Two-Start Pitchers for Week 5 (8/17-8/23)

A dive into all the two-start pitchers for the week ahead.

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, we seem to be riddled with low-tier options and some difficult matchups. That doesn’t mean there aren’t great two-start options. It’s important to note that as of this writing, the Cardinals series against the White Sox is still in doubt. In fact, the Cardinals haven’t played a game since Wednesday, July 29th! I will not even begin to speculate on their two-start options for next week. Keep that in mind when considering Cubs starters as they are scheduled to face the Cardinals in the front half of the week.  Let’s dive into the rest of the two-start pitchers for week 5.

Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through next week. These are subject to change

 

Definitely Start

 

Carlos Carrasco (@PIT, DET)

Zac Gallen (OAK, @SFG)

Dylan Bundy (SFG, @OAK)

Blake Snell (@NYY, TOR)

Kyle Hendricks (STL, CHW)

Kenta Maeda (MIL, @KCR)

Hyun-Jin Ryu (@BAL, @TBR)

Zack Greinke (COL, @SDP)

Ross Stripling (SEA, COL)

Julio Urias (SEA, COL)

  • Week 5 lacks top-tier aces but Carlos Carrasco has been great thus far and his matchups are fantastic. He’s also sporting the best K% of his career (32.3%). I wrote up Zac Gallen’s changeup this offseason, and would you look at that? He’s throwing it more! He’s also cut his BB% and I believe could be a top-15 starter going forward.
  • Dylan Bundy in the definitely start seems bizarre but that’s 2020. Honestly, he’s not this good but his pitch mix changes are catering to his strengths. No need to shy away against the Giants and the A’s next week.
  • I think it’s time to stop hating on Blake Snell. He finally went five innings striking out six Red Sox in a scoreless outing this week. He’s giving up loud contact but holds a 29.6% K-BB% backed by a 16.2% SwStr%. Kyle Hendricks at home for two starts is automatic. The only question is whether or not the Cardinals will be playing by then.
  • As I mentioned last week, Kenta Maeda is pitching like an ace. A home start against the Brewers followed by a road outing in Kansas City has me excited about him next week. Hyun-Jin Ryu is getting whiffs! He’s carrying the best K% of his career but walking batters. That’s odd. Either way, neither team scares me from rolling with Ryu next week.
  • How can you not love Zack Greinke yelling out what pitch he’s throwing? The dude slings it 87 mph but continues to get it done with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. The Dodgers will use Ross Stripling and Julio Urias for two home starts against two weaker opponents. The Mariners have fallen back towards their true talent and the Rockies are historically bad offensively away from Coors Field. I’m starting both with confidence.

 

Probably Start

 

Masahiro Tanaka (TBR, @NYM)

Chris Paddack (@TEX, HOU)

Mike Minor (SDP, @SEA)

Griffin Canning (SFG, @OAK)

Nate Pearson (@BAL, @TBR)

Brandon Bielak (COL, @SDP)

Trevor Williams (CLE, MIL)

  • Masahiro Tanaka looks back to his old self. He’s getting more whiffs and has limited home runs.  The Mets give me a bit of pause but the Rays have a 25.1% strikeout rate as a team. I think Tanaka can hold them down. Chris Paddack was just bombed by the Dodgers in LA and continues to essentially be a two-pitch pitcher. That being said, I think he can dominate the swing-happy Rangers and that should be enough to weather the storm against a tough Astros team.
  • Mike Minor has lost two ticks off his fastball this year, but his FIP is still a solid 3.68. I’d like to see him regain some of the lost velocity but I expect the 54% strand rate to normalize. The Padres are tough but he draws them at home and gets the weaker Mariners on the road.
  • It’s been a rough ride for Griffin Canning but I think he rights the ship against the Giants and Athletics. Believe it or not, The A’s are ranked 20th offensively at home this season. Historically, it’s better to stream against the Athletics when they’re home.
  • Flame throwing rookie Nate Pearson is coming off a tough outing but I expect him to bounce back next week showing more swing and miss. Wait, Brandon Bielak in this tier? I get it. His metrics aren’t great but his 12.4% SwStr% indicates an increase in his K%. Hus minor league track record indicates he can limit homers thanks to high ground ball rate. Backed by one of the best offenses, he’ll be in my lineup next week.
  • Trevor Williams is a sneaky good play next week. Cleveland is ranked 29th offensively and Milwaukee is still struggling to score runs. The two starts in pitcher-friendly PNC Park helps out as well. He should be on waivers and I’d grab him for his two-step.

