Gerrit Cole Pittsburgh PiratesWeek 20 arrives and with it, the last of the Two-Start Pitcher articles of this fantasy baseball season. I will be turning my writing attention to fantasy football, and specifically IDP issues as they affect your fantasy football leagues. I am still available to discuss starting pitching, however, you simply need to shoot me an e-mail with the notation “Starting Pitching” in the subject line. My address is at the end of this article for your convenience.

To help you prepare your rotations, I present the Two Start Pitchers as scheduled for the next week in MLB action. One caveat is that these charts assume that your fantasy week begins on Monday. I made that decision because I have no leagues that do not provide for a Monday start, and it seems to be the standard scoring system. Of course, if you have questions about starting pitchers who are going on Sunday and thus will presumably have another start during the week being profiled, do not be hesitant to drop me an e-mail (see my address at the bottom of the article) and I will attempt to get back with you in a timely fashion. Of course, you could also look to my Streaming Pitcher articles for additional SP suggestions.

The pitchers below are tiered, the first being no-brainers (in my opinion), the second tier being those I would consider adding to my roster and the final tier comprised of pitchers I do not trust at all. Of course, opinions differ and you can let us know if you disagree in the comments.

Let us move on to see who can provide those helpful two starts in next week's fantasy contests.

Start 'em If You Own 'em

Starting Pitcher

First Start/Opponent/Date

Second Start/Opponent/Date

Gerrit Cole PIT

vs. ARI Jeremy Hellickson

vs. SF Chris Heston

 

Mon 8/17 7:05 PM ET

Sat 8/22 4:05 PM ET

Michael Wacha STL

vs. SF Chris Heston

@ SD Colin Rea

 

Mon 8/17 8:15 PM ET

Sun 8/23 4:10 PM ET

Cole Hamels TEX

vs. SEA Taijuan Walker

@ DET Matt Boyd

 

Mon 8/17 8:05 PM ET

Sat 8/22 7:08 PM ET

Garrett Richards LAA

vs. CHW John Danks

vs. TOR Drew Hutchison

 

Tue 8/18 10:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 3:35 PM ET

Danny Salazar CLE

@ BOS Steven Wright

@ NYY CC Sabathia

 

Mon 8/17 7:10 PM ET

Sat 8/22 1:05 PM ET

Francisco Liriano PIT

vs. ARI Chase Anderson

vs. SF Ryan Vogelsong

 

Tue 8/18 7:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 8:08 PM ET

Jason Hammel CHC

vs. DET Anibal Sanchez

vs. ATL Matt Wisler

 

Tue 8/18 8:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 2:20 PM ET

The top tier, as ever, is filled with those starting pitchers I recommend that you insert into your lineup and forget about. These are the pitchers that provide a great option forJason Hammel Chicago Cubs superior performance every time they take the mound. Do not over think this, just wind them up and let them go. Venue and opponent be damned.

Maybe Yes, Maybe No

Starting Pitcher

First Start/Opponent/Date

Second Start/Opponent/Date

Chris Tillman BAL

vs. OAK Aaron Brooks

vs. MIN Kyle Gibson

 

Mon 8/17 7:05 PM ET

Sat 8/22 7:05 PM ET

Chris Heston SF

@ STL Michael Wacha

@ PIT Gerrit Cole

 

Mon 8/17 8:15 PM ET

Sat 8/22 4:05 PM ET

Raisel Iglesias CIN

vs. KC Edinson Volquez

vs. ARI Chase Anderson

 

Tue 8/18 7:10 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:10 PM ET

Jordan Zimmermann WAS

@ COL Jorge De La Rosa

vs. MIL Matt Garza

 

Tue 8/18 8:40 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:35 PM ET

Taijuan Walker SEA

@ TEX Cole Hamels 

vs. CHW John Danks

 

Mon 8/17 8:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 4:10 PM ET

Scott Kazmir HOU

vs. TB Jake Odorizzi

vs. LAD Brett Anderson

 

Mon 8/17 8:10 PM ET

Sat 8/22 7:10 PM ET

Jake Odorizzi TB

@ HOU Scott Kazmir

@ OAK Kendall Graveman

 

