With not even a week into the season, we’ve got a special piece for you. Say you whiffed on pitching, or the injury bug stung you after the draft. I’ve broken down every MLB team’s starting rotation and forecasted them with each team’s upcoming schedule. You may ask, why would you do this? The most straightforward answer is finding the best upcoming matchups for the lesser-known starting pitchers.
This way, we can maximize the end of our rosters and try to squeeze every last ounce of value that might be available on a waiver wire. Or, perhaps, drop a fringe-worthy pitcher early due to horrendous matchups. Churning your roster at the correct times is key to late-season management. Think about it this way: do you really need to hold onto that pitcher if you’re not going to start him in these key weeks?
Indeed, we are ranking these matchups based on the opponent’s offense, and here are my offensive tiers to do so. Also, please don’t get too held up on the offensive ranks… it’s early and there are always surprises.
- They are still elite and I still don’t want to see them as a matchup.
- TBR has been an offensive machine. Should they move up? Maybe, but let’s see a little more.
- The PHI offense has been dreadful. First, a big blow by losing Rhys Hoskins, followed by Darick Hall? We’ll give them another week to straighten the ship, otherwise, they’ll bump down.
- Yes, it’s happened! CLE gets the nod into the mid-level tier, and it’s not a stretch to see them move up. But a double jump in a week isn’t going to happen.
- KCR could very well drop a tier. At the moment, the offense is flat-out awful.
- MIL and SFG showing signs of life. Could either be moving up soon? Maybe.
- PIT and CHC have been better than the rest in this tier. While it’s still a struggle to call either a good offense, either could be moving up shortly.
(OFF) means the team has an off-day before they play that team.
(DH) indicates a doubleheader that day.
- Zach Davies winds up on the IL, and Drey Jameson slots into the rotation. With the velocity being up a few ticks and decent matchups in the near future, he should be added in all 12 and 15-team leagues.
- Madison Bumgarner and Ryne Nelson have easier matchups in the first week but neither is worth dropping a solid arm for. Gallen is Gallen and you’ll want all those starts.
- If you’re still holding onto Merrill Kelly, now is as good a time as any to dump him. MIL is starting to turn a corner and he’s been unable to reclaim the magic from the previous season.
- Kyle Wright comes back. Undoubtedly, he’ll be on a pitch count. That means you’ll wait and see for the first start. Then, he gets some really tough matchups. You should let him end up on someone else’s roster as he gets back in action.
- Dylan Dodd with an easy start-sit, start-sit. He’s not great but grabbing him for the first start won’t hurt.
- Although, the one to pick up is Bryce Elder. His first two starts are gems and you could walk away with a pair of Ws from the waiver wire.
- There is a lot of interest in Kyle Gibson and Grayson Rodriguez. Scooping them up will pay dividends for the early season.
- Dean Kremer and Cole Irvin have a great set of matchups ahead but the talent is lagging behind. My lean is with Kremer but both are flawed pitchers.
- Garrett Whitlock returns! In his recent MiLB start, Whitlock tossed six innings with eight Ks. Looking sharp and going deep into the game. The first matchup is a bear so sitting him is a possibility.
- Yeah … Chris Sale has been rough. Sitting him at TBR, though? Probably not.
- Nick Pivetta is a hold, then start for LAA and MIN.
- Tanner Houck would stay on my 15-team leagues. In 12-teamers? Probably go back to the wire. He’s been OK but hasn’t hit 80 pitches and leaves little room for error. You could justify stashing him but there are way too many tough matchups ahead.
- Drop Corey Kluber.
- Drew Smyly needs to get cut, if you’re holding him. Didn’t look good and matchups are brutal.
- In 12-teamers, I’d be dropping Jameson Taillon. Back-to-back matchups with the Dodgers followed by the SDP means you need to find other options this early in the season.
