Two Start Pitchers for Week 5 (5/3-5/9)

Previewing two-start pitchers for the upcoming week.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the 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 on the wire.

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

 

Set and Forget

 

 

  • What’s the only thing more fun than having Jacob deGrom on your fantasy team? Having him during a two-start week. Enjoy the generational talent and cross your fingers the Mets can find a way to push through a run or two for him.

 

    • Clayton Kershaw was initially scheduled for a two-start week, but as of publishing, it appears they’ll be going with a bullpen day on Friday to get their starters an additional day of rest. Assuming everyone is pushed back one day, Walker Buehler lines up for road matchups with the Cubs and Angels.

 

  • Tyler Glasnow and Sandy Alcántara have both made good on preseason expectations and are on their way to career years. They’re moving into the upper-echelon of starting pitchers and belong in your lineup regardless of opponent.

 

  • Zack Greinke was humbled by the Seattle Mariners in his last start, but that shouldn’t shake your confidence in him moving forward, even against the Yankees and Blue Jays. He remains elite at inducing soft contact and should be an asset for your ratios over the course of two starts.

 

 

Probably Start

 

 

  • Kenta Maeda hasn’t delivered the strong ratios or wins you were hoping for when you drafted him. Watching Maeda on the mound this year hasn’t looked pretty; opponents are making a concerning amount of hard contact and the strikeouts just haven’t been there. While I could understand the temptation to keep him on your bench until he figures it out, the matchups alone should warrant him a spot in your lineup. Promising news for Maeda’s short-term outlook: entering play on 4/29, both the Tigers (28.7%) and Rangers (28.3%) sport two of the league’s three worst K-rates.

 

  • With Mike Fiers returning from the IL, it’s unclear whether the A’s will go with a five or six starters in their rotation. As it currently stands, Frankie Montas is in line to get two starts. I’d be confident putting him in my lineup against two AL East opponents

 

  • Aaron Civale isn’t going to carry a sub-3.00 ERA throughout the year; his low CSW thus far and lack of overpowering stuff suggests regression may be coming soon. Despite this, he should be in your lineup for starts against the Royals and Reds due to his consistent ability to work deep into games. He’s likely more of a high-floor option than someone you roster for upside, but that is completely okay. Neither of Civale’s next opponents are pushovers, but they also aren’t strong enough to warrant consideration of other options.

 

  • There’s always a degree of risk when starting Freddy Peralta due to his fledgling command that often leads to inconsistency and elevated pitch counts. I’m willing to accept the downside risk and start Peralta against two middling offenses.

 

  • Chris Paddack‘s performances this year haven’t quite earned him his spot in this tier. The results haven’t been there, but there are some small signs of optimism. His command is strong and both the fastball and change have shown glimpses of promise at times this year. Without a third pitch, he’ll continue to be a risky proposition, but matchups against the Pirates and Giants make Paddack a likely start.

 

  • Another two-pitch guy, Huascar Ynoa has four strong outings under his belt this season. The fastball-slider combo have been electric so far this year and I’m willing to take the bet he keeps it going against the Nats and Phillies. A disastrous start against the Cubs where he gave up 6 ER over 4 IP shows the floor, but I’m struggling to come up with a reason why he shouldn’t be in your lineup when he has shown the ability to dominate.

 

 

Questionable

 

 

  • We have a large batch of starters in the Questionable tier this week. Some are already highly rostered while others are streamers with at least one matchup you can look to take advantage of. While last week the two-start streamer landscape was mostly non-existent, this week you should have at least a few options. As a word of caution, while some of these starters can be viewed as streaming options, that doesn’t mean you should force them into your lineup. With any SP on the fringes of 12-team rosters, there’s the potential for a ratio-wrecking outing. Understand what your team needs are before making start/sit decisions, especially with those towards the bottom of this tier.

 

  • Shohei Ohtani finds himself in this tier, in part, due to how unique of a player he is. Your decision on putting him in your lineup is largely dependent on what platform you play on. In weekly leagues where you must choose between using Ohtani as a hitter or a pitcher, I’d prefer to get his bat in the utility spot. In daily lineup leagues, I’d consider starting against the Rays, but is definitely a bench against the Dodgers assuming he gets his second start. The strikeout upside is through the roof, but until he gets his command under control, you’re playing with fire.

 

  • Amongst the group of underperforming pitchers from the first month of the season, Kyle Hendricks finds himself at the top of the list I’m concerned about. Hendricks’ calling card throughout his career has been an ability to avoid hard contact and work deep into games while stabilizing your ratios. So far this season, none of that has been true as opponents have teed off on him in the early going. He should be on your bench against the Dodgers, but I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and start him against the lowly Pirates.

 

  • Germán Márquez has been even more of a conundrum than usual this season. Trading strong starts at Coors with poor starts on the road was not what you expected when you drafted him. It’s completely unpredictable and I wouldn’t fault you either way whether you decide to start or sit. It truly feels like a roll of the dice.

 

  • J.A. Happ took advantage of two weak opponents in his last two outings, completing 7 IP twice en route to a pair of wins. These are not the results you should be expecting rest of season, but guess what? He has every chance to keep it going for another week against two more weak lineups in Texas and Detroit. If he’s still available in your league, he has optimal matchups to target. Happ won’t fill up the stat sheet with strikeouts, but he’s a serviceable bet for a potential win or two until you can toss him back to the wire for the next streamer. If you choose to start Happ, it’s because of his opponents not his underlying skills.

 

 

  • I have Nick Pivetta closing out the Questionable tier, but I’d like to avoid if at all possible. Anyone who has been playing fantasy baseball for a few years has likely been burned by Pivetta at least once before. He is, however, coming off two positive outings and gets the Tigers and Orioles. I’ll let someone else take the risk, but I can understand if you’re mulling it over.

 

Avoid

 

 

  • Tyler Anderson already bested the San Diego Padres earlier this season, but I’m not ready to start him against either the Padres or the Cubs. He does, however, have strong command and a four seamer that make him an intriguing waiver wire pickup down the road.

 

  • Casey Mize has shown some signs of progress this season mixed with growing pains in between. Despite the prospect pedigree and name value, he should be avoided against two tough offenses.

 

  • Aaron Sanchez has been serviceable, albeit unspectacular, this season. A trip to Coors and against the Padres are more than enough reason to look a different direction on the wire.

 

  • Dean Kremer entered the year with some buzz as someone who could potentially provide value as a back-end fantasy arm. Unfortunately, he’s yet to make it through the fifth inning in a start. Kremer sits at or near the bottom of a variety of pitching metrics including exit velocity, hard hit rate, and chase rate among others. He shouldn’t be on your radar, even in deep leagues, until he shows noticeable improvement.

 

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 Andrew says:

    Do you think McClanahan gets two starts? If so, where would you think he fits?

    • Anthony Tucker Anthony Tucker says:

      McClanahan isn’t currently slated to get two starts (Wacha and Glasnow are the probables for Monday or Tuesday). Regardless, I’d still be interested in picking him up and seeing where it goes – upside is through the roof

  • Avatar Dewey says:

    Would you consider starting any of the Avoids in a 15-team league, as opposed to a shallower league? Have Anderson and Houser (plus Montas). Lot of risk to think about this week.

    • Anthony Tucker Anthony Tucker says:

      I think I’d still like to avoid given the potential for a dent to your ratios. I like Anderson more rest of season, but if I had to get one in my lineup I’d go with Houser. Bryce Harper won’t be playing tonight and that lineup doesn’t quite scare you too much with him not in it

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