Fantasy Baseball 2021 Top 200 Starting Pitcher Rankings – 100-200

So this is going to be a lot. I’ve elected to do a blurb on everyone inside the Top 200 and I’m turning the back half of this into one...

So this is going to be a lot. I’ve elected to do a blurb on everyone inside the Top 200 and I’m turning the back half of this into one post instead of stretching it out too far.

Keep in mind: the rankings themselves are kinda pointless, but I kept them there for the fun of it. It’s more about grouping and understanding the assets of all these pitchers as, in reality, we’re just hoping one of them does something to warrant your pick-up in a 12-team league. That means Tejay Antone at #189 isn’t really 60 spots worse than Tarik Skubal, and recognize that if Antone gets a rotation spot, things can change quickly.

But enough chit chat—let’s get to it. Here are the final 101-200 (and two) starting pitcher rankings for 2021 fantasy baseball.

 

Tier 11: There Is Something Here (Cont’d)

 

101. Dean Kremer (Baltimore Orioles) – Hey bud, didn’t see you there. I think your stuff is pretty solid – a slider for strikes, curveball for whiffs, and a fastball that doesn’t get burned – but your early schedule is rough (Yankees, Red Sox) and it’ll likely be a level of Battletoads through the year, dodging all the tough matchups through the summer. Still, Kremer could be an arm we gravitate toward quickly in April and find ourselves holding through the season and for that, I award you the “almost made the first edition of The List” medal. It’s a true honor. Zack Wheeler won it back in the day, I’m pretty sure. Like 85% sure.

 

102. Elieser Hernandez (Miami Marlins) – I’ve called Elieser General Disarray as he’s the mini-Lamet: A really good slider and a decent fastball. Lamet outgrew the PC moniker as his fastball became a genuine weapon last year and Elieser’s heater improved as well…just from 91 mph to 92. A little different. I really do like that slider as it can create some incredible outings on its own, but he’s routinely put up short starts without a strong third option and that fastball getting hit around a bit too much. That slider is a great foundation to build upon, though, and don’t rule out a step forward either in fastball velocity or a third offering taking shape. If we see something new early, this could be a legit play for the full season.

 

103. Rich Hill (Tampa Bay Rays) – It’s a bit fitting for Hill to head to Tampa, where they seemingly always have concerns about injuries and workloads. I had my serious doubts about Hill last season when his fastball velocity was down, but he still made it work and he hasn’t harmed your team in some time. Sure, he may not be a 30% strikeout guy anymore, but he doesn’t need to be to draft him at the end of your drafts. Just see how it goes to start the year and take it from there. It likely won’t last very long.

 

104. David Peterson (New York Mets) – Are we collectively not giving Peterson enough credit? He was cruising across his first four starts, then had a major hiccup that pushed him back two weeks with injury. After a few games to get settled again, he finished the season with 18 frames of 16 strikeouts and just four earned runs. That sounds oddly legit to me. His slider is the pitch to get excited about with an 18% SwStr, 39% O-Swing, and 40% zone rate, limiting batters to just a 36 wRC+. His fastball isn’t anything special, but it is 92/93 from the left side and gets the job done. The only question is if a third option will step in to solidify the approach, which would push Peterson comfortably inside the Top 75. Give him a chance against the Phillies or Marlins in April—it could work well in your favor.

 

105. JT Brubaker (Pittsburgh Pirates) – I kinda dig Brubaker. Sure, he doesn’t come with the explosiveness you crave or an idolized peak, but the dude can get outs with his sinker while stunning us with a big sweeping slider. Seriously, don’t underestimate that pitch, it carried an 18% SwStr and 53% zone rate last year across 272 thrown. It found the zone and batters couldn’t hit it. It’s what you want. His sinker approach will make for plenty of volatility along the way, though there will be some starts of more than a strikeout per inning that will make you put your hands on your hips and force a simple “Huh.” JT can do that.

 

106. Chris Archer (Tampa Bay Rays) – Hey, he’s back! Archer is recovering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and is firmly going back to a four-seamer heavy approach with the Rays. This…could…work? Archer will be one of the guys we’ll be focusing on in the spring to see if his velocity is sitting 95 mph once again or if he’ll be below 94 mph like shortly before his injury. I’m willing to wager that his slider will still be fantastic, but without a fastball that avoids damage – 136 career wRC+ – it’ll be hard for us to rely on Archer regularly. Throw in a Rays team that is quick with the hook and expecting a full six frames from Archer with any regularity this year is a bit of a stretch, but hey, there could be something here. I’d just wait a few starts, first.

