Welcome to 2022’s first edition of the two-start pitcher rankings! After an extended offseason where the lockout had the prospects of a 162-game schedule in doubt, we’re back to scanning upcoming schedules and scouring the waiver wire to find the best two-start options out there.
My rankings have four tiers: Set and Forget, Probably Start, Questionable, and Avoid. Set and Forget starters are simply that; get them in your lineup and don’t think twice. The Probably Start tier includes players with the mix of skill and matchups that make them almost certainly two-start plays, but not without some elevated risk compared to the top tier. Questionable starters are those best-suited for daily lineup leagues where you can bench them against the tougher of their two opponents. Finally, we have the Avoid tier which includes two-start SPs who should remain on your bench or the wire.
As a friendly reminder, the projected starters are just that, projections, and subject to change.
Set and Forget
- When healthy, Alex Wood has always been an intriguing option. In his first season with the Giants, he was a consistently dependable, if not flashy, performer for fantasy squads. The Padres don’t look nearly as imposing a lineup without Fernando Tatís Jr. Wood looks poised to get off to a strong start.
- Tyler Mahle was a conundrum pitching at home last season, posting a 5.63 ERA at the “Great American Small Park.” Despite this, he’s a relatively safe option against a Cleveland lineup that doesn’t pack a lot of punch. There’s every reason to hesitate this season when one of your starters faces the Dodgers. In a daily lineup league, there’s no shame in benching Mahle against the Dodgers. In a weekly league, it’s more of a toss-up but I would lean towards getting him in your lineup for the upside of a start against the Guardians.
- Huascar Ynoa won a spot in Atlanta’s rotation out of spring training, a boon for fantasy managers in search of late-round upside. There’s certainly a high degree of risk and reward in Ynoa’s profile. In his rookie year, he wowed us with a 31% CSW and a nasty slider. We also saw the downside during starts when Ynoa left his heater over the heart of the plate. Neither the Nats nor the Padres boast particularly deep lineups. At worst, the right-hander should be a solid source of strikeouts next week.
- While this is the two-start pitcher article and not rest of season rankings, it’s helpful here to issue an important reminder: this early in the season, you should focus on adding pitchers off the wire with the most potential regardless of if they have two-starts. In other words, would you rather have added a one-start Trevor Rogers or Carlos Rodón after their intriguing spring training performances last season, or prioritized a middling starter with strong matchups?
- Matt Brash is the perfect example of this for 2022. If he’s still available in your league, he should be the top priority to add to your roster. It feels rash to recommend forcing him into your lineup against two of the American League’s top lineups, but he should be off the wire to see if he can translate his head-turning spring training into regular-season production.
- Chasing the 2019 version of Patrick Corbin isn’t advisable, but he’s a perfectly fine streamer off the wire in his second start at the Pirates. Without his vintage slider, however, he’s an easy decision to bench against the reigning World Series champs.
- As some teams continue to embrace full-on tanking, there are ample opportunities to target these lineups when selecting streamers. You’ll likely see a common theme in this weekly column: pitchers available on the wire who are ideal pickups against the likes of the Athletics, Orioles, and Pirates amongst others. This week’s beneficiaries include Corbin, Luis Patiño, Yusei Kikuchi, Eric Lauer, Jameson Taillon, Dakota Hudson, Nestor Cortes Jr, and Ryan Yarbrough. Most of these names lack the “wow” factor but should be strong bets for good ratios. Of these options, Patiño is the most intriguing given his youth and boatload of potential.
- Taijuan Walker was pretty useful from a fantasy perspective over the first half of 2021. On the surface, a home start against the Diamondbacks seems advantageous. A sore knee caused Walker to exit his final spring tune-up early, however, and it’s enough a reason to look elsewhere for more interesting arms. He’s been cleared to start, but one would expect he’s not going to expected to work deep into games early on this season.
- Nick Martinez has a little bit of buzz in his return from the KBO, but in his first two starts, he has the unenviable task of facing the Giants and Braves. If Martinez can build upon his 2021 season where he sat 93-94mph with his fastball, there might be a place for Martinez in your lineup.
- You may remember Jordan Hicks as the flame-throwing reliever who was thought to be a one-day high-end closer until his career was side-tracked by elbow injuries. Well, mere days before the start of the season, the St. Louis Cardinals decided he’d be the team’s fifth starter. Hicks pitched just three innings during spring training games and is not stretched out for a starter’s workload. While it’ll be interesting to see what exactly the Cardinals were thinking with this seemingly last-minute decision, Hicks won’t be fantasy relevant until he’s built up his pitch count.
Questions? Feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @AnthonyTucker81 and I’ll be happy to talk two-start SPs and more!
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)