam Wainwright (4/26 vs PHI, 5/1 @PIT)
I’m far more comfortable with this suggestion in a points league, but I can’t deny that Wainwright has been solid since his first start of the season. He’s always at risk of a blowup outing, which is why I’d be hesitant to use him in roto or H2H categories, but over his past three starts the 39-year-old has allowed five runs in 17 innings with a 23:5 K:BB ratio.

In the Danger Zone

Zach Eflin (4/27 @STL, 5/2 vs NYM)
Eflin has a 2.77 ERA through four appearances, but last season’s increased strikeout rate hasn’t carried over. I suppose he’s technically a safer option than Wainwright, and I’m more comfortable using Eflin in points leagues, but I’m still not overly optimistic from a season-long standpoint.

Frankie Montas (4/27 @TB, 5/2 vs BAL)
C’mon Montas! After getting lit up in his first start he looked excellent in his next two outings before getting shelled again on Wednesday. We aren’t dropping him yet but it’s going to take a sustained stretch of production before I feel comfortable trusting him again.

Jose Urquidy (4/26 vs SEA, 5/1 @TB)
Personally, I’ve never been a big Urquidy fan. The 25-year-old should be better than he’s been thus far, but I don’t view him as a difference-making fantasy option.

Corey Kluber (4/26 @BAL, 5/1 vs DET)
Kluber’s fastball velocity is averaging under 90 mph. It makes sense that a 35-year-old who hasn’t really pitched in two seasons is struggling with velocity, but that doesn’t make him any more fantasy relevant. Kluber’s chase rate used to hover around 33%, but it checks in at 23.3% through four starts. Additionally, batters are swinging at pitches in the zone more than ever against him. A traditional slow starter, he isn’t someone to be starting until we see better results.

Zach Davies (4/26 @ATL, 5/1 @CIN)
Davies hasn’t pitched more than four innings since his first start of the year. He’s another one to avoid starting in all formats until we see an increase in production.

Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues

Anthony DeSclafani (4/26 vs COL, 5/2 @SD)
The right-hander is coming off his worst start, which was a four-inning performance against the Phillies where he gave up three runs. Prior to that, DeSclafani had allowed just two earned runs through 17 innings. My enthusiasm for this two-start week is tempered by the San Diego game, but drawing the Rockies away from Coors is always a stream-worthy option.

Michael Fulmer (4/26 vs KC, 5/1 @NYY)
Pay attention to the Tigers’ rotation plans before thrusting Fulmer into your lineup. Detroit originally wanted to limit him to three innings last time so that they could use him twice this past week, but then he ended up going four. Unfortunately, things fell apart in the fourth inning, which ultimately ruined Fulmer’s stat line. He’s still showing enough velocity gains to keep me interested if you’re desperate for a two-start option.

Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues

Michael Wacha (4/26 vs OAK, 5/1 vs HOU)
It’s always tough to find a two-start streamer in this range, but we can do worse than betting on a Tampa Bay reclamation project. Perhaps it just came against a struggling offense, but I can’t stop thinking about Wacha’s six shutout innings versus the Yankees back on April 16th (with nine strikeouts). He has that upside in his range of outcomes, which is all we’re looking for in this tier of options.

Not Unless You’re Desperate

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Brendan Tuma is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Brendan, check out his archive and follow him @toomuchtuma.