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. 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.
Chris Archer (@CHW, PHI)
Corey Kluber (DET, TOR)
Max Scherzer (ATL, COL)
Zack Godley (@SFG, @LAD)
Dylan Bundy (TOR, @BOS)
Justin Verlander (@MIN, TEX)
Luis Severino (@BOS, @DET)
Noah Syndergaard (@MIA, MIL)
Carlos Martinez (MIL, @CIN)
Garrett Richards (@TEX, @KCR)
- Pretty easy choices here, though I can see some placing Dylan Bundy in the 2nd tier as he gets the Red Sox for his second game of the week. Still, with the way he’s pitched thus far mixed with a date against Toronto, you should start him with confidence
- Even with Chris Archer’s early struggles, you need to roll him out there against the ChiSox and Phillies. Don’t overthink this.
Miles Mikolas (MIL, @CIN)
Alex Wood (OAK, ARI)
Blake Snell (@CHW, PHI)
Jon Gray (SDP, @WSH)
Johnny Cueto (ARI, @SDP)
Felix Hernandez (@KCR, OAK)
- I’m surprising myself by adding Prince Felix Hernandez to the second tier, but facing the A’s and Royals makes for a strong play.
- I expect to get some flack for Miles Mikolas being here as well. I see him being closer to a Top 40 talent than Top 70, making me feel more comfortable with him than those below.
- Hopefully Blake Snell gets solid momentum from a pair of weak opponents, while Alex Wood’s declining velocity isn’t enough to deny a start against the Athletics.
- Jon Gray is another, well, grey area as he has to pitch in Coors followed by the strong Nationals offense. Still, his strikeout upside is real and he’s a good enough pitcher to make this work.
- Even though I’m not a big Johnny Cueto fan, an evening with the Padres should be enough to make this a profitable two starts.
Jakob Junis (SEA, LAA)
J.A. Happ (@BAL, @CLE)
Tyler Chatwood (PIT, ATL)
Mike Foltynewicz (@WSH, @CHC)
Tyler Skaggs (@TEX, @KCR)
Homer Bailey (@PHI, STL)
- Here we have the options to consider if you’re desperate for a few extra outings next week. Jakob Junis is my favorite of the lot, and I was tempted to push him in the second tier. However, he wasn’t at the top of his game in his first start of the season (it could have been the weather) so I can’t get fully on board until I have at least one more outing under his belt. Not to mention, the Mariners and Angels don’t dictate the smoothest of starts.
- J.A. Happ is coming off a nine strikeout game and could take advantage against both the Orioles and a lefty-proficient Cleveland lineup.
- The latter three options all give me major hesitation, though I can understand someone rolling the die in a bind. Mike Foltynewicz was phenomenal against the Nationals and could repeat it next week…or fall on his face and make you scared to face the Cubs. Tyler Skaggs is as volatile as they come considering he’s a two-pitch arm, but the Royals and Rangers could return overall value. The riskiest is probably Homer Bailey, who probably belongs in the bottom tier, but I can fathom him pulling off a pair of salvageable outings unlike the rest of the crew.
Jose Urena (NYM, PIT)
Clayton Richard (@COL, SFG)
Joey Lucchesi (@COL, SFG)
Josh Tomlin (DET, TOR)
Cody Reed (@PHI, STL)
Eric Skoglund (SEA, LAA)
A.J. Cole (ATL, COL)
Tyler Anderson (SDP, @WSH)
Ivan Nova (@CHC, @MIA)
Miguel Gonzalez (TBR, @MIN)
Carson Fulmer (TBR, @MIN)
Jhoulys Chacin (@STL, @NYM)
Ben Lively (CIN, @TBR)
Doug Fister (LAA, @HOU)
Francisco Liriano (@CLE, NYY)
Matthew Boyd (@CLE, NYY)
Jake Odorizzi (HOU, CHW)
Kyle Gibson (HOU, CHW)
- For the most part, these are easy options to ignore. Seriously, don’t touch A.J. Cole in the slightest.
- Kyle Gibson had a tumultuous start against the Mariners and you’re better off holding back while he gets the Astros next, and the same goes for Jake Odorizzi. Neither starter picked up where they left off last time in Baltimore and that gives me hesitation.
- Some might want to take a chance on Joey Lucchesi, but heading to Coors makes for an easy bench. I can see the Giants start being serviceable, but there’s still risk there too.
- Ivan Nova is far from his spring 2017 self, and even getting the weak Marlins lineup isn’t enough to pull him out of the bottom tier.
- It’s possible Carson Fulmer outperforms this 4th tier label as he’s coming off a not-so-terrible outing against the Jays. Definitely not something I recommend, but slightly better than other arms here.
If Yonny Chirinos basically takes over “Bullpen day” starter, he’d have White Sox and Phillies next week. Any temptation to roll with him in a super deep 16 team league?
Super deep 16-teamer, sure. If it’s QS though, he won’t be lasting long, probably 50-65 pitches. Think 3-4 frames as I don’t expect another 5 IP gem again.
Thanks Nick. Gonna roll the dice with Junis… just too early in the season to sit, especially since he doesn’t have no-brainers on the schedule like the Stros or Yanks.
What’s your outlook on Sonny Gray. Any chance he can put up anything close to his 2015 numbers? Read about him working with Kraken and the pitching coach a lot over the offseason / preseason. Hoping he can get the walk rate down, but the 1st start scares me a little.
Both odorizzi and gibson have HOU and CHW… basically the best and worst offenses in baseball.
Doesnt that average out to 2 starts, both at home, against 2 mediocre clubs?
If thats the case, aren’t they worth trotting out, even w their recent struggles?
Should I start Mikolas over Castillo in a points league?
Strasburg has a 2 start week (Atl & Col).
Yeah, the Nationals updated their weekly outlook hours after I published this on Friday last week.
He’s clearly a “Must-start”
Thanks for the reply and for having such a great site dedicated so much to SP!!