Welcome to The List, where I usually rank the Top 100 SP for Fantasy Baseball every single Monday of the year. Today’s is a bit different (like last week) and let me explain.
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It’s that time of the year where we shift from the traditional Top 100 ranking of The List to a stupid long article outlining every single expected Starting Pitcher start and ranking them all together in one smattering that kinda makes sense and should help your team.
Yeah, it’s a lot to take in, but it’s what I think is the most helpful way of talking about the final four weeks of the season and it’s what you see before you.
First thing’s first, I want to thank Dave Swan for creating the offensive hitter tiers below and creating the individual team tables. I then went in, added notes to each team, then created a table of nearly 160 pitchers and ranked them + added highlights to great and terrible schedules at the very bottom.
These schedules are going to change. Heck, the daily streaming pitchers article I write often changes and that’s published just hours before game time. Use this article as a guide to understand the flow of rotations and move the respective pitchers around as needed.
As always, some quick notes first:
For each edition of The List, I have a set of rules to outline my thought process and how to best use these rankings. Please take note:
- This is 5×5, 12-teamer, H2H format focused. It generally is the same as roto as well, but make sure you adjust accordingly.
- Again, these tables are going to change. I’m trying to give a general idea of it, but injured pitchers returning, rainouts, bumped starters, callups, etc. mean the orders are all messed up. It happens, nothing I can do about it.
- The notes outline oh-so-much to help your team. Please read the notes if you can instead of just scrolling to the bottom.
Pretty straightforward stuff. Let’s take a look at how I’m loosely ranking these matchups for the next month (which, also, will change. These are humans, after all):
Now let’s jump to the expected schedules for each team. Please note:
(OFF) means the team was off the day before
(DH) means that those games are part of a doubleheader
The main two that matter are Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen. Just like last week, it may be time to cut bait on Merrill Kelly with the Dodgers and Padres up next. That said, if you’re willing to bench a week (and maybe two with the Padres?) he should be helpful in his final three starts.
As for Zac Gallen, you start the dang man. He’s on too good of a run.
The Diamondbacks added Ryne Nelson to their rotation last week and while I think his stuff warrants attention, that schedule is ferocious. There’s far too much risk here.
If Zach Davies has his prime changeup working in the prior three outings, I’d consider one or both of his Giants outings in dire situations. Keep it in mind.
Like Davies, Madison Bumgarner maaaay be tempting in those two final starts against the Giants, but that’s a coin flip at best and coming off of the Dodgers, I don’t think we’ll feel confident enough.
You’re starting the aces the rest of the way, with Jake Odorizzi being the only question. Consider him against the Nationals and Marlins, but nothing else…okay, maybe the Phillies the second time if he has his command back. There’s a slight temptation there.
This is pretty simple – start the guys going against the Nationals and Tigers and sit for all the other starts. There’s some confusion here with the Orioles possibly knocking Tyler Wells out of the rotation and turning it into a four-man for the week ahead. Why does this matter a whole lot? Well, it would mean Kyle Bradish would skip the Tigers series completely. Yeah. Monitor this as Wells is the only pitcher I wouldn’t start against the Nationals (he’s not fully stretched out yet) and it could mean he’s not ready for the Tigers, either.
Not so bad for the Red Sox down the stretch, which means you can hold onto Michael Wacha through the end unless the wheels are clearly coming off.
As for Nick Pivetta and Rich Hill, I’m not all too interested. Their floors are too low for me. Brayan Bello is the same, and I’ll let you know if he’s doing something special to target him for the Royals of Orioles down the road via the SP Roundup.
There will likely be some shifting around with the Red Sox down a starter in the rotation – we anticipate a four-man rotation this week with their pair of off-days – and whoever takes that spot could be a sneaky play for the Orioles or Rays…but it’s highly unlikely I’ll respect their arsenal enough to approve it.
The Cubs are a weird one. This may be a six-man rotation as we have no idea what their plan is with Hayden Wesneski. He’s appeared following Wade Miley in both games thus far, but now that Miley is stretched out, what does that mean for Hayden? Keep an eye on him as there may be some value down the stretch if he’s allowed to go 70-80 pitches against the Reds or Pirates.
As for Miley, Drew Smyly, and Marcus Stroman, I’d start them in all these games, save for Smyly against the Mets and Miley against the Phils (maybe, this is awfully close). Adrian Sampson could be a deep streaming option for all starts after the Mets, but his floor is horribly low. That’s just a desperate option.
Michael Kopech has Rockie Road followed by a pair of Detroit starts and I couldn’t dream of anything better for him.
The biggest question is if you’ll want to start Johnny Cueto against the Twins for a pair of starts down the stretch. Keep letting him fly for now, but don’t hesitate to cut bait at the end. He’s not that great, y’all.
The Reds are a bit of a mess outside of Nick Lodolo, though Hunter Greene could be returning in the near future, possibly against the Cardinals during their doubleheader, then stealing starts from Chase Anderson or Luis Cessa, or maybe a proper six-man rotation. Keep tabs on this.
