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
- It’s lonely at the top this week with Jack Flaherty leading the way. In two starts off the IL, Flaherty has rewarded managers with a pair of quality starts. With great matchups in pitcher-friendly parks, the stars have aligned for Flaherty to be the most valuable pitcher in fantasy baseball next week.
- Tyler Mahle has had some well-documented struggles at Great American Ballpark this season. Thankfully, both of his starts are on the road next week. A trip to Milwaukee, a hitter’s haven, isn’t necessarily much better than GABP, but you’re likely still starting Mahle against the Brew Crew. While a 14.9% HR/FB rate is troubling for such a fly-ball pitcher, Mahle’s away splits show promise. A 1.86 ERA and .251 wOBA on the road have me willing to start Mahle with minimal pause.
- Josiah Gray has quickly emerged as a reliable arm down the stretch for both the Washington Nationals and fantasy teams alike. The rookie’s track record is obviously limited, but he belongs in your lineup on the road against two uninspiring lineups.
- A pair of sub-90 MPH control artists will each get two turns on the bump this upcoming week. Zack Greinke and Kyle Hendricks are two of the safer floor plays, but have limited ceilings. You’re likely a bit nervous about having Hendricks in your lineup against the White Sox, and for good reason. While Hendricks has turned in 18 quality starts this season, it has not been without some major bumps in the road along the way. The cross-town White Sox boast a top-five offense and can do major damage if Hendricks isn’t on top of his game. Given this start will come over the weekend, it may be best to consider your category needs before making a final decision.
- At the time of writing, the Giants had yet to announce MRI results on Anthony DeSclafani’s ankle injury. He’s come back down to earth in the second half, posting a 5.68 ERA over 25.1 IP. Assuming he’s healthy and the Giants don’t push back his next start for some additional rest, I’d be comfortable starting him against the free-falling Mets. While a trip to Atlanta is probably more of a wait-and-see, I elevated Disco to tier two given his success this season against teams not named the Dodgers.
- Alek Manoah struggled with some diminished velocity in his last start against the Nats. Could the rookie be hitting a wall after not having the benefit of a minor league season last year? It’s unclear, but I can understand not hoping to find out against the White Sox. I’m hoping it’s just a minor bump in the road and I’ll likely be starting him and crossing my fingers. In a weekly lineup league, I think the benefits of a trip to Detroit outweigh the risks in his first start against Chicago.
- We have a trio of high-ceiling young arms who all make for excellent one-start streams this week. If Dylan Cease (CHC), Tanner Houck (@CLE), or Daniel Lynch (@SEA) are on your squad, you should be able to comfortably start them against their more favorable opponent. Given the recent ascension of both Houck and Lynch over the last couple of weeks, it’s entirely possible you can still scoop them up off waivers. If that’s the case, they make for great additions to your team during the stretch run.
- JT Brubaker was one of our favorite streamers in April and May, rewarding those who started him against weaker lineups. Unfortunately, Brubaker’s early-season success was fleeting. Since the calendar turned to June, Brubaker’s season has unraveled to the tune of a 6.37 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. His two home matchups are ideal, but I have extremely limited faith he’ll be able to take advantage of the opportunity. Brubaker doesn’t currently seem like a wise option outside of very deep leagues.
- Tylor Megill (WSH), Madison Bumgarner (@PIT), and Eli Morgan (TEX) all have one start you may be able to get away with streaming, but I’d prefer not to unless there are no better streamers available. You may be tempted to give Megill a go at the Giants after he just turned in 6 IP with 6 Ks and only 1 ER, but I’d recommend against it. The Giants continue to quietly dominate and I predict they’ll have better fortunes against him in their second look.
- One could definitely make the case Mike Foltynewicz is a decent streaming candidate at Cleveland next week after posting three straight quality starts. A quick look at his 25% CSW 16.5% K% make clear there isn’t much to chase here.
- You might be tempted to chase the upside of Jesús Luzardo given his billing as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball just a short time ago. He hasn’t lived up to those lofty expectations yet, even with the recent change of scenery back to his home state of Florida. As the adage across baseball goes “there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect.” Until he demonstrates that he’s made strides with his new team, he shouldn’t be on your roster.
- Wil Crowe has solid matchups but hasn’t done anything of late to inspire confidence he can work deep enough into a game with decent results to be relevant for 12-team leagues. Even in deep leagues, an 11.8% walk rate with very little strikeout upside makes him an easy choice to avoid.
- Even after a start where he had an excellent outcome against a potent Astros lineup, I’m not ready to stream Brady Singer against Seattle. While I don’t think he’s currently an option, it is worth noting he’s held opponents to a 4.6% barrel rate this season, putting him in the 90th percentile in the majors. It’s something to monitor down the stretch and next season as he continues to develop.
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)