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Fantasy baseball: Two-starting pitching guide for the week ahead

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Perhaps no other team has developed players better than the Rays in recent years. Shane McClanahan could be their best homegrown pitcher.

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He is in the thick of the AL Cy Young race, currently available for +1000 at PointsBet and only behind Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Seas and Shohei Otani. The young southpaw was out of the light for the first quarter of the season, leading MLB with 31.1% K-BB% with a 2.33 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.

McClanahan’s MLB debut last season was excellent, but he’s been noticeably better this year with a slight increase in speed as well as more use of his curved ball and substitution. His ERA (2.69 FIP, 1.99 SIERA) is just as impressive as his early results, even though his BABIP of 0.253 shows some regression is possible in the future.

With early results, there are only a handful of alternative starting pitchers that fantasy managers could put on the same level. At the age of 25, it’s entirely possible that McClanahan will hit the innings limit this season, but it doesn’t really matter now if you’re lucky enough to have him on the roster. He starts every week without a second thought, especially ahead of a two-start week as the Raises take on the Marlins and Yankees.

Jose Berrios was one of the most disappointing pitchers early in the season, but there are indications that he has finally turned the corner after his best start to the season, throwing seven scoreless innings against the Mariners. His biggest problem was his lack of outings with K/9, nearly three outs below his career norm, but his speed was just great. He has a chance to gain more momentum thanks to a week with two starts in St. Louis and the Angels.

Stephen Matz was equally disappointing after signing a lucrative deal with the Cardinals in the offseason. The good news is that its poor results (6.03 ERA) are not supported by peripherals. In fact, his strike zone control was top-notch with 10.6 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 for 4.25 FIP and 3.02 SIERA. Home runs allowed were a big problem, but it’s still the perfect time to buy low, even after a rough two-start week against the Jays and Brewers.

-Results in Blake Snell’s first start of the season was not a good one as he found it difficult to control his pitches. If it’s any consolation, Snell’s speed was amazing, he had the best fastball and slider of his career. This indicates that Snell is healthy, but he still needs to work out some issues. Despite a rocky first performance, a two-start home week against the Brewers and Pirates is favorable enough to kick off.

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I go twice…

Note: Probable pitchers as of Friday, May 20, subject to change.

American League

Strong plays

Gerrit Cole: BAL, @TB

Shane McClanahan: MIA, NYY

Luis Garcia: CLE, @SEA

Worthy plays

Jordan Montgomery: BAL, @TB

Jose Berrios: @STL, @LAA

Dane Dunning: @LAA, @DUB

Marco Gonzalez: OAK, HOW

Bruce Zimmermann: @NYY, @BOS

Nick Pivetta: @CHW, BAL

Zach Greinke: @ARI, @MIN

James Kaprielian: @SEA, TEX

Cal Quantrill: @HOU, @DET

At one’s own risk

Jordan Lyles: @NYY, @BOS

Zach Plesak: @HOU, @DET

Chris Archer: DET, KC

Joey Wentz: @MIN, CLE

National League

Strong plays

Corbin Burns: @SD, @STL

Max Fried: PHI, MIA

Walker Buhler: @WAS, @ARI

Pablo Lopez: @TB, @ATL

Zack Wheeler: @STL, @NYM

Worthy plays

Tyler Male: CHC, SF

Alex Cobb: NYM, @CIN

Kyle Freeland: @PIT, @WAS

Blake Snell: MIL, PIT

Josiah Gray: LAD, COL

Tyler Anderson: @WAS, @ARI

Kyle Gibson: @ATL, @NYM

Drew Smiley: @CIN, @CHW

Stephen Matz: MOR, THOUS.

Adrian Houser: @SD, @STL

At one’s own risk

Zach Davis: KS, LAD

J. T. Brubaker: COLOR, @SD

Trevor Williams: @SF, PHI

Tucker Davidson: PHI, MIA

Joan Adon: LAD, FLOOR

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Streamer City

The following pitchers are typically available in over 50 percent of the fantasy leagues and have favorable matchups this week:

American League

Thursday, May 26: Devin Smeltzer against the cop

Smeltzer has some MLB experience, and with Minnesota’s rotational injuries, he has a chance of landing the role. The ‘conniving’ southpaw faces a Royals roster that has the fourth-worst OPS in MLB and now has no Salvador Perez.

Saturday, May 28: Taylor Hearn @ OAK

The A-line clash was a boon for the pitchers, as Oakland easily sits in last place in the OPS (.587). Hearn has been inconsistent but has a respectable 3.21 ERA in three starts this month and more than one strikeout per inning throughout the year.

Sunday, May 29: Johnny Cueto compared to CHC

It will be like the old days when longtime Cincinnati Red Cueto takes on the Cubs. Chicago’s roster is in the bottom half of the league with .675 OPS, and Cueto made a brilliant MLB debut this week.

National League

Tuesday, May 24: Mitch Keller compared to COL

The Keller was a huge disappointment despite the increased speed, but the Rox is still useless on the road with .635 OPS. This is a rare opportunity to hire Keller.

Thursday, May 26: Justin Steel @ CIN

So far, Steele has been very inconsistent for the Cubbies as he continues to struggle with walks. He ends his best game of the year and faces a Reds roster that has the worst OPS in baseball against left-handers.

Thursday, May 26: Ryan Pepiot @ ARI

The talented Pepio is still trying to pull himself together, but he should spend some time with Clayton Kershaw still on the mend. The Diamondbacks roster doesn’t pose a major threat, with a .644 OPS, the sixth-worst in MLB.

Total games

American League

5: CV



National League

5: MIA




Here are some standout injuries from the past week, as well as other players to keep an eye on next week. You can get a full list of injured players on the NBCSports Edge website. Injury Page.

Willie Adams: Mounted on IL (ankle)

Nick Ahmed: Posted on IL (COVID-19)

Joe Barlow: Day to Day (Finger)

Brian Cruz: day by day (hand)

Chad Green: Status indeterminate (forearm)

Lourdes Gurriel Junior: Status undetermined (hamstring).

Bryce Harper: day by day (elbow)

Jason Hayward: Posted on IL (COVID-19)

Cooper Hummel: Posted on IL (COVID-19)

Dalton Jeffries: Status indeterminate (biceps)

Brandon Low: Placed on the IL (rear)

Jesus Luzardo: Mounted on IL (elbow)

Austin Meadows: Placed on IL (dizziness)

Tylor Megill: Placed on IL (biceps)

Tyler O’Neal: placed on IL (shoulder)

Jake Odorizzi: Mounted on IL (ankle)

Salvador Perez: Posted on IL (thumb)

Michael Pineda: Placed on IL (finger)

Victor Reyes: Placed on IL (four)

Eduardo Rodriguez: Indefinitely (oblique)

Jordan Roman: from day to day (illness)

Max Scherzer: Out 6-8 weeks (oblique)

Antonio Senzatela: Placed on the IL (rear)

Jorge Soler: from day to day (back)

Edmund Sosa: day to day (foot)

Michael A. Taylor: placed in IL (COVID-19)

Lamonte Wade: day to day (knee)


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