 

Questionable

 

Dylan Cease (DET, @CHC)

Chris Bassitt (@ARI, LAA)

Jordan Montgomery (BOS, @NYM)

Kyle Freeland (@HOU, @LAD)

Luke Weaver (OAK, @SFG)

Mike Fiers (@ARI, LAA)

Zach Davies (@TEX, HOU)

David Peterson (@MIA, NYY)

Zach Eflin (@BOS, @ATL)

Jake Arrieta (@BOS, @ATL)

Eric Lauer (@MIN, @PIT)

Alex Cobb (TOR, BOS)

  • Well, this is quite the list. Good luck weekly leaguers! For daily moves leagues, my favorite streams include Luke Weaver in San Francisco, David Peterson in Miami, and Eric Lauer against the Pirates. Of this group, I like Weaver the most. His ratios aren’t pretty but his velocity is good and he’s missing bats.
  • It seems like Dylan Cease is always going up against the Tigers. He’s already faced them four times in 18 career starts but has a 2.86 ERA in those outings. I’m starting him at home but the road start against the hot North Siders in a no go for me.
  • The Bassitt hound has been better than advertised this year. He’s playing over his head but neither matchup is all that bad. I could see avoiding him in shallow formats but in 12-team and deeper leagues, you could do much worse in next week’s two-step.
  • Jordan Montgomery and Kyle Freeland have two difficult matchups. In Freeman’s case, he’s away from Coors Field which is a plus. He’s been lucky, there’s no doubt, but he’s pulled this off over a full 162 before. Do you feel lucky? Montgomery is still getting back to full strength after missing almost all of 2019. Boston isn’t the juggernaut it was last season, so he’s a medium risk option next week.
  • Both Phillies starters have looked decent in the early going and have to deal with the Braves and Red Sox on the road. I mentioned the Red Sox pedestrian performance offensively, but they are more dangerous at home. On the plus side, the Braves are still without Acuna and Albies, so there is a glimmer of hope here.

 

Bench

 

 

Matt Boyd (@CHW, @CLE)

Wade LeBlanc (TOR, BOS)

Jordan Lyles (SDP, @SEA)

Jordan Yamamoto (NYM, WSH)

Wade Miley (@KCR, @STL)

Tyler Alexander (@CHW, @CLE)

Kris Bubic (@MIN, MIN)

Anibal Sanchez (@ATL, @MIA)

Robert Gsellman (@MIA, NYY)

Justin Dunn (@LAD, TEX)

Zack Godley (@NYY, @BAL)

Trevor Cahill (@LAA, ARI)

  • I can’t believe we’ve fallen this far with Matt Boyd. Neither of his matchups are awful but here we are. I can’t continue to roll him out there. He’s been bombed by the Royals and Pirates of all teams.
  • Jordan Lyles has struck out as many batters as he’s walked, so that’s not great. Jordan Yamamoto is averaging under 90 mph and giving up a ton of hard contact. There’s too much offensive pop in the Mets and Nationals lineups to risk using him.
  • Sure, I like Wade Miley’s matchups but I’m still bitter he took Tyler Mahle’s spot in the rotation. Besides, Miles left his last start due to an injury. Even if Miley starts next week, he shouldn’t go five innings, so grab Mahle as he should follow Miley in these start and could vulture a couple wins.
  • Tyler Alexander performed poorly in his first start as he struggled to miss bats. I think the 10-straight strikeout effort, while amazing, was a bit a fluke based on the SwStr%. I’ll pass next week. Kris Bubic is the lucky pitcher who gets the Twins twice in a week! I kind of like Bubic but not next week. He could very easily give up five dingers is fewer than eight combined innings.
  • I think Anibal Sanchez needs to retire. He’s throwing 89 mph and can’t seem to get many batters out. It’s been a good run. Robert Gsellman has been announced as a starter. I’m not sure how long he’ll stay in the rotation but he won’t make it past the fourth in either start. Starting Zack Godley would be extremely ungodly. To be fair, he’s changed his arsenal that features a cutter. It’s helped boost his SwStr% but he still can’t find the zone and gives up too much hard contact. Hard pass.
  • I’m old enough to remember when Trevor Cahill had a nasty changeup. Unfortunately, those days are long over. Besides, I don’t think he’ll throw more than three innings in either outing. You’ll need to look elsewhere.

 

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Max Freeze

Max is the founder of the FreezeStats Blog and currently writes for PitcherList and FantasyPros. Max is a lifelong Cubs fan who used to pretend he was Andre Dawson while hitting rocks in his backyard as a kid.

  • Avatar Nick says:

    I think Touki is going twice next week. What category would he fall into?

    • Avatar Max Freeze says:

      He would fall into the Questionable tier probably between Peterson and Eflin. I’m encouraged that he isn;t walking many batters but he still looks to have poor control. He’s risky but could pile up Ks. I originally had him on here but wasn’t sure he was going to get two starts.

  • Avatar Joe says:

    Marco Gonzalez?

    • Avatar Max Freeze says:

      I don’t think he’s a good option in weekly leagues since he’ll face LAD on Tuesday. He’s a decent streamer against the Rangers on Sunday

  • Avatar Curious Reader says:

    Is it likely that Mahle will follow Miley in each of those starts hence being a good start in a weekly league?

    • Avatar Max Freeze says:

      That’s the way it seems to be lining up. I wouldn’t drop Mahle just yet as Miley may not be 100% healthy.

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