Fantasy 411: 2-start pitchers for Week 9

Andriese, Santana could help owners gain ground

Fantasy 411: 2-start pitchers for Week 9

Is your fantasy starting rotation struggling, or perhaps simply in need of a strikeout boost? Then consider adding these pitchers, who are all scheduled to make two starts in Week 9.

12-team mixed leagues

Matt Andriese (@KC, @MIN)

After splitting last season between the Majors and Minors, Andriese was called up by the Rays earlier this month. The 26-year-old righty is proving that he firmly belongs in the big leagues, as he sports a 2.63 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP through four starts. He will have the luxury of two favorable matchups next week, as the Royals and the Twins ranked 14th and 15th, respectively, among American League teams in runs scored entering play on Thursday. Andriese deserves to be owned in most mixed formats despite his below-average strikeout ability (career 6.4 K/9), and next week is an ideal time to start him.

Andriese's two-hit shutout

Ervin Santana (@OAK, vs. TB)

Fresh off his worst performance of the season (3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 6 ER vs. Royals on Tuesday), Santana will look to regroup. The Twins righty has a good chance of getting back on track, as the A's and Rays both rank in the bottom third of the AL in runs scored. Also note that prior to Tuesday's rough outing, Santana had allowed a combined three runs over his previous two starts (14 innings). Though his career-long inconsistency makes the 33-year-old a somewhat risky fantasy option, the potential reward outweighs the risk next week.

Matt Wisler (vs. SF, @LAD)

Wisler is showing why he was such a highly regarded prospect, boasting a 2.93 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and a 39-to-13 K/BB ratio through nine games (eight starts) this season. The Braves righty is by no means a must-start in standard 12-team mixed leagues, but he certainly belongs in the conversation after stringing together four straight quality starts. Both the Giants and Dodgers have underperformed this season despite possessing talented lineups, as they rank eighth and 11th, respectively, among NL teams in OPS. Plus, Wisler pitched well against the Dodgers back in April, allowing just one unearned run on four hits across 6 2/3 innings.

Deeper mixed leagues

Jeremy Hellickson (vs. WAS, vs. MIL)

Since capturing AL Rookie of the Year honors in 2011, Hellickson has turned in mostly mediocre results. This year has been a different story, however, as the Phillies righty will carry a solid 3.97 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 into next week's two starts. While the matchup against the Brewers is favorable (Milwaukee ranks 10th in the NL in OPS), the Nationals present a tougher challenge given they rank third in the NL in runs scored this month. Hellickson is more of a deep-league option for that reason, but his 2.25 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over his past three starts mean he's well worth considering in those formats.

Hellickson's seven strikeouts

Junior Guerra (vs. STL, @PHI)

A 31-year-old rookie, Guerra is surely making the most of the opportunity to start for the Brewers. Through five outings, the righty holds a 3.30 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP to go along with 30 strikeouts in 30 innings. As a result of his impressive showing so far, Guerra can be utilized in deeper leagues next week. But owners in standard mixed leagues should steer clear, given the Cardinals lead the NL in runs scored and OPS.

Jon Gray (vs. CIN, @SD)

Gray has delivered mixed results this season, and he is coming off a poor outing against a tough Cardinals lineup (3 1/3 IP, 8 H, 9 ER). But the Rockies righty is positioned to enjoy far more success next week, as the Reds and Padres both rank among the bottom seven teams in the Majors in runs and the bottom four clubs in OPS. Another promising sign is that Gray tossed six innings of two-run ball while striking out 11 in a start on the road against the Padres earlier this month.

Zach Steinhorn is fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.