For better or worse, this is it. The 2023 Fantasy Baseball season is quickly drawing to a close. For those in Head-to-Head leagues, you are likely entrenched in the postseason and this becomes even more critical. It is important to be aware of your place in the standings and what categories you need to attack for the remainder of the season. Utilizing two-start pitchers can help do this.
From a pitching standpoint, it is often a balancing act between the ratios (ERA/WHIP) and the counting categories (Wins/Strikeout), and then Saves also come into play. When we are dealing with points leagues, things are very different as it no longer matters where the points come from, just how many points you can accumulate. In either type of league, effectively using two-start pitchers can be a great way to stay ahead of your competition.
I won’t be listing all two-start pitchers for the upcoming week as that could be too cumbersome. With this being said, we will only detail the viable options that will be taking the mound twice.
If you are in the position of trolling the waiver wire, especially in deeper leagues, it is hard to find comfort with the options that are likely available, so caution must be exercised. Regardless of league size, this is something that must be managed across the board.
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Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers
There are simply some pitchers who are going to be weekly occupants of your starting lineup regardless of any other variables.
Spencer Strider, Atlanta Braves, at Philadelphia, vs. Miami
Give me all the strikeouts. Two starts from Strider can really make a big difference at this point in the season. Despite struggling with a 6.32 ERA in his last three starts, Strider has two victories and 23 strikeouts in 15.2 innings. The damage really came in Strider’s last start against the Cardinals, but it wasn’t smooth sailing in his previous start either. Ultimately with a 3.83 ERA and 1.09 WHIP, I’m really not concerned.
Luis Castillo, Seattle Mariners, vs. LA Angels, vs. LA Dodgers
Castillo came up big in his last start with six shutout innings against the Rays. That gave Castillo his 12th victory of the season as he gets closer to the 200 inning mark. With a 3.08 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, Castillo continues to be a strong option.
Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays, at Minnesota, at Baltimore
Talk about finishing the season strong. Since July 15th, Glasnow has gone either six or seven innings in each start. In his last three outings, Glasnow is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA and 24 strikeouts against just three walks. Glasnow has a career-high 51.1% ground ball rate while striking out more than 12 batters per nine innings. It is hard to argue with that production.
Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers, vs. Miami, vs. Washington
Woodruff has not missed a beat in his return from injury. In his last three starts, the right-hander’s ERA is just 1.42 while striking out 25 batters. Facing the Marlins and Nationals should also help here as it gives Woodruff a soft landing spot as there are no lingering health concerns.
Framber Valdez, Houston Astros, vs. Oakland, at Kansas City
There have been some rough starts this season for Valdez as he struggles to truly find his feel. With that being said, Valdez’s ERA still sits at just 3.30. Even at 54.6%, Valdez’s ground ball rate is down from what we had come to expect from him. In his last three starts, Valdez has found a groove with a 1.35 ERA. Facing the A’s and Royals this week means Valdez is in a good spot to continue the success.
Max Scherzer, Texas Rangers, at Toronto, at Cleveland
Until he ran into the Astros, things had been going great for Scherzer in Texas. When healthy, there are no concerns, but we have heard some rumblings of slight forearm issues. It is something to keep an eye on, but to this point, it has not impacted the right-hander.
Logan Gilbert, Seattle Mariners, vs. LA Angels, vs. LA Dodgers
Gilbert continues to assert himself as a key piece of Seattle’s rotation. As we look for every victory we can find, Gilbert picked up his 13th of the season in his last start. At the same time, Gilbert brought his ERA down to 3.61 with a WHIP of just 1.07. Control is a large part of Gilbert’s success as he is walking less than two batters per nine innings and that has been critical to his game.
These two-start pitchers are likely going to be rostered in the majority, if not all leagues, and started in most of them as well.
Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers, vs. Miami, vs. Washington
If Peralta is going to strike out 23 batters in 16.2 innings over three starts, does it really matter that he doesn’t pitch deep into games? The walks have not been terrible for the right-hander as he found his groove over the second half. In 58.1 innings, Peralta’s ERA sits at just 2.62 as he looks to finish the season strong.
