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
- The trio of Carlos Rodón, Robbie Ray, and Freddy Peralta were three of the biggest steals in all of fantasy baseball this season, so it’s only fitting they’ll have two starts in what is the finals of many H2H leagues. While I include Rodón in this week’s rankings, note that he may not make both starts. The White Sox have been giving their breakout ace additional rest and, with the team looking towards the playoffs, their six-man rotation could continue through the remainder of the season.
- Joe Musgrove has a tough set of matchups, but he’s been a steady presence for most of the year. With the Padres fighting for the final Wild Card spot, I’ll be putting my faith in Musgrove to be on top of his game at home against the Giants and Braves.
- Tyler Mahle has an excellent pair of matchups as he hosts the Pirates and Nationals. Pittsburgh has the lowest wRC+ across baseball since August and Washington sits in last place of the NL East. Why, then, is Mahle not considered an auto-start option? He’s performed miserably at Great American Ballpark, where he’ll make both of next week’s starts. The Cincinnati starter has a 6.08 ERA at home this season, the result of a 2.38 HR/9 in the hitter-friendly park. The favorable matchups make him worth the start, but Mahle’s production may not be as rosy as it initially appears.
- José Berríos left his last start with an abdominal injury but is still slated to make his next start on regular rest. It’s something to monitor in leagues where lineups lock weekly, but barring any setbacks he should be in your lineup.
- Huascar Ynoa wasn’t able to take advantage of an ideal home start against the Rockies this week, only going 4.2 IP. It’s worth noting, however, that the weather conditions were less than ideal and he still managed to rack up eight strikeouts without completing five. He’s an easy decision to start against Arizona and will very likely be in your lineup against the Padres as well. While it’s it’s generally hard to succeed as a starter with just two pitches, an absolutely nasty slider (38% CSW) paired with a 96 mph heater make Ynoa an exception to the rule.
- José Urquidy finally looked like himself this week in his third start since returning from the IL. I expect him to continue to get the feel for his full arsenal back as the Astros prepare for October. While teammate Framber Valdez has been up-and-down as of late, I expect both Houston starters to be relatively strong options next week against the Angels and A’s. At the time of writing, Valdez was scratched from his Thursday start for a cut on his pitching hand. If Valdez does not get two starts next week, it’ll likely be Luis Garcia who I would also slot into tier 2.
- Ranger Suárez and Carlos Hernández have both excelled since entering their respective team’s rotation in August. While I wouldn’t find myself buying into this level of success for either in 2022, they’re both currently good options. Fortunately, both have two weak opponents in front of them next week. There’s certainly a potential for a poor outing for either given their limited track record, Hernández was shelled by Oakland in his most recent start, but they should be worth the risk next week. Of starters who are potentially available on your wire, these two would be my favorite picks as the two-start streaming options of the week.
- There are several two-start pitchers best used as one-start streamers this week. Néstor Cortes (vs TEX), Tony Gonsolin (@ARI), Jesús Luzardo (vs WSH), and Cal Quantrill (vs KCR) are my favorite of the bunch.
- Vladimir Gutierrez has two ideal opponents, but he’s looked lost as of late. His stuff isn’t good enough to get away with the poor command he’s been working with over the last few weeks. For those enticed by starts against the Pirates and Nats, consider that Gutierrez has only made it through the fourth inning in one of his last four starts, which have come against the Pirates, Cubs, Tigers, and Marlins. I’d highly recommend avoiding, but he might be a consideration for those in roto leagues searching for Wins in the final stretch of the season.
- Jon Lester and the St Louis Cardinals have been absolutely on fire lately, pushing themselves into the thick of the NL Wild Card race. The five-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion has allowed two runs or less in his last five starts. While you might be tempted to put faith in the narrative that the veteran has been energized by being back in the middle of the playoff hunt and is reaping the benefits of some pitch mix adjustments since teaming with Yadier Molina, I’m not ready to start him in a standard 12-teamer. Lester’s poor 4.2% K-BB rate and 5.39 FIP since joining the Cardinals suggest he’s been particularly fortunate with balls in play.
- Drew Rasmussen has a favorable matchup against the Marlins in his second start of the week. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay doesn’t allow him to pitch deep into games, making it easy to look elsewhere for a weekend streamer.
- Jon Gray has had moments this season where he’s provided a lot of value to fantasy teams. Unfortunately, I’m not expecting next week to be one of those times. Not only will he face the teams with the best two records in baseball, but he also gets them at Coors Field. This one is really easy to avoid.
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)