Two Start Pitchers for Week 2 (4/12-4/18)

A ranking of all two-start pitchers for the upcoming week.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the two-start pitcher rankings! After an extended first matchup period, we’re back to a seven-day schedule for Week 2.

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 on the wire.

As a friendly reminder, the projected starters are just that, projections. We’ve got a strong slate of aces in line for two-starts this week. At the same time, there are likely only a few potential two-start options that are currently sitting on your waiver wire.

 

Set and Forget

 

  • Shane Bieber sat atop last week’s two-start pitcher rankings, and he finds himself here again in Week 2. In his first two starts he put up a casual 39.4% CSW that led to 24 strikeouts and a pair of quality starts The Cleveland offense, however, left him hanging in both starts and it’s reasonable to question how it’ll impact his win total throughout the year. He’ll face tougher tests this week at the White Sox and against a red-hot Cincy team, both of whom are currently in the top five of baseball in runs scored. Despite their hot starts, I expect Bieber to continue to pile up the Ks and pitch deep into both games.

 

  • Both Lucas Giolito and Aaron Nola will be anchors for your pitching staff as SP1 throughout the season, but brought up minor questions in their last time out. Giolito notched 10 Ks against the M’s, but was featuring slightly lower velocity. He attributed the velo drop to the cold weather which, for the time being, eases any concern I have. Nola was woefully inefficient in his last start and debuted a new pitch in his arsenal, the cutter, that proved to be ineffective. Let’s hope Nola was just experimenting early in the season and he gets back to his tried-and-true three-pitch mix.

 

  • Clayton Kershaw should be able to make amends for his first start against the Rockies, this time at home. While the Padres have built a roster full of depth and flexibility, they don’t look quite as imposing without Fernando Tatís. His fastball hasn’t reached last season’s velo, but the slider remains money for the lefty.

 

  • Tyler Glasnow and Sandy Alcantara faced off against each other on Opening Day and the two may have had the most promising first week and a half of any starters in baseball. The Rays have always handled their starters with kid gloves, but were comfortable in letting Glasnow go six innings in both of his first two starts. This is a huge development for anyone rostering the big righty. It’ll be interesting to see how Glasnow’s slider operates in his second start against the Yankees, if it’s consistently effective, the rest of the league will be in trouble. Early on, Alcantara is looking like a potential draft-day steal and an ace in the making. After seeing him carve up the Rays and Cardinals, I wouldn’t have any hesitation about starting Alcantara in a much larger test against the division-foe Braves.

 

  • I’m likely higher than most on Stephen Strasburg. I was hesitant going into his first start after ending the spring with reduced velocity and a recent calf injury. Well, the velocity wasn’t all the way back against the Braves. Despite this, I liked what I saw from Strasburg. I think it’s under-discussed how Strasburg has consistently adapted as he’s progressed throughout his career. While we’ll all be more comfortable with Stras in our lineup when he’s sitting mid-90s, I firmly believe in his ability to use his complete pitch mix to go deep into games for the Nats.

 

Probably Start

 

 

  • Pablo Lopez brings a high floor, given his steady command, but not quite the upside of his teammate Alcantara. Lopez’s most effective offering, the changeup, was not quite up to par in earning whiffs during his last outing against the Cardinals. While that wouldn’t seem to bode well for Lopez, I expect it to be a blip on the radar. In some ways, it’s promising that Lopez was able to go 6.2 innings with only 2 ER while not possessing his typical change. He’ll need to have his entire pitch mix working if he wants to navigate a dangerous Atlanta lineup.

 

  • John Means headlined my “Avoid” tier last week, and I certainly appeared to underestimate him. With added velo on the fastball in his second time out to go with a changeup that has registered a 33% CSW through two starts, I’m ready to believe the breakout we’ve been waiting for is here. He showed us he could successfully navigate the Red Sox and Yankees lineup, so you should feel confident he can go out and execute against the Mariners and Rangers.

 

  • You definitely have safer plays in your lineup than Freddy Peralta. It’s unlikely, however, that you have a rotation full of guys with his strikeout upside. Simply put, Peralta has the potential to be electric whenever he steps on the mound. If he can improve his command from last time out, he has the chance for a big week in two home starts against teams in the bottom third of wRC+.

