Photo Credit: Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire
We are only a week and a half into a long 2018 baseball season and starting pitching depth has already been ravaged by injuries and under-performances. With names like Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Ervin Santana, and Dinelson Lamet on the disabled list, it is sometimes great to double-dip on pitchers off the waiver wire. I am here to provide you some names that could easily help drive up those counting stats or points, while driving down your ratios for the week. I won’t discuss the Corey Klubers, Chris Sales, or Max Scherzers of the world, because it is obvious that you start them each time out regardless of the matchup. This weekly series will be for players that have larger question marks in their game.
There is some inherent risk on streaming and trying out lesser owned pitchers, but it is usually worth it if you play the matchups right. There are some names that are under-owned currently that made this list and could remain on your team after this week as well. Even though some people don’t approve of double dipping chips, you can never go wrong when double dipping on pitchers for your fantasy squad.
Tier 1- Locked In and Ready To Go
J.A. Happ (TOR- 90% owned on Fantrax)- 4/09 @ BAL; 04/15 @ CLE- The 2018 season has not been too kind for J.A. Happ so far, as he has posted a 5.40 ERA in 10 innings. His peripherals, however, point to some positive regression in his future. Home runs have been his kryptonite in the young season, but he isn’t letting walks get the best of him (he has two walks to fourteen strikeouts). He draws the Baltimore Orioles squad early in week two and then travels to Cleveland later in the week. The Orioles lead the MLB in team strikeouts at 101 (compared to the second-highest Milwaukee Brewers at 86) and Cleveland’s offense has shown in the early going that they aren’t anything to fear. I mean, they just got shutout by Ian freaking Kennedy in Cleveland while striking out eight times to him alone. J.A. Happ is a must-start in both games for me.
Tyler Skaggs (LAA- 69% owned) 04/10 @ TEX, 04/15 @ KC- I know, it is Tyler Skaggs and he usually disappoints his owners at some point in the season, but this won’t be the week. He draws the Rangers and Royals in their home stadiums this week. The Rangers have only averaged around three runs per game and are in the top 12 teams in strikeouts. They have yet to find their groove yet, and Skaggs has shown good control in his first two outings. His second matchup comes against the hopeless Royals that have hit all of two home runs in their first six games, both of them off the bat of Lucas Duda. Skaggs has yet to allow a home run and is a great guy to pick up this week even though both starts are on the road.
Tier 2- Good and Risky
Jake Junis (KC- 69% owned) 04/09 vs. SEA, 04/14 vs. LAA- Junis has only started one game this year, but his great spring carried into that first start as he went 7 strong innings against the Tigers with six strikeouts and one walk. In his first matchup, Junis is set to face a Mariners lineup without power hitters Mike Zunino and Nelson Cruz, which helps limit the risk in him. The Mariners did just put up 11 runs on the Twins on Saturday, but the Twins aren’t one of the best pitching staffs in the game. I don’t find the Mariners risky to face, especially in the spacious Kauffman Stadium. The Angels are not that easy to face right now though. They have the second-most home runs in the league along with 2nd most runs. They are a hot team and they could cool down over the next week, but that second start is dangerous. The only situation I would sit him is if the matchup I am in is super close and the Angels continue to be as hot as they are.
Joey Lucchesi (SD- 27% owned) 04/10 @ COL, 04/15 vs. SF- Lucchesi has been solid two starts into his rookie year. His first was against the Milwaukee Brewers in San Diego and he went 4.2 innings while only allowing three earned runs while walking none and striking out one. Obviously not the most stellar outing, but a solid MLB debut against a very good and competitive Brewers team. He held down the Rockies on April 5th as he threw 5 innings of 1 hit ball while walking three and striking out seven. Lucchesi won’t ever be a high strikeout guy, but has great control and won’t kill himself with walks too often. The first matchup is dangerous because it isn’t ever easy to pitch in Coors Field for any pitcher, but the second matchup is the one Lucchesi is great for. The Giants aren’t a great offense and getting to pitch in AT&T Park is always great. The risk in the first start is worth it to get that second start against the Giants in my mind.
Kyle Gibson (MIN- 57% owned) 04/10 vs. HOU, 04/15 vs. CWS- Gibson has had two great starts in terms of earned run production, but they were vastly different too. He downed the Orioles for his first win of the season, but walked five while striking out six in six innings of work. He then held Seattle to one earned run in 4.1 innings with only one walk and three punchouts. I wouldn’t take the risk against the Astros, but a matchup versus the White Sox in Minnesota isn’t a bad bet. The White Sox blew up the Royals in the first series of the year, but their offense will continue to be inconsistent for most of the 2018 season. It is best to gamble against them in the early part of the season even with the power bats of Matt Davidson and Jose Abreu in the lineup.
Miles Mikolas (73% owned) 04/09 vs. MIL, 04/14 vs. CIN- Mikolas has only started one game so far and it was against the division rival Brewers. He will draw them once again on Monday, but this time he will pitch in St. Louis. The Brewers have proven that they mean business this year as they are one of the more dangerous offenses in the game, even with Christian Yelich sidelined for a bit due to an stiff oblique. Even though it wasn’t a great start for Mikolas, he did strikeout five Brewers without allowing a walk in his 2018 debut. The Brewers will be looking for revenge against Mikolas, as he snatched the win on April 2nd. The long layoff for Mikolas would worry me, but the matchup against the Reds should be juicy at the back end of the fantasy week. The Reds haven’t shown much power in their lineup this year and aren’t dangerous after you get past the top 4 of Winker, Votto, Suarez, and Gennett. You might be able to pick Mikolas after the Brewers matchup, but he is worth the weekly stash for that second matchup.
Tier 3- Living Dangerously
Julio Teheran (91% owned) 04/09 @ WAS, 04/15 @ CHC- By now, we should all know that Teheran is garbage when he pitches at home for the Braves. However, he gets to face two of the scariest National League lineups in the Nationals and Cubs. The Nationals have been everything they were advertised to be and that is without Daniel Murphy in the lineup at any point this season as he remains on the disabled list. The Cubs have yet to look like the team everyone envisioned, but it shouldn’t take too long for that to come to fruition. Even though Teheran had a 3.14 ERA away from home last season, I personally wouldn’t risk his two starts this week because of how volatile they can be. If you need some extra innings for this week, feel free to use him, but there is a lot to fear. It is Julio Teheran after all.
Thanks for reading about this week’s article on two-start pitchers. Here at Six Man Rotation, we always love feedback from our readers and listeners. You can find me on Twitter @DadSox. While you are at it, follow our fantasy baseball podcast @SixManRoto, which you can listen to on Soundcloud and iTunes.