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 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. It may not be easy to hear, but this next start against the Padres could be the last one for your teams as I’d bench in three of the following starts. Up to you if you want to wait a week for the Padres start.
As for Zac Gallen, you start the dang man. He’s on too good of a run.
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.
You’re starting the aces the rest of the way, with Jake Odorizzi being the only question. Consider him against the Nationals, but nothing else.
The Orioles are a crew where you gotta play the hokie-pokie jumping in and out. Comfortably the guys when they face the Nationals and Tigers (yes, all of them), but avoid everything else. Seriously, I don’t care how Kyle Bradish looks for one game, don’t start him against those tough teams.
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. There will be some shifting around with Kutter Crawford on the IL (possibly a four-man turn of the rotation here and there), but it doesn’t change a whole lot.
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.
The Cubs are doing some weird things this week, going six-man for the week with Justin Steele at the end, then possibly kicking out Javier Assad after.
It’s an interesting set of low-rostered arms here with tasty matchups, and keep your eye on how this plays out. Wade Miley could be a sneaky stream, Drew Smyly is a clear hold, while Adrian Sampson could be a decent desperate option against some terrible options.
Start Justin Steele and Marcus Stroman against all but the Phillies and Mets…and even then you may still want to.
Update: With Justin Steele on the IL, it looks like a normal five-man rotation for the time being.
I’m cautious trusting Michael Kopech quickly from his return from the IL, especially considering his volatility before the injury. Still, Rockie Road followed by a pair of Detroit starts is as cushy as they come.
Keep starting the rest of them, even Lucas Giolito as those matchups are easy enough for him to excel despite not having his best stuff. Gotta love this schedule.
You can pretty much stay away from all of this except for Nick Lodolo, who I’d love to hold in standard leagues though the end.
If you’re looking for something sneaky, Justin Dunn could be something by the end of the year, where you’d be able to stream him against the Pirates and Cubs. Let’s see how September goes.
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.
Keep starting Triston McKenzie and Shane Bieber, of course, and avoid the rest. Yes, probably Cal Quantrill, included.
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.
If Matt Manning can get his slider in order by that second Kansas City Start, that could be something, but that’s all I’ve got. Yikes.
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…which may not actually stick around after he makes his MLB debut on Monday.
The other five seem locked in, though, and I don’t see a reason not to start all five the rest of the way. Houston has coasted for what, five months? Wild.
All we care about here is Brady Singer as the rest are not worth the risk.
Okay fine, Joanthan Heasley and Max Castillo are going to get a pair of chances against the Tigers and who knows, that could work. Blame it on the Tigers, after all.
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.
Update: It looks like Zack Greinke is returning to the Royals this week, possibly creating a six-man rotation. Keep an eye on who gets the Detroit matchups and roll from there.
Gotta love those Detriot and Oakland starts for Patrick Sandoval in September, while Michael Lorenzen could get back into the groove long enough for us to stream him later in the month.
Keep in mind, the Angels will move around the order often to accommodate Shohei Ohtani. Also, Reid Detmers may be safe to start again once he gets over this Houston hump.
I don’t think you want to touch José Suarez or Mike Mayers here. Possibly Suarez is he finds one of those Oakland starts later, but not for Mayers.
Start all the Dodgers pitchers indefinitely save for Ryan Pepiot. Easy.
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.
Start Sandy Alcantara and Pablo López through the end, and possibly Edward Cabrera as well (up to you for his start against the Mets).
I’d be a little cautious with Jesús Luzardo, possibly just saving him for those two luscious outings against the Nationals and Cubs.
As for Trevor Rogers…let’s play it by ear. If he can dominate the Phils, we may be able to jump in for a lovely four-start stretch as he avoids the Mets twice. Monitor this.
The way I see it, you’re avoiding Adrian Houser and Jason Alexander because duh, you’re starting Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes without a doubt (okay, save for that one Coors start), and Freddy Peralta will likely have your trust by that Mets start as you start him for all five games.
That leaves Eric Lauer, who is kinda enough to have tough matchups early and make our decision for us. I’d keep him off my squads until that Cincinnati start at the earliest, with that Miami start as the one I’d feel comfortable letting him fly for.
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.
Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray are clear skies the rest of the way, Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy rarely go deep enough to matter, and Aaron Sanchez…okay maybe if he’s tossing a ton of curves for that Detroit start.
As if the Mets needed to have the best schedule of any rotation the rest of the way. Start them all, save for Taijuan Walker against Atlanta. I have a touch of concern with Carlos Carrasco and his ability to go deep in his starts, but the opponent makes the gamble worth it.
