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
- In stark contrast to last week, we have two-start pitching options aplenty heading into next week. The reason? All 30 teams have at least 6 games, with the majority of the league playing every day next week. Luis Castillo stands at the top of the rankings this week amongst a crowded field of aces. Castillo has put together a career year this season, with the biggest jump from a roto-perspective being his 1.04 WHIP. What was once a liability for Castillo has been an asset for fantasy managers in 2022. After two masterful performances against the Yankees, the newest Mariner receives the ultimate reward: two cushy matchups against the Angels and Athletics.
- Sandy Alcantara and Max Fried are both included in this week’s rankings, but it remains unclear if they’ll line up for two. Trevor Rogers‘ return may cause the Marlins to employ a six-man rotation, which would bump Sandy from his Sunday start. After being unexpectedly placed on the concussion IL on Friday, Max Fried could be eligible to return on Monday. Monitor any updates on Fried’s status before setting your lineups next week.
- After a small blip in June, Nasty Nestor Cortes has settled back in as a steady option. He’s earned the trust to start against a deep Blue Jays lineup that’s among the top five in baseball in runs scored.
- After an inauspicious start, Marcus Stroman has quietly revived his first season in Cubbie blue since returning from the IL in July. In fact, since his return, Stro has posted a 3.17 xFIP. He looks much more like the version of himself we’ve seen thrive in years past. Whether it’s ratios still inflated from April or his reputation for lower strikeout totals, Stroman remains rostered in under 70% of Yahoo and ESPN leagues. He’s worthy of a pickup, especially against a depleted Nats lineup and a struggling Brew Crew.
- Freddy Peralta is mostly built up in his return from a lat strain and looked promising against the Rays. There’s no margin for error against the Dodgers, which makes Peralta’s third start off the IL one where you’ll be holding your breath if you start him. He’s still likely worth the risk in weekly leagues as the upside against the Cubs outweighs the potential pitfalls against LA.
- Few, if any, serve to benefit more from a Trade Deadline change of scenery than José Quintana. The lefty not only stands to benefit from an improved lineup behind him and a stellar infield defense next week, but he’ll also see the two teams at the bottom of the NL West. If he’s still on your waiver wire, stop right now and add him for next week and beyond.
- Joe Ryan’s numbers over the first two months of the season look like a distant mirage after a pair of recent ratio-wrecking outings against the Padres and Dodgers. These are the risks for a pitcher who relies so heavily on his fastball, while posting a 56% flyball rate. While it’s tough to be confident in Ryan through the rest of the season, he gets some respite next week with visits from the Royals and Rangers. Texas is a league-average offense that can put up crooked numbers on occasion, but Ryan likely still belongs in your lineup.
- Sean Manaea’s time as a Padre has been disappointing, with the lefty registering the highest ERA and WHIP of his career. Typically, Manaea has been near elite at limiting walks, but this season, Manaea has an elevated 8.6% BB%. On the one hand, even in a down year, Manaea should have the stuff to take care of the Marlins and Nationals, especially in pitcher-friendly parks. On the other, in the last month, he’s struggled when facing the Giants and Tigers, two lineups you’d expect him to find success against. Manaea likely finds his way into your lineup, but it feels far less confident than you’d like.
- Even the most ardent Nick Pivetta supporters from earlier this season have assuredly come to terms with the fact that he’s not much more than a streaming option in fantasy leagues. Just when you’re ready to officially swear off rostering him, however, he lands a two-start week that includes a trip to PNC Park. A visit to Pittsburgh is more than enough reason to start Pivetta in weekly leagues, even with the hard-charging Baltimore Orioles on tap for his weekend start.
- Aaron Civale through Glenn Otto are best utilized as one-start streamers. Civale could find success against the disappointing White Sox, so he may be worth a speculative add. Otto’s inclusion in tier three is primarily due to Oakland’s ability to produce offense against just about anyone. He fared decently against Houston in his last start, but I wouldn’t consider him in weekly leagues due to his weekend start against the Twins.
- James Kaprielian and JP Sears don’t have terrible matchups next week, but given the alternatives, neither quite make the cut as an option to add to your roster. Sears has found success in each of his three starts this season, but they’ve come against the Orioles, A’s, and Angels. It’ll be interesting to see how Sears responds to a step up in competition, but it shouldn’t come while in your lineup.
- Zack Greinke and Madison Bumgarner both have had highly decorated careers, but neither is a fantasy option outside of against the weakest opponents. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case next week and neither should be on your radar.
Did the Braves bump Morton and Strider to next week? If so curious to know if they’re both Set and Forget.
Hey! I am so sorry for not seeing this. It obviously doesn’t help you now, but I’d say Morton was more of a Probably Start arm given his up-and-down year. Thanks for reading and my apologies for not responding sooner!