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Week 2 Pitching Forecaster

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Last week, it was the front of the rotations across the majors that were getting two starts, and now it's time for the middle of the rotations to get a double dip.

These are ideal conditions for finding viable two-start options for your Fantasy rotation on the waiver wire. Many of the pitchers who are getting a pair of starts are not quite good enough to be used every week but plenty good enough to be used with an extra outing.

Then again, you may not even need to shop for your two-start pitchers, as some pretty good ones are sitting on benches in many leagues. Anibal Sanchez, Clay Buchholz, Jaime Garcia and Alexi Ogando are in reserve slots in 19 percent or more of the leagues on CBSSports.com, and each is worth using most weeks even with one start. The same applies to Hiroki Kuroda, though some owners may have benched him after he took a liner off his hand during his first start. Kuroda is expected to take the mound Monday at the Indians, so he appears to be a safe two-start option.

One potential two-start pitcher who snuck onto this week's Top 70 is Dillon Gee, who is all the way down at No. 62. He is actually scheduled for a single start for now, facing Cliff Lee and the Phillies on Tuesday (yes, that's a Gee-Lee matchup), but with a day off on Thursday, the Mets could skip the spot vacated by the injured Shaun Marcum (neck) and give Gee a second start on Sunday at the Twins. That would elevate Gee from a borderline option in standard mixed leagues to someone who should be grabbed off waivers by a large chunk of owners looking for an extra start. However, the Mets could give Aaron Laffey another spot start instead, making Gee a far less enticing choice.

Here are the 70 pitchers who at least deserve consideration in standard mixed leagues for Fantasy Week 2 (April 8-14). Then further below, I'll take a look at several of the two-start options to consider in those formats, as well as a few to look at for your deeper leagues.

Top 70 Starting Pitchers for Week 2
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2
1 Madison Bumgarner COL (De La Rosa) @CHC (Jackson)
2 Clayton Kershaw @ARI (Corbin) N/A
3 Cole Hamels @MIA (Fernandez) N/A
4 Gio Gonzalez CHW (Peavy) ATL (Maholm)
5 Justin Verlander @OAK (Anderson) N/A
6 Cliff Lee NYM (Gee) N/A
7 Felix Hernandez TEX (Harrison) N/A
8 David Price @BOS (Lester) N/A
9 Stephen Strasburg ATL (Hudson) N/A
10 Jered Weaver HOU (Norris) N/A
11 Brandon Morrow @DET (Sanchez) @KC (Santana)
12 Jake Peavy @WAS (Gonzalez) @CLE (Myers)
13 Johnny Cueto @PIT (Locke) N/A
14 Matt Cain @CHC (Samardzija) N/A
15 Adam Wainwright MIL (Gallardo) N/A
16 Chris Sale @CLE (Jimenez) N/A
17 Yu Darvish @SEA (Iwakuma) N/A
18 Mat Latos @STL (Garcia) @PIT (Rodriguez)
19 Zack Greinke @SD (Marquis) N/A
20 R.A. Dickey @KC (Shields) N/A
21 C.J. Wilson OAK (Parker) HOU (Harrell)
22 Andy Pettitte @CLE (Myers) BAL (Chen)
23 Kris Medlen @MIA (LeBlanc) N/A
24 Matt Harvey @PHI (Halladay) @MIN (Correia)
25 CC Sabathia BAL (Tillman) N/A
26 James Shields TOR (Dickey) N/A
27 Ian Kennedy LAD (Ryu) N/A
28 Max Scherzer @OAK (Colon) N/A
29 Jeff Samardzija SF (Cain) N/A
30 Clay Buchholz BAL (Chen) TB (Hellickson)
31 Alexi Ogando TB (Hellickson) @SEA (Saunders)
32 Anibal Sanchez TOR (Morrow) @OAK (Parker)
33 Roy Halladay NYM (Harvey) @MIA (Slowey)
34 Jordan Zimmermann CHW (Floyd) N/A
35 Josh Johnson @DET (Fister) N/A
36 Jaime Garcia CIN (Latos) MIL (Estrada)
37 Brett Anderson DET (Verlander) N/A
38 Jonathon Niese @MIN (Worley) N/A
39 Paul Maholm @MIA (Slowey) @WAS (Gonzalez)
40 Matt Moore @TEX (Holland) N/A
41 Marco Estrada @CHC (Jackson) @STL (Garcia)
42 A.J. Burnett CIN (Leake) N/A
43 A.J. Griffin @LAA (Vargas) N/A
44 Mike Minor @MIA (Sanabia) N/A
45 Hiroki Kuroda @CLE (Jimenez) BAL (Hammel)
46 Josh Beckett @SD (Richard) @ARI (Cahill)
47 Doug Fister TOR (Johnson) N/A
48 Jon Lester TB (Price) N/A
49 Yovani Gallardo @STL (Wainwright) N/A
50 Dan Haren CHW (Quintana) N/A
51 Hisashi Iwakuma TEX (Darvish) N/A
52 Jason Hammel @NYY (Kuroda) N/A
53 Wandy Rodriguez @ARI (Cahill) CIN (Latos)
54 Trevor Cahill PIT (Rodriguez) LAD (Beckett)
55 Jarrod Parker @LAA (Wilson) DET (Sanchez)
56 Wade Miley PIT (Sanchez) N/A
57 Ryan Vogelsong @CHC (Villanueva) N/A
58 Lance Lynn CIN (Arroyo) N/A
59 Edwin Jackson MIL (Estrada) SF (Bumgarner)
60 Julio Teheran @WAS (Detwiler) N/A
61 Homer Bailey @STL (Westbrook) N/A
62 Dillon Gee @PHI (Lee) N/A
63 Tommy Milone @LAA (Blanton) N/A
64 Mike Fiers @STL (Miller) N/A
65 Jeremy Hellickson @TEX (Ogando) @BOS (Buchholz)
66 Tim Hudson @WAS (Strasburg) N/A
67 Ryan Dempster BAL (Gonzalez) N/A
68 Brandon McCarthy PIT (McDonald) N/A
69 Shelby Miller MIL (Fiers) N/A
70 Alex Cobb @BOS (Lackey) N/A

