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Two-Start Pitchers: 5/2-5/8

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

 

 

  • Following an appearance in which he only went four innings against the lowly Pirates, Brandon Woodruff is tentatively slated for two starts. It remains to be seen if the Brew Crew will continue with a six-man rotation and allow Aaron Ashby to take another turn as a starter. If so, Woodruff will only make one start. Regardless of his slow start and how Milwaukee sets their rotation, Woodruff is locked into your lineup.

 

  • Outside of one misstep against the Giants, Chris Bassitt has been even better than advertised with his new team. He’ll face a pair of formidable divisional foes for the first time in a Mets uniform, but he’s an auto-start establishing himself as an underappreciated fantasy ace.

 

  • Joe Ryan won’t be able to sustain this level of dominance throughout the entire season, but his 1.17 ERA and 0.70 WHIP have been largely earned thus far. While he has the fastball-slider combo working like this, he appears to be a safe option to start. When you find out he’s facing the Orioles and Athletics, it’s an absolute no-brainer. Both opponents are striking out over a 26% clip, making Ryan an even better play.

 

 

Probably Start

 

 

  • Dylan Cease has some of the best stuff in the game, but his below-average command leads to a few disastrous outings along the way. Despite a near 11% walk rate and a tough schedule, you can’t afford to leave Cease and his potential for dominance on your bench in a two-start week. While both of Cease’s opponents are filled with star power, their performances thus far have both been surprising. If I told you that LA leads the majors in wRC+, you’d likely assume I was talking about the Dodgers. You’d be incorrect. The Angels lineup looks like the best (and healthiest) version we’ve seen of them in years, with contributions from both their All-Stars and emerging outfielders. The Red Sox, on the other hand, have sputtered offensively out of the gates. They’re in the bottom half of the league in both homers and runs. More surprisingly, they have the worst strikeout-to-walk rate in baseball.

 

  • MacKenzie Gore is settling in nicely to the majors. He’s done everything within his power to remain in the San Diego rotation. With Mike Clevinger nearing a return, however, it remains to be seen whether Gore will be afforded the opportunity to make two starts. Outside of facing the league’s best offenses, Gore should be a relatively strong fantasy option from start to start.

 

  • Much has been discussed about Charlie Morton’s struggles thus far. While there’s an instinct to panic when a 38-year-old starter coming off a broken leg struggles out of the gate, it’s probably best to continue to trust Morton for the time being. His command has been off, but his fastball velocity suggests he remains healthy. Watching hitters tee off on Morton hasn’t been reassuring, but it’s possible he’s just a slow starter continuing to try to find his rhythm. The Mets have been firing on all cylinders, but Morton’s career track record should give you the confidence he can figure things out pitching behind the defending champs.

 

 

Questionable

 

  • This isn’t the week to go searching the waiver wire for two-start streamers. You’ll notice the Questionable tier is filled mostly with two groups of pitchers: a) those who have impressed thus far but have less than ideal upcoming matchups and b) high floor-low ceiling arms who are best reserved for one-start streams in daily leagues.

 

  • Drew Rasmussen, a popular pre-season sleeper, is the best two-start streamer you might still be able to find on waivers this week. The Rays don’t typically allow him to work deep into games, but he surprisingly tallied a Quality Start alongside nine strikeouts against Seattle on Wednesday. Expecting a pair of six-inning outings this week feels like a stretch given Tampa’s approach with their starters, but he should be a strong bet for solid ratios. Yahoo leagues appear to have quickly given up on Rasmussen, where he’s rostered in just 22% of leagues. The converted reliever is worthy of a speculative add to see if he can build upon his last outing but is even more intriguing knowing he’ll have two opportunities to take the hill.

 

  • Jordan Montgomery and Carlos Carrasco both have a gauntlet of an upcoming schedule. While Montgomery looks to be a reliable season-long contributor for your fantasy squad, a trip to Toronto might be a place to exercise caution. Carrasco is one of the toughest calls of the week, given his disastrous last outing. The decision to start or sit Cookie is entirely up to your tolerance for ratio risk.

 

  • Most of the one-start streamer options with two-start weeks are high floor plays. They may provide some value dependent on your league type and size. Two favorites are Michael Pineda against the Pirates and Germán Márquez at the Diamondbacks. Guessing when to start Márquez is a fool’s errand, and he’s done nothing yet this season to warrant putting him in your lineup. It should be noted, however, that he’s had three Coors Field starts, and one road start in hitter-friendly Citizen’s Bank Park. The schedule has not done the Rockies’ top starter any favors, and Arizona may be just what the doctor ordered.

 

 

Avoid

 

  • After a few serviceable outings to begin the year, Bruce Zimmerman was generating some buzz as someone who may be worthy of a look off waivers. His most recent opportunity against a formidable Yankees lineup was underwhelming, however, and cooled off any enthusiasm. He might be someone to keep an eye on but doesn’t look to currently be an option in standard leagues. This is particularly true in roto leagues where the Orioles won’t likely provide many opportunities for Wins.

 

  • If the matchups were more favorable, Michael Wacha might be worth a look in a two-start week. Hosting the Angels and White Sox is not worth the risk despite a 1.77 ERA to start the year. One look at his 11% walk rate and underwhelming 24% CSW make this an easy decision to avoid.

 

 

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.

  • bob says:

    paddack?

    • Anthony Tucker says:

      Paddack wasn’t announced as Monday’s starter until after publishing unfortunately so he didn’t make it into the article, but given the matchups against the O’s and A’s he’s a good option if you miss out on Rasmussen

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