Fantasy Baseball: Week 3 Two-Start Pitchers

Thor

In Week 2 we witnessed some unbelievable pitching performances by a couple of unlikely suspects. The best pitching performance of the week and on the young season for that matter was by Philadelphia Phillies 23-year-old righty Vince Velasquez. Velasquez was flat-out unhittable versus the San Diego Padres spinning a 3-hit complete game shutout. He whiffed 16 batters and didn’t issue a free pass the entire game. It might be early but Velasquez has breakout written all over him after pitching 15 innings this year without allowing a single run. Hopefully you were listening to our FakePigskin 60 Feet 6 Inches Fantasy baseball podcast when I threw out his name as a sleeper to target this year in your drafts. The only concern for his owners moving forward is a possible innings cap and shutdown in September. They’ll be smart with their prized arm and budding star.

Vince Velasquez did his best Kerry Wood impression in Week 2. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Vince Velasquez did his best Kerry Wood impression in Week 2. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

The other notable pitching performance was by Cardinals southpaw Jaime Garcia. Garcia tossed a one-hitter versus the Milwaukee Brewers this past week and proved why he was worth the risk of drafting due to his well documented injury history. He was at his best striking out 13 batters and only issuing one free pass. Garcia also forced 12 ground balls which has been his specialty throughout his seven-year career. In Garcia’s case I’m still a little skeptical that his arm will holdup for the entire season, but for now he’s a guy I would hold onto unless someone blows you away with an offer. If he can continue his dominance moving forward this could finally be the season that Garcia wins 15-plus games and flirts with 200 strikeouts.

Looking ahead to Week 3 we don’t have the luxury of a stockpile of aces toeing the rubber twice, but there are still plenty of good options available. The top 20 are all solid options and it all starts with Noah Syndergaard, aka “Thor”.  I said it last week and I’ll say it again: Syndergaard is a serious NL Cy Young contender and looks the part of a top five starting pitcher. In two starts Thor has only allowed one earned run and whiffed 21 hitters in 13 innings pitched. He’s locked in right now and his lucky owners couldn’t ask for a better pair of matchups for the week then facing the anemic lineups of the Phillies and Braves.

Stephen Strasburg is a premier Two-Start option in Week 3. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Stephen Strasburg is a premier Two-Start option in Week 3. (Elise Amendola/AP)

Stephen Strasburg owners have been patiently waiting to reap the rewards of a two-start week from their flame-throwing ace. Strasburg has historically been better at home but a trip to South Beach shouldn’t keep him from tossing his third straight quality start. Similar to Strasburg owners, Jose Fernandez owners have to be doing backflips in anticipation of his upcoming two starts in Week 3. Fernandez is still working on his control but still managed to induce 14 swinging strikes last week versus the Mets. Once he shakes off the rust look out because he’s got as much upside as any pitcher in baseball. Carlos Carrasco is coming off an eight inning four-hit, one-run gem versus the Tampa Bay Rays. I love his opening start against the Mariners but a date with the Detroit Tigers this weekend won’t be a walk in the park. I consider the rest of my top-10 to be very safe options and this would be my must-start tier for Week 3.

TWO-START PITCHERS
PLAYER START #1 START #2 RANKING
Noah Syndergaard, NYM at PHI at ATL 1
Stephen Strasburg, WAS at MIA vs. MIN 2
Jose Fernandez, MIA vs. WAS at SF 3
Carlos Carrasco, CLE vs. SEA at DET 4
Francisco Liriano, PIT at SD at ARI 5
Marcus Stroman, TOR at BAL vs. OAK 6
Jerad Eickhoff, PHI vs. NYM at MIL 7
Carlos Rodon, CHW vs. LAA vs. TEX 8
Ervin Santana, MIN vs. MIL at WAS 9
Raisel Iglesias, CIN vs. COL vs. CHC 10
Yordano Ventura, KC vs. DET vs. BAL 11
Drew Smyly, TB at BOS at NYY 12
Jason Hammel, CHC at STL at CIN 13
Mat Latos, CHW vs. LAA vs. TEX 14
John Lackey, CHC at STL at CIN 15
Shane Greene, DET at KC vs. CLE 16
Robbie Ray, ARI at SF vs. PIT 17
Michael Pineda, NYY vs. OAK vs. TB 18
Chase Anderson, MIL at MIN vs. PHI 19
Phil Hughes, MIN vs. MIL at WAS 20
Adam Conley, MIA vs. WAS at SF 21
Hector Santiago, LAA at CHW vs. SEA 22
Ubaldo Jimenez, BAL vs. TOR at KC 23
Alex Wood, LAD at ATL at COL 24
Tanner Roark, WAS at MIA vs. MIN 25
J.A.Happ, TOR at BOS vs. OAK 26
Kendall Graveman, OAK at NYY at TOR 27
Matt Wisler, ATL vs. LAD vs. NYM 28
Matt Shoemaker, LAA at CHW vs. SEA 29
Clay Buchholz, BOS vs. TOR at HOU 30
Matt Cain, SF vs. ARI vs. MIA 31
Joe Kelly, BOS vs. TB at HOU 32
Mike Leake, STL vs. CHI at SD 33
Wily Peralta, MIL at MIN vs. PHI 34
Wade Miley, SEA at CLE at LAA 35
A.J. Griffin, TEX vs. HOU at CHW 36
Jake Peavy, SF vs. ARI vs. MIA 37
Rubby De La Rosa, ARI at SF vs. PIT 38
Colin Rea, SD vs. PIT vs. STL 39
Scott Feldman, HOU at TEX vs. BOS 40
Alfredo Simon, CIN vs. COL vs. CHC 41
Jordan Lyles, COL at CIN vs. LAD 42

