Welcome back 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. Next week, there are fewer top-tier options, but there are plenty of favorable matchups with mid-tier options. It’s important to note, the Cardinals haven’t set their rotation just yet but they draw the Pirates and White Sox next week. Whoever is slated to start on Monday is a decent speculative add. Let’s dive into the rest of the two-start pitchers for week 4.
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through next week. These are subject to change.
Max Scherzer (@NYM, @BAL)
Aaron Nola (ATL, NYM)
Patrick Corbin (@NYM, @BAL)
Yu Darvish (@CLE, MIL)
Kenta Maeda (@MIL, KCR)
Dustin May (SDP, @LAA)
- Under the assumption that Max Scherzer is just fine after being pulled early with a hamstring issue in his last start, he’s our top dog next week. He’s carrying a 2.47 FIP and has 22 Ks in just 13.2 innings.
- Aaron Nola is coming off a 12 strikeout performance against the Yankees! He’s been utilizing a changeup more frequently and it’s helped him generate a 17.2% SwStr% in the early going.
- Patrick Corbin’s dip in velocity is a slight concern but his 31.9% K-BB% eases any hesitation that I have. He’s been one of the most consistent starters in the last two-plus seasons. Start your aces.
- The only concern coming into 2020 with Yu Darvish was the first-half walk rate. So far this year, he’s walked just two batters in 17 IP. He’s an ace, enjoy it.
- Speaking on aces, Kenta Maeda has looked like one early in 2020. The start in Milwaukee is normally scary but the Brewers have a 88 wRC+ as a team and the Royals haven’t been much better. He sure looks like a great return on investment.
- I’m not going to overreact to one start but Dustin May was ridiculous against the Padres this week. Besides, he’s given us three starts with a 2.63 ERA backed by all the ERA-estimators. I’m starting him with confidence next week.
Dylan Bundy (OAK, LAD)
Zack Wheeler (BAL, NYM)
Ross Stripling (SDP, @LAA)
Lance McCullers (SFG, SEA)
Dallas Keuchel (@DET, STL)
Dinelson Lamet (@LAD, @ARI)
Josh Lindblom (MIN, @CHC)
Tyler Mahle (KCR, PIT)
Randy Dobnak (@MIL, KCR)
- Dylan Bundy has entered the circle of trust. Do yourself a favor and read Alex Fast’s recent breakdown of Bundy’s changes since coming to the Angels. If it weren’t for a tough matchup versus the Dodgers, he’d be in the definitely start tier.
- I need to see a little more from Wheeler before fully trusting him. I mean, six Ks in 13 IP? Come on, Zack. I think his K% will improve and I’m starting him next week.
- So, yeah, two weeks ago the Mariners and Giants were projected to be two of bottom offenses in the league. As of today, both are sitting a hair above league-average. I’m still not concerned as talent will eventually rise to the top, but Lance McCullers was awful against the Diamondbacks this week. Sure, he could dominate next week but given blowup potential, he finds himself in this tier.
- Dallas Keuchel struck out eight Brewers on Wednesday but with a 27.5% CSW, I wouldn’t expect much next week in terms of strikeouts. Then again, the Tigers are striking out 30% of the time. There’s sneaky upside here and he should be started for the ratios alone. Dinelson Lamet is the opposite of Keuchel. He’s sporting a 31% CSW and draws the DBacks and their .286 wOBA so far this season. The Dodgers start is rough but Lamet could be responsible for a boatload of strikeouts next week.
- Josh Lindblom has looked sharp in his two outings thus far striking out 12 batters in 8.2 IP. His 15.5% SwStr rate backs up the punchouts and I think he’s worth a start next week with neither team having seen him yet.
- Surprised to see Tyler Mahle here? Don’t be. His velocity is up, he’s throwing a slider, and his CSW% is all the way up to 32.9%! Oh, and he draws two of the worst offenses in the league next week.
- Randy Dobnak is in the Keuchel category. He’s a heavy ground ball pitcher (68.2%) and doesn’t walk many batters. That should limit any damage against him and the Twins offense is sure to back him.
