Welcome to this week’s edition of the 2023 two-start pitcher rankings!
The 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 Most Likely 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 a roster-rate under 50% in Yahoo or ESPN leagues. The Streamer of the Week will be highlighted in the tables in green.
As a friendly reminder, the projected starters are just that, projections, and are subject to change.
Set and Forget
- Zac Gallen and Shane McClanahan will look to continue their early-season dominance this week. Gallen has two very favorable matchups, while McClanahan will do battle with the improved Orioles offense followed by the injury-depleted Yankees.
- Logan Webb (2-5) has been unlucky so far this season but is coming off one of his better starts of the season and has a great chance to get his season back on track this week with matchups against the Nationals and Diamondbacks.
- Like his teammate Webb, Anthony DeSclafani also gets to tangle with the Nationals and Diamondbacks as well as he looks to build on his strong start to the season.
- There have been several red flags with Max Scherzer this season, including his dramatic drop in spin rates after his recent “sticky stuff” suspension, and I originally planned to place him in the tier below. However, he has two terrific matchups against weak-hitting offenses (CIN and WAS) this week, so you are clearly rolling with him if he’s on your roster. If he struggles, it may be time to panic for the 38-year-old right-hander.
- Some outlets do not yet have a confirmed starter for Milwaukee on Sunday. Assuming Freddy Peralta pitches on schedule, he would pitch Sunday. If for some reason he gets bumped back to Monday, he would become a two-start option (vs. LAD, vs. KC) and would belong in this tier.
- Zach Eflin (4-0, 2.25 ERA) has proven to be a draft-day steal in the early going this season and will look to keep things going with road starts at BAL and at NYY this week. Eflin has benefited from favorable matchups thus far (DET, OAK, CHW, CHW, PIT), so this week should teach us a lot about his staying power as a mixed-league asset this season.
- Cleveland right-hander Tanner Bibee is a terrific option this week with two home starts against the Tigers and Angels. Bibee has not appeared in any way overmatched in his first two career starts this season at the big-league level and is one of my favorite options this week if you roster him. The 24-year-old is somehow still rostered in only 45% of Yahoo! leagues. I expect he will log the first quality start of his young career this week as my Two-Start Streamer of the Week.
- Andrew Heaney has been boom-or-bust this season but benefits from a pair of favorable matchups against struggling offenses (SEA and OAK) in pitcher-friendly ballparks this week.
- There is some risk with Lucas Giolito and Mitch Keller this week due to potentially-tough matchups vs. Houston and Baltimore, but those are offset by friendly matchups against KC and COL (at home) which is why I placed them in this tier.
- Graham Ashcraft (2-0, 2.00 ERA) has been terrific thus far and likely belongs in the tier above but that matchup in the launching pad of Great American Ballpark against the Mets offense scares me a bit. Ashcraft feels like he is due for some regression at some point, and it may come this week.
- Arizona’s 24-year-old Brandon Pfaadt was called up this week and promptly obliterated (7 ER in 4 2/3 IP) by the juggernaut that is the Texas Rangers offense. However, the highly-regarded prospect is a sneaky two-start option this week with seemingly-friendly matchups against MIA and SF. I’m willing to roll the dice with Pfaadt (27% rostered) as a bonus Two-Start Streamer of the Week in deeper formats.
- Jon Gray (4.40 ERA) hasn’t been anything to write home about this season and generally would be in the tier below. However, like teammate Andrew Heaney above, Gray has a pair of favorable matchups this week (SEA, OAK) and is worth rolling out in deeper leagues.
- I do not like Miles Mikolas (5.79 ERA) this week (at CHC, at BOS), and I should probably have him in the tier below as an outright avoid. However, if you play in a points league, the veteran right-hander is usually good for 5-6 innings and therefore may be worth streaming this week as a quantity > quality option.
- Veteran right-hander Kyle Gibson started the season 4-0 but was dreadful in his last outing against the Royals, in which he failed to record a strikeout. The 35-year-old is a recommended ‘avoid’ this week against the buzzsaw Rays and vastly-improved Pirates lineups.
- Louie Varland has looked solid in limited action but faces daunting matchups against San Diego and Chicago this week.
- Braxton Garrett has a couple of solid matchups against ARZ and CIN, but I just can’t get there.
Two-Start Streamer of the Week Record: 1-4. I’m being a bit presumptuous here since Drew Smyly has another start on Saturday against Miami, but after his terrific outing on Monday (7 IP, 1ER) against Washington, I think it’s safe to say we are finally in the win column!
Thanks for the jinx on Smyly. If anyone else wants to form an angry mob, I’ll supply the torches. Bring your own pitchforks.