Fantasy

Two-Start Pitchers: Week of July 17, 2017

Lance McCullers

Welcome back to fantasy baseball and our outlook on proposed two-start pitchers! To me, the MLB four-day All-Star break always feels like about a month off from fantasy baseball. Save for a few dynasty leagues with mid-season prospect drafts or a random trade offer here or there, activity is pretty minimal for those off days. So needless to say, I am pretty excited to get back to business as usual!

Since we are coming off the break, this week is a little incomplete and somewhat tumultuous in terms of guaranteed starts as teams get back into a regular schedule. As I write, there are several Monday/Tuesday starters yet to be announced. If they are made available, I will make sure to update. As it stands, there are few solid options in the upcoming week, and the bulk of the two-start pitchers are grouped toward the middle of the pack and lower. The second half can really turn things around for some players’ seasons, so there may be a surprise or two in those lower tiers that ignites a fire for someone.

These projected starts are subject to change due to rain outs, injury, performance issues, or managerial whims. I only offer my the opinion on the matchups; there are no guarantees on the actual starts.

Feeling Confident About These Four…

  • Clayton Kershaw – (7/18 @ CWS-Miguel Gonzalez; 7/23 vs. ATL-Sean Newcomb)
  • Stephen Strasburg – (7/16 @ CIN-Scott Feldman; 7/23 @ ARI-Zack Greinke)
  • Lance McCullers – (7/16 vs. SEA-Ariel Miranda; 7/23 @ BAL-Dillon Bundy)
  • Zack Greinke – (7/17 @ CIN-Sal Romano; 7/23 vs. WAS-Steven Strasburg)

If you have Kershaw, Strasburg, or Greinke, this week you are feeling pretty good about your No. 1 starter. On a side note, is it really fair to not only own Kershaw but also get to face the White Sox and Atlanta in the same week? Even though Lance McCullers ended the first half with a poor outing against the Blue Jays with five earned runs in four and a third innings, he is having a very nice season. In 91.1 innings he has 106 strikeouts, a 3.05 ERA, and a very solid 1.139 WHIP.  Look for him to continue that success and pile up the strikeouts against the Mariners and Orioles this week.

Only Slightly Hesitant Here…

  • Eduardo Rodriguez – (7/17 vs. TOR-Marcus Stroman; 7/23 @ LAA-Jesse Chavez)
  • Jason Vargas – (7/17 vs. DET-Jordan Zimmermann; 7/23 vs. CWS-Mike Pelfrey)
  • Marcus Stroman – (7/17 @ BOS-Eduardo Rodriguez; 7/22 @ CLE-Trevor Bauer)
  • Michael Wacha – (7/18 @ NYM-TBD; 7/23 @ CHC-Jon Lester)
  • Ivan Nova – (7/18 vs. MIL-TBD; 7/23 @ COL-German Marquez)
  • CC Sabathia – (7/17 @ MIN-Adalberto Mejia; 7/23 @ SEA-Sam Gaviglio)

Not quite as long a list here in this second tier as the drop in talent isn’t huge from the first tier. Eduardo Rodriguez was having a solid campaign before suffering a knee injury and going on the DL on June 2. He is scheduled to come off on Monday and face Toronto at home. In his last rehab outing at triple A he went six and a third innings, striking out seven, with zero walks. This is pretty consistent with his 65 first half strikeouts in 61 innings pitched. The 24 year-old lefty will be a welcome return to the first place Red Sox’s rotation and should build on his first half ERA of 3.54 and 1.148 WHIP.

Enough Questions To Make Me Second Guess…

  • Jon Lester – (7/17 @ ATL-Julio Teheran; 7/23 vs. STL-Michael Wacha)
  • J.A. Happ – (7/18 @ BOS-Doug Fister; 7/23 @ CLE-Josh Tomlin)
  • Tyson Ross – (7/18 @ BAL-Dillon Bundy; 7/23 @ TB-Jake Odorizzi)
  • Jake Odorizzi – (7/17 @ OAK-Daniel Gossett; 7/23 vs. TEX-Tyson Ross)
  • Dinelson Lamet – (7/18 @ COL-Anotonio Senzatela; 7/23 @ SF- Ty Blach)
  • Julio Teheran – (7/17 vs. CHC-Jon Lester; 7/23 @ LAD-Rich Hill)
  • Adam Wainwright – (7/17 @ NYM-TBD; 7/22 @ CHC-Jose Quintana)
  • Adalberto Mejia – (7/17 vs. NYY-CC Sabathia; 7/23 vs. DET-TBD)
  • Brent Suter – (7/18 @ PIT-Chad Kuhl; 7/23 @ PHI-Jerad Eickhoff)

