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Two-Start Pitchers For Fantasy Baseball: Week 5(8/24-8/30)

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. Most of these two-start pitchers should be started 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 not be started.

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 for Week 5


PitcherERAStart 1wRC+Start 2wRC+
Jacob deGrom1.93MIA101@NYY125
Trevor Bauer0.68@MIL67CHC109
Shane Bieber1.11MIN103@STL96
Sonny Gray2.21@MIL67CHC109
Brandon Woodruff3.23CIN99PIT50
Lance Lynn1.37OAK109LAD126
Patrick Corbin*3.91PHI140@BOS101
Luis Castillo4.44@MIL67CHC109
Jack Flaherty3.12KC89CLE80
Aaron Civale 2.91MIN103@STL96
Lucas Giolito3.89PIT50KC89

Many of the players in this tier speak for themselves. These pitchers are some of the best in baseball and should be started every time out. Let’s dive a little deeper into a few of these two-start pitchers.

  • Aaron Civale is amid a breakout, and it has been fun to watch! Coming off one of his best starts of the season, Civale has moved into the must-start range as one of the best two-start pitchers for next week. He is mixing his pitches well, which has led to an impressive 2.91 ERA through his first 34 innings of the season. While the strikeouts won’t blow you away, Civale’s control is impeccable, with a mere 2.3 percent walk rate. He gets the Twins at home and St. Louis on the road, making him a great two-start option for next week.
  • Lucas Giolito certainly has not lived up to his price tag that Fantasy Baseball owners paid in draft season. The good news is, much like Civale, Giolito is coming off his best start of the season. He dominated the Tigers, pitching seven shutout innings and striking out 13 hitters. That outing lowered his ERA from 4.71 to 3.89 in just one start. Giolito arguably has the most favorable matchups of any of the two-start pitchers next week with Pittsburgh and Kansas City. It is a great chance for him to build on the success of his last outing, making him a must-start option.
  • Luis Castillo has pitched like an ace without the ace numbers. It is only a matter of time before the numbers start reflecting how well Castillo has pitched. At first glance, his 4.44 ERA and 1.52 WHIP look quite atrocious. The good news is, his FIP of 2.04 and xFIP of 3.04 suggest he has pitched well and will pitch much better than his ERA moving forward. Castillo is striking out hitters at a career-high rate and has lowered his walk rate by nearly two percent. His profile checks out, and his .403 BABIP and 62.2 percent strand rate should positively regress, meaning Castillo’s ratios will be much better moving forward. He gets starts with Milwaukee and the Cubs next week, but I still feel comfortable placing him in the must-start tier.
  • Jack Flaherty started his first game since Opening Day on August 19. Unfortunately, that start only lasted 1.2 innings. He should continue to build up his arm strength and be a fine option moving forward. Flaherty has a great chance to rebound next week, given his two-starts against Kansas City and Cleveland. With the price you paid for Flaherty in drafts, you have to start him. It just makes it a little easier knowing his matchups for next week.


PitcherERAStart 1wRC+Start 2wRC+
Julio Urias*2.74@SF118@TEX73
Chris Paddack4.26SEA94@COL81
Jesus Luzardo*3.67@TEX73@HOU126
German Marquez4.38@ARI99SD111
Spencer Turnbull2.78CHC109MIN103
Brad Keller0@STL96@CHW98
Jose Berrios4.75@CLE80@DET74
Rich Hill* 4.7@CLE66@DET144
Framber Valdez*1.72LAA75OAK104
Pablo Lopez2.42@WAS88TB114
Adam Wainwright2.00KC89CLE80
Merrill Kelly2.59COL81SF93

