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MLB Fantasy Advice: 2 Start Pitchers Week Two

[the_ad id=”567″]The 2017 MLB season is off and running. Week 1 saw some great starts, unexpected performances, and the normal outcomes we expected for others. With any prognosticating, there were plenty of misses that I did not see coming. You just never know about baseball. Any given week you are bound to be proven wrong, but things tend to average out over the course of a full season. Let’s take a look at week two’s 2 start pitching match-ups.

One strategy fantasy players like to utilize is focusing on two-start pitchers in a week. This is particularly the case for H2H leagues out there who set rosters weekly. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, it basically maximizes those pitchers’ points given they have two opportunities in a week to accumulate. In most weeks this is an essential strategy as you can weed out the less desirable pitchers or make an educated decision over one start pitchers with less upside.

I’ll tier these groups for you here and try to offer insight on any hidden value plays. These projected starts are not a lock and are subject to change due to rain outs, injury, performance issues, or managerial whims in accordance to each player’s actual major league team. I only offer my opinion on the match-ups, there are no guarantees on the actual starts.

No Questions Asked…

  • Chris Sale – (4/10 @ DET-Justin Verlander; 4/15 vs. T.B.-Jake Odorizzi)
  • Jon Lester – (4/10 vs. LAD-Alex Wood*; 4/16 vs. PIT-Jameson Taillon)
  • Justin Verlander – (4/10 vs. BOS-Chris Sale; 4/15 @ CLE-Corey Kluber)
  • Jacob deGrom – (4/10 @ PHI-Jerad Eickhoff; 4/15 @ MIA-Edinson Volquez)
  • Carlos Carrasco – ( 4/11 vs. CHW-James Shields; 4/16 vs. DET-Matt Boyd)
  • Cole Hamels – ( 4/11 @ LAA-Garrett Richards*; 4/16 @ SEA-James Paxton)
  • Matt Harvey – ( 4/11 @ PHI-Clay Buchholz; 4/16 @ MIA-Dan Straily)
  • James Paxton – (4/10 vs. HOU-Charlie Morton; 4/16 vs. TEX-Cole Hamels)
  • Tanner Roark – (4/10 vs. STL-Adam Wainwright; 4/16 vs. PHI-Jerad Eickhoff)

The assumption here is you drafted most of these guys to be your ace or at least close to it.  Sale, Lester, Verlander, deGrom, and maybe even Hamels will be going for you even in the weeks they only pitch once, so a two-start week is an easy decision. Verlander and Hamels have the toughest match-ups. Good first starts from spring injury risk pitchers Carrasco and Harvey have them back in ace status. Injuries are always something to watch for, but you can’t predict them so ride these guys like you normally would. Paxton looks to have picked up where he left off with a strong finish to ’16 and a good spring. I’m pretty high on him and will tout his arm until proven otherwise. Roark has been overlooked year after year. He has decent opponents this week, but both are at home.

Odds Are Good You Won’t Be Sorry…

  • Dylan Bundy – (4/11 @ BOS-Drew Pomeranz; 4/16 @ TOR-J.A. Happ)
  • Jameson Taillon – (4/11 vs. CIN-Rookie Davis; 4/16 @ CHC-Jon Lester)
  • Alex Cobb – (4/10 @ NYY-Michael Pineda; 4/16 @ BOS-Drew Pomeranz)
  • Adam Wainwright – (4/10 @ WAS-Tanner Roark; 4/16 @NYY-Luis Severino)
  • Ian Kennedy – (4/10 vs. OAK-Jharel Cotton; 4/15 vs. LAA-Matt Shoemaker)
  • Matt Moore – (4/10 vs. ARI-Taijuan Walker; 4/15 vs. COL-Tyler Chatwood)
  • J.A. Happ – (4/11 vs. MIL-Wily Peralta; 4/16 vs. BAL-Dylan Bundy)
  • Garrett Richards* – (4/11 vs. TEX-Cole Hamels; 4/16 @ KC-Nathan Karns)

[the_ad id=”384″]There are quite a few young guns in this group that are up and coming starters. Bundy and Taillon both to this point of their careers have been snake bit with injuries. They are both off to a good start this year coming off good first games. Cobb has had two lost seasons, but he too had a great first start and has two favorable match-ups here. Wainwright, Kennedy, and Happ are the old dogs of the group. All three have two very winnable games on their schedule. Happ has the bonus of facing two teams that are prone to high K rates. Matt Moore seems to be a bit under-rated here in ’17. He had a so-so first outing, but both games are at home this week. Richards last start was going great until bicep cramps ended it after 4. No word as of this writing of the severity, but Angels claim there is no issue. Stay tuned, where there is smoke there is fire. (*update:  Angels placed Richards on 10-day D.L. after this original post.*) He is a major injury risk every week, but the talent is there to be a top flight pitcher.