 

107. Deivi García (New York Yankees) – I may be ranking Deivi a little harshly here as he’s technically in the running for the #5 spot in New York, but I’m leaning heavily against that possibility with Germán likely to run away with it. It’s too bad; I think I like García’s skill set more than the consensus. His curveball is great, I dig his fastball command, and that changeup was developing into a very nice weapon. I imagine we’ll still see a good amount of Deivi this season given the injuries that haunt their rotation, but it’ll cost you at least a few weeks of a bench stash to secure it. That may be worth it in a deeper league, but for 12-teamers, I think you’re better off using that bench spot to jump on other viable options early.

 

108. Luke Weaver (Arizona Diamondbacks) – I still kinda believe. I really do. Weaver found a cutter to get strikes in the zone in 2019, then lost it completely in 2020, a season where he pumped a ton of heaters in the zone and they were crushed. The man had a .349 BABIP and 1.73 HR/9 and I truly don’t believe those numbers will be as elevated in 2021. Look, I saw Weaver as a solid floor candidate entering 2020 this time last season and I have to believe that skill set is still there. I’m not going to treat every poor 2020 season as a “Oh hey, 2020 sucked! Free pass!” but I am going to be skeptical of it when we were feeling massively different before the massively short sample. It was abnormal. It was unorthodox. It put pitchers in weird positions. We already know how pitchers can shift dramatically year-to-year, is it so hard to suggest Weaver could bounce back in a normal season? I think he can. I’m not going to draft him when he gets the Padres first, but in deeper leagues where you need anyone who’s locked in a rotation, well, I’m taking Weaver before I hit the bottom of the barrel. Take the shot.

 

109. Keegan Akin (Baltimore Orioles) – I’m torn here. Akin’s four-seamer performed exceptionally well last year and if you watched that nine-strikeout start against Atlanta, you’ll notice his fantastic command of the pitch through the evening. He threw 310 heaters returning a 60% Zone rate and 14% SwStr. On a four-seamer! And better yet, his changeup held a 20% SwStr on its own. However, this was across just 25.2 innings and his slider and curveball leave a bit to be desired. He also pitches for Baltimore, who have to deal with four strong offenses in the East, which shows up early with two series against the Sawx. This is a stash play and I could certainly find myself turning to Akin for his Mariners or Marlins start after the initial two-start gauntlet. I just don’t want to sit on my hands for two weeks and not even feel confident after the investment, you know?

 

110. Trevor Rogers (Miami Marlins) – I’m Kinda into Mr. Rogers. The man throws 94 mph heat from the left side and pounds the strike zone while his changeup comes in 10 mph slower and induced a whiff nearly 24% of the time.That combination is enough to raise a few eyebrows for a guy slated to earn a rotation spot out of camp. There’s work to be done with his incredibly spotty slider, but if that could turn into any sort of weapon, you’re talking about a strong three-pitch mix that suggests a 25% strikeout rate. Say what now. Yeah, kinda crazy. I think it’s best for us to wait and see how he looks after his first two starts against STL and ATL, but maybe he’ll prove himself worth your attention for two games against SFG. There’s some interesting talent here.

 

111. Robbie Ray (Toronto Blue Jays) – 2020 was a storm of emotions for Ray. First we ignored him. Then he started showing a new arm circle that produced extra velocity a week before the season and I started going crazy. Then he showed up and couldn’t harness it. He was dealt to Toronto and reverted the arm circle changes. Ooof. The good news here is that he’s still locked into a role and there’s a belief that over time Ray can figure out some of his issues to at least be the high-3s ERA arm with a ridiculous strikeout rate. There’s too much at stake to trust Ray in the AL Beast early in the year, but for those desperate for strikeouts late, well, Ray is the best chance you’ve got.

 

112. Carlos Rodón (Chicago White Sox) – I wouldn’t call myself a fan of Rodón as he’s given us countless reasons to distrust him and his endless injuries. He returned from TJS just to have a shoulder injury mid-season and now he’s apparently in the White Sox rotation right away. If it’s all working, Rodón has a slider that gets strikes both in and out of the zone, while his fastball does a decent job pounding the zone. His changeup has never quite come together as we hoped and that’s it, really. I have my doubts that Rodón will explode onto the scene this year, but I also won’t rule it out completely. It wouldn’t shock me entirely if he pitches well right away and I get pressure to put him on The List…or he just confirms our doubts and Kopech is up by the end of April. Either way, we’ll find out what Road he is On.

 

113. Daniel Ponce de Leon (St. Louis Cardinals) – I’m upset. The Cardinals re-signed Waino, once again preventing a young arm from getting the shot he deserves. Yeah, it’s weird for me to talk this way about Ponce de Leon but he flat out dominated in his final three starts in September, striking out nine batters in six frames, then pitching on three days’ rest he fanned nine in five innings. WHAT. Oh, then one more start of six punchouts and 1 ER in six frames. He did so with a four-seamer that peppered the top of the zone, but the difference maker was a curveball he could finally land in the zone for strikes. The man figured it out, NOW GIVE HIM A CHANCE. But whatever, he’ll likely be in the pen to begin the year and one of the first options once something happens in that rotation. Bleeggggh get it together, Cardinals.

