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 don’t need me to remind you to get Jacob deGrom in your lineup. You’ve likely heard dozens of stats that have described deGrom’s historically dominant first half. My favorite might be that, in the era of the three true outcomes, deGrom is: first in K/9, second in BB/9 (behind only Zach Eflin), and first in HR/9.
- Max Fried eased into his return to the rotation after a brief stay on the IL for a blister. While you can’t expect him to receive a whopping 20 runs of support like in his last start, you also can’t ask for a better pair of matchups in a two-start week. Fried should be able to settle into cruise control against two poor offenses.
- Aaron Nola’s uneven season continues as he paired good (11 Ks) with the really bad (7 ER in 4.2 IP) this week against the last-place Marlins. He has the potential, however, to capitalize on a Cubs offense that has been ice cold as of late. In June, the Cubs offense was dead last in both wRC+ and strikeout rate. While a trip to Fenway poses a tough test over the weekend, you should trust that Nola can get things figured out.
- Luis Castillo has put much of the early season concerns behind him after he pitched to a 1.71 ERA in June. His changeup hasn’t shown the swing-and-miss potential we’ve seen in the past, but he still seems like an easy decision to start against the Royals and Brewers.
- The Washington Nationals are no longer an offense you can pick on now that they’re fully healthy and have a leadoff hitter in Kyle Schwarber on a power surge the likes few have seen before. Despite this, Joe Musgrove still feels like a safe bet to be a strong contributor to your fantasy squad this week. He has the added benefit of facing the Rockies at Petco.
- Dylan Cease was able to excel against the Twins last time out, but his spin rates have fallen off a cliff since the crackdown on foreign substances. I’d continue starting him until he gives you reason otherwise, but it will be interesting to track if he becomes a more volatile option moving forward.
- After a poor outing against the Orioles, I can understand having some hesitation to trust Luis García in weekly lineup leagues against the Athletics and Yankees. I’d lean towards getting him in my lineup; he’s been a steady contributor this season and I don’t think his last start is a sign of things to come.
- I’ve touted Tony Gonsolin as a prime two-start pick-up a few times since his season debut a few weeks ago and it hasn’t yet paid dividends. He’s yet to go deeper than four innings and was most recently used in a bulk reliever role, but I think he deserves some attention due to the matchups. Gonsolin’s walk rate is elevated early on this season, but if he throws strikes he shouldn’t have too much trouble being in contention for a pair of wins against the Marlins and Diamondbacks.
- Jon Gray has looked surprisingly strong since his return off the IL, notably with improved velocity on his four-seamer. He looks like an ideal streaming candidate for early in the week against Arizona, but should not be started against the Friars. Interestingly enough, Gray has performed better at home this year than on the road where he carries a 5.32 ERA. I don’t think that should scare you away from a tilt against an Arizona lineup sans Ketel Marte.
- Surface level stats including a 4.93 ERA, would not suggest Vladimir Gutiérrez is a viable two-start streamer, but I think there is some appeal in deeper leagues or those searching for innings. His curveball has shown promise, tallying a 33.1% CSW so far this season. If you trust he can avoid enough damage with his subpar fastball, there might be some sneaky value to be had here.
- Rich Hill and Domingo Germán have both come back down to earth after a strong stretch earlier in the season. It’s likely time to move on from both as a season-long contributor on your team. If you’re willing to hold on for just a little while longer, they both have appealing starts early in the week. It’s a risky proposition if you have them in your lineup and, if you do, you’re banking on them having the curveball working.
- Kolby Allard (DET) and Ryan Weathers (COL) are best used as one-start streamers for those looking to take advantage of weak offenses.
- As a DC-area resident, it’s painful to see just how far Patrick Corbin has fallen since the Nats’ World Series run. He still carries the name value that might grab your attention when you see his name on the wire, but he’s best viewed as a streamer against favorable matchups. The Padres and Giants are not worth the risk.
- David Peterson has an ideal set of opponents in home starts against Milwaukee and Pittsburgh, but he’s been a volatile option all season. The lack of consistency has me wary of his potential to put a dent in your ratios.
- Brett Anderson is tentatively lined up to be activated off the IL on Tuesday for a start at the Mets. He shouldn’t be on your radar right now as Anderson possesses minimal upside for your fantasy team.
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)