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’ve got another good crop of aces atop the Definitely Start Tier. The recent postponements and double-headers are going to throw a wrench into some of the scheduled two-start pitchers but, hey, this is 2020. I’ll go over the pitchers scheduled for two starts below and give you my best analysis of their matchups. Let’s dive into the rest of the two-start pitchers for week 7.
Note: This article was written Friday morning, estimating probable starters through next week. These are subject to change
Shane Bieber (@KCR, MIL)
Jacob deGrom (@BAL, PHI)
Gerrit Cole (TBR, @BAL)
Lucas Giolito (@MIN, @KCR)
Sonny Gray (STL, @PIT)
Max Fried (@BOS, WSH)
Aaron Nola (WSH, @NYM)
Hyun-Jin Ryu (@MIA, @BOS)
- If the season ended today, Shane Bieber is the hands-down AL Cy Young Award winner. With a 37.3% CSW, he’s head and shoulders above the field. The fact that he’s matched up against two bottom-10 offenses is the cherry on top. Jacob deGrom has been the best pitcher in baseball since the start of 2018. Amazingly, he’s had an ERA of 2.03 and a WHIP of 0.93 across 70 starts in that span. Need I say more?
- Gerrit Cole had a rare rough outing this week against the Braves but he was bit by the longball. He still managed to strike out nine Braves and is third in the league in strikeouts. Cole’s going to be just fine.
- Lucas Giolito was fantastic as he no-hit the Pirates this week but the degree of difficulty increases in his first outing against the Twins. I don’t mind though because it gets much easier in KC to close the week. He’s backed up his breakout as his SwStr% and K% have increased thanks to utilizing his changeup more often. Start with confidence.
- Max Fried is performing like an ace this season. His strikeout rate has dipped a little but I’m betting on a rebound given an increase in his SwStr%. As long as he continues to limit walks, he’s going to succeed. 2018 Aaron Nola is back! In fact, he’s even better! He’s currently sporting a career-best 28.3% K-BB% thanks in part inducing more swings outside the zone. The matchups are tough, but there’s no benching Nola right now.
Dinelson Lamet (@COL, @OAK)
José Berríos (CHW, DET)
Patrick Corbin (@PHI, @ATL)
Julio Urías (ARI, COL)
Masahiro Tanaka (TBR, @BAL)
Cristian Javier (TEX, LAA)
Dallas Keuchel (@MIN, @KCR)
Yusei Kikuchi (OAK, TEX)
Chad Kuhl (CHC, CIN)
- Dinelson Lamet draws the Rockies in Coors Field early in the week which isn’t great but he could be Coors-proof. Just kidding. Very few pitchers are Coors-proof. Lamet’s lack of depth in his arsenal scares me a little. His slider may not perform as well limiting his chances for success. That being said, I think he’ll handle the A’s piling up the strikeouts and salvaging his week.
- Are we overrating José Berríos? His curveball is great and his velocity is up but the results aren’t there. That being said, the Tigers can make anyone look like a Cy Young candidate. He’s still a solid option in next week’s two-step. I expressed some concern over Patrick Corbin the last time he had a two-start week. He’s simply not missing as many bats. The dip in velocity seems to be the main culprit. He’ll be in my lineup but the matchups give me a touch of pause.
- Julio Urías is going to be a stud. He generates extremely weak contact and has a great 12.3 SwStr%. However, his CSW is only 27.9%. The reason he’s in this tier is because of his lack of called strikes. He’s close, but not there yet.
- Masahiro Tanaka is throwing his signature splitter less often which has hurt his K%. However, his 14.4% SwStr% and 30% CSW indicate better days are ahead. I’ve got Tanaka in my lineup next week. I love Cristian Javier’s matchups next week. He should cruise to at least one victory and finish with solid ratios.
- Yusei Kikuchi averaged 96.4 mph on his four-seamer last night. He gets two home starts and draws one of the worst offenses in the league in the Texas Rangers.
- Chad Kuhl has been an enigma. He had a 31.7% CSW coming into yesterday’s start but ended up with just one strikeout on just five whiffs. I’m not going to read too much into just one start. He’ll have the pitcher-friendly backdrop of PNC Park for both games and neither the Reds nor the Cubs have hit much recently.
