Michael Ajeto’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers (5/6)

Michael Ajeto updates his top 100 starting pitcher list.

It’s been almost two months to the day since I’ve updated my top 100 starting pitchers list. Obviously, a lot has happened, and so the list has changed rather significantly. Due to this, there may be some changes that may need further tweaking, some minor, some perhaps major. In any case, this list is, on the whole, a reflection of how I think about the current landscape of starting pitchers.
I tried my best to think of this list as how I’m viewing pitchers rest-of-season, so, unlike Nick, many pitchers currently on the Injured List are present on the list:
Top 100 Starting Pitchers

Since this is my first discussion of the list since I’ve dropped my other, it’s time to take some victory laps, and also eat some crow. I’ll go and address notable ones by tier.

Victory Laps

Tier two:

    • As much as it pains me to say, Trevor Bauer has maintained his 2020 pace, outside of some dingers. I’m holding him at his spot because of the volume I expect.

Tier three:

    • Corbin Burnes! I’m a believer. He went on the IL with what many are speculating is COVID-19, but he leads all pitchers in K-BB% and has yet to surrender a walk.
    • Joe Musgrove is shoving! He ranks just behind Shane Bieber in K-BB%, and when you sandwich his 2020 and 2021 numbers, he ranks in the top ten in K-BB% in that time span.

Tier five:

    • I feel like I can victory lap Tyler Mahle being good, although he hasn’t been quite as dominant as I’d hoped.
    • I regret not going harder on Trevor Rogers in the preseason, but I thought he was an innings limit risk due to his role. As it turns out, Sixto Sánchez is out of the rotation for now! Rogers is legit.
    • Jameson Taillon is going to give up more home runs than you’d like, but he’s so good.
    • People made me feel like I ranked Sandy Alcantara too high before. I didn’t rank him high enough.

Tier six:

    • Zach Eflin wields the fourth-best K/BB of all starters. (Although I’ll admit, his K-BB% is good, but not great.)
    • I feel good about JT Brubaker being pretty high on my initial list. He’s legit!

Tier seven:

    • Yusei Kikuchi has flashed a ton of promise and seems like he’s trending up.

Tier eight:

    • I almost wrote an article for Lookout Landing saying that the Mariners should sign Tyler Anderson. I’ve been high on him for a while now, and with the Mariners’ injuries, they should have!

Tier nine: 

Tier eleven:

    • Chris Flexen has been a solid late add. I still think there’s more here.

Eating Crow

Tier one:

    • Gerrit Cole has shoved more than I anticipated. Shane Bieber has been good, just not as dominant as Cole. That’s reflected in them swapping spots.

Tier three:

    • Despite being a contact suppressor with plus stuff, I had my doubts with Tyler Glasnow because of a two-pitch mix and low IPS. He added a slider, and he’s been incredible.

Tier four:

    • I ranked Zack Wheeler low because of a low K-BB% and injury risk. He’s the best contact suppressor in baseball outside of Noah Syndergaard, so if he’s getting whiffs, he’s incredible.
    • I initially had Luis Castillo ranked at number four on my initial list before dropping him down to number twelve. That looks like it was a judicious decision, even if I think he turns it around.

Tier five:

    • I think we all made this mistake, but Kenta Maeda has been struggling.
    • I wanted to see him continue his success some, but John Means looks like he’s figured it out.

Tier six:

Tier seven:

    • Huascar Ynoa? Huascar Ynoa! He’s thrown strikes as well as anyone in the league, and the home run issue looks more like a bad day than a prominent feature of his game.
    • I think Aaron Civale gets the kinks worked out, but man, I expected much more.

Tier eight:

    • Nathan Eovaldi’s spring training velocity should have been a stronger indicator for me.
    • This is perhaps the biggest whiff of draft season for me. Kyle Hendricks just had a pretty strong outing, but he’d been getting absolutely destroyed before that.
    • I wrote Adbert Alzolay off too much. This is what I get for being too surface-level with my analysis!

