There’s a full slate of games for us to cover this weekend, so we’re hitting the two-start pitcher and waiver wire outlook a little early. As always, ownership numbers on our waiver wire recommendations come from the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. To make it a little more difficult and relevant to all leagues, we’re only mentioning players owned in 50 percent of leagues or less.
- Waiver wire: OF Jarrod Dyson (11% owned) is going to receive more playing time with OF A.J. Pollock out and he’s delivering stolen bases at the same strong level (six in 97 plate appearances entering Thursday) as he has in the last few seasons.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Matt Koch (@Milwaukee vs SP Chase Anderson, @Oakland vs SP Trevor Cahill): Koch is only a viable start in NL-only leagues.
- SP Mike Soroka was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He may only miss one start and could be ready to return on Wednesday. Because of yesterday’s rain out in Chicago, the rotation may not need a fifth starter, which could allow SP Max Fried to be skipped.
- SS Dansby Swanson will return at some point this weekend – could be tonight, could be tomorrow, could be Sunday. If you need him, you’ll need to watch the lineups this afternoon.
- Waiver wire: C Tyler Flowers (50% owned) is receiving enough playing time to be worth owning in all two-catcher leagues.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Brandon McCarthy (@Philadelphia vs SP Nick Pivetta, @Boston vs SP Chris Sale): McCarthy is worth starting in NL-only and 15-team mixed leagues, but any shallower than that is going to be difficult due to ballparks and opposing offenses.
- SP Kevin Gausman got rattled early but what he thought was an inconsistent strike zone, and he ended up allowing five stolen bases as part of an overall disaster of an outing – 4 2/3 innings, eight hits, two walks, two home runs (including the first hit he allowed all season to righties on his splitter), and six earned runs. Gausman was on a nice run before this, so we wouldn’t cull too much from one bad start, but the baserunning thing is a little concerning if the Sox showed other teams something they could emulate.
- Two-start pitchers: SP Andrew Cashner (@Chicago White Sox vs SP Hector Santiago, @Tampa Bay vs TBD) and SP Kevin Gausman (@Chicago White Sox vs SP James Shields, @Tampa Bay vs SP Jake Faria): Cashner has been bad recently and should only be considered in AL-only leagues. Gausman is a must-start in all formats.
Boston Red Sox
- SP David Price came out of nowhere to throw a complete game last night, striking out eight Orioles. He allowed just a two-run homer to SS/3B Manny Machado with two outs in the ninth and didn’t walk a batter. Price’s had only gone 14 2/3 innings in his previous three starts combined, so you still can’t feel completely comfortable with him every time out, but he gets the Rays next in Tampa and should be started everywhere in that matchup.
- OF Mookie Betts stole three bases and now has eight SBs in his last eight games and 11 on the season.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Chris Sale (@Tampa Bay vs SP Jake Faria, home for Atlanta vs SP Brandon McCarthy): Sale is a must-start in all formats.
- With last night’s rain out, the Cubs rotation for this weekend against the Reds is uncertain heading in to this morning – SP Jon Lester will definitely pitch tonight, but SP Jose Quintana may be skipped on Saturday in favor of SP Kyle Hendricks. SP Yu Darvish will almost definitely start on Sunday.
- Two-start pitcher: None due to a five-game week.
Chicago White Sox
- RP Nate Jones picked up his second save of the season last night, allowing just a single in the ninth inning to hold a 4-2 White Sox win.
- Two-start pitcher: SP James Shields (home for Baltimore vs SP Kevin Gausman, @Detroit vs TBD): Shields is a desperation start in AL-only leagues with an ok shot at one win against two bad teams.
- Waiver wire: RP Amir Garrett (2% owned) has thrown eight scoreless innings in the last two weeks entering Thursday’s games, striking out 11 in that time.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Matt Harvey (home for Pittsburgh vs SP Jameson Taillon, @Colorado vs SP German Marquez): The Colorado start makes Harvey a bench in all formats.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Josh Tomlin (@Chicago Cubs vs SP Tyler Chatwood, home for Houston vs SP Gerrit Cole): Bench Tomlin in all formats.
