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Two-Start Pitchers for Fantasy Baseball: Week 6(8/31-9/6)

Two-start pitchers have been a messy situation to track this season with postponed games, schedule changes, and many players hitting the Injured List. Starts have changed from finishing this article one night to publishing the next morning. The moral of the story is, expect the unexpected.

I have worked on a formula that ranks two-start pitchers incorporating three factors that I think are effective when determining who you should start or sit. Team wRC+(versus left-handed or right-handed pitching), ballpark factors(wOBA), and the starting pitchers xFIP are all incorporated. Two thousand twenty data will be integrated, as well as 2019, as the season is still new. For ballpark factors, I am using Derek Carty’s “The Bat Park Factors.” These factors are helpful when looking to determine which two-start pitchers are viable starts.

It is also important to note that just because a pitcher will make two starts does not make that pitcher more valuable than a single start pitcher. In a weekly head-to-head league, two bad starts will likely cost you in the ratio categories.

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Two-Start Pitchers Tier Description:

Must-Start: These pitchers are no doubters for the week. You should start most of these pitchers every time they pitch.

Should-Start: Two-start pitchers in the should-start tier are good options for the week but may have some hesitations for different reasons.

Questionable: Two-start pitchers in this tier may be used for deeper leagues but should most likely sit.

Sit: Do not start these pitchers.

*Reminder that this article was published Friday morning, starters for the following week are subject to change.

The * beside player’s names indicates a left-handed pitcher. wRC+ listed are team splits against either right or left-handed pitching.

Two-Start Pitchers: Must-Start

PitcherERAStart 1Team wRC+Start 2Team wRC+
Gerrit Cole3.51Tampa Bay114@Baltimore98
Shane Bieber1.35@Kansas City88Milwaukee67
Jacob deGrom1.8@Baltimore98Philadelphia110
Clayton Kershaw*2.25Arizona62Colorado96
Sonny Gray2.21St. Louis104@Pittsburgh54
Patrick Corbin*3.82@Philadelphia126@Atlanta63
Max Scherzer4.31@Philadelphia110@Atlanta120
Mike Clevinger3.18@Kansas City88Milwaukee67
Aaron Nola3Washington92@New York Mets123
Max Fried*1.35@Boston105Washington132

Almost every one of these pitchers are no-brainers when it comes to must-start. Each should be started every time out, and they are among the top two-start pitchers for next week.

  • Mike Clevinger is back in the rotation after being optioned for several reasons. Clevinger could be traded before next Monday’s deadline. If he stays with Cleveland, he is lined up for two-starts with Kansas City and Milwaukee, giving him two of better matchups among the two-start pitchers. Clevinger should be his usual self, and you should have no reserves with starting him.
  • Max Fried is has looked like an ace so far this season as he has dominated with a 1.35 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 40 innings. Fried keeps performing and earns his way into the must-start tier of two-start pitchers. He faces Boston and Washington next week, who can give him a challenge, but Fried is more than up for the task.

Two-Start Pitchers: Should-Start

PitcherERAStart 1Team wRC+Start 2Team wRC+
Jose Berrios4.75Chicago White Sox109Detroit83
Dinelson Lamet1.89@Colorado82@Oakland107
Dallas Keuchel*2.7@Minnesota90@Kansas City105
Hyun-Jin Ryu*3.19@Miami80@Boston105
Cristian Javier3.77Texas59@Los Angeles Angels116
Masahiro Tanaka 3.48Tampa Bay114@Baltimore98
Marco Gonzales*3.63@Los Angeles Angels71Texas69
Adrian Houser3.72Pittsburgh54@Cleveland91
  • Dinelson Lamet is likely a must-start pitcher any other week with how well he has performed to this point. He is using his slider more than any other pitch and is dominating hitters with it, as he has a 34.1 percent strikeout rate. Unfortunately, he does have a start in Coors Field on the schedule for next week. Lamet should be fine, but anytime a pitcher goes into Coors, there are always question marks. Start him, but be aware of that start.
  • Cristian Javier has pitched well this season except for a start in Coors Field, and at Oakland. He currently has a 3.77 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 31 innings. Javier has regressed, and I probably would drop him a tier if it were not for a start against Texas, who is one of the worst hitting teams against right-handed pitching. Javier also gets a matchup with the Angels who a hit or miss. I think it could be an excellent week for Javier to get back on track after two consecutive outings of allowing three earned runs.


