2014 Fantasy BaseballAndrew Miller

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Week 11 Two-Start Pitchers and Streamers

Week 11 gives us several top starters who’ll take the mound twice, and a plethora of two-start pitchers, starting in the second tier, who are widely available to pickup and stream.

There are several two-start pitchers who qualify for the streaming portion of this article. For sake of brevity I’ll only cover them in the top portion of the article, but you should definitely pick up any of the two-starters you want to stream. If you have any questions about these starters or other pitchers or general fantasy baseball questions hit me up on Twitter @44AMiller.

Gerrit Cole was scheduled for a two-start week, but news broke Saturday that he’s probably headed for the DL with shoulder fatigue. From what I’ve read it looks like Charlie Morton will start Monday and possibly get another start later in the week. If he does get two starts he’d fall into the deep-league starts tier here.

Must-starts

  1. Masahiro Tanaka – Tue at SEA, Sun at OAK
  2. Stephen Strasburg – Mon at SF, Sat at STL
  3. Madison Bumgarner – Tue vs. WSH, Sun vs. COL
  4. David Price – Mon vs. SEA, Sun at HOU
  5. Corey Kluber – Tue at KC, Sun at BOS
  6. Hisashi Iwakuma – Tue vs. NYY, Sun vs. TEX

Start in 12-teamers

  1. Doug Fister – Tue at SF, Sun at STL
  2. Josh Beckett – Tue at CIN, Sun vs. ARI
  3. Garrett Richards – Mon vs. OAK, Sun at ATL
  4. Mike Minor – Tue at COL, Sun vs. LAA
  5. Jesse Chavez – Mon at LAA, Sun vs. NYY
  6. R.A. Dickey – Mon vs. MIN, Sat at BAL
  7. Ian Kennedy – Tue at PHI, Sun at NYM
  8. Justin Verlander – Tue at CWS, Sun vs. MIN

After a rough first outing on May 9, Fister has been lights-out in his last five starts: 32.1 IP, 26 K, 2 BB, 2.23 ERA, 0.83 WHIP. Fister’s pitch mix hasn’t changed much, and he’s not throwing any harder than in the past. So what’s changed? Well his swinging strike rate has fallen to 5.3 percent, which is the fifth worst rate among pitchers with at least 30 innings this season. However, he’s inducing some seriously weak contact. Besides from getting a ton of ground balls, he’s giving up line drives on only 13 percent of balls in play, which is the third best rate this season. Also, despite throwing fewer pitches in the strike zone than at any point in his career he’s getting batters to make contact on pitches outside of the strike zone 81 percent of the time they swing, which ranks fifth best this season. This week he gets two league-average teams against righties, so he’s as close to a must-start as he can be.

Beckett’s 2.57 ERA is a full run below his xFIP, and his FIP difference is a lot worse than that. He’s getting really lucky with his left on base rate and batting average on balls in play. With that said, he hasn’t allowed a run in four of his last 10 starts and is putting up strikeouts like he’s in his prime. His opponents this week rank 22nd and 16th, respectively, in wOBA against righties, and each team is just one spot higher in the Isolated Power standings against righties. The regression monster might come for Beckett, but as long as his matchups aren’t terrible he’s a solid play.

Minor‘s in a tough spot with two top-eight offenses against lefties. I initially had him as a must-start, but if you’re in a shallow league with enough pitching you could get by sitting him. He has pitched at least six innings in every start but one while allowing more than three earned runs only once. I’m starting him in any league, but like I said above if you want to sit him in a shallow league that’s OK. Chavez regressed some in May, posting a 4.81 FIP and 3.95 xFIP after 2.57 and 2.95 marks in April. His strikeouts and walks worsened, and his BABIP rose to a more neutral .312. With that said he still had four of five decent starts in the month, and when he didn’t go deep into games he still posted respectable strikeout numbers. The Angels boast a top 10 offense against righties, but until Chavez does worse than his average May I’m still rolling him out there.

Kennedy has two bottom five offenses against righties, and he’s been on a roll in his last three starts, striking out well over a batter an inning. He was getting a good amount more whiffs in May, despite seeing his BABIP jump over 100 points. Even with both starts on the road he’s a good start this week.

