Two-Start Pitchers 2018: July 9-15: Ranking The Options & Finding Those Worthy (Archer, Duffy & More

by Ray Kuhn

We are past the halfway point of the season, but the official line of demarcation is still a week away. After this week we will have arrived at the All-Star break, and a reprieve from having to set lineups and follow box scores. Take an honest look at your team and set your path for the second half of the season (and perhaps for 2019 if it is a keeper league). That said we are still looking to maximize our position in the standings, so let’s take a look at how our options rank for those pitchers who are taking the mound twice:

Tier One:

  1. Chris Sale – Boston Red Sox – vs. Texas; vs. Toronto
  2. Justin Verlander – Houston Astros – vs. Oakland; vs. Detroit
  3. Gerrit Cole – Houston Astros – vs. Oakland; vs. Detroit
  4. Aaron Nola – Philadelphia Phillies – at NY Mets; at Miami
  5. Clayton Kershaw – LA Dodgers – at San Diego; vs. LA Angels

Tier Two:

  1. Trevor Bauer – Cleveland Indians – vs. Cincinnati; vs. NY Yankees
  2. Jose Berrios – Minnesota Twins – vs. Kansas City; vs. Tampa Bay
  3. Mike Clevinger – Cleveland Indians – vs. Cincinnati; vs. NY Yankees

Tier Three:

  1. Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays – vs. Detroit; at Minnesota
  2. Patrick Corbin – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Colorado; at Atlanta
  3. Sean Manaea – Oakland A’s – at Houston; at San Francisco
  4. Rich Hill – LA Dodgers – at San Diego; vs. LA Angels
  5. Masahiro Tanaka – NY Yankees – at Baltimore; at Cleveland

Tier Four:

  1. Chase Anderson – Milwaukee Brewers – at Miami; at Pittsburgh
  2. Zack Wheeler – New York Mets – vs. Philadelphia; vs. Washington
  3. Kyle Hendricks – Chicago Cubs – at San Francisco; at San Diego
  4. Garrett Richards – LA Angels – vs. Seattle; at LA Dodgers
  5. Nick Pivetta – Philadelphia Phillies – at NY Mets; at Miami
  6. Danny Duffy – Kansas City Royals – at Minnesota; at Chicago White Sox
  7. Jhoulys Chacin – Milwaukee Brewers  – at Miami; at Pittsburgh

Tier Five:

  1. Mike Leake – Seattle Mariners – at LA Angels; at Miami
  2. Mike Minor – Texas Rangers – at Boston; at Baltimore
  3. Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves – vs. Toronto; vs. Arizona
  4. Tyler Anderson – Colorado Rockies – vs. Arizona; vs. Seattle
  5. Andrew Suarez – San Francisco Giants – vs. Chicago Cubs; vs. Oakland
  6. Jose Urena – Miami Marlins – vs. Milwaukee; vs. Philadelphia
  7. Anthony DeSclafani – Cincinnati Reds – at Cleveland; at St. Louis
  8. Ivan Nova – Pittsburgh Pirates – vs. Washington; vs. Milwaukee
  9. Jeremy Hellickson – Washington Nationals – at Pittsburgh; at NY Mets
  10. Andrew Cashner – Baltimore Orioles – vs. NY Yankees; vs. Texas
  11. Francisco Liriano – Detroit Tigers – at Tampa Bay; at Houston
  12. Marco Estrada – Toronto Blue Jays – at Atlanta; at Boston

Tier Six:

  1. Eric Lauer – San Diego Padres – vs. LA Dodgers; vs. Chicago Cubs
  2. Brian Johnson – Boston Red Sox – vs. Texas; vs. Toronto
  3. Aaron Siegers – Minnesota Twins – vs. Kansas City; vs. Tampa Bay
  4. Chris Bassitt – Oakland A’s – at Houston; at San Francisco
  5. Luis Perdomo – San Diego Padres – vs. LA Dodgers; vs. Chicago Cubs
  6. Corey Oswalt – New York Mets – vs. Philadelphia; vs. Washington