- 2B DJ LeMahieu has a slight fracture in his left wrist and will have to wait about a week for swelling to subside before he can pick up a bat.
- Waiver wire: 1B Ryan McMahon (6% owned) should be added, even in shallow leagues, because you can hold him for this coming week and see if he gets called up to play second base in place of LeMahieu. McMahon has a high ceiling if he gets every day playing time.
- Two-start pitcher: None due to a five-game week.
- Two-start pitchers: The Tigers have an opening for their current rotation setup, but SP Jordan Zimmermann will likely be back for a road start at Minnesota against SP Jose Berrios and home against the White Sox and SP James Shields. We’d be fine using Zimmermann in AL-only leagues.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Gerrit Cole (home for San Francisco vs SP Andrew Suarez, @Cleveland vs SP Josh Tomlin): Start Cole in all formats.
Kansas City Royals
- Two-start pitchers: SP Ian Kennedy (@St. Louis vs SP Miles Mikolas, @Texas vs SP Bartolo Colon) and SP Jason Hammel (@St. Louis vs SP Luke Weaver, @Texas vs SP Cole Hamels): Kennedy can be considered in 12-team leagues and definitely started in larger leagues than that. Hammel is a desperation start in AL-only leagues.
Los Angeles Angels
- OF Justin Upton was hit by a pitch on his left hand and left last night’s game. X-rays came back negative, so for now consider Upton day-to-day and check his lineup status tonight before starting him in daily leagues.
- Two-start pitcher: It is a six-game week for the Angels, so their six-man rotation setup means nobody will start twice, at least as of now. That could change
Los Angeles Dodgers
- OF Yasiel Puig hit his third home run in four games and walked twice yesterday. We said this earlier in the week, but Puig is a great addition right now if you can spare a roster spot for the next 10-14 days to see what this recent power spike develops in to.
- RP Kenley Jansen gave up two singles in the ninth inning of a blowout, but he also struck out three batters and got 21 strikes out of the 24 pitches he threw (thanks to 10 foul balls, but also five swinging strikes). His slider is back to averaging the 83.6 mph it did last year, and his primary pitch, the cutter, is right at 93 mph again, close to last year’s 93.6 mph average.
- Two-start pitcher: None due to a five-game week.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Elieser Hernández is scheduled to start Monday and Sunday, but that may change. He’s a decent NL-only play with starts at the Mets (SP Zack Wheeler) and home for Washington (SP Jeremy Hellickson).
- Waiver wire: 1B Jesus Aguilar (46% owned) has been deliver decent power numbers since moving in to the lineup full-time, and with 1B/OF Ryan Braun dealing with continued nagging injuries, Aguilar’s playing time is safe for at least the next month.
- Two-start pitchers: SP Chase Anderson (home for Arizona vs SP Matt Koch, home for the Mets vs SP Zack Wheeler) and SP Jhoulys Chacin (home for Arizona vs TBD, home for the Mets vs SP Jason Vargas): We like both Anderson and Chacin in 12-team leagues and larger, and Chacin is an interesting streaming option in 10-team leagues if you want to take a risk on a guy that could get two wins in a week.
- Waiver wire: C Mitch Garver (23% owned) is on track to get more than 13 plate appearances for the fourth straight week, and he’s decent enough at the plate to merit owning in two-catcher, deep-mixed formats.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Jose Berrios (home for Detroit vs TBD, @Seattle vs SP Mike Leake): Berrios is a must-start in all formats.
New York Mets
- Waiver wire: C Devin Mesoraco (14% owned) is hitting well early in his Mets tenure and should at least return a 50/50 split of the time at catcher when C Kevin Plawecki returns in the next week or so.
- Two-start pitchers: SP Zack Wheeler (home for Miami vs SP Elieser Hernández and @Milwaukee vs SP Chase Anderson) and SP Jason Vargas (home for Miami vs SP Caleb Smith and @Milwaukee vs SP Jhoulys Chacin): Wheeler should start in 12-team mixed and larger leagues. Vargas hasn’t delivered a good start yet, but if you want to take a risk on him in NL-only leagues for volume innings, there’s a chance he could be better against Miami.
