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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
Mariners pitcher J.A. Happ hit hard again in start Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Mariners pitcher J.A. Happ gave five runs on 11 hits in five innings of work Sunday against the Padres in his second consecutive rough outing.

"I was being way too tentative early on," Happ said to MLB.com. "I just wasn't finishing and as aggressive as I was later in the game. Maybe trying to be a little too fine after the previous outing. I think if I throw like I did the second part of that game, I'll be OK."

Happ, who is expected to be the fourth starter in Seattle's rotation, is now 1-3 this spring with a 7.90 ERA.


Rangers release outfielder Ryan Ludwick from minor league deal
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(3/29/2015) The Rangers have released outfielder Ryan Ludwick from his minor league contract, the team announced Sunday.

Ludwick hit .200 with one home run and three RBI in 30 plate appearances during spring training.


Report: Yankees' Domingo German may need Tommy John surgery
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Yankees pitching prospect Domingo German may be on the shelf for awhile. German may reportedly need Tommy John surgery for his injured elbow, according to MLB.com.

The team is yet to confirm the report. German went 9-3 in 25 starts with a 2.48 ERA in Class-A Greensboro in 2014.


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by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Indians relief pitcher Austin Adams still has a chance to make the final roster, reports MLB.com.

Adams, who was a non-roster invitee to camp, has posted a 5.87 ERA in eight appearances this spring with nine strikeouts and 11 hits allowed.

"We wanted to tell him he'd done a really good job," manager Terry Francona said of his morning conversation with Adams, "but we still don't know."


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(3/29/2015) Rangers pitcher Keone Kela tossed one scoreless inning Sunday with no hits and two strikeouts against the Dodgers. Kela has now gone 8 1/3 innings without giving up a run this spring, but the team is undecided still on his role this season, reports MLB.com.

"I haven't said if he was or wasn't on the team," Banister said. "That decision will be made at the appropriate time. You see what he has done. He has been impressive this spring."


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(3/29/2015) Indians pitcher T.J. House, who was given a spot in the starting rotation Sunday, struggled in his appearance Sunday. House gave up four runs on six hits with two walks in six innings of work against the White Sox.

"This spring it looks a little glaring, that one inning is kind of getting to me in the box scores," said House to MLB.com. "It's nice to get them out of the way now and maybe during the season we won't see them.

"My ball kind of flattened out a little bit [in the fourth]. Besides that, I felt good. I pounded the zone and got to see some guys I'm going to see during the season, so I'll make a mental note of that."


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by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) White Sox second baseman Micah Johnson appears to be in the lead for the position when the season begins, reports MLB.com. Manager Robin Ventura likes what he's seen from Johnson enough to give him a vote of confidence at the position, even though nothing has been officially set.

"He's done well enough to kind of be the leading guy," said Ventura of Johnson, who had two hits in Sunday's 4-1 win over the Indians.

Third base coach Joe McEwing likes the progress Johnson has sowed on defense this spring.

"Initially what we wanted to do was try to slow things down because everything Micah does, he does fast," McEwing said. "Everything in his game is fast. Just, defensively, try to slow him down and allow him to focus on his feet and his hands and everything working together."


Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman posts another stellar performance
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(3/29/2015) Athletics pitcher Kendall Graveman continues to impress this spring. Sunday, he went 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Manager Bob Melvin loves how the young pitcher has performed this spring, reports MLB.com.

"He doesn't blow you away, although you look at the radar gun and at times we've seen 93, 94 this spring," Melvin said. "But he's a pitcher; he's pretty cerebral in the way he does it.

"He reads swings very well. You know, it's late movement off the barrel of the bat, whether it's sink, whether it's cut, offspeed just enough. But he knows what he's doing and he's aware of what the hitters are trying to do against him."

Graveman has a minuscule 0.74 ERA in five starts this spring.

"There's a reason that he went from [Class] A-ball to the big leagues [in 2014 with Toronto], and then continued to pitch this well for us. It means he's real confident in what he's doing," Melvin said.


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(3/29/2015) Nationals pitcher Doug Fister surrendered six runs in four innings of work Sunday against the Marlins, pushing his spring training ERA to 7.02 in five starts. Fister gave up three more home runs in the outing.

"I can't let any of that affect me. I know I have to get the ball down regardless," Fister said to MLB.com. "I felt good today. I felt I was almost back in the swing of things. There are obviously some things I have to fine tune at the end of spring.

"I left the ball up, and it allowed the Marlins to get good contact on the ball. I don't let outside influences affect the game. It's a game I have to control and make adjustments."


Tigers targeting 200 pitches for pitcher Anibal Sanchez
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(3/29/2015) Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez tossed 10 strikeouts in Sunday's game against the Phillies, going 6 1/3 innings and surrendering four runs on five hits. 

"That means he's hitting his spots. It means he's locating," manager Brad Ausmus said to MLB.com. "When a guy takes a pitch, he thinks it's a ball or just off the corner and they end up getting the call. ... So he must have been locating. It looked like he was locating his fastball."

Ausmus also indicated he hopes to see Sanchez reach 200 innings this season.

"If we get 200 innings out of Sanchy, I'll be extremely happy. I think we'll be in a very good spot," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Sunday morning. "We talk about a lot of things, but if Sanchy can stay healthy, that would be an enormous plus for us."


 
 
 
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