Roy Halladay, Phillies (NYM, @MIA): Halladay's first start was bizarre and, despite the nine strikeouts, basically ugly. Coming on the heels of a disappointing 2012 season, it's hard to trust Halladay, especially since his average velocity has dipped a little further as compared to a year ago. Fortunately for his owners, this is a two-start week in which he gets to face the hapless Marlins in his second outing. At least for this one week, I'd roll with Halladay one more time.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Matt Harvey, Mets (@PHI, @MIN): I was skeptical of the hype surrounding Harvey entering this season, and one outing doesn't prove that Harvey is a must-start option. Even if he had bombed against the Padres instead of dominating them, I would have been willing to use him in a two-start week, so this coming week can be viewed as more of a tryout for future one-start weeks in shallower and (for the remaining skeptics) standard mixed leagues.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Tim Lincecum, Giants (COL, @CHC): Though Lincecum did not give up an earned run in his first start this season, his seven walks in five innings show that he still has to solve his command issues. If it weren't for a favorable schedule this week, it would make sense to bench Lincecum in most mixed leagues. Instead, he is a borderline option in standard mixed leagues (he was actually No. 71 in the rankings this week, just missing the list above). He's worth a gamble if you absolutely need an extra start, but make sure you exhaust all reasonable alternatives first.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks (PIT, LAD): Each season, Cahill has increased his strikeout rate, but it is still merely average, and he walks too many batters to be a reliable source of low WHIP. Because he gets double play balls and avoid homers, Cahill holds the promise of a low ERA. He's just good enough to use in standard mixed leagues in two-start weeks, but not good enough to be a steady one-start option.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Marco Estrada, Brewers (@CHC, @STL): Estrada's biggest weakness is his pronounced flyball tendencies, and it's little surprise that he allowed a pair of homers to the Rockies in Miller Park on Tuesday. He gave up home runs at a lower rate on the road last season, and in weeks like this, in which Estrada has two starts in decent venues, he needs to be active in practically all standard mixed leagues.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