 

114. Spencer Howard (Philadelphia Phillies) – I wanted to be more impressed with Howard during his debut, but his changeup and slider weren’t as spectacular as I hoped, nor was his fastball overwhelming as those of other highly touted prospects. I can’t help but wonder if Howard simply needs to hit the reset button and hit the big leagues again when he’s fully in rhythm, not to mention in better health as he quickly hit the IL last season. It’ll take a moment as the Phillies signed Matt Moore and will likely send Howard down to get a bit more polish, but if this were a ranking for when Howard returns to the majors in a starting role this year, he’d be more around the 70s or 80s. I think he’ll be worth your time.

 

Tiers For Fears: The Tobys if you’re into that kind of thing

 

115. Brad Keller (Kansas City Royals) – I almost called this the Balding Royalty as a trio of Kansas City starters can be found across the next six ranks and it starts with Keller. Some are really in on Keller, but I think I’m out. Look, he was throwing 94 mph for a moment in 2019 and that was marvelous. 2020? More like 92 mph. His breaker was a bit improved and he was pitching more north-south than ever before, but what are we chasing here? A 3.50 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP and 16% strikeout rate? As the ideal? I love the fact that he gets the Rangers during opening weekend, but after that, it’s the White Sox, Jays, and Rays and I’m already off this train. There just isn’t enough here to chase. Be thankful for that start against Texas.

 

116. Adam Wainwright (St. Louis Cardinals) – I guess he’s back for another (final?) season with the Cardinals and he’s fresh off the single highest SwStr rate he’s had in his career. Crazy, I know. In recent years, Wainwright has done the smart thing and weaned off his fastball in favor of his much better cutter and curveball, the latter of which was a money pitch last season. Hot dang! I’m coughing a good amount of this on the small ten-game sample, but then again, Wainwright did go at least six frames in all but one of those starts – the sole exception being 5.2 frames against the Royals with 7 strikeouts. I can’t shake the feeling that it was just one of those weird stretches and I’m reluctant to believe that at age 39 years young, Wainwright has discovered how to be his best self. Nah, this is a boatload of risk, but hey, he has Arenado at his back with a solid offense and this could work. One more time.

 

117. Taijuan Walker (Free Agent) – I honestly have no idea where Taijuan signs, but I’d believe it’s a place where he’d comfortably sit in the rotation through the year. He deserves it after a very impressive 53.1 frames in 2020 where he carried a 22% strikeout rate, 2.70 ERA, and 1.16 WHIP – numbers that made a sizable impact in your fantasy leagues. I’m clearly wary that he can repeat it, especially when it came with a 7.8% SwStr rate and .243 BABIP. Ouch. There’s a reason he held a 4.60 SIERA and while I’m not saying he’s due for that, he is due to make you constantly question if he’s worth your roster spot. I’d personally just not deal with it but if he signs with a team that grants him a favorable schedule, sure, why not. Go have a run with Walker.

 

118. Justus Sheffield (Seattle Mariners) – I love his slider, but I really wish I could get behind his sinker and changeup more. It’s that simple, really. The path for Sheffield to break out of his mediocrity and into a legitimate arm resides in those two pitches getting it together. And sadly, I don’t buy that he will. That slider really is fun to watch when it’s working, though. Sigh. I think there is still streamer value here, but yeah, he’s destined to be a Toby type until something dramatic happens.

 

119. Danny Duffy (Kansas City Royals) – Hey, Duffy ain’t that bad. Sure, it’s been a 1.30+ WHIP for three straight years as he’s failed to hold an ERA under 4.30. But he also raised his strikeout rate to 24% last season and got more chases on his slider. Those are things. Look, just consider Duffy as a streamer and you’re cool. He’s a veteran who can go six frames when he’s rolling and that’s value. That’s it. That’s the blurb.

 

120. Kris Bubic (Kansas City Royals) – I originally counted out Bubic as he was rushed through the minors to make his debut last year for the squad. However, I came to appreciate his fastball/changeup approach, which did improve a touch as he gained more experience. It’s still not quite polished enough for me to feel completely comfortable letting him fly in 2021, but he may get an April start against the Tigers and that could be your gateway into trusting Bubic plenty for the year. There’s a Toby hiding in there, I can feel it.

