Ranking Every Two-Start Pitcher for Week 12 (6/17-6/23)
Welcome back, Pitcher List community! I hope this segment helps you formulate your pitching staff each week. Each Friday, I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and summarize my thoughts to help you set your rosters. You know the rules, there are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, and Bench. Definitely Start features starters that are no-doubters for the week ahead, followed by Probably Start, which includes pitchers who 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. Next week our two-start options are plentiful. The top two tiers are filled with aces, both succeeding and struggling, so let’s dive in!
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through next week. These are subject to change.
Jacob deGrom (@ATL, @CHC)
Justin Verlander (@CIN, @NYY)
Clayton Kershaw (SFG, COL)
Zack Greinke (COL, SFG)
Mike Clevinger (@TEX, DET)
Jose Berrios (BOS, @KCR)
Kenta Maeda (SFG, COL)
Brandon Woodruff (@SDP, CIN)
Luis Castillo (HOU, @MIL)
Cole Hamels (CHW, NYM)
Lance Lynn (CLE, CHW)
- You can’t go wrong with the top four options next week. I’ve ranked them with deGrom at the top but wouldn’t argue with you if Verlander or Kershaw topped your list. The margins are razor thin. I don’t know how the 35-year-old Greinke continues to succeed on such a high level, but his velocity has finally ticked up over 90 mph! He’s coming off back-to-back scoreless outings and has two fluffy matchups next week.
- Welcome back, Clevinger! Unfortunately, his first start upon return is in Arlington against the Rangers. His second start is a dream matchup at home against the Tigers. Normally, I’d sit a starter coming off a lengthy stint on the IL ( because he’s Still ILL) but weekly leaguers don’t have that luxury. Plug and play next week and hope he dominates the Tigers.
- A start against the Red Sox isn’t ideal, but going to Kauffman Stadium makes it worthwhile for Berrios. He doesn’t produce the elite strikeout numbers we look for in an ace, but he’s limiting hard contact and walks. Forget about Maeda’s last start in L.A., that was last week. He’s bound to inflate your ratios every once in a while. His matchups next week are great, and he had only given up six earned runs in his previous five starts before this week’s drubbing.
- I love me some Woodruff! He handled the Astros this week and has a great road start in San Diego. His second start of the week is a higher degree of difficulty, but I’m trusting his 22% K-BB rate and elite four-seam fastball (12.4 pitch value). Castillo has a tough draw next week in his two-step. The Astros still won’t be at full strength, and he’s pitched well against the Brewers in his career. He carries a 3.51 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a 22% K-BB rate versus the Brew Crew.
- You’re reading this right. Lynn is in the top tier. Both the Indians and White Sox are in the bottom third in wOBA and are susceptible to the strikeout. Lynn has been great recently with 49 strikeouts over his past six starts while giving up three earned runs or fewer in all six.
Patrick Corbin (PHI, ATL)
David Price (@MIN, TOR)
Zack Wheeler (@ATL, @CHC)
James Paxton (TBR, HOU)
Mike Soroka (NYM, @WSH)
Brad Peacock (@CIN, @NYY)
Jack Flaherty (MIA, LAA)
Joe Musgrove (DET, SDP)
Miles Mikolas (MIA, LAA)
Zach Eflin (@WSH, MIA)
Adrian Sampson (CLE, CHW)
- In some ways, this tier looks like the top tier. That’s how deep next week is! The first three pitchers are struggling but were borderline aces coming into the season. Corbin’s seemingly unsustainable zone rate last season is working against him this year. Hitters aren’t chasing pitches as often, so his walk rate is elevated and he’s getting hit hard when in the zone. The slider is still great, but he is faced with two difficult matchups next week. Be cautious.
- At some point, luck is going to turn here for Wheeler, but his defense isn’t doing him any favors. Maybe it’s next week but maybe not. Both starts are on the road, and the Braves are a top-three offense in SunTrust while the Cubs are in the top half. Wheeler needs to keep the ball in the yard to be successful in his two-step next week.
- In three starts since coming off the IL, we have yet to see Paxton throw five innings. He’s struggled with control over his past two starts and draws two matchups at home against the Rays and Astros, so things don’t get any easier on Big Maple. I’d like to think he starts getting back into a rhythm, but I have my reservations.
- Despite a five-run outing on Wednesday night, Soroka maintains a sub-2.00 ERA on the season. On the surface, he should be in the upper tier, but Soroka’s success has been with worm-killers and limiting home runs. Neither the Mets nor the Nats strike out a tremendous amount and Soroka’s matchups to date have been light. Keep your expectations in check.
- Yes, I love Flaherty’s strikeout potential, and his matchups next week are pretty solid. He’s not higher on the list because he’s struggled with his breaking pitches. Go check out the Going deep piece by Shelly Verougstraete on the site for more details.
- Peacock has been a viable option for fantasy owners since taking a spot in the Astros rotation. I like his chances against the Reds, but exercise caution with the Yankees in New York. If you’re looking for evidence that the ball is “juiced,” look no further than Mikolas. He’s essentially the exact same pitcher as he was in 2018 but has seen a massive jump in his home run rate. OK, so hitters aren’t chasing outside the zone as often, but that’s about it! I’ll roll the dice on two home starts against the Marlins and the Angels.
