2016 Fantasy Baseball: Week Nine Two-Start Pitchers
A fantasy owner’s best friend is the waiver wire—where finding value can make the difference between a great week and a very disappointing one. Most pitchers see the mound once every seven days, but if you want to maximize the number of starts per week, it’s important to look for pitchers pitching twice and exploit favorable matchups if they exist. With that being said, let’s take a look at some pitchers you should be starting this week, and some you should just leave on your bench
Jose Fernandez | Miami Marlins
Opponents: Gerrit Cole (PIT), Matt Harvey (NYM)
Jose Fernandez is by far the best pitcher taking the hill twice this week. He’s coming off an incredible month that saw him pitch 32 innings, allow only six runs and strike out 50. His ERA dropped to 2.82 and his WHIP is an impressive 1.19. Fantasy owners may be scared to start Fernandez on Tuesday—mainly because the Pirates are second in team batting average (.283)—but the Marlins ace is outstanding at home, having lost just one start at Marlins Park in his career! I’ll take that bet any day, and so should the rest of the baseball universe. Roll the righty out every week and watch him rack up the strikeouts.
Jake Arrieta | Chicago Cubs
Opponenets: Scott Kazmir (LAD), Patrick Corbin (ARI)
Are people really benching Jake Arrieta? Even in average matchups, the Cubs starter still finds a way to deliver. His 9-0 record is impressive, but his 1.72 ERA and 0.90 WHIP is what makes him elite. His last start against the Cardinals was probably his worst start of the season, but he still did enough to help his team get the win. The Diamondbacks are a very good hitting team (.269), but they also sit in the top-10 in strikeouts, so expect Arrieta to finish with double digit strikeouts in that game and walk past the Dodgers to an 11-0 record.
Other Must Start Pitchers: Jeff Samardzija, Justin Verlander.
Carlos Martinez | St. Louis Cardinals
Opponents: Junior Guerra (MIL), Jake Peavy (SF)
To say Carlos Martinez had a terrible month of May would be an understatement. The 24-year-old has lost all five of his starts so far this month and has seen his ERA climb to 4.25. To give you a comparison; he was 4-0 in April with a 1.93 ERA. The problem with Martinez has always been his command. He’s got a cannon for an arm, but sometimes he just can’t control his cannon and that leads to a ton of walks. His 42:20 K:BB ratio clearly shows that, and even though he’s taking on the terrible Milwaukee Brewers, the San Francisco Giants is where he might run into some trouble. The Giants don’t strike out very often (29th, 327) and draw a ton of walks (3rd, 196). The Brewers draw a lot of walks too (2nd, 209), but they love to strikeout as well (2nd, 489). Martinez can get away with having shaky command against the Brewers, but not the Giants. He’s a gamble that could pay off, but it could also backfire in a hurry.
Ian Kennedy | Kansas City Royals
Opponents: Matt Andriese (TB), Josh Tomlin (CLE)
Speaking of pitchers with shaky command, Ian Kennedy is another pitcher that can pick up a bunch of strikeouts, but has a tendency to walk a lot of batters at the same time. He falls into the same boat as Martinez; good matchup, high upside and worth a look. The Rays and Indians aren’t teams to be afraid of, mainly because they are moderate to below average when it comes to team batting average and both teams can strikeout a lot, especially the Rays (4th, 453). Kennedy’s K:BB currently sits at 53:18, which is very respectable. There’s always some risk when playing the Royals starter, but he could easily finish the week with two quality starts and a bunch of strikeouts. If you play in a league that locks lineups on Monday, Kennedy should be played because of the two-starts.
Other Options to Consider: Scott Kazmir, Jason Hammel, James Shields, Jose Quintana, Tanner Roark, Jeremy Hellickson, Ervin Santana.
Corey Kluber | Cleveland Indians
Opponents: Colby Lewis (TEX), Dillon Gee (KC)
As good as Corey Kluber can be, he can also be pretty terrible. He’s been strong in his last two outing, but this week he’s face with the challenge of beating the Rangers and Royals, and that doesn’t bode well for the righty. Kluber’s bread and butter is his ability to strike out hitters, and both his opponents don’t strike out very often (TEX 25th, KC 26th). To make matters even worse, the Rangers and Royals are above-average hitting teams. It’s a mess waiting to happen, so this is the perfect week to sit the righty and look for someone else on the waiver wire to start.
Gerrit Cole | Pittsburgh Pirates
Opponents: Jose Fernandez (MIA), Jhoulys Chacin (LAA)
Another very good pitcher that should ride the bench this week is Gerrit Cole. The Pirates starter has been good this year, posting a 2.53 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP, but this week he has to tackle the Marlins—who sit fourth in team batting average—and the Angels, who just don’t strike out. Los Angeles has struck out 298 times– the lowest total in baseball– and when you break it down, that’s 5.96 strikeouts per game. Couple that with the Angeles being an above-average hitting team, and you have a recipe for disaster. It may be hard to bench Cole, but trust me it’s the right decision.
Other Pitchers to Avoid: Anibal Sanchez, Andrew Cashner, CC Sabathia, Wily Peralta, Lance McCullers, Marco Estrada, Kevin Gausman, Jake Peavy, Steven Wright, Patrick Corbin, Ivan Nova, Junior Guerra.