  • German Marquez was pitching at his 2018 level again before Thursday’s start against the Astros. Before the start, he had a 2.25 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP until a ten earned run outing ballooned his ERA to 4.38. The start was in Coors against one of the top lineups in baseball, but ten runs in five innings is inexcusable. But, he gets Arizona on the road and San Diego at home. I feel confident Marquez can rebound and have a good two-start week considering how well he pitched prior.
  • Jesús Luzardo is rapidly approaching the must-start territory. If you take out his spot start against the Giants when Frankie Montas was scratched Luzardo has been stellar this season. That start, he allowed six earned runs over 3.1 innings, and it was clear he was not prepared. In his other 23.2 innings this season, Luzardo has allowed a total of five earned runs, giving him a 1.94 ERA in those innings. While a tough two-start week with trips to Texas and Houston looms, Luzardo is more than capable of handling those lineups. I believe we will continue to watch Luzardo evolve into a high-end starting pitcher this season.
  • Tyler Glasnow is doing his best Robbie Ray impersonation to start the 2020 season. He is striking out 36.8 and walking 13.7 percent of hitters while supporting a 6.00 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. Glasnow has had a lot of things go against him, though, as he has a .349 BABIP and a 68.2 percent strand rate. His xFIP of 3.54 predicts he will perform better moving forward. While it may be hard to start him, Glasnow is one of the more favorable two-start pitchers according to my model. He gets outings with Toronto at home and on the road in Miami next week.
  • Pablo López continues to dominate thanks to a new and improved pitch mix. López has decreased his four-seam usage by over 15 percent, added a cutter, and is using his changeup and sinker more. The change has resulted in a 2.42 ERA, which is backed by a 2.25 FIP and a 2.81 xFIP. His strikeout rate is up to six percent to 26.1, and his ground ball rate is over 60 percent. López has reinvented his game and his hot start is legitimate. He gets two-starts against Washington and Tampa Bay, which makes him a good option among two-start pitchers.


PitcherERAStart 1wRC+Start 2wRC+
Tommy Milone*4.13@TB122@TOR105
Tanner Roark4.76@TB114BAL106
Chase Anderson2.79BOS95BAL106
Casey Mize6.23CHC109MIN103
Cristian Javier3.55LAA116OAK109
Patrick Sandoval*5.4@HOU126SEA65
Kyle Gibson4.72OAK109LAD126
Erick Fedde2.55MIA101@BOS95
Alec Mills4.76@DET74@CIN99
Brett Anderson*3.71CIN114PIT120
Alex Young*4.50COL97SF118
Ryan Castellani3.77@ARI99SD111
Trevor Williams3.70@CHW98@MIL67
Sean Manaea* 6.39@TEX73@HOU126
Johhny Cueto4.35LAD126@ARI99

  • Cristian Javier has been the best among the questionable two-start pitchers for next week. Before a trip to Coors Field yesterday, Javier had a 2.91 ERA and a 0.83 WHIP in 21.2 innings. Three earned runs allowed in 3.2 innings caused his ERA to rise to 3.55. The numbers look great until you look a little deeper and see that Javier has benefited from a .207 BABIP and a 91.4 percent strand rate. Those numbers are due for regression, which is why his xFIP is 4.51. Javier gets two-starts against the Angels and Athletics next week. Regression is coming, and it is more of a question of when and not if, which is why he finds himself in the questionable category.
  • Casey Mize made his much-anticipated debut this week against the White Sox. The outing was quite impressive as Mize struck out seven hitters in 4.1 innings. He allowed three earned runs, including a solo shot to Edwin Encarnacion, but overall was impressive. Unfortunately, Mize is a questionable two-start pitcher next week thanks to two tough matchups with the Cubs and Twins. I would like to see Mize perform well in these outings before moving him up into the consistently start range. Regardless, Mize should be a fun pitcher to watch this season.
  • Sean Manaea pitched extremely well to finish the 2019 season after returning from shoulder surgery. The strong finish caused him to be a sleeper for many in 2020 drafts. Unfortunately, he has not gotten it done this season, having a 7.65 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in 20 innings. When this article is published, Manaea will have made another start, so he could show something that would move him out of the sit tier. There is still a chance Manaea could return to form, as he has an insanely low 43.2 percent strand rate. But for now, I would not feel comfortable starting him. Especially given starts against Texas and Houston, who can take advantage of you if you are struggling. *Edit: Manaea pitched well last night against the Diamondbacks, giving him two straight starts with two earned runs or less. This is what I wanted to see to bump him up from the sit tier.


PitcherERAStart 1wRC+Start 2wRC+
Steven Brault*3@CHW152@MIL116
Kyle Hart*11.12@TOR105WAS141
Jose Suarez*33.75@HOU126SEA65
Daniel Castano4.35@NYM123TB114


Are you struggling to keep up with everything going on around the Major League? Good news! Justin Johnson has you covered with his “News and Notes with Fantasy Implications” article. I also want to give a special shoutout to Roster Resource and their “MLB Schedule Grid.” It has been a valuable resource to me when making my two-start pitcher rankings.

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