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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
Phillippe Aumont's bid for spot on Phillies' roster not off to great start
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:39 am ET) Phillies reliever Phillippe Aumont is out of minor-league options, so if he doesn't make the team this spring, he is subject to waivers. Thus far, however, his bid for a roster spot is not going well.

After allowing a run in his lone inning of work Sunday against the University of Tampa, Aumont allowed solo homers on consecutive pitches in the fifth inning of Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Astros.

"This is a big spring training for him as far as the Phillies go and him (being) with the Phillies," manager Ryne Sandberg said after Thursday's game, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. "He's had multiple chances and this is a clean slate opportunity for him in spring training coming in with opportunities and with some spots available.

"It should be a fresh start for him after the offseason. The biggest thing for him is to work ahead, and really, he has a good breaking ball when he can get to those counts. But sometimes he gets hit before he gets to those counts."


Braves' Minor doesn't appear to be overly concerned about injury
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:01 am ET) Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor appeared confident Friday his shoulder injury is not serious, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Minor doesn't have a date yet on when he will meet with Dr. James Andrews next week, but he is hoping Andrews can clarify what is wrong with his shoulder.

Minor said his shoulder started to get sore after throwing batting practice last week, and the soreness increased following a second batting practice session.


Tigers' Ausmus: James McCann can be very good major-league catcher
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(8:00 am ET) Tigers catcher James McCann, who is vying for a spot on the roster as a backup to Alex Avila, allowed a passed ball during Thursday's spring game against the Braves. After the game, McCann was very critical of his play and vowed to make sure no more pitches skip by him. 

McCann's relentless work ethic is one trait that manager Brad Aumus likes about the 24-year-old catcher.

"I don't have to worry about him working," Ausmus said Thursday, per the Detroit Free Press. "I think Mac does an excellent job. He is very alert. His head is into the game at all times. He understands that his value is greater on the defensive side of the game than it is when he is standing in the batter's box. That's not to say he doesn't take his hitting seriously.

"I think he has a chance to be a very good major-league catcher. I'm more concerned about how he handles a staff, how he calls a game, how he blocks balls in the dirt (than his ability to throw out runners)."


Phillies SP Cliff Lee having no doubts coming off elbow injury
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7:31 am ET) Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee appeared to be brimming with confidence Thursday, as he said following his first start since missing the final two months of the 2014 season due to an elbow injury that everything is "so far, so good."

While some folks still might have some doubt regarding the 36-year-old's durability moving forward, Lee has no such doubts.

"I don't have any uncertainty," Lee said, per The Philadelphia Daily News. "I definitely have confidence and expect to go out there and be successful, and I'm doing everything I can to prevent something like that from happening again. That's really all I can do. There's no worry or uncertainty or anything like that. I'm just going to go out there and be confident and expect to have success and not really even think about it, to be honest with you."

Lee threw only 22 pitches (16 strikes) in two innings Thursday in his spring debut. He still has a long ways to go in getting back to his previous form, but Lee is confident it will happen.

"As a starting pitcher, you've got to go out there and throw a hundred-and-some-odd pitches, get deep into games to do your job effectively," Lee said. "Personally, until I do that I don't think that I've proven that I can do that yet. I don't have any doubts, but still you have to build up to do that and prove you can do that . . . I don't think anyone is going to know that I can do that until I go out there and show it."


Mets' Jacob deGrom working on perfecting his curveball
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:42 am ET) Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom is working on perfecting his curveball this spring, according to the New York Post

"This spring is so different," deGrom said. "I can really come in here and work on things. Last year when I was over on the big league side, I didn’t throw my curveball one time because I was trying to make the team and prove I could get outs in spring training."

After experiencing some success in the majors, deGrom said he is more willing to work on stuff this time around. While he actually started using his curve more late last season, it seems like deGrom is going to work on perfecting the pitch during camp. 

"It’s a great pitch whether it be strike one or a strikeout pitch," deGrom said. "Talking to Gee, Wheeler and all those guys and see how they throw theirs and taking little bits of information from them and trying it in bullpens. Sometimes I throw it at 78 (mph) and that’s a big difference from the slider. It gets the hitter off balance."

deGrom, 26, posted a 2.69 ERA over 140 1/3 innings last season.


Rockies' Charlie Blackmon hoping for more consistency
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1:15 am ET) Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is hoping for more consistency in 2015, according to the Denver Post

Blackmon had a breakout season in 2014, but admits it's hard to be on every single game. "Last year, I swung the bat really well at certain times," he said. "But you go through a lot of ups and downs over 162 games, and that was a learning experience. I think that's going to help me this year."

Blackmon said his strong start made him a target for other teams, and that may have contributed to a slight slump during the season. Blackmon added that he's hoping to hit the ball to all fields this season.

Manager Walt Weiss is hoping Blackmon can deliver more of the same. "I don't know if he necessarily has to have an encore. I'm thinking more of the same," Weiss said. "I think Charlie would say that he wants to be more consistent."

The 28-year-old Blackmon hit .288/.335/.440 over 593 at-bats last year. 


Twins' Gibson feels 'a little more comfortable' with curveball
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:29 am ET) Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson surrendered one run on two hits and one walk in two innings while striking out two in his spring debut Thursday, using the outing to work on his curveball, the Associated Press reports.

"I felt really good," Gibson said. "I'm working on some stuff, and some stuff worked out that I was working on. I threw more curveballs than normal. That's what spring training's for. It's just fun to be able to work on a particular pitch. I feel a little more comfortable."

Gibson, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011, completed his first full major-league deal in 2014, going 13-12 with a 4.47 ERA and 107:57 K:BB ratio in 179 1/3 innings.


Blue Jays' Barton hoping his glove wins him a spot
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) Blue Jays first baseman Daric Barton is hoping his glove can win him a spot on the 25-man roster, according to the Toronto Sun.

Barton isn't much of a power hitter, but gets strong marks for his defense at first. Manager John Gibbons is well aware of Barton's skills. "One thing that put Daric on the map was that he was such a disciplined hitter and a great defender," Gibbons said. He added that the first baseman is involved in a large chunk of plays, so defense at the position is probably more important than people realize.

With that said, Barton may need a trade to make the opening day roster. As currently constructed, the Blue Jays may carry three catchers. If the team retains Dioner Navarro, Barton could find himself in the minors.

The 29-year-old Barton hit .158 over 57 at-bats last year.


Pirates' Pedro Alvarez feeling comfortable at first
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:21 am ET) Pirates infielder Pedro Alvarez is feeling comfortable at first base, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

After playing third the past couple of seasons, Alvarez will transition to first base full-time in 2015. The 28-year-old is still getting used to the position, but he seems comfortable with the change.

"It’s just a matter of getting used to seeing the field from that point of view, get the reps in so that the responsibilities that come with playing the position become second nature," he said. "That’s just with time and repetitions."

Alvarez hit .231/.312/.405 over 398 at-bats last season. 


Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman gets strong marks at first
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:17 am ET) Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman received strong reviews after playing his first game at first base this spring, according to MLB.com.

"He is still in the stages of having to think about it out there, because it's not natural yet," manager Matt Williams said. "He looked fine. He has fantastic hands." Zimmerman was tested during the start, and had to make two scoops in order to prevent possible throwing errors. 

He's been taking extra practice at the position this spring, and was fairly happy with how his first game turned out. "You can do so many drills, exercises and things like that until you have to go out there and play," Zimmerman said. "So it's nice to have a few chances. The more I play over there, the more comfortable I will get. I feel fine."

Zimmerman, 30, hit .280/.342/.449 over 214 at-bats last year. 


 
 
 
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