As we head through the trade deadline and deeper into the season, some teams have taken on a new look. I’ve broken down every MLB team’s starting rotation and forecasted them with each team’s upcoming schedule if you’ve missed some things. 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 in-season management. Think about it this way: do you really need to hold onto that pitcher if you’re not going to start him for several weeks?
Indeed, we are ranking these matchups based on the opponent’s offense, and here are my offensive tiers to do so. Also, stop back in from time to time since there will be updates.
The same teams remain, except the Yankees have dropped a rung. No, not because of the departure of Joey Gallo, but injuries and lack of consistent production. When so much of your scoring is based on the longball, a team can go in a funk.
The Padres bump down to the SOLID tier. Josh Bell has been incredibly cold, and they’re not going to get any help from Fernando Tatis Jr. any time this year. Still, they’ve added a ton of depth and are not a team you’ll want to stream against.
The season ended for Joey Votto, and when the Reds are at home, they’re FINE.
Moving up, Baltimore has been one of the hottest teams in baseball. Leading the charge are Adley Rutschman and crew. They’re simply not a team you make a priority to stream against anymore.
The Royals have bumped up to the MEH tier. The infusion of youthful talent has helped them make an impact offensively.
Sadly, the Giants have tumbled quite a bit and haven’t been able to recapture last year’s magic.
So many teams fall into this tier now that the trade deadline has passed, yet streaming is never easy.
Note: (Off) means the team has an off-day before they play that team. For example, SEA (OFF) means they are off the previous day. (DH) indicates a double-header that day.
Tough matchups and not many days off. Tommy Henry has been interesting, but there won’t be much room for error if you roster him. Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen should be the only pitchers worth holding onto here.
UPDATE: Rotation shuffled.
Week 22 is very favorable for Atlanta’s starters, and you’ll likely start most in Week 23 as well. However, the only SP that is remotely available will be Jake Odorizzi. Since joining the Braves, Odorizzi has been less than stellar, but two of those starts were against NYM. Currently, he’s rostered in only 21% of leagues, so check your wire.
We’ve got quite a mixed bag of matchups. In Week 22, Spenser Watkins becomes a nice target but droppable for the back end. Watkins isn’t a big strikeout pitcher (14.5% K-rate) but could provide a decent shot at wins.
On the back end (Week 23), Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer get two terrific spots. My lean would be towards Kremer unless you’re searching for Ks. Bradish has a bit more strikeout potential but gets hit very hard and had a few meltdowns already.
Making any of these SPs a priority pickup won’t be worth it. We’ve got OK stretches from Rich Hill, Kutter Crawford, and Michael Wacha. Crawford has the highest K% (23.2%) and, at only 9% rostered, seems like the best among the group. Recently, he got lit up by the Orioles and is likely on your wire.
Nick Pivetta is a tough one to gauge. He’s giving up A LOT of hard contact (8.4% barrel rate and 45.4% hard-hit rate), with a 13.9% K-BB rate. He’s on the fence, and someone I might drop for a streamer with several good matchups.
UPDATE: Nathan Eovaldi was moved to the IL with shoulder inflammation. Brayan Bello was moved into the rotation. Furthermore, Rich Hill will slot after Wacha.
Keegan Thompson was recently moved to the IL and will miss a few turns in the rotation. The likeliest candidate to take his rotation spot is Caleb Kilian. Since going back down to the minors, Kilian flexes 53 strikeouts in 37.1 innings pitched and a 3.45 FIP. He could be an interesting pickup for a deeper league during the final three starts(CIN, SFG, and COL).
However, before Kilian, you need to make sure Justin Steele isn’t already rostered. Over the last month (26.1 IP), he touts a 0.68 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with 39 Ks. Obviously, sit him @NYM, but the rest is a go.
The same can be said for Drew Smyly, who’s been very effective. While he may lack the strikeouts of Steele, in his last 27 IP he’s kept the ERA under three with a 1.07 and is striking out nearly a batter per inning.
UPDATE: Javier Assad will move into the rotation, not Kilian. In 36.1 Triple-A innings, Assad showcased a 20.1% K-BB rate and 46% ground ball rate.
Johnny Cueto continues to get the job done, diminished velocity and all. He sits with a 2.58 ERA over 118.2 innings pitched. Additionally, he’s getting some decent matchups for the next few weeks. He should be someone worth putting on your watch list.
UPDATE: Michael Kopech was moved to the 15-day IL. In Kopech’s place, Davis Martin will join the rotation. He’s touted major strikeout numbers in the minors, but it hasn’t translated to the MLB level yet.
