Every Friday I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and detail my thoughts about rolling with them on your roster. There are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, Bench. The first tier features starters that are no doubters for the week ahead followed by a tier of pitchers that look like good plays but may create a hesitation or two. Players inside Questionable Starts are for deeper leagues or have one-of-two outings that should be avoid. Pitchers labeled Bench should be avoided despite their dual week ahead.
David Price (@SEA, @LAD)
Carlos Carrasco (MIN, @NYY)
Danny Salazar (MIN, @NYY)
Yu Darvish (@BAL, @HOU)
Stephen Strasburg (@ARI, SFG)
Madison Bumgarner (@PHI, @WSH)
Jacob DeGrom (NYY, @DET)
Masahiro Tanaka (@NYM, CLE)
Adam Wainwright (@CIN, ATL)
Jason Hammel (MIA, @OAK) – There are questions if Hammel will replicate past second halves and let down owners or if he can keep his momentum through the end of the year. These two teams shouldn’t pose a major threat to prevent him from continuing his groove. Update: With Kyle Hendricks scratched on Sunday, Hendricks is now taking Hammel’s place as a two-start pitcher for the Cubs. He would be placed in the “Definitely Start” tier.
Lance McCullers (TOR, TEX) – The strikeout upside is too high to consider benching McCullers despite facing two strong teams.
Matt Shoemaker (OAK, @SEA) – Shoemaker has a small bump in the road but looks primed to come out the other side as he gets the A’s. The Mariners aren’t an ideal matchup, though Shoe has the ability to make it out unscathed.
Michael Fulmer (CWS, NYM) – It’s up in the air if Fulmer gets two starts with Zimmermann re-entering the rotation next week. If he does get them, these are an excellent pair of teams to face even with his recent struggles.
Jon Gray (LAD, MIA) – The rules for starting Gray is against average teams away from Coors and well below average teams inside Coors. This fits the bill.
Chris Archer (KCR, MIN) – Archer has been turning it up lately, improving his Fastball velocity as the Ks are flowing. The Royals have seen better days, while the Twins have cooled off a bit, making this a prime two-start week.
Danny Duffy (@TBR, TOR) – Speaking of veloity, Duffy rebounded last time out after a season low 94.07 mph the previous start. Hopefully it can stay up against the Jays/Rays and turn this into a solid week for Duffy owners.
Dylan Bundy (TEX, @CWS) – Bundy has been performing well lately, though his Fastball command makes him susceptible to a blow up. He’s on the border of the two tiers as this can go very well, or be a major disappointment.
James Paxton (BOS, LAA) – Paxton showed his upside against the Jays, which makes it conceivable he comes out on the other end of this with his head held high. Still, the Angels and Sawx are the two hottest offenses at the moment, making it tough to endorse Pax.
Mike Foltynewicz (PIT, @STL) – Folty has it in him to give owners a great start, but there is question which Folty we’ll get against a pair of teams that are just as indecisive as he is.
Marcus Stroman (@HOU, @KCR) – Stroman has flashed improvements, but took a major step back against the Padres last time out. It’s unclear if he can bounce back against the Astros and take advantage of the struggling Royals.
Jaime Garcia (@CIN, ATL) – Garcia has not performed up to his talent this season, though he could not ask for a pair of better opponents.
Jimmy Nelson (SDP, @ARI) – Nelson recently imploded against the Dbacks, making a repeat outing a scary thought. Still, he cans the weak Padres and it could be a solid week.
Kyle Gibson (@CLE, @TBR) – Gibson has used great command to become a serviceable pitcher lately, though the magic could wear off against solid Indians squad.
Mystery Padres Pitcher (MIL, PHI) – Now that Andrew Cashner has been dealt it’s unclear who will take his spot in the rotation. If Luis Perdomo gets bumped into this slot, he’s a debatable option as these matchups are as good as it gets.
Yordano Ventura (@TBR, TOR) – The start in Toronto is horrid, though Ventura hasn’t allowed more than 3 ER in each of his last four starts – all coming against above-average teams. He also gets the Rays, which may make this a beneficial week.
Matt Moore (KCR, MIN) – The Twins have slowed down since their torrid start of the month, while the Royals are as sluggish as ever.
Doug Fister (TOR, TEX) – Fister can produce good ERA/WHIP starts here and there, though it’s tough to bet against the Jays and Rangers.
Cody Reed (STL, @PIT) – Reed has upside in his left arm, but this isn’t enough to lift him into the next tier.
Archie Bradley (WSH, MIL) – Bradley’s start against the Brewers isn’t enough to overlook a date with the Nationals.
Anthony Ranaudo (@DET, BAL) – Ranaudo isn’t someone you want to roster in the first place and rolling with him against Detroit and Baltimore doesn’t help his stock.
Eduardo Rodriguez (@SEA, @LAD) – It’s possible Erod pulls through this week though it’s more likely he continues the trend set by his last start by giving you a pair of sub-par performances.
Brandon McCarthy (@COL, BOS) – McCarthy is a great add in 12 teamers, though there are few with worse matchups this week.
Adam Conley (@CHC, @COL) – I like Conley, just not against the Rockies in Colorado and against the mighty Cubs.
Tyler Duffey (@CLE, @TBR) – Once an excellent streamer, Duffey is now a major liability even against the worst offenses.
CC Sabathia (@NYM, CLE) – Earlier in the season CC would be a tier higher with these opponents ahead. Unfortunately, he’s a different pitcher now and that means you should stay away.
Logan Verrett (NYY, @DET) – There are worse options than Verrett, but that doesn’t make him a good choice as he has to face the Tigers.
Sonny Gray (@LAA, CHC) – Gray has been struggling mightily and he gets the super hot Angels and the top tier Cubs. Not a good recipe for success.
Zach Eflin (SFG, @SDP) – While a date in San Diego is a good stream, pairing it with a start against the Giants isn’t enough to warrant a blind two-start week.
Ryan Vogelsong (@ATL, CIN) – Despite the pair of good matchups, it’s never a good time to trust Vogelsong to come through.
Wade LeBlanc (BOS, LAA) – It’s unknown if Taijuan Walker will return soon, meaning this obvious bench from LeBlance just became even clearer.
R.A. Dickey (@HOU, @KCR) – Don’t trust a knuckleballer.