  • At this point I think it is safe to buy into Patrick Corbin.  He’s still not at the level as the true “aces”, but I do have faith in the southpaw. He got off to a strong start posting a 2.25 ERA in April, and when that mark jumped to 3.82 in May doubts began to arise. The fact that Corbin has seen a decline in fastball velocity, per FanGraphs, of about two miles per hour created further questions. However, when he “struggled” in May hitters were still hitting just .212 against him. Additionally he is pitching smarter, and different, this season as he has increased his sinker usage by about six percent as compared to 2017. Yes, the decline in velocity is troubling, but the fact that Corbin’s strikeout rate has climbed from 8.45 per nine innings to 11.25 has helped alleviate some doubts. If you want to go back to doubting, he has seen his hard contact increase from 31.6% to 44.3% (at the expense of medium contact), but he hasn’t let it impact his results. Corbin is walking 2.41 batters per nine innings as compared to 2.89 a year ago, and his FIP of 2.77 (xFIP of 2.63) shows that perhaps his 3.02 ERA is overstated. For this week hismatch-ups, on the road in Colorado and Atlanta, do give me some concern.
  • Do we really want pin the cause for Zack Wheeler’s struggles in May strictly on luck? Wecan’t deny that his BABIP was .354, but a lot of bad things need to happen in order to generate an ERA of 6.43. He wasn’t great in April, 4.09 ERA, so his struggles in May likely caused a lot of fantasy owners to send him to the waiver wire. What we saw in June is what we have been expecting from the former top prospect. For starters it is a good sign that Wheeler has stayed healthy all season making 16 starts and striking out a solid 8.62 batters per nine innings. In June he appeared to finally put things together posting a 3.26 ERA, and in his last three starts his ERA is 2.66 with 19 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. Overall his ERA is 4.36 with a FIP of 3.66. As of Saturday morning the right-hander is still available in 35% of CBS leagues, and he is worth a look for both the rest of the season and specifically this week as he takes the mound twice.
  • At some point in your draft Danny Duffy was selected without a second thought. While not a perfect pitcher, the southpaw is young, has had some success, was newly healthy and you had to like the fact that he pitches in the AL Central. This week we get to take advantage as he faces the Twins and White Sox. Despite his 3.30 ERA in the month of June, he benefited from a .254 BABIP, Duffy’s ERA for the season is still 5.19 (5.38 FIP), so that just shows how bad things have been. Over his last three starts he has an ERA of 3.50, so there is enough there to take a look. That doesn’t mean we are without risk, and his strikeout rate of 7.69 per nine innings doesn’t jump off the page, but if we are going to pinpoint one issue it is the fact that he struggles with his control as his walks per nine innings have gone from 2.52 to 4.29.
  • After missing a little more than a month with an abdominal injury, Chris Archer appears to be healthy and ready to continue with the success he had prior to his injury. After his ERA reached its high point of 5.64 after his May 12th start against Baltimore, Archer’s ERA fell over his next four starts to 4.24. With a FIP of 3.79, it appears that there’s still room for it to drop some more, and in his last three starts his ERA was just 1.95. When it comes to Archer, we have to keep our expectations in check, as while he is a very good starter I wouldn’t classify him as an ace. He does strikeout a batter an inning, but you aren’t going to get a truly dominate performance. This week, you have to like his opponents as Archer eases back into action facing Detroit and Minnesota.


  1. Greg says:

    What about Sabathia? Left off on purpose?

  2. NH says:

    Would you trade Knebel for Springer

  3. Barry says:

    I have an open roster spot. A. Sanchez, Kingham, Stroman, Samardzija or Suarez?

    Thank you

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m still going the upside of Stroman, with Kingham & Samardzija as the next two choices if you don’t believe

  4. Dan says:

    I can get Rosario and Godley for Snell and Devers. I have third base covered. Should I pull the trigger?

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