Welcome to this week’s 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 the wire.
As a friendly reminder, the projected starters are just that, projections and subject to change.
Set and Forget
- Some of the game’s top aces line up for two starts this week and line up against a few weak opponents to boot. Amongst the group, Walker Buehler has the most advantageous schedule with trips to Washington and Arizona. Buehler’s low strikeout rate and CSW may be of slight concern for a pitcher expected for upper echelon production, but those concerns haven’t impacted fantasy teams as of yet. He’s one of the league’s true workhorses and pitches behind the best supporting cast in baseball. Start him with confidence and expect Buehler to improve upon his 5-1 record.
- José Berríos continues to be consistently inconsistent as he has throughout his career. His matchups against the Cardinals and Angels are certainly no cakewalk, but in a two-start week, it’s highly unlikely there are better alternatives on your bench. Berríos’ 4.83 ERA and 1.49 WHIP through eight starts are no fluke: he’s sporting the lowest strikeout rate of his career while allowing more hard contact than ever. If he’s on your team, you’re holding your breath that his seven strong innings in his last start are a sign of things to come.
- Sonny Gray has been a strong contributor to fantasy squads since returning from the IL. His success has been partially due to a favorable schedule, and it’s dubious if he can keep this level of production through the rest of the year. Fortunately, however, he’ll get more of the same with regards to his opponents next week. Both the Tigers and Royals sit bottom-five in most offensive categories, including wRC+, SLG, ISO, and BB%. Expect Gray to keep rolling.
- One might feel a little apprehension with Alex Cobb after he stuck you with seven earned runs last time out, but rest assured, it was a product of Coors Field. A combination of joining the Giants and increased velocity on his sinker created a lot of intrigue around Cobb during spring training, and it’s largely come to fruition through two months of the season, even if his ERA and WHIP are inflated. The metrics show just about everything you want from a starting pitcher: a high CSW%, high GB%, and low HC%. Put these together, and it’s easy to see why Cobb’s 1.97 xERA is well below his actual 5.61
- This upcoming week looks to be the most fruitful of the season so far in terms of two-start pitchers who are still widely available in most standard leagues. It’s rare to have the opportunity to recommend a Rockies’ starter for a two-start week, but Kyle Freeland is shaping up to be exactly that. He likely belongs on your roster only for next week, but a trip to Pittsburgh and Washington should make it worth your while if you have the roster space. Freeland has a career 3.85 ERA on the road, showing in his last start he’s capable of turning in strong outings outside of Coors with a quality start and eight strikeouts against the Giants.
- In addition to Freeland, Tyler Anderson and Nick Pivetta are strong two-start pitching streamers for the upcoming week, albeit for different reasons. Anderson is the choice for those in search of a high floor play. He’s been highly adept this season at managing below-average lineups, two of which he’ll see next week. Pivetta, on the other hand, is for those willing to roll the dice on the upside. We saw the best of Pivetta in his complete game against the Astros this week, but we’ve also seen flashes of his potential for years. He makes for a strong play against the struggling White Sox and the Orioles, but beware of the volatility.
- Tyler Mahle has two home starts, where he’s faced a myriad of struggles dating back to the beginning of last season. I’d personally start him against the Cubs and bench him against the Giants.
- Cal Quantrill through James Kaprielian are all best suited for one-start streams but could be an option in weekly lineup leagues for those willing to roll the dice in search of innings.
- No one in the game is doing more with less than Zack Greinke. In a week with so many potential streamers available on waivers, Greinke shouldn’t be in consideration for your lineup this week. While he’s one of the game’s most interesting pitchers to watch, a sub-10 % strikeout rate is a non-starter for fantasy purposes.
- Jordan Lyles and Bruce Zimmermann have both had their moments at times this season, but neither are trustworthy against two AL East foes. The Red Sox may be under .500, but Trevor Story’s bat has woken up, and the Boston offense is beginning to round into form.
- Trevor Williams joins the Mets rotation with the unfortunate injury to Max Scherzer and looks to be lined up for two starts. He’s not advisable for consideration against either the Giants or Phillies.
- After an abbreviated rehab appearance where he exited early with an illness, it’s unclear if Matt Manning will return to the big leagues as scheduled next week. Regardless, Manning is not on the fantasy radar for the time being. While he carries significant prospect pedigree, it hasn’t quite translated to success in the majors. Avoid Manning and teammate Joey Wentz.
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)