 

121. Kwang Hyun Kim (St. Louis Cardinals) – We didn’t know what to expect from Kim when he arrived from the KBO and he gave us a sublime 1.62 ERA and 1.03 WHIP across 39 frames. Hot dang! He’s a command artist that nibbles the edges effectively, but barely misses bats, returning a 15.6% strikeout rate on the back of his 7.3% SwStr rate. Kim doesn’t have to hold a ridiculous .217 BABIP and 87% LOB rate to stay relevant, but can we believe that he’ll stay under a 4.00 ERA and 1.30 WHIP? It’ll be close and it may be hard to stomach without the strikeouts to boot. Still worth your attention, though, and he does get a decently favorable schedule early with @CIN, MIL, WSH, @WSH to kick things off.

 

122. Miles Mikolas (St. Louis Cardinals) – Mikolas suffered a forearm strain in 2019 and managed to avoid TJS, but skipped all of 2020. He’s a major unknown entering the year and after a highly disappointing 2019 campaign (still a solid 1.23 WHIP!), we’re crossing our fingers he can hint at his phenomenal 2.83 ERA from 2018. Pay attention to his velocity early and hope he’s still sitting 93/94 mph, though his slider may be the key to turning into a considerable asset once again. There’s a sense his best days are behind him, but I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Mikolas could surprise us if he is truly healthy to start the year.

 

123. Alex Wood (San Francisco Giants) – Here’s the bad news: He likely gets the Padres first and he’s not worth a stash. The good news: Wood has a clear role as a starting pitcher and who knows, maybe he’s throwing 91/92 again and his changeup is all kinds of beautiful. We haven’t seen much of Alex the past two seasons but at least he’s free of #Dodgeritis and in a position where he’ll be able to throw constantly until he simply can’t anymore. It’s unlikely he returns to the glory of 2017, but there may be some magic to tap into after a full reset in San Francisco.

 

124. Justin Dunn (Seattle Mariners) – Want to hear a funny stat? Despite holding a .179 BABIP across 45.2 innings, Dunn still held a 4.34 ERA. Yikes. The problem lies in a repertoire that has its moments, but lacks consistency. That breaker can be disgusting, but it’s often yanked and wasted as well. His 91/92 mph heater isn’t much to write home about and surely won’t repeat its .157 BAA for another season, and his curveball got hammered plenty as it floated into the zone. It’s not the arsenal you want from a young arm and unless you believe that slider will be harnessed in 2020, it’s likely Dunn will hover around a 20% strikeout rate as you hope for a 4.00 ERA. That’s a borderline Toby, alright.

 

125. Kohei Arihara (Texas Rangers) – I’ve put Arihara in the Toby tier but I don’t really know. He’s not a major strikeout arm – 19% clip in his final year in Japan – and we’re hoping he can fool enough batters early on to help out in fantasy. This is a clear wait-and-see with the hopes of serving solid ratios down the road. The fact we don’t know he’s detrimental yet is a major reason why he’s here and not closer to the #200 ranking.

 

126. Wade Miley (Cincinnati Reds) – Miley had a rough first outing, got injured, returned, got injured, then pitched in relief to end the year. Yeah, that one doesn’t count. I think there’s a Toby in here with his solid cutter that can provide decent ratios at times through the year. It could also falter allowing Tejay Antone the starts he deserves so I guess it’s a win-win? Just don’t turn in fear if Miley is performing well with his cutter.

 

127. Merrill Kelly (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Kelly was…kinda great last year. He only went five games due to a shoulder injury, but fanned seven in three of them, while holding a 2.59 ERA and 0.99 WHIP along the way. The real hero? Oddly, his sinker, which returned a 50 wRC+ and 11 whiffs across 96 thrown. Yeah, didn’t expect that. I’m not sure I’m willing to jump right back in on Kelly, but he’ll certainly get some side-eye from me. As long as that cutter and curveball are earning strikes, he should be a decent streamer.

 

Tier Still Fun: But Wait There’s More Upside

 

128. Adbert Alzolay (Chicago Cubs) – There’s some hype surrounding Alzolay given his new breaker that was flat-out disgusting last year. Hey, I’m excited too. The major issue is that I don’t believe he’s conquered his mechanics just yet. Those mechanics are the product of his historically high walk rates, which makes him inefficient, and leads to low IPs outings and a high WHIP – not the combination you want. So for every slider GIF we make for nastiest pitches, there are three fastballs flung out his arm without any idea where they are going. Mix in that he’s fighting for a rotation spot (or maybe just the sixth man of the rotation?) and it’s enough for me to sit back and hope I can snatch him off the wire if he’s seemingly made some positive tweaks.

