Two-Start Pitchers 2017: September 11-17: Ranking The Options & Finding Those Worthy (E. Rodriguez, Quintana & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

This is the toughest time of year for fantasy owners when it comes to setting their pitchers.  Teams are constantly juggling their rotations, inserting sixth starters or skipping youngsters (or maybe even shutting them down) in order to limit their workload and avoid risk of injury.  Things can change on a moment’s notice, so keep that in mind as you review these rankings and set your lineup for the week:
Tier 1 – The Elite

  • Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians – vs. Det, vs. KC
  • Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians – vs. Det, vs. KC
  • Zack Greinke – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Col, at SF

We all know Colorado is a dangerous offense in general, but on the road they are fairly tame (291 runs scored entering play on Friday tying them for the fifth fewest in the league).  That’s going to keep Greinke as one of the best options for the coming week…


Tier 2 – The Nearly Elite

  • Justin Verlander – Houston Astros – at LAA, vs. Sea
  • Cole Hamels – Texas Rangers – vs. Sea, at LAA

The Angels entered Friday with the worst SLG against southpaws (.344) and the Mariners aren’t too far behind (.392, giving them the seventh lowest mark).  That makes Hamels a very good option…


Tier 3 – The Solid Options

  • Gio Gonzalez – Washington Nationals – vs. Atl, vs. LAD
  • Eduardo Rodriguez – Boston Red Sox – vs. Oak, at TB
  • Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates – at Mil, at Cin
  • Sonny Gray – New York Yankees – at TB, vs. Bal
  • Jon Gray – Colorado Rockies – at Ari, vs. SD

Gio Gonzalez has been one of the elite starters in the game, but it’s fair to wonder if there will be stumbles at some point (and for Nationals’ fans you hope that it comes before the playoffs begin as opposed to during them).  Every metric points to him having pitched over his head (.248 BABIP, 85.0% strand rate) and while that’s not a reason to avoid him, and he is a must play, just know that there is some risk involved…  Eduardo Rodriguez does bring home run concerns with him, but Oakland and Tampa Bay have been among the worst offenses against left-handed pitchers this season.  For this week use him with confidence…


Tier 4 – The Not Quite Must Play, But Nearly Options

  • Taijuan Walker – Arizona Diamondbacks – vs. Col, at SF
  • Jose Quintana – Chicago Cubs – vs. NYM, vs. Stl
  • Lance Lynn – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. Cin, at CHC

It may surprise you to find Quintana in this tier, but he hasn’t performed well at Wrigley Field (4.82 ERA) and that has got to keep him suppressed a bit (especially with both matchups finding themselves in the Top 10 in the league for SLG against southpaws).  It doesn’t mean not to use him, but there are some warning signs…


Tier 5 – The Possibilities

  • Kyle Gibson – Minnesota Twins – vs. SD, vs. Tor
  • CC Sabathia – New York Yankees – at TB, vs. Bal
  • Sean Manaea – Oakland A’s – at Bos, at Phi
  • Garrett Richards – Los Angeles Angels – vs. Hou, vs. Tex
  • Reynaldo Lopez – Chicago White Sox – at KC, at Det
  • Brandon Woodruff – Milwaukee Brewers – vs. Pit, at Mia
  • Dillon Peters – Miami Marlins – at Phi, vs. Mil
  • Robert Stephenson – Cincinnati Reds – at Stl, vs. Pit
  • Jake Odorizzi – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – vs. NYY, vs. Bos
  • Kyle Freeland – Colorado Rockies – at Ari, vs. SD
  • Robert Gsellman – New York Mets – at CHC, at Atl
  • Marco Estrada – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. Bal, at Min
  • Ariel Miranda – Seattle Mariners – at Tex, at Hou

We’d love to call Manaea a must use option, though that start in Boston could easily spell trouble.  Of course Philadelphia may not be a cake walk either, especially with Manaea having home run issues on the road this season (1.45 HR/9)…  The question with Richards is going to be how deep he can work into a game (considering the lengthy absence), as well as some less than stellar matchups.  That said it’s hard to find a pitcher with his type of upside, and that’s going to make him intriguing…


Tier 6 – The Untouchables

  • Joe Biagini – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. Bal, at Min
  • Matthew Boyd – Detroit Tigers – at Cle, vs. CWS
  • Sam Gaviglio – Seattle Mariners – vs. CWS, at Cle
  • Miguel Gonzalez – Texas Rangers – vs. Sea, at LAA
  • Jason Hammel – Kansas City Royals – vs. CWS, at Cle
  • Myles Jaye – Detroit Tigers – at Cle, vs. CWS
  • Ubaldo Jimenez – Baltimore Orioles – at Tor, at NYY
  • Nick Pivetta – Philadelphia Phillies – vs. Mia, vs. Oak

Sources – CBS Sports,, Fangraphs


  1. Skip says:

    Would you take your chances with 2 starts from Woodruff or opt for 1 start from either Severino or Robbie Ray? Thanks in advance.

  2. Robert Musil says:

    What about Kevin Gausman???

  3. Jon says:

    Hey there! So for me K and W are the only cats that matter (for H2H purposes, ERA and WHIP already a lost cause in my 2-week matchup). Would you still rank these guys the same way, including likelihood to actually get the 2 starts? Thanks so much!


  4. Beans says:

    What’s up Professor? This is for round 2 of playoffs this week. H2H scoring. Pleas pick 4 to start. Reynaldo Lopez@KC and @Det, Tanaka@ Bal,Gausmen@Tor and @ NYY, Berrios vs Tor, Giolito @KC, Jordan Montgomery vs Bal, Wacha@Cubs, Bundy@Tor Darvish @SF. Thanks for the time Sir. Hopefully I will have a question for you next week

  5. Jeff M says:

    Hey Prof,

    Love your page. Long time follower. Just looking for a little advice on who to start this week in the semis in a points league..Montgomery,Marquez or Miranda. Leaning Miranada due to the two start week but he is volitile.


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