Deep-league starts

  1. Rick Porcello – Mon at CWS, Sat vs. MIN
  2. Ryan Vogelsong – Mon vs. WSH, Sat vs. COL
  3. John Danks – Tue vs. DET, Sun vs. KC
  4. Marco Estrada – Tue at NYM, Sun vs. CIN
  5. Francisco Liriano – Tue vs. CHC, Sun at MIA
  6. Brad Peacock – Tue at ARI, Sun vs. TB
  7. Tony Cingrani – Mon vs. LAD, Sat at MIL
  8. A.J. Burnett – Tue vs. SD, Sun vs. CHC
  9. Jake Peavy – Mon at BAL, Sat vs. CLE

Porcello did pretty well over his last five starts with a very tough schedule. He’s got two above average teams here, but even with a lower strikeout rate than last year Porcello’s proven you can run him out there more often than not. In his last eight starts Vogelsong has a 2.05 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 52.2 innings. He’s benefited from a high left on base rate and a low home run rate, but in his two best seasons of 2011 and ’12 he had very similar numbers. So he’s also proven he can survive with those numbers.

Danks has benefited from a favorable schedule in his last three starts, posting a 1.20 ERA despite just 13 strikeouts in 22.1 innings. This week his opponents rank 17th and 24th, respectively, against lefties in wOBA. He’s barely owned so if you’re looking for someone to add for this week you could do worse. I wouldn’t start Peacock against Arizona, who had an above league average Isolated Power mark in May, but the Rays had the third worst Iso mark in May so you could start him against Tampa.

Burnett has two good matchups…for anyone not named Burnett or Liriano. Burnett’s strikeout rate is at its lowest level since 2010, but his walk rate is its worst since 2004. He’s also inducing the fewest swings of his career and the fewest swinging strikes. But when hitters do swing, they’re making a ton of hard contact and barely any soft contact. Burnett’s line drive rate is the fifth highest in baseball, and his infield fly ball rate is the 11th worst in baseball. Due to the matchups he could give you a good ERA this week, but the rest of his numbers probably still won’t be pretty.

AL-/NL-Only starts

  1. Jason Vargas – Mon vs. NYY, Sun at CWS
  2. Jarred Cosart – Mon at ARI, Sat vs. TB
  3. Mike Leake – Tue vs. LAD, Sun at MIL
  4. Dan Haren – Mon at CIN, Sat vs. ARI
  5. Josh Collmenter – Mon vs. HOU, Sat at LAD
  6. Brandon Workman – Tue at BAL, Sun vs. CLE

Cosart could be a sneaky good play this week. He hasn’t been great by any means this year, but since a one-out, seven-run outing April 18 he’s posted a 2.96 ERA in eight starts. He’s able to limit home runs by inducing a ton of ground balls, so that makes me feel better about the Arizona start. Leake has two tough matchups, but he’s improved this year in his strikeouts, walks and ground ball rates. His ERA, FIP and xFIP are all career-bests so far this year, too. In his last five games he has 27 strikeouts to just six walks.

Pitchers to avoid

Top streaming options available in at least 50 percent of ESPN leagues

Marcus Stroman – Wednesday vs. Minnesota – Stroman has done very well since moving to the rotation on May 31. In two starts he’s allowed one run in six innings each time, striking out 13 hitters while walking just two. The Twins hit righties fairly well, but they had the worst total wOBA in May with a very low Isolated Power mark.

Trevor Bauer – Wednesday at Kansas City – The Royals hit for the least amount of extra bases against righties, by far, and Bauer has done well when he’s not giving up home runs (duh). In his two homer-less starts he’s given up just three runs in 12 innings with 16 strikeouts. But he does have at least five strikeouts in each of his five starts as well as a 29 percent total strikeout rate.

Tanner Roark – Thursday at San Francisco – Roark’s on a roll. In his last six starts he has a 1.77 ERA with more than three strikeouts for each walk. Throughout the season he’s been increasing the amount of whiffs he’s getting on all of his pitches.

Bartolo Colon – Friday vs. San Diego – The Padres rank 20th in Isolated Power against righties this season, and Colon is great at Citi Field: 2.30 ERA, 2.26 FIP, 27 strikeouts and two walks. His HR/9 at home is less than half of his road home-run rate.

Jose Quintana – Friday vs. Kansas City – Quintana has a start today at the Angels, but he hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in a start since April 19 while keeping his walks relatively low and giving you five strikeouts a start. The Royals are a bottom five team in Isolated Power against lefties.

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