It’s getting down to the wire with only a few weeks left in the season. Several teams are virtual locks for the postseason, including Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Minnesota, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Los Angeles (Dodgers). These squads may start resting their starters at some point. Others have been or are close to being eliminated, including both New York teams, Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago (White Sox), Kansas City, Los Angeles (Angels), Oakland, Washington, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Diego, and Colorado. With little to play for, these squads may opt to test some young arms.
Toronto, Seattle, Texas, Miami, Chicago (Cubs), Cincinnati, Arizona, and San Francisco are in the middle and fighting for a playoff spot. With an incentive to win, these teams will likely stick with their top arms down the stretch.
Below, we break down every MLB team’s starting rotation for the rest of the season to help you plan your fantasy rotation. This tool is beneficial if you’re looking for streamers or flexing fringe starters in and out of your lineup and can be especially useful for those looking to maximize Wins and Strikeouts while trying to reach an innings cap.
Before we delve into the teams, below are our matchup rankings. These match those in Nick Pollack’s SP Steamers for consistency. If you disagree, that’s your prerogative! They are meant to be a loose guide. The most important thing is to pay attention to the matchups.
Here’s a key for a few terms you may encounter below:
(OFF) means the team has an off-day before they play that team.
(DH) indicates a doubleheader that day.
SPOT STARTER should be obvious, but this pitcher will only start once.
??? represents an unclear rotational spot, and the notes will explain options.
Above all else, please remember that schedules change often! The grids below represent our best estimate at the time of publishing, but players get hurt, come back from the IL, get sent down or called up, or get an extra day of rest all the time. Use this as a guide and double-check a player’s status before making roster changes.
- Atlanta recalled AJ Smith-Shawver on Sunday, presumably to start one of Monday’s doubleheader games. He could stick in the rotation for another turn, but Kyle Wright is on the mend and may rejoin the roster this week, potentially even for Monday’s doubleheader.
- Baltimore moved Cole Irvin to the bullpen, presumably to create a spot for John Means, who is scheduled to start on Tuesday.
- Nick Pivetta rejoins the rotation after James Paxton hit the IL on Sunday. He’s pitched well at times this season, but outside of the matchup with the White Sox, you’d have to be pretty desperate to start him.
- Kyle Hendricks looks like his old self, which means a decent ERA and WHIP with low strikeouts. His next two starts could lead to wins if you seek help in that category.
- The ChiSox recalled José Ureña on Saturday, and he will likely step into the slot vacated by the struggling Michael Kopech, who has been relegated to the bullpen. The remaining schedule isn’t bad, but starting anyone other than Dylan Cease or Mike Clevinger down the stretch would be a stretch.
- Note: The Reds are taxed one tier anytime they are home. Hence, different shades for games vs. MIN & PIT.
- Hunter Greene is back, and the Reds’ rotation is coming together after COVID spread through the clubhouse. Carson Spiers and Lyon Richardson were sent back down on Sunday, so the fifth spot in the rotation remains a mystery until Graham Ashcraft is ready to return.
- With three off-days remaining, the Guardians appear to be headed back to a five-man rotation, with Xzavion Curry returning to the pen. The schedule looks promising for Cal Quantrill, who has pitched well since returning from the IL.
- Note: The Rockies are taxed one tier anytime they are home. Hence, different shades for games vs. CHC, SFG, & MIN.
- The Rockies are slated for a doubleheader at home against the Dodgers on September 26. However, whomever they ask to start that game is best avoided.
- Alex Faedo and Joey Wentz have excellent remaining schedules. Faedo has been decent if you are in a deep league, but it’s probably better to stay away from Wentz unless you are hunting strikeouts.
- J.P. France has been up and down this season but has back-to-back starts against the Royals on tap.
- Alec Marsh has a good schedule and a high K%, but you’re rolling the dice if you stream him.
- The Angels will apparently ride their six-man rotation out despite losing Shohei Ohtani on the mound. The timing of Chase Silseth’s return is still questionable.
- With little left to play for, the Dodgers’ rotation figures to be in flux the rest of the way, and many of the starters will likely be on limited pitch counts. Ryan Yarbrough and Emmet Sheehan could also get starts down the stretch, and there’s a doubleheader against the Rockies on tap for September 26.
- Edward Cabrera steps into the rotation with Sandy Alcantara on the IL. He’s wild but generates K’s and has a pretty good schedule down the stretch outside of the start against Atlanta. It’s unclear whether Alcantara will make it back before the end of the season.
- The Brewers’ remaining schedule isn’t daunting, and Colin Rea and Wade Miley are available in most leagues if you are desperate. Adrian Houser could also return at some point and either bump Rea or join the bullpen.
- Kenta Maeda is available in many leagues and has some good matchups ahead against the White Sox and A’s. However, he’s struggled a bit lately, so it’s probably wise not to employ him against the Reds or Rockies on the road.
- The Mets’ schedule this week looks ripe for streaming, and several of their starters have pitched well lately. José Quintana is probably the best bet, as his next two turns come against the D’Backs and Reds at home.
- Michael King has pitched well since joining the rotation and has gone five innings in his past two starts. Unfortunately, the schedule isn’t too kind for him until the last week of the season.
- Mason Miller returns to the rotation on Monday at Houston. The rookie has pitched well this year when healthy but will likely be on a pitch count. It’s unclear whether Ken Waldichuk, on track to start Monday, will move to the pen or if the A’s will go with a six-man rotation.
- With a six-man rotation, the Phillies figure to use two of their regulars in the doubleheader against Atlanta on Monday. Ranger Suárez hasn’t been very consistent this season but has an appealing schedule down the stretch.
- If there was ever a time to stream a Pirates’ starter, it’s this week, as the schedule is challenging the rest of the way.
- It’s unclear whether Matt Waldron or Rich Hill will start against the A’s on Saturday, but it doesn’t really matter. You don’t want either, despite the matchup. It seems unlikely that Joe Musgrove or Yu Darvish will return this year unless the Friars go on a miracle run.
- Kyle Harrison has struggled to keep the ball in the park but is generating K’s and has two good matchups on tap. If you pick him up, you’ll want to dump him before the two matchups with the Dodgers, though.
- Seattle’s remaining schedule isn’t pitcher-friendly, but Bryan Woo has two promising matchups on tap.
- The remaining schedule doesn’t offer many good streaming opportunities outside of Zack Thompson on the last day of the season.
- Next week, Taj Bradley against the Angels is a possibility for streaming, especially if you’re looking for strikeouts.
- Dane Dunning gets the start on Monday after Andrew Heaney threw in relief of Jon Gray on Sunday. It’s unclear whether Heaney will remain in the bullpen for the rest of the season.
- The schedule is very neutral for the Jays down the stretch, who need every win they can get. However, most of their starters are heavily rostered.
- Someone must take MacKenzie Gore’s spot if Washington plans to stick with a six-man rotation, as he went on the IL last week. That could be Thaddeus Ward, who hasn’t pitched in the bigs since July but has been rehabbing. Even so, he’s not someone you want to take a chance on at this stage of the season.