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Two-Start Pitcher Streamers for Fantasy Baseball - Week 2

josiah gray fantasy baseball rankings pitchers draft sleepers waiver wire pickups

Maybe this is the week we see pitchers stretch beyond four or five innings per outing. With a condensed spring training and late start to the season, starting pitchers have been handled with kid gloves so far.

We'll also get a better sense of the upcoming schedule for starting pitchers since some rookies and fifth starters had their turn skipped in Week 1. One could say there are a plethora of choices among SP streamers this coming week. My job is to make sure you know what you are getting into when you add and/or start these players.

Each week, this column will identify starting pitchers expected to make two starts in the upcoming fantasy baseball week ahead of the Sunday night waiver runs for leagues with weekly transactions. This list will be limited to players under 50% rostered in Yahoo! and divided into three sections based on recommendation level.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Solid Two-Start Pitcher Streamers

Josiah Gray, Washington Nationals - 20% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs ARI, vs SF

Coming off a strong outing where he blanked the Braves for five frames, Gray flashed his tremendous upside after a disappointing first start. If he puts it all together over a sustained period of time, Gray might go from occasional streamer to solid pickup. For the time being, a matchup with Arizona can't be ignored as they are batting a league-low .140 as a team. San Fran poses more of a threat (I really wish it were a road game) but they have several position players banged up and aren't knocking the cover off the ball so far. Gray's control will dictate how well this pick pays off but he's got some of the biggest upside among all SP streamers in Week 2.

Nestor Cortes, New York Yankees - 30% rostered

Scheduled starts: @BAL, vs CLE

I'll slot Cortes in the solid streamer category based on the upcoming matchups. We know the O's have plenty of swing-and-miss in their lineup. The Guardians are off to a hot start courtesy of Steven Kwan but this isn't projected to be a top-20 offense when all is said and done. Regression is coming soon. The left field fence being moved out in Baltimore makes that scenario more palatable too. He was excellent in his first start but it was a short one at four 1/3 IP. It remains to be seen how far they'll stretch him but efficiency should work in his favor.

Matt Manning, Detroit Tigers - 5% rostered

Scheduled starts: @KC, vs COL

Admittedly, there is risk in rolling out a young pitcher who posted a 5.80 ERA and near-15% BB% last season but keep in mind this is a top-10 draft pick who was right up there with Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal as high-end prospects before they reached the Triple-A/MLB level. There was some concern in spring that his velocity was down and he wasn't looking too sharp but those doubts were erased pretty quickly.


Kansas City and Colorado are two favorable draws and Manning is coming off an impressive 2022 debut where he only gave up one hit (a solo homer) in six innings. Unless Salvador Perez suddenly wakes up, there isn't much threat of the long ball from either club.

UPDATE: Manning was pulled two innings into his start against KC with shoulder discomfort in his pitching arm. He wasn't put on the IL and may still make his scheduled start against Colorado on Friday. The injury news makes him far riskier, however, so I wouldn't consider him "solid" any longer.

 

Risky Two-Start Pitcher Streamer Picks

Dallas Keuchel, Chicago White Sox - 6% rostered

Scheduled starts: @CLE, @MIN

Often a fallback option when there's nobody more exciting available, Keuchel won't blow anyone away in real life or fantasy but he can still be effective. His K-rate fell down to 13.2% last year and his xBA ballooned to .302, neither of which inspire confidence. The one thing he still did well was inducing groundballs. Minnesota has the fourth-lowest GB% and the Guardians are in the bottom half while both squads are among the leaders in home runs. If Keuchel can keep the ball in the infield, he could sneak away with a quality start or two.

Matt Brash, Seattle Mariners - 43% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs HOU, @KC

The 23-year-old Brash was dominant enough in spring to earn a rotation spot out of the gate. He held his own against the White Sox but will be tested again when he faces Houston. If he can be efficient with his pitches like he was in his debut, he will completely escape the streaming landscape and be rostered too widely to add in most leagues.

