Two-Start Pitchers: Week 4 (April 21-27)

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Ranking and tiering the two-start pitchers for Week 4, including Dillon Gee, Wily Peralta and Travis Wood.

Last week's selection of two starters was subpar, and two of my recommendations (Brandon Morrow and Robbie Erlin) had rough first starts. Jesse Chavez and Juan Nicasio both came through and tossed quality starts, however, with the latter picking up my lone victory of the week. All four arms are scheduled to go today with four more wins up for grabs.

Results (through Week 2):

4-2
6.34 K/9
1.35 BB/9
2.98 ERA
0.88 WHIP

Start!

Jose Fernandez: Tue-@ATL (Wood), Sun-@NYM (Gee)
Yu Darvish: Mon-@OAK (Straily), Sun-@SEA (Hernandez)
Felix Hernandez: Mon-HOU (Keuchel), Sun-TEX (Darvish)
Adam Wainwright: Tue-@NYM (Gee), Sun-PIT (Volquez)
Chris Sale: Tue-@DET (Verlander), Sun-TB (Odorizzi)
Cliff Lee: Mon-@LAD (Maholm), Sat-@ARI (Arroyo)
Masahiro Tanaka: Tue-@BOS (Lester), Sun-LAA (Richards)
Justin Verlander: Tue-CWS (Sale), Sun-@MIN (Pelfrey)
Anibal Sanchez: Mon-CWS (Danks), Sat-@MIN (Hughes)
Cole Hamels: Tue-@LAD (Ryu), Sun-@ARI (McCarthy)
Johnny Cueto: Tue-@PIT (Volquez), Sun-@ATL (Teheran)

Tier 1

Andrew Cashner: Mon-@MIL (Peralta), Sat-@WSH (Roark)
Francisco Liriano: Mon-CIN (Leake), Sat-@STL (Lyons)
James Shields: Tue-@CLE (Salazar), Sun-@BAL (Gonzalez)
Julio Teheran: Mon-MIA (Koehler), Sun-CIN (Cueto)
Hyun-Jin Ryu: Tue-PHI (Hamels), Sun-COL (De La Rosa)
R.A. Dickey: Tue-BAL (Gonzalez), Sun-BOS (Lester)
Jon Lester: Tue-NYY (Tanaka), Sun-@TOR (Dickey)

Tier 2

Dan Straily: Mon-TEX (Darvish), Sat-@HOU (Keuchel)
Clay Buchholz: Mon-BAL (Chen), Sat-@TOR (Morrow)
Dillon Gee: Tue-STL (Wainwright), Sun-MIA (Fernandez)
Wily Peralta: Mon-SD (Cashner), Sun-CHC (Wood)
Travis Wood: Tue-ARI (McCarthy), Sun-@MIL (Peralta)
Jason Hammel: Mon-ARI (Arroyo), Sat-@MIL (Estrada)
Ian Kennedy: Tue-@MIL (Gallardo), Sun-@WSH (Jordan)
Jake Odorizzi: Tue-MIN (Pelfrey), Sun-@CWS (Sale)
Danny Salazar: Tue-KC (Shields), Sun-@SF (Vogelsong)
Scott Feldman: Tue-@SEA (Ramirez), Sun-OAK (Milone)
Mike Leake: Mon-@PIT (Liriano), Sat-@ATL (Hale)

Tier 3

Zach McAllister: Mon-KC (Guthrie), Sat-@SF (Lincecum)
Tanner Roark: Mon-LAA (Richards), Sat-SD (Cashner)
Jenrry Mejia: Mon-STL (Lyons), Sat-MIA (Koehler)
Miguel Gonzalez: Tue-@TOR (Dickey), Sun-KC (Shields)
Garrett Richards: Mon-@WSH (Roark), Sun-@NYY (Tanaka)
Dallas Keuchel: Mon-@SEA (Hernandez), Sat-OAK (Straily)
Tommy Milone: Tue-TEX (Scheppers), Sun-@HOU (Feldman)
Edinson Volquez: Tue-CIN (Cueto), Sun-@STL (Wainwright)

