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Fantasy Baseball 2017: Two Start Pitchers Week 7

Welcome to Two Start Pitchers Week 7, where we will breakdown the two start pitchers from May 15th-May 21st. This week, not only is there a lack of high-quality, front-end starting pitching but also there is a dearth of mid-level talent for streaming. Carefully scour the hazardous wasteland of this week’s options and be more choosey and patient when it comes to spot starting this week, especially if you are looking to save a claim by adding someone with two starts. To Desolation Row we go!

Never a Doubt

  1. Stephen Strasburg, WSH (@PIT, @ATL)
  2. Yu Darvish, TEX (vs. PHI, @DET)
  3. Carlos Carrasco, CLE (vs. TB, @HOU)

While the strikeouts have not been there for Stephen Strasburg so far, he looks healthy and is off to a great start to begin his 2017 campaign. Pitching for the highest scoring offense in the game (an MLB best 6.15 runs per game), the Nationals only average 3.86 runs per start for Strasburg. However, Strasburg still enjoys a 3-1 record on the year and this weeks two starts come on the road, where he has a 2.29 ERA, against two offenses ranked in the bottom half of the league in runs scored. As expected, Yu Darvish  has come out of the gates firing, recording the 10th highest pitching WAR to date and showcasing a sweet 2.96 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 9.06K/9. We can expect those strikeout numbers to pile up at a faster rate given his lofty career K/9 of 11.15. With two starts this week against offenses ranked in the top half in the league in total team strikeouts, Darvish should be firing on all cylinders and racking up wins and strikeouts at his usual pace.

Borderline Aces

  1. Chris Archer, TB (@CLE, vs. NYY)
  2. John Lackey, CHC (vs. CIN, vs. MIL)

Another prime candidate for a bounce back year in 2017,  Chris Archer looks more like the pitcher that finished 5th in the AL Cy Young voting in 2015 than the Cy Yuk of 2016 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. There could still be some room for improvement too, as his ground ball rate is currently 7% lower than his career norm. If he can induce a few more worm burners and keep his control in check (and not lose his focus as he occasionally seems to do), Archer will find himself in the thick of another Cy Young race. Who is this John Lackey and what have you done with the real one?!? At the young age of 38 Lackey is enjoying his highest K/9 of his career (9.86). Unfortunately, his HR/9 and HR/FB rate are also the highest of his career, so not all is bright and sunny for the Lackmeister. If those numbers can regress to his career averages and he can find a way to roughly maintain his elevated strikeout rate, there is no reason to think he cannot come close to matching his 3.35 ERA and 1.06 WHIP of 2016.

Very Good

  1. Eddie Rodriguez, BOS (@STL, @OAK)
  2. Marco Estrada, TOR (vs. ATL, @BAL)
  3. Brandon McCarthy, LAD (@SF, vs. MIA)
  4. Yovani Gallardo, SEA (vs. OAK, vs. CWS)

Brandon McCarthy should be joining the Dodger rotation on Monday. This is perfect timing for the Dodgers as they just placed previously projected two starter Kenta Maeda on the disabled list with hamstring tightness. Hopefully the Dodgers get a smooth transition from one very quality arm to the next as McCarthy owned a perfect 3-0 record with a  3.10 ERA before finding himself (once again) on the sidelines with an injury. While not know for his endurance and ability to pitch deep in games, McCarthy gave up 2 runs or less in 4 of his 5 starts and pitches for one of the better teams in baseball, especially when it comes to lead protection and the 1-2 bullpen punch of Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen. This prediction may be as bold as I am willing to go this year. Yovani Gallardo, in most normal weeks, would not sniff the top 10 of these rankings or the Very Good designation. However, I am a slave to stats and numbers and my only job is to report the facts. The Oakland Athletics and Chicago White Sox rank 25th and 27th in runs scored on the year, respectively. Although he does not have put away stuff, Gallardo boasts a respectable 3.79 FIP and his two starts this week come in the cavernous confines of Safeco Park where the Seattle Mariners will assuredly be favorites in both game. Yes, this is a dicey two start. And yes, it could blow up in your face. But given his decent start this year and the ineptitude of his opponents, you could be looking at one of the sneakier two start steals this season.