Chris Bassitt, Toronto Blue Jays, vs. Texas, vs. Boston
With a 2.08 ERA in his last three starts, Bassitt is coming up big in the postseason race for Toronto. The veteran’s 3.69 ERA doesn’t exactly line up to his 4.42 FIP, but he continues to be a consistent innings eater.
Sonny Gray, Minnesota Twins, vs. Tampa Bay, at Chicago White Sox
With a 2.98 ERA this season, Gray is simply humming along. While he is striking out close to a batter per inning, a large part of his success had been keeping the ball in the park. Gray is allowing a career-low 0.39 home runs per nine innings with just 5.1% of fly balls turning into home runs.
Joe Ryan, Minnesota Twins, vs. Tampa Bay, at Chicago White Sox
After missing a few weeks, Ryan has a 2.70 ERA in three starts since his return. The issue for Ryan this year has been keeping the ball in the park; 1.72 home runs per innings. As a positive though, he is limiting the walks and striking out almost 11 batters per nine innings. That has helped to keep his 4.21 ERA respectable although we would like to see it closer to his 3.37 xERA.
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Toronto Blue Jays, vs. Texas, vs. Boston
Ryu, for the most part, has pitched well since his return this summer. Toronto is being careful with Ryu, just 34 innings in seven starts, but there is value in his 2.65 ERA. He isn’t going to be overpowering from a strikeout perspective, but Ryu is a solid option when it comes to two-start pitchers.
Worthy of a Start in Most Leagues
In 10-team leagues, these two-start pitchers might be not worth the trouble, but in anything deeper, these Fantasy Baseball Two Start Pitchers are worth strong consideration at a minimum, and likely deserving of a starting spot this week.
Lance Lynn, Los Angeles Dodgers, vs. San Diego, at Seattle
Lynn has been one of the most frustrating pitchers so far this season. While he is striking out more than a batter per inning, Lynn is also sporting a 6.09 ERA. Yes, his xERA of 4.85 and xFIP of 4.32 look a whole lot better, but at this point, we have to follow the results. And they have not been that good. This is also what happens when you allow 2.25 home runs per nine innings.
Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox, vs. Kansas City, vs. Minnesota
Cease is talented, but things have not been going well for him as of late. After posting an 8.o2 ERA in August, Cease promptly allowed three home runs in his first start of September. While he can get you some strikeouts, it is not a smooth ride as Cease is walking 4.42 batters per nine innings. That presents a risk to both your ERA and WHIP.
Clarke Schmidt, New York Yankees, at Boston, at Pittsburgh
Schmidt has been doing a great job of setting himself up for a role in the Yankees’ rotation next year. In his last three starts, Schmidt’s ERA is 3.57 which brought his mark for the year to 4.54. He is striking out about a batter an inning while showing flashes of being a viable option.
Carlos Rodon, New York Yankees, at Boston, at Pittsburgh
With three solid starts in a row, things looked like they were turning around for Rodon. Instead, he promptly allowed seven runs in 3.2 innings against Detroit in his last start. In 10 starts, Rodon has gotten through just 46.1 innings posting a 6.60 ERA as he struggles with both the long ball and his control. At this point, it is difficult to truly trust him.
Jose Quintana, New York Mets, vs. Arizona, vs. Cincinnati
Despite getting off to a delayed start to the season, the left-hander has had success. It is hard to expect much in the way of run support or bullpen support as Quintana has just two wins in nine starts. The left-hander’s ERA does sit at just 3.00 in part because he is allowing just 0.17 home runs per nine innings. What limits the upside though is the lack of strikeouts but the damage is limited by just a 4.4% barrel rate against.
Taijuan Walker, Philadelphia Phillies, vs. Atlanta, at St. Louis
While he has a 5.17 ERA in his last three starts, Walker does have two wins in that span. Facing the Braves is never easy, but Walker should be able to at least keep things competitive. At under eight strikeouts per nine innings, the upside is limited with the problem being that he is walking 3.79 batters per nine innings.