 

  • I’m not too excited about either Chris Bassitt or Dallas Keuchel. Both have disappointed in their first two starts of the season and neither are likely to contribute more than a few strikeouts. Bassitt has two prime matchups. If you’ve drafted and held him through the first matchup period, you’ll likely want him in your lineup. Keuchel will have the opportunity to get back on track against a weak Cleveland offense and I’m willing to roll the dice against the Red Sox in the hope of chasing a W.

 

Questionable

 

 

  • Nathan Eovaldi looked sharp in his first two starts against the Orioles and Rays. While we know about his fastball, the secondaries are what really stood out in his last start. With a pair of tough lineups ahead, I went back and forth about whether Nasty Nate should be in the Probably Start or Questionable tier. I found myself feeling a little more risk-averse, placing him at the top of this grouping. If I rostered Eovaldi in a daily lineup league, I think I’d start him against Minnesota to see how things went and go from there. Definitely reasonable to roll the dice for both though, Eovaldi looks like he could be a valuable late-round arm this season.

 

  •  You know what you’re going to get from Ryan Yarbrough: strong ratios with limited strikeouts. Get him in your lineup for a great matchup against the Rangers, but don’t risk it in his trip to Yankee Stadium.

 

  • Jakob Junis appears to be throwing a cutter these days and found success in his first start against Cleveland. I wouldn’t expect big things this season. He makes the Questionable tier due to his strikeout potential in deeper or AL-only leagues. He’s tallied two seasons with 164 Ks. I’d only go to Junis if I was really desperate for strikeouts and willing to risk my ratios.

 

  • Keep an eye on Huascor Ynoa in deeper leagues. He befuddled the Nationals over five innings with a fastball-slider combo that showed promise. There’s risk involved, but he might be worth a stream against the Marlins.

 

Avoid

 

  • Triston McKenzie flashed potential last year, but isn’t much of an option as a projected two-start pitcher. Cleveland has made it clear they wouldn’t unleash him for a typical starter’s workload early on. It’s possible he’s even just an opener. I’d avoid until there’s more clarity he’ll be allowed to work more than a couple of innings.

 

  • Dean Kremer took his lumps in his last start, but that’ll happen on occasion to a loaded Yankees lineup. He’s got a much softer landing spot this time out against Seattle and Texas. You might be tempted to use him as a streaming option in 15-teamers, but you’re likely flirting with disaster. Kremer can get opponents to chase outside the zone, but a high walk rate and a lot of hard contact are reasons to look in another direction.

 

  • Despite two strong starts to open the year, I’m still skeptical of Matthew Boyd. He’s cut down on his fastball usage in favor of the changeup, which is a promising development. The slider hasn’t been as effective as you’d like, making me think these two starts might just be smoke and mirrors. If he puts it all together against the Astros, I’ll be more likely to buy back in, but in the meantime I’ll let someone else take the risk against at Houston and Oakland.

 

  • In his last start, Kyle Gibson went six strong against Toronto without giving up a run. He has a tantalizing second start against the Baltimore Orioles. You’ve gotta get him your lineup, right? In the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend!” Gibson has fooled fantasy players many times before and I’m not willing to bet that he’s a changed pitcher after one strong appearance. If you’re considering adding him in a deeper league, remind yourself of his first start of the season where he only earned one out. The floor here is very low.

 

  • Antonio Senzatela went eight scoreless at Coors this week! And he’s ranked 41 out of 43 two-start pitchers?!? I have no explanation for Senzatela’s most recent performance, but he managed just seven whiffs the entire game. I’m not expecting that type of magic again, especially not against two of the league’s top lineups. Senzatela outperformed his peripherals last season, but I wouldn’t bank on looking to him as a streaming option very often this season.

 

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 in his first year writing for Pitcher List. 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.

  • Avatar Firtree Baseball says:

    Which Mariners pitcher is getting 2 starts and are they worth it?

    • Anthony Tucker Anthony Tucker says:

      Thanks for reading! The Mariners projected starters are a bit of a mystery given the injury to Paxton. They technically haven’t announced a starter for Monday or Tuesday and planned on a six man rotation, so they were excluded here. My guess would be Justus Sheffield is the best bet to go Monday against the Orioles and could get two starts. I’d be comfortable starting him there, but would avoid in a potential second thought against the Astros. Good luck!

      • Avatar Firtree Baseball says:

        Thanks! In my past years, I’ve been too quick to go quantity over quality when deciding my starters in my weekly leagues. Articles like yours are a big help so that I know when to take a step back and question if the starter is really worth it.

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