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Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers: Week 9 (2021)

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
May 29, 2021
Michael Pineda

Baseball is funny.

Heading into the season, Daniel Lynch and Logan Gilbert were revered as fantasy options much more than Alek Manoah was. 

Hell, Manoah’s own teammate, Nate Pearson, was looked at as more of a fantasy star than Manoah was.

The scouting report on Manoah was that he was a high-floor pitcher who could be an SP3-4 for fantasy.

But his dominant start in Triple-A and against the Yankees in his debut changed the narrative.

Now everyone is on the Manoah train, and rightfully so. We have to jump on prospects who hit right away, especially when it’s in dominant fashion like Manoah showed with his three-plus pitches.

We know what we know until something comes along and makes us recalibrate.

I’m starting Manoah where I can and inquiring on Lynch, Gilbert, and Pearson in dynasty leagues where the managers are annoyed that they haven’t started hot out of the gate.

Baseball is funny.

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

Don’t Think Twice

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Widely-Rostered Options

Kyle Hendricks (6/1 vs. SD, 6/6 @SF)
Hendricks has shown promising signs after his dreadful start to the season. Over the past two weeks, he’s averaged seven innings per start and has a 2.08 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Granted, those starts game against Pittsburgh, Detroit, and St. Louis, but it’s a start, right? He’s a little riskier against two top offenses this week, but I’m still OK rolling him out here as a high-floor pitcher.

Marcus Stroman (6/1 @ARI, 6/6 @SD)
I believe I was the highest on Stroman of any ranker coming into the season based on his new pitch and the need for pitchers to go deep into games. He’s gone six-plus in his past four starts and has reached six innings in six of his nine starts this season. Sign me up for a two-start week, even with San Diego on the schedule.

Domingo Germán (6/1 vs. TB, 6/6 vs. BOS)
He’s been simply dominant since returning to the Yankees, and despite his troubling past, we know that teams care about performance more than anything. He has a tough schedule this week with two inter-division rivals, but you have to send him out with the roll he’s been on.

Dylan Cease (5/31 @CLE, 6/5 vs. DET)
Cease had 29 swings and misses Thursday (s/o to @dysthymikey for the note) in what has been a great turnaround from his first few starts of the season. This week, he has two teams that are no-hitter candidates in the waiting in Cleveland and Detroit. What’s the odds that he pitches one? I’ll put it at +800 and put $20 on it.

Chris Paddack (6/1 @CHC, 6/6 vs. NYM)
Don’t look now, but Paddack looks like Paddack again over the past month. You’d like to see more strikeouts, but a 1.42 ERA and 0.84 WHIP (!) are fantastic. He’s almost at must-trust territory again.

Michael Pineda (6/1 @BAL, 6/6 @KC)
Pineda has been fantastic all year but is somehow rostered in just 68 percent of leagues. Expect a climb toward 80 percent after he mows down the Royals and Orioles.

In the Danger Zone

Stephen Strasburg (6/1 @ATL, 6/6 @PHI)
You know my rule about pitchers starting in Colorado, right? Well, I’m about to give Strasburg permanent residency in this tier. Look, he can be great, but I’m terrified to start him in any outing this year until he proves he is healthy and that his arm is OK. Even then, I’ll have my reservations. 

Nick Pivetta (6/1 @HOU, 6/6 @NYY)
Pivetta has been fine, but I can’t shake the feeling that he’s still Nick freaking Pivetta. The strikeouts have been what you really want, but I need to be in a pinch to start him this week in a non-points league.

Streamers Rostered in Under 50% of Leagues

Luis Garcia (6/1 vs. BOS, 6/6 @TOR)
To everyone’s surprise, it’s Garcia who is staying in the Astros rotation, at least for now. This may be his last stand, and honestly, outside of points leagues, it’s hard to start him in these matchups.

Johnny Cueto (5/31 vs. LAA, 6/6 vs. CHC)
He got rocked his last time out against Arizona but has been a fine SP5-SP6 on the season. For that tier, you’ll stream them in good matchups. With Mike Trout, I’m fine using him this week.

Streamers Rostered in Under 25% of Leagues

Mike Minor (5/31 vs. PIT, 6/6 vs. MIN)
Not only are the Pirates really bad defensively (what were you doing, Will Craig?), but they can’t hit at all, either, making this an ideal spot for a two-start Minor.

Logan Gilbert (5/31 vs. OAK, 6/5 @LAA)
His last outing was his best yet, but that is a low bar to cross. Not everyone can be Alek Manoah, folks. Gilbert could still use some fine-tuning in Triple-A, but he gets the same A’s team that he just performed well against, as well as a non-Trout Angels offense. I’m OK starting him in 15-teamers.

Drew Smyly (5/31 vs. WAS, 6/5 vs. LAD)
I felt a sense of confirmation bias when Smyly was rocked against Red Sox last time out to the tune of seven runs, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has three straight quality starts before that outing. He’s 19 percent rostered, which is lower than I thought. I’m OK starting him, but that Dodgers matchup has to scare you at least a bit.

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.

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