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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Week 1

The opening week of the MLB season runs a little longer than the typical two-start pitcher fantasy timetable, but the importance of boosting your pitching stats is still substantial. Unfortunately, with aces taking the hill on Thursday and Friday to start the year, we're stuck with lower tier arms in the first official two-start week.

Before we get to the routine Monday-Sunday regular programming schedule, let's take a look at some under the radar pitchers who could help contribute to your fantasy win this week in head-to-head leagues.

This list will include pitchers who are currently less than 50 percent owned in Fantrax fantasy leagues.


Under the Radar Two-Start SP Streamers - Week 1

Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD (50 percent owned)
Probable opponents: @ ARI, @ SF

The Week 1 (1.5) two-start pitcher talent pool is shallow. However, there are some diamonds if you do some digging. Ryu is on the road for both of his starts, but the park factors aren't terrible. San Francisco has the best PF for pitchers. Also, the Giants were 28th in wOBA (.293) against lefties in 2017. As for Arizona's PF, they have a humidor humidor now, if you haven't heard, so the home runs should be a bit tempered.

J.C. Ramirez, LAA (33 percent owned)
Probable opponents: vs. CLE, vs. OAK

As this is written/posted, the Angels haven't announced the starters for the week, but I'm banking on Ramirez getting two turns in the rotation. Oakland is potentially on Ramirez's list for this week. Last season, he was 1-0 in 10.2 innings of work and allowed only one earned run (0.84 ERA) against the Athletics. He also struck out nine batters (7.6 K/9). As for his matchup with the Indians, he faced them once last season with decent results: 6.2 IP, 4 K, 2 ER.

Jaime Garcia, TOR (31 percent owned)
Probable opponents: vs. CWS, @ TEX

Garcia bounced around from team to team last year and now he has landed in Toronto. In 2017, he had an eight-start stint with the Yankees in the AL East. Though Garcia was winless, he tallied an impressive 37 strikeouts in 37.1 IP. As far as handedness is concerned, the Rangers produced the fourth-highest strikeout percentage against lefties (24.8 K/9) in 2017. If you rank the current active rosters against southpaws, the White Sox would’ve finished with the fifth-highest strikeout percentage last year (22.6 K/9).

Marco Gonzales, SEA (26 percent owned)
Probable opponents: @ KC, @ MIN

Gonzales, another lefty, gets the Royals in his first matchup of 2018. Kansas City's active roster would be 29th in team wOBA against southpaws. As for the park factors, Kauffman Stadium has the fourth-toughest PF to right-handed hitters, according to Fangraphs. The matchup against Minnesota isn't ideal, but compared to other pitchers in his two-start SP group, it still passes as an acceptable option when paired with Gonzales' first game.

Ty Blach, SF (23 percent owned)
Probable opponents: vs. ARI, vs. LAD

It wasn't a Madison Bumgarner vs. Clayton Kershaw showdown we were hoping for, but Blach still delivered in the ace's absence on Opening Day. In five innings, Blach struck out three and only allowed three hits in the 1-0 victory. He'll get the Dodgers again, later in the week, in a place with a better park factor. In fact, both of Blach's upcoming starts are at home. In 98.2 innings at AT&T Park, Blach has tallied a career 3.83 ERA.

Kyle Freeland, COL (20 percent owned)
Probable opponents: @ SD, vs. ATL

In the deeper leagues, when options are limited for a streaming starting pitcher, the best remaining choice is typically the guy throwing in San Diego. Other than Minute Maid Park, Petco Park has the best park factor for pitchers. Freeland pitched 6.2 innings in San Diego last season and allowed two earned runs (2.70 ERA). He also struck out five batters in that outing. Also, the Padres scored the 28th-most runs against left-handed pitchers in 2017 (150 runs). As for Freeland's second matchup in the week, the Braves were 25th in runs scored against lefties (165 runs).

Ben Lively, PHI (16 percent owned)
Probable opponents: @ NYM, vs. MIA

There are two divisional games in the near future slated for Lively. Last season, he fared well against both the Mets and Marlins. In three outings against New York in 2017, Lively was 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA. His strikeout rate isn’t high (5.3 K/9 last year), but in Lively’s lone start against Miami last season, he was able to tally five punch outs. That was when Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna were the first four bats in the lineup. He should have a much easier go this time around.


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