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Two-Start Pitchers: Week 18 (July 28 - August 3)

Ranking and tiering the two-start pitchers for Week 18, including Marcus Stroman, Jake Odorizzi, Trevor Bauer and Mike Leake.

Tom Szczerbowski

I promised to pick it up after the All-Star break, and all three of my two-start recommendations delivered wins. Jake Odorizzi continued to dazzle at home, striking out eight Cardinals over 5 2/3 innings of work; Jacob deGrom pitched seven innings for the third consecutive start, striking out seven Mariners; Danny Salazar was victorious -- if not efficient -- in his return, with six punchouts in five frames. Salazar and deGrom are on the bump today, while Odorizzi's second start was scratched, pushing him to two-start status in Week 18.

Results (through 1/2 of Week 17)

7.28 K/9
2.46 BB/9
3.43 ERA
1.15 WHIP


Yu Darvish: Mon-NYY (Phelps), Sun-@CLE (Bauer)
Cole Hamels: Tue-@NYM (Gee), Sun-@WSH (Strasburg)
Stephen Strasburg: Tue-@MIA (Alvarez), Sun-PHI (Hamels)
Madison Bumgarner: Mon-PIT (Worley), Sun-@NYM (Colon)
Hisashi Iwakuma: Tue-@CLE (Bauer), Sun-@BAL (Tillman)

Tier 1

Tyson Ross: Tue-STL (Lynn), Sun-ATL (Harang)
Anibal Sanchez: Tue-CWS (Quintana), Sun-COL (De La Rosa)
Jordan Zimmermann: Mon-@MIA (Eovaldi), Sat-PHI (Burnett)
Jose Quintana: Tue-@DET (Sanchez), Sun-MIN (Swarzak)
Jered Weaver: Tue-@BAL (Tillman), Sun-@TB (Odorizzi)
Homer Bailey: Mon-ARI (Anderson), Sat-@MIA (Eovaldi)
James Shields: Tue-MIN (Swarzak), Sun-@OAK (Chavez)

Tier 2

Marcus Stroman: Tue-@BOS (De La Rosa), Sun-@HOU (Feldman)
Ervin Santana: Mon-SD (Kennedy), Sat-@SD (Kennedy)
A.J. Burnett: Mon-@NYM (Colon), Sat-@WSH (Zimmermann)
R.A. Dickey: Mon-@BOS (Buchholz), Sat-@HOU (Peacock)
Lance Lynn: Tue-@SD (Ross), Sun-MIL (Lohse)
Josh Beckett: Tue-ATL (Harang), Sun-@CHC (Jackson)
Jake Odorizzi: Mon-MIL (Lohse), Sun-LAA (Weaver)
Trevor Bauer: Tue-SEA (Iwakuma), Sun-TEX (Darvish)
Bartolo Colon: Mon-PHI (Burnett), Sun-SF (Bumgarner)
Kyle Lohse: Mon-@TB (Odorizzi), Sun-@STL (Lynn)
Jesse Chavez: Mon-@HOU (Peacock), Sun-KC (Shields)
Mike Leake: Tue-ARI (Cahill), Sun-@MIA (Alvarez)

Tier 3

Aaron Harang: Tue-@LAD (Beckett), Sun-@SD (Ross)
David Phelps: Mon-@TEX (Darvish), Sun-@BOS (Buchholz)
Jorge De La Rosa: Tue-@CHC (Jackson), Sun-@DET (Sanchez)
Henderson Alvarez Tue-WSH (Strasburg), Sun-CIN (Leake)
Chris Tillman: Tue-LAA (Weaver), Sun-SEA (Iwakuma)
Chase Anderson: Mon-@CIN (Bailey), Sat-PIT (Worley)

Not this week

Clay Buchholz: Mon-TOR (Dickey), Sun-NYY (Phelps)
Nate Eovaldi: Mon-WSH (Zimmermann), Sat-CIN (Bailey)
David Phelps: Mon-@TEX (Darvish), Sun-@BOS (Buchholz)
Brad Peacock: Mon-OAK (Chavez), Sat-TOR (Dickey)
Scott Feldman: Tue-OAK (Samardzija), Sun-TOR (Stroman)
Yohan Flande: Mon-@CHC (Wada), Sat-@DET (Porcello)
Edwin Jackson: Tue-COL (De La Rosa), Sun-LAD (Beckett)
Tsuyoshi Wada: Mon-COL (Flande), Sat-LAD (Ryu)
Vance Worley: Mon-@SF (Bumgarner), Sat-@ARI (Anderson)

My Week 18 Picks

Marcus Stroman, Blue JaysJake OdorizziRays

I've written about Stroman and Odorizzi ad nauseam, so I decided to combine the under-appreciated hurlers; both are available in roughly 75 percent of ESPN leagues, despite recent hot streaks from both starters. Stroman has the eighth highest WAR over the last 30 days, according to, while Odorizzi hasn't allowed more than three earned runs since June 10 (a span of eight starts). The Rays starter has been superb at home (2.73 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 76 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings), and gets two more turns at Tropicana Field in Week 18. The 5-foot-9 Stroman, meanwhile, has outperformed rookie expectations with a tidy 3.93 K/BB and gets two road starts against the Red Sox and Astros. These two young arms are must-start options and should be owned in far more leagues.

Trevor Bauer, Indians
2014: 4-5, 84.2 IP, 8.72 K/9, 3.19 BB/9, 32.5 GB%, 3.93 ERA, 1.39 WHIP

It took him awhile, but Bauer is starting to live up to his former top prospect billing. I don't think he'll ever be elite, as his walk total (59) through 118-plus career innings hasn't been good -- and his minor league numbers have never been fantastic in that area, either. Recent results have been very promising, as the 23-year-old right-hander has a respectable 3.35 ERA and 35 Ks over his last 37 2/3 innings. Thirty walks in 84-plus innings have contributed to a 1.35 WHIP, but that's something Bauer owners will have to absorb in the present. Bauer opposes Hisashi Iwakuma and Yu Darvish in Week 18, but the Mariners and Rangers have the 27th and 28th lowest wRC+ over the last 30 days, according to He's no sure thing, but Bauer provides tremendous upside in a two-start week.

Mike Leake, Reds
2014: 7-9, 140 IP, 6.81 K/9, 6.81 K/9, 1.86 BB/9, 53.8 GB%, 3.73 ERA, 1.27 WHIP

Because I combined Odorizzi and Stroman into one recommendation, I feel obligated to give you a fourth. Leake hasn't been particularly good of late (four earned runs in three straight starts), but his overall body of work has been solid. He's well on his way to recording his best season numbers as a starter, and he continues to do two things very well: limiting free passes and keeping the ball on the ground. Home runs have really started to hurt Leake (seven in his last eight starts), but that's something you should expect to come down from a pitcher with a ground ball rate of over 50 percent. Leake routinely goes deep into ball games (only four out of 21 starts of fewer than six innings), and I'm betting on his recent string of bad luck turning around in two winnable matchups against the Diamondbacks and Marlins.

Stats from