Two-Start Pitchers 2015: June 1-7: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

And just like that we are in June. Two months of the baseball will have been concluded by the end of this week, but we still have four months left. This week’s installment of pitchers taking the mound twice holds a great deal of allure, if in fact you own the top tier pitchers noted below. However, if you are searching for help from the waiver wire tread carefully. Of those that are owned in less than 50% of CBS leagues there is not much to be truly confident about.

Tier 1:

  1. Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals – vs. Toronto; vs. Chicago Cubs
  2. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners – vs. NY Yankees; vs. Tampa Bay
  3. Clayton Kershaw – LA Dodgers – at Colorado; vs. St. Louis
  4. Zack Greinke – LA Dodgers – at Colorado; vs. St. Louis
  5. Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays – at LA Angels; at Seattle
  6. Jon Lester – Chicago Cubs – at Miami; at Washington
  7. Jacob deGrom – NY Mets – at San Diego; at Arizona
  8. Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates – at San Francisco; at Atlanta
  9. Jordan Zimmermann – Washington Nationals – vs. Toronto; vs. Chicago Cubs

Tier 2:

  1. Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians – at Kansas City; vs. Baltimore
  2. Jeff Samardzjia – Chicago White Sox – at Texas; vs. Detroit
  3. Alex Wood – Atlanta Braves – at Arizona; vs. Pittsburgh
  4. Andrew Cashner – San Diego Padres – vs. NY Mets; at Cincinnati
  5. Lance Lynn – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. Milwaukee; at LA Dodgers

Tier 3:

  1. Garrett Richards – LA Angels – vs. Tampa Bay; at NY Yankees
  2. Michael Pineda – NY Yankees – at Seattle; vs. LA Angels
  3. Colin McHugh – Houston Astros – vs. Baltimore; at Toronto
  4. Clay Buchholz – Boston Red Sox – vs. Minnesota; vs. Oakland
  5. Alfredo Simon – Detroit Tigers – vs. Oakland; at Chicago White Sox
  6. Scott Kazmir – Oakland A’s – at Detroit; at Boston

Tier 4:

  1. Phil Hughes – Minnesota Twins – at Boston; vs. Milwaukee
  2. Jamie Garcia – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. Milwaukee; at LA Dodgers
  3. Mike Wright – Baltimore Orioles – at Houston; at Cleveland
  4. Kyle Hendricks – Chicago Cubs – at Miami; at Washington
  5. Ubaldo Jimenez – Baltimore Orioles – at Houston; at Cleveland
  6. Ryan Vogelsong – San Francisco Giants – vs. Pittsburgh; at Philadelphia

Tier 5:

  1. R.A. Dickey – Toronto Blue Jays – at Washington; vs. Houston
  2. Archie Bradley – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Atlanta; vs. NY Mets
  3. Mike Pelfrey – Minnesota Twins – at Boston; vs. Milwaukee
  4. Colby Lewis – Texas Rangers – vs. Chicago White Sox; at Kansas City
  5. Josh Collmenter – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Atlanta; vs. NY Mets
  6. Alex Colome – Tampa Bay Rays – at LA Angels; at Seattle
  7. Jason Vargas – Kansas City Royals – vs. Cleveland; vs. Texas
  8. Matt Garza – Milwaukee Brewers – at St. Louis; at Minnesota
  9. Severino Gonzalez – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. Cincinnati; vs. San Francisco
  10. Eddie Butler – Colorado Rockies – vs. LA Dodgers; vs. Miami