 

129. Josh Lindblom (Milwaukee Brewers) – 2020 wasn’t quite the return to the majors we were hoping for from Lindblom, but there is hope for 2021. He exhibited a new slider that I’d expect to miss many bats in the year ahead, and he’s often tinkering with the rest of his repertoire to possibly gain another edge. I’m not ready to say his 5.16 ERA is a representation of the future and the Brewers look ready to trust in Lindblom for another season. I’m not sure exactly how it’ll pan out, but you might be rewarded giving him another shot – that 27% strikeout rate wasn’t purely a mirage.

 

130. Tarik Skubal (Detroit Tigers) – I really like Skubal…in 2022. Simply put, the weapons are there and I think he just needs more time in the majors to develop them to their fullest before we should be trusting him for our fantasy squads. His fastball does a great job inside the zone, his slider and curveball each have huge potential as SwStr offerings, and there’s even a changeup that gets me excited. It’s just not quite ready yet and I’d preach caution for jumping the gun here. He’ll get there eventually, but there’s still work left to do.

 

131. Casey Mize (Detroit Tigers) – I very well remember Mize’s debut. His fastball was fine, but his slider was amazing – a golden pitch that was stealing strikes endlessly as it would nip the top of the strike zone and jam batters inside. His splitter also looked as filthy as advertised and I understood what the Mize hype was about for a moment. Then I watched his other starts…it wasn’t the same. He turned away from the slider, he couldn’t find his splitter, and he leaned more on a curveball that just didn’t deserve the attention. In concert with a highly documented injury history, Mize looks like a heavy risk for any fantasy manager to consider this early in the year. And who knows, maybe Tyler Alexander steals some starts from him instead (You don’t want Ty-lex, sorry).

 

132. Joey Lucchesi (New York Mets) – With Matz dealt to the Blue Jays and no more signings (for the time being), Lucchesi looks to have the #5 spot in New York as long as he can beat out Mike Montgomery in spring training. He throws two pitches for the most part – a sinker and a churve (a curveball thrown with a changeup grip) – and while his churve still surprises batters (21.4% SwStr last year!), it isn’t enough to carry his underwhelming heater. There were talks of him adding a slider last season, but he threw just two of them all year. One was a called strike. The other was a home run. So yeah, I don’t think we’ll see that again. I can imagine Lucchesi doing just enough to justify a roster spot in an NL-Only league, but 12-teamers, this ain’t what you want.

 

133. Chad Kuhl (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Hey Kuhl, now that you clearly have a rotation spot for the foreseeable future, can you do two things? Throw your slider over 30% of the time and please, please stop throwing a sinker? I feel bad asking the next part, which is for your velocity to go back up to the days when you were touching 99 mph. I know you would if you could, so you know, I hope you can. But seriously, there’s a solid pitcher inside Kuhl if he’s able to heavily lean on that slider, then surprise batters upstairs with a four-seamer. He has the heat and he has the breaker. What does that add up? Hope. Good ole Hope.

 

134. Steven Matz (Toronto Blue Jays) – I guess Matz is a Blue Jay now. I don’t have a whole lot of faith in him – especially in the AL Beast – but I have to acknowledge that he’s been able to hold strikeout rates above 22% in each of the last three seasons. His sinker is an oddity that can make or break his year, while his slider is a secret weapon he’s reluctant to throw since it hurts his elbow. Sigh, I remember being so high on the kid back in the day. Now I just sound like a curmudgeon as Matz does his best to hold his rotation spot through the year. Let’s hope he can do it.

 

135. Vince Velasquez (Philadelphia Phillies) – When was the last time you rostered VV and felt great about it? I’d likely wager in 2016 during his ridiculous spring, including a 16 strikeout game against the Padres, you know, when they weren’t stacked. Things are different now and Velasquez hasn’t developed the secondary stuff like we hoped he would. There’s a constant feeling he’s destined for the pen, yet it hasn’t happened quite yet. Either way, you can’t trust him to go a cool five on a given night and that’s a major issue for fantasy.

 

136. Michael Fulmer (Detroit Tigers) – It hurt to watch Fulmer last year. He threw softer. His slider wasn’t what it was. His changeup was lacking. The whole thing was just…make it stop. Maybe he needed more time to recover and heal and get into a groove, I don’t know. What I do know is that he still has a regular rotation spot and he should be allowed to go more than three frames this year. Come on Fulmer, you can take down Porcello, I believe in you.

 

137. Alex Reyes (St. Louis Cardinals) – Alex. What. No. How did you get in here. We’ve been expecting you to “start” again for, what, four years now? They have a full rotation. With backups. They’ve tried so many times and despite how alluring your stuff is – that slider, curveball, and changeup are all dope and you throw mid-to-upper 90s?! – it just hasn’t worked out so far. You’ll be an excellent reliever and that’s cool. Please be a starter. Please please please. It won’t happen, BUT I CAN DREAM.