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Jarrod Parker, Athletics (@LAA, DET): Parker is better than what he showed in his first start of the year against the Mariners, but he went through stretches last season as well where he had trouble commanding the strike zone. Until Parker develops some consistency, he is not going to be all that trustworthy in 12-team mixed leagues. Especially with a pair of tough matchups, Parker should be avoided in those formats this coming week if possible.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Jeremy Hellickson, Rays (@TEX, @BOS): Like Estrada, Hellickson can be victimized by gopher balls, though for him, the problems tend to surface in his road starts. Neither venue that he is set to visit is particularly kind to pitchers. Still, Hellickson's career road ERA is just 3.32, and his career road WHIP of 1.29 hints at just how good he has been at stranding baserunners. That apparent skill makes it a plausible choice to start Hellickson in Week 2, but given his venues, you can still probably find someone better to start.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Andy Pettitte, Yankees (@CLE, BAL): Pettitte pitched exceedingly well in his injury-shortened 2012 season, and in his first start of 2013, he hadn't lost any velocity as compared to his first start a year ago (which actually occurred in May). Until we see discernable signs of decline from Pettitte, there is no reason to sit him in most weeks, and especially not when he gets two starts.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Paul Maholm, Braves (@MIA, @WAS): Maholm has been good at getting strikes looking for a few years now, but in his 12 starts with the Braves going back to last year, he has started getting more of the swinging variety. It's a small sample, to be sure, but it's a trend that bears watching. Meanwhile, we know that he can avoid walks and homers and that he should get a healthy amount of run support. If you need one more reason to start Maholm, take note that he is facing the Marlins.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Wei-Yin Chen, Orioles (@BOS, @NYY): Last season, only R.A. Dickey and Ian Kennedy induced swings more frequently than Chen, but sadly for him, he was far less deceptive. Though Chen didn't get that many strikeouts and allowed too many homers, low walk and line drive rates helped him to win 12 games and post a decent 1.26 WHIP. Chen could be due for some regression in his liner rate and WHIP, and that will leave him as someone who shouldn't be used in standard mixed leagues most weeks.
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Josh Beckett, Dodgers (@SD, @ARI): The combination of declining fastball velocity, strikeout and swinging strike rates was a troubling development for Beckett last season. He got only six whiffs against the Giants on Wednesday, but in all fairness, they're a good contact-hitting team. Beckett was certainly good enough to use in a two-start week two years ago, but unless he bounces back from last season's dropoff, he will often be more of a last-resort option in standard mixed leagues. For Week 2, though, Beckett has decent matchups, and there is a gaggle of mediocre two-start options, so go ahead and start him without hesitation this time.
My take: Solid standard mixed league start

Wandy Rodriguez, Pirates (@ARI, CIN): Rodriguez's strikeout and whiff rates have been sagging for years, and last season they took a plunge. Without an above-average K-rate, Rodriguez is merely one of many contact pitchers with decent control and ground ball tendencies. That profile makes him worth using in standard mixed leagues mainly when he has a two-start week, though this week he has a pair of matchups that should be more challenging than his season debut against the Cubs.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Edwin Jackson, Cubs (MIL, SF): Jackson got his season started off right with a solid outing at Pittsburgh. Home runs have been a problem at times for the well-traveled veteran, and while Wrigley Field has been a decent power park for righties, Jackson has done a good job of containing them over the last three seasons.
My take: Marginal standard mixed league start

Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians (NYY, CHW): In his season debut, Jimenez was back to getting whiffs and ground balls, and the latter is not easy to do against the Blue Jays. His velocity was also up slightly from where it was in his first outing a year ago, so maybe Jimenez is finally coming out of his long slumber. This two-week start should be a good test to see if a rebound is underfoot. If the Ubaldo of the last two seasons was just merely dormant against Toronto, a two-start week could be deadly, so most owners should take a wait-and-see approach.
My take: AL-only start

Brandon Maurer, Mariners (HOU, TEX): It's going to be some time before we can make a good assessment of Maurer's Fantasy value, though his debut against the A's had to be a disappointment to his owners. His matchup against the Astros holds some promise for a high strikeout count, so that alone gives him value in AL-only leagues. Otherwise, owners need to find a more proven option.
My take: AL-only start