Yonny Chirinos (@NYY, @OAK)
Felix Pena (@TOR, @STL)
Marcus Stroman (LAA, @BOS)
Jake Arrieta (@WSH, MIA)
Zach Plesac (@TEX, DET)
J.A. Happ (TBR, HOU)
Rick Porcello (@MIN, TOR)
Tyler Skaggs (@TOR, @STL)
Brett Anderson (BAL, TBR)
Joey Lucchesi (MIL, @PIT)
Ryan Yarbrough (@NYY, @OAK)
Yusei Kikuchi (KCR, BAL)
Danny Duffy (@SEA, MIN)
Freddy Peralta (@SDP, CIN)
Michael Pineda (BOS, @KCR)
- Both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are currently on rehab assignments. Both could be in the Yankees lineup as soon as next week. Don’t test your luck with Chirinos in Yankee Stadium. The Athletics have just a .305 wOBA at home this year, and Chirinos has three plus pitches with a nasty splitter. Go ahead and roll with him in Oaktown.
- In weekly leagues, the shot in the dark from this tier is Pena. His matchups are on the road, but both are tolerable. He has a solid 17.7% K-BB rate and an impressive 31.3% CSW rate.
- Arrieta got old fast! His velocity remains low, his strikeouts are down, and his home run rate is up. The Nationals sans Bryce Harper are still plenty dangerous and sport a .333 wOBA at home. You can test your luck against the Marlins, who, while improved, are still the Marlins.
- I like Pleasac, and his control metrics look fantastic. That being said, I think he’s going to get a rude awakening in Texas. He’s not going to continue to strand over 90% of base runners and maintain a .222 BABIP. He’s a guy who can go seven strong innings at home versus a weak Tigers lineup, however.
- Porcello is consistent if nothing else. You aren’t starting him for the strikeouts, but he does have the ability to go deep into games when he’s on. He’s on my bench in Minnesota but has a great shot at a win and solid ratios at home against the Blue Jays. Speaking of pitchers who won’t help your strikeout total: Anderson has an impossible 12.6% strikeout rate! Yikes. You’d have to pay me to start him against the Rays, but I like him at home against the Orioles. They have just a .294 wOBA on the road this season, and Oakland is a great pitcher’s park.
- The last six pitchers in this tier have all shown flashes but also have murdered ratios. Lucchesi really needs a third pitch or at least add a third pitch-speed band. He will be on my bench until the weekend series in Pittsburgh. Duffy is really leaning heavily on his breaking balls, and I’m in favor of it. He’s a very deep league option for both starts, but I prefer the road matchup in Seattle. Your call on Peralta is as good as mine. His metrics are some of the most out of whack I’ve ever seen. I won’t get into them in depth, but it’s difficult to trust a starter who throws fastballs 80% of the time. If I had to lean toward one or the other, I’d roll him out there against the Padres in San Diego.
- Pineda looked solid in his return yesterday against the Mariners. He can be useful in his second start in Kansas City, but you may need to pray he doesn’t turn into Michael Pinada.
Anthony DeSclafani (HOU, @MIL)
Jhoulys Chacin (@SDP, CIN)
Jason Vargas (@ATL, @CHC)
Aaron Brooks (BAL, TBR)
Erick Fedde (PHI, ATL)
Antonio Senzatela (@ARI, @LAD)
Tyler Beede (@LAD, @ARI)
Daniel Norris (@PIT, @CLE)
Jordan Yamamoto (@STL, @PHI)
Shaun Anderson (@LAD, @ARI)
Gabriel Ynoa (@OAK, @SEA)
David Hess (@OAK, @SEA)
Elieser Hernandez (@STL, @PHI)
Ivan Nova (@CHC, @TEX)
Homer Bailey (@SEA, MIN)
Edwin Jackson (LAA, @BOS)
- There shouldn’t be a whole lot of surprises in the bench tier this week. Maybe you think Tony Disco can eke out a quality start, but I’d bet against it with his matchups and their high degree of difficulty.
- I think the magic has run out on Chacin. Even throwing his slider 51% of the time can’t save him. He’s giving up a ton of hard contact, walking too many batters, and isn’t generating many whiffs. The trifecta of failure. Do you trust Vargas’ 3.68 ERA? because you shouldn’t. He’s averaging 85.4 mph on his fastball and 80 mph on his changeup. It’s only a matter of time before his ERA matches his 5.14 SIERA.
- I would feel much better if Beede’s starts were at home. I can’t trust him given his lack of control. He’s walking nearly seven batters per nine innings, and home runs are going to be an issue in Dodger Stadium. He’s a sit for both starts.
- Yamamoto and Hernandez are interesting prospects for the Marlins. Yamamoto pitched a seven-inning shutout in his debut, but I can’t see that happening again on either road start next week. He’s a bit of a junk-baller without an elite offering. I’m not sure he’s 100% ready for The Show. Hernandez had better numbers in the minors but is ranked as the 20th prospect in the Marlins organization per FanGraphs. Let’s do ourselves a favor and stay away from the Marlins two-step next week.
- How long will Jackson last in the Major Leagues this year? One month? Two weeks? He’s carrying a 10.22 ERA and has given up 3.28 home runs per nine innings! Here’s a tip: Stream your hitters against E Jax.
(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)