MEH, Two Starts are Probably Better Than One…

  • Jeff Samardzija – (4/11 vs. ARI-Robbie Ray; 4/16 vs. COL-Antonio Senzatela)
  • Hector Santiago – (4/11 @ DET-Matt Boyd; 4/16 vs. CHW-James Shields)
  • Jerad Eickhoff – (4/10 vs. NYM-Jacob deGrom; 4/16 @ WAS-Tanner Roark)
  • Brandon Finnegan – (4/10 @ PIT-Tyler Glasnow; 4/15 vs. MIL-Zach Davies)
  • Tyler Chatwood – (4/10 vs. SD-Trevor Cahill; 4/15 @ SF-Matt Moore)
  • Michael Pineda – (4/10 vs. TB-Alex Cobb; 4/15 vs. STL-Carlos Martinez)
  • Jharel Cotton – (4/10 @ KC-Ian Kennedy; 4/16 vs. HOU-Charlie Morton)

The pitchers in this group are decent enough pitchers at times. This week they either have one tough game in the schedule or other question marks to be answered. Is there a more frustrating pitcher than the Shark? He always seems to stay in the game one inning too long. At least both games are at home. Santiago and Eickhoff always seem to get the job done. Without a lot of fan fare they should accumulate two decent enough stat lines from both starts. Finnegan coming off an outstanding first start of the season. Everyone buzzing about him in week one, but still needs to prove consistency. Chatwood, Pineda, and Cotton are all capable of huge games. All three have one game on the schedule that is iffy and one game they should win. If they can turn that iffy game into a W and hit their mark on the other match they should be in for a solid week.

You Better Be In A Deep League, Because Otherwise There Is No Excuse…

  • Drew Pomeranz – (4/11 vs. BAL-Dylan Bundy; 4/16 vs. TB-Alex Cobb)
  • Charlie Morton – (4/10 @ SEA-James Paxton; 4/16 @ OAK-Jharel Cotton)
  • Trevor Cahill* – (4/10 @ COL-Tyler Chatwood; 4/16 @ ATL-Julio Teheran)
  • Dan Straily – (4/11 vs. ATL-Bartolo Colon; 4/16 vs. NYM-Matt Harvey)
  • Wily Peralta – (4/11 @ TOR-J.A. Happ; 4/16 @ CIN-Rookie Davis)
  • Taijuan Walker – (4/10 @ SF-Matt Moore; 4/16 @ LAD-Alex Wood*)

[the_ad id=”693″]Every single one of these guys offers some fantasy intrigue. There is no reason to start them if you have other options, though. In some cases a one start ace type pitcher may be a much better choice than risking these guys against their two opponents. Pomeranz is making his first two starts after a very tumultuous spring. He must prove healthy and face two young quality starters at home. There seems to be some buzz surrounding Morton. He has a re-match with Paxton on the road as well as another road game to end the week. I’m not buying the velocity increase theory until I see more proof. I really want to like Cahill and Straily, but both have a lot to prove. (*update: Cahill put on 10-day D.L. after this article originally posted*)  This week may be tough for both. Peralta and Walker have been frustratingly inconsistent for the majority of their careers. Flashing both promise and skill at times and then all but disappearing at others. All games are risky road matches for the two of them this week.

Ummm…How About…NO…

  • James Shields – (4/11 @ CLE-Carlos Carrasco; 4/16 @ MIN-Hector Santiago)
  • Chad Kuhl – (4/10 vs. CIN-Brandon Finnegan; 4/15 @ CHC-Jon Lester)
  • Antonio Senzatela – (4/11 vs. SD-Jered Weaver; 4/16 @ SF-Jeff Samardzija)
  • Matt Boyd – (4/11 vs. MIN-Hector Santiago; 4/16 @ CLE-Carlos Carrasco)
  • Alex Wood* – (4/10 @ CHC-Jon Lester; 4/16 vs. ARI-Taijuan Walker)
  • Rookie Davis – (4/11 @ PIT-Jameson Taillon; 4/16 vs. MIL-Wily Peralta)

These guys are fill-in type pitchers at best. After Shields precipitous fall from grace over the last few seasons, he would have to pitch like a near ace for me to ever use him again. Kuhl, Boyd, and Davis seem adequate at best. Not necessarily the type of pitcher you want to pursue unless you are in the deepest of leagues and are just looking for any points possible. I think Senzatela offers some upside and intrigue based on his minor league numbers. I am not sure, however, that he is ready for the majors. Wood will most likely take at least one of Rich Hill’s starts after he was put on the 10 DL on Thursday. Even if he gets the second start I see no reason to use him.

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