As other sports seasons are starting to die down, baseball mirrors the seasons and begins its bloom at  the start of spring. The leaves are budding, the flowers blooming, the pollen wreaking its damn havoc, and hope springs eternal in the hearts of fantasy baseball players everywhere as the weather turns warmer. Well, unless you’re in the northeast. Freakin’ El Nino! We’re officially out of draft season, and baseball is here in full force. And that force is starting to awaken (wait for it…).

It’s a good time of year. Not only do we have the promise of summer on the horizon, but every one of you feel the promise of potential for your fantasy rosters. No one’s dead in the water yet, chances are plentiful, everyone has hope. Except for those A.J. Pollock owners out there (ahem, this guy…), but we’re not focusing on the hitting side today. No sir. Before all those summer bats awaken we’ve gotta get an advantage with the pitchers! It’s Week 2 of the fantasy baseball season and I’m about to tickle your fancy with some Two-Start Pitchers! You can also be hopeful that I’ll never promise to tickle you ever again. That’s strange. I already feel weird. Like Elmo.

For those of you that love a good statistical tickle, though, the Two-Start Pitcher game is perfect for you. Let’s call it what it is: you’re the nerds of fantasy baseball. To go in depth with the plethora of stats available in finding the best two-start options, you gotta nerd out a little bit. So, let’s go all out! In honor of Star Wars: The Force Awakens release to Blu-Ray this week (because who watches DVDs anymore?), we’ll categorize the tiers and rankings of the Week 2 Two-Start Pitchers through the vein of the franchise’s films. And like the Primer’s ability to draw ire from my thoughts on BvP (I get it! The sabermetric baseball world hates the stat!), I’m hopeful this one sparks some controversy on the tiering that’s about to occur. Leh’go!

In the Two-Start Pitcher Primer we discussed the strategy to finding the best two-start options. Being early in the year it’s difficult to pull statistical data on the opposing team’s lineups, so these rankings will revert to Park Factor (pitching at Coors Field is worse than pitching at Turner Field) and some 2015 stats for the pitchers. Pitchers are listed in order by rank.

The Empire Strikes Back (Aces) – Arguably the best ‘second film’ of any trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back is still considered the quintessential Star Wars film. It’s the ace in the hole, and you can’t argue the power of it’s top moments. There’s no ‘let’s just carry the story over to the finale’ with this one, and with these starters you’re not finding any letdowns. Throw them with the utmost confidence, like the blooming bravado of Han Solo with Princess Leia.

Player Opponents 2015 Opp 1 Park Factor 2015 Opp 2 Park Factor 2015 ERA/FIP/K9
Stephen Strasburg vs. ATL, @ PHI 12th 9th 3.46/2.81/10.96
Carlos Carrasco @ TB, vs. NYM 17th 2nd 3.63/2.84/10.58
Jon Lester vs. CIN, vs. COL 14th 14th 3.34/2.92/9.09
David Price vs. BAL, vs. TOR 4th 4th 2.45/2.78/9.19
Noah Syndergaard vs. MIA, @ CLE 28th 2nd 3.24/3.25/9.96
Michael Wacha vs. MIL, vs. CIN 20th 20th 3.38/3.87/7.59
Sonny Gray vs. LAA, vs. KC 16th 16th 2.73/3.45/7.31

The Return of the Jedi (Good Starts) – A second Death Star?!?! WTF! The Return of the Jedi was a wonderful summation to the original trilogy that brought us more action, fulfillment of teased out Leia/Han love story, and the love child of Willow and Robin Hood: Ewoks living in Sherwood Forest! Oh yeah, and that whole Leia in the bikini thing…And all of that was eclipsed by one of the most epic final fights in movie history. An incredible film, that’s only trumped by the greatness of it’s predecessor, similar to this tier: great selections, trumped only by the names mentioned before. Ride ’em like those speeders in the jungle.