- Anyone with Lance Lynn is still feeling the burn from his last outing. His next group of starts won’t help with that feeling either. If the velocity stays down for the next couple of starts, you’ll need to make arrangements.
- After a gem vs. HOU, Mike Clevinger tossed a stinker against PIT. Both he and Michael Kopech are headaches, and you should look to replace either of them in 12-teamers … especially with these matchups nearing.
- Lucas Giolito is a wait-and-see. If he gets bombed by the Twins, well, it might be time to move on.
- Note: The Reds are taxed one tier anytime they are home. Hence, different shades for games vs. PHI, TBR, and TEX.
- Nick Lodolo is currently striking out batters at the same rate as studs like Gerrit Cole, Spencer Strider, and Dylan Cease. Keep rolling him out there ’till something changes.
- Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft are tough calls to make since the strikeout upside is so high. Getting ATL on the road and then decent offenses at home? Not ideal but it’ll get MUCH easier after that.
- Luis Cessa and Connor Overton garner no attention.
- Hunter Gaddis looked good last time out by going six IPs with one hit and four Ks. But that was against Oakland. Drop him for the start against NYY and pick him back up for the DET and MIA matchups.
- Zach Plesac has weak matchups ahead, but he’s been bad for too long. Pass!
- However, Cal Quantrill has a similar stretch and should be one of your immediate targets. He’s not spectacular and won’t pile up the Ks but worth a spot on the roster.
- Note: The Rockies are taxed one tier anytime they are home. Hence, different shades for games vs. STL, PIT, and ARI.
- People are going to look at Kyle Freeland’s stats and pick him up. But that’s not a good maneuver. STL at Coors Field and he’s touting a 13% K-rate – no way! Let him be someone else’s mistake.
- Sorry, stick to Rockies pitchers on the road in easy matchups. Unfortunately, that isn’t happening any time soon.
- The offense isn’t going to do you any favors, and outside of Matthew Boyd, there isn’t much here to consider. To be completely honest, even Boyd is a stretch in 12-teamers.
- An even tougher call, would you move on from E-Rod? Not yet, hold him a week and see how he looks against CLE.
- For those panicking over Hunter Brown’s first start, I hope you didn’t lose faith and sit him for the second. Keep the faith, and stick with him for the TEX matchup. It’ll get a little bumpy after that, so make adjustments, if necessary.
- Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier are on auto-pilot. However, Urquidy could probably get dumped in ten and 12-teamers after the matchup with the Pirates.
- Luis Garcia is struggling with a loss in velocity and it’s resulted in him getting knocked all over the yard. It’ll be a tough decision and maybe not feel right, but it’ll be time to cut bait in shallow leagues.
- In 15-team leagues, you’ll be able to talk yourself into Brady Singer and Kris Bubic. Start either against ATL? No chance but you’d be setting yourself up a little better down the road. Monitor Singer’s velocity for that start, as he sat a touch below where he was in 2022.
- Greinke, Lyles, and Keller can stay on the wire. Ground balls and inducing weak contact don’t allow for enough upside.
- The Angels’ rotation is going to be a headache. Where will Tucker Davidson slot in? My guess is not until next week to keep the six days between starts for Ohtani intact. If not, it’ll shuffle things up. Stay tuned for updates on this one.
- Noah Syndergaard should only be getting starts against CHC and PIT. There’s potential for wins and stashing him from the other starts is entirely plausible.
- The same should be said for Michael Grove, even after getting shellacked by the D-backs. For similar reasons to Syndergaard, expect, he’s got a nice string of easy opponents ahead. Just hope he can keep the breaking balls working and figure out the fastball.
- Edward Cabrera walked everyone in his last start but didn’t give up any hits. Getting a start against a depleted PHI squad, followed by SFG could remedy his changeup misses.
- While I’m really hoping Braxton Garrett sticks in the rotation, with OFF days in each of the following two weeks. He could get skipped and go back to the long relief role. Expect an update later in the week as it could shuffle the rotation.