PitcherERAStart 1Team wRC+Start 2Team wRC+
Kwang Hyun Kim1.69@Cincinnati93@Chicago Cubs85
Brad Keller2.08Cleveland91Chicago White Sox109
Ryan Yarbrough*4.45@New York Yankees103Miami80
Mike Fiers4.86@Seattle97San Diego120
Dakota Hudson3.32@Cincinnati 86@Chicago Cubs110
Brandon Bielak5.4Texas59@Los Angeles Angels116
Ian Anderson1.5@Boston92Washington92
Danny Duffy*3.99Cleveland58Chicago White Sox170
Spencer Howard6.17Washington92@New York Mets123
Chad Kuhl2.84Chicago Cubs110Cincinnati86
Trevor Richards4.71@New York Yankees122Miami99
Brad Keller2.08Cleveland 91Chicago White Sox109
  • Kwang Hyun Kim is having an interesting season after starting the year as the Cardinals’ closer and giving up two runs on Opening Day. He moved back into the rotation in the middle of August and has pitched well, allowing just one earned run in 9.2 innings of work. Kim threw six innings in his last start, which indicates he can go deep enough into games. He has had some luck swing his way, though. A .206 BABIP, an 83.3 percent strand rate, and a 4.90 xFIP suggest regression is coming. He is a questionable two-start pitcher for the week due to two tough matchups with Cincinnati and the Cubs.
  • Brad Keller pitched three consecutive scoreless outings before allowing five earned runs against the Cardinals on Monday. Keller was a late arrival due to testing positive for COVID but did not appear to skip a beat. Glancing at his numbers, it might be easy to think Keller is flying under the radar. But there are reasons to believe that regression is coming. His last outing, coupled with a high strand rate and low BABIP, are the reasons Keller is in the questionable tier of two-start pitchers.


PitcherERAStart 1Team wRC+Start 2Team wRC+
Robbie Ray*7.84@Los Angeles Dodgers79@San Francisco133
Jon Gray5.45San Diego120@Los Angeles Dodgers135
Trevor Williams5.34@Milwaukee67Cincinnati86
John Means*10.13New York Mets115New York Yankees103
Wade Miley*9.72St. Louis99@Pittsburgh125
Kolby Allard*6.5@Houston136@Seattle72
Asher Wojciechowski5.13@Toronto105New York Yankees122
Matt Harvey11.12Cleveland91Chicago White Sox109
Jose Suarez*38.57Seattle72Houston136
Kyle Hart*13Atlanta63Toronto 114
  • Robbie Ray is a pitcher that I cannot recommend starting right now. If he is still on your roster, you especially do not want to start him this week as he gets two starts against the Dodgers and the lefty killer Giants. Ray has been a strikeout machine and has several good starts that want to suck you back in. Please don’t fall for it; it is a trap! Ray is a ratio destroyer, and if things go south, this week could get ugly for him.
  • Jon Gray is the other more prominent name in the sit tier of two-start pitchers. Gray only has one lousy start that inflated his ERA, when he allowed eight earned runs in 3.1 innings against the Diamondbacks. Gray pitched well in his last outing, but next week he gets starts against the hot-hitting Padres and the Dodgers. Having the Padres in Coors could turn into a home run derby very fast. Avoid Gray this week if you want to avoid potentially destroying your ratios.

Do you play in an OBP Dynasty League? If so, be sure to check out my article “Prospects Who Gain Value in an OBP League.”

I also want to thank the fine people at Roster Resource, who keep their “MLB Schedule Grid” up to date. They are a big reason that this article is possible by tracking when starters are scheduled to pitch.

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