Ervin Santana, Royals (MIN, TOR): You could chalk up the three home runs allowed by Santana on Wednesday to him pitching in U.S. Cellular Field, but his extended track record at pitcher-friendly Angel Stadium (99 home runs allowed in 773 2/3 innings) shows that the venue doesn't matter much for him. Santana gave up 39 dingers last season, so he's practically bound to improve upon that extreme, but until we see discernable progress, he's best left stashed or on waivers in most leagues.
My take: AL-only start

Clayton Richard, Padres (LAD, COL): Richard has always been far more successful pitching at PETCO Park than on the road, and he may not be impacted much by the fences coming in. The dimensions in straight-away left field will be the same as before, so right-handed batters won't gain much of an advantage. A pair of home starts is the only situation in which Richard should work his way into a mixed league rotation, but owners have one of those rare occasions this coming week.
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Brett Myers, Indians (NYY, CHW): Myers has had problems containing the long ball for most of his career, and he continued the trend by allowing four of them at Toronto on Thursday. However, the Yankees' and Red Sox's lineups are not at full strength and are not especially laden with left-handed power bats, which will help Myers in his two starts at lefty-friendly Progressive Field. He's still too risky to trust in most mixed leagues, but in deeper Head-to-Head leagues, he is worth streaming into an RP slot.
My take: Deeper mixed league start in Head-to-Head (RP slot), AL-only start in Rotisserie

Lucas Harrell, Astros (@SEA, @LAA): Harrell was a hard-luck loser to the Rangers in his season debut, but he may not always be so effective. He's not much of a strike-thrower, but at least Harrell has strong enough ground ball tendencies to subdue the Angels' and Mariners' power threats.
My take: Deeper mixed league start

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Yankees' Warren: 'Versatility helps me more than hurts me'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:46 pm ET) Yankees pitcher Adam Warren doesn't see his ability to pitch out of the bullpen as a hindrance to his chances of making the starting rotation, MLB.com reports.

"I think it helps me more," Warren said Tuesday. "If they like what they see out of me as a starter, then they can throw me there. I always feel like versatility helps me more than hurts me. I'm just trying to go out there and prove that I can start, and that way I can add that versatility that I can do any role."

Warren tossed two scoreless innings in Tuesday's Grapefruit League opener Tuesday. He said he's focused on proving he's one of Joe Girardi's five best starting options.

"I did have some success last year, but I don't want to get comfortable," Warren said. "I know I can be much better. People always talk about, 'Once you get comfortable, you need to quit.' I always want to keep pushing forward. I feel like I've never proven myself because I feel like I always want to prove that I'm better than people think I am."


Athletics' Jesse Chavez gunning for rotation spot
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:45 pm ET) Athletics pitcher Jesse Chavez is hoping to lock down a rotation spot, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Chavez performed well in 21 starts with the club in 2014, but lost his job after the team acquired Jon Lester midseason. Chavez blames himself for the demotion. "It wasn’t a case of the job being taken away," he said. "It was a case of I didn’t hold it. I shouldn’t have put the team in a position to doubt me."

After the Athletics brought in a fair amount of pitching in the offseason, Chavez has become somewhat of an after-thought as the team's fifth starter. He believes the opportunity is there, though. "The chance to be a starter is there," Chavez said. "For me, I just approach it like last year when I was trying to just win a spot on the staff. I’m always going to pitch like I’m pitching to win a job."

Chavez, 31, posted a 3.45 ERA over 146 innings last year. 


White Sox SP Jeff Samardzija: '100 percent ready' for camp
(7:18 pm ET) White Sox starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija said Tuesday he came into camp "100 percent ready" after throwing all his pitches before reporting, ESPNChicago.com reports.

“I held back a couple pitches last year in spring training and it affected me early in the season so this year I started throwing all my pitches before camp so coming in I was 100 percent ready,” Samardzija said. “For me these next handful of starts will be about getting on same page with (catcher Tyler Flowers), what pitches I like to match up, let him realize what I like to do, how I like to put guys away and when do we want action, when do we want a strikeout. So for me that will be big.”

Samardzija had a rough outing in his first intrasquad game giving up two runs on three hits in only two innings. But it appears that he is healthy and ready to get things started.

“It’s good to feel the arm. My arm feels great. It’s coming out real good. You do what you do to keep getting stronger and build from here.”

Samardzija split time between the Cubs and A's last season, going 7-13 with a 2.99 ERA and 202:43 K:BB ratio in 219 2/3 innings.


