Quality starting pitching is essential to winning in fantasy baseball. If you have a pitcher that hasn’t been carrying their weight, consider adding a starting pitcher who will make two starts in Week 18.
If the pitcher you consider isn’t at the top of the rankings, there’s often a chance he’ll throw at least one good game out of the two he is probable to start. Worst case, a pitcher with two starts will generally keep a lower ERA and bring in more strikeouts, which could save owners in weekly head-to-head matchups.
Ben Sheets of the Milwaukee Brewers, an FBD All-Star who is 10-3 with a 2.87 ERA, 115 strikeouts, and a 1.13 WHIP in 135 innings, tops our list of two-start fantasy baseball pitchers in Week 17. He takes the mound Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs and Carlos Zambrano, then Sunday versus Pittsburgh and Ian Snell. Other “must starts” in Week 18 include:
- John Lackey, Anaheim Angels (8-2, 3.02, 77, 1.12) June Pitcher of the Month
- C.C. Sabathia, Milwaukee Brewers (10-8, 3.30, 154, 1.15) Week 4 / Week 11 Pitcher of the Week
- James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays (9-6, 3.66, 111, 1.11) Week 6 Pitcher of the Week
- Jered Weaver, Anaheim Angels (8-8, 4.08, 92, 1.27) Week 7 Pitcher of the Week
- Carlos Zambrano, Chicago Cubs (11-4, 2.96, 87, 1.24)
The Sunday Special – Two two-start pitchers who will impress you with their starts in Week 18:
- Armando Galarraga, Detroit Tigers (8-4, 3.27, 75, 1.16). Galarraga is one of the spark plugs that has kept the Tigers alive after a horrible start to the season. He’s taken some tough losses over the last few weeks, but pitched a 7-inning gem last week at Kansas City where he carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, allowed 1 earned, and struck out 7. He takes the mound Monday at the Jake against Cleveland and Aaron Laffey, then Sunday at Tampa Bay against James Shields.
- Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds (9-7, 5.60, 104, 1.55). Arroyo makes this list after winning 5 consecutive starts going back to June 29. Over that stretch, his ERA has dropped from 6.19 to 5.60 and he’s struck out 22 hitters in 32 innings. He takes the mound Monday at Houston against Roy Oswalt, who is still recovering from injury, and Sunday on the road against the Washington Nationals and Colin Balester.
Waiver Wire Wonder – A two-start pitcher owned in less than 40% of leagues to consider in Week 18:
- Glen Perkins, Minnesota Twins (7-3, 4.08, 46, 1.43). We mentioned earlier this month that limiting walks was the key to the success of the Minnesota Twins pitching, but another reason they are so successful is finding and developing young talent. Perkins is a 25-year old lefty that has spent part of the past two seasons in the bigs with the Twins, but has finally found a rotation spot in 2008. He’s 5-1 in 7 starts since June 19, and should be on teams in most AL-only leagues. His matchups in Week 18 give him a chance to extend his record to 7-1 since June 19 – he takes the mound Tuesday in the Homerdome versus the Chicago White Sox and Jose Contreras, then Sunday at home versus the Cleveland Indians and Aaron Laffey.