For owners in weekly leagues, two-start pitchers are a key to maximizing wins and strikeouts. And oftentimes -- perhaps more often than you'd think -- they can be found on waivers, or even your bench.Let's take a look at the top two-start options heading into Week 17 of the fantasy
For owners in weekly leagues, two-start pitchers are a key to maximizing wins and strikeouts. And oftentimes -- perhaps more often than you'd think -- they can be found on waivers, or even your bench.
Let's take a look at the top two-start options heading into Week 17 of the fantasy baseball season.
Eduardo Rodriguez | Red Sox | at Mariners and vs. Royals
Coming off a six-week stint on the disabled list with a right knee injury, Rodriguez finally returned to the mound on Monday versus the Blue Jays, and the results were mixed. The young southpaw battled with his control, issuing four free passes over 5 1/3 innings. But he did manage to rack up eight strikeouts while allowing three runs or fewer for the ninth time in 11 starts this season. The 24-year-old carries a 3.66 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and a 9.9 K/9 rate into next week's two-start stanza, and he's a viable option in the vast majority of leagues. Heading into Thursday's games, the Royals ranked last in the American League in runs scored and 14th in OPS. The matchup against a Mariners team that ranks third in the Junior Circuit in runs poses a tougher challenge, but Seattle's offense has cooled off lately, placing only 12th in the AL in OPS this month.
Brad Peacock | Astros | at Phillies and at Tigers
Since moving into Houston's starting rotation in late May, Peacock has thrived, going 6-1 with a 2.92 ERA while whiffing 71 batters across 52 1/3 innings. At this point, the 29-year-old righty needs to be owned in all formats, and he's a must-start in all two-start weeks. Peacock opens next week with a favorable matchup against a Phillies club that ranks in the bottom third of the Majors in runs scored, batting average and OPS. Although he will be tested versus a Tigers team that ranks in the top 5 in both runs and batting average this month, Detroit just traded away a key member of their lineup in J.D. Martinez. Above all, Peacock's stellar pitching this season combined with his strikeout upside is enough of a reason for his owners to start him with confidence.
Luis Castillo | Reds | at Yankees and at Marlins
The owner of a strong 3.41 ERA and an outstanding 11.2 K/9 rate through his first five big league starts, Castillo has certainly made a strong early impression. The rookie righty still needs to improve his control (4.3 BB/9) and do a better job of limiting home runs (six allowed in 29 innings), but he deserves the starting nod in most leagues for next week. The Yankees rank among the bottom five teams in the Majors in runs scored, batting average and OPS in July, while the Marlins place in the bottom third of the Majors in runs, batting average and OPS at home. Castillo's elite strikeout rate further enhances his two-start week appeal.
Mike Leake | Cardinals | vs. Rockies and vs. D-backs
After opening the season in exceptional fashion, Leake has struggled to the tune of a 5.03 ERA since the beginning of June, and he's coming off one of his worst outings of the year. But the Cardinals righty still sports a solid 3.39 ERA and 1.28 WHIP through 19 starts, and next week's pair of matchups are actually more favorable than they might seem. Even though the Rockies and D-backs rank fifth and ninth, respectively, in the Majors in OPS, both clubs place in the bottom third of the Majors in OPS on the road. Especially in deeper leagues, consider Leake a viable two-start option next week.
Jhoulys Chacin | Padres | vs. Mets and vs. Pirates
Having notched seven quality starts in his last eight tries entering Thursday, Chacin has earned a place on the mixed-league radar. Two more quality starts could be on the way next week. The Mets and Pirates both rank in the bottom half of the Majors in runs scored this month. Plus, both of Chacin's outings will come at home, where he is 5-2 with a 1.94 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP in 10 starts this season. Owners in most mixed leagues should feel comfortable starting the 29-year-old righty.
Zach Steinhorn is a fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com.