Welcome to this week’s 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.
As a friendly reminder, the projected starters are just that, projections and subject to change.
Set and Forget
- Pablo López is putting it all together this season and has looked like one of the best pitchers in the game. Despite a trip to Coors Field, there’s no possibility of keeping his 2.04 ERA and 0.96 WHIP out of your lineup. López’s signature changeup has been perhaps the best in baseball this season. Trust that he can rely on the fastball-changeup combo to navigate the pitfalls of pitching in Colorado.
- Luis Castillo hasn’t had everything working quite yet as his changeups are not getting the whiffs we’ve become accustomed to. The good news? His fastball velocity is back where we want it to be. While the Red Sox lineup is suddenly surging, Castillo should be in your lineup. It often comes with an elevated WHIP, but Castillo is typically a stalwart with strikeouts and ERA.
- Zac Gallen and Eric Lauer will each get a two-start week coming off starts where their performance came back down to earth. You shouldn’t expect their full-season numbers to stick the rest of the way, but they both are easy decisions to get back into their lineup. It is worth pointing out that in Lauer’s second start of the week, he’ll toe the rubber against the San Diego. The Padres, like the Cardinals offense who had Lauer’s number earlier this week, crush lefties.
- Framber Valdez is a groundball machine, inducing 69.2% of them on balls in play this season. Sometimes this leads to high WHIPs and some bad luck; however, you shouldn’t expect to see it happen next week. Valdez faces off against the lowly A’s and Royals, all while pitching behind a supporting cast that’s third in the majors in home runs.
- If someone in your league gave up on George Kirby after two straight outings of damage to their ERA and WHIP, now would be the time to pick him up. The decision to start him at Baltimore is easy enough. It’s a weak offense in a pitcher’s park (shoutout to Camden Yards’ left-field wall that looks no less than a mile away). For his second start against the Rangers? It may not seem like it on the surface, but you can say the same thing about them: a weak offense in a pitcher’s park. Despite revamping their team in the offseason and getting off to a hot start offensively, it looks like more of the same in Arlington. The Rangers are 10% below league average by wRC+ and have posted a lowly .643 OPS. Look for Kirby to take some strides this week and provide value to your teams.
- There’s a lot of reason to believe Charlie Morton will be a valuable contributor with more consistent production than the rough start he’s been off to thus far. Currently, however, it’s hard to recommend confidently starting him at Coors. In daily leagues with H2H categories, it should be dependent on whether you need strikeouts/wins or need to preserve ratios. In leagues where lineups lock weekly, his track record suggests he belongs in your lineup and can figure things out. If it’s any small consolation, Morton posted a 4.26 ERA through May last season. He followed it up with a 2.73 ERA in June.
- This week has a number of viable two-start additions. Aaron Ashby is by far the most exciting. He’s a name you should be searching for on waivers, not just for this week, but for as long as he has a rotation spot to call his own. Ashby is rostered in under 35% of Yahoo leagues and a stunning 10% in ESPN. Grab Ashby before a league mate does and see how things play out for the young Milwaukee lefty.
- Cal Quantrill and Martin Peréz both make for nice additions this week, given their matchups. Peréz has been a revelation thus far, and while it’s not likely to stick, it may be more difficult to find him on waivers right now.
- David Peterson (WSH), Jakob Junis (@MIA), and Rich Hill (BAL) all have some appeal as one-start streamers. If at all possible, I’d avoid Hill, but he continues to have his moments on occasion.
- Surely it would be a typo or just a pure oversight to have a pitcher with a 5-0 record and sparkling 1.70 ERA in the Avoid tier during a two-start week, right? With Paul Blackburn, that’s exactly what we have. Blackburn has managed to succeed despite a meager strikeout rate and a significant amount of hard contact. A .259 BABIP could explain a lot behind the Oakland starter’s performance through May. With the Astros and Red Sox coming to town, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the pendulum swing the other way for Blackburn.
- After Ranger Suárez’s second half last season, many drafted him in the top 200 picks with the belief he could build on his 2021 and have a full season breakout. Drafters correctly assumed there was a lefty who had entered a rotation late in the season and was poised for more. Unfortunately for those who placed their bets on Suárez, the breakout they were looking for was Nasty Nestor Cortes. Suárez might be an option in the right matchup, but that won’t be against the Giants or Angels.
- Nick Martinez and Tyler Wells could be options in the deepest of leagues this week but in standard size leagues are not on your radar. Dylan Bundy pitched well against the Tigers in his last start and will see them again next week. There’s a temptation to see if he can do it again, but there’s too much risk involved to make it worth a one-start stream.
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)