For those who play in Head-to-Head Leagues, having a handle on which starting pitchers are scheduled to pitch in two game in an upcoming week is invaluable. Of course, if you are an owner in a roto league, and your starting pitching is not looking as good as it did when you drafted your team, or if injuries, demotions to the minors or general poor performance are hurting your placement in the standings, you may want to consider the streaming technique to pep up the rotation. Or you just like to shuffle the deck. Whatever your impetus, if you want to get an idea of who could benefit your squad in the next scoring period, you have arrived at the correct and proper place. On a weekly basis, this series of articles will set forth those starting pitchers that as of Saturday are on deck to take the hill twice.
The format is to put the group of two-start pitchers into three tiers. The first tier is entitled “Start ‘em If You Own ‘em” and consists of those pitchers that are suggested for you to wind up and let go, no matter where they are pitching or what opponent they face. Most, if not all, of these SPs will be owned in your league, but if you own one or two, smile and walk happy.
The second tier is called “Maybe Yes, Maybe No,” and is generally the largest tier. If there are enough members of the tier, then it will be broken down into sub-tiers for convenience in both the ability to provide analysis of the individuals that make up the tier, and to assist our readers in deciding how much risk they are willing to tolerate on a weekly basis. Depending on how many two-start options there are in a given week, the sub-tiers number either two, or at most, three.
The final tier is called “Not On My Roster” which I believe is self-explanatory. If you are absolutely desperate for a two-start option, due to inning minimums in your league settings, or are just a glutton for punishment, then you can consider rostering one or more of these guys. In good faith none of these pitchers can be recommended for one or both of their starts, but then again, it is your team and you are free to manage it as you see fit (a philosophy I would encourage more leagues to adopt instead of micromanaging every team’s moves during the season ).
Please realize that these articles feature most recent rotation information available when the article is written, but that circumstances do change due to weather conditions, injuries and general craziness with managers. If a pitcher listed Here as having two starts ends up with one (or perhaps none) in the upcoming week, apologies but this article is meant to provide analysis, it is up to the manager to set the lineups or rotations.
Without further ado, here are this week’s two start pitchers:
As the title to the tier indicates, these nine starting pitchers are the top options this week, especially with a pair of starts scheduled. It is suggested that you plug these SPs into your lineup and not question the move(s).
Taillon gets two starts due to and Week 1 rainout, and his first start at home against the Reds bodes well for a positive outing. The second start at Chicago against Jon Lester is more problematic potentially, but he is coming off a strong 18 start 2016 season, and despite coming off injuries and Tommy John surgery, he was healthy last season and looks good to slot in as the SP2 for the Pirates this season.
Happ is coming off a strong first start in Baltimore, striking out nine, although he was hurt by the long ball, yielding two homers. His offense did not provide much support, but with two home starts and his strong home numbers in 2016, it looks promising for his Week 2 potential.
Wainwright is hoping to bounce back after a disappointing 2016 season, and is off to a good start, pitching four strong innings, although the fifth inning stumbles he experienced ruined an otherwise good outing. He has two road starts this week, so if you are leery about using him, feel free to pass him by this week.
Bundy held Toronto to just one run on four hits in his first start, a nice feat to shut down a potent offense. He does have a history of road struggles in his past, so two road starts against two powerful offenses may make his owners use their discretion and hold him out of action in Week 2.
Glasnow, the highly-touted rookie in Pittsburgh, gets the Reds at home in his first start this week. He should be good for more than a strikeout an inning, although he still needs to harness his control to be a more effective starter. In a small sample size in 2016, he was an effective road starter, though facing off against Jake Arrieta and the Cubs in his second start may be a case where discretion should be employed.
Finnegan dominated the Phillies in his first start of 2017, holding them to one hit and one walk, in a seven inning effort where he racked up nine Ks. Facing Pittsburgh on the road will be a tougher matchup but the second start against Milwaukee is a tempting start for his owners.
Cobb did not look fantastic (actually awful) in his return to action following Tommy John surgery, which can be expected. He was effective in his first start this season against the Yankees, and his owners should be banking on a return to form. If he can rediscover his command and control, he will be a useful starter who returns something around a 8K/9 rate.
Morton has surprised with an increase in fastball velocity that began in 2016, and he was clocked at 96 MPH in his first start against the Mariners, a two run no decision. That could be due to the changes in how the radar gun is being used in MLB this season, but this is a dependable if unexciting SP3/4 pitching for a division title contender in Houston. Although not as favorable as his home park, the two away venues he is scheduled to pitch in during Week 2 should aid his efforts to notch a victory or two. Even with the uptick in fastball velocity, do no expect much in the way of strikeouts, though.
Cotton came back to earth, allowing eight hits and two walks, giving up five earned runs in his 2017 debut against the visiting Angels. He was superb over five games in 2016 for the A’s, but that was a decidedly small sample size to base his future results on admittedly. He gets one road and one home game, and both stadiums figure to hold the ball inside the park better than most venues for this fly ball inducing righty. He should be a nice source of Ks going forward, given his minor league production.
Eickhoff is another pitcher that has been victimized by the long ball in his career, and pitching in Philadelphia is not exactly a favorable home base for him. The second start in Washington puts him in a park that is in the middle of the pack as far as homers, but his offense portends to be one of the worst in baseball, so that limits his value, as victories will be hard to come by without a bunch of support by his teammates’ bats.