 

The second tier starts with Yordano Ventura and ends with Phil Hughes. These are mostly No. 3 or No. 4 starters for their respective teams and SP4 or SP5 options in fantasy. Ventura is a guy I’ve been high on for some time and have been waiting on to blossom into the ace everyone expected him to be. Ventura has some of the best pure stuff of any starting pitcher in the majors but you can’t win on stuff alone in baseball. It’s no secret that he’s lacked a plus secondary offering in his arsenal and also relies too much on his fastball at times. He’s also struggled with control issues and the inability to harness his emotions in the heat of the moment. Having said that there is something different about Ventura this year and it’s his windup. With the help of Royals’ pitching coach Dave Eiland he’s tweaked how he starts his windup mainly with the placement of his left foot. Ventura has started stepping forward off the rubber with his left foot instead of his back foot which is helping with his mechanics and leading to a consistent release point. I’m optimistic this could lead to less mistake pitches and fewer walks. Baseball is a game of adjustments and this sounds like it could be the tweak that helps Ventura finally realize his ace potential.

Can Yordano Ventura become a reliable starter in 2016? (Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports)

Can Yordano Ventura become a reliable starter in 2016? (Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports)

I’m definitely not in love with Drew Smyly’s matchups on the road in Boston and New York. Having said that, I dug a little deeper and found that Smyly has been lights out over the past three years against both teams. Over that time period versus the Red Sox Smyly is 3-1 with a 1.04 ERA and 39/10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In 18.2 innings pitched versus the Yankees Smyly has a 1.93 ERA with 20 strikeouts and only two walks. You can choose to ignore these numbers and bench him but I would give Smyly a chance to back up his resume against their heated division rivals. I’m also not crazy about Jason Hammel’s matchups, but behind the best lineup in baseball he can have a sub par outing and still manage to get some cheap wins. Just be aware that he could negatively affect your pitching ratios this week, mainly your ERA and WHIP, but the strikeouts should be there. I’m also fine with benching a struggling John Lackey if you have a deep pitching staff in a league with starts limit or innings cap.

The rest of the two-start options all have warts so I’ve come up with a list of some great low-owned options for the week. They might not all be available but I’m sure to have a few names on my list that are. I’ve ranked them in the order that I would add them for this week. Good luck this week and be sure to check out our 60 Feet 6 Inches Fantasy baseball podcast along with all the great content at FakePigskin.com. We offer a weekly waiver wire article by Ben Rolfe along with a streaming and reliever roulette article by Damien Dabrowski. You’re really missing out if you aren’t reading their material so go check it out. Also be sure to check out this week’s 60 Feet 6 Inches pod for more in-depth analysis of our recommended two-start options and streamers for the week.  You can listen to it on iTunes or Stitcher so go check it out and please leave us a review if you have the time. Also please feel free to tweet us any Fantasy Baseball questions to our Twitter handle  @60ftpodcast.

Low-owned Two-Start Options

Jerad Eickhoff: vs. MIA, @ MIL (50% Yahoo, 15.1% ESPN) *MUST add if available*

Mat Latos: vs. LAA, vs. TEX (18% Yahoo, 15.5% ESPN)

Shane Greene: @ KC, vs. CLE (10% Yahoo, 4% ESPN)

Robbie Ray: @ SF,  vs. PIT (6% Yahoo, 5.2% ESPN)

Chase Anderson: @ MIN, vs. PHI (7% Yahoo, 6% ESPN)

Phil Hughes: vs. MIL, @ WAS (16% Yahoo, 25.6% ESPN)

Adam Conley: vs. WAS, @ SF (20% Yahoo, 9.7% ESPN)

Hector Santiago: @ CHW, vs. SEA (38% Yahoo, 14.5% ESPN)

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