 

138. Jon Gray (Colorado Rockies) – I really just don’t see a reason to draft Gray. We avoid him every year as we know he’s someone worthwhile if he leaves Coors, but he’s still there, like an antique lamp that no one wants to purchase. Okay that was harsh? Dark? Regardless, Gray still has the talent to help despite his situation, evidenced by his 3.84 ERA and 24% strikeout rate in 2019. Do I want to deal with what it takes to roster a guy like Gray? Not at all, as I’ll never get into a place where I feel comfortable in any way to start him consistently. But I recognize in deeper leagues that y’all don’t have a choice. Last year was dumb and his shoulder was bad. Gray has it in him to be helpful in an NL-Only league and good luck taking the punches along the way.

 

Shed A Tier: The Prospects Tier

 

139. Logan Gilbert (Seattle Mariners) – Look, I’m not a prospects guy. So I did the smart thing and asked Andy Patton – our Dynasty manager – to tell me the prospects I should mention inside the Top 200. He’ll have a full Top 25 starters to consider for redraft leagues soon (and ranking Kopech, Morejon, and Deivi below where I put them!) but for now, this tier is a sneak peek and it starts with Gilbert. The big right-hander pitches a touch cross-body, but slings it well, with mid-90s velocity and a fantastic breaker. The Mariners are in a six-man rotation and seem adamant to stick with it, meaning any cracks in the rotation may result in Gilbert getting his opportunity sooner rather than later. Be ready to snatch him.

 

140. Matt Manning (Detroit Tigers) – There’s been plenty of discussion about who is the true best starter of the prospect trinity in Detroit and Manning has often been touted as the premier arm. With a three-pitch mix and smooth mechanics, he could make an impact from the moment he sets foot in the majors.

 

141. MacKenzie Gore (San Diego Padres) – There was speculation that Gore would get the call in September, but the fact he didn’t make his debut had us a little worried. With the Padres filling up their rotation with plenty of new arms, the path does seem a little harder for Gore to make a speedy jump to the bigs, but their injury histories should open the door by summer. His skill set speaks to a command expert with a deep repertoire, though don’t overpay in drafts to stash him – there’s still plenty of risk he isn’t worth an empty bench spot for months.

 

142. Brailyn Márquez (Chicago Cubs) – He’s a sturdy 6’4″ southpaw who could force his way into starts this year for Cubs with a rotation desperately in need of depth. He showcased stunning SwStr numbers in A/A+ ball, leading to a near 30% strikeout rate in over 100 frames and will turn heads when he eventually gets the call.

 

143. Clarke Schmidt (New York Yankees) – I was fortunate to have a talk with Schmidt in January and his knowledge of the craft impressed me. He’s two-seam focused with a bevy of secondary pitches that he’s constantly tinkering and developing, though the biggest question is when the opportunity will arise. With the acquisitions of Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon, Schmidt has been pushed as far down as the eighth option for New York. There’s still a chance, though, and it remains to be seen what Schmidt can do with a proper big league sample.

 

144. Josiah Gray (Los Angeles Dodgers) – It’s odd ranking yet another Dodger given their cornucopia of strong options, but Gray deserves attention given his ability. Gray has shown excellent strikeout and walk rates through the minors, while failing to record an ERA above 3.00 through Double-A. We may be seeing Josiah and his solid three-pitch mix this season, but it may take longer than the others.

 

145. Daniel Lynch (Kansas City Royals) – Six feet, six inches of 97 mph heat with a somewhat clear path to innings for the Royals. That’s what you need to know about Lynch as Kansas City has few options outside of Jakob Junis as their sixth arm this season. Lynch can overpower batters with an array of pitches and may be dazzling all of us before the All-Star break.

 

146. Edward Cabrera (Miami Marlins) – The Marlins are creating a reputation for crafting quality starters and Cabrera could be the next on their resume. It’s a three-pitch mix with a strong slider and heater and with Trevor Rogers sitting as their current #5 option, Cabrera may be rushed to the majors in an effort to repeat 2020 magic.

 

147. Forrest Whitley (Houston Astros) – We’ve been waiting for Whitley to make a splash in the majors for a long time and his recent seasons have suggested caution, between injuries and a loss of command. The talent is still there, though, and with a thinning rotation in Houston, they may turn to Whitley on the earlier side of the season if a spot opens up. He’s worth the gamble when that happens and let’s hope it pays off.

 

148. DL Hall (Baltimore Orioles) – There’s a staff joke that I like DLH more than I do Gore after seeing them both in the 2019 Futures Game. He throws hard with a big breaker and after recovering from TJS, there’s a chance the Orioles call him up this year. Mark him down as a name to monitor.

