Mother Nature can suck a fat one. Our first excursion into the double dip starters was largely foiled by weather, an issue that has loomed large since the start of the season. There have been 25 postponements already as of this writing, the most in April in over 10 years. So, there is no better time than now to remind you to keep an eye on such things late into Sunday, assuming that’s when you’re putting in your two-start claims. Enough with the garbage weather. Let’s play some ball!

This week’s list is a lot ickier than the last. Tier 1 and 2 are pretty thin, while Tier 5 is thick with the grease of back-end starters. So greezy. Carson Fulmer and Miguel Gonzalez both have plus matchups with Seattle and Kansas City, but man…those guys are bad. Between the two of them they have 15 BB and 14 K over 23 IP. You have to really hate yourself to start either one. I’d rather have Halfthor Bjornsson throw a bowling ball at my genitals than start both of them in the same league. By the way, I am switching things up a bit this week. Rather than just list the actual wOBA of the opponent, I thought it would be more beneficial to list the opponent’s MLB rank to give you a bit more context. I’ve also included the opponent’s K% vs that starter’s handedness to give you the idea of what sort of strikeout potential you can expect.

Tier 1
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Gerrit Cole LAA 4 17.6 OAK 2 22.8
Carlos Carrasco @BAL 27 28.3 SEA 21 23
Jose Berrios @NYY 7 22.6 CIN 28 24.7
Robbie Ray (L) @PHI 4 18.6 @WSH 24 15.5
Alex Wood (L) MIA 22 19.1 @SF 28 25.5
  • Alex Wood (Tier 1) – After a worrying early-season dip in velocity, Wood’s fastball is back up over 90 MPH. I was selling him as recently as a week ago, but he was effective in a brief start against the Padres his last time out. With the velo bouncing back and some great matchups this week, I’m all in (this week). He gets Miami at home and then heads to AT&T to take on the Giants, who offer strikeout upside to boot.
Tier 2
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Rick Porcello @TOR 5 25.5 TB 23 22
Masahiro Tanaka MIN 16 24 @LAA 4 17.6
Jacob Faria @BAL 27 28.3 @BOS 1 15.9
Gio Gonzalez (L) @SF 28 25.5 ARI 9 25.4
Tier 3
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
JA Happ (L) BOS 17 18.1 TEX 25 23.4
Trevor Cahill @TEX 19 25 @HOU 18 23.9
Kevin Gausman CLE 25 23.5 DET 13 18.9
Vince Velasquez ARI 17 25.4 ATL 6 19
Brandon McCarthy @CIN 28 24.7 @PHI 20 28
Matt Wisler @CIN 28 24.7 @PHI 20 28
Steven Matz (L) @STL 23 27.2 @SD 16 25.1
  • JA Happ (Tier 3) – Happ has a ridonkulous 31:7 K:BB ratio through four starts. He’s also home against Boston and Texas this week, both solid matchups for lefties. So why is he in Tier 3 and not higher? Well, he hasn’t really changed. His pitch mix and velocity are essentially unchanged from a year ago, and his hard contact is just mediocre at 32%. He’s been able to take advantage of bad teams, including the Orioles and White Sox, who each have top-3 strikeout rates against left-handed pitching. Continue to expect middling results from Happ and sell high if you can.
  • Brandon McCarthy & Matt Wisler (Tier 3) – Here we have a duo of Braves pitchers with positive matchups for Week 4. Wisler held a tough Mets offense to two hits over seven innings with eight K’s and no walks in his season debut, earning himself a longer look in the rotation. I don’t know how much I trust him long-term with just a FB/SL mix, but I’d use him in most formats this week. McCarthy is a stably unstable option…meaning he’s a usable and relatively consistent pitcher when he’s healthy, but he can go down with an injury at any moment and miss a month of action. Give him a look this week and hope he can stay on the mound. Heck, a suddenly potent Braves offense might even get you some wins.
Tier 4
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Tyler Skaggs (L) @HOU 6 25.4 NYY 3 19.7
CC Sabathia (L) MIN 18 29.9 @LAA 14 18.7
Zach Davies @KC 26 17.6 @CHC 8 22.2
Matt Boyd (L) @PIT 1 18 @BAL 8 28.3
Marco Gonzalez (L) @CHW 13 30.2 @CLE 27 17.6
Chad Bettis SD 22 27.9 @MIA 29 24.6
Chad Kuhl DET 13 18.9 STL 10 23.7
Ian Kennedy MIL 14 25.5 CHW 12 24.8
Jake Odorizzi @NYY 7 22.6 CIN 28 24.7
  • Matt Boyd (Tier 4) – Boyd is just 0-1 despite a 1.40 ERA over his first 19.1 IP (3 GS). Unfortunately, those numbers are far more reactive than predictive. He has a mere 11 K’s over those 19.1 IP and has been helped along by a .132 BABIP and 98.2% strand rate. His velocity is also down a staggering 3.3 MPH from last year, so he’s using his slider 16% more to offset that. So far it’s treated him well, but the upside here is limited and the blow up potential with a pair of tough matchups is real.
Tier 5
Player Opp #1 Rank vs L/R Opp K% Opp #2 Rank vs L/R Opp K%
Mike Leake @CHW 12 24.8 @CLE 25 23.5
Tyler Mahle ATL 6 19 @MIN 16 24
Sal Romano ATL 6 19 @MIN 16 24
Alex Cobb TB 23 22 DET 13 18.9
Tyler Chatwood @CLE 25 23.5 MIL 14 25.5
Josh Tomlin CHC 8 22.2 SEA 21 23
Chris Stratton WSH 9 20.4 LAD 11 19.4
Matt Moore (L) OAK 11 23.2 @TOR 15 22.7
Adam Wainwright NYM 3 22.1 @PIT 15 19.1
Bryan Mitchell @COL 30 23.1 NYM 3 22.1
Carson Fulmer SEA 21 23 @KC 26 17.6
Miguel Gonzalez SEA 21 23 @KC 26 17.6
  • Chris Stratton (Tier 5) – It’s probably unfair for me to toss Stratton down into the murky depths of Tier 5, but he’s got some real stinky matchups this week. Neither the Nationals nor Dodgers offer much strikeout upside (especially considering Stratton’s uninspiring 8.8% SwStr% and 20.7 K%), and each rank in the top 11 in terms of wOBA against right-handed pitching. He’s also getting lit up when opposing bats make contact, yielding a 37% hard contact rate. He’s a decent back-end option in deeper leagues ROS, but he’s hard to trust this week.

