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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
Rockies 2B DJ LeMahieu breaks loose with three-hit game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:55 am ET) So much for the slump plaguing Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu. He ended that in style Saturday night with three hits in a loss to Arizona.

LeMahieu ripped three singles, including one that tallied a run in the third inning. He also scored a run and raised his average back to .300 in breaking a 3-for-30 slide.


Diamondbacks CF A.J. Pollock has strong effort Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:52 am ET) Diamondbacks leadoff hitter A.J. Pollock did a nice job setting the table Saturday and allowed his team to feast on the Rockies.

Pollock slammed a double and single, drove in two runs and scored another. His double plated a pair in the fourth inning.

The center fielder now boasts a solid slash line of .304/.348/.465. He has nine hits in his last 19 at-bats.


Rockies SP David Hale ineffective in loss to Diamondbacks
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:47 am ET) At least Rockies starter David Hale did not give up five runs Saturday against Arizona. However, four was bad enough.

Hale had allowed five runs in each of his previous three starts. But he wasn't much better in a loss to the Diamondbacks, his fourth straight. He surrendered three earned runs on five hits and three walks.

The right-hander yielded two runs in the first on a groundout and single, then two more in the fourth on a double by A.J. Pollock. Wildness caused him to throw 104 pitches - just 57 for strikes - through five.

Hale has given up 22 runs on 36 hits and 10 walks in his last 27 2/3 innings pitched to send his ERA soaring to 5.89.


Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler perfect in non-save situation
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:40 am ET) A three-run Diamondbacks eighth inning wrecked a save opportunity for closer Brad Ziegler, but he didn't perform like he was affected by it Saturday night.

Ziegler retired Colorado in order in the ninth. His sinker was working - all three were groundouts.

He has been pretty much lights-out over the last month. He has not allowed a run over 11 innings during that time and has recorded eight saves.


Diamondbacks SP Patrick Corbin has triumphant return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:35 am ET) Mark the return of Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin a success. His first start after recovering from Tommy John surgery nearly two years ago resulted in a victory Saturday night.

Corbin allowed two runs on eight hits in five innings with no walks and three strikeouts against Colorado. He blanked the Rockies aside from the third, when RBI hits by Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu tied the game. He left after tossing 76 pitches.


Padres RP Dale Thayer makes first rehab appearance Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:32 am ET) Padres reliever Dale Thayer began his minor league rehab assignment on Saturday. Thayer made the start for Double-A San Antonio, allowing three runs on three hits in one inning of work. 

The right-hander has been on the disabled list since June 24--and hasn't pitched since June 16--due to a strained shoulder. It is not known when Thayer will be ready to return to the Padres' bullpen.


Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig not worrying manager over power outage
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:18 am ET) Don Mattingly claims to be unconcerned about the declining power numbers of Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig. But perhaps he should be.

The numbers are pronounced. Puig has just three home runs in 35 games this season. He has just seven in nearly 400 plate appearances since appearing in the Home Run Derby before the 2014 All-Star Game.

Puig missed 38 games this year due to a hamstring injury and four more when a blister opened on his left hand. Mattingly believes those setbacks have played a role in the power outage.

"Before he was hurt he already had two and that was in like 12 games," Mattingly explained to the Orange County Register. "So he was off to a decent start. Then he got hurt and that was an extended time. ... Home runs come in bunches. I don't really worry about home runs. I worry about at-bats and I think they've been OK."

Puig indeed owns a strong .287/.378/.457 slash line. But he hasn't blasted off in his last 20 games.


Rangers OF Josh Hamilton has groin strain, status uncertain
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:12 am ET) Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton did not play on Saturday in-part because of a groin strain. Hamilton had exited Friday's game in the seventh inning, and had an MRI on Saturday, though the results have not been made available as of yet.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister did say Saturday was a planned day off for Hamilton, but there does seem to be some concern in regards to Hamilton's health.

"Obviously, we’ll see where he is throughout the night," Banister said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "We’ll continue to try to manage how he feels. This is a guy we’d like to have for an extended period of time. I’m trying my best to figure this whole thing out with him and what is best for Josh."

Hamilton just returned on Tuesday from a stay on the disabled list with a hamstring strain. His status for Sunday's series-finale against the Angels is in question at this point. 


Cubs RF Jorge Soler (ankle) ready to return on Sunday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(1:01 am ET) The Cubs are set to activate right fielder Jorge Soler from the disabled list on Sunday. Soler has been out since June 3 with a sprained left ankle, but he has made four rehab outings.

Soler struggled though, going 2 for 13 in the four games. But manager Joe Maddon doesn't necessarily buy into those stats.

"I don't worry about that stuff," Maddon said, per MLB.com. "To me, it's a matter of, 'If he's healthy and he's seeing the ball, what does his timing look like?' Those are the kinds of things you're trying to get from the guys down there."

Soler is expected to be in the lineup for the series-finale against the Marlins on Sunday. He was batting .237 (9 for 38) with a homer and five RBI over his last 10 games prior to the injury.


Red Sox returning RF Shane Victorino gives encouraging effort
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:58 am ET) Red Sox veteran right fielder Shane Victorino didn't look like a guy Saturday that had not played for nearly seven weeks.

Victorino slammed two hits and scored twice batting eighth in a defeat of Houston after recovering from lower-body strains.

"He steps right back in with a couple of base hits," John Farrell exclaimed to the Boston Herald. "We all know the start and stop of his season. To have another guy in the bottom of the order right now with his base-stealing ability, the base-running ability, two base hits against a right-hander today, very encouraging."


 
 
 
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