Zach Thompson, Pittsburgh Pirates - 2% rostered

Scheduled starts: @MIL, @CHC

His first start was pushed back due to weather and he left his second start early after getting hit by a line drive on the shoulder. Thompson had a decent outing up until that point and will get to face the Cubs again on the 23rd but not before facing Milwaukee on the 18th. The Brew Crew only has four big flies in seven games on the young season but risk of a breakout game lurks with guys like Christian Yelich, Andrew McCutchen, and Hunter Renfroe yet to show up in the power department.

Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Dodgers - 19% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs CIN, @SD

Staying healthy has been the biggest challenge throughout Heaney's career. He reached 129 2/3 innings last season but to terrible results, especially once he moved to the Bronx. He gave up 29 HR last year, seventh-most in the majors. That's nothing new, as he gave up 27 back in 2018. Neither Cincy nor San Diego have gotten it going in terms of power yet, so this could be a good week to trust Heaney. A likely pitch count imposed by Dave "I Hate No-Nos" Roberts does limit his appeal somewhat.

 

Stay Away from these Two-Start Pitchers

Rich Hill, Boston Red Sox - 6% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs MIN, @TB

If you think 42-year-old Rich Hill isn't going to be on a strict pitch count all season, you haven't been paying attention. In the second half of last year, he only worked past five innings on two occasions. It was announced in the spring that he would have a piggyback arrangement with Garrett Whitlock as the follower. Sure enough, he was lifted as soon as he reached the 70-pitch mark in his first start. There is little incentive to start Hill when you're almost guaranteed no wins or quality starts and minimal, if any help in ratios.

Elieser Hernandez, Miami Marlins - 6% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs PHI, @ATL

The good news is that Hernandez is back healthy and holding down a rotation spot. He struck out six in just four 2/3 innings in his first outing of 2022. The bad news is that he gave up two homers in his first two innings of work, allowing four runs to score. Hernandez gets the homer-happy Phillies and then travels to face the defending champs in Atlanta, who typically own the Marlins. He might prove to be a solid add at some point but it's not now.

Bailey Ober, Minnesota Twins - 39% rostered

Scheduled starts: @BOS, vs CHW

Ober earned some preseason hype as a draft sleeper because of a rookie season in which he posted a decent 4.19 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 20 starts. His minuscule 5% walk rate is a promising sign for a young pitcher. The first start of 2022 didn't go swimmingly, however, as he allowed four ER in five innings to Seattle. The upcoming slate against both Sox squads makes the risk far outweigh any potential reward.

Carlos Hernandez, Kansas City Royals - 3% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs DET, @SEA

Hernandez was a pleasant surprise in the second half last year after he joined the Royals' rotation. Some of those helpful ratios masked trouble underneath as he posted a subpar 9.2% K-BB% and 4.91 SIERA. He had a miserable spring, giving up 12 runs in seven 1/3 innings thanks mainly to five home runs. Forget his solid stretch from 2021 and ignore him in 2022.

Bruce Zimmermann, Baltimore Orioles - 0% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs NYY, @LAA

The number four starter for Baltimore worked four scoreless frames against the Brewers in his first appearance before being pulled. It's a nice story to see the Maryland kid take the mound for a hapless team in need of something positive but I wouldn't bet my fantasy fortunes on him, especially with the Yankees and Angels on tap.

Martin Perez, Texas Rangers - 0% rostered

Scheduled starts: vs LAA, @OAK

This one barely requires justification. Perez is holding down a spot in the Rangers rotation because it is shockingly thin for a team that just spent hundreds of millions on a pair of middle infielders. There will never be a need to insert a pitcher with a career 15% K% and ERA near five in your lineup at any point.

Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals - 9% rostered

Scheduled starts: @MIL, @CIN

Hicks' move to starting pitcher came as a surprise to many but it was rumored that he and Alex Reyes might be on that track all preseason. While Reyes is back on the injured list, Hicks is technically in the rotation. In truth, this is an opener situation as he only went two innings in his first start and won't do much more for a good, long while. Ignore the little green check mark by his name and search elsewhere.



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