2017 Rankings: Top 160 Starting Pitchers For Fantasy Baseball

After going through the Top 100 last week (well, really Top 125), I’m now going over every other conceivable starter this year to make sure you guys understand why I...

After going through the Top 100 last week (well, really Top 125), I’m now going over every other conceivable starter this year to make sure you guys understand why I didn’t elect to have them in the Top 125. Notice that there aren’t number rankings at this point they wouldn’t really serve a purpose – few should be considered for your fantasy team. The first 15 or so listed here are more desirable and then it’s just a grab bag of NOPE. Keep that in mind as we dive in.

Tier 10: The Worst of the Rest

Jeff Hoffman (Colorado Rockies) – I don’t want you guys to let his poooooor 2016 let you forget that he had a stellar 9.40 K/9 during his time in AAA. That being said, that walk rate is terrible and it’s going to take some time before we see Hoffman come into his own – even with his good GB rates – as he spends time in Colorado.

Brett Anderson (Chicago Cubs) – There actually could be some sneaky value from Anderson as he plays for a winning team and has an incredible defense behind him for a grounder heavy pitcher, I simply can’t trust that he’ll play enough to give him an actual ranking. Deeper leagues could find some value here if you’re willing to look past minimal strikeout production.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Speaking of which, Ryu could be the same case but this is such a joke at this point. Even if he does give you innings, can we in any way expect something close to 2014? Definitely not.

Martin Perez (Texas Rangers) – Not enough K upside for me to chase a 3.75 ERA. I can understand starting Perez when you’re in desperate need of a win come the weekend, but that’s about it.

Kendall Graveman (Oakland Athletics) – Some bought into Graveman last year during his 11 game stretch of 3.34 ERA, but man was that as pretty of a cherry picked stat that I could find. He still had a 4.51 xFIP and just a 5.29 K/9 in that time. This is a terrible idea.

Shelby Miller (Arizona Diamondbacks) – It’s understandable that people see a post-post-post hype sleeper in Miller, but he simply hasn’t had the strikeouts you want since his 2013 debut while the walk rate rate hasn’t disappeared (3.31 BB/9) and he still calls Chase Field his home. He was unbelievably unlucky last year (65.4% LOB rate, .340 BABIP), but there’s little reason to invest as that upside is so far away it hurts.

Clay Buchholz (Philadelphia Phillies) – At least Bucky is now out of the AL Beast and in the NL Easy, but it’s hard to get on board with a pitcher who had over 140 innings just once in four years, had a career high walk rate in 2016 and was just plain bad – 4.78 ERA, 6.01 K/9, 1.33 WHIP. Sure there’s a chance it could turn around and Chris Sale could also have an injury in April. Feel me?

Seth Lugo (New York Mets) – He’s the seventh option for the Mets rotation – which totally could mean 20+ starts given the Mets rotation – and even if he gets the innings he was super lucky last year and I can see it being a trap for trusting owners. There’s an outside chance of being an okay streamer against weak opponents and that’s about it.

Chad Kuhl (Pittsburgh Pirates) – At the end of the day, Kuhl just doesn’t have the stuff to be rosterable, though I can fathom someone using him for a stream once in a season. That alone makes him on this scraps rankings section as opposed to say…Jered Weaver.

Brandon McCarthy (Los Angeles Dodgers) – There are a lot of questions here – does he get time on the bump even if he’s healthy? Will he have strikeout stuff? Will his Twitter game ever stop being on point? Will he be able to give you a sub 4.00 ERA? Hard to add him to your roster when we have no idea what we’re going to get.

Brock Stewart (Los Angeles Dodgers) – There’s upside in Stewart, it’s simply tough to see him getting consistent time in the rotation with the Dodgers hoarding starters these days (for understandable reasons, of course).

Jesse Chavez (Los Angeles Angels) – After a season in relief, Chavez is currently slotted as the Angels #5, though that might go to Alex Meyer or Daniel Wright or even Bud NorrisDon’t invest in this as he’s been shaky as a starter and the strike rate won’t follow him if he transitions away from the pen.

Bud Norris (Los Angeles Angels) – There is value here I SWEAR if Norris gets the fifth spot in the rotation and keeps the high velocity Cutter. Majors hypotheticals there but do note.

Patrick Corbin (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Boy did I love Corbin entering last year and it all went way south – He didn’t develop his Changeup, his Fastball was crushed and even his money pitch – his Slider – couldn’t save him. 38.5% Hard Contact is as high as you’ll find and there are simply a ton of issues Corbin needs to overcome in Arizona. However it’s within the realm of possibility he figures it out early and can purge the horrid 3.82 BB/9 from last year. I’m sure not chasing it, but the upside here is larger than nearly everyone here.

Jesse Hahn (Oakland Athletics) – With his stuff – near 95mph heater with movement and a big hook – you’d hope for better strikeout and walk numbers, but both haven’t been there together for Hahn over his career. He had to go through TJS, but maybe 2017 is the year he gets back into his groove? Maybe?

Chase Anderson (Milwaukee Brewers) – He showed some promise with a 8.27 K/9 in 2014 for the Dbacks, but he’s throwing fewer Curveballs now and his strikeout rate has plummeted with it. And a worse ERA. And his groundball rate. And a ton more hard contact (36.6%!). And you get the point.

