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 are loaded with two-start options, and boy are we stacked! Plenty of aces are on the docket and we’ll dive into them in just a moment. Once again, we are going to be dealing with potential unknown postponements next week as two members of the Mets have tested positive for COVID-19. At this point, Friday’s game has been postponed and the rest of the weekend series against the Yankees is still up in the air. As we’ve learned, postponements can very easily extend into next week. For this article, I’ll stay optimistic, but it’s a situation that deserves your attention. Let’s dive into the rest of the two-start pitchers for week 6.
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through next week. These are subject to change
Jacob deGrom (MIA, @NYY)
Shane Bieber (MIN, @STL)
Trevor Bauer (@MIL, CHC)
Lucas Giolito (PIT, KCR)
Jack Flaherty (KCR, CLE)
Tyler Glasnow (TOR, @MIA)
Sonny Gray (@MIL, CHC)
Luis Castillo (@MIL, CHC)
Aaron Civale (MIN, @STL)
Lance Lynn (OAK, LAD)
Brandon Woodruff (CIN, PIT)
Jesus Luzardo (@TEX, @HOU)
German Marquez (@ARI, SDP)
- Jacob deGrom gave us a slight scare missing his scheduled start last weekend against the Phillies. He removed all doubt after he blanked the Marlins over six frames. Don’t think twice about slotting him in your lineup. Shane Bieber, with a dominant cutter, is just straight unfair for hitters. If you prefer Bieber over deGrom, I won’t blame you.
- Increased spin on Trevor Bauer’s fastball has led to a career-best 43.6% K% and a career-low Z-Contact%. Hitters can’t touch his four-seamer with a scant 0.120 wOBA against this season. Jack Flaherty was limited in his first start in over three weeks but should be cleared for 90+ pitches in his second outing next week. Start with confidence.
- The roller coaster continues with Tyler Glasnow. His walk rate is back over 13% and that’s a problem. However, I’m not concerned about his two matchups next week. His ratios might not be as pretty as his fellow aces but he could strike out 20 batters next week.
- Nothing but blue skies are on the horizon for Sonny Gray. He’s been even better than last year and should always be in your lineup. Despite a matchup with the Twins, Aaron Civale finds his way into the top tier thanks in part to a beautiful 33% CSW. He’s coming off a complete game against the Pirates and keeps hitters guessing using five pitches more than 10% of the time. Oh, and he can throw them all for strikes.
- Fastball machines Lance Lynn and Brandon Woodruff draw a pair of home starts next week. Their strikeout upside might not match some of the others in this tier but they are extremely safe.
- The duo at the bottom Jesus Luzardo and German Marquez have stuff for days. I don’t love their second starts but both should provide plenty of value next week.
Julio Urias (@SFG, @TEX)
Jose Berrios (@CLE, @DET)
Merrill Kelly (COL, SFG)
Patrick Corbin (PHI, @BOS)
Chris Paddack (SEA, @COL)
Framber Valdez (LAA, OAK)
Pablo Lopez (@WSH, TBR)
Johnny Cueto (LAD, @ARI)
- The matchups for Jose Berrios couldn’t get much better. Cleveland’s offense has managed just a 77 wRC+ while the Tigers are striking out over 27% of the time. Normally JB would be in the top tier but he’s struggling to find the strike zone and is giving up a lot of hard contact.
- Merrill Kelly draws two home starts against offenses that fall in the bottom half of the league. He’s due for a little regression but his 19.2% K-BB% is fantastic and backed by a 30% CSW. The loss of velocity for Patrick Corbin isn’t the issue it would be for a pitcher who relies heavily on a heater. Still, he drops down a bit with a dip in his strikeout rate.
- The Cowboy, Chris Paddack is throwing his curveball less than 10% of the time. That’s his third pitch and it doesn’t appear that he has the feel for it. One of his starts is in Colorado, so he’s not a sure thing next week.
- If Framber Valdez continues to strikeout over 23% of batters while managing a near-60% groundball rate, he’s going to be a very good fantasy asset. His two home starts are against homer-happy clubs but should keep them at bay. Johnny Cueto gets the Dodgers on the road who are essentially league-average based on wRC+. I wouldn’t expect him to rack up the strikeouts but he should be serviceable in his two-step.
