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
- Corbin Burnes, Shane McClanahan, and Max Fried are bona fide fantasy aces every fifth day regardless of the opponent. This is a great quality because the trio will see some of the league’s most dangerous lineups next week (with McClanahan’s visit from the Pirates a notable exception).
- As if the Dodgers needed any additional star power, Tony Gonsolin is in the midst of a breakout season. If it weren’t for a trip to Great American Ballpark and a weekend start against Atlanta, the hottest team in baseball, Gonsolin would have likely been in Tier 1. He’s rattled off six straight quality starts and is tied for the league lead with eight wins. Moreover, he’s been a stabilizing presence for your ratios. Not only has Gonsolin allowed two runs or less in every start this season, but he’s also managed to lower his walk rate to a more manageable 8%.
- Fresh off a near no-hitter, Miles Mikolas looks primed to take advantage of another two NL Central division foes. Mikolas typically doesn’t have the upside we saw earlier this week, but he’s a high-floor arm. After throwing 129 pitches, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Cards give Mikolas a quick hook in his next trip to the mound. Despite the potential for an abbreviated outing, he’s still a strong option and belongs in your lineup.
- After a disappointing first start of the season, which included lower velocity than we saw last season, there’s likely some trepidation in starting Lance Lynn against the Blue Jays. In weekly leagues where you don’t have the option to err on the side of caution, it makes sense to get Lynn in your lineup. He’s established himself as a workhorse arm, and he’ll likely pay dividends for those who stashed him in their IL spots.
- Joe Ryan struggled in his first start in a little less than a month. While the ineffectiveness, at least partially, was likely due to the extended stay on the COVID-IL, it did highlight two areas that could cause Ryan to struggle in the future: walks and a high flyball rate. If the Minnesota righty qualified for the leaderboards, he’d be second in the league behind only Triston McKenzie in FB%. While it will likely help support a strong WHIP, it could lead to nights where he’s a victim of the gopher ball. Fortunately, neither the Guardians nor Rockies have the personnel to take full advantage.
- The amount of intriguing starting pitching options on waivers right now feels a bit depleted. As a result, it’s likely that Kyle Gibson is already rostered, but if available, he is the preferred two-start streamer this week. He has a reasonably high floor compared to most streamers and can typically navigate league-average lineups like Texas and San Diego.
- Tyler Wells is likely a better real-life pitcher than fantasy option. He’s been a bright spot for the Orioles staff this season, but with a paltry 15% strikeout rate, he shouldn’t be someone you’re clamoring to add in a 12-teamer. For those in need of innings or in a deeper league, he could be an option, albeit unexciting, against the Nats.
- David Peterson is a name who should likely be avoided… unless you’re willing to roll the dice and go out on a limb in search of a potential win. The bad news: Peterson’s recent performances have done nothing to warrant even considering starting him. He hasn’t made it through 5 innings in any of his last four starts. He walks too many batters and has a disappointing swinging strike rate. However, for those willing to play the matchups, Peterson is set to see the Marlins twice next week. Miami is by the worst team in the majors against lefties, evidenced by a 73 wRC+ against LHP. Their 29% strikeout rate and minuscule .591 OPS are also by far the worst in the league vs. southpaws. Starting Peterson is not for the faint of heart, but a double-dose of the Marlins could lead to some strikeouts and manageable ratios.
- Roansy Contreras and JT Brubaker are streaming options against the lowly Cubs. Contreras is easily the preferred option, but the more experienced Brubaker has potential as more of a floor play.
- Trevor Rogers has been one of, if not the biggest, fantasy disappointments this season. If he’s still on your roster, he’s not advisable to put back into your lineup until he gets back on track.
- Despite registering a quality start in his last trip to the mound, José Urquidy should likely be on your bench this week. While he’s never been a high-strikeout arm, Urquidy has typically provided ratio stability for fantasy rosters due to his full arsenal of pitches. In 2022, however, he hasn’t provided either strikeouts or ratios. The Mets and Yankees are too powerful to risk starting Urquidy, especially with the amount of hard contact he has allowed this season.