Welcome to the final edition of the 2021 Two-Start Pitcher Rankings! After 25 weeks of tinkering with lineups, adding SP streamers, and agonizing over whether to start a borderline pitcher in a tough matchup, we’ve finally reached the end of the season.
This was my first year writing for Pitcher List, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t briefly give a few shout-outs to express my appreciation. First, thank you to Nick Pollack and my manager, Austin Bristow, for entrusting me with a weekly article. Thank you to the PL editing team for helping me share the best version of my writing each week. Thanks to Doug Carlin for his incredible work on each week’s graphic; seeing my writing below such an awesome image has been one of the most rewarding parts of publishing each article. Last, but not least, thank you to those reading! Having an audience read my thoughts on fantasy baseball is a huge source of pride. I appreciate all of you who have read, commented, or interacted with me on Twitter throughout the season.
Now, let’s get to it:
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. Projected starters for this final week will be even more in flux than usual. Teams with a playoff position locked up will likely set their rotation for the playoffs while those fighting for the Wild Card may start their ace on short rest in a final push.
Set and Forget
- With the Brewers and Dodgers having clinched playoff positions, it’s unlikely that Brandon Woodruff or Walker Buehler will make their second start. Buehler may make his start against Milwaukee if they have the opportunity to tie or pass the Giants for the NL West lead. Since they’re still projected to make two starts, I’ve kept them in this week’s rankings.
- Chris Sale hasn’t been as dominant as we’ve seen him at his pre-TJ peak, but there’s nothing to worry about here. Those who held Sale on their rosters all season should be rewarded in the final week with two trips to the hill against last-place teams. With Boston in a fight to hold their positioning in the Wild Card race, look for Sale to be in playoff form a week early.
- Jonathan India appears to have wrapped up the running for NL Rookie of the Year with a strong second half. If I were afforded a vote, I’d be sending it Trevor Rogers‘ way. The 23-year old lefty has been dominant this season, posting a 2.67 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 128 innings. He’s cooled off in his return to the big leagues after missing the month of August, but he still belongs in your lineup against the Mets and Phillies. With a 19.7% K-BB% and a strong ability to limit the home run (0.42 HR/9 this season), Rogers is a player I’ll be excited to draft next season.
- In a rotation with Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Tyler Mahle, Wade Miley has served as the anchor of the Cincinnati staff this season. He has, however, faltered as of late. In September, Miley has gone 1-3, allowing at least 5 ER in his three losses. While it would be understandable to jump ship from a pitcher who has never been overpowering or particularly dominant, now is not the time. Miley is lined up for two matchups against the Pirates, which should give you all the confidence you need to get him back in your lineup. His low CSW (26.8%) and a 1.33 WHIP aren’t comforting, but Miley’s body of work across the season should allow him to end a strong season on a high note.
- It’s highly likely Ian Anderson does not make his start scheduled for Sunday or has a highly abbreviated outing. Whether it’s for one start or two, he’s someone who will be in your lineup without hesitation this week.
- You’ll notice tier three is longer than normal this week with several pitchers who you might not expect to see here. This is by design. In the last week of the season, you’ll likely need to make some pickups you’d normally never think to make to get your team over the finish line. In roto or H2H categories, you may be looking to make up for categorical deficits which is where these players may become options for your team. If your ratios are not of concern (which is likely more the case in season-long roto than H2H categories) you may be willing to take a flier on Luke Weaver for some strikeouts in a home start against the Rockies or Miles Mikolas (vs CHC) and Cole Irvin (@SEA) if you’re in search of a potential win.
- Joe Ryan is my favorite two-start streamer of the week. He’s looked strong against weak competition in his first four career starts this season. He’ll take on the Tigers and the Royals and, while his repertoire isn’t overpowering, it should be enough to get the job done. Ryan wasn’t on our fantasy radar until September, but he could just be the final waiver wire addition your team needs to win your league.
- Cal Quantrill remains on an absolute roll. He’s likely not available on waivers at this point, but if he’s on your roster you’re holding and starting him against both the Royals and Rangers.
- Germán Márquez’s season has been like a game of chutes and ladders. A rough start to the season was salvaged by a dominant June and July. Since August, however, Márquez’s struggles have returned. The righty has an unwieldy 6.03 ERA in the second half this year and has largely erased our memories of his All-Star first half. To make matters worse, he’s pitched significantly worse on the road this year than at Coors Field. I’d prefer to bench him at home against the Nationals, but I’d be willing to take a chance on the road against the Diamondbacks (84 wRC+).
- I’d lean towards benching Luis Garcia against the Rays. If he is afforded the opportunity against Oakland, I think I’d have him in my lineup if he can show signs of getting back on track against Tampa.
- The remainder of the tier from Weaver down are starters that I’d like to avoid if at all possible. If you need to fill certain counting stats (namely Wins and Ks), these pitchers are widely available and might be of help.
- Josiah Gray got back on track in his last start. Unfortunately, he’ll end his season at Coors Field and against the Red Sox. I’d have him on my bench for both, but am looking forward to seeing what he can do in his first full season in 2022.
- The case could be made that Dallas Keuchel belongs in tier three given his two matchups against the Tigers. The upside is so limited, however, that I’d rather look elsewhere.
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)