(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)
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.
Note: This article was written Friday afternoon, estimating probable starters through the week. These are subject to change.
Clayton Kershaw (@ARI, @SFG)
Corey Kluber (@CHW, @KCR)
Jameson Taillon (@CHC, @CIN)
Trevor Bauer (@CHW, @KCR)
Noah Syndergaard (ATL, MIA)
Stephen Strasburg (MIA, @COL)
- It’s pretty clear that you’re starting Clayton Kershaw and Corey Kluber…except that they may not see their second start. Both the Dodgers and Indians may be playoff bound, making the Indians push their starts back to get them properly set up for the playoffs. The Dodgers may be fighting on the final day of the season, though, so monitor the situation closely.
- Even against the Cubs and Reds, you should be starting Jameson Taillon, who has 20 straight starts of 3 ER or fewer.
- Trevor Bauer will be eased back into the rotation after sitting on the DL for weeks. The question is how many innings he gets, as he’ll get mostly tally eight innings or so across both outings. Still worth your time, but look elsewhere if you have to count starts.
- Noah Syndergaard should still get the green light despite his recent struggles over the past month.
- Stephen Strasburg heading to Coors isn’t the best proposition, though the full week should still be worth your time.
Cole Hamels (PIT, STL)
Derek Holland (SDP, LAD)
Luis Severino (@TBR, @BOS)
Masahiro Tanaka (@TBR, @BOS)
Dallas Keuchel (@TOR, @BAL)
Framber Valdez (@TOR, @BAL)
- Cole Hamels stumbled last time, but has vastly improved in the second half where I’d be comfortable starting him consistently. Make sure he does get that start as the Cubs could tweak their rotation entering the final weekend to set up for the playoffs.
- Likewise with Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, with either as a good option to pitch the Wild Card game for the Yankees. Both are worth the call this week if they get both starts, even against the mighty Sox, who may be resting players on the final weekend.
- Dallas Keuchel hasn’t been his sharpest, but he gets the Jays and Orioles, making him a good option.
- With the Astros retooling their rotation for the playoffs, Framber Valdez will most likely get two starts, suddenly becoming a hot two-start option on your wire. Go get him.
- Derek Holland had difficulty against the Padres last time out, though I wouldn’t hesitate to throw him out there for a second try, while he could pull off more production against the Dodgers.
Felix Pena (TEX, OAK)
Sandy Alcantara (@WSH, @NYM)
Tyler Anderson (PHI, WSH)
Chase Anderson (@STL, DET)
Chris Archer (@CHC, @CIN)
Mike Leake (OAK, TEX)
- Felix Pena is a bench against the A’s, but a good streaming option against the Rangers. That’s the heart of the third tier.
- His previous start showcased the floor for Sandy Alcantara, though he could easily produce in one of these two starts against the Nationals and Mets, if not both.
- Chase Anderson is incredibly mediocre, though he could be overall beneficial when one start is against the Tigers.
- Chris Archer brings plenty of worry these days, even with his last start hinting at his former ace self. A start against the Cubs gives hesitation, though I think he’s safe for a start against the Reds.
- It has been a shaky second half for Tyler Anderson, though he succeeded against the Dodgers last time out. The Phils and Nationals aren’t scary, though hosting them in Coors could make for a rugged week.
- Mike Leake is the reverse Pena, getting the same opponents backward, with the same assessment for both – bench vs. A’s, start vs. Rangers.
Dylan Covey (CLE, @MIN)
Brett Anderson (@SEA, @LAA)
Mike Montgomery (PIT, STL)
Yovani Gallardo (@LAA, @SEA)
Zach Eflin (@COL, ATL)
Dylan Bundy (@BOS, HOU)
Bryan Mitchell (@SFG, ARI)
Matt Andriese (LAD, @SDP)
Austin Gomber (MIL, @CHC)
James Shields (CLE, @MIN)
Vince Velasquez (@COL, ATL)
Yohander Mendez (@LAA, @SEA)
Kohl Stewart (DET, CHW)
- Guys like Dylan Bundy, Zach Eflin, Austin Gomber, and even James Shields and Brett Anderson would be considered in the third tier if they had better matchups. However, this week wasn’t meant to be with too much caution ahead for me to suggest a pickup.
- Guys like Kohl Stewart, Yohander Mendez, Matt Andriese, Bryan Mitchell, Yovani Gallardo, and Dylan Covey should not be trusted even if they have decent lineups ahead.
- Vince Velasquez hasn’t performed well in ages, despite getting three starts against the Marlins and Mets in the past few weeks. Don’t chase this with Coors and the Braves ahead.
- I considered Mike Montgomery in the third tier, but both the Pirates and Cardinals are average if not above-average offenses, and Monty doesn’t bring enough upside for me consider taking the risk.