There’s also Max Scherzer’s possible injury and it could mean David Peterson gets another spot start here and there. I sure hope so – if the man starts, you pick him up – but nothing suggests it’s happening as of now.
Not the easiest schedule ahead for Yankee pitchers. I imagine Nestor Cortes will jump back in with 70+ pitches in his Still ILL against the Twins, and should be good from there.
Domingo Germán sticks in the rotation for now, but may be replaced by Luis Severino by the end and I’m not sure you want to start him for MIN + BOS x2 (sure, the Pirates game is fine by me).
Jameson Taillon, Frankie Montas, and Gerrit Cole should be all good to start the rest of the way, save for Taillon and maybe even Montas against the Jays. We’ll see.
Yikes. You may have to wait until the Angels show up at the end to get much of anything here.
Maybe Ken Waldichuk can showcase strong enough command against Atlanta and Texas to be considered for the Mariners, or maybe you want to dave with Cole Irvin or JP Sears, but I’d generally avoid here. Womp womp.
At some point, Zack Wheeler should return – he was expected for 9/6 but was pushed back. In the meantime, consider Bailey Falter as 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 guess we’re stuck holding onto Noah Syndergaard and Kyle Gibson for those lovely matchups, but I wouldn’t be shocked if either fails to come through despite their gifts.
The best part about this is the three-start stretch for Roansy Contreras after he deals with the Cardinals – let’s hope he keeps it as the Pirates may be moving to a proper six-man rotation including Johan Oviedo with their pair of doubleheaders ahead.
As for the other options, only JT Brubaker is of interest and only against the Cubs. You don’t want to touch the others, including Mitch Keller.
The Padres have a rough go of it down the stretch, though I’m still starting Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove through most of it – Coors is the only question mark.
Blake Snell is a tougher call with a pair of starts against the Dodgers + Coors. At least he has that bonus San Francisco start to ease the pain.
I think you’re better off moving on from both Sean Manaea and Mike Clevinger. I’d prefer Clev against the Diamondbacks to Manaea, though neither has their secondaries cooking and could hurt more than help.
Poor Giants and poor Alex Cobb. I’m out completely until the Diamondbacks start, meaning he should be on the wire in my view.
Outside of that, it’s pretty straightforward. Start Carlos Rodón and Logan Webb (yes, even against the Dodgers and Coors. It’s risky, but I think worth it), and sit everyone else.
I think you’re fine starting everyone except Marco Gonzales here, maybe benching George Kirby against Atlanta (but honestly, I think I’m doing it).
As for Marco, you can consider him after the Atlanta start, possibly for the rest of the year. I hope he has that good changeup working.
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. We may be in a place to chase Luis Patiño against the Guardians, though I’m sitting him for the rest of it.
Ryan Yarbrough gets avoided for all of it, Corey Kluber seems unstartable after this start against the Yankees, and it’s a tough call what to do with Drew Rasmussen after this start against Boston. I guess keep starting him…?
I can’t wait for Shane McClanahan to come back into the mix, but in the meantime, Jeffrey Springs is the star of the rotation. I think I’m starting him in all these starts, even against the Jays.
You can leave all these pitchers on the wire until their weaker opponents, with Glenn Otto and Dane Dunning being the main options to stream against the Angels, Athletics, and Marlins.
I’d take a break from Martín Pérez until he showcases his excellent sinker/cutter command to go with the elite changeup.
Don’t ignore Cole Ragans completely – if he finds his groove against the Astros or Marlins, he may be a stream against the Rays or Guardians.
Also, we may see Jon Gray return before the season comes to a close. Give him one start to provide he’s okay before letting it fly.
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.
As for Mitch White and Yusei Kikuchi, you’re better off streaming elsewhere.
Be thankful Josiah Gray gets the Marlins twice, otherwise there’s nothing here but a desperate chance of Paolo Espino against the Orioles or – dare I say – Patrick Corbin against the Marlins.
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-Start: 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.
- Likely Start: 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.
- DO NOT: For real, don’t start these guys.
- 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.
Double note: I know, the rankings of Verlander, Steele, and Mahle, are weird because they are combined with another arm. Refer to the notes above for the team schedules with help there.
Thank you so much for doing this. Amazingly helpful as we get to the stretch run!
Thoughts on Soroka? Worth a roster spot at this point?
You should do this a few weeks earlier next year. Extremely helpful to look to the playoffs, if you are already going to make it.