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
- We’re back and on the home stretch of the fantasy baseball season as we come out of the All-Star break. A few notes to keep in mind: this week’s rankings are for games occurring Monday through Sunday. In head-to-head leagues with matchups that cover the longer scoring period, most starting pitchers will get at least two starts. In some instances, Carlos Rodón for example, a pitcher will have an opportunity to make three starts over the course of the extended matchup. With this in mind, it’s likely a wise idea to err on the side of caution when considering a fringe-level starter; you’ll have more than enough volume from your rotation anchors.
- Another note: in many cases, teams have not officially announced the order of their rotation. This could impact which starters are in line for multiple trips to the mound.
- At the top of this week’s rankings is the starter for the American League All-Star team, Shane McClanahan. While the Rays’ lefty may have given up a couple runs in his All-Star debut, he won’t have to worry about facing the likes of Acuña, Betts, or Goldschmidt next week. The Orioles and Guardians have both been above-average offenses in July, but expect them to be overmatched against a Cy Young favorite. Cleveland, in particular, is punchless against lefties. They have the league’s worst SLG against LHP this season.
- José Berríos remains a volatile fantasy option and has an underwhelming swinging strike rate. He has, however, closed the first half on a relatively high note with three consecutive quality starts. Outside of Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, the Cardinals have been slumping offensively of late. Despite the inconsistency, he should be in your lineup against the Cardinals and Tigers.
- While it’s likely Tony Gonsolin will see his 2.02 ERA rise over the course of the second half, he’s established himself as an easy decision to start in almost any matchup. A trip to Colorado, however, creates the potential for crooked numbers and damaged ratios for most pitchers. Gonsolin may have struggled in his final appearance of the first half, but in a weekly lineup league, he’s worth the risk at Coors.
- This week’s questionable tier has a variety of intriguing, high-upside arms for the second half. Among these arms, George Kirby, Tarik Skubal, and Aaron Ashby stand out. Despite their potential, they’re only recommended in their first start of the week and a toss-up in weekly leagues.
- Corey Kluber is pretty much the opposite archetype of the aforementioned starters listed above. He’s a floor play at this point in his career whose low walk rate typically makes him an asset for WHIP. If he’s on the wire, starts against Baltimore and Cleveland make him worthy of consideration.
- Hunter Greene has a favorable schedule next week, made slightly less appealing that both are taking place in Great American Ballpark. He’s best suited for those in roto leagues in search of strikeouts. A look at Greene’s 5.78 ERA is a clear reminder that starting the rookie remains a gamble.
- Jake Odorizzi through Mitch White all have some viability as a one-start streamer resulting from a favorable matchup. If you do take the chance, they likely belong right back on waivers after the start.
- Jakob Junis has an ideal set of opponents in his return to the rotation from a hamstring injury. It’s tempting, but a brief appearance out of the bullpen before the break did not go well. It’s also unclear if his pitch count will be limited.
- Trevor Rogers has shown some small signs of turning things around and would have ended the first half on a high note, save for one rough inning against the Phillies. He might be worth a bench stash, but he shouldn’t be in your lineup at Cincy and against the Mets in standard 12-teamers.
- Andre Pallante is a name to watch for his second start at Washington. As of now, he should not be started. The Nationals, however, look to be the biggest trade deadline seller. If Josh Bell and Nelson Cruz are in different uniforms by next Sunday, he becomes more intriguing. If the Nats trade their generational talent, Juan Soto, as well this becomes a much more interesting streamer. Something to keep an eye on as the deadline approaches.