All starters are projected for two starts as of Friday evening.


You can find Dokken on Twitter @NathanDokken.

  1. David says:

    Please rank for ROS: Matz, Manaea, V. Velasquez, McCarthy. Thanks.

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:

      @David: Well I think we saw last night just how good Manaea can be, so he’ll be the easy number one here ROS. I also like what I’ve seen from VV so I’ll put him second. Matz and McCarthy are practically interchangeable. Neither are likely to stay on the mound consistently, so I guess I’d go with the potential upside of Matz.

  2. Raindoggg says:

    I also have a rank for ROS question….IP league instead of K’s…..torn on these three for next pick ups……Ross, Stratton, Vargas…..

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:

      @Raindoggg: The IP instead of K’s makes the decision Stratton for me. He’s got the tough matchups, but with two starts he should still get some good innings in. Ross has actually been usable but he’s off to Coors this week. Looks like Vargas will get to come back and face the Padres, but it’s not enough to push him past Stratton.

  3. The Great Donald says:

    I think Alex Wood is pitching on Sunday, which makes Maeda the double for next week? Where would you rank Maeda?

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:

      @The Great Donald: Those pesky Dodgers. They might not actually have a two start pitcher this week if Rich Hill comes back on Saturday and they use either Stewart or Buehler for the doubleheader. You’d have to like the matchups for Maeda if he were to be a double dipper though. I’d probably put him at the bottom of Tier 2.

  4. coacher says:

    I will also throw in a “rank for ROS” group just for fun….Duffy, M.Fulmer, L.Lynn, Teheran, Colon, Estrada, Pomeranz
    RP: Brach, Middleton, Treinen

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:

      @coacher: That’s a lot to rank! Let’s see…


      RP: Treinen, Middleton, Brach. Middleton could finish with far more saves than Treinen, but who knows what Scioscia is gonna do with that bullpen.

      • coacher says:

        @Dokken: I know….the Sciosciapath and the bullpen. smh Thanks!

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