UPDATE: Graham Ashcraft and T.J. Zeuch moved to the IL. Luis Cessa joins the rotation, and we still await further announcements.
Plesac has been unrosterable. McKenzie and Bieber likely won’t be available in your league. Cal Quantrill has been solid as of late but lacks the strikeouts.
However, Civale looked very good, albeit against the Tigers, but struck out ten over six innings. Furthermore, he’s only tossed 64 innings after putting up 124.1 in 2021. So, Cleveland is going to let him ride it out for the season. His upcoming matchups aren’t easy, but they aren’t bad either. He’s worth your attention, even in 12-teamers.
We only start Rockies’ starters on the road. Just pass on any of them for the next few weeks; it’s not worth it.
The return of E-Rod is a welcome addition to an absolutely depleted rotation. He didn’t look super sharp but also didn’t give up any runs over five innings. He’s still widely available in most leagues and could put up top-50 SP numbers. Scoop him up, if available.
Outside of Rodriguez, the rest of the rotation is not worth the risk.
UPDATE: Michael Pineda joins the rotation and draws favorable matchups in Week 22.
The rotation is packed with talent and, unfortunately, already rostered in most leagues. Hope you’ve got some of these SPs on your team because they are in for a very nice stretch.
UPDATE: Cristian Javier was bumped to the bullpen.
This rotation should be pretty straightforward for the following two weeks. With no doubleheaders and an off day each week, starters will get an extra day of rest.
Helsley, Bubic, and Greinke don’t strike enough batters out to garner our attention. However, Brady Singer and Daniel Lynch are well worth grabbing for the first couple of starts. Scoop them up now, but sit them in Week 23.
UPDATE: Zack Greinke headed to the IL. His replacement isn’t official, but Max Castillo or Jackson Kowar is the likely candidate.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Patrick Sandoval is fresh off a complete game. Unfortunately, he’s probably not available in any league bigger than a 10-teamers.
The target in this six-man rotation is José Suarez. Quietly, he’s been remarkably effective as of late. Since the All-Star Break, Suarez has had a 21:5 K/BB ratio with a 1.19 ERA. What’s helping him bolster his productivity is a 12% jump in the groundball rate. Obviously, we sit him vs. NYY and then ride him for DET, @CLE, and SEA.
UPDATE: Mike Mayers joins the rotation in place of Touki Toussaint.
Getting an SP back in the rotation like Dustin May doesn’t seem fair, but that’s why the Dodgers are such a good organization. They’ve got worlds of depth.
UPDATE: Ryan Pepoit was optioned to the minors. Clayton Kershaw will rejoin the rotation.
Terrible news, Braxton Garrett is done for the season.
Of the most intriguing arms to pick up, Jesús Luzardo is the play. He’s still available in 47% of Yahoo leagues and back to striking out over a batter an inning. Unfortunately, he’s not going to get the best of matchups over the following two weeks.
UPDATE: Trevor Rogers will be activated shortly and slots behind Luzardo.
Aaron Ashby continues to strike out over a batter per inning, but he’s crushing your WHIP. Furthermore, he’s starting to give up runs in bunches, and the ERA is headed in the wrong direction. Still, a 3.26 xFIP suggests his 4.58 ERA might be a tad bit unlucky. If you’re looking for an upside play, he’s available in nearly 80% of leagues.
UPDATE: Aaron Ashby headed to the IL with should inflammation. Adrian Houser slots in the spot.
Tyler Mahle was sent to the IL and will miss a turn or two. That means he could be back for KCR and @CLE; both are nice, soft landing spots. For now, I’ll keep him off the grid in case a setback should happen.
The rest of the rotation sits in Week 22 and gets fully loaded back in for matchups the following week.
WOW! Outside of a quick series vs. LAD, the matchups don’t get any better. However, the only SP available is David Peterson. Now, the Mets continue to jettison him between the minors and MLB roster, a bit similar to how we saw Tanner Houck utilized last season. In his 83.2 innings, he has done A LOT that we like: 52.8% groundball rate, 3.46 xFIP, and 27% K-rate. Make him a priority pickup, even while currently being in the minors.
Only Domingo Germán is widely available for pickup. We should pass on him. He’s still not striking out enough batters and giving up a ton of quality contact (7.8% barrel rate and 44% hard-hit rate). Pass!
UPDATE: Clarke Schmidt joins the rotation in Nestor Cortes‘ absence.
