Welcome to the first 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 gray. I’ll be keeping track of our streaming record throughout the season. 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
- With most teams playing three games in the partial first week of the season, there’s a notable lack of established aces with two starts this week. At the top of the rankings is one of the most notable PLV standouts, Drew Rasmussen. Not only does Rasmussen have the stuff and command to think there’s a next level for him in 2023, he gets perhaps the two worst lineups in baseball. Not a bad way to start a potential breakout campaign.
- Freddy Peralta enters the year healthy, evidenced by his improved velocity over the spring. When Peralta is healthy and on the mound, he’s in your lineup. His elevated walk rate can lead to trouble, but his elite stuff makes him a rather easy lineup choice, even against a pair of formidable opponents
- Despite our season-long expectations, Charlie Morton ranks below Jon Gray given the former’s track record of rough Aprils since joining Atlanta. The Cardinals and Padres project to be two of the league’s most potent offenses, but Morton’s penchant for racking up strikeouts makes it well worth the risk.
- Carlos Carrasco looks to be more of a higher-end streamer in 12-team leagues than a roster main-stay, but he opens the year with a fantastic schedule. It may feel like cheating, but Carrasco is week 1’s Streamer of the Week due to his surprisingly low roster rates: 47% on Yahoo and 16% on ESPN. You’ll want to put in a claim for Cookie sooner rather than later, as these numbers should rise given the cushy April matchups. The veteran right-hander has become a bit of a volatile option in the last couple seasons but graded out above average by most PLV metrics in 2022.
- Perhaps no pitcher generated as much buzz towards the end of the spring as Reid Detmers. It’s been well deserved as the Halos’ starter added velocity on both his slider and four-seamer. With a fastball averaging 96mph in his fine spring tune-up, Detmers is one of the most popular breakout candidates and his name flew up draft boards in the final couple weeks before Opening Day. He finds himself in Tier 3, however, due to his second outing of the week against Toronto. The Blue Jays might just be the American League’s deepest lineup to start the year. In weekly leagues, trust the young lefty to build on the strides he made in 2022 and this year’s Cactus League. If you’re in a daily H2H category league, take a second league at Detmers and decide if he’s worth the start over the weekend.
- Hunter Brown is another one of the spring’s most trendy names. Enthusiasm waned once Brown was side-tracked by a back injury, but he’s ready to start the year on schedule. He’s a likely start in weekly leagues to take advantage of a below-average Tigers squad. It’s not without risk, as the limited spring and struggles with command could leave you disappointed in his workload or effectiveness.
- Below Michael Kopech are a variety of one-start streamers for daily 12-teamers or potential dart-throw two-start streamers in deeper leagues. In most cases, you’ll be streaming the poor opponent matchups and not the pitcher. It’s worth noting, this early in the season, you’re likely better served targeting the most intriguing names on the wire rather than just someone with two strong early matchups. For those in 15-team leagues, Michael Grove is a high-risk option if you’re willing to absorb the elevated ratio risk. It’s likely he isn’t given the opportunity to work deep into games, but pitching behind the Dodgers might allow him to sneak by with a win. I’d look elsewhere, but the matchups are too good to put in the bottom tier.
- Despite some optimism for both Kyle Bradish and Matthew Boyd, it’d be a stretch to advise starting them next week in 12-team leagues. While the Yankees and Astros are easy bench decisions, both the Red Sox and Rangers boast strong top halves of their lineups that could cause these fantasy sleepers some trouble. I’d hope to have both pitchers stashed away on my bench and see how they look during the first week.
- Roansy Contreras and MacKenzie Gore are both brimming with potential, but have weak supporting casts behind them and are not in organizations known for developing young arms. Keep both names at the top of your radar if something clicks.
- Unlike a similar scenario with Grove, I’m unwilling to risk the perfect set of matchups for Kutter Crawford this week. With a collection of Sox pitchers nearing returns, it’s possible Crawford doesn’t make his weekend start.