I wouldn’t overlook the chance Luis Cessa producers against the Pirates and Cubs, but don’t get greedy there unless you need to.
The Reds placed Justin Dunn on the IL as I was writing this today – I wouldn’t start the replacement.
The injuries to Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale messed up the Guardians’ rotation a bit, and was particularly unfortunate for managers with the pair as Cleveland has a productive schedule the rest of the way. They could come back before the end, and I wouldn’t trust Cody Morris, Xzcavion Curry, or Konnor Pilkington in the meantime.
Nope. Nope nope nope nope. But what about Márquez against the Cubs in Wrigley? NOOOOOOOOOOOPE.
This is…rough. I don’t trust Eduardo Rodriguez’s arsenal at the moment and he’s going to have plenty of challenges the rest of the way – feel free to move on now.
Matt Manning was able to get by with his four-seamer against the White Sox and I can see some liking the schedule enough to roll with him through the end. I’m personally not buying it, but hey, weirder things have happened.
It’s unclear when Justin Verlander will return to the rotation, and when he does, it likely won’t be so perfectly linked up with Hunter Brown’s rotation spot. Brown is a pickup for now against the Tigers on Tuesday, but that could be the last start he makes. Too bad Framber Valdez took Monday’s spot, removing Brown’s excellent two-start week. Bummer.
Everyone else, you’re starting. That schedule is too dang wonderful.
Note: Verlander is suggesting he could be returning this weekend against the Athletics. It may be a shortened start, but I wouldn’t expect it to harm your team if you slot him in.
As for Kris Bubic and Daniel Lynch, there’s too much to work on for me to trust them against their tough opponents. There’s a chance they’ve done enough to earn consideration against the Guardians in the final week, but likely we’ll talk about them as potential arms of interest in 2023.
After Jonathan Heasley struggled against the Tigers over the weekend, it’s hard to believe he’ll come through in his penultimate start of the year.
Keep in mind, the Angels will move around the order often to accommodate Shohei Ohtani. Also, Reid Detmers may be safe to start the rest of the way, but let’s see how he does against the Guardians first.
There’s a chance it isn’t a six-man rotation down the stretch or the Dodgers flip/skip some starts here and there to ease their arms into the playoffs. Just stay on top of it and get them in the lineup when they pitch.
I’d be a little cautious with Jesús Luzardo, possibly just saving him for those two luscious outings against the Nationals and Cubs + skip the Mets and Atlanta after. We’ll see.
As I’m writing this, Trevor Rogers has dominated the Rangers for six frames (that changeup is glorious!) and I’m all for going with him against the Nationals in both. Update: Okay, he was pulled in the seventh and was still great. Good stuff bud.
There’s also Braxton Garrett returning from the IL, though I’m not expecting the Marlins to open the rotation up into a six-man to accommodate.
The way I see it, you’re avoiding Adrian Houser, Josh Lindblom, and Jason Alexander for the most part (even after Houser’s last start), and you’re starting Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes without a doubt (okay, save for that one Coors start).
Those Miami and Cincinnati games are the only ones of intrigue, and unless something magical happens in the starts prior, I’d avoid the meh trio for them all.
I hope Tyler Mahle can return soon from his shoulder injury, though he may be a tough arm to start with any conviction as he gets his strength back in September.
As if the Mets needed to have the best schedule of any rotation the rest of the way. Start them all. For real.
On that topic, there’s a chance Trevor Williams starts instead of David Peterson against the Cubs. Monitor this situation as we don’t want to roll with T-dubs and would love to start Peterson, even with his recent struggles.
Not the easiest schedule ahead for Yankee pitchers Nestor Cortes jumped back in against the Twins and should be good for 75-80 pitches against Boston.
Domingo Germán sticks in the rotation for now, but may be replaced by Luis Severino by the end and the Yankees may go to a four-man rotation this week and skip Domingo Germán again, giving Gerrit the final game against the Brewers. Monitor this.
Yikes. You may have to wait until the Angels show up at the end to get much of anything here.
At some point, Zack Wheeler should return – he’s throwing a bullpen on Monday and could be back by next week. In the meantime, consider Bailey Falteras he gets a pair of starts against the Marlins and he’s been cruising as of late.
Stay away from Ranger Suárez despite getting the Nationals and Cubs – he’s failed to perform against weak lineups. I wonder if he’ll even get removed with the return of Wheeler instead of Falter.
It’s a bit frustrating to see Roansy Contreras get pushed past the Cincinnati series to face the Mets, but he’ll likely get the Cubs and Reds after and I’d start him for those two easily (and maybe even the Cardinals again to end the year). Update: I don’t know what the Pirates are doing with Roansy and Zach Thompson. If he’s starting against the Reds, great, but then he won’t get the Cubs and he’d face the Yankees instead.
The Padres have a rough go of it down the stretch, though I’m still starting Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove through most of it – Coors is the only question mark for Darvish, while the Dodgers stand in the way of Musgrove and Snell.