Dean Kremer, Baltimore Orioles, vs. St. Louis, vs. Tampa Bay
In his last three starts, Kremer has allowed just one run to bring his ERA down to 4.07. Kremer and his 1.29 WHIP does not offer up a ton of upside nor does his 8.09 strikeouts per nine innings. Home runs are a problem here, 1.51 per nine innings, and it’s not going to be easy for Kremer this week.
Gavin Williams, Cleveland Guardians, at San Francisco, at Texas
It has been an up-and-down rookie season for Williams but we have seen more good than bad. In his last start, Williams picked up his second victory with five innings of one-run ball against Minnesota. While Williams is striking out more than a batter per inning, we do some risk with the rookie walking almost four batters per nine. The good news though, is that with just a 4.8% barrel rate against, opposing hitters are not making strong contact.
Dane Dunning, Texas Rangers, at Toronto, at Cleveland
Things have been going relatively well for Dunning this season. Well, at least until he ran into the Astros this week as Dunning gave up nine runs on 11 hits. That brought Dunning’s ERA for the season up to 3.88 with his 4.63 xERA generating some caution. With just seven strikeouts per nine innings, there is a lack of upside.
Reid Detmers, Los Angeles Angels, at Seattle, vs. Detroit
Detmers continues to generate the strikeouts, but things can truly go either way on a start-by-start basis. There is going to be some risk to your ratios here, 4,82 ERA and 1.40 WHIP, but the innings and strikeouts will be there. Additionally, he does close out the week with a solid matchup against Detroit.
This is where we really need to limit ourselves to leagues of 15-plus teams as we need all the innings we can get; but at what cost? This is the last bastion of two-start pitchers who are rostered in more than 50% of leagues.
Jordan Wicks, Chicago Cubs, at Colorado, at Arizona
Wicks has picked up victories in three straight starts while logging a 2.16 ERA in that stretch. The sample size is small, but you cannot argue with the success. The issue here though is that Wicks’ first start of the week comes in Colorado, so it makes sense to proceed cautiously.
James Paxton, Boston Red Sox, vs. NY Yankees, at Toronto
This could be a tough week for Paxton from a matchup perspective. In his last three starts, Paxton has allowed 16 runs and it is difficult to trust the southpaw as of late with a 1.31 WHIP showing some risk.
Kyle Gibson, Baltimore Orioles. vs. St. Louis, vs. Tampa Bay
While the veteran does have 14 wins this season, they do come with a price. Gibson’s victories have been more of a product of Baltimore’s success, although he is a durable innings eater. Just tread carefully here as Gibson’s 5.12 ERA and 1.34 WHIP could do more harm than good.
Josiah Gray, Washington Nationals, at Pittsburgh, at Milwaukee
Facing the Pirates at this point in the season is a good thing, but I’m not sure it is enough. The problem with Gray is that he is walking 4.76 batters per nine innings. Additionally, with his 5.15 xERA outpacing his 4.13 ERA, it is hard to find much confidence.
Two-Start Pitchers from the Waiver Wire
These are pitchers who are rostered in less than 50% of leagues who could provide value both for this week and the remainder of the season. This is especially the case in deeper leagues, but these options have potential across most formats if you are looking to maximize your innings.
Zach Davies, Arizona Diamondbacks, at NY Mets, vs. Chicago Cubs
While Davies is not going to go crazy from a strikeout perspective, he is a solid, veteran, innings eater. Neither team he faces this week is especially scary from an offensive perspective, and Davies can provide some innings.
Touki Toussaint, Chicago White Sox, vs. Kansas City, vs. Minnesota
The matchups, especially against the Royals, certainly help Toussaint this week. With a 2.76 ERA and two victories in his past three starts, there is some positive momentum here as well. Before we go too crazy though, Toussaint is walking over six batters per nine innings this season.