Some Upside Here

  1. Kyle Freeland, COL (@MIN, @CIN)
  2. Zack Wheeler, NYM (@ARI, vs. LAA)
  3. Zack Godley, ARI (vs. NYM, @SD)
  4. Kendall Graveman, OAK (@SEA, vs. BOS)
  5. Wade Miley, BAL (@DET, vs. TOR)
  6. Derek Holland, CWS (@LAA, @SEA)
  7. Joe Musrgove, HOU (@MIA, vs. CLE)
  8. Francisco Liriano, TOR (vs. ATL, @BAL)
  9. Chase De Jong, SEA (vs. OAK, vs. CWS)
  10. Matt Cain, SF (vs. LAD, @STL)
  11. Chase Anderson, MIL (@SD, @CHC)
  12. Dan Straily, MIA (vs. HOU, @LAD)
  13. Sean Manaea, OAK (@SEA, vs. BOS)
  14. Adam Wainwright, STL (vs. BOS, vs. SF)
  15. Jimmy Nelson, MIL (@SD, @CHC)
  16. Miguel Gonzalez, CWS (@LAA, @SEA)
  17. Chad Kulh, PIT (vs. WSH, vs. PHI)
  18. Jerad Eickhoff, PHI (@TEX, @PIT)
  19. Jesse Chavez, LAA (vs. CWS, @NYM)

Ground ball machine Zack Godley gets a decent slate this week, one coming at home against the home-run centered Mets squad and the other on the road against the feeble San Diego Padres. Given Arizona’s proclivity to score runs, Godley should be well protected in each of his starts and should be competing for a win in both appearances. While not the sexiest name of all time, his ground ball percentage and current 9 K/9 rate offers a potentially low WHIP and two above average starts. I really want Sean Manaea to get back on track and compete at a level in line with his second half results of last year. Let’s not forget this 25 year old phenom posted a 2.67 post All Star break ERA and a .220 batting average against. Hopefully you held on to him as I did during his DL stint because, while this may not be his week, he should be rounding into form soon, and that could mean a high-end SP5 with SP3 upside to give you some additional rotation depth. I am about to jump back off the Adam Wainwright train. Yes, he has a 3.82 FIP and 3.81 xFIP, both more than respectable given he drafted outside the top 225 players. And, as I mentioned on numerous occasions, he was a prime candidate to have a great 2017 campaign given his 2016 peripherals. But this is the EXACT same song and dance all over again. His BABIP may be extraordinarily high (.422) but his walk and home run rates are increasing, which are bad signs for an aging pitcher attempting to right his ship. I cannot completely write him off yet given he was one of the most consistent and dominant starting pitchers since he joined the Cardinals rotation in 2007, but I can no longer give him the benefit of the doubt.

Cross Your Fingers and Pray

  1. Jaime Garcia, ATL (@TOR, vs. WSH)
  2. Phil Hughes, MIN (vs. COL, vs. KC)
  3. Jason Hammel, KC (vs. NYY, @MIN)
  4. Matt Boyd, DET (vs. BAL, vs. TEX)
  5. Luis Perdomo, SD (vs. MIL, vs. ARI)
  6. Tom Koehler, MIA (vs. HOU, @LAD)

Throughout these two start rankings, I have really laid into San Diego Padres pitchers making an appearance on these lists. Well, although Luis Perdomo still does not rank all that highly (mostly due to facing two of the top producing offenses in the Major Leagues), I will give credit where credit is due. Perdomo actually sports a more than respectable 2.99 FIP and 3.30 xFIP and has actually suffered from some bad luck (.346 BABIP). Now you can discount the latter by saying his career BABIP (.342) is much higher than the average .300 BABIP, but Perdomo’s uptick in strikeout and groundball rates and downturn in line drive percentage show a young arm potentially finding his groove. I always thought Phil Hughes would eventually find the pitcher he was already supposed to be with the New York Yankees. But, at the age of 30, I think we can officially put that argument to rest. He owns a career (mediocre) 4.41 ERA and struck out more than 165 batter only once in his 11 year career. While he showed flashes early in his Yankees career and his first year with the Twins, he never, ever lived up to the hype.

Please No

  1. Jhoulys Chacin, SD (vs. MIL, vs. ARI)
  2. Bartolo Colon, ATL (@TOR, vs. WSH)
  3. Bronson Arroyo, CIN (@CHC, vs. COL)

What a wonderful story to begin the year. 40 year old Bronson Arroyo began a resurgent career comeback and made the Cincinnati Reds squad out of Spring Training after not pitching in the Major leagues since 2014. As a Red Sox die hard, I do have a soft spot for the man that was on the mound when the biggest coward in the history of baseball Alex Rodriguez infamously slapped the ball out of Arroyo’s hand while covering first base. However, he sports a 6.35 ERA this year and has allowed 7 home runs in just 30.1IP. Maybe he should relax and stick to singing until retirement.

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 redsocker45@gmail.com or tweet me @AJGamballer.

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