Mon 8/17 8:10 PM ET

Sat 8/22 9:05 PM ET

Colin Rea SD

vs. ATL Williams Perez

vs. STL Michael Wacha

 

Mon 8/17 10:10 PM ET

Sun 8/23 4:10 PM ET

Edinson Volquez KC

@ CIN Raisel Iglesias

@ BOS Eduardo Rodriguez

 

Tue 8/18 7:10 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:35 PM ET

Kevin Gausman BAL

vs. NYM Jacob deGrom

vs. MIN Ervin Santana

 

Tue 8/18 7:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:35 PM ET

Matt Garza MIL

vs. MIA Justin Nicolino

@ WAS Jordan Zimmermann

 

Mon 8/17 8:10 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:35 PM ET

Matt Wisler ATL

@ SD James Shields

@ CHC Jason Hammel

 

Tue 8/18 10:10 PM ET

Sun 8/23 2:20 PM ET

Carlos Rodon CHW

@ LAA Andrew Heaney

@ SEA Vidal Nuno

 

Mon 8/17 10:05 PM ET

Sat 8/22 9:10 PM ET

Steven Wright BOS

vs. CLE Danny Salazar

vs. KC Yordano Ventura

 

Mon 8/17 7:10 PM ET

Sat 8/22 7:10 PM ET

Jeremy Hellickson ARI

@ PIT Gerrit Cole

@ CIN Anthony DeSclafani

 

Mon 8/17 7:05 PM ET

Sat 8/22 7:10 PM ET

Scott Feldman HOU

vs. TB TBA

vs. LAD Zack Greinke

 

Tue 8/18 8:10 PM ET

Sun 8/23 2:10 PM ET

John Danks CHW

@ LAA Garrett Richards

@ SEA Taijuan Walker

 

Tue 8/18 10:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 4:10 PM ET

Kyle Gibson MIN

@ NYY CC Sabathia

@ BAL Chris Tillman

 

Mon 8/17 7:05 PM ET

Sat 8/22 7:05 PM ET

Nathan Eovaldi NYY

vs. MIN Ervin Santana

vs. CLE Trevor Bauer

 

Tue 8/18 7:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:05 PM ET

Andrew Heaney LAA

vs. CHW Carlos Rodon

vs. TOR Marco Estrada

 

Mon 8/17 10:05 PM ET

Sat 8/22 9:05 PM ET

Scott Kazmir Oakland A'sThe middle tier only consists of 20 starters this week, but I still can separate them into three sub-tiers. The first sub-tier begins with Tillman and runs down through Odorizzi. Until his last start, Tillman had been dealing. He looked unsettled in his last appearance against Seattle, lasting just 2.1 innings and giving up two homers. I expect he will bounce back, but if you are worried about his ankle limiting his performance, then skip him this week. I am on the fence, too, having dropped him in certain leagues but willing to run him out there in others, especially in Al-Only leagues.  Heston is a risk as he has two road starts, and has been less effective when pitching away from AT&T Park this season. I did like his ability to shut down the Astros in his last appearance (at home), but his decreased strikeout numbers are troubling. He only racked up four Ks against a free-swinging Houston squad, and the walk rate has been increasing, as well. He has hit a bit of a bad patch, but his earlier production makes me trust him. If you are worried about the match ups, though, go ahead and move down the list for another two-start option. Iglesias has a string of three straight QS, and the strikeout rate (9.25 K/9) is excellent. He has a pair of home starts this coming week, and thus has potential in the scoring period to help out his owners with some nice stats. In his last five starts, Zimmermann has tossed four quality starts. He is coming off a nine K effort against the Dodgers, where he unfortunately faced off against Clayton Kershaw and therefore took a loss. The game at Colorado is not favorable, but the match up is good as Jorge De La Rosa is lodged down in the bottom tier this week.  Walker has been effective in the past four trips to the hill, and has credited an increased reliance on his curve ball, a tip received from both David Price and Robinson Cano. The advice has made him a useful SP once again, although his home run rate is still too high for my liking. You have to like the control and strikeout potential, and his BABIP and strand rate hint that he has been a bit unlucky to date. Kazmir has had a great season, although I do worry about his move to Houston from Oakland. Still, despite not lasting through six innings in his last two starts, he does get to face the unimposing Rays in his first start this week. The second effort against the Dodgers is at least at home, and the Dodgers are a mid-pack offense. Odorizzi yielded six earned runs for the second time in his last six starts, sandwiching three QS between the poor outings and another that was a decent two earned run effort that lasted five innings. He offers good but not great strikeout potential and control, although his strand rate (75.2%) and BABIP of .287 indicate that he has been somewhat fortunate to date. The second start against the A’s in the o.com Coliseum strikes me as the best opportunity for a victory and great stats, although his overall general competency on the mound leads me to trust him this week.