Brad Keller (CLE, CHW)
Ian Anderson (@BOS, WSH)
Dakota Hudson (@CIN, @CHC)
Kwang Hyun Kim (@CIN, @CHC)
Tyler Chatwood (@PIT, STL)
Patrick Sandoval (SEA, @HOU)
Jon Lester (@PIT, @STL)
Trevor Williams (@MIL, CIN)
Kolby Allard (@HOU, @SEA)
Spencer Howard (WSH, @NYM)
John Means (NYM, NYY)
- Brad Keller gave up his first runs of the 2020 season this past week. It might seem like the matchup against the Indians is more favorable but Keller struggles against lefties. The Indians are stacked with switch hitters and the White Sox are very right-handed heavy. The backdrop of Kauffman Stadium is a point in Keller’s favor as well, so he’s a moderate option next week.
- After an impressive debut against the Yankees, Ian Anderson could line up for two starts next week. The matchups are difficult but he looked poised this week. I’m intrigued but not betting the house next week.
- If you’re looking for strikeouts, Dakota Hudson and Kwang Hyun Kim aren’t for you. However, both have pitched well and in a short season, we don’t always have time for regression to set in. There are better options next week, but deeper leagues need to consider the Cardinal’s starters.
- Tyler Chatwood and Patrick Sandoval are the classic one good, one bad start options. Both of their early week matchups are great for streaming. Chatwood is very risky if he can’t find the plate, so he’s a bench in weekly formats. Sandoval is safer given the floor of Chatwood.
- Jon Lester’s strikeout rate is just gross but he does draw the Pirates who were just no-hit by Lucas Giolito. With a 29% strikeout rate over the last two weeks, Lester should manage to get a few freebies.
- Kolby Allard is a deep-league streamer in daily formats against the Mariners. His SwStr% and CSW are both above league-average. Here’s a sneaky stat for you. At home, the Mariners are ranked 29th in the league with a 77 wRC+. Allard is worth a look.
- Call me crazy but I still believe in Howard a little bit this year. Based on the batted ball metrics, he’s been getting unlucky. There’s not a ton of upside given the opponents next week, but he could surprise owners in deep formats.
Mike Fiers (@SEA, SDP)
Robbie Ray (@LAD, @SFG)
Trevor Richards (@NYY, MIA)
Asher Wojciechowski (@TOR, NYY)
Jon Gray (SDP, @LAD)
J.A. Happ (TBR, @BAL)
Matt Harvey (CLE, CHW)
Julian Merryweather (BAL, @BOS)
Eric Fedde (@PHI, @ATL)
Kyle Hart (ATL, TOR)
- Don’t let one good start against the struggling Rangers fool you. Mike Fiers is not an option next week. His 25.5% CSW ranks 9th from the bottom among pitchers with at least 300 pitches thrown.
- Keeping Robbie Ray on the bench is a no-brainer at this point. Not only has his strikeout% dipped below 30% for the first time in four years, but his walk rate is an astronomical 20.1%! No pitcher can survive giving away that many free passes. Asher Wojciechowski is not far off from succeeding. He needs a changeup though to counteract his slider and cutter. He’s only throwing it seven percent of the time so hitters can sit fastball or slider. Besides, the matchups are brutal next week.
- I touched on Jon Gray a few weeks ago and couldn’t believe how low his K% had gotten. It’s down 10% from a year ago and his fastball velocity is down two mph. Oh, and his matchups are rough. Hard pass. When looking into a hitter, a 52.2% hard hit% and 11.6% barrel% should get you excited. When it’s a pitcher who is allowing those rates, you run away, fast. That’s what hitters are doing against Derek Holland this year. It wasn’t much better last year either. This is who he is. No thanks.
- I think this is Matt Harvey’s last hurrah in the Majors unless he finds some velocity and comes back as a reliever. Nothing interests me when looking at his peripherals. Move along. Thursday’s postponement bumps Max Scherzer from a two-start week. Inset Eric Fedde. His 3.57 ERA is very much a mirage given an embarrassingly low 5.9% K-rate. Fedde’s an easy sit.
- The lanky lefty is pushing Ray for the highest walk rate among starters this year. Hitters are being more patient and he just can’t seem to find the zone. Yes, that’s Kyle Hart. You shouldn’t be starting any Red Sox starters, especially Hart.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)