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Two-Start Pitchers: 5/16-5/22

Previewing two-start pitchers for the upcoming week.

Welcome to this week’s two-start pitcher rankings!

My rankings have four tiers: Set and Forget, Probably Start, Questionable, and Avoid. Set and Forget starters are simply that; get them in your lineup and don’t think twice. The Probably Start tier includes players with the mix of skill and matchups that make them almost certainly two-start plays, but not without some elevated risk compared to the top tier. Questionable starters are those best-suited for daily lineup leagues where you can bench them against the tougher of their two opponents. Finally, we have the Avoid tier, which includes two-start SPs who should remain on your bench or the wire.

As a friendly reminder, the projected starters are just that, projections and subject to change. 

 

Set and Forget

 

  • It’s lonely at the top this week. Freddy Peralta and Lucas Giolito are two of the game’s elite strikeout artists and are mainstays in your lineup regardless of their opponent. Both right-handers are boasting strikeout rates over 30% supported by impressive CSW%. Giolito’s 36% CSW is good for sixth in the league amongst qualified pitchers. His four-seamer has performed particularly well with a stellar 41% CSW. You can find all of Giolito’s Statcast and pitch repertoire data over on his PL player page. If you haven’t discovered our new player pages for the 2022 season, be sure to check them out!

 

Probably Start

 

  • In his last start against the red-hot Yankees, we witnessed the extremes of the Dylan Cease experience. Cease earned his first eight outs all via the strikeout (and finished the night with eleven) while earning some impressive whiffs with each pitch in his arsenal. When his command was off, however, New York pounced for six runs. His night was not as bad as the final line indicated and you should have Cease back into your lineup when he gets a rematch at Yankee Stadium next week. He has the stuff to dominate against any lineup but remains prone to the occasional disastrous outing.
  • Logan Gilbert has certainly come back to earth after he posted a 0.40 ERA in the month of April. His success so far this season has been solely attributed to his four-seamer, a pitch that has held opponents to a .167 AVG. Without the secondaries playing a supporting role, however, it’s unlikely we’ll be getting a full breakout season from Gilbert in 2022. Despite all of this, you’re still likely starting Gilbert, even against the Blue Jays in Toronto. It’s worth noting that, despite the star power in the Jays’ lineup, they’ve been just about league average offensively this year.

 

  • There’s nothing enjoyable about starting your fantasy pitchers at Coors Field, but both Tylor Megill and Alex Wood almost assuredly belong in your lineup in a two-start week. Megill’s heavy fastball/changeup usage and Wood’s sinker could mitigate some of the altitude’s impact on pitching. Megill’s eight run implosion against the Nationals is likely still fresh in your mind, but he’s pitching behind one of the best team’s in baseball and should remain a quality fantasy option throughout the season.

 

Questionable

 

  • Merrill Kelly and Miles Mikolas have a couple of things in common. The first, and oft-talked-about, similarity: both left the United States to pitch professionally overseas (Mikolas in Japan and Kelly in South Korea). The second? Both find themselves in the top five of Major League Baseball in ERA. While both pitchers are well worth a spot on your roster the way they’ve performed thus far, there’s likely some regression on the way. Neither is known for their ability to get whiffs, but they’ve excelled at getting ground balls and limiting hard contact. You should likely keep starting both until they prove otherwise. They each line up against potent offenses in their first start of the week, creating some hesitation in daily lineup leagues.
  • Most signs are pointing to Blake Snell returning off the IL early next week. If it’s Tuesday, he’ll up for two starts against two of the league’s better lineups. Snell has immense talent, but it’s a coin flip whether you choose to risk starting him in weekly leagues.

 

  • Yusei Kikuchi provides some slight intrigue as one of the few two-start pitcher options you can find on waivers in over 50% of leagues. He’s best suited as a one-start stream against the Reds, but might be serviceable in both for those in search of innings next week. Kikuchi will be opposing his former team and, while the Mariners have the second-best BB/K against lefties this season, Kikuchi managed to mostly stymie the Yankees’ bats two outings in a row. Beware that there’s a lot of risk in Kikuchi’s profile. As has been the case for most of his career, he’s allowing a ton of hard contact with a league-average strikeout rate. Steven Matz and Brad Keller also make for potential streamers, but like Kikuchi, create significant risk for your ratios in a rotisserie league.

 

Avoid

 

  • Wade Miley has a favorable set of matchups and might be an option as a streamer at some point this year, but he didn’t do enough in his three-inning return off the IL to warrant picking up.
  • Two start weeks of Athletics/Royals and Pirates/Diamondbacks are typical scenarios where you’re running to the waiver wire for. Unfortunately, Chris Archer and Keegan Thompson aren’t in a position to give your fantasy team a boost next week. Neither pitcher has completed five innings yet this season. The Angels and Astros boast two of the league’s top five offenses by wRC+ and

 

  • Jon Gray’s first season in Texas hasn’t gone according to plan as he’s already made two trips to the IL. He exited his last start against the Yankees with continued discomfort in his left knee, the same injury that sent him on his second IL stint. While there’s still reason to believe he can have some value in fantasy this season, it’s unlikely things will turn around next week. Even if you’re bullish on Gray’s season-long outlook, the Rangers right-hander belongs on your bench this week.

 

Questions? Feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @AnthonyTucker81, and I’ll be happy to talk two-start SPs and more!

Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Anthony Tucker

Anthony Tucker is a lifelong Yankees fan and a staff manager who writes the weekly two-start pitcher articles. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and convinces himself each fall that this is the year that ND Football ends their title drought.

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