Wily Peralta (Milwaukee Brewers) – So I had a term last year – Stop being so Wily! – as I was labeling Peralta as one of the worst starters in the league. He backed me up with a 4.86 ERA and 6.56 K/9. Yeah, I don’t see that term changing this year.

Jimmy Nelson (Milwaukee Brewers) – Member when Nelson was a super intriguing prospect that hinted at 8-9 K/9 with decent walk rates? Ohhhh, I member!

Tyler Duffey (Minnesota Twins) – Last year I thought that he could be an effective two-pitch pitcher that hinged heavily on his Curveball. I wasn’t saying Top 30, but Top 75 was doable for a guy no one stuck in the Top 100. Well, Duffey showed me that he was just a one pitch pitcher last year with that heater, which is a recipe for your Uncle’s brown soup. No one wants that recipe.

Henderson Alvarez (Free Agent) – A) No one has yet to sign Alvarez B) He’s not even expected to pitch again until May at the earliest C) He has a career 4.73 K/9 D) His 2014 breakout year where he had a 2.65 ERA saw a 3.57 xFIP underneath while averaging under four Ks per game and a 1.27 WHIP. This is the worst Three-Fists Compromise I’ve seen and the dude hasn’t had more than 20 innings since 2014. H’oh boy.

Yovani Gallardo (Seattle Mariners) – The only way the Orioles got value out of Gallardo is by trading him. Please don’t touch him.

Cody Reed (Cincinnati Reds) – Man that was a disappointing debut last year. He has some filth in that arm though and it’s possible more seasoning can turn him into a fantasy relevant arm. Just don’t take that risk until we see something promising.

Andrew Cashner (Texas Rangers) – I Cashed Out a long time ago and you should too. I think I’ve written that about 20 times over the years and it never gets old.

Matt Andriese (Tampa Bay Rays) – He’s expected to be starting a bit this year, though it’s not out of the question he gets replaced by Jose De Leon at some point assuming their are no injuries to the squad. Andriese don’t do enough to entice and he’s not a long term guy. No thanks.

Kyle Gibson (Minnesota Twins) – You’re not going to get strikeouts with Gibson. You’re not going to get a good WHIP given his 3.00+ BB/9 with Gibson. You’re not going to get Wins with Gibson. You’re not going to get a sub 4.00 ERA with Gibson. You’re not going to win a championship with Gibson.

Phil Hughes (Minnesota Twins) – 5.95 ERA last year with all DIPS also above 5.00. But at least he had a sub 2.00 BB/9!

Ariel Miranda (Seattle Mariners) – Ehhhh that 3.88 ERA last year masked a 5.25 FIP and his K/BB numbers are incredibly mediocre. Maybe an ocassional streamer but that’s it.

Daniel Mengden (Oakland Athletics) – He’ll be in a boot and out of commission for at least three months after getting foot surgery. Not that I loved him in the first place (well, his mustache and I had a wonderful candlelight dinner the other night), but important to note for those hoping to find a serviceable back-end starter in deeper leagues.

Tom Koehler (Miami Marlins) – Koehler is going to be a perennial starter who hurts your team more than helps and that’s with consistent starts inside the NL Easy. He’s pretty dang fantasy irrelevant.

Hector Santiago (Minnesota Twins) – I really need to stop talking about Santiago Island BUT I CAN’T. It’s a dumb joke from a single podcast last year. Anyway, Santiago is most likely above a 4.00 ERA with a 3.50+ BB/9 and not enough Ks (and definitely not Wins) to justify starting him. He had 37.3% Hard Contact last year…

Ricky Nolasco (Los Angeles Angels) – This is just not a good idea. Sure he got a little unlucky but what’s the upside? 7.25 K/9 with a 2.00 BB/9 and 4.00 ERA? Why do you want to chase that?

Anibal Sanchez (Detroit Tigers) – Sanchez and I broke up like three years ago. Let’s not open old wounds, okay? I just wanted one night where I don’t cry.

Derek Holland (Chicago White Sox) – Boy did 2016 Holland get hammered like a Freshman during rush season – 4.95 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP as he endured The Dutch Invasion. I’d love to hear a case that tells me it’s going to get 1.25 ERA better while in Chicago as he gets fewer opportunities for Wins. I’d LOVE to hear it.

James Shields (Chicago White Sox) – It’s hard to forget Shields allowing 31 ER across just four starts last season but he also had some decent stretches as he played weak teams that might make some consider him for a random stream here and there. Too much risk without enough reward. By the way, Slomin isn’t a bad nickname for Shields as it almost sounds like Solomon – a super strong person – but you get up close and you realize he’s not like Solomon at all. Also the whole Slomin’s Shield thing. Duh.

Ubaldo Jimenez (Baltimore Orioles) – You’re kidding right? 5.44 ERA and three straight seasons above 4.10 guys. Oh boy!

Matt Cain (San Francisco Giants) – Cain? Why on earth are we talking about Cain? Yes, I’ll take pitchers should have already retired for $400, Alex.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar JB says:

    Assuming I have a good offense (Top 5) in our 13 team league, can I contend with this rotation next year? How about 2018/19 (Dynasty league)?:

    James Paxton
    Lance McCullers
    Kevin Gausman
    Jon Gray
    Blake Snell
    Garrett Richards
    Tyson Ross

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