The amount of stud pitchers that are two-start guys in the fifth week of your Fantasy Baseball seasons is staggering. Guys like Justin Verlander, Yu Darvish, Matt Cain and Adam Wainwright are only a few of the big name aces that will step foot on the mound twice this week. However, fantasy owners already know to start these guys religiously, so why don’t we take a look at some of the more under-the-radar guys who are also viable two-start options.
James Shields, Kansas City Royals (TB, CWS): I may have not been as high on Shield’s as others heading into this season, but he has been throwing well. Through five starts, he is sporting a record of 1-2 with a 3.09 ERA and 32 strikeouts. Shields is more than capable of striking out at least 10 batters in both of these contests, having sat down at least 220 over the last two seasons. Both of his opponents this week are struggling to score runs, 95 and 80 respectively. Having said that, so are Shields’ Royals, ranking 24th in the league with 84 runs scored. Still, I think that lineup has a boatload of potential with guys waiting to emerge (see, Moustakas, Mike). Besides, maybe it’ll give him extra incentive to pitch strongly against his former team, the Rays.
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (CLE, MIA): Why do I have to persuade you to start Halladay? He’s an ace, right? Unfortunately for baseball, it appears that Doc is only a shell of his former self, seeing decreased velocity and an overall less dominating presence out on the mound. Still, he is coming off three straight strong starts, in which he has struck out 16 batters and only surrendered four earned runs, while only walking five. Hopefully, his command remains in tact, because he has two favorable matchups this week. Cleveland ranks 22nd in runs scored (87) and the Marlins are, well, the Marlins, ranking dead last in offense. But hey, Giancarlo Stanton went yard yesterday, so there’s that. With the return of catcher Carlos Ruiz, that Phillies offense will begin to get it going, which will ultimately help Halladay stay sharp on the hill.
Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals (CIN, @MIL): Garcia hasn’t been lasting long during his outings, only going past the sixth inning mark in two of his five starts. Still, his numbers have been strong, posting an ERA of 2.89 with two wins and 25 strikeouts. While the strikeout numbers could be better, Garcia is still inducing his fair share of groundballs, which obviously limits the chances of surrendering the long balls. His Cardinals continue to provide run support, ranking tied for sixth in the majors in runs scored (114). Of course, bullpen struggles have been a concern all season long, but it looks as if newly appointed closer Edward Mujica is finally providing consistency, having notched four saves in his last four opportunities. Garcia is a very safe option this week.
Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins (NYM, @PHI): I know, I know. Fernandez is coming off back-to-back rather weak outings, but remember, he is still ridiculously young and is allowed a few bad starts. Still, I believe that this 20-year old has all the stuff to be a force on the hill. A strong fastball, absolute nasty breaking ball and the room to progress and get better. And hey, remember Stanton hit his first homer of the year yesterday, so if that continues, perhaps he will get some run support. I’m still quite high on Fernandez, but I’d label him a fringe starter at best for this week, simply because he is facing two strong pitchers in Cole Hamels and Matt Harvey.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.