This will be a season-long, weekly piece on under-the-radar, two-start pitchers whom you should consider picking up for the following week of play. I’ll give you a mix of starting pitcher options, some ideal for shallow leagues, some ideal for deep leagues. This post will always be published well enough in advance of next week to give you ample time to prepare. The names that will appear on this list will not be your obvious, must-start guys who are likely already owned. It does you no good for me to tell you to start Kershaw, Jose or Greinke. Instead, I’ll look at starting pitchers who are close to less than ~50% owned in Yahoo! These arms are worth looking at if you’re investigating two-start options for the following week, or even just looking for a quick streamer or two for one start. All ownership percentages from Yahoo!
Overall, Week 8 is not the greatest week for two-start streamers, as many of the two-start options are either every day, must-start pitchers, or only very deep league options. There are not a ton of great middle-of-the-road choices. But despite that, here are your Week 8 two-start streamers.
Josh Beckett, LAD - 34%
Projected starts: Tuesday @NYM, Sunday @PHI
A blast from the past, to say the least. Beckett had not recorded a win since September 2012 prior to Tuesday’s victory against his former team, the Marlins. Don’t look now, but Beckett has been very good since his return from an early-season DL stint, tossing quality starts three of his last four outings and holding a 24/7 K/BB ratio during that span. Prior to those starts, he had two straight starts of not giving up any runs while going five strong innings in each. His overall ERA sits at 2.38. Beckett has become a reliable streaming option, and may even be worthy of a permanent roster spot, depending on your league’s size. Next week, he faces two relatively weak lineups in the Mets and Phillies, so start him with confidence against both.
Jason Vargas, KC – 28%
Projected starts: Monday vs. CHW, Saturday @LAA
Vargas has been up and down since a stellar first few starts of the year, but he has seemed to regain his early April form lately. In his last two starts, which resulted in two wins, he went 13.2 innings while only allowing two runs, striking out 14 and walking one. Despite a couple of rocky starts, he’s managed to keep a 3.00 ERA and 1.12 WHIP, both very respectable numbers, especially in the AL. Next week, Vargas will face two power offenses, and could potentially be in some dangerous territory. But only two teams strike out more than the White Sox, and the Angels average nearly eight strikeouts per game themselves, which is above the league average. Additionally, the Royal’s offense has been better of late, so Vargas could find himself on the winning end of a start or two next week.
Dallas Keuchel, HOU - 19%
Projected starts: Monday @LAA, Saturday @SEA
Welcome to the fantasy baseball scene, Dallas. The Astros’ best kept secret is probably generating some more attention after his complete game shutout against the Rangers on Tuesday. The third-year lefty has been fantastic so far in 2014. He has thrown six quality starts in seven outings, and has four wins over that span. His 47/11 K/BB ratio is also quite impressive. Looking towards next week, Keuchel gets two road starts, where he has overall been much better than at Minute Maid Park, allowing just five ER total and holding a bating-average-against that’s nearly .050 lower away from home. At this point, he is a pretty safe streaming option in all but the shallowest of leagues.
Wei-Yin Chen, BAL – 9%
Projected starts: Tuesday @PIT, Sunday vs. CLE
Chen hasn’t given up more than 3 ER in a start since his second outing of the season back on April 8th. He has a fairly unimpressive 1.44 WHIP, but does have four wins on the season and has consistently kept the Orioles in the ball games he’s started. There’s certainly nothing flashy about Chen’s pitching, but he has shown the ability to provide decent streaming value, especially in deeper leagues. Next week, Chen faces the Pirates and the Indians, both of whom are not so intimidating lineup-wise. Chen has traditionally been a better pitching in April and May than later in the season (sub-4.00 career ERA in the first two months of the season), so taking advantage of his streaming opportunities now, as opposed to later in the summer, seems like a smart choice.
Jake Odorizzi, TB - 4%
Projected starts: Tuesday @OAK, Sunday vs. BOS
Odorizzi has struggled to go deep into games, as he has not gone further than six innings in any start this season and has only hit that plateau twice in 2014. One of those came on Wednesday though, when he threw six shutout innings, while striking out seven in a winning effort against the Mariners. The start before that, he also did not give up a run, while pitching five innings of five-hit ball. In deep leagues, Odorizzi is someone to take a look at for next week. He’s shown the ability to strike guys out (44 K in just under 39 innings pitched), and will likely enter the week with some confidence coming off his best outing of the year.