Not this week

Bronson Arroyo: Mon-@CHC (Hammel), Sat-PHI (Lee)
Wei-Yin Chen: Mon-@BOS (Buchholz), Sat-KC (Guthrie)
John Danks: Mon-@DET (Sanchez), Sat-TB (Ramos)
Jorge De La Rosa: Mon-SF (Vogelsong), Sun-@LAD (Ryu)
Jeremy Guthrie: Mon-@CLE (McAllister), Sat-@BAL (Chen)
Taylor Jordan: Tue-LAA (Skaggs), Sun-SD (Kennedy)
Tom Koehler: Mon-@ATL (Teheran), Sat-@NYM (Mejia)
Tyler Lyons: Mon-@NYM (Mejia), Sat-PIT (Liriano)
Paul Maholm: Mon-PHI (Lee), Sat-COL (Nicasio)
Brandon McCarthy: Tue-@CHC (Wood), Sun-PHI (Hamels)
Mike Pelfrey: Tue-@TB (Odorizzi), Sun-DET (Verlander)
Ryan Vogelsong: Mon-@COL (De La Rosa), Sun-CLE (Salazar)

My Week 4 Picks

Dillon Gee (STL, MIA)
2014: 1-0, 5.74 K/9, 2.36 BB/9, 40.5 GB%, 3.71 ERA, 0.98 WHIP

Gee picked up his first win of the season on Wednesday, holding the Diamondbacks to three hits and no runs over seven innings. The 27-year-old right-hander has gone six-plus innings in three of four starts while holding opponents to a .194 batting average. Nothing Gee does is spectacular, and he doesn't appear to be much different than his 2013 version, but he's reliable and rarely hurts your ratios. Still available in over 70 percent of ESPN leagues, Gee gets two home starts in Citi Field, where he owns a 3.26 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 43 starts. The only concern is a leaky Mets' bullpen spearheaded by Jose Valverde, which has already cost Gee one win.

Wily Peralta (SD, CHC)
2014: 2-0, 6.38 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, 61.8 GB%, 1.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP

Peralta exited Wednesday's stellar start against the Cardinals (6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) with back tightness, but he's fully expected to make his next start against Andrew Cashner and the Padres on Monday. The 24-year-old has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any start, limiting the opposition to 15 hits in 18 1/3 innings of work. Peralta throws in the mid 90s with extreme groundball tendencies (52.3 percent in career, 61.8 percent in 2014), which helps with his home starts in Miller Park. This week the righty faces the Friars and Cubs, whose offenses are 27th and 29th, respectively, in wOBA. Start Peralta with confidence.

Travis Wood (ARI, @MIL)
2014: 0-2, 9.50 K/9, 2.00 BB/9, 46.6 GB%, 3.00 ERA, 1.39 WHIP

Wood has pitched much better than his 0-2 record would indicate; he's tossed two quality starts and hasn't allowed more than three earned runs through three turns in the rotation. The 27-year-old received the major's lowest run support a year ago (3.03 runs per game), and so far his offense is backing him with just two runs per game. Wood's biggest gains have come in the strikeout department (6.86 K/9 in career, 9.50 K/9 in 2014). While a strikeout per inning more than likely isn't in the cards the rest of the way, there is some room for improvement. Wood posted a 7.54 K/9 with the Reds in 2010, and he's shown even better swing-and-miss stuff in the minors.

Going Deeper

Jason Hammel (ARI, @MIL)
2014: 2-1, 6.97 K/9, 2.18 BB/9, 40.0 GB%, 3.05 ERA, 0.73 WHIP

Hammel flew under the radar and signed a one-year, $6 million contract to round out the Cubs' starting five, and the early returns have been impressive. The 31-year-old veteran is off to a 2-1 start with his new club, posting a 3.05 ERA and 0.73 WHIP across three starts, including 16 strikeouts in 20-plus innings. Hammel registered a career-high 22.9 percent strikeout rate two seasons ago, making him an interesting sleeper heading into 2013. Things didn't work out as planned, however, as the starter recorded a 4.97 ERA and won just seven games in his final season in Baltimore. Now back in the National League, Hammel's strikeout rate is on the rise, and he's been equally stingy with improved control (five walks in 20 2/3 innings). I don't think this is going to last all season long, but ride him while he's hot.

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