Welcome to this week’s edition of the two-start pitcher rankings!
Coming out of the All-Star break, we’re officially in the home stretch of the fantasy baseball season. As is typical coming out of the break, many teams have yet to officially announce how they’ll set their starting rotation in the coming days. As a result, this week’s two-start pitcher rankings will look a bit different this week. In a matchup period that will span ten days instead of the typical seven (at least for most standard leagues), most SPs will receive two starts. This week, I’ve decided to simply highlight a few starters who are rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo! and ESPN leagues and have had their first start announced already. If you’re in search of upside, the following SPs have favorable matchups and should be poised to add value in the upcoming week.
Matchups: @ARI, @STL
After a disappointing start against the Phillies to end the first half, Adbert Alzolay is slated to face two lineups who don’t pack much of a punch. The Diamondbacks and Cardinals are teams you should be targeting with your streamers, both sitting in the bottom five in the league by wRC+. While the Cubs’ RHP carries a bloated 4.66 ERA, he possesses a wipeout slider that’s earned a 35% CSW. With that slider and an above-average 18.7% K-BB%, I’m willing to look past the amount of hard contact Alzolay gives up. I’ll be prioritizing adding him where available and seeing where things go.
Matchups: TEX, @KCR
If you’re looking for a starter who can provide you strikeouts in spades this week, Tarik Skubal is worth your attention. The up-and-coming lefty put together a strong showing in the first half, tallying 10.66 K/9. Similar to Alzolay, the downside with Skubal comes in the amount of hard contact he allows. But, unlike Alzolay, Skubal has an elevated WHIP, which comes from a high walk rate. If he’s already on your roster, Skubal seems like an easy decision to start against the Rangers and Royals. If he’s still available in your league, he has the potential to be a valuable starter throughout the remainder of the season (that is, until the Tigers limit his innings).
Matchups: SEA, @MIN
At first glance, a start against the Minnesota Twins seems less than ideal for a preferred two-start streamer. Patrick Sandoval, despite his lower roster rates, is deserving of much more than consideration as just a temporary fixture in your lineup as a streamer. Sandoval has proven he has the ability to remain on your roster for the remainder of the season. Since officially entering the Angels rotation in early June, Sandoval has been a revelation for the Halos and fantasy teams alike. He’s used a full repertoire of pitches, led by a nasty changeup, to keep opponents off-balance all season. His 3.86 BB/9 is less than ideal for your WHIP, but he’s generated enough soft contact and whiffs to avoid much damage. In fact, his 15.9% swinging strike rate would put him fifth in the league, right in front of Kevin Gausman and Carlos Rodón, if he met the qualified IP threshold — not bad company!
Sandoval is an easy decision to start against the Mariners, who sport one of the league’s worst strikeout rates at 26.3%. While the Twins’ lineup has remained formidable in a lost season, the Angels’ lefty shouldn’t be overlooked. Sandoval’s recent run of success merits some confidence in a questionable matchup; I’d get him in my lineup.
Teams with Favorable Matchups to Monitor
As of writing, few teams have provided clarity on how they’ll set their rotation. Here are a few teams and potentially available streaming candidates who could be in line for two starts:
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Two starters will get PIT and @CHC. Merrill Kelly or Caleb Smith may be worth consideration in deep leagues.
- Chicago Cubs: Zach Davies will likely get the Diamondbacks twice. While the opponent is ideal, I struggle to trust Davies, who possesses a low ceiling.
- Kansas City Royals: At least one starter will get home starts against the Orioles and Tigers. Danny Duffy would be a strong option here.
- Tampa Bay Rays: Two starters will receive the nod against BAL and @CLE. If Shane McClanahan is somehow available (his roster rates are lower than you’d expect), you should be rushing to add him. I’d be less enthusiastic about Ryan Yarbrough given his inconsistency and lack of strikeouts, but is an option in deeper leagues.
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)