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Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: Week 7 (2021)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
May 14, 2021

It’s tough, sometimes. It really is. 

Smart people liked Luis Castillo as an NL Cy Young winner for this season. He was the ace for a lot of people’s teams in the second round. But now, if you have him, you’re finding yourself at the bottom of your standings. We say that it’s too early to give up on people and that the sample is too small to really take action, but when is enough, enough?

It’s different for each player, for sure, and you have to look under the hood at each player’s peripherals. For Castillo, everything still looks encouraging — even after his latest terrible start in Colorado. It’s about trusting the process over the results. 

I’m starting Castillo again this upcoming week in a two-start week, and I’m making offers in leagues where I don’t have him to get him for the cheap. If you don’t, I totally get it, but I’d rather give him a little more time and have him hurt me in my lineup than to go off on my bench after a six-week sample.  

Each week, you can find a breakdown of the two-start pitchers for the upcoming week, and who you should start, and why.

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.

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Don’t Think Twice

Widely-Rostered Options

Eduardo Rodríguez (5/18 @TOR, 5/23 @PHI)
Rodríguez hasn’t quite looked right yet, which means that he gets a longer leash than most since he missed the entire 2020 season with COVID. He is getting volume, which is good, but there should be more to come for him.

Michael Pineda (5/18 vs. CHW, 5/22 @CLE)
Look for some regression to come for Pineda soon, as he has been allowing homer after homer despite a low ERA. But that matchup against Cleveland is too enticing for us to worry about regression this week.

Taijuan Walker (5/17 @ATL, 5/23 @MIA)
Walker is pitching like a No. 2, and if you followed his career trajectory at all, you just love to see it. He’ll keep it up in a great matchup against Miami.

Charlie Morton (5/18 vs. NYM, 5/23 vs. PIT)
Morton’s numbers aren’t great, but the velocity is good, and he isn’t getting rocked on the mound. He is getting singled to death — no reason to panic about him yet.

Luis Castillo (5/18 vs. SF, 5/23 vs. MIL)
I get it. It’s tough to start him right now. An IL stint could be coming for sure, but there isn’t anything in the numbers that scream concern. The ERA and WHIP, yeah, sure, but the velocity is fine. The spin rate is fine. We’re all counting on the warm weather narrative to come true.

J.T. Brubaker (5/18 @STL, 5/23 @ATL)
I wouldn’t say Brubaker is an ace yet, but he is severely under-rostered at just over the 50 percent mark. I don’t like the matchups much, but he has earned our trust for a two-start week.

In the Danger Zone

Dallas Keuchel (5/17 @MIN, 5/23 @NYY)
Keuchel has had a really up-and-down season in alternating starts so far this season. The volume is great to see, but he’ll face a struggling Minnesota team who just teed off on him, as well as a scary Yankees lineup this week. I’m probably fading him.

Anthony DeSclafani (5/18 @CIN, 5/23 vs. LAD)
Disco has been great so far this season for the surprising Giants. I’d probably look to capitalize on the start by trying to trade him — especially before this two-start week that just has disaster written all over it with the matchups.

Patrick Corbin (5/18 @CHC, 5/23 vs. BAL)
Corbin has entered Kyle Gibson territory, as we have no idea when to start him or sit him. His velocity was up against the Phillies his last time out, with nine strikeouts and a 32 CSW%. I’m starting him this week against the Cubs and Orioles, but it could go just as poorly as it could go well.

Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues

Jameson Taillon (5/18 @TEX, 5/23 vs. CHW)
The WHIP and strikeouts have been solid, but like former teammate turned current teammate Gerrit Cole, Taillon has struggled to keep the ball in the yard in his first season in the Bronx. The Rangers matchup is good enough for me to stream him this week.

Yusei Kikuchi (5/17 vs. DET, 5/23 @SD)
Eleven strikeouts for Kikuchi his last time out against the Dodgers sure opened some eyes. What’s more is that he’ll get the Tigers this week, and while San Diego is on the backend of the two-start week, they may remain without Tatis.

J.A. Happ (5/17 vs. CHW, 5/21 @CLE)
I think we’re all kind of waiting for Happ to crash and burn, but with the way that pitchers have carved Cleveland up and down this year, you’re rolling him out there.

Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues

Adbert Alzolay (5/17 vs. WAS, 5/22 @STL)
It’s shocking that Alzolay’s rostership is so low given his numbers under the hood. His slider is filthy, and he is worth streaming (and possibly holding) for next week.

Casey Mize (5/17 vs. SEA, 5/23 @KC)
We’ve already heard the dreaded “innings management” with Mize from the Tigers, so we may see him limited to four or five innings for each start. Probably better to wait and see with him.

Zach Davies (5/18 vs. WAS, 5/23 @STL)
The two solid back-to-back starts are encouraging for Davies, but we’ll want to see more before we consider him anything more than a matchup-dependent streaming option. He is fine this week in 15-teamers.

Jon Lester (5/17 @CHC, 5/22 vs. BAL)
Lester has been *knocks on wood* OK since coming off the IL, mainly thanks to a 61.2 Med%. He gets a date with his former team in Chicago next week, which I don’t love, but the Baltimore matchup is enticing. He is a fine streamer in deeper leagues. 

Not Unless You’re Desperate

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.