Player Opponents 2015 Opp 1 Park Factor 2015 Opp 2 Park Factor 2015 ERA/FIP/K9
Carlos Rodon @ MIN, @ TB 13th 17th 3.75/3.87/8.98
Patrick Corbin @ LAD, @ SD 23rd 20th 3.60/3.35/8.26
Michael Pineda @ TOR, vs. SEA 24th 10th 4.37/3.34/8.74
Wei-Yin Chen @ NYM, vs. ATL 28th 14th 3.34/4.16/7.20
Collin McHugh vs. KC, vs. DET 22nd 22nd 3.89/3.58/7.56

The Force Awakens (Why Can’t I Sit You?) – And here it is! If you’re a fan of Star Wars in any capacity, you have to appreciate Episode VII. It’s a perfect homage to the original, while awakening the next generation of fans with enough newness. See, it awakens! Now if these guys below could just awaken their stuff a little bit more to reach that next level, I’d be able to move them one tier up.

Player Opponents 2015 Opp 1 Park Factor 2015 Opp 2 Park Factor 2015 ERA/FIP/K9
Gio Gonzalez vs. ATL, @ PHI 12th 9th 3.79/3.05/8.66
Mike Fiers vs. KC, vs. DET 22nd 22nd 3.69/4.03/8.98
Hisashi Iwakuma vs. TEX, @ NYY 27th 10th 3.54/3.74/7.70
Kenta Maeda vs. ARI, vs. SF 23rd 23rd N/A
Kris Medlen @ HOU, @ OAK 22nd 16th 4.01/4.13/6.17
Jeff Samardzija @ COL, @ LAD 1st 23rd 4.96/4.23/6.86

A New Hope (One Good/One Bad) – There wasn’t much bad about A New Hope. It took theaters and the world by storm with a new universe and storyline that set the stage for decades to come. Rather than finding something maleficent about the film, we found it in a new super villain: Darth Vader. Before ‘Game of Thrones’ obliterated everyone’s thoughts of heroic longevity (Eddard Stark, anyone?), A New Hope made everyone shudder as Vader eviscerated the surrendered Obi-Wan Kenobi. And front in Luke Skywalker, at that? What a bitch! Thus began the struggle of evil pitted against good: Vader against Luke. One good. One bad. Put it in one package, and you get an incredible film, but a shaky option for a Two-Start Pitcher. Love one start, fearful of another.

Player Opponents 2015 Opp 1 Park Factor 2015 Opp 2 Park Factor 2015 ERA/FIP/K9
James Shields @ PHI, vs. ARI 9th 20th 3.91/4.45/9.61
J.A. Happ vs. NYY, @ BOS 24th 4th 3.61/3.41/7.90
Juan Nicasio @ DET, vs. MIL 26th 19th 3.86/2.83/10.03
Kyle Gibson vs. CHW, vs. LAA 13th 13th 3.84/3.96/6.70
Anibal Sanchez vs. PIT, @ HOU 26th 22nd 4.99/4.73/7.91
Andrew Cashner @ PHI, vs. ARI 9th 20th 4.34/3.85/8.04
Jon Niese @ DET, vs. MIL 26th 28th 4.13/4.41/5.76

Jar-Jar Binks (Avoid) – While not a title of a movie, we’ll just let Jar-Jar be the summation of the first trilogy. While I’m personally a fan of the films, especially the non-Anakin scenes of The Phantom Menace, Mace Windu in The Attack of the Clones (Samuel L. Jackson and a purple Lightsaber?!? Hell yes.), and Yoda going Super-Saiyan in Revenge of the Sith, they pale in comparison to the original trilogy or the newest film. It’s just like these starts. I don’t mind Brandon Finnegan or Aaron Nola at all, but not at the cost of any names listed above. Tread with caution.

Player Opponents 2015 Opp 1 Park Factor 2015 Opp 2 Park Factor 2015 ERA/FIP/K9
Taylor Jungmann @ STL, @ PIT 20th 29th 3.77/3.92/8.07
Brandon Finnegan @ CHC, @ STL 14th 20th 3.56/4.80/8.44
Aaron Nola vs. SD, vs. WAS 9th 9th 3.59/4.04/7.88
Derek Holland @ SEA, vs. BAL 27th 5th 4.91/5.30/6.29
Bud Norris @ WAS, @ MIA 12th 14th 6.72/5.04/7.70
Ubaldo Jimenez @ BOS, @ TEX 4th 5th 4.11/4.01/8.22
Clay Buchholz vs. BAL, vs. TOR 4th 4th 3.26/2.68/8.50
Yovani Gallardo @ BOS, @ TEX 4th 5th 3.42/4.00/5.91
Chris Young @ HOU, @ OAK 22nd 16th 3.06/4.52/6.06
Charlie Morton vs. SD, vs. WAS 9th 9th 4.81/4.19/6.70
Matt Moore vs. CLE, vs. CHW 17th 17th 5.43/4.82/6.57
Colby Lewis @ SEA, vs. BAL 27th 5th 4.66/4.17/6.24
Shane Greene vs. PIT, @ HOU 26th 22nd 6.88/5.14/5.38
Tyler Chatwood vs. SF, @ CHC 1st 14th 4.50/4.88/7.50