Garrett Richards (@LAD, @ARI)
Adrian Houser (MIN, @CIN)
Sean Manaea (LAA, @SFG)
Kyle Gibson (SEA, @COL)
Ryan Yarbrough (@BOS, @TOR)
Nathan Eovaldi (TBR, @NYY)
Steven Matz (WSH, @PHI)
Zach Eflin (BAL, NYM)
Trevor Williams (@STL, @CIN)
Sean Newcomb (@PHI, @MIA)
- Garrett Richards is healthy and has looked fine but a 29.4% CSW is just, meh. The lefty-heavy Dodgers just touched him up, so I’m sitting him there. He should be able to handle the DBacks, however, as they are in the bottom five in terms of wRC+.
- Adrian Houser is getting by with a little smoke and mirrors as his strand rate is 100% and his BABIP is sitting below .200. He’s due some regression next week. He’s more talented than most of the pitchers in their tier, so in deeper formats, he’s worth a shot. Sean Manaea’s luck has completely flipped. His CSW% is a healthy 32.5% and he’s throwing fewer fastballs in favor of his change. He’s an easy stream in San Fransisco but I’m probably benching him against the Angels.
- Kyle Gibson probably has the higher ceiling of this group but has to deal with Coors Field. Daily leaguers should stream him against the Mariners but weekly leaguers have a difficult decision to make.
- The Baby Blue Jays are off to a slow start, so I’m open to starting Ryan Yarbrough in that one. With Eovaldi and Matz, neither of their matchups are great. However, I’d start Eovaldi against the Rays and Matz versus the Nationals.
- My boy, Zach Elfin finally made his 2020 debut with four shutout innings versus the Yankees. He went with a sinker-heavy approach and I don’t love it. However, he’s worth a stream against the Orioles early next week.
- Trevor Williams has increased his slider usage and his K% is up as a result. I’m actually liking this version of Williams. I’m not scared of the Cardinals, so he’s a nice option there. Facing the Reds in Cincinnati is a tough spot, so I’d steer away.
Robbie Ray (@COL, SDP)
Alex Cobb (@PHI, WSH)
J.T. Brubaker (@STL, @CIN)
Jon Gray (ARI, TEX)
Logan Webb (@HOU, OAK)
Rick Porcello (WSH, @PHI)
Martin Perez (TBR, @NYY)
Elieser Hernandez (@TOR, ATL)
Julio Teheran (OAK, LAD)
Justin Dunn (@TEX, @HOU)
- A new arm slot and increased velocity for Robbie Ray has not led to success. If you’re a gluten for punishment, go ahead and start Ray next week in Coors. Personally, I need to see a little more before throwing him in my lineup.
- So, Alex Cobb has looked decent to start 2020 but I’m not buying it. He’s carrying a .211 BABIP, 91.4% strand rate, and his first-pitch strike% sits below 50%. Expect the Phillies and Nationals to put up crooked numbers next week against Cobb.
- No one is talking about Jon Gray. His ratios are pristine but his K% is a disastrous 10.6%! His SwStr% is down 4.5% thanks to a two mph dip in velocity. All of that contact is going to lead to trouble.
- I’m passing on Logan Webb next week. No chance you’re starting him in Houston and the Athletics are starting to wake up.
- Are you really thinking about starting Rick Porcello and Martin Perez? Perez has a 3.0% K-BB% and Porcello can’t seem to get anyone out. The Marlins are obviously short-handed but I’m still not touching Hernandez. He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher without much swing and miss in his game.
- Julio Teheran is back but only threw 52 pitches in his first start going 2.2 innings. Maybe he’ll be stretched out to 75 pitches for his second start next week but it’s against the Dodgers. Nope!
- Have you looked at Justin Dunn’s player page this year? He has a -3.1% K-BB% and a 9.89 FIP! Only Craig Kimbrel ’s numbers are uglier than Dunn’s in the early season. Hard pass.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)