The second sub-tier opens with Rea and goes down to Wisler. Rea tops the list of five In the middle sub-tier. He was not as dominant at Triple-A as he had been at the lowerKevin Gausman Baltimore Orioles levels, but then again, he was pitching in the hitting-favorable PCL at El Paso. He does not miss a lot of bats, and is not known for his control, but in his first start he only walked one Red batter in picking up the victory. It is not as much a given as in past seasons, but a Padre pitcher tossing a couple of games at Petco is still a worthwhile shot to take with your pitching options. Volquez stayed in one inning too long in his last outing, a game where he gave up five earned runs to the Tigers. Before that, he had five consecutive QS, and he does pitch for the division-leading Royals, so despite the two road games this scoring period, I do like him as a two-start option. He will need his ground ball pitches working to be effective in Cincinnati and Boston, as his strikeout rate and control are below average at best. Gausman took the loss despite tossing a QS against the Mariners on Wednesday, as his opponent Hisashi Iwakuma was no-hitting his offensive attack. He has been extraordinarily inconsistent this season, but also extraordinarily effective at home this season. With two games at Camden Yards, he is a great option in Week 20, especially in the first contest against the Mets. Garza does not do anything exceptionally well, offering below average strikeout and walk rates, and an awful 1.4 HR/9 rate this season. He is effective if he can keep the ball on the ground, with his 1.49 GB/FB ratio, and neither of his opponents are terribly scary offensively. His team continues to flounder, however, and that hurts his overall value. Wisler faces a pair of teams away from his home park, and the first in San Diego is a tasty match up, although the game at the end of the week against the Cubs is not the best scenario for the young hurler. He did get roughed up recently by both the Phillies and Marlins, although he did have a bit of a bounce back against the Rays in his last outing. He has the potential to shine, but also to blow up. Use him with caution.

Carlos Rodon Chicago White SoxThe final sub-tier starts with Rodon and wraps up with Heaney. Rodon has flashed brilliance, but has also been wildly inconsistent in his rookie season. That is to be expected with young pitchers, of course, but when he is on he is superb, as in his 11 strikeout game against the Angels last Tuesday. He has had more success away from his home park, so a pair of road games makes him tempting. That he faces a team he just dominated and the light-hitting Mariners are both points in his favor. Speaking of inconsistent pitchers, the knuckleballer Wright is next up in our discussion. Relying as he does on a butterfly pitch, his control is not great, nor does he rack up the Ks. Pitching at home for both his Week 20 starts is a point in his favor, if you are willing to gamble on which version shows up on the hill.  Hellickson has been good since the start of July, but still has his regrettable moments on the mound. He is not exactly a great road pitcher this season, so heading to Pittsburgh and Cincy are not exactly selling points for him this upcoming scoring period. He does offer average strikeout numbers and there are plenty of worse options for Week 20-just look down in the bottom tier. Despite throwing three QS over his last four starts, Feldman is not an exciting option. His strikeout numbers are well below league average, and he has been struggling at home. He is a low-level option in Week 20, and while there is a chance he can help your team, you should really look elsewhere if possible. I have a prejudice against Danks, which I need to overcome. He has been throwing QS on a regular basis since the All-Star break, with four in his last six starts, and he missed the fifth by one out. His K rate is weak at 6.4 K/9, and he is a better home pitcher than on the road. With two games away from “the Cell” this week, I would stay clear but you may need to toss a warm body into your lineup and in that case, his second start at Seattle has some attraction. Gibson became a two-start option when his scheduled start was pushed back due to Tommy Milone being activated off the DL. He gets to face the Yankees and Orioles in their home parks, and he has pitched much more like a mediocre starter when away from the pitcher-friendly confines of Target Field. If he can generate his usual bevy of ground balls, he can be effective, but do not expect a boatload of Ks with his 6.5 K/9 rate this season. Eovaldi throws hard, featuring a 96 MPH fastball. I still do not understand how he fails to rack up more strikeouts, as he owns a 6.4 K/9 rate this season. His home numbers hint that he could be an effective two-start option, as Minnesota and Cleveland are not known for knocking the cover off the ball away from their home parks. Heaney holds tremendous promise, but has had trouble lasting deep into games, not having pitched past the sixth inning in his last three starts. This is despite no intention of the team to limit his innings. Despite his excellent control, the lack of innings hurts his K numbers, especially with his below average 6.3 K/9 rate. You may be enamored with his 2.53 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, but realize that both have been creeping up steadily over his last three starts. I would grab him in any keeper or dynasty league I could, but I would expect that ship has sailed in most leagues by this point, although a trade is always an option.