Tier ten:

    • Marco Gonzales got shelled before looking like he was figuring it out. Then he strained his forearm. Yikes!

Photos from Jeff Robinson, Jimmy Simmons, Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire | Design by Quincey Dong (@threerundong on Twitter)

Michael Ajeto

Michael writes about the Mariners at Lookout Landing, as well as here at Pitcher List. You can follow Michael on Twitter @dysthymikey, or you can not.

20 responses to “Michael Ajeto’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers (5/6)”

  1. Mike Honcho says:

    Rest of season, K.Hendricks, E-Rod, and Brady Singer basically interchangeable in the same tier? With Cease a tier below despite recent outstanding outings?

    • Ted Williams frozen head says:

      I’d have to guess because Hendricks and E-Rod have a longer track record of success. I can’t say the same for Singer but he’s been good so far. Cease is on a nice tear but he’s seen some horrible valleys. I think he’d need more than 2-3 good outings to leapfrog those guys, wouldn’t you agree?

      • Ted Williams frozen head says:

        Cease has only gone past 5 innings in 2 of his 6 starts…just saying.

      • Michael Ajeto says:

        Yup, basically this! The lists are subject to change, but the idea is essentially “gun to my head…”

        I imagine Hendricks will drift towards the initial #19 ranking I had him at, but if he doesn’t, he might legitimately be out of the top 100. so I think his rankings are fair.

  2. Firtree Baseball says:

    Thanks Mikey for the update! Can you explain what you are seeing in David Peterson that has him above every starter on the Oakland A’s?

    • Michael Ajeto says:

      Upside! Irvin isn’t much of a strike-thrower, and doesn’t really get whiffs. Luzardo hasn’t blown me away. I like Bassitt a lot, but I don’t see much wiggle room for more Ks. So, in short, it’s because they’re probably capped around 25% for K% (Montas has pushed this before), whereas Peterson is currently sitting at 29% with a strong CSW. (Peterson *does* need more whiffs, though…)

  3. NickFolesMVP says:

    Why so down on Montas? Feel like he should be at least a tier higher

    • Michael Ajeto says:

      He’s been a below-average starter since 2020, is mostly my reasoning. I think he probably needs to ditch the sinker in favor of more four-seamers, and he needs to throw the splitty and slider more. The potential is there! He’s just not optimizing his skillset.

  4. Guest says:

    Where’s Danny Duffy?

  5. Aaron says:

    Just so you know… I watched your pitchcon presentation. I’ll leave it at that. Lol just kidding but I only said that because you were so high on Castillo from what I remember and I see him at 21 and think” how could he go against nick the great ?” Lol just joking around man. I haven’t watched it recently but I’m curious to which pitchers you were actually right about so far

    • Michael Ajeto says:

      Thanks man! I think for the most part, my big wins are Corbin Burnes, Joe Musgrove, and Tyler Mahle.

  6. Willie S says:

    No love for DeSclafani? He’s not going to win your league for you, but you’d take Flexen, Lyles, and Justus over him for the rest of the year?

  7. Chuck's Tacos says:

    No Jesus Luzardo? I know he’s struggled, but surely he’s Top 100.

    • Michael Ajeto says:

      Forgot him too!

      I don’t know, he’s projected for like 90 more innings ROS. I’d rank him, like, in the 80s? 90s?

  8. Tribe Fan says:

    Did you forget Dinelson Lamet? If so, where would you put him.

    • Michael Ajeto says:

      I did!

      I don’t know, he worries me. If he’s somewhat healthy, I’d have him somewhere in the 50s. If I *knew* he was healthy, he’s a top 15-20 pitcher.

  9. Justin says:

    How about Domingo German?

  10. Dhroa says:

    Hey Michael!

    When can we expect an updated list from you?
    Love the ROS aspect of it, really enjoy it!
    Hope it’s soon, cheers

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