by Ray Kuhn
In leagues where there are no innings limits, it is important to maximize your innings. However, you do not want to do that at the expense of poor performance. Quality is better than quantity.
Each week during the season we will break down all of the pitchers scheduled to make two starts in the upcoming week. Just like when assembling your rotation, we will break the pitchers down by tier. In all formats every pitcher within the first two tiers should be owned no questions asked. Pitchers in the third and fourth tiers are likely owned in all formats, but some could be borderline starting decisions depending on the league structure and your roster composition. The fifth tier has pitchers who will likely be available in most if not all leagues and could be either the deepest of sleepers or do the most damage to your ratios.
Within each tier, the pitchers are also ranked. Starting decisions should be made accordingly.
Here are the Week 6 Two Start Pitchers:
- This is not the best week if you are looking to maximize your starts. While last week there were plenty of strikeouts to be had, the same is not true of the pitchers taking the mound twice this week. However that does mean that if you look hard enough, there is some value to be found. Tread carefully when searching for your sleepers this week because in a lot of cases the risk might outweigh the reward.
- From a purely fantasy baseball standpoint, I only care about Clay Buchholz’s performance. Obviously there is the greater issue of whether or not Jack Morris was correct in his accusation that Buchholz is throwing spitballs, but statistics are the only thing that matter here. Buchholz has gotten off to a prolific start (1.01 ERA and 0.96 WHIP) and is on a pace that is hard for any pitcher to keep up, cheating or not. This rebound was not entirely surprising, but you have to account from some level of regression. The biggest surprise is that he has struck out 47 batters in 44.1 innings so far this season.
- Staying in Boston, the move to Fenway Park has agreed with Ryan Dempster so far this season. With 47 strikeouts in 36 innings, he is certainly one of the pitchers you can count on for strikeouts this week (making him one of the better options). Minnesota is a favorable matchup for Dempster and in his last start he faced the Blue Jays, giving up only one run in six innings. Even if the strikeouts do not continue at this pace, he is still a good mid-rotation starter and use him with confidence.
- Paul Maholm has certainly continued his positive momentum from last season. His ERA is only as high as it is (3.08) because two starts ago the Tigers got to him for eight runs. Once in a while he is allowed a start like that, and he did follow it up by pitching eight innings against the Nationals only giving up two runs. Pitching for the Braves puts him in perfect position for wins thanks to their strong start. The thing that is even more impressive with his early season performance is his 1.08 WHIP. He should be starting most weeks regardless, but the fact that he starts twice this week makes him an even better option.
- Tim Lincecum has name recognition and is on a good team, but that is about it at this point. Based on his name I should have him in a higher tier, but based on his recent performance it is perfectly understandable if you want nothing to do with him. Just when it looked like he really was getting it together with two straight quality starts, the Diamondbacks got to him for five runs on ten hits in five innings. Games like that are what we have gotten used to seeing out of Lincecum. While I would still start him (4.41 ERA and 1.44 WHIP) just keep in mind that he is facing the Phillies and Braves this week and both opponents could do some damage.
- Andrew Cashner has some prolific stuff, and with that comes some high expectations. So far this season he has made three starts and is still building up his stamina. Get him now if he is still available before someone else does. The fact that he is making two starts this week helps make up the lack of innings in the strikeouts department (20 in 23.1 innings). It is also a good thing that he is facing the Marlins and the light hitting Rays this week.
- After last season’s success, things have not been as good this year for Jarrod Parker. An ERA of 7.36 and a WHIP of 2.01 are more than frightening, but that does not mean you should write him off. It is clear that he has some things to work on, and he has been doing so lately. Perhaps Parker has turned the corner some with a quality start in his last outing against the Angels. The only way to go from these ratios is up and the Indians and Mariners are pretty good matchups for him this week as well.