New York Yankees
- Manager Aaron Boone said he will try to find a way to get OF Clint Frazier in the lineup this weekend when the Yankees take on Kansas City.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Masahiro Tanaka (@Texas vs SP Bartolo Colon and home for the Angels vs SP Shohei Ohtani): Tanaka starts in all formats.
- SP Andrew Triggs threw six straight balls at one point in the sixth inning, and on the final one he walked off the mound with right forearm discomfort. Triggs has had UCL damage before and said he would know if it was that, so perhaps this isn’t a season-ending issue, but the initial diagnosis was nerve discomfort that was causing problems in his thumb and middle finger.
- 1B Matt Olson homered again last night, a three-run shot, but he also struck out twice.
- Waiver wire: SP Daniel Mengden (20% owned) has had starts with some varying level of fantasy value five of his last six times out, including two great starts against elite lineups that had the benefit of seeing him once already earlier in the year (Houston and Boston). Mengden is arguably worth owning in all leagues in the short-term, because he’s impressing in most categories besides strikeouts, and he’s not leaving the rotation, so keeping him on your roster now will give you plenty of sample size between now and mid-June to know whether his recent stretch is real or not.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Trevor Cahill (home for Seattle vs SP Mike Leake and home for Arizona vs SP Matt Koch): We’d consider Cahill a premier streaming option in shallower formats where he’s likely available on waivers. Both lineups have injuries and Cahill should be able to take advantage of his pitcher-friendly home ballpark.
- SP Vince Velasquez was very good again last night, shutting out the Cardinals for 6 1/3 innings on 96 pitches, allowing just five hits and two walks and striking out five. He used his slider 18 percent of the time, well above his season average of 10.3 percent, and it paid off – the Cardinals put the ball in play five times and all five were outs.
- Waiver wire: RP Edubray Ramos (29% owned) is the best option in this bullpen in terms of performance and likelihood to receive saves chances.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Nick Pivetta (home for Atlanta vs SP Brandon McCarthy and home for Toronto vs SP J.A. Happ): Pivetta is in good form right now and stands to win at least one of these games. We’d start him in all formats.
- As we speculated yesterday, OF Starling Marte’s oblique strain is going to require a disabled list stint, and the corresponding roster move is a call-up of the team’s top hitting prospect, OF Austin Meadows. Meadows has been solid in Triple-A this year, with a .294 average and eight stolen bases, but just one home run.
- Waiver wire: 2B/3B Josh Harrison (40% owned) is on track to return from his hand injury as soon as this weekend.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Jameson Taillon (@Cincinnati vs SP Matt Harvey and home for St. Louis vs SP Miles Mikolas): Taillon looks healthy and should be started in all formats for these games.
San Diego Padres
- 2B/OF Jose Pirela continues to get regular at bats at second base and prime hitting spots in the lineup. He hit cleanup yesterday and went 1-for-4. Pirela hasn’t hit a home run this season, and we bring this up because in a mailbag at the San Diego Union-Tribune yesterday, beat write Kevin Acee said he’s hearing the it won’t be long before 2B Luis Urias, who we brought up in the prospect piece earlier this week, is called up to replace Pirela. The issue right now is controlling Urias’ service time.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Jordan Lyles (@Washington vs SP Jeremy Hellickson and @LA Dodgers vs SP Walker Buehler): Both of these lineups aren’t 100 percent healthy right now and the pitching opponents aren’t as dangerous as they could be. Lyles has been good in his first two starts and is an intriguing streaming option in the shallower mixed leagues that he’s likely to be available in. We’d add Cahill before him, but it is close.
San Francisco Giants
- 1B Brandon Belt homered for the fourth straight game last night, his 10th of the season, but after the game manager Bruce Bochy said Belt was dealing with knee stiffness and will likely get today off, unless he feels better in batting practice.
- Waiver wire: SS Brandon Crawford (25% owned) has a .479 batting average with nine runs and nine RBI over the last two weeks entering Thursday.
- Two-start pitcher: None due to a five-game week.
