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Two-Start Pitchers: Week 2 (April 13-19)

Ranking and tiering the two-start pitchers in Week 2, including James Paxton, Brandon McCarthy and Danny Duffy.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

I cheated last week after I specifically said I wouldn't, selecting Chris Tillman as one of my two-start streamers despite his ownership being way above 30 percent in ESPN leagues (it's now at almost 100 percent). I got what was coming to me, however, as Jake Peavy, another pick of mine, was scratched from his first start with a bad back. It looks like Peavy will start against the Padres today, and I still think he's a solid choice to slow down his former mates in PetCo Park.

Clay Buchholz, my final pick, also goes today, and since his opening win against Philadelphia (7IP, 3H, 0ER, 1BB, 9K), his ownership has climbed nearly 70 percent. That's what a start against the Phillies will do for you.

This week, I promise to stay under 30 percent.

My results so far (2 starts!) with a big fat asterisk

0.65 ERA
0.80 WHIP
8.56 K/9
2.63 BB/9


Matt Harvey: Tue-PHI (Buchanan), Sun-MIA (Koehler)
Stephen Strasburg: Tue-@BOS (Masterson), Sun-PHI (Buchanan)
Jacob deGrom: Mon-PHI (Harang), Sat-MIA (Latos)
Adam Wainwright: Mon-MIL (Garza), Sun-CIN (Leake)
Anibal Sanchez: Mon-@PIT (Cole), Sun-CWS (Quintana)
Carlos Carrasco: Tue-CWS (Quintana), Sun-@MIN (May)
Jordan Zimmermann: Mon-@BOS (Porcello), Sat-PHI (Harang)
Jon Lester: Mon-CIN (Leake), Sun-SD (Cashner)

Tier 1

Michael Pineda: Mon-@BAL (Chen), Sun-@TB (Ramirez)
Scott Kazmir: Mon-@HOU (Feldman), Sun-@KC (Duffy)
R.A. Dickey: Mon-TB (Odorizzi), Sat-ATL (Wood)
Gerrit Cole: Mon-DET (Sanchez), Sun-MIL (Garza)
Jake Odorizzi: Mon-@TOR (Dickey), Sat-NYY (Tanaka)
James Paxton: Mon-@LAD (McCarthy), Sun-TEX (Detwiler)
Brandon McCarthy: Mon-SEA (Paxton), Sun-COL (Butler)
Rick Porcello: Mon-WSH (Zimmermann), Sun-BAL (Gonzalez)
Andrew Cashner: Mon-ARI (De La Rosa), Sun-@CHC (Lester)
Danny Duffy: Mon-@MIN (May), Sun-OAK (Kazmir)
Shelby Miller: Mon-MIA (Latos), Sun-@TOR (Norris)

Tier 2

Matt Shoemaker: Mon-@TEX (Detwiler), Sun-@HOU (Feldman)
Daniel Norris: Tue-TB (Ramirez), Sun-ATL (Miller)
Jose Quintana: Tue-@CLE (Carrasco), Sun-@DET (Sanchez)
Matt Garza: Mon-@STL (Wainwright), Sun-@PIT (Cole)
Tim Hudson: Tue-COL (De La Rosa), Sun-ARI (Hellickson)
Miguel Gonzalez: Tue-NYY (Sabathia), Sun-@BOS (Porcello)

Tier 3

Mat Latos: Mon-@ATL (Miller), Sat-@NYM (DeGrom)
Aaron Harang: Mon-@NYM (DeGrom), Sat-@WSH (Zimmermann)
Wei-Yin Chen: Mon-NYY (Pineda), Sat-@BOS (Buchholz)
Tom Koehler: Tue-@ATL (Cahill), Sun-@NYM (Harvey)
Mike Leake: Mon-@CHC (Lester), Sun-@STL (Wainwright)
Scott Feldman: Mon-OAK (Kazmir), Sun-LAA (Shoemaker)

Not this week

David Buchanan: Tue-@NYM (Harvey), Sun-@WSH (Strasburg)
Eddie Butler: Mon-@SF (Heston), Sun-@LAD (McCarthy)
Rubby De La Rosa: Mon-@SD (Cashner), Sat-@SF (Heston)
Ross Detwiler: Mon-LAA (Shoemaker), Sun-@SEA (Paxton)
Jeremy Hellickson: Tue-@SD (Despaigne), Sun-@SF (Hudson)
Chris Heston: Mon-COL (Butler), Sat-ARI (De La Rosa)
Trevor May: Mon-KC (Duffy), Sun-CLE (Carrasco)
Erasmo Ramirez: Tue-@TOR (Norris), Sun-NYY (Pineda)

My Week 2 Picks

James Paxton, Mariners (@LAD, TEX)

Paxton was very effective in his first start against AL West rival Los Angeles, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out five and walking one. The southpaw was charged with the loss however, as the Mariners offense couldn't muster anything against C.J. Wilson. Paxton's only hiccup was a two-run home run to David Freese. While Paxton did struggle at times throwing strikes (52 strikes, 35 balls), he was efficient and it was nice to see the Mariners not overextend their No. 2 starter in his first game of the year. Health took away Paxton's season last year, as he missed almost four months with a strained muscle on the left side of his back. But when he was healthy, he was solid, posting a 3.12 ERA (3.28 FIP, 3.54 xFIP) with 59 strikeouts and 29 walks in 74 innings to go along with nine wins. Taking the next step would require staying healthy and improving his command (3.20 BB/9 in career), but the upside of a No. 2 fantasy starter is there if the 26-year-old puts it all together.

Brandon McCarthy, Dodgers (SEA, COL)

McCarthy was cruising along in his first start against the Padres until the fifth inning, giving up four runs on nine hits and a walk in five innings. The 31-year-old social media aficionado starting pitcher struck out nine batters, and his average fastball velocity was clocked at 93.7 mph (up from 92.9). Of course, that's just one start and we'll need more data to get an accurate read on where his velocity actually is. The righty gets a pair of home starts in Week 2 against the Mariners and Rockies. Colorado has been pounding everybody in the early going, but McCarthy has solid command so he should be able to limit the damage of Troy Tulowitzki, Carlos Gonzalez, Nolan Arenado, Corey Dickserson and co. (fingers crossed). There's definite risk here, but one I feel is worth it. McCarthy should be owned in more leagues than his current 22.9 percent ownership.

Danny Duffy, Royals (@MIN, OAK)

Duffy might be available after his first, so-so start of the year against the White Sox. The left-hander allowed five runs on eight hits against Chicago, striking out five without allowing a free pass. I watched part of that start, and the big inning against Duffy came when he retaliated for one of his own players getting hit by a pitch by Jeff Samardzija. If Duffy cannot do that again (stupid baseball), I like his chances of picking up two wins in Week 2. In his career, Duffy is 2-1 in seven starts (nine games) against the Twins with a 2.09 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 34 strikeouts in 43 innings of work. I think Duffy can add to his strikeout rate this year, but I'm more interested to see if he can knock a few off his 3.93 BB/9 career walk rate. So far, so good.

Stats from