Athletics' Marcus Semien homers twice in spring debut
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(7:05 pm ET) Athletics infielder Marcus Semien hit two home runs in his spring debut on Tuesday.

Semien didn't take long to strike. In his first at-bat, Semien crushed an 0-2 pitch from Madison Bumgarner for a two-run shot. He added a solo shot in the fifth inning off Cody Hall. Semien finished 3 for 3, with two runs scored and four RBI. He's expected to open the season as the team's starting shortstop. 


Mets' David Wright feeling good about his shoulder
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:56 pm ET) Mets third baseman David Wright is feeling good about his shoulder, according to MLB.com.

Wright participated in an intrasquad game on Tuesday. It was the first game action Wright has seen since being shut down with a shoulder issue last season. Following the game, Wright said he felt healthy. "It felt great," Wright said. "I felt like every other spring training, which is obviously the goal coming into this."

The 32-year-old hit .269/.324/.374 over 535 at-bats last season. 


Red Sox SP Rick Porcello on Tuesday outing: 'My arm felt good'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:54 pm ET) Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello retired all six batters he faced Tuesday and threw all four of his pitches in his relief appearance, MLB.com reports.

"It felt good to get out there," said Porcello. "I was obviously just trying to work on the little things: Throw strikes and get ahead. Location wasn't quite where I wanted it, but for the first time out, my arm felt good and the ball was coming out of my hand well. That's the most important thing."

Manager John Farrell said he was pleased with Porcello's efficiency, location and aggression in the strike zone. Porcello indicated he treated the spring appearance no differently than a regular-season game.

"I'm not going to take anything for granted," Porcello said. "Baseball is baseball, and on any given day, you can go out there and get your butt whipped. First thing first is just getting the ball down and throwing strikes. For the most part, I felt pretty good about that today. There's a couple things mechanically I need to continue to iron out and just keep refining everything, but a good first day."

Porcello joined the Red Sox this offseason via trade. He went 15-13 with a 3.43 ERA and 129:41 K:BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings with the Tigers last season.


Red Sox's Clay Buchholz feeling good about new mechanics
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:41 pm ET) Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is feeling good about his new mechanics, according to MLB.com.

Buchholz tossed one inning during the team's exhibition game against Northeastern University, and came away encouraged with his offseason work. When asked about his mechanics, Buchholz said, "They feel natural. I've been working a lot on it. It's basically the only thing I worked on in the offseason and throughout camp. It's pretty much to the point of being second nature." 

Manager John Farrell was impressed as well. "This has been a continuation from the end of last year through his offseason bullpens," he said. "He's been able to execute so far." 

Buchholz, 30, posted a 5.34 ERA over 170 1/3 innings last year. 


Twins' tab Kyle Gibson for Thursday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:32 pm ET) The Twins have tabbed pitcher Kyle Gibson for the start on Thursday, according to MLB.com.

Gibson is coming off a season in which he posted a 4.47 ERA over 179 1/3 innings. He's expected to open the year in the team's rotation. It's unclear how long Gibson will pitch in the spring opener. 


Orioles, Pedro Beato agree to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:21 pm ET) The Orioles and pitcher Pedro Beato have agreed to a minor-league deal, pending a physical, masnsports.com reports.

Beato was a first-round pick of the Orioles in the 2006 MLB Draft but didn't crack the major-league roster before being taken by the Mets in the 2010 Rule 5 draft. He spent most of last season with Triple-A Gwinnett, posting a 4.10 ERA and 45:17 K:BB ratio in 48 1/3 innings.


Braves' Luis Avilan feeling good heading into bullpen competition
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:15 pm ET) Braves left-handed pitcher Luis Avilan is competing for a spot in the bullpen this spring after enduring a down season last year, and he's confident he's getting back to the form he showed in 2013, MLB.com reports.

"I feel like all the work I've done in the offseason is really paying off," Avilan said. "I feel really good with my bullpen [sessions] and my live BP. I've been feeling really good with my pitches. The location has been really good, better than last year."

Avilan made 10 appearances in winter ball after posting a 4.57 ERA and 25:21 K:BB ratio in 43 1/3 innings in 2014.


 
 
 
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