- OF Guillermo Heredia got a chance to start for the second time in three games and delivered three hits in four at bats. He also had a good night in his last start on Tuesday, going 2-for-5 with a double. Heredia can get on base a ton if he’s given more playing time, but he isn’t a big power or speed guy.
- OF/2B Dee Gordon will move back to second base starting tonight to fill in for injured/suspended 2B Robinson Cano. This will likely ensure Gordon gets eligibility at second base next season, to go along with the outfield eligibility he’s secured by playing almost 40 games there already this season.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Mike Leake (@Oakland vs SP Trevor Cahill and home for Minnesota vs SP Jose Berrios): These are both low-upside matchups for Leake, and we’d only use him in AL-only leagues.
St. Louis Cardinals
- 1B Jose Martinez went 3-for-4 last night with a walk and has reached safely in 10 of his last 11 games.
- Waiver wire: 3B Jedd Gyorko (39% owned) is back to getting 14-20 plate appearances a week, and he offers a nice power/batting average/runs scored combo with his lineup placement.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Miles Mikolas (home for Kansas City vs SP Ian Kennedy and @Pittsburgh vs SP Jameson Taillon): Mikolas is pitching very well and should be started in all formats.
Tampa Bay Rays
- Last night’s version of SP Chris Archer wasn’t perfect, primarily because he only through his third pitch (changeup) four times out of 104 pitches, a formula that won’t be sustainable. But still, 6 2/3 innings scoreless with just two hits and four walks allowed is the best we’ve seen from Archer in a while. His slider picked up eight swinging strikes and continues to be his best pitch. If that holds and he can get the changeup mixed in a little more than last night, he’ll be back to his normal borderline fantasy ace level by mid-June.
- Two-start pitchers: SP Jake Faria (home for Boston vs SP Chris Sale, home for Baltimore vs SP Kevin Gausman): Faria hasn’t been very good for most of the season, and because he isn’t going deep in to games we wouldn’t trust him beyond 15-team mixed leagues and AL-only leagues.
- 1B/3B Joey Gallo went 0-for-4 for the second straight night and struck out twice. He’s got two hits in his last 33 plate appearances, and they both came on Tuesday – he’s also struck out 16 times in that span.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Bartolo Colon (home for the Yankees vs SP Masahiro Tanaka and home for Kansas City vs SP Ian Kennedy) and SP Cole Hamels home for the Yankees vs SP Domingo German and home for Kansas City vs SP Jason Hammel): The Yankees matchup is tough, but we like Colon in 12-team mixed and larger formats. Hamels is a must-start in all formats. He’s had one bad start all season, and even that wasn’t a complete disaster (five runs and 10 baserunners in 5 1/3 innings).
Toronto Blue Jays
- SP Aaron Sanchez continues to struggle with run prevention, allowing four last night with five hits and four walks in four innings against Oakland. On the plus side, he matched a season-high in strikeouts with eight. It wasn’t a single pitch the A’s beat up, and Sanchez did a nice job mixing up all four of his offerings, but he continues to slip in and out of his command and it is making him difficult to start in any format at this time. He gets the Angels at home next and should not be trusted in any mixed league format.
- Two-start pitcher: SP J.A. Happ (home for the Angels vs TBD, likely SP Jaime Barria and @Philadelphia vs SP Nick Pivetta): These are tough matchups, but Happ has been pretty solid all season. We’d use him in all formats, though we could see risk-averse owners in 10-team leagues not wanting to put their ratios in jeopardy.
- C Matt Wieters underwent surgery to repair his left hamstring, so don’t expect him back anytime soon. C Pedro Severino is the likely starter, for now, but the Nats will almost definitely go out and get a veteran option to play most of the time.
- Waiver wire: SP Jeremy Hellickson (43% owned): See below.
- Two-start pitcher: SP Jeremy Hellickson (home for San Diego vs SP Jordan Lyles and @Miami vs TBD, likely SP Elieser Hernández): Hellickson is our favorite streaming option this week for shallower mixed leagues where he’s likely to be available on waivers. These are two matchups with a high probability for Hellickson to win.