Fantasy Baseball 2017: Two Start Pitchers Week 5 - Roto Street Journal
Player Stock Ticker
For the Best Breaking Fantasy Football News, Bookmark our Fantasy Stock Watch now:    

Fantasy Baseball 2017: Two Start Pitchers Week 5

Welcome to Two Start Pitchers Week 5, where we will breakdown the two start pitchers from May 1st-May 7th. A lot of big name pitchers make a welcomed appearance on this week’s schedule, so hopefully you used some of your front end draft capital on starting pitching. As usual, we will take a deep dive into this upcoming week’s matchups and see if we can find some two start sleepers for you to pickup this weekend, and save yourself a claim later on in the week as an extra benefit.

Update @ 1:30pm on April 28th: It looks as though Chris Tillman may be joining the Orioles rotation on Tuesday, pending a side session Sunday in New York. If that happens, replace Wade Miley with Tillman and drop Tillman to the final spot in the Some Upside Here designation. In all honesty, if he does indeed get slated for two starts this week, I would highly recommend benching him in his first start back in Boston. Yeah, I know the Red Sox are scuffling on offense but that is still not a team you want to face right out of the gates. If he looks decent in that start, confidently trot him out against the White Sox in start two.

Never a Doubt

  1. Chris Sale, BOS (vs. BAL, @MIN)
  2. Jon Lester, CHC (vs. PHI, vs NYY)
  3. Corey Kluber, CLE (@DET, @KC)

Going with the obvious choice here, Chris Sale cannot be stopped right now. He has three consecutive 10+ strikeout performances and a 42:6 (or 7:1) strikeout to walk ratio this year. Not bad. However, the Red Sox are currently giving Sale the Pedro Martinez treatment wherein they fail to produce any runs for their ace starting pitcher. Sale exudes the mental makeup of an unflappable, unstoppable ace, so the lack of run support will not stop Sale from mowing down batters and limiting the runs for two of the weaker lineup against lefties in the game. Jon Lester has looked rather awful in his two previous appearances against weak offenses on the road, giving up 5 runs in each start. However, two home starts (where Lester has a sparkling 0.69ERA) against teams that struggle against lefties where the Cubs will assuredly be big favorites should provide Lester the boost he needs right now.

Borderline Aces

  1. Johnny Cueto, SF (@LAD, @CIN)
  2. James Paxton, SEA (vs. LAA, vs. TEX)
  3. Justin Verlander, DET (vs. CLE, @OAK)
  4. Lance McCullers Jr., HOU (vs. TEX, @LAA)
  5. Tanner Roark, WSH (vs. ARI, @PHI)
  6. Rick Porcello, BOS (vs. BAL, @MIN)
  7. Matt Harvey, NYM (@ATL, vs. MIA)
  8. Cole Hamels, TEX (@HOU, @SEA)
  9. Danny Duffy, KC (vs. CWS, vs. CLE)

Lance McCullers has 3 dominant performances this year (all at home) and two performances where he gave up 5 earned runs (both on the road). This week McCullers faces the tougher matchup at home (Texas) and the easier matchup on the road (Angels), both coming against weaker opponents where he will likely be a heavy favorite for wins (Andrew Cashner and JC Ramirez, respectively). While we can hope that the good Lance shows up for both performances, he does guarantee us one thing: strikeouts, as 36 batters have whiffed in only 29 innings this year against this mighty righty. James Paxton may be one of the most exciting starters in baseball, and I am really not sure if anyone notices. With the second highest fastball velocity (behind only Luis Severino), Paxton combines elite gas with an elite breaking ball. I do not have to explain my love for him again, but his FIP of 1.12 supports everything I said at the beginning of the year: Paxton is, unquestionably, a front end ace. Cole Hamels 2-0 record and 3.03 ERA look nice, but if you own him as I do you would have already noticed a few worrying signs. His current strikeout rate of 4.13 K/9 is less than half of his career average. Also, his FIP (5.12), xFIP (5.11) and BABIP (.219) don’t show signs of the elite pitcher his ERA suggests, but rather that of a pitcher getting by on smoke and mirrors. While I still think he is a top of the line starter, he is clearly showing signs of slippage, but as a crafty veteran maybe he can find other ways to get people out besides his always devastating breaking ball.

Very Good

  1. Carlos Martinez, STL (vs. MIL, @ATL)
  2. Gerrit Cole, PIT (@CIN, vs. MIL)
  3. Brett Anderson, CHC (vs. PHI, vs NYY)
  4. Marco Estrada, TOR (@NYY, @TB)
  5. Luis Severino, NYY (vs. TOR, @CHC)
  6. Jose Quintana, CHW (@KC, @BAL)
  7. Julio Teheran, ATL (vs. NYM, vs. STL)
  8. Dylan Bundy, BAL (@BOS, vs. CWS)