Pomeranz is coming off the 10-day DL due to a forearm injury to make his 2017 debut. He gets two home starts, but he also was a better road pitcher last season than he was at Fenway Park. He will provide good strikeout totals for his owners, but his shaky control makes him a risky starter, especially this week with two home starts.
Severino also has his issues keeping the ball in the park, at least during his MLB stays, and nine of his ten homers allowed in 2016 left the yard at Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, he has two home starts this week, so tread lightly if you want to start him against either the Rays or Cards.
Boyd locked down the No. 5 starter role in Detroit with a stellar spring, tossing 21 and 2/3 innings, posting a 2.49 ERA and racking up 21 strikeouts without handing out a free pass. That unfortunately did not carry over into his first regular season start against the White Sox, where he was victimized to the tune of five earned runs on five hits and four walks over just 2 and 2/3 innings. He does get to face the red-hot Twins at home in his first start of Week 2, and then has to take on the Indians, who manhandled the Tigers all through 2016. He has potential to be a useful back of the rotation guy, but Week 2 may not be the time to trust him.
Walker’s move to Arizona is going to wreak havoc on his ERA and WHIP most likely, but at least in Week 2 he gets to make both starts on the road, in San Francisco and then Dodger Stadium, both of which project to be more favorable venues than Chase Field.in Phoenix. The road parks should help limit his propensity to yield round trippers, and he will provide good strikeout numbers if he can stay in the game for a starter’s normal inning load.
Kennedy is another pitcher who has been plagued by hitters clearing the fences. He projects to return to his 4.00+ ERA and 1.30+ WHIP this season, although he does provide good strikeout numbers for his owners. He has a couple of favorable matchups this week, facing both the A’s and Angels at home, so as a desperation starter, he could yield some decent results, but do not be surprised if he burns you in one or both of those appearances.
Samardzija gets to face the Diamondbacks in his first start of Week 2, who lit him up for three homers in his first starts. Admittedly that was at Chase Field, and pitching at home for both his starts this week should help him rebound from his initial disastrous outing. He did strike out nine in that first start, and a return to strikeout dominance would make him extremely valuable. He faces a couple of potent offenses in Week 2, or he would occupy a higher position in the middle tier. He is a solid SP4 going forward.
Pineda continues his storyline heading into 2017, providing great strikeout totals but constantly victimized by the big hit or big inning. He is a frustrating SP to own, because the potential is there for him to step up in a big way, but he always seems to find a way to sabotage his own efforts. He also has two home starts, and he gave up 20 his 27 homers allowed in 2016 in Yankee Stadium. His best matchup in Week 2 is in his second start against the Cardinals who have been struggling at the plate to open the season.
Straily did not last long in his first start against the Nationals, giving up five earned runs on six hits and a pair of walks over 3 and 1/3 innings. He also did not record a strikeout, but did yield a home run during his short stint on the mound. His two starts in Week 2 are at home, so that is a positive for him, although facing the Mets and Matt Harvey in his second start could prove risky for his owners.
Not a lot to discuss here. It is advocated to avoid both the Colorado hurlers, Senzatela and Chatwood, even with them facing the Padres at home and then heading to pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. Senzatela is unproven, although he did post some useful K numbers in his first outing. Chatwood’s peripherals last season hinted at regression, and he has already given up to round trippers in his first start. He could bounce back, as he did limit home runs effectively for the most part last season, even pitching at Coors Field, but it makes sense to see if his first start was an anomaly or what can be expected going forward.
Moore could be a useful starter as he pitches at home for both his starts, but his lack of control keeps his value reduced, with his low 90’s fastball not necessarily making hitters swing and miss enough if his command is off.
Wood is coming off an elbow injury that cost him most of his 2016 season, so there is a great deal of risk with him, especially with his odd pitching motion.
Despite a decent outing to start the season by Shields, he is not trustworthy after a disastrous 2016 until he shows a return to form. He also gave up five walks in his first start against the Tigers, an 11-2 victory where he was staked to an early lead.
Santiago was plagued by wildness in his first start of the season, although it did not show up as walks, just inefficient pitching. The Twins are hot, at least right now, but Santiago’s past performance hints that he is not as good as he looked against the Royals, who are scuffling at the plate.
Peralta is on the road at two hitter-friendly parks, and despite being backed by a good offense, does not inspire confidence this week.
Cahill is on the road for both his Week 2 starts, and heads to Colorado for the first of those, never a favorable factor when selecting your starting pitcher. The book is still be written on the new Atlanta park, and the Braves has been struggling at the plate to open the season, so that is a potentially useful start if desperate. A converted reliever, he needs to demonstrate that he can move from the pen to the rotation before he can be fully trusted.
Davis did rack up four Ks over just three innings in his 2017 debut for the Reds, but he was terribly inefficient, being pulled after tossing 74 pitches over that abbreviated start. He was never a big strikeout guy in the minors, so he will need to have his control and command to be effective in the big leagues, and he has not demonstrated that successfully yet.
Please note that the Fantasy Alarm Forums are now open for your use, to ask questions or provide your own commentary and wisdom. I enjoy responding to comments, or if you do not want to put your question out for public consumption, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a more personal response to your specific issue. The more detail you can provide about your team and league, including settings (H2H vs roto, points or categories, weekly or daily moves, roster size, league size, etc.) the better my response will be suited to your individual situation. I am open to questions about issues apart from starting pitching, too, as I play fantasy sports as well as serve as an analyst. As ever, good luck and Godspeed in all your fantasy endeavors.