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 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
- Jordan Montgomery joins a group of fantasy aces in tier one. He may not carry the ceiling of others in this group, he’s been a rock solid fantasy option and now has the benefit of an elite supporting cast behind him. A trip to Minnesota should provide an opportunity for the lefty to rack up some strikeouts. The Twins have a league worst 26.9% K%.
- With Tanner Houck (in the Do Not Start tier) slated to return off the IL on Monday, it’s unclear if the Red Sox will bump someone to the bullpen or utilize a six-man rotation. As a result, James Paxton may not make his second start. Big Maple hasn’t quite been as effective in August as he was from May through July, creating some elevated risk against two of the league’s most powerful offenses. The lack of whiffs recently are concerning, but Pax belongs in almost all weekly lineups.
- After years showing glimpses that were soon followed by bloated ratios, Yusei Kikuchi is having the best season of his MLB career. If he can keep this up, he might just be a league winner at starting pitcher. One of the most promising aspects of his breakout is a career best walk rate of 6.6%, down from 12.8% in 2022. He’s earned a spot in your lineup, even against the first-place Orioles.
- Bailey Ober has tallied 132.2 IP between AAA and the majors this season, the first time in his career he’s exceeded 110 IP. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest he’s starting to hit a wall. While he’s an easy choice to start at Milwaukee, he may be worth considering a bench against the Rangers.
- José Urquidy through Paul Blackburn are potential 12-team options, due in part to their schedule. Urquidy’s matchup against Boston is the toughest, but amongst the 12-team viable streamers, he has the best track record and is coming off a strong performance. He’s this week’s Two Start Streamer of the Week. For those bold enough to gamble on the best matchups, Javier Assad has transitioned to a starter and has the added perk of two pitcher-friendly parks. It’s likely unadvisable outside of deeper 12-team leagues and 15-teamers.
- It’s possible Carlos Rodón returns off the IL next week and it’s hard to know what to expect given his debut season with the Yankees. He hasn’t made any rehab starts, but has thrown a sim game, adding some further uncertainty to the mix. It’s likely wisest to bench against the Nats and see how things look before his weekend start at Tampa.
- Any glimmer of hope Matthew Liberatore would be fantasy-viable rest of season after 8 IP of two hit baseball against the Rays were dashed when the pendulum swung the other way against Oakland. He’ll be off the radar against the Pirates, even in 15-team leagues.
Two-Start Streamer of the Week Record: 5-6. Miles Mikolas was a disappointment against the lowly A’s on Monday, but we’ll await his weekend start to see if he can salvage his two-start week.
Featured Image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photo by Cliff Welch & Leslie Plaza Johnson /con Sportswire