Two-Start Pitchers 2015: June 15-21: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

This week, we have options a plenty. While there aren’t many true “aces” going, there is plenty of depth among these ranks. Let’s get right the pitchers making two starts this week and see who is worth using and who should be ignored:

Tier One:

  1. Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros – vs. Colorado; at Seattle
  2. Jake Arrieta – Chicago Cubs – vs. Cleveland; at Minnesota
  3. Masahiro Tanaka – NY Yankees – at Miami; vs. Detroit

Tier Two:

  1. Michael Wacha – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. Minnesota; at Philadelphia
  2. Francisco Liriano – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Chicago White Sox; at Washington
  3. Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves – at Boston; vs. NY Mets
  4. Carlos Martinez – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. Minnesota; at Philadelphia
  5. Tyson Ross – San Diego Padres – vs. Oakland; at Arizona
  6. Scott Kazmir – Oakland A’s – at San Diego; vs. LA Angels
  7. Anibal Sanchez – Detroit Tigers – vs. Cincinnati; at NY Yankees
  8. Gio Gonzalez – Washington Nationals – at Tampa Bay; vs. Pittsburgh
  9. Garrett Richards – LA Angels – vs. Arizona; at Oakland

Tier Three:

  1. Carlos Rodon – Chicago White Sox – at Pittsburgh; vs. Texas
  2. Noah Syndergaard – NY Mets – vs. Toronto; at Atlanta
  3. Edinson Volquez – Kansas City Royals – at Milwaukee; vs. Boston
  4. Trevor Bauer – Cleveland Indians – at Chicago Cubs; vs. Tampa Bay
  5. Taijuan Walker – Seattle Mariners – at San Francisco; vs. Houston
  6. Jose Quintana – Chicago White Sox – at PIttsburgh; vs. Texas

Tier Four:

  1. Yovani Gallardo – Texas Rangers – vs. LA Dodgers; at Chicago White Sox
  2. Chi Chi Gonzalez – Texas Rangers – vs. LA Dodgers; at Chicago White Sox
  3. Chad Bettis – Colorado Rockies – at Houston; vs. Milwaukee
  4. Andrew Cashner – San Diego Padres – vs. Oakland; at Arizona
  5. Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants – vs. Seattle; at LA Dodgers
  6. Wei-Yin Chen – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Philadelphia; at Toronto
  7. Tanner Roark – Washington Nationals – at Tampa Bay; vs. Pittsburgh
  8. Jesse Hahn – Oakland A’s – at San Diego; vs. LA Angels
  9. Mark Buehrle – Toronto Blue Jays – at NY Mets; vs. Baltimore
  10. Charlie Morton – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Chicago White Sox; at Washington
  11. Vincent Velasquez – Houston Astros – vs. Colorado; at Seattle
  12. Nathan Eovaldi – NY Yankees – at Miami; vs. Detroit

Tier Five:

  1. Jered Weaver – LA Angels – vs. Arizona; at Oakland
  2. Aaron Harang – Philadelphia Phillies – at Baltimore; vs. St. Louis
  3. Trevor May – Minnesota Twins – at St. Louis; vs. Chicago
  4. Tim Hudson – San Francisco Giants – vs. Seattle; at LA Dodgers
  5. J.A. Happ – Seattle Mariners – at San Francisco; vs. Houston
  6. Aaron Sanchez – Toronto Blue Jays – at NY Mets; vs. Baltimore
  7. Brett Anderson – LA Dodgers – at Texas; vs. San Francisco
  8. Carlos Frias – LA Dodgers – at Texas; vs. San Francisco
  9. Rick Porcello – Boston Red Sox – vs. Atlanta; at Kansas City
  10. Chris Tillman – Baltimore Orioles – vs. Philadelphia; at Toronto
  11. Wade Miley – Boston Red Sox – vs. Atlanta; at Kansas City
  12. Williams Perez – Atlanta Braves – at Boston; vs. NY Mets
  13. Matt Garza – Milwaukee Brewers – vs. Kansas City; at Colorado
  14. Kyle Gibson – Minnesota Twins – at St. Louis; vs. Chicago Cubs
  15. Chris Young – Kansas City Royals – at Milwaukee; vs. Boston

Tier Six:

  1. Tsuyoshi Wada – Chicago Cubs – vs. Cleveland; at Minnesota
  2. Kyle Lohse – Milwaukee Brewers – vs. Kansas City; at Colorado
  3. Alex Colome – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Washington; at Cleveland
  4. Shaun Marcum – Cleveland Indians – at Chicago Cubs; vs. Tampa Bay
  5. Robbie Ray – Arizona Diamondbacks – at LA Angels; vs. San Diego
  6. David Phelps – Miami Marlins – vs. NY Yankees; at Cincinnati
  7. Erasmo Ramirez – Tampa Bay – vs. Washington; at Cleveland
  8. Michael Lorenzen – Cincinnati Reds – at Detroit; vs. Miami
  9. Jon Moscot – Cincinnati Reds – at Detroit; vs. Miami
  10. Chris Rusin – Colorado Rockies – at Houston; vs. Milwaukee
  11. Jerome Williams – Philadelphia Phillies – at Baltimore; vs. St. Louis
  12. Tom Koehler – Miami Marlins – vs. NY Yankees; at Cincinnati
  13. Jeremy Hellickson – Arizona Diamondbacks – at LA Angels; vs. San Diego

