“But wait! The season has already begun!” Razzball nation cries out. 

Yes good people — but many teams didn’t announce their starting rotations until yesterday — and some still haven’t! So there’s going to be a bit of extrapolation on my part trying to predict exactly who is going to be starting, on what day, against which team, with what weapon and in what room. The San Francisco Giants for example have a game in a little over 5 hours as I’m writing this and the scheduled starter is that young, fire-balling, lefty from Korea: TBD. 

If you’ve found Razzball you know what to expect from a weekly two-start pitcher column. Every Saturday morning I’ll highlight the starting pitchers who have two starts in an upcoming week and I’ll rank ‘em and tier ‘em. Tier 1 — you can basically ignore reading this section each week. If you need me to tell you to start Gerrit Cole for both games of his two-start week — you don’t deserve Razzball’s content! But tier 2 through 5 is where your money is made, your bread is buttered and your week is won — well maybe not tier 5. Tier 5 is not for the faint of heart. That’s where your money is lost, your bread is burnt and your week is lost. 

As the season progresses I’ll be able to also recommend/reject certain pitchers based on their match-ups and stadiums. Again — for your top tier pitchers, this won’t matter. But German Marquez against the Dodgers in Coors Field? Maybe leave him on your bench for that match-up. Unfortunately, this early in the season, I can make predictions on who I think will be a tough offense to face — the Marlins are atop the NL East standings so who knows what will happen by week 5? 

One last thing to keep in mind — some teams will be implementing bullpen games. I won’t be including these in the two-start rankings. One or two innings pitched does not really constitute a “start” in my eyes.

I’ll also be trying to come up with fun themes for the tiers each week. If you have any fun theme ideas with descending values let me know. For example, this week we’re looking at Star Wars quotes. 

 

Tier 1: “Hello, what have we here?”

Just like Lando — when you see something you like — you have to let them know. These are the only three elite must-start options in my eyes for this week. I was flirting with the idea of moving Josh James up here — but want to see how many innings he gets and how he fares against the Angels with Rendon. 

 

Rank Name Team Opponent 1 Opponent 2
1 Gerrit Cole NYY @PHI BOS
2 Walker Buehler LAD @HOU @ARI
3 Tyler Glasnow TB ATL @BAL
  • There’s Cole, just like I toldjya — Phillies can be a tough line-up, but Boston shouldn’t be that hard anymore.
  • I was back and forth between Buehler and Glasnow based on their match-ups, but I think Buehler is the better pitcher even though Glasnow should throw a complete game shutout with 22 K’s against the Orioles

 

Tier 2: “Do or do not. There is no try.“

You drafted these sleepers hoping for a break-out so if you’re trying to flex on your opponents — start these guys regardless of their match-up.

 

Rank Name Team Opponent 1 Opponent 2
4 Josh James HOU SEA @LAA
5 Joey Lucchesi SDP @SF @COL
6 Adrian Houser MIL @PIT STL
7 Yonny Chirinos TB ATL @BAL
8 Dylan Cease CHW @CLE @KC
9 Luke Weaver ARI @SD LAD
10 Pablo Lopez MIA BAL WSH

 

  • Josh James, Adrian Houser, and Pablo Lopez are the only ones with easy-ish schedules out of everyone this week. But even so — how will the new look Angels hit this year? Will St. Louis make the playoffs this year like they always seem to? Will Soto (aka half the Nationals offense) still be out against Pablo Lopez
  • Lucchesi should feast on the Giants — but his 1.3 HR/9 in Colorado is concerning. 
  • I like Luke Weaver’s skillset for the whole season, but he draws one of the tougher match-up pairs this week against the Padres and Dodgers. I might consider benching him this week. 

 

Tier 3: “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

I’ll be honest I don’t have a lot of faith in many of these pitchers. It seems like every offense will be tough — especially since they all get a DH this year. 

 

Rank Name Team Opponent 1 Opponent 2
11 Mike Foltynewicz ATL @TB NYM
12 Griffin Canning LAA @OAK HOU
13 Anibal Sanchez WAS TOR @MIA
14 Chris Bassitt OAK LAA @SEA
15 Tyler Mahle CIN CHC @DET
16 Jon Lester CHC @CIN PIT
17 Aaron Civale CLE CWS @MIN
18 Justus Sheffield SEA @LAA OAK
19 JA Happ NYY @PHI BOS
20 Tanner Roark TOR @WSH PHI
21 Zach Plesac CLE CWS @MIN
22 Elieser Hernandez MIA BAL WSH

 