I think you’re better off moving on from both Sean Manaea and Mike Clevinger. I’d prefer Clev against the Mariners to Manaea against the Diamondbacks, though neither has their secondaries cooking and could hurt more than help. Be careful.
Poor Giants and poor Alex Cobb. I’m out completely until the Diamondbacks start, meaning he should be on the wire in my view. But hey, Rockie Road + Sneks ain’t so bad if he lands on the wire in two weeks.
I think you’re fine starting everyone here, with the only question being Marco Gonzales. He performed well against Atlanta and I can see him being his ole Toby self against a mediocre set of opponents to end the year.
The only reason to pull back on any of these pitchers is against the Dodgers, and yes, I’d bench all three of José Quintana, Jordan Montgomery, and Adam Wainwright for those single games. Start the rest (and maybe even Dakota Hudson if he starts that doubleheader against the Reds).
Yeeeesh this is not great. Ryan Yarbrough isn’t actually going tonight, but he should be the guy after and I didn’t want to mess up the table. He’s of consideration for a cheap Win against Texas and Cleveland, but that’s about it.
Shane McClanahan looks to be coming back and is being thrown into the fire with @TOR/HOU/TOR/@HOU. That’s brutal. I suggest treating him like a Still ILL and benching for the Jays and taking it from there.
Corey Kluber seemed unstartable last week, but McShane looks to be saving him by bumping him into the Rangers and Cleveland. You’re okay with those two, and not Houston in the slightest.
It’s a tough call what to do with Drew Rasmussen with his horrible schedule, but he’s been dominating with his cutter. I say go for it against the Jays and see what happens.
Jeffrey Springs was limited last time out and I’m not liking this start against the Jays. I’d be cautious there, and definitely starting him against the Rangers. Up to you.
Jon Gray is returning today for the Rangers, and I’m not sure what order the Rangers go with moving forward from this doubleheader (does he or Otto get the Mariners?), but I’m inclined to believe you’ll want to start Gray here on out after his return.
Don’t ignore Cole Ragans completely – there’s a chance he finds his groove against the Athletics and could be a sneaky stream at least once in his following three outings.
I’m back on the Martín Pérez train after he showcased his excellent sinker/cutter command to go with the elite changeup. I’m riding this into the sunset.
Glenn Otto came through as a streamer on Monday, and there’s a chance he could be of value in some decent matchups ahead. However, putting that much trust in his command is a dangerous game.
The same goes for Dane Dunning – I imagine he’ll succeed at least once, but good luck guessing when.
It’s pretty easy to start Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah the rest of the way, with Ross Stripling close behind – I’m a little worried about those final three starts, but if he’s still pitching as he is now, I think you can roll with it.
José Berríos is still his super volatile self and his four outings against the Orioles + Rays could be fruitful…or destroy your league. Up to you if you can risk it.
Oh! Wait! Erick Fedde is allowed one exception to his rule: The Marlins. Not the worst desperate stream you’ll find.
The List Based On ROS Schedules
Phew. With all the team schedules outlined above (HUGE thanks to Dave Swan’s help with the tables together! Give him a follow on Twitter), I went forward and made a GIANT table featuring every starter listed above, ranking them in six different tiers to get a sense of who to target and avoid down the stretch.
Before we get to that, I need to address a few things:
- This is stupid hard and I’m so sorry. Please forgive me for this atrocity below.
- It’s incredibly difficult to weigh # of expected starts vs. expected performance vs. opponent faced vs. the actual ability of the pitcher. There’s plenty of room for interpretation here, so I just grouped it from most starts to fewest in each tier.
- I elected to go the Tier route, where the individual ranking doesn’t matter nearly as much as the tier they reside in.
- I also know y’all love number ranks, so I added that column too. I got you, just realize it’s a loose ranking inside the tiers.
- Let me outline the definitions of each tier:
- Auto: You’re pretty much starting them for each outing they have ahead of them, regardless of the opponent. Maybe one or two considerations, but you’re likely still starting them.
- Probable: You trust them against weak teams and there may be one or two games that give you some hesitation, or they have a great schedule but their ability is somewhat in question, unlike the fantastic guys in the top tier.
- Questionable: These are going to be guys with a heavy swing of good and poor matchups, mixed with pitchers whose abilities we inherently question
- Unlikely: These pitchers have maybe one or two starts we’d consider them for as a stream, but overall are unlikely to go on a solid stretch through September.
- Do Not Start: It’s certainly possible they pull off a good outing here and there, but you really don’t want to bet on it. Don’t do this.
- These matchups are likely to change plenty between now and the end of the season and take the time to look into who maybe shift around and who may not (e.g. The Yankees rotation)
- Again, please don’t hate me, this took forever.
Alright, let’s get to it. Here’s the giant table containing The List: The Top 150 Starting Pitchers Based on Expected ROS Schedule.
Note: If you’re having trouble sliding the table horizontally on desktop, highlight a row of table and drag to the right/left. You can scroll with your finger on mobile/tablet.