If you’re a baseball fan, you might hear about two-start pitchers quite often. A two-start pitcher is one who starts two games within a short period of time – generally within a week long fantasy slate. Fantasy baseball slates span about a week, so a pitcher taking the mound twice during this time is what we’re referring to.
The concept itself is not a hard one to grasp but it does open the door to new game theory if you play fantasy baseball. Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about two-start pitchers.
When you identify a two-start pitcher, it’s important to look at the matchups. Checking the matchups in advance can give you an idea as to how the pitcher will perform. Doing this means looking at both the pitcher and the offensive team he’s facing.
It’s a huge help when we know a pitcher is elite prior to doing our research. A pitcher with a high strikeout percentage, low ERA, low WHIP, and low BABIP is what you want to look for. Recent form aside, these statistics generally imply a pitcher will do well.
In terms of pitching stats that resemble red flags, there are several. We can take the inverse of the above stats to represent a bad pitcher. The worst pitchers in the league typically have high ERAs, high WHIPs, and high BABIPs. Tie in a high hard-hit rate and low strikeout percentage and we’re really talking a dumpster fire.
After analyzing the pitcher(s), it’s best to look at the opposing offense. Avoid situations where the opposing offense has a low overall strikeout percentage. A low team WRC+ is also used as an indicator for a below average offense.
A matchup is favorable for a pitcher when the opposing team strikes out a lot or fails to generate any offense. We can get a good sense of offensive power by looking at a team’s ISO or isolated power. ISO is calculated by subtracting a player’s batting average from their slugging percentage. A low team ISO is considered favorable for the starting pitcher while a high team ISO is not.
To recap, matchups between a team’s offense and the starting pitcher are important to look at. In simple terms, a good pitcher facing a poor offense is ideal. Two-start pitchers who have two favorable matchups are certainly worth considering in fantasy baseball.
Analyzing Recent Form
Recent form is another piece of the puzzle when we’re looking into pitching options. A pitcher can be elite on paper but be going through a temporary rough patch. Recent performances tend to be a better indicator in baseball than in other sports, but still need to be taken with a grain of salt.
Let’s use Jacob DeGrom as an example with some made-up stats. DeGrom is widely known as a great pitcher, but let’s say he falls into a slump and gets rocked three games in a row. Although small, we have a sample size to work with that’s indicating consistency. In this case, we can speculate DeGrom might not be at the top of his game.
The same rules apply for a pitcher that’s been doing well. Carlos Rodon, for example, recently had five or six quality starts in a row. Identifying this early allows us to catch the good recent form before there’s any negative regression. Consistency across a several game sample size allows us to use recent form to our advantage.
Good form paired with a good matchup is promising for any pitcher. If this combination persists for both games you can consider playing whoever the two-start pitcher is.
Two-Start Pitchers Pros and Cons
For the sake of convenience, we’ll highlight the best and worst aspects of a pitcher making two starts. Keep in mind that some of these pros and cons won’t always apply to every game or player.
- For MLB DFS purposes, a two-start pitcher will likely be low-owned for their second outing.
- You can outsmart your opponents in season-long leagues by playing a two-start pitcher when it’s not expected.
- Although uncommon, an elite pitcher making two starts can offer unmatched upside.
- A high pitch count in game 1 can result in a low pitch count for game 2.
- Fatigue could set in early in game 2, thus resulting in more hits for the opposing team.
- In some cases, the pitcher will face the same team in both games. This is beneficial for the offense.
- Bad form could potentially carry over to both starts, especially if the matchup is bad.
- Salary usually doesn’t change much between outings, even if a shorter leash is expected.
Pitching is largely situational, so you’ll have to do your research on a case by case basis. Understanding the various game theories surrounding two-start pitchers can help you develop new strategies when playing fantasy baseball.
Two-start pitchers are important in fantasy baseball and the betting market. We can use matchup data and recent form to determine whether a pitcher is likely to perform well or not.
A lot of people strictly avoid pitchers that are making multiple starts within a short time period. You can argue, however, that the variability in potential outcomes is high enough that you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage if you flat-out fade a two-start pitcher.
All in all, your decisions will ultimately depend on how you interpret the data available to you. For example, you might be playing DFS and think you have an ownership edge playing a two-start pitcher in tournaments. This is a situation where you should probably take your chances, especially if the matchup data and recent form points to high upside.
You might find yourself in the opposite situation with an elite pitcher. In this case, they might be making their second start but still be chalky. You’ll have to research accordingly and determine whether the pitcher is worth playing in this case.
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