  • Things were going great for Archie Bradley in his rookie campaign until he took a line drive off the face. Since his return calling his performance a struggle would be an understatement. At the time of his injury his ERA was 1.80, but after allowing 14 runs in 11.2 innings since the rookie’s ERA sits at 5.28. He has refused to put any blame on his injury, but you can’t dismiss it as being a factor. The main thing is that he has increasingly lived, but mostly died with his fastball. I would expect to see him make the adjustment and get back to using his change-up and curve ball, but I would also like to see him do it before inserting him into my lineup for two starts.
  • One young pitcher who might be worth take a chance on is Mike Wright. As of Saturday afternoon he was owned in just 44% of CBS leagues, and through three starts he has shown he can pitch at the big league level. Prior to being called up from Triple-A he had a 2.64 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. The former third round pick didn’t allow a run in either of his first two starts giving up just seven hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts in 14.1 innings. He then earned his second win of the season in his most recent start even though he allowed three runs in five innings of work. The 25-year old knows how to pitch and doesn’t appear to be intimidated by the Majors. He is worth an addition this week if he is available.
  • Any early season concerns we had about Jon Lester can now be safely dismissed. In his last three starts he has a 1-1 record with a 1.71 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 21 innings. For his second start of the week, a rematch is on tap with the Nationals and their ace Max Scherzer. Last week in Wrigley Field Scherzer just barely got the best of Lester, who held Washington to just one run. Over his last four starts Lester has seen his ERA fall from 4.10 to 3.30, and that is a far cry from his ERA at the end of April of 6.23.
  • Alfredo Simon just keeps on proving doubters wrong. After missing his start this past week due to his sick father, Simon is primed to take the mound twice this week. At this point he is a must own and a must start, but I would also sell high if possible. While he does sport a 2.67 ERA, his FIP is 3.58 while he has an xFIP of 4.21. He has been lucky to some degree this season, and his 1.20 WHIP also suggests that some kind of correction is plausible. The other knock is his lack of strikeouts; 38 in 57.1 innings.
  • A pitcher whose fortunes are going in the opposite direction of Simon’s is Jeff Samardzjia. This should not be coming a surprise, but you were allowed to have your doubts when his ERA sat at 4.80 after his start against Milwaukee on May 11. After allowing just five runs in his last 23 innings (three starts), including seven shutout innings in his last start against Toronto, his ERA is down to 3.84. The weather is heating up in Chicago, and so is Samardzjia.
  • If you must dig deep to find an option this week, Ryan Vogelsong and his 32% ownership is likely as far down as I would comfortably go. In reality all you are truly doing is striking while the veteran is hot. Vogelsong has won each of his last three starts while allowing three runs in 17.2 innings. It is hard to get excited about his ratios, 4.24 and 1.35, and he has just 38 strikeouts in 51 innings. Going with the right-hander isn’t the most exciting option, but if you truly need the starts then you could also do worse. Plus the match-ups, at home against Pittsburgh and in Philadelphia, could be worse.



  1. Beans says:

    What’s up Professor? I have 2 questions for you. I want to start Eduardo Rodriguez. Would you bench Jimmy Nelson vs STL or J.A Happ vs TB for him? Question 2 is just lost Beltre. Option 1 is move D Murphy to third and start N Walker at second. Option 2 start Maikel Franco at third? Thanks for your time.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Question 1 – I’d probably sit Happ (though I just don’t believe in him at all)

      Question 2 – I’d use Murphy/Walker

  2. Fit says:

    Looks like Jason Hammel has become a 2-start option now — what tier would you put him in?

  3. Marky Mark says:

    With the rainout on Saturday, Jason Hammel is most likely now a 2-start guy this week….and Lester is probably not.

  4. Rotoprofessor says:

    Yep, the rain out has pushed Hammel into 2-start duty. I’m not a big supporter of him, so I’d probably slot him in as a borderline Tier 3 option.

    • Marky Mark says:

      Why are you down on Hammel?

      For fantasy purposes, he’s among the top 5 in the game in WHIP, and getting nearly a K per inning. His ERA and FIP are nearly identical (2.98 and 2.96), so it’s not like he’s using smoke and mirrors to do it.

      And none of those numbers include his excellent start tonight….6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 11 K, 0 BB

      • Rotoprofessor says:

        He’s obviously been great this season but there’s a few things working against him and in favor of a regression:

        2.59 BABIP (despite a 24.8% line drive rate)
        I don’t buy into his 1.05 BB/9
        There’s a good chance his 0.90 HR/9 rises

  5. Bob says:

    Pelfrey or Jamie Garcia? I’m afraid of Garcia against LAD…

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Don’t love either right now, given the news that Garcia is banged up again. Given his history, he’s a huge risk at this point.

  6. Rob Selznick says:

    Right now I have Felix, Harvey, Carrasco, Kluber and Bauer slotted in. Do you think I should pull any for McHugh who has 2 starts this week?

  7. Rotoprofessor says:

    I wouldn’t have an issue sitting Bauer for him

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