Two-Start Pitchers 2014: August 11-17: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

For many fantasy owners the time has come, it’s now or never.  The end of the season is rapidly approaching so if we want to make a move now simply may be the time.  Are there any gambles that are worth taking?  There could be a few, so let’s take a look at the pitchers currently lined up to make a pair of starts:


Tier 1 – The Elite

  • Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals – at Mia, vs. SD
  • Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners – vs. Tor, at Det


Tier 2 – Note Quite Elite

  • Jon Lester – Oakland A’s – at KC, at Atl
  • Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves – vs. LAD, vs. Oak
  • Sonny Gray – Oakland A’s – at KC, at Atl


Tier 3 – More Risk, But Among The Better Options

  • Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers – at Pit, vs. Sea
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu – Los Angeles Dodgers – at Atl, vs. Mil
  • Doug Fister – Washington Nationals – at NYM, vs. Pit


Tier 4 – Solid Options

  • Rick Porcello – Detroit Tigers – at Pit, vs. Sea
  • Wily Peralta – Milwaukee Brewers – at CHC, at LAD
  • Jacob deGrom – New York Mets – vs. Was, vs. CHC
  • Yordano Ventura – Kansas City Royals – vs. Oak, at Min
  • Jake Arrieta – Chicago Cubs – vs. Mil, at NYM
  • Mat Latos – Cincinnati Reds – vs. Bos, at Col
  • Yovani Gallardo – Milwaukee Brewers – at CHC, at LAD
  • Shelby Miller – St. Louis Cardinals – at Mia, vs. SD
  • Jesse Hahn – San Diego Padres – vs. Col, at Stl


Tier 5 – Maybe Yes, Maybe No

  • Drew Hutchison – Toronto Blue Jays – at Sea, at CWS
  • Collin McHugh – Houston Astros – vs. Min, at Bos
  • Drew Smyly – Tampa Bay Rays – at Tex, vs. NYY
  • Wei-Yin Chen – Baltimore Orioles – vs. NYY, at Cle
  • Joe Kelly – Boston Red Sox – at Cin, vs. Hou
  • Jeff Locke – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Det, at Was
  • Tom Koehler – Miami Marlins – vs. Stl, vs. Ari
  • Jonathan Niese – New York Mets – at Phi, vs. CHC
  • Dan Haren – Los Angeles Dodgers – at Atl, vs. Mil
  • Edinson Volquez – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Det, at Was
  • Kyle Hendricks – Chicago Cubs – vs. Mil, at NYM
  • Jeremy Hellickson – Tampa Bay Rays – at Tex, vs. NYY
  • Jordan Lyles – Colorado Rockies – at SD, vs. Cin
  • Colby Lewis – Texas Rangers – vs. TB, vs. LAA
  • Chris Capuano – New York Yankees – at Bal, at TB
  • Jarred Cosart – Miami Marlins – vs. Stl, vs. Ari
  • Odrisamer Despaigne – San Diego Padres – vs. Col, at Stl
  • Jeremy Guthrie – Kansas City Royals – vs. Oak, at Min
  • Mike Minor – Atlanta Braves – vs. LAD, vs. Oak
  • David Buchanan – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. NYM, at SF


Tier 6 – Not A Chance

  • Josh Collmenter – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Cle, at Mia
  • Nick Tepesch – Texas Rangers – vs. TB, vs. LAA
  • Kevin Correia – Minnesota Twins – at Hou, vs. KC
  • T.J. House – Cleveland Indians – vs. Ari, vs. Bal
  • Brad Peacock – Houston Astros – vs. Min, at Bos
  • Yohan Flande – Colorado Rockies – at SD, vs. Cin



  • Sonny Gray is coming off a terrible start and has now walked 4 batters in two of his last three outings.  That said, overall he still owns a 2.87 ERA and 1.20 WHIP with the peripherals that indicate continued success.  There’s no reason to send him spiraling down the rankings, though you could argue that there’s a little more risk than normal at the moment.
  • There are two extremely tough matchups on the horizon for Julio Teheran, but both starts come at home where he owns a 1.48 ERA (4.27 ERA on the road).  That’s going to keep him right towards the top of our rankings.
  • Jake Arrieta finally appears to have put things together, with a 2.80 ERA and 1.07 WHIP on the season.  Yes he’s coming off a terrible outing (9 ER over 5.0 IP), but that start came in Colorado and was his second consecutive start against the Rockies so we can give him a little bit of a pass.  While Milwaukee does offer a bit of a risk it’s impossible to imagine having him on our benches for the coming week.
  • It has been an impressive rookie campaign for Jacob deGrom, but things have been even better when he’s at home (1.93 ERA vs. 3.69 on the road).  While he wasn’t as impressive in his last outing, which came against the Nationals in Washington, it’s easy to imagine a bounce back this week with both starts coming at CitiField.
  • Shelby Miller’s been poor all season long, with regressed strikeouts (5.95 K/9) and an inflated walk rate (3.92 BB/9).  He has been pitching better of late (5 ER on 10 H and 1 BB over 18.2 IP), and also brings a pair of favorable matchups with him.  That’s going to push him into the usable class of starters, though we should have him active knowing that there’s still risk.
  • Given Niese’s recent struggles, as well as his reduced velocity this season, how could anyone just slot him into their lineup?  It all depends on the alternatives.
  • Finally Drew Smyly should be put into a rotation and left there, though a trade to Tampa Bay was needed to get there.  That said he’s allowed 7 ER on 18 H over his past 10.1 IP so it’s not like he should be considered a great play.  Until he finds consistency, we have to consider him borderline at best.
  • Drew Hutchison has had his issues this season, but would it surprise you to learn that they have come at home (6.46 ERA) not on the road (3.27 ERA)?  The biggest problem has been the long ball, with 10 HR allowed at home, though you could imagine that the matchup against the White Sox could become an issue.  Still, given his split and upside there is reason to believe in him for the coming week.
  • You have to like the matchups that Joe Kelly has, as well as his decent control and ability to generate groundballs.  However his lack of strikeout potential is going to limit him to borderline option, regardless of what else he brings to the table.
  • While Colby Lewis owns some ugly numbers, like a 5.50 ERA and 1.65 WHIP, a lot of that has come courtesy of poor luck (.373 BABIP, 68.5% strand rate).  Is he a trustworthy option given the matchups?  Absolutely not, but with a 7.36 K/9 and 2.83 BB/9 the underlying metrics are better than we may realize.

Source – Fangraphs

Make sure to check out all of our Rest of Season Rankings:

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  1. Steeve says:

    For next year, who is the best option: Hahn,deGrom, McHugh, Duffy or Shoemaker?

  2. Bryan says:

    Does B Norris have 2 starts? Thoughts on him? Do you like 2 starts by Smiley more than this weeks 1 start by Lincecum?

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Steeve – Hard not to go deGrom right now, but we need to see what happens with his current injury

    Bryan – I’d def. go Smyly over Lincecum. As for Norris, he’s clearly not the strikeout pitcher he once was and is nothing more than a stream.

  4. hossim says:

    FYI, Porcello may have lost his 2 start week due to pitching 3 innings in the 19 inning game vs. Blue Jays yesterday. Probably won’t make his Tuesday start and will get the start on Wednesday.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Yea, there were a few things that changed since this article was published (like dGrom being skipped for at least one start)

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