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Two-Start Pitchers: Week of June 19, 2017

As the DL Turns, These are the DLs of Our Lives, General MLB Hospital. It seems to me the durability of the modern baseball player should really be in question. Each day brings us a new soap opera in terms of who is injured and how long their absence will affect our fantasy rosters. The institution of the 10-DL has really allowed each major league team the flexibility to evaluate injuries at a near unprecedented rate with all the roster moves. Already here in the early going it seems to really be a war of attrition. The teams with the most quality depth or those lucky enough to dodge the injury bug are the beneficiaries. Injuries, or their lingering effects, have left would-be quality pitchers as risky, unreliable options here in the second week of June. All of the roster shuffling has caused a glut of middling pitchers with rotation spots. Thus, we are here looking at quite a few unappealing options for this week’s two-start pitchers.

It may be possible to catch lightning in a bottle with a pitcher or two. Play the hot hand and pay close attention to the most attractive matchups this week. With so many middle-of-the-road options and few top-end plays, there are bound to be a few surprises to capitalize on.

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 match-ups; there are no guarantees on the actual starts.

Clayton Kershaw Heads This List, Need I Say More…

  • Clayton Kershaw – (6/19 vs. NYM-Zack Wheeler; 6/24 vs. COL-Tyler Chatwood)
  • Zack Greinke- (6/20 @ COL-German Marquez; 6/25 vs. PHI-Jeremy Hellickson)
  • Corey Kluber – (6/19 @ BAL-Dylan Bundy; 6/24 vs. MIN-Kyle Gibson)
  • Jon Lester – (6/19 vs. SD-Clayton Richard, 6/24 @ MIA-Edinson Volquez)

None of the four starters on this list are remotely close to a risky play. A start in Colorado for most pitchers is not worth the risk in most weeks. Zack Greinke has had both a home and away start against the Rockies already in 2017. His road start on May 5 was actually the better of the two, as he pitched seven innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts and zero walks. With so few sure things this week, that is not too far of a stretch. Lester is not nearly the lock Kluber and Kershaw represent, but he has been a steady performer for that under performing staff in Chicago. His last start against the Mets was a strong seven-inning, 10-strikeoutperformance on Wednesday. The Padres and Marlins should not represent a very tough challenge if he is similarly on his game. If Lance McCullers is able to come off the DL on the 19th, he too would make this list. Stay tuned.

Second Tier Does Not Mean Second Rate…

  • Johnny Cueto – (6/19@ ATL-R.A. Dickey; 6/24 vs. NYM-Zack Wheeler)
  • Gerrit Cole – (6/19 @ MIL-Matt Garza; 6/24 @ STL-Lance Lynn)
  • Michael Pineda – (6/19 @ MIA-Edinson Volquez; 6/25 vs. CIN-Scott Feldman)
  • Justin Verlander – (6/20 @ SEA-Ariel Miranda; 6/25 @ SD-Clayton Richard)
  • Ervin Santan- (6/20 vs. CHW-Miguel Gonzalez; 6/25 @ CLE-Josh Tomlin)
  • Mike Montgomery – (6/20 vs. SD-Jhoulys Chacin; 6/25 @ MIA-TBA)
  • Jordan Zimmermann – (6/19 @ SEA-Sam Gaviglio; 6/24 @ SD-Luis Perdomo)
  • Sonny Gray- (6/20 vs. HOU-Francis Marte; 6/25 @ CHW-Miguel Gonzalez)

You will notice a lot of usual suspects on this list. Mike Montgomery’s inclusion among the Verlanders, Cuetos, and Pinedas of the world might be a surprise to some. If ever there were a week to speculate on him, this just might be it. His starts have not been dominant, but they have shown signs of life from the lefty hurler. In his last two starts he has nine whiffs in nine innings. He did allow four earned runs and walk five batters in those nine frames, but he stretched out to 88 pitches as he fills in for an injured Kyle Hendricks. With two very tasty starts scheduled this week; one at home against the Padres and one the road against the Marlins, he is a very sneaky if not trendy pick. To top it all off he is only owned in 4.9% of ESPN fantasy leagues. Don’t sleep on Jordan Zimmermann. After a rough start to the season, he has put up three pretty productive starts (20 innings, 5 ER, 14 Ks). He has two very favorable matchups against the Mariners and Padres.