Note: Due to PPD’s, some things have changed…

David Price is now ranked just behind Jon Lester (vs. BAL, vs. TOR, Park Factors: 4th and 4th, with a 2.45/2.78/9.19).

Aaron Sanchez is now ranked just behind Aaron Nola (vs. NYY, @ BOS, Park Factors: 24th and 4th, with a 3.22/4.61/5.95).


Good luck with Week 2, and leave those thoughts in the comments! Check back next weekend for Week 3!

  1. Hans says:

    How do you miss David Price, you’re slipping

    • @Hans: Price, Kluber and Aaron Sanchez are being added. The postponements a few days ago altered the projected two-start guys after the article was submitted.

      Good find. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. Hans says:

    Niese, Gibson and happ over Nola, Jungmann and even bucholz with 1 vs. The jays is ludicrous

    • @Hans: I like Nola and Jungmann, but I’m hesitant on both of them until they prove they can string together some starts this year. Good parts for both, and they should climb moving forward, but I’m not pushing all my eggs that way yet.

      Buchholz lost my trust two years ago when he danced from a 4.56 ERA in 2012 to a 1.74 in 2013 (crazy good!), back to a 5.34 in 2014 and then last year’s 3.26. Make up your mind! I want to see who he is in 2016 before relying upon him. And if that first start (4 IP, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) is any indicator, he’ll settle in just fine with that ranking. I’d also prefer to avoid the O’s and Jays at home.

      As for Niese, Gibson and Happ, that has more to do with the Yankees, White Sox and Brewers matchups they have. I like all three of those.

      And if you’re gonna drop that final word in the comment, at least have some Southern Hospitality and spell it right. LUDA! After all, ‘It’s Saturday’ Ooo ooooo!

  3. Rubik's Pube says:

    Kluber has 2 this week because of all the postponements too I believe

    • Hans says:

      @Rubik’s Pube: yeah you are right. Completely missed the top 2 pitchers. What is going on with Razzball??

      • @Hans: Commented above. Thank you for the finds. The postponements altered the projected list after the article was submitted. Working on fixing that shortly.

      • Mordacious Levator says:

        @Hans: this isn’t a razzball issue, he writes these and then things change, so when you come by later and see updated info you’ll have more info than he did when he wrote it. i’m sure he’s happy to correct it and is thankful for the help though.

  4. Krinks says:

    Aaron Sanchez?

    • Hans says:

      @Krinks: yup

  5. Don says:

    Nola should be one or two groups higher. Padres are turbl and I think he’ll manage Nats without too much damage.

    • Random Dude says:

      @Don: Agreed.

      • @Random Dude: Could easily argue that both Nola and Jungmann, and even Finnegan with the Cardinals injuries, could be one tier higher. I’m always hesitant to trust the ‘upstart’ SP early on in the year. Gimme a little track record to see first. All three are fine pickups, I’d just roll the dice on those higher first.

        ‘Roll the dice’ being the key phrase. I woke up a little hurt still from that poop performance by Stroman last night. Ugh.

  6. Jim Cullen says:

    Need speed for power. This seems like a logical trade to make, but just need confirmation please. Trade Cano for Dee Gordon?
    Thank you

    • @Jim Cullen: If speed is what you need then you can’t do better than Gordon. However, in a vacuum I’d rather have Cano. And I’m aware that’s a little against the standard.

      If you have surplus pop and need speed, good move.

  7. Scooter G says:

    Better catcher option going forward in obp league R Martin or meso?

    • @Scooter G: They’re probably going to end up around the same amounts. Mesoraco has the higher upside, but Martin’s a better shot at more ABs. If you can withstand the potential loss of 100 ABs, I’d take Mesoraco. However, without significant separation between the two, if you’d rather have the ABs, take Martin.