- Eric Lauer is an easy cut. Lauer’s velocity is way down and until it returns, keep him off your roster.
- Wade Miley can stay for a matchup against the Diamondbacks but he’s only a one-week streamer.
- The rest are must-start SPs, and pray that Corbin Burnes gets back to his normal self.
- The rotation looks very strong.
- Kenta Maeda seems to be fine after the initial scare. He performed so well, we should be starting him again vs. CHW.
- David Peterson and Tylor Megill run into a couple of great offenses. Peterson would be the one I’d cut and Megill is the one I’d stash. In deeper leagues, try to get by with both.
- Carlos Carrasco has a few easy matchups to fix his woes. If he can’t get it going by WSN, it’s an easy cut afterward.
- Jhony Brito is fresh off a start with 92 pitches and worked his way through a tough BAL lineup. Let’s take him matchup by matchup, and start him for one more against MIN. In 10-team leagues, though, it’s a pass!
- Oakland’s staff is helplessly lost. Right now, you just need to steer clear of everyone here.
- Matt Strahm’s success will rely on how deep he’ll go into games. MIA isn’t a strong offense, and neither is CIN(even when at home). Additionally, the third matchup lines up for COL on the road. He could continue the success.
- Tough matchups and a trip to Coors. Pass!
- Joe Musgrove will get the start vs. MIL. However, there is a good chance he gets limited and someone like Ryan Weathers could piggyback. Either way, you’re dropping Weathers.
- The arms to target in San Diego are Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo. There is a decent chance they’re available and could get streamed for a few weeks. Both are easy cuts after the third start though.
- The Giants are a frustrating rotation. They’ve utilized piggybacks, and have a bunch of long relief arms capable of keeping a starter’s innings in check. Mix and match them as the weeks go. My fear is the matchups could become unclear very quickly. So, don’t jump the gun and stash someone a week ahead.
- Robbie Ray is still out. This means Chris Flexen is still in. He’s not a spectacular option but the matchups are good enough to give him a shot. Keep in mind, he’s a streamer(at best), and don’t drop anything too valuable.
- Marco Gonzales? If you’re desperate for a W later in the week, I suppose he could suffice in the first start. And perhaps maybe you could talk yourself into another start vs. MIL. Although, the fastball still sits well below 90 mph(and not getting better) and you’ll be playing with fire. I’d suggest looking elsewhere.
- Jordan Montgomery is the prize of the staff. Solid matchups and he’s performing. Let’s keep it rolling!
- Jack Flaherty keeps walking too many batters. Will it last forever? Probably not, but Coors Field won’t do him any favors. While it’s still early in the season, cutting him now isn’t a terrible idea.
- Steven Matz is a better option to stash and work around than Flaherty.
- Jake Woodford has the easiest matchups but can’t be trusted.
- Josh Fleming will get an opener(Jalen Beeks). You don’t need any of that mess.
- Otherwise, this rotation has been absolutely filthy. They’ve got some tricky matchups but you’ll need to keep rolling them out there.
- Andrew Heaney has a week to fix himself after the blowup. We’ll start him against KCR but if it’s not effective, the drop can come before HOU. There is still a chance.
- Start Jacob deGrom. Easy.
- The rest of the rotation is pretty simple to make calls. Sit them against tough matchups like @HOU, vs. NYY, and @ CIN. Start them at the rest of the matchups.
- Toronto finally gets a home game and a chance to fix some of the staff. Chris Bassitt’s velocity returned, even if the command didn’t.
- José Berríos and Yusei Kikuchi aren’t getting it done. With poor matchups for at least two weeks. It’s probably best to move on and find something better to stream.
- MacKenzie Gore is starting to shine like the hyped prospect we knew. If you can afford to scoop him up and wait to see how he handles LAA, you might have something. The walks could rear their ugly head but a 27% K-rate is lovely.
- Steer clear from the rest.