Two-Start Pitchers for Week One

Maximizing pitchers that make 2 starts in a week is a strategy used by some fantasy owners, especially in H2H leagues. The owners cycle through less desirable starters each week and get a new set the next week in order to win the counting stats. The first week of the season offers a unique situation because most of the 2-start pitchers are #1 and #2 starters for a team. Most of these pitchers are already owned. Today I am going to look at some of the few 2-start “aces” that may be available in a league

(Owned % are ESPN and Yahoo)

Erik Bedard (7%, 39%) – Erik is by far the best option among the pitchers I will look at today. His main issue in the past has been staying healthy. While he has a lower chance of getting a Win than a starter on a better team, he will supply a decent number of strikeouts (ZiPS projection is 8.15 K/9). Since an owner is looking to have him around a only a week, they might as well take the chance on him stating healthy that long. In a deep league, owners should actually look to keep him until he eventually goes on the DL.

Kyle Lohse (6%, 26%) – Depending on a league’s rules, there is a chance that Kyle will get 3 starts in the first “week” of the season. Kyle had a career season in 2011 while posting a career bests in ERA (3.39) and WHIP (1.17). These low numbers were aided by a 0.269 BABIP (0.302 career). While he won’t produce a ton of K’s (5.5 ZiPS K/9 projection), he may give an owner the chance of getting 3 starts.

Carl Pavano (4%, 2%) – Carl is pitch to contact pitcher. He rarely walks a batter (1.51 and 1.62 BB/9 in 2010 and 2011) or strikes one out (4.76 and 4.14 K/9 in 2010 and 2011). He will give an owner a chance for a win and not hurt a fantasy team’s rate stats too bad.

Jeremy Guthrie (1%, 3%) – It may be worth taking a chance on Jeremy this week. I am not too sure if I am sold on Colorado using pitchers with extreme fly ball tendencies, but this week he seems relatively safe. He will face Houston in Houston on opening day. The second game he starts will probably be in Colorado, but against an average to below-average hitting San Francisco offense.

Bruce Chen (0%, 2%) – Bruce, an extreme fly ball finesse pitcher, is against the Angels on opening day (vs Oakland for second game). If an owner is desperate for a 2-start pitcher, feel free to roll the dice and pick him up. Otherwise stay away.

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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Pittsburgh’s biggest weakness is starting pitching, and that obviously doesn’t affect Bedard’s win capacity. I think he can get his share of wins while healthy and if effective. he doesn’t go deep into games, but they have a solid bullpen and a decent enough offense in a relatively soft division.