  8. Buckler says:

    Any thoughts on the (potential) two start Nick Tropeano? Don’t know a lot about him, but would you take a flier on him over a one start Leake or Hendricks? Thanks

    • @Buckler: I wouldn’t risk Tropeano. Even with his second start, he could post negative numbers that could negate the other. I like Hendricks the best of these three options.

  9. SpotieOtie says:

    Sketchy feeling about a homer-prone Pineda playing in Toronto. What say you o sayer of sayings?

  10. Knucks says:

    Where is Dan pants!?!

    • Natty Boh says:

      @Knucks: Like

    • Mordacious Levator says:

      @Knucks: likely doesn’t write here anymore, ask Grey to be sure.

  11. ganggreen says:

    should I drop either Heaney ,Dylan bundy, or rich hill so I can pick up either Brandon finnagen, marco estrada, kyle Gibson, or get a backup catcher I lost schwarber and now have chironis at catchr. I have a ton of pitchers but the only available players I like are phegly, j.r murphy, rickard from Baltimore, Adonis Garcia,franklin guetirez, avisail, or leonys, maybin. which makes me say should I drop one of those pitchers for one of those pitchers.

    • @ganggreen: Sorry for the delay. About that Chironis pickup, huh? Lost him in an AL-Only. Ugh.

      I like Finnegan the most of all those SP mentioned. Do with that what you will. As for the hitters, none of those are incredible. Leonys or Avisail probably carry the highest upside, but sounds like C is the most important move. Snag Murphy of those options.

  12. Wudaben says:

    Syndergaard or Matz should be in there.

    • Fitz says:

      @Wudaben: yeah, Matz pitching Monday should definitely get 2 starts.

      • @Fitz: If I can get the update in, Syndergaard will be in it. Just below Price, who is just below Lester.

  13. seph meier says:

    How long do you think cishek has before losing closer spot to Benoit?

    • Knucks says:

      @seph meier: not long at all. But keep an eye on zych also

      • @Knucks: Good call Knucks. Do you buck, too, boy?

        Cishek’s been capable in the role before, but after last year in Miami I don’t know how anyone can actually trust him. Benoit would seem to have the better stuff. Let’s give it until May, though.

  14. ECTO says:

    I like Cashner & Holland this week…

    • @ECTO: Slimer! Yes!!!

      While I like the Phillies matchup, I don’t want anything to do with Cashner going up against Goldschmidt. However, he’s much stronger against right-handed hitters, so if he can avoid David Peralta, he may be a decent option in Petco.

      Holland’s a potential bounce back candidate, in my eyes, but I need to see a little rebound before I trust him.

  15. Jim says:


  16. Bye Felica says:

    Shields is starting coors Sun (i know i benched him in yahoo)

  17. asdfasdf says:

    Hi, I can only start 4 of these pitchers, so I would appreciate any advice. Points league by the way.

    Chen (@ NYM, vs. ATL) but not 100% sure to make his start tomorrow
    Samardzija (@COL, @LAD)
    Cashner (@PHI, vs. AZ)
    Jaime Garcia (vs. MIL)
    Hendricks (vs. COL)
    Joe Ross (@PHI or vs. ATL, I am not sure which one)

    Thanks a lot!

    • @asdfasdf: Take the three two-start guys and Joe Ross. He’s a good stream, and both Philly and Atlanta are wretched at the plate.

  18. nate says:

    Isn’t Matz a two start pitcher this week?

    • Mordacious Levator says:

      @nate: mentioned above.

  19. Mordacious Levator says:

    i don’t understand why mchugh is in a tier that high until he shows up with a good start. i see the good park factors, but guys in lower tiers have similar and will likely end up this week better. i’m having problems on whether to bench him in any roto till i see he’s decent.

    • Mordacious Levator says:

      @Mordacious Levator: in the bad/good section might want to highlight which is which (colors or boldface or whatever you like)

      • @Mordacious Levator: Not a huge fan of McHugh after his weak 2015 (despite the W’s), but his 2014 numbers were stellar. A return to form could make him a great buy-low. However, I, too, am cautious with him until I see it.

        • Mordacious Levator says:

          @[email protected]: wow, and he did have a good start.

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