Welcome back, Pitcher List community, to the weekly two-start pitcher article! Each Friday, I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and summarize my thoughts to help you set your rosters. You know the rules. There are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, and Bench. Definitely Start features starters who are no-doubters for the week ahead, followed by Probably Start, which includes pitchers who 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. Good luck in opening week, everyone!
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through next week. These are subject to change.
Gerrit Cole (@PHI, BOS)
Tyler Glasnow (ATL, @BAL)
Walker Buehler (@HOU, @ARI)
Josh James (SEA, @LAA)
Adrian Houser (@PIT, STL)
- It’s slim pickings next week. Gerrit Cole appears to be in mid-season form and while the matchups aren’t ideal, he’s an automatic start.
- After Cole, Tyler Glasnow is likely the next best option. He could easily fan 10 Orioles and should keep the Braves at bay. Get it? OK, nevermind. Just start him.
- Since most team’s top pitching options pitch over the weekend, we are faced with an extremely limited crop of starters. Walker Buehler is an ace, no doubt, but even he has to deal with the Astros on the road. He’s not stretched out just yet but few fantasy players in weekly formats will have better options.
- I’m rolling the dice with Josh James given his elite strikeout ability. Command will be an issue but he’s a virtual lock for six or seven strikeouts versus the Mariners.
- Adrian Houser had double-digit SwStr rates on his fourseamer, changeup, and slider last year. The Pirates hitters are somehow weaker than in 2019 and the Cardinals are not all that powerful offensively. I bet the House next week.
Pablo Lopez (BAL, WSH)
Luke Weaver (@SDP, LAD)
Tyler Mahle (CHC, @ DET)
Austin Voth (TOR, @MIA)
Kyle Wright (@TBR, NYM)
Dylan Cease (@CLE, @KCR)
- With the unfortunate news of Juan Soto hitting the IL, I’ve upgraded Pablo Lopez to probable. The Nationals lineup is moderate without Soto’s bat and the Orioles might be the worst team in baseball this year. Plus, Lopez has added a cutter!
- I’m very interested in a healthy Luke Weaver this year. The Dodgers pose a huge challenge but the Padres still have some holes. Let’s not forget Weaver posted a 21.2% K-BB% and a 3.07 FIP last season.
- It’s Mahle time, baby! I’m a believer in Tyler Mahle and his matchups are decent next week. He cut his walk rate last year and managed a solid 30.2% “CSW”. He’s a must-start in Detroit and a low-end option against the Cubs.
- I’m an Austin Voth truther. He has a four-pitch mix that has some potential including a solid cutter and change. His matchups are pretty soft to start the season so I’m starting Voth in most formats.
- The Braves should score a ton of runs and both the Rays and Mets are projected to have mediocre offenses. Wright slings it at 95 mph and has a good slider. I’ll take a shot with Wright but beware of a Cherry Bomb.
- Dylan Cease is a great streaming option in KC. In weekly leagues, there’s a fair amount of risk, however. Last season, Cease gave up four runs or more in eight of 14 starts. Strikeouts should be there regardless, though, which could soften the blow.
Griffin Canning (@OAK, HOU)
Wade Miley (CHC, @DET)
Aaron Civale (CHW, @MIN)
Jon Lester (@CIN, PIT)
Alec Mills (@CIN, PIT)
Anibal Sanchez (TOR, @MIA)
Merrill Kelly (@TEX, LAD)
Chris Bassitt (LAA, @SEA)
Mike Foltynewicz (@TBR, NYM)
Asher Wojciechowski (@MIA, TBR)
Elieser Hernandez (BAL, WSH)
- I love Griffin Canning’s slider but his matchups are tough. The Coliseum in Oakland is a great place to pitch so in daily leagues, that’s where I’d roll the dice. He’s on the bench at home against the Astros though.
- Wade Miley certainly falls into the one good, one bad start camp next week. I still think he’s worth a stream in deeper formats given the start in Comerica Park against the Tigers.
- There just isn’t a ton of upside here with Aaron Civale. The Twins are loaded and while the White Sox have some swing and miss in their lineup they’ve also added quite a bit of pop. I like Civale’s ability to limit walks and home runs, but prefer rolling him out against the White Sox.
- The veteran lefty is so far past his fantasy prime but is worth a start against the Pirates at home. In weekly leagues of 15 teams or deeper, Jon Lester is a decent option even in hitter-friendly Cincinnati as the Reds boast their lefty-heavy lineup.
- Alec Mills managed an impressive 12.5% SwStr rate in limited action last year. He’s a junk baller who tops out at 91 mph. I have doubts about Mills making it beyond the fifth but that’s worth a start against the Pirates.
- Maybe Anibal Sanchez can recapture the success of his cutter. Either way, the Blue Jays on the road and the Marlins in Miami are worth a stream in most formats.
- I guess I’m mostly out of Merrill Kelly next week. There’s strikeout upside against the swing-happy Rangers but the Dodgers are stacked. I’ll sit back and wait to see if Kelly maintained his velocity gains from the end of 2019.
- If I knew Chris Bassitt could throw five to six innings, he’d bump up a level especially, with Anthony Rendon potentially out. Per FanGraphs Depth Charts, the Mariners are projected to score the fewest runs per game, so he gets the green light there.
- Mike Foltynewicz’s success is tied to his velocity. He was down about 1.5 MPH last year and was pumping just 91 mph in his final tune-up. Neither matchup is a death sentence but this ranking is more about his reduced velocity.
- Am I missing something with Elieser Hernandez? I just don’t see it. He has a good slider but not much else. He’s a streamer in 15-team formats versus the Orioles but there’s no way he should be rostered against the Nationals.
- Asher Wojciechowski is going to be a popular streamer against the Marlins in Florida. In shallower weekly leagues, he’s not worth the risk.
Jake Arrieta (NYY, @TOR)
Zach Plesac (CHW, @MIN)
JA Happ (@PHI, BOS)
Zach Davies (ARI, @COL)
Michael Fulmer (KCR, CIN)
Trent Thornton (@WSH, PHI)
Kendall Graveman (@HOU, OAK)
Derek Holland (MIL, @CHC)
- The veteran workout machine is a shell of his former self. It’s a rough start as Arrieta draws the Yankees at home and the Blue Jays on the road, especially if they play their home games in Baltimore.
- I feel like Zach Plesac got by with a bit of smoke and mirrors in 2019. His fastball is bad and he doesn’t really have a putaway pitch. The Twins are scary and the White Sox are far from a cakewalk. I’m passing.
- I like JA Happ as a potential bounce-back candidate but not next week. The Red Sox and Phillies are both projected to be top-10 offenses this year.
- One start in Colorado essentially eliminates Zach Davies as an option in weekly formats. Even the home start against the DBacks isn’t great. I cannot envision any upside here.
- It’s nice to see Michael Fulmer back in action but he’s likely to be used as an opener or will be pulled before the fifth. He’s just not worth a start next week. Trent Thronton has two tough matchups and doesn’t provide much upside. I’ll pass.
- Starting Kendall Graveman would be a grave mistake. Not much explanation needed here, both teams should pummel him.
- The Brewers and Cubs are excellent offensive clubs and Derek Holland had a 6.08 ERA last year. No thanks.
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