You have some usual suspects here in this list. Jon Lester has slipped down the tiers due to some struggles in the first half. Especially in his last two games, which saw a very uncharacteristic string of poor pitching allowing nine earned runs in only five and two-thirds innings. The savy veteran should welcome the rest at the All Star break as well as welcome the rotation help from fellow lefty Jose Quintana. I look for a rebound, but I want to see it before blindly believing in it. On the exact opposite side of the coin Brewers lefty Brent Suter ended the first half with two very decent outings. Against the Orioles and Yankees Suter went 12.1 innings only allowing two earned runs and two walks, while striking out 13. Those two performances probably keep him in the rotation mix at least until Chase Anderson returns from the DL. In six minor league seasons Suter performed well, with a decent enough 3.44 ERA and 1.29 WHIP, so he may be a sneaky waiver add as he only has a 31% ownership in Fantrax leagues.

Meh, Some Young Guns Here Worth Filling Out a Staff…

  • Scott Feldman – (7/17 vs. WAS-Stephen Strasburg; 7/22 vs. MIA-Edinson Volquez)
  • German Marquez – (7/17 vs. SD-Luis Perdomo; 7/23 vs. PIT-Ivan Nova)
  • Jerad Eickhoff – (7/17 @ MIA-Tom Koehler; 7/23 vs. MIL-Brent Suter)
  • Ariel Miranda – (7/17 @ HOU-Lance McCullers; 7/22 vs. NYY-Masahiro Tanaka)
  • Sean Newcomb – (7/18 vs. CHC-John Lackey; 7/23 @ LAD-Clayton Kershaw)
  • Luis Perdomo – (7/17 @ COL-German Marquez; 7/22 @ SF-Matt Moore)
  • Andrew Cashner – (7/17 @ BAL-Chris Tillman; 7/22 @ TB-Chris Archer)
  • Ty Blach – (7/18 vs. CLE-Mike Tomlin; 7/23 vs. SD-Dinelson Lamet)
  • Josh Tomlin- (7/17 @ SF-Matt Moore; 7/23 vs. TOR-J.A. Happ)

If it weren’t for some of the matchups against superior teams this might be a bit different for some pitchers in this tier. The pitcher with the best matchup in terms of opponents might be German Marquez. His numbers aren’t overly inspiring with only 67 strikeouts in 76.1 innings and a 4.36 ERA and 1.402 WHIP. With two games in Colorado, but against two weak teams in the Padres and Pirates, there is something about him that intrigues me. Former Rule 5 draft pick Luis Perdomo has had a decent string of starts in four of his last five outings. Putting together 29 innings and striking out 22, while allowing 10 runs and going 4-1 in the process. Because he is a decent strikeout pitcher and he keeps the ball on the ground, he could survive the start at Colorado and has a more favorable game against the Giants.

Based On How Their First Half Went, I’m Not Taking The Chance…

  • Matt Moore – (7/17 vs. CLE-Mike Clevinger; 7/22 vs. SD-Luis Perdomo)
  • Sal Romano – (7/18 vs. ARI-Zack Greinke; 7/23 vs. MIA-Tom Koehler)
  • Dylan Bundy – (7/18 vs. TEX-Tyson Ross; 7/23 vs. HOU-Lance McCullers)
  • Daniel Gossett – (7/17 vs. TB-Jake Odorizzi; 7/23 @ NYM-TBD)
  • Jordan Zimmermann – (7/17 @ KC-Jason Vargas; 7/22 @ MIN-Kyle Gibson)
  • Jesse Chavez – (7/18 vs. WAS-TBD; 7/23 vs. BOS-Eduardo Rodriguez)
  • Sam Gaviglio – (7/18 @ HOU-Brad Peacock; 7/23 vs. NYY-CC Sabathia)
  • Tom Koehler – (7/17 vs. PHI-Jerad Eickhoff, 7/23 @ CIN-Sal Romano)
  • Chris Tillman – (7/17 vs. TEX-Andrew Cashner; 7/22 vs. HOU-Mike Fiers)
  • Chad Kuhl – (7/17 vs. MIL-Brent Suter; 7/22 @ COL-Jeff Hoffman)

There are not any names on this list that I would in good conscience suggest using. The first half of the season was not kind to most, but really that gives them no where to go but up. Dylan Bundy came off a strong end to the 2016 season and many expected him to build on that in 2017. He started by winning five out if his first seven, but really struggled after that. All is not doom and gloom though as his 4.33 ERA and 1.25 WHIP are not all that bad to build on.  If he can keep away from the home run ball, which he has allowed 14 in his last 10 games, he has a shot to be a reliable option. I would just like to see more consistency and the ability to keep the ball in the park before I move him up.

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