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 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 rostership-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
- Six teams have just five games in the upcoming week. As a result, the group of two-start pitchers is light this week, something especially noticeable in the top two tiers. The Rays have five games next week meaning Tyler Glasnow tentatively could make two starts, but Tampa could opt to use a fifth starter and give their ace an extra day of rest.
- We’ve been collectively holding our breath with Nathan Eovaldi for the better part of the last month as his fastball velocity has fluctuated, down to just 93 MPH in his last outing. Despite any trepidation, he’s been a top-five fantasy pitcher so far this season. Until the other shoe drops, you’ll be starting him.
- In tier two, we have a trio of comeback arcs. Kenta Maeda and Eduardo Rodriguez have each missed much of the last few seasons with injury while José Berríos looked like he was entirely off the fantasy radar after a disastrous 2023. While Berríos might be the best option rest of the season, Maeda is in the best position next week given a favorable schedule.
- After trips on and off the IL in his return from TJS, Maeda might have still fallen under the radar in some 12-team leagues. Even after a nine strikeout performance in his last start, Maeda is under 50% rostered in Yahoo leagues and is the easy choice for Two-Start Streamer of the Week. The Twins’ veteran demonstrated a high amount of volatility this year, but against Seattle and at Kansas City, you should bet on him helping you next week. Maeda’s 21% K-BB% would put him up with the top starters in baseball if he had enough innings pitched to qualify.
- While Brayan Bello is a better rest-of-season bet to be a difference-maker than the likes of Logan Allen above him, it’s probably inadvisable to start any pitcher outside the top 30 against Atlanta. Bello’s groundball tendencies may help him avoid the crooked numbers many have fell victim to against the league’s best offense, but he’s still a bench in daily lineup leagues. Thinking of rolling the dice? Atlanta’s league-leading .494 SLG is over 30 points higher than the second-best Rangers. For context, as of July 21st, José Rámirez also has a .494 SLG on the season. All to say, avoid starting your pitchers against Atlanta wherever possible.
- The rest of this tier feels a lot more suspect than questionable. Michael Lorenzen has proven adept at handling weak lineups, but with the looming trade deadline there isn’t certainty he’ll actually make his second start. I’d much rather not start Graham Ashcraft, Aaron Civale, or Patrick Corbin next week, but they could be desperate one-start streamers in deep leagues. Civale falls lower than you might expect because his velocity was down across the board significantly in his last start. While Corbin has been a punchline for the last couple of seasons, he’s afforded a long leash and could turn that into a W against the road Rockies.
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- After three straight strong outings, Brandon Bielak has cemented himself as a potential streaming candidate in the right matchups. It won’t, however, be against two of the American League’s top lineups. Tampa has been sputtering offensively as of late, but it’s still an easy bench.
- All that was said about Miley also applies to Dane Dunning. Despite having the sixth-best ERA in the majors, Dunning’s success appears far less sustainable given the amount of hard contact he allows and his reliance on called strikes. The Rays and Dodgers pack enough punch to send Dunning to a couple of early exits.
Two-Start Streamer of the Week Record: 3-5.