We’ve reached the final week of the 2023 baseball season. Whew!
With that comes a lot of uncertainty when it comes to starting pitching rotations. Once a club’s postseason status is secured, good or bad, the level of variability goes up. Thus, studs on clubs knee-deep in a pennant race are the best bets for fantasy purposes.
You’ll still start pitchers like Spencer Strider even though the Braves have nothing left to play for but don’t expect him to throw many innings.
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Top 50 Starting Pitchers: Sept. 25 – Oct. 1
Our weekly rankings start with FantasyPros’ rest-of-season Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) and are fine-tuned based on the Pitcher Planner, the players’ season-to-date stats, and their recent performance. This week, we’ve layered in the status of each starter’s team, ranking those with much still to play for higher. If you are in a rotisserie race or a head-to-head championship, stay on top of the schedules, as they will change daily. Don’t count on Zac Gallen to make that second start this week. If Arizona clinches or is eliminated, he likely won’t throw on the final Sunday.
The complete top 50 is below, but first, let’s review some of next week’s most interesting matchups.
Potential Two-Start Starters Who Could Win You Your League
Blake Snell tops our rankings with road matchups against the Giants and Chicago White Sox on tap. It’s likely San Diego will be eliminated long before his second start, even though they’ve been rolling lately. Still, they have little reason to rest him if he’s healthy since he’s in the Cy Young hunt and a free agent after the season. If the Astros haven’t already clinched, Justin Verlander should get the ball on the season’s final day against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Otherwise, he’ll surely be held out after his first start of the week against the Mariners in Seattle. Similarly, the Reds could turn to Hunter Greene on regular rest if the NL Wild Card comes down to the last day.
Potential Two-Start Starters Who Could Break You
Logan Webb probably won’t make two starts next week, as the Giants will likely be out of it by the weekend. He’s scheduled to face the Padres at home on Monday, and if the team rallies, he could make a second start over the weekend versus the Dodgers. Even if the Dodgers rest some of their starters, they are still dangerous. The Mariners will earn their spot in the playoffs if they survive next week. The good news is that all their games are at home. The bad news is they face division rivals and also contenders, the Astros and Rangers. If it comes down to the weekend, Luis Castillo and George Kirby could start against both.
One-Start Starters Who Can Help Put You Over the Top
Of the one-start starters with good matchups next week, those on clubs still fighting are the best bets, followed by those who have been eliminated. Thus, Merrill Kelly, Brandon Pfaadt and Michael Wacha for the Padres at the White Sox could reap big dividends, as could Seth Lugo at San Francisco. Cole Ragans and Lucas Giolito won’t have much on the line, but you still love their matchups vs. the Tigers in Detroit.
One-Start Starters You’d Prefer to Avoid but Probably Can’t
Conversely, good starters on playoff teams with bad matchups and nothing to play for make us nervous. How many innings will Max Fried and Charlie Morton go against the still-fighting Cubs at home? The Brewers’ duo of Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta have an identical predicament. The Twins will have clinched the AL Central long before Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray are slated to throw in Coors Field over the weekend. Heck, they may not even pitch at all in that series. Finally, will the Rays let Zach Eflin go more than five innings at Boston when he’s already set a career-high in innings pitched and has the playoffs ahead? It’s doubtful unless Tampa Bay still thinks they have a shot at winning the division.
|1||Blake Snell (SP – SD)||@SF, @CWS|
|2||Kevin Gausman (SP – TOR)||NYY, TB|
|3||Zac Gallen (SP – ARI)||@CWS, HOU|
|4||Justin Verlander (SP – HOU)||@SEA, @ARI|
|5||Luis Castillo (SP – SEA)||HOU, TEX|
|6||Hunter Greene (SP – CIN)||@CLE, @STL|
|7||Spencer Strider (SP,RP – ATL)||WSH|
|8||Gerrit Cole (SP – NYY)||@TOR|
|9||Framber Valdez (SP – HOU)||@SEA|
|10||Zack Wheeler (SP – PHI)||@NYM|
|11||Pablo Lopez (SP – MIN)||OAK|
|12||Corbin Burnes (SP – MIL)||STL|
|13||George Kirby (SP – SEA)||HOU, TEX|
|14||Justin Steele (SP – CHC)||@ATL, @MIL|
|15||Jesus Luzardo (SP – MIA)||@PIT|
|16||Kyle Bradish (SP – BAL)||WSH|
|17||Logan Webb (SP – SF)||SD, LAD|
|18||Max Fried (SP – ATL)||CHC|
|19||Freddy Peralta (SP – MIL)||CHC|
|20||Cole Ragans (SP,RP – KC)||@DET|
|21||Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI)||@CWS|
|22||Kodai Senga (SP – NYM)||MIA|
|23||Tyler Glasnow (SP – TB)||@TOR|
|24||Zach Eflin (SP,RP – TB)||@BOS|
|25||Eduardo Rodriguez (SP – DET)||CLE|
|26||Jose Berrios (SP – TOR)||NYY|
|27||Nathan Eovaldi (SP – TEX)||@SEA|
|28||Lucas Giolito (SP – CLE)||@DET|
|29||Brandon Woodruff (SP – MIL)||CHC|
|30||Joe Ryan (SP – MIN)||@COL|
|31||Lance Lynn (SP – LAD)||@SF|
|32||Michael King (RP,SP – NYY)||@TOR, @KC|
|33||Aaron Nola (SP – PHI)||PIT|
|34||Grayson Rodriguez (SP – BAL)||WSH|
|35||Chris Bassitt (SP – TOR)||NYY|
|36||Jordan Montgomery (SP – TEX)||@SEA|
|37||Tarik Skubal (SP – DET)||KC|
|38||Ranger Suarez (SP – PHI)||PIT|
|39||Kenta Maeda (SP – MIN)||OAK|
|40||Sonny Gray (SP – MIN)||@COL|
|41||Charlie Morton (SP – ATL)||CHC|
|42||Michael Wacha (SP – SD)||@CWS|
|43||Hunter Brown (SP,RP – HOU)||@ARI|
|44||Seth Lugo (SP,RP – SD)||@SF|
|45||Andrew Abbott (SP – CIN)||@CLE|
|46||Bryce Elder (SP – ATL)||CHC, WSH|
|47||Logan Gilbert (SP – SEA)||TEX|
|48||Eury Perez (SP – MIA)||@NYM|
|49||Cristian Javier (SP,RP – HOU)||@SEA|
|50||Brandon Pfaadt (SP – ARI)||@CWS|