Paul Blackburn’s season comes to an end. This means we’ll see plenty of Sears, Oller, and Logue. While it sounds like a decent name for a law firm, we’ll skip on making them a part of our fantasy rosters. Joking aside, JP Sears is interesting because he doesn’t give up much hard contact and keeps runs off the board. However, he doesn’t strike anyone out either.
Speaking of not striking out many batters, Cole Irvin has continued to be the staff’s “ace”. He continues to go deep into games, and that’ll put him in play for quality start leagues, but if you’re not striking out batters or collecting wins; you’re only viable as a matchup-dependant streamer. And he doesn’t have good matchups ahead.
Great matchups! The most available SP is Kyle Gibson at 44%. He’ll be your best shot for getting an early start on the Week 22 streaming targets. Thor and Ranger Suárez are in the mix but probably only available in 10-team leagues.
UPDATE: Zach Wheeler was bumped to the IL, and Bailey Falter rejoins the rotation.
Point blank, avoid all these options. Yes, even Roansy Contreras.
After a scare for Junis, the results came back negative, and he’ll stay in the rotation. Furthermore, he’s probably your best option to pick up with matchups vs. PHI and @MIL. Still, those are not great spots.
It’s been another tough stretch for the Giants staff. While I hate to suggest sitting many of them; you should be able to stream better options than Wood and Cobb for Weeks 22 and 23.
Chris Flexen was bumped to the bullpen, and Seattle will roll with these starting five.
Castillo, Gilbert, and Ray are likely off the wire. Heck, even Kirby is rostered in 50% of leagues, but it’s always worth checking because his matchups and skills will play very nicely over the next two weeks.
Marco Gonzales is widely available (24% rostered) and could be used if you’re in a pinch. Although, he is not going to give you strikeouts. He’s been roughed up a lot lately, and not by top-tier teams. Pursue with caution.
This rotation may get a little bit crowded with the return of Jack Flaherty. Recently, he fanned seven batters over four innings while only allowing one run in a Double-A rehab start. Soon, he should make his way into the rotation. We’ll leave him off for now, but the expectation should be sometime within the next two weeks.
Lots of great matchups! Grab all the St Louis SPs you can.
As quickly as Luis Patiño came up, he was sent back down. Perhaps, we’ll see him in the next two weeks for the doubleheader @TOR.
You’re starting Shane McClanahan regardless of his matchup. And probably the same goes for Drew Rasmussen. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was worried about his innings getting limited soon. That concern, plus the matchups, would make me very hesitant to start him.
The tough calls will be Springs and Kluber. My advice, if you’re ahead in pitching categories, leave them on the bench. However, if you’re chasing, they should have done enough to earn your trust.
Yikes! Lots of red to begin Week 22! Obviously, they are getting sat early. What gets worse, the only two arms (Dane Dunning and Martín Pérez) worth our attention will face TOR for their third start. Pérez is likely on someone else’s roster, and that leaves Dunning. While I think there are aspects that can work, he’s only viable for easier matchups.
Toronto’s schedule gets interesting with a pair of doubleheaders and only one day off between them. This makes me think if we’ll see Yusei Kikuchi back in a starting role for a couple of spots.
The only two arms likely available are Mitch White and Ross Stripling. They don’t give up too much quality contact, don’t walk too many, and don’t strike out a lot of batters. Still, it’s a team that can provide a bevy of run support and always keeps them in play for wins. Additionally, the matchups are good enough to make them worthwhile pickups for the two-week stretch.
Quite frankly, the only SP worth looking at is Josiah Gray. We love Gray’s skills, but he’s not ready to be more than a matchup-dependant streamer. While the K-upside should keep him relevant, the matchups should keep him on your bench.
UPDATE: Erick Fedde comes off the IL. Additionally, Cade Cavalli makes his debut on Friday(8/26) and could join the rotation. Expect further updates here.
Image by Michael Packard (@artbyMikeP on Twitter & IG)
Are there any guys you suggest to target in Week 24? Our 6-team playoffs start in Week 22, with a bye for the top 2 seeds, and Championship will be Week 24.
Unfortunately, haven’t looked that far ahead.
I’ll do some digging and email you back ASAP. Best of luck in playoffs!
what does the (off) have to do with anything, as far as streaming SP’s go? The SP was obviously off the preceding days prior to his start anyway
Thanks for the question. You’re correct, any SP is obviously off the previous day. However, this is an easy way to keep track of his place in the rotation. I would go so far as to say an SP gains anything from the team being off the previous day. Although, there is many times an SP gains an extra day of rest from the added (off) designation.s
I would say the key component to the tables is the matchup itself.