Quality Starts Could Still Be Had…

  • Jake Odorizzi – (6/19 vs. CIN-Scott Feldman; 6/25 vs. BAL-Chris Tillman)
  • Julio Teheran – (6/20 vs. SF-Matt Moore; 6/25 vs. MIL-Zach Davies)
  • Brandon McCarthy – (6/20 vs. NYM-Robert Gsellman; 6/25 vs. COL-German Marquez)
  • Jason Hammel – (6/19 vs. BOS-TBA; 6/25 vs. TOR-Francisco Liriano)
  • Francisco Liriano – (6/20 @ TEX-Nick Martinez; 6/25 @ KC-Jason Hammel)
  • Sam Gaviglio – (6/19 vs. DET-Jordan Zimmermann; 6/24 vs. HOU-Brad Peacock)
  • Dylan Bundy – (6/19 vs. CLE-Corey Kluber; 6/24 @ TB-Jacob Faria)
  • Zach Davies – (6/20 vs. PIT-Chad Kuhl; 6/25 @ ATL-Julio Teheran)
  • Zack Wheeler – (6/19 @ LAD-Clayton Kershaw; 6/24 @ SF-Johnny Cueto)

I really like the talent Odorizzi, Wheeler, and Teheran represent. I’m just not seeing the consistent performance from any of them to confidently stand behind them every start. Each one has a very winnable matchup this week and one tougher one. Dylan Bundy and Zach Davies are unfortunately due for some regression. I would really rather see them avoid it, but I believe both are artificially propped up by some fortunate win totals. Sam Gaviglio is an interesting option for a flyer. The soft-tossing righty has produced three serviceable starts in a row with 16 strikeouts in a little over 16 innings to go along with just six earned runs and three walks. It will be interesting to see if he can hold up while he fills in for an injured Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. Houston will be a very big test.

Meh, The Pickings Are Becoming Slim…

  • Matt Garza – (6/19 vs. PIT-Gerrit Cole; 6/24 @ ATL-R.A. Dickey)
  • Scott Feldman – (6/19 @ TB-Jake Odorizzi; 6/25 @ WAS-Tanner Roark)
  • Marco Estrada – (6/19 @ TEX-Andrew Cashner; 6/24 @ KC-Jason Vargas)
  • Robert Gsellman – (6/20 @ LAD-Brandon McCarthy; 6/25 @ SF-Matt Moore)
  • Andrew Cashner – (6/19 vs. TOR-Marco Estrada; 6/24 @ NYY-TBA)
  • Edinson Volquez – (6/19 vs. WAS-Tanner Roark; 6/24 vs. CHC-Jon Lester)
  • Mike Leake – (6/20 @ PHI-Jeremy Hellickson; 6/25 vs. PIT-Chad Kuhl)
  • German Marquez – (6/20 vs. ARI-Zack Greinke; 6/25 @LAD-Brandon McCarthy)
  • Ariel Miranda – (6/20 vs. DET-Justin Verlander; 6/25 vs. HOU-Francis Martes)
  • Brad Peacock – (6/19 @ OAK-Daniel Gossett; 6/24 @ SEA-Sam Gaviglio)
  • Josh Tomlin – (6/20 @ BAL-Chris Tillman; 6/25 vs. MIN-Ervin Santana)

Little intrigue exists in this group. Edinson Volquez may be a shocker here based on his scintillating three-start performance to close out May and begin June. I believe his normal performance lies somewhere between those three starts and the six starts in the beginning of the season that saw him post a 4.82 ERA and a .278 batting average against. Mike Leake has really fallen off a cliff. No one expected him to keep up his early-season pace, but Leake has allowed 18 runs over 24 innings in his past four starts. It is probably best to steer clear until he proves useful. Keep an eye on the Philadelphia game to gauge.

Got To Be Better Choices Than This…

  • Matt Moore – (6/20 @ ATL-Julio Teheran; 6/25 vs. NYM-Robert Gsellman)
  • Jeremy Hellickson – (6/20 vs. STL-Mike Leake; 6/25 @ ARI-Zack Greinke)
  • Francis Martes – (6/20 @ OAK-Sonny Gray; 6/25 @ SEA-Ariel Mirada)
  • Chad Kuhl – (6/20 @ MIL-Zach Davies; 6/25 @ STL-Mike Leake)
  • Matt Shoemaker* – (6/20 @ NYY-Michael Pineda; 6/25 @ BOS-TBA)
  • Miguel Gonzalez- (6/20 @ MIN-Ervin Santana; 6/25 vs. OAK-Sonny Gray)
  • Nick Martinez- (6/20 vs. TOR-Francisco Liriano; 6/25 @ NYY-Michael Pineda)
  • Chris Tillman – (6/20 vs. CLE-Josh Tomlin; 6/25 @ TB-Jake Odorizzi)
  • R.A. Dickey – (6/19 vs. SF-Johnny Cueto; 6/24 vs. MIL-Matt Garza)
  • Clayton Richard – (6/19 @ CHC-Jon Lester; 6/25 vs. DET-Justin Verlander)
  • Daniel Gossett – (6/19 vs. HOU-Brad Peacock; 6/24 @ CHW-Derek Holland)

Some of these qualify as desperation plays in all but the very deepest of leagues. Keep an eye on Shoemaker. He drops down this low due to an undisclosed forearm injury that could costhim  a DL stint.

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