Not On My Roster

Starting Pitcher

First Start/Opponent/Date

Second Start/Opponent/Date

Trevor Bauer CLE

@ BOS Eduardo Rodriguez

@ NYY Nathan Eovaldi

 

Tue 8/18 7:10 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:05 PM ET

Anibal Sanchez DET

@ CHC Jason Hammel

vs. TEX Chi Chi Gonzalez

 

Tue 8/18 8:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:08 PM ET

Chase Anderson ARI

@ PIT Francisco Liriano

@ CIN Raisel Iglesias

 

Tue 8/18 7:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:10 PM ET

Williams Perez ATL

@ SD Colin Rea

@ CHC Dan Haren

 

Mon 8/17 10:10 PM ET

Sat 8/22 4:05 PM ET

Chi Chi Gonzalez TEX

vs. SEA Hisashi Iwakuma

@ DET Anibal Sanchez

 

Tue 8/18 8:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:08 PM ET

Justin Nicolino MIA

@ MIL Matt Garza

vs. PHI Aaron Harang

 

Mon 8/17 8:10 PM ET

Sat 8/22 7:10 PM ET

Adam Conley MIA

@ MIL Tyler Cravy P

vs. PHI TBA

 

Tue 8/18 8:10 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:10 PM ET

CC Sabathia NYY

vs. MIN Kyle Gibson

vs. CLE Danny Salazar

 

Mon 8/17 7:05 PM ET

Sat 8/22 1:05 PM ET

Aaron Brooks OAK

@ BAL Chris Tillman

vs. TB TBA

 

Mon 8/17 7:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 4:05 PM ET

Eduardo Rodriguez BOS

vs. CLE Trevor Bauer

vs. KC Edinson Volquez

 

Tue 8/18 7:10 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:35 PM ET

Ervin Santana MIN

@ NYY Nathan Eovaldi

@ BAL Kevin Gausman

 

Tue 8/18 7:05 PM ET

Sun 8/23 1:35 PM ET

Jorge De La Rosa COL

vs. WAS Jordan Zimmermann

vs. NYM Matt Harvey

 

Tue 8/18 8:40 PM ET

Sun 8/23 4:10 PM ET

Ryan Vogelsong SF

@ STL Lance Lynn

@ PIT Francisco Liriano

 

Tue 8/18 8:15 PM ET

Sun 8/23 8:08 PM ET

The bottom tier is filled with pitchers I do not trust for one reason or another. With Sanchez, it is his disturbing trend of giving up home runs. He is tied for the league lead withAnibal Sanchez Detroit Tigers Phil Hughes at 28. That is simply unacceptable and makes him unusable until he corrects the issue. Bauer, Anderson, Sabathia, Rodriguez, Santana and De La Rosa are way too up and down in their starts to rely on for a pair in one week. Vogelsong is an awful road pitcher, and with two starts away from San Francisco, he, too, is one to avoid. Martinez shone bright but for brief time in the Ranger rotation, and while he takes over for the under whelming Nick Martinez in the rotation, he is still not trustworthy in this scoring period.

Should you have questions regarding fantasy baseball, especially starting pitching, you can reach me at ia@fantasyalarm.com to continue the discussion.