Welcome to this week’s edition of the 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 on the wire.
As a friendly reminder, the projected starters are just that, projections, and subject to change.
Set and Forget
- You’ll notice a trend this week across each of the four tiers: they’re all pretty underwhelming. Due to six-man rotations, injuries, and a slate of teams scheduled for two off-days, there will be fewer two-start pitchers than normal this week. In addition, many of the pitchers who have established themselves as true season-long options in fantasy have difficult upcoming schedules, making the Set and Forget group particularly exclusive in week 10.
- Due to rainouts, Sonny Gray will not get his originally scheduled two-starts in week 9. Thankfully, he gets an even more promising two-start schedule in the week 10. He’ll face the fledgling Brewers lineup and a Rockies team that has been historically bad outside of Coors. Gray’s last start against Philly was a frustrating one, but he’s poised to make up for that frustration in the week ahead.
- Chris Bassitt is also coming off a frustrating outing, allowing 4 ER over 4 IP against the lowly Mariners. While it was a missed opportunity, I don’t expect it to happen again against the Diamondbacks or Royals. Kansas City has recovered a bit as of late, but Bassitt shouldn’t have much issue with either lineup. With above-average command and an ability to induce soft contact, you shouldn’t think twice about starting Bassitt.
- Pablo López’s two-start week was originally projected to include a home start against the Rockies, but due to a make-up date being scheduled for Monday at Fenway, he’ll get the Red Sox instead. This certainly adds a degree of difficulty when paired with a start against the Braves, but I would still be starting López. The Marlins’ righty has used his changeup this year more than ever, a leading force behind his 32% chase rate, putting him in the 86th percentile of the league.
- Framber Valdez stymied the Red Sox lineup for 10 Ks last time out and gets to prove it wasn’t a fluke in his first start of the week. He’s seemingly picked up right where he left off in 2020. You should feel confident getting him back in your lineup, even in a rematch on the road.
- Robbie Ray, Dylan Cease, and Adbert Alzolay have all paid dividends for those who rostered them this season. I’m most confident in Ray for the remainder of the season, but his matchups certainly appear to be the toughest. Regardless, all three should probably find their way into your lineup. They provide high strikeout upside with strong supporting casts in lineups that should usually have them in contention to earn a win.
- Tony Gonsolin has yet to pitch in a major league game this season. It’s also unlikely that he’s stretched out enough to give the Dodgers length in his first start. Why, then, is he in this tier? Starting for the defending World Series champs in pitcher’s parks against two last-place teams is enough for me to move Gonsolin into the lineup in his debut off the IL. Even if the Dodgers choose to handle him with kid gloves early on, Gonsolin should at the very least be a solid ratios contributor against the Pirates and Rangers.
- Alex Wood is coming off his first truly poor start of the season. In addition to a line score that included 4 BB and 7 ER, Wood’s fastball also sat a little slower. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t hesitate to start him against the Rangers. His second start against the Nationals, however, does give me some cause for concern. Despite a lackluster first two months of the season overall, the Nats crush lefties to the tune of .277/.356/.426. Their 114 wRC+ against LHP is the 6th highest in the majors. I might check to see how Wood looks in his next turn against Texas before making a decision on his projected start on Sunday.
- We’re ten weeks into the season and this might be the lightest group of potential streaming options with two-start weeks this season. In fact, while all of these players fall into the Questionable tier, I’d recommend against using any of them for their second start of the week. Elieser Hernández against the Rockies is my favorite of the group. However, it is worth noting that Hernández appeared to leave his start early due to injury. You should monitor his status in the next day or two to see if he will, in fact, make his next start.
- Antonio Senzatela is the riskiest of this group, but makes the cut after completing 7.2 IP with a win in his last trip to the bump. As a ground ball pitcher (his 53% groundball rate is fourth highest in the majors), Senzatela has mostly been effective in limiting damage from the long ball this season. Unfortunately, an inability to get whiffs and a ton of hard contact are the culprits behind a ghastly 1.41 WHIP. Given that his start against the Marlins comes on the road, there may be some streamer appeal. But, I think you’d be best off avoiding him here and looking for higher upside streaming options instead. Oddly enough, Senzatela has only made three road starts this season and didn’t make it through five innings in any of them.
- Curiously enough, Martín Pérez has been on a roll as of late. The Red Sox SP has gone at least five innings and given up 3 ER or less in each of his last seven starts. His last start was against the Houston Astros where he pitched 7.2 IP and didn’t allow a run to cross the plate. While this recent run of success may be enough to get you to speculate in a two-start week, I’d be very wary. His inability to generate whiffs doesn’t give me confidence that he can sustain success moving forward, especially against two playoff-caliber lineups.
- Despite only getting one out against the Diamondbacks earlier this week, I think David Peterson might have some opportunities to contribute as a streamer this season against the right opponents. While the last-place Orioles may seem like that ideal type of matchup, it couldn’t be further from the truth. First, Camden Yards is a notoriously difficult park to pitch in as the temperature rises. More importantly, the Orioles do real damage against lefties. Their team wRC+ against lefties of 118 is tied for third highest in the majors. Two months into the season, it’s becoming clear that managers must avoid streaming LHP against the O’s.
- Kris Bubic has had more success this season than teammate Brady Singer, but I don’t think either is worthy of streams in their trip to California against the Angels or Athletics. Bubic does appear, however, to be emerging as a streaming option against the right opponents.
Questions? Feel free to let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @AnthonyTucker81 and I’ll be happy to talk two-start SPs and more!
Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)