Welcome to this week’s edition of the 2023 two-start pitcher rankings!
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.
Each week, I’ll be selecting my Two-Start Streamer of the Week. The criteria for a streamer will be roster-rate under 50% in Yahoo or ESPN leagues. The Streamer of the Week will be highlighted in the tables in green. Reach out to me in the PL Discord or on Twitter @AnthonyTucker81 and let me know if you’d grade the weekly streamer as a win or loss.
As a friendly reminder, the projected starters are just that, projections and subject to change.
Set and Forget
- It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s … a two-start week from Shohei Ohtani?!?!? Two-start weeks from Ohtani have been almost non-existent since Ohtani entered the league, but a Monday start and a seven-game week mean the stars are aligned. For those who roster the phenom in weekly leagues, it’ll be a no-brainer to use him as an SP as opposed to in your UTIL spot.
- Ohtani would normally make claim to the top spot, but the one-and-only Jacob deGrom faces two of the worst offenses in baseball. The Royals and A’s are bottom three in just about every offensive category you can think of. This could be the biggest mismatch between pitcher and a pair of opponents we see all season.
- You’re starting Cristian Javier and Lance Lynn despite their uneven starts to the year. Unfortunately, they both face pairs of formidable opponents. Jesús Luzardo, on the other hand, has looked as sharp as ever in the early goings. The Marlins’ lefty is well on his way to a true breakout and living up to his lofty expectations as a prospect. Look for him to carve up a Giants lineup that is second worst in the league against LHP with a 45 wRC+.
- Sonny Gray is poised to continue his hot start to the season against the Red Sox and Nats. While we know about the shortcomings of the Washington offense, the bottom half of Boston’s lineup poses little threat to opposing pitchers. Look for Gray to continue using his deep repertoire of pitches to stifle these offenses and return strong ratios for your team.
- Each of Blake Snell’s three seasons in San Diego has started out slow. In fact, since joining the Padre’s his first-half ERA is over 5. He should figure it out, but it’s impossible to trust him against Atlanta. Chris Sale is similarly risky. Until we see him put it together over a full start, it likely makes sense in 12-teamers to keep him on your bench.
- In daily leagues, I’d much prefer a one-start stream from Alex Wood (@MIA). In daily leagues he’s on your bench against the Mets, but in an absence of other reliable options available in 50% or more of leagues, he’s the Two-Start Streamer of the Week. There are a few downsides here. The Giants have been especially unpredictable with their starters thus far. In addition, the Mets have a collection of veterans who crush lefties.
- With the state of starting pitching and some of the ratio-wrecking performances we’ve seen over the first three weeks of the season, it’s wise to think twice when deciding whether to start a fringe-quality pitcher. It’s even less advisable to add a pitcher solely because of their matchups. Yet, given the limited options of pitchers rostered in less than 50% of leagues, Hunter Gaddis might just be in consideration. The schedule is ideal, but the risk is sky high. Gaddis makes the most sense in deeper points leagues.
- Taj Bradley isn’t listed here as he was shuttled back to Triple-A after his debut. It’s a near certainty that Jeffrey Springs will be heading to the IL, so it’s possible Bradley is back in the big leagues by Monday. If so, he’s the clear priority add. Depending on the depth of the league, he’s worth proactively adding in advance of the Rays announcing the move.
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What about Bello and Fried?
Both Fried and Bello pitched yesterday (Sunday) so they are not 2 start pitchers this week.
Jose Suarez vOAK / @MIL
Prob gotta be in questionable tier at least with the Oak start.