Alright Pitcher List community, here we go! As you know, the great Nick Pollack typically handles the two-start pitchers each week but the man is in high demand, and rightfully so. As a result, I’ll be handling the two-start pitchers this year and I hope it helps you in your efforts to win your leagues.
Every Friday I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and summarize my thoughts to help you set your rosters each week. There are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, Bench. Definitely Start features starters that are no doubters for the week ahead followed by Probably Start with pitchers that look like good plays but may create a hesitation or two. Players labeled as Questionable are for deeper leagues or have one-of-two outings that should be skipped. Pitchers under Bench should be avoided despite their two starts in the week ahead.
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through the week. These are subject to change.
Chris Sale (@OAK, @ARI)
Justin Verlander (@TEX, OAK)
Mike Clevinger (CHW, TOR)
David Price (@OAK, @ARI)
Marcus Stroman (BAL, @CLE)
Chris Archer (STL, CIN)
Domingo German (DET, @BAL)
Kyle Hendricks (@ATL, @MIL)
- Oakland will be without Matt Olson to start the season which bodes well for Chris Sale and David Price. Plus, while the Athletics mashed on the road last season, they were smack dab in the middle at home with a .317 wOBA and 91 home runs. Obviously, you’re starting Sale despite his poor opening day performance but make sure you roll with Price with confidence twice this week.
- I love Clevinger this year. He threw 200 innings and improved across the board on all four of his pitches. He gets two home starts, one against the White Sox and one versus the Blue Jays without Kendrys Morales, which has me pretty damn excited.
- Marcus Stroman looked good in his opening day matchup against the Tigers whiffing seven batters and of course inducing ground outs. I feel confident rolling Stroman out against two of the weakest lineups in the American League to start the season. This may be one of the few times he finds his way into the top tier.
- I like Chris Archer with two home starts this week even though matchups aren’t ideal. PNC Park is a good pitchers park, especially in the cold spring weather and Archer should pile up the strikeouts.
- I debated dropping Domingo German but the Tigers and Orioles don’t scare me. Give me those strikeouts!
Steven Matz (@MIA, WAS)
Julio Urias (SF, @COL)
Matt Strahm (ARI, @STL)
Brad Peacock (@TEX, OAK)
Caleb Smith (NYM, @ATL)
Kyle Gibson (@KC, @PHI)
Anibal Sanchez (PHI, @NYM)
Zach Eflin (@WAS, MIN)
Adam Wainwright (@PIT, SD)
- I’m in on Steven Matz this year and he’s on the bump against the Marlins and the Nationals at home. I’d give him the nod in all but the shallowest of leagues.
- Julio Urias would be in the definitely start tier if he was pitching both games at home. Unfortunately, one of those starts is in Coors. He’s likely on a low pitch count so netting two quality starts may be difficult.
- The same can be said about Matt Strahm. There’s some serious upside in terms of strikeouts for Strahm but he only threw 51 pitches in his final spring outing. Still, he managed 25 strikeouts in just 20 spring innings.
- The remaining pitchers in this tier have one good matchup and one tough matchup. I trust the veterans, Kyle Gibson and Anibal Sanchez, to cruise in their easier matchup and hold serve against the tough matchups. I especially like Sanchez and his increased use of his cutter which brought him so much success last year.
- Let’s turn back to the clock with Adam Wainwright. I have not been a fan of his in a number of years but he looked great this spring with an 11-3 strikeout to walk ratio. He has the matchups to sneak just inside this tier.
*Yonny Chirinos (COL, @SF)
Clayton Richard (BAL, @CLE)
Sean Newcomb (CHC, MIA)
Jeff Samardzija (@LAD, TB)
Ivan Nova (@CLE, SEA)
Anthony DeSclafani (MIL, @PIT)
Tyson Ross (@NYY, KC)
Merril Kelly (@SD, BOS)
- *I’m putting an asterisk on this one. Originally, the Rays were planning on only using three starters (Snell, Morton, and Glasnow), but it appears Chirinos is getting the probable nod twice this upcoming week. I don’t view him as an opener because he’s typically the long man out of the bullpen. The matchups are juicy and if he’s efficient, he could turn one quality start with good ratios. If he indeed is starting, I’d slot him into my lineups.
- This will be one of the few times Clayton Richard will be in the third tier. Cleveland’s lineup without Lindor is extremely weak. Baltimore fields a lefty-heavy lineup, so Richard has a chance to put up decent numbers this week.
- Control has always been the issue for Sean Newcomb, but he finished spring training strong without walking a batter in his final outing. I don’t like the start versus the Cubs, but let him rip at home against the Marlins.
- Welcome back Shark! If Jeff Samardzija had two home games this week, he’d be up in the second tier.
- Ivan Nova has two solid matchups but won’t pile up any strikeouts, so he’s stuck in this tier.
- The often injured Anthony DeSclafani has not looked good in spring. He’s flashed some skills in the past but home runs have been an issue for him and I don’t expect that to change against the Brewers. Feel free to give him a whirl against the Pirates though.
- I don’t expect a whole lot of strikeout upside from the remaining two pitchers in this tier. Tyson Ross in Yankee Stadium is a bad idea but his start versus the Royals could produce fantasy relevant results. What are we going to get from Merril Kelly? His velocity sits just over 90 MPH so he relies heavily on his offspeed offerings. It would be a mistake to throw him out there against the former World Series Champions, so he’s not a great option this week.
Chad Bettis (@TB, LAD)
Felix Hernandez (LAA, @CHW)
Zack Davies (@CIN, CHC)
Drew Smyly (HOU, @LAA)
Chris Stratton ( , LAA)
Mike Fiers (BOS, @HOU)
David Hess (@TOR, NYY)
Drew Pomeranz (@LAD, TB)
Tyler Mahle (MIL, @PIT)
Shelby Miller (HOU, @LAA)
Homer Bailey (MIN, @DET)
- Most of these pitchers are obvious sits this week. I trust you wouldn’t start Chad Bettis at home, right? What about Zack Davies in Great American Ballpark or at home versus the Cubs? The answer is no, come on people. Don’t even get me started on Homer Bailey.
- Given two starts against relatively weak offenses, I still can’t start
KingPrince Felix. Unfortunately, he’s become just a shell of his former self and his velocity continues to dwindle. There’s enough fire-power with the Angels and White Sox to knock Felix off the hill early in these games.
- The Drews are wild but will remain on my bench this week. Drew Smyly and Drew Pomeranz are both coming off injuries. I don’t anticipate either pitcher to go more than four or five innings in either of their respective starts. Besides, their matchups are enough to make them wish they sat out the first week.
- Mike Fiers looked good on Thursday but wow, those matchups will give pitchers nightmares. I just can’t trust him against the Sawx and the Astros.
- Of this entire group, I think Tyler Mahle may be one of the best options. His strikeout rate jumped last year but he completely lost his control. I need to see a few starts from Mahle before I can bump him up to the next tier.
(Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)