Cristian Javier (LAA, OAK)
Casey Mize (CHC, MIN)
Brad Keller (@STL, @CHW)
Alec Mills (@DET, @CIN)
Spencer Turnbull (CHC, MIN)
Patrick Sandoval (@HOU, SEA)
Elieser Hernandez (@NYM, TBR)
Marco Gonzales (@SDP, @LAA)
Adam Wainwright (KCR, CLE)
Alex Young (COL, SFG)
Brett Anderson (CIN, PIT)
- Cristian Javier has been a serviceable pitcher in his short stint in the majors but does give up the longball thanks to a 51% fly-ball rate. The Angels and A’s are both top-10 in home runs and Javier has not shown the ability to miss bats as he did in the minors. He’s a low-end option in his two-step next week.
- After an impressive seven strikeout, zero walk debut from Casey Mize, he draws one of the toughest matchups next week against the Cubs and Twins. I’m likely sitting him in shallow weekly formats but in deep leagues, there are fewer upside options.
- I’m tempted to move Brad Keller into the probable start tier. I mean, he hasn’t given up a run in 17.2 innings this year! But, then I see the 100% strand rate coupled with a .190 BABIP and I know tougher times are ahead. I prefer Keller in St Louis because I think the swing-happy White Sox will give him trouble.
- Patrick Sandoval and Alec Mills have the classic one good, one bad start next week. I prefer Mills in Detroit over Sandoval at home against Seattle as he’s struggled to get punchouts. Mills has similar issues but has been better at limiting hard contact.
- Spencer Turnbull hasn’t given up a home run this year and that seems to be a skill he possesses. He doesn’t get a ton of strikeouts but manages weak contact and gets a ton of worm burners. I doubt his homerless streak continues through next week but the backdrop of Comerica should limit to long balls.
- Elieser Hernandez has looked great so far in 2020. But, he’s a two-pitch pitcher (FB, SL) with a 53% fly-ball rate. It’s only a matter of time before he becomes a Cherry Bomb.
- If you’re looking to keep your ratios intact, Marco Gonzales is your guy. He’s walking just 2.6% of the batters he’s faced this year while limiting hard contact. The veteran Adam Wainwright draws two relatively easy matchups next week so in deeper formats, he’s worth a stream.
Tommy Milone (@TBR, @TOR)
Ryan Castellani (@ARI, SDP)
Kyle Gibson (OAK, LAD)
Sean Manaea (@TEX, @HOU)
Jake Arrieta (@WSH, ATL)
Steven Brault (@CHW, @MIL)
Tanner Roark (@TBR, BAL)
Chase Anderson (BOS, BAL)
Erick Fedde (PHI, @BOS)
- I’m not sure what Tommy Milone is doing this year but he’s carrying a career-best 21.0% K-BB% and a 13% SwStr%. As impressive as he’s been, I think it comes crashing down on him next week. The Rays and Blue Jays have a 122 wRC+ and 105 wRC+ respectively against left-handed pitchers. I’ll pass.
- Kyle Gibson simply isn’t missing bats as he did a year ago. His SwStr% is down five percent and his CSW% is well below average at 26.6%. He’s down one mph and still serving up dingers. The A’s and Dodgers will likely send several over the fence. Sean Manaea is a bench for me next week with both starts being on the road and the second against the Astros.
- Veteran Jake Arrieta’s HR/FB% has increased for an incredible six straight seasons. With a 21% K-rate—he’ll need to keep the ball in the yard to survive. I have my doubts, especially against the Nationals and Braves. Steven Brault has a scant 5.7% SwStr% and has walked nearly 15% of the batters he’s faced. The .200 BABIP won’t last and I expect him to allow his first home run or three of the year.
- We try not to start pitchers with very poor strikeout minus walk rates. Tanner Roark’s is 6.5%. No, Thanks. Chase Anderson is still being stretched out. He has yet to go four innings which makes him unusable in most formats.
- Remember how I mentioned avoiding poor K-BB rates? Erick Fedde’s is -5.0% through 17 innings! Look elsewhere for your streamer next week.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)