 

Tier Brown Suit: More Tobys Of The Night

 

149. Mike Fiers (Oakland Athletics) – Finally, the A’s re-signed Fiers as we always expected them to. And you’ll see a lot worse inside this tier. Look, I know his 4.58 ERA and 1.37 WHIP weren’t pretty last year, but he also had two sub-4.00 ERA campaigns the previous two seasons, while accruing about 180 frames each year. There’s value in that, especially when you’re getting 27 Wins along the way. Sure, he’s likely not the same guy he was then and he was chucking the ball at just 88 mph last season, but you gotta believe the man can go 89/90 mph again and be a decent Toby, right? So draft him? What? No. Don’t do that. A possible streamer for Ratios/a cheap Win, that’s all. That’s how you should be treating all of the guys in this tier.

 

150. Jake Arrieta (Chicago Cubs) – His glory days are behind him but he given how much his stuff moves – hellllllo cross-body mechanics! – I can imagine Arrieta being a Toby at best as he induces soft contact. How cool would it be if he returned to Chicago and somehow became the 2015 stud again? Ah…that would be wonderful. And a fantasy.

 

151. José Quintana (Los Angeles Angels) – Speaking of the Cubs and fantasies, Quintana is neither. The Angels needed a guy like Quintana to just be there. Someone to actually pitch innings through the year that will likely result in an ERA below 5.00. That’ll do. For your squads? Not really. You’re hoping Quintana can get that curveball working again as he nails his fastball command, but I’m not holding my breath. Quintana is the guy you turn to for a desperate stream when they visit the Rangers. Nothing more.

 

152. Madison Bumgarner (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Bummy, I was so into you last year. I was heavily into your expected volume and you were going to be up there with the best of them. But then you were throwing three ticks slower (three!) and not getting any whiffs and it hurt to watch. It hurt a lot. There’s a ton of mileage on that arm (I’ll take phrases spoken too often for $400) and it’s not easy to expect a full rebound, but hey, once again, 2020 was weird. Maybe he’s got it in him. And at the very least, you know Bumgarner is going to do everything in his power to get thrown frames. Don’t rule out some sort of rebound here.

 

153. Johnny Cueto (San Francisco Giants) – I’m willing to bet Cueto will have a good start in his first or second outing and confuse many fantasy managers if he’s worth a pickup. “It’s Cueto!” Look, I get that he’s only had 25 starts since the end of 2017, but the idea of a legit resurgence just ain’t happening. He’ll throw the kitchen sink at guys and find a way to scrounge up innings for the Giants this year, but a fantasy asset? Naaaaah. I like to run my teams without players dragging me down into the depths, thank you very much.

 

154. Martín Pérez (Boston Red Sox) – It was fun in 2019 when Pérez showed up with new velocity all of a sudden. His cutter did incredible things that year and while it has become the pitch keeping Pérez afloat, nothing else has been there for support. Pitching in the AL East isn’t going to help things either, but at least he has a decent offense behind him, while there are few suitors ready to take his spot if he falters. Don’t overlook Pérez for a cheap Win here and there.

 

155. Tanner Roark (Toronto Blue Jays) – The Jays have plenty of starters and also not really any. It’s weird. Roark is part of the equation as an innings eater. He’ll do things, usually not great things, but they are things. If he gets games not against the AL East (save for the Orioles), there’s a chance Roark can help you. I wouldn’t expect it, but he has a solid offense and will be allowed to go six frames if he’s looking fine through five. That counts for something.

 

156. Logan Allen (Cleveland) – It looks like Allen is destined to get the first crack at the #5 SP job in Cleveland, which means Allen could be an occasional streamer. Yay. Maybe his slider can continue improving on its SwStr to be a true #2 that dictates strikeouts (16% last year), and, I don’t know, maybe his two velocity jump that was likely a result of being exclusively in the pen could find itself sticking as a starter. That would be cool. Unlikely, but cool.

 

157. Jon Lester (Washington Nationals) – The Nationals are turning into the rotation of vets with Lester acting as the fourth 30+ year old of the bunch. I was shocked last year to see him rostered in over 50% of leagues at times – name value, yo – and I have to believe people have got the message now after his 7.2% SwStr in 2020. There’s a chance he rebounds a bit and backdoors that cutter effectively but as already know, this is the tier of random streamers that hopefully pull off a Vargas Rule at some point. In other words, sit this one out.

 

158. Matt Shoemaker (Minnesota Twins) – Shoemaker was kinda good last year? He’s a splitter-focused guy and as you know, that breeds volatility, but last season he wasn’t so bad when healthy with his heater, either. It was weird. I don’t expect a whole lot of innings as The Cobbler seems destined to get hurt once again, but he’ll be in a good place on the Twins to earn quality starts and some wins.

