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Fantasy Baseball 2017: Two Start Pitchers Week 10

Welcome to Two Start Pitchers Week 10, where we will breakdown the two start pitchers from June 5-June 11. This week we see a lot of familiar superstar names, but they seems to be scattered across the first few designations rather than localized in the top two tiers as you would expect. Also, a few surprising names find themselves sniffing the top-ace rankings, specifically one I had my eye on all year. Let’s get to the risers and fallers. To the two start rankings we go!

Update June 2nd @ 9:00 A.M.: It looks as though Justin Verlander has been moved up in the rotation to start this Sunday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. Although we do not have a definitive name yet, it looks like Daniel Norris will be Tuesday and Sunday’s starter for the Detroit Tigers, making him the two starter to own for the Tigers. If that is the case, remove Verlander from the #6 spot, move everyone up one, and place Norris just behind Eddie Butler in the “Some Upside Here” designation. While his second start in Boston leaves quite a bit to be desired, his first start at home against the Mike Troutless Angels should lead to solid stats.

Never a Doubt

  1. Max Scherzer, WSH (@LAD, vs. TEX)
  2. Chris Archer, TB (vs. CWS, vs. OAK)

Coming off a five-hit, 11 strikeout complete game, allowing just one run (due to a lost ball in the San Francisco twilight), Max Scherzer is at the top of his game. In his previous start, Scherzer almost went the distance as well, going a mere 8.2IP, striking out 13. Backed by arguably the best and most diverse offense in the Major Leagues, it is no surprise to see Max ranked as the top ace any week he has two starts. I keyed in on Chris Archer before the season and the pick seems to be panning out thus far. Sure Archer only has 4 wins and a 3.74 ERA, but that does not tell the true story of his dominance this season. He sports a 10.78 K/9 , .225 batting average against and a 2.72 FIP, so expect his actual ERA to start falling. Also, the Rays rank 8th in the league in total runs scored, so he should benefit from decent run support this year. If the Rays keep mashing and Archer just remains as is, there is no reason to think he cannot crack the top 15 in starting pitchers by the season end. Couple that with two home matchups where he has a 3.15 ERA this season against two subpar offenses, he deserves to be ranked at the top of this list.

Borderline Aces

  1. Robbie Ray, ARI (vs. MIL, vs. SD)
  2. James Paxton, SEA (vs. MIN, vs. TOR)
  3. Jacob deGrom, NYM (@TEX, @ATL)
  4. Justin Verlander, DET (vs. LAA, @BOS)
  5. Jake Arrieta, CHC (vs. MIA, vs. COL)

Welcome to the bright lights Robbie Ray! I guess that is what happens when you go three scoreless starts across 23.2 innings pitched. I have been singing his praises all year and it is nice to see him finally recognized as the top-tier pitcher he should be. He recently got his walks under control (only 3 total over those last 3 starts) and his BABIP is finally normalizing (although it is now below the average .300 and his career average of .327, so maybe his numbers are a tad better than they should be). Pitching both starts at home for one of the best offenses in the game, Ray should continue piling up the strikeouts and wins against the second and third ranked teams in total strikeouts. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, I am deeply in love with James Paxton as a starting pitcher. The forearm injury made me a little nervous, but I buckled myself in this year and rode it out. And man did that pay off. In his first start back, Paxton picked up right where he left off, striking out 6 and allowing 3 hits and no walks across 5.1 efficient innings. Paxton now owns a sparkling 1.26 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 10.67 K/9 and 1.43 supporting FIP. If he stays healthy for the remainder of the season, my top 20 prediction might be WAY off…he could be top 5.

Very Good

  1. Jamie Garcia, ATL (vs. PHI, vs. NYM)
  2. Jose Quintana, CWS (@TB, @CLE)
  3. Masahiro Tanaka, NYY (vs. BOS, vs. BAL)
  4. Adam Wainwright, STL (@CIN, vs. PHI)
  5. Sean Manaea, OAK (vs. TOR, @TB)

Two preseason studs find themselves mired in this third tier. And they should be so lucky. I wanted to (and maybe should) bump them lower. Jose Quintana and Masahiro Tanaka are in unbelievably awful ruts. Quintana holds a 5.60 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and across his last two starts he allowed 15 runs and 4 home runs over 7 total innings. Yikes. Tanaka on the season, especially over his last 4 starts, has somehow been much worse. Tanaka has a 6.34 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, and over his last four starts he has allowed at least 6 earned runs in three, watching his ERA jump almost 2 full runs. I am not sure what to do with these guys. You cannot sell them, because their value is at an all-time low. But you cannot confidently start them either because they have been so horrific. Maybe for now you play the matchup game and only start them against inferior competition or lower run total games in which they are favored. Besides that, good luck.

