Fantasy Baseball 2012: Top 10 2-Start Pitchers for June 25-July 1

Jay Clemons@ATL_JayClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterJune 25, 2012

Fantasy Baseball 2012: Top 10 2-Start Pitchers for June 25-July 1

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    The following slideshow is a top-10 ranking of two-start pitchers for the week of June 25-July 1.

    The listing does not necessarily account for a pitcher's season-long prospects, nor does it promise sustained dominance from this point forward. It's merely an educated guess of which starters will shine the brightest over the next seven days.

    For a full listing of two-start pitchers, click here.

    Enjoy the show!

10. Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves

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    Hudson gets the slight nod over Wandy Rodriguez, Mat Latos and Felix Doubront, among others, for three reasons:

    1. Hudson has allowed just three or less runs in six of his last eight starts. From a 30-day perspective, he also has a 3.51 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.

    2. In his last five home starts, Hudson has a 26/7 K-BB ratio. At Turner Field, Hudson also has a lifetime 3.13 ERA and 50-27 record.

    3. Against the Diamondbacks (his first opponent), Hudson has a stellar career ERA of 1.36.

    Weekly targets: One win, 2.95 ERA and 12 strikeouts.

9. Phil Hughes, New York Yankees

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    A late substitution for Pirates pitcher James McDonald (bumped from a two-start week), the Yankees' Hughes (7-6, 77 strikeouts) could be a top-five sleeper for the week with home tilts against the Indians and White Sox.

    But then again, no pitcher is safe when confronted with the homer-friendly breezes at Yankee Stadium. It'll take all of Hughes's expertise to keep the ball down against the likes of Jason Kipnis, Shin-Soo Choo, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and new ChiSox addition Kevin Youkilis.

    However, there is one quirky factor in Hughes's favor:

    Lately, he's demonstrated a pattern of two good starts, one bad start...two good starts, one bad start. Within that trend, Hughes is due for two straight above-average outings. (Scientific analysis at its best.)

    Targets: One win, 3.05 ERA and 14 strikeouts.

8. Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers

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    Gallardo's treacherous start to the season has all been forgotten by fantasy owners who chose not to jump ship in mid-April.

    In his last 10 outings, Gallardo (4.22 seasonal ERA, 90 K's) has surrendered three or less runs and three or less walks nine times. In that span, he also went six-plus innings in every appearance.

    In his last five starts, Gallardo has racked up an impressive 37/10 K-BB ratio, numbers befitting of a top-15 starting pitcher heading into the season.

    For the week, Gallardo draws tough battles with the Reds (away) and Diamondbacks (home)...but I think he's up for the challenge.

    Targets: One win, 3.05 ERA and 14 strikeouts.

7. Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals

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    I find it a bit troubling that Gonzalez (9-3, 2.55 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 101 K's) hasn't gone more than 6.2 innings in his last four starts.

    As a result, his ranking falls just short of teammate Stephen Strasburg's weekly projections.

    But let's not be too damning in this assessment. Gio still owns a streak of 13 consecutive starts with three runs or less; and of his 14 seasonal outings, he has recorded six-plus strikeouts 11 times.

    With road clashes against the Rockies and Braves, Gonzalez has a chance to reestablish himself as one of the National League's preeminent pitchers.

    Targets: One win, 3.00 ERA and 14 strikeouts.

6. Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox

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    It's risky to assign a high ranking to Peavy (6-3, 2.74 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) in the same week when the Yankees are involved, especially in New York.

    But that's a gamble I'm willing to take with Peavy, who has surrendered just six runs in his last four outings (spanning 28.1 innings).

    First things first: Peavy needs to dominate the Twins on Monday, to the tune of eight innings, two runs and nine strikeouts.

    Targets: Two wins, 3.20 ERA and 14 strikeouts.

5. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

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    According to my research, Strasburg (9-1, 2.46 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 110/22 K-BB) has never pitched at Coors Field in Denver.

    With that in mind, how does one establish a weekly ranking for a top-five pitcher who hasn't pitched at that altitude, at least in the majors?

    For once, I'll take a conservative tone with the Can't-Miss Kid...especially if Carlos Gonzalez (knee) is good to go in the Rockies' lineup.

    Targets: One win, 2.85 ERA and 15 strikeouts.

4. Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants

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    There may be no greater example of solemn pitching greatness than Ryan Vogelsong (6-3, 2.41 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 64 K's).

    The veteran hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his last 10 starts. In that span, he's pitched at least seven innings nine times.

    And yet, the casual baseball observer probably thinks that Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito currently serve as better pitching options.

    By extension, the masses are unlikely unaware that Vogelsong is steamrolling toward personal bests in wins (13), ERA (2.71), WHIP (1.25) and strikeouts (139).

    For the week, Vogelsong draws the Dodgers and Reds at home.

    Targets: One win, 2.70 ERA and 13 strikeouts.

3. C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    Wilson has been on fire since May 22, racking up four wins and 32 strikeouts in his last six starts. In that span, he allowed just six runs, which included five outings of one or zero runs.

    But is that enough to earn a weekly ranking over Strasburg, Vogelsong and Clayton Kershaw? I'll buy that logic for two instances, but Kershaw (and another high-strikeout gem) still grabs honors in the top three.

    For the week, Wilson has a pair of roadies in Baltimore and Toronto.

    Targets: Two wins, 2.80 ERA and 15 strikeouts.

2. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers

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    A few weeks have passed since Yu Darvish commandeered the spotlight from a sizable chunk of fantasy aces.

    But coming off two strong performances in interleague play (two wins, 19 strikeouts, 2.25 ERA), and with two home clashes against the Tigers and Athletics on the docket, he's a solid bet for the top three in Week 13.

    Fueling that notion, Darvish got plowed for six runs against Oakland on June 7. Surely he's been awaiting a rematch with the A's for, oh, roughly 17 days.

    Targets: Two wins, 2.50 ERA and 16 strikeouts.

1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    It would take an act of cruelty from the MLB schedule-maker to force Kershaw (5-3, 2.73 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 95 K's) out of the top spot for a two-start week.

    This week's slate of the Giants (away) and Mets (home) is respectable, but not even close to hindering Kershaw (26 strikeouts since June 9) from his expected pursuit of multiple victories and 16 strikeouts.

    What more needs to be said here?

    Targets: Two wins, 2.45 ERA and 16 strikeouts.