Notes:

  • After struggling a little bit out of the gate, which was to be expected coming back from his knee injury, Richards performance has normalized (although we have yet to truly see the dominant pitcher we saw pre-injury last season). That progress was temporarily halted two starts ago as he was unable to get out of the first innings against the Yankees, allowing six runs in just 0.2 innings. Taken as a whole, though, it is hard to argue with Richards start to 2015. With a 6-4 record, he has factored into the decision in all but one of his 11 starts and has a respectable 3.98 ERA, taking into account his start against the Yankees. He acknowledged after that start that he was dealing with some mechanical issues regarding his landing foot, and judging from his last start in Tampa Bay he appears to be on the path towards correcting that. After seeing Richards allow just two runs in seven innings of work, I feel comfortable moving forward with him. This week he should be fine against the Diamondbacks, as long as he avoids Paul Goldschmidt, and pitching in Oakland is always a welcome start for pitchers.
  • Carlos Rodon still has some improving to do, but with each start he is looking more and more like the hyped starter that he was. Control and pitch counts are still an issue, but things are getting better. Not only was his WHIP taking a substantial hit for the lack of control, but his pitch counts were up and his innings were limited. While there is still work to be done you can see the progress. After his start on May 2 Rodon’s WHIP sat at an unsightly 2.05. On the surface his current WHIP of 1.55 is still brutal, but compared to where he was it is hard to argue with. Additionally, he has gone six innings in each of his past four starts so the length is starting to pick up. In three of those starts the left-hander allowed one run each, and in his last start against Houston he kept them off the scoreboard. During this time his ERA has fallen from 4.03 to 2.66. The window to add Rodon is closing quite quickly, as he has now earned a starting spot in your lineup.
  • Last year Tanner Roark came out of nowhere. He won 15 games with an ERA of 2.85 and a WHIP of 1.09. All that got him was a trip to the bullpen for this season. Now with Stephen Strasburg and Doug Fister sidelined, Roark finds himself back in the rotation. He did not impress in his most recent start on Thursday against Milwaukee, allowing five runs in 6.2 innings, but if you are streaming pitchers and searching for an under the radar option making two starts, then the right-hander is worth a look. So far this season in 17 games, four starts, he hasn’t lived up to last year’s performance (3.71 ERA and 1.24 WHIP) but he also hasn’t “struggled.” The one issue is the lack of strikeouts, 21 in 43.2 innings so far in 2015, but you could do worse. Plus as he faces Tampa on the road and Pittsburgh at home, he has a chance at two wins.
  • I wouldn’t read too much into Aaron Sanchez being scratched from his last start with what was described as general body soreness. He is a young pitcher who is an asset that will be carefully handled by Toronto. So far this year he has generally held his own with a 3.54 ERA, as for the most part he has shown the ability to limit the damage. And the damage is speak of is his control issues. Sanchez has walked 5.05 batters per nine innings, and that is a very large contributing factor to his WHIP of 1.44. The other knock is that for all of his lack of control, he hasn’t balanced that out with strikeouts (42 in 66 innings). The fact that he should start twice this week (at the Mets and at home against the Orioles, though we need to monitor the news just in case) is appealing, as is his last outing of eight innings of one run ball against the Astros. Personally, I would try to avoid using Sanchez if possible.

9 comments

  1. hojo says:

    good day oh wise one,
    why is brett Anderson a tier 5 starter for the dodgers? I picked him up for the coming week and just curious..

    I know it’s early but can football be mentioned yet
    I need to make amends for my poor performance in the professors league last season what a stinker
    thanks mark

  2. Anarchist82 says:

    Is Matt Harvey a two start pitcher this week?

  3. chris says:

    the fact you have Annibal in Tier 2 and Velasquez in Tier 4 is laughable.

  4. Rotoprofessor says:

    hojo – football is coming soon, so don’t worry :). As for Anderson, I can’t speak for Ray, but I would tend to agree with you. I’d have him at least as a Tier 4 and he’s a player I’m using this week.

    Anarchist82 – It all depends on if they keep Gee in a six-man rotation, though after his last outing that seems unlikely. Regardless he’d likely be in your lineup.

    chris – I can’t speak for Ray, but everyone is going to have their own opinion. I would agree that I’d rank Velasquez a little bit higher, especially with the matchups, though rookies are always going to be a risky proposition.

  5. Brian says:

    H2H league, so dependable 2 start pitchers are a must go. This week, I have 5 guys with 2 starts, which is good. Problem is, they are all lower tier guys, (Cashner, Hahn, Velasquez, Morton, and Anderson), and that means putting Kershaw, Cole, and deGrom on the bench.

    Very risky playing Cashner right now (awful his last 3) and Morton is due for a bad start, and Velasquez is a rookie, as you say, so who knows?

    Here’s hoping!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      hahaha….problem is those 3 pitchers an outproduce the 2 start guys even with just 1 start

      • Brian says:

        yes, I know! that’s why it’s a gamble. My opponent only has 6 starts, so I figure strength in #’s should work. as long as I don’t get more than 1 or 2 negative starts.

        We split up QS and W points last year, so if I get 6 out of 10 quality starts, I should be fine.A few weeks ago, I had Colon, Hahn, Morton and Anderson each with 2 starts, and I think I used 1 from Cole for the other start, and went 9 for 9 in QS. That was a great week, but totally lucky. Won’t happen again!

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