Some Upside Here

  1. Drew Pomeranz, BOS (@NYY, vs. DET)
  2. Joe Musgrove, HOU (@KC, vs. LAA)
  3. Jeff Samardzija, SF (@MIL, vs. MIN)
  4. J.A. Happ, TOR (@OAK, @SEA)
  5. Kevin Gausman, BAL (@PIT, @NYY)
  6. Dan Straily, MIA (@CHC, @PIT)
  7. Gio Gonzalez, WSH (@LAD, vs. TEX)
  8. Ivan Nova, PIT (@BAL, vs. MIA)
  9. Antonio Senzatela, COL (vs. CLE, @CHC)
  10. Junior Guerra, MIL (vs. SF, @ARI)
  11. Dinelson Lamet, SD (@ARI, vs. KC)
  12. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD (vs. WSH, vs. CIN)
  13. Ian Kennedy, KC (vs. HOU, @SD)
  14. Chase Anderson, MIL (vs. SF, @ARI)
  15. Mike Fiers, HOU (@KC, vs. LAA)
  16. Eddie Butler, CHC (vs. MIA, vs. COL)
  17. Hector Santiago, MIN (@SEA, @SF)
  18. Aaron Nola, PHI (@ATL, @STL)

The curious case of Jeff Samardzija continues to roll on. He has a 10.50 K/9, 3.14 FIP, 2.91 xFIP and exhibits great control. Yet he is 1-7 on the year with a  4.63 ERA. On first blush it is rather obvious he is suffering from bad luck (.340 BABIP) and a home run rate almost 5% higher than his career norm. Pitching in the spacious confines of AT&T Park, if Samardzija can continue to rack up the strikeouts he should be very effective going forward, but be wary as the Giants’ offense is sputtering at the moment. I just cannot trust Antonio Senzatela. He does not really punch out anyone and does a poor job of keeping the ball in the park. Never mind that he pitches in Coors Field on top of that. Yes he is pitching well as of right now, but two starts against the two teams in the World Series last year, both of which are just itching to break out, and I do not want any part of Mr. Antonio this week. I am a big fan of Junior Guerra. In his two starts since coming off the disabled list, Guerra has allowed one runs across 11.2IP, recording nine strikeouts in that span. While the first start against the aforementioned sputtering Giants is real juicy, the second start leaves much to be desired in Arizona. I am not saying bench him, but would be careful in protecting your stats before trotting him out against those ferocious bats.

Cross Your Fingers and Pray

  1. Jharel Cotton, OAK (vs. TOR, @TB)
  2. Matt Cain, SF (@MIL, vs. MIN)
  3. Bartolo Colon, ATL (vs. PHI, vs. NYM)
  4. Jeff Locke, MIA (@CHC, @PIT)
  5. Jesse Chavez, LAA (@DET, @HOU)
  6. Tim Adleman, CIN (vs. STL, @LAD)

I know some people really like Jharel Cotton, but I never saw it for this year. Last year, he had an average strikeout rate and his 2.15 ERA was mostly a product of his unsustainably low .198 BABIP. This year Cotton has improved on his strikeout rate but his walks, line drive and BABIP numbers have increased, leading to the increased ERA and WHIP. He will be good, probably soon, I am just not sure this is his year.

Please No

  1. Lisalverto Bonilla, CIN (vs. STL, @LAD)

Lisalverto Bonilla has pitched as well this year as Bobby Bonilla pitched in his entire career. Oddly enough Bobby Bonilla did pitch in one game in his career in 2001, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits, 1 walk and 1 home run in one inning pitched, so the comparison is not too far off. Please don’t start either Bonilla this week. Speaking of, July 1 is Bobby Bonilla Day, so Happy Bobby Bonilla Day in advance!

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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