Arguments can be made for most of these players to move into the Borderline Ace designation, but their offenses constrict their ability to earn wins. Take Gerrit Cole for example. Coming off 4 straight quality starts, the last three of which he went at least 6 innings with 5 or more strikeouts and allowed 2 runs or less, Cole could be a top 20 starting pitcher if he played on even an average offensive team. However, after losing Starling Marte to suspension and both Andrew McCutchen and Gregory Polanco struggling mightily in the early part of 2017, it is no surprise to hear the Pirates have scored a total of 14 runs in his 5 starts. Another fine example of this unfortunate phenomena is Marco Estrada. Estrada carries a cool 2.70 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 9.9 K/9 into his sixth and seventh starts of the year this upcoming week. However, Estrada owns a 0-1 record…even though he has given up more than 2 runs only once in five starts. How, you may ask? Well, the Blue Jays have scored a total of 13 runs in his 5 starts, giving him even less support than Gerrit Cole. These guys, along with a few others here, are great, but their lack of offensive production limits them to more of an SP3 than their deserved SP2.

Some Upside Here

  1. Rich Hill, LAD (vs. SF, @SD)
  2. Sean Manaea, OKA (@MIN, vs. DET)
  3. Adam Wainwright, STL (vs. MIL, @ATL)
  4. Wei-Yin Chen, MIA (vs. TB, @NYM)
  5. Hector Santiago, MIN (vs. OAK, vs. BOS)
  6. Wade Miley, BAL (@BOS, vs. CWS)
  7. Matt Shoemaker, LAA (@SEA, vs. HOU)
  8. Robert Gsellman, NYM (@ATL, vs. MIA)
  9. Trevor Bauer, CLE (@DET, @KC)
  10. R.A. Dickey, ATL (vs. NYM, vs. STL)
  11. Tyler Chatwood, COL (@SD, vs. ARI)
  12. Jake Odorizzi, TB (@MIA, vs. TOR)
  13. Jeremy Hellickson, PHI (@CHC, vs. WSH)
  14. Alex Cobb, TB (@MIA, vs. TOR)

Some injured starters with good upside make appearances as a part of this list. Rich Hill, Sean Manaea and Jake Odorizzi are all scheduled to make two starts this week, but massive uncertainty lies in the former two. Manaea might be able to make his next start, but a 5-8 MPH dip in your pitches is an ominous sign. As for Hill, rumors are that the lefty may start out of the bullpen, giving Alex Wood the potential two starts this week, so keep your eyes and ears open. Going into Thursday’s start, Jeremy Hellickson’s state line closely resembled that of Cole Hamels as outlined above: 3-0 record, 3.75 K/9, 1.88 ERA…but a 3.85 FIP and 5.53 xFIP. Do not look at his record or ERA and trade him now before before the iceberg in the distance sinks your ship. Oh Adam Wainwright, why do you forsake me so? Just when I cut bait with you, you twirl 5 solid innings of 2 run ball with 9 strikeouts. I am not backing off my early season prediction regarding Wainwright. His 2016 season was mostly a mirage, and once again this year his 6.27 ERA does not even remotely resemble his 2.97 FIP or 3.14 xFIP. Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.

Cross Your Fingers and Pray

  1. Trevor Cahill, SD (vs. COL, vs. LAD)
  2. Daniel Norris, DET (vs. CLE, @OAK)
  3. Tyler Glasnow, PIT (@CIN, vs. MIL)
  4. Mike Fiers, HOU (vs. TEX, @LAA)
  5. Vince Velazquez, PHI (@CHC, vs. WSH)
  6. Edinson Volquez, MIA (vs. TB, @NYM)
  7. Nathan Karns, KC (vs. CWS, vs. CLE)
  8. Scott Feldman, CIN (vs. PIT, vs. SF)
  9. Zach Davis, MIL (@STL, @PIT)
  10. Wily Peralta, MIL (@STL, @PIT)

Long term, Tyler Glasnow has the potential to turn into a stud starting pitcher. With his lanky, 6’8” frame and plus breaking pitches and fastball, Glasnow profiles to one day become the leader of the Pittsburgh Pirates rotation. Unfortunately, every starting pitcher experiences learning curves and must become acclimated to the big leagues before really experiencing success. This year Glasnow cannot seem to get out of his own way, issuing 13 free passes in only 14.2IP, and has only pitched 5 innings once in four starts. Patience is a virtue my fellow fantasy friends, so hold onto this gem. The only thing keeping the pairs of Brewers at the end of this section (Zach Davies and Wily Peralta) from the bottom designation is their matchups against very weak, scuffling offenses and the run production Eric Thames provides. Just him, I do not need to include any of the other Brewers hitters.

Please No

  1. Rookie Davis, CIN (vs. PIT, vs. SF)
  2. Andrew Cashner, TEX (@HOU, @SEA)
  3. Zack Godley, ARI (@WSH, @COL)

Under no circumstances should you roster any of these players this upcoming week. If these players played roles on the Walking Dead, the directors would have zombies eating them within minutes of the very first episode.


Come back to Roto Street Journal every Friday to see the two start ranks and how to best build your rotation for success. Good luck navigating the week, and happy streaming!

To contact me with any questions or general fantasy baseball discussion, please email me at or tweet me @AJGamballer.