  • If you’re playing the match-ups game from this group I’d invest most in Anibal Sanchez, Chris Bassit, Tyler Mahle, and Elieser Hernandez
  • The match-ups I want to avoid are: Mike Foltynewicz, Griffin Canning, Aaron Civale, and Zach Plesac. Especially those pair from the Cleveland Baseball Team — White Sox and Twins are a recipe for ERA’s over 6.00
  • Grab Tyler Mahle if you can — he’s filling in for Anthony deSclafani for one or two starts and he’s got a mixed bag of games. Cubs obviously can still rake when asked to, but the Tigers should be an easy start. This should be Mahle’s role all season — starting pitcher fill-in and innings eating reliever. Either way they should be quality innings. 
  • Elieser Hernandez is my top match-up play of this tier. Baltimore is a joke and Washington isn’t the same without Soto, Rendon, Bryce, and Zimmerman. 

 

Tier 4: “Never tell me the odds!”

They’re slim. 

 

Rank Name Team Opponent 1 Opponent 2
23 Wade Miley CIN CHC @DET
24 Austin Voth WAS TOR @MIA
25 Homer Bailey MIN STL CLE
26 Merril Kelly ARI @TEX LAD
27 Jake Arrieta PHI NYY @TOR
28 Mike Fulmer DET KC CIN
29 Trent Thornton TOR @WSH PHI
30 Kyle Wright ATL @TB NYM

 

  • Just like his teammate Mahle, Miley gets the Tigers, who he should get a quality start against, but the Cubbies infield will always be dangerous to face. 
  • Austin Voth is someone to add if your leaguemates haven’t been paying attention. He won the 5th starter job in Washington and now gets a mixed bag of starts. Blue Jays are young, but they’re reeeaddddyyy. Marlins are young, but not so ready. 
  • I want nothing to do with Jake Arrieta or Kyle Wright this week. Both have a pair of tough match-ups. 

 

Tier 5: “May the force be with you.”

You’re going to need to use the force from your couch to trust these pitchers this week. 

 

Rank Name Team Opponent 1 Opponent 2
31 Zach Eflin PHI NYY @TOR
32 Zach Davies SDP ARI @COL
33 Michael Wacha NYM @BOS @ATL
34 Adrian Wojciechowski BAL @MIA TB
35 Kendal Graveman SEA @HOU OAK
36 Alec Mills CHC @CIN PIT
37 Derek Holland PIT MIL @CHC
38 Corey Oswalt NYM @BOS @ATL
39 Kohl Stewart BAL @MIA TB
40 Dario Agrazal DET KC CIN
41 Matt Andriese LAA SEA HOU
42 Matt Hall BOS NYM @NYY

 

  • Either based on skills or tough match-up — I don’t really want to touch anyone here. If you’re desperate and need to reach your innings pitched or games started minimum I could see maybe taking a shot on Zach Davies. Yes, he’s facing Colorado in Colorado, but Davies has a career 1.50 GB/FB ratio and a 1.0 HR/9.
  • If you’re picking and popping starting pitchers based on match-ups I would look at:

 

 
  1. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Elieser…Hopefully there’s a Marlins team after today

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry William Klug says:
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      What a shock! A team from the state that still believes COVID is a hoax orchestrated by the Jews and the gay agenda.

  2. thehombre says:
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    Mills will rise a few tiers. He’s the new Houser.

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry William Klug says:
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      So… Newgie Houser?

  3. happyharry says:
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    Your advice needed, 12 team, H2H, 6×6. Would you drop either Paxton or Bundy for Heaney, Corbin Burnes, or Stripling?? thanks man!

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry William Klug says:
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      I know Paxton’s first start wasn’t what anyone wanted (except the Nationals) but you have to hang on to him for now.
      And Bundy looked great in his first start.
      Patience, patience, patience.

      • happyharry says:
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        I’m with you ..thanks for prompt reply. Keep up the good work.

  4. No crying in baseball says:
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    Whitley or Lamet? I have the 1st wavier pick.
    Just lost verlander.

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry William Klug says:
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      I’d go with Lamet. Too much uncertainty with Verlander and Whitley — I’d like to believe he’d be the call, but there are other options in Houston.

  5. Willie Mickey and the Duke says:
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    I think Cueto May get 2 starts. Where would he fit in?

    • Kerry Klug

      Kerry William Klug says:
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      I think you’re right!
      I do like Cueto. He performed great in his 2020 debut against the Dodgers (albeit a short debut.) His match-ups against the Padres and Rangers will both be at home.
      I think he slots in at the back end of tier 2 — maybe right behind Dylan Cease.

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