 

159. Logan Webb (San Francisco Giants) – I actually think Webb is kinda good…? Maybe, he’s serviceable to stream and…what are you doing, no don’t go to his player page…fine, okay? He had a 5.47 ERA and 1.56 WHIP last year. SO WHAT. He can sit 93 mph with a solid changeup and some nights, that’s all you need for some production. Don’t blindly start him or you’ll get stuck in the Webb. Just surf it when the right one comes along.

 

160. Antonio Senzatela (Colorado Rockies) – I was stunned that 2020 became the season of Senzatela questions, but he forced it by holding a 3.44 ERA and 1.21 WHIP across 12 starts. Oh, and a 13.5% strikeout rate. What. How does a man in Coors survive like that? HOW. This was as much of a “Vargas Rule” as you’ll find, even if it came with two ticks more velocity on that curveball (that curveball performed worse in 2020). It just doesn’t add up to a risk you want to take and at best, he’s a Toby again. We’ll be able to find those on the wire, seriously. All of these guys will be there and at least one of them will be that. There’s no reason to draft it.

 

161. Trevor Williams (Chicago Cubs) – I can see the Cubs actually leading with Williams out of camp, either as a six-man or kicking out Adbert Alzolay and while I wouldn’t bet on success, he isn’t so far removed from his 2017 – 2018 season to imagine a possible replication. He showcased a touch of the “BSB” with fastballs up and sliders down last year and I’m curious if it can develop further this year. I can feel a July stream coming.

 

162. Alex Cobb (Los Angeles Angels) – You may think it’s been ages since Cobb has been worth your attention and you may be right, but unlike many inside this top 200, Cobb’s ERA was under 5.00 in three of the last four years, and the one exception was three starts of nothing. Nothing! We’ve seen moments with “the thing” show up and that splitter could spell a successful season for Cobb, doing his best to get as many innings as possible for an Angels staff destined for IL stints. Problem is, he hasn’t held a 20% strikeout rate since 2014 and you’re going to be dancing around a lot of matchups. This ain’t it.

 

Chelsea Tiers: They Have A Job

 

163. Mike Foltynewicz (Texas Rangers) – Hey he’s back! And in a starting role! I genuinely believe this could be one of the crazy sleeper situations where Folty is suddenly throwing 95+ mph again with his ole slider. I mean fine, that’s likely not going to happen, but he’s going for the cost of dust at the moment and in your AL-Only league, why not take the shot? Something was going on with Folty last year and if the Rangers were willing to sign him, it makes me think he’s not exactly that guy anymore. I’m low-key excited to watch his first start of the year and see what he’s like.

 

164. Chris Flexen (Seattle Mariners) – Flexen left the Mets, pitched in Korea, dominated to the tune of a 3.01 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 28% strikeout rate, and is now returning to join the Mariners’ six-man rotation. Is he a new man? Maybe? Y’all knew to avoid him for fantasy purposes when he last pitched in the majors, but hey, who knows. Something made the Mariners sign him for two years at $4.75 million, maybe that translates to a sleeper pick. I’m not saying stash him, but look past the name and look at the performance of that first start.

 

165. Félix Hernández (Baltimore Orioles) – Félix is also an Oriole now, apparently. His stuff hasn’t been the same since 2017 when he ended the year with a 4.36 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. After opting out of 2020, I wonder if the extra rest will allow Félix to feel like a king again, at least to the state of throwing above 90 mph with his heater and maintaining that ridiculous changeup. The curveball can come too. At any rate, we’re going to wait and see here, with very few expectations.

 

166. Kyle Wright (Atlanta) – There was a brief moment last year when Wright was the right Wright. He tossed a quality start against the Nationals and followed that with six shutout frames against the Mets. Hot dang! Surely you didn’t start him against the Sawx…but wait! 6.2 frames of 2 ER! And then the season ended and we forgot all about it. I think that’s a good thing. While Wright did change his pitch mix at the end – fewer sliders, more heaters and curveballs – it doesn’t scream “he fixed it” to me as his slider is his best pitch and now he’s throwing it less. He also may not have this job for very long as Mike Soroka should return before April ends and this is all assuming Josh Tomlin doesn’t play his old games and prevent another young starter in Wright from getting innings in the majors. I’ll never forgive you for what you did to Clevinger. Anyway, the ceiling isn’t worth the risk for Wright and I don’t think we’ll get to a point where we can trust him this year.

 

167. Steven Brault (Pittsburgh Pirates) – I don’t know what to make of Brault. I think some will be impressed with his 3.38 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in the short sample of last season, but it came with a 12% walk rate and a questionable change. What was the change? No, his change. His changeup. He increased its usage ten points and it held a .121 BAA with a -26 wRC+. Sadly, this isn’t sustainable. It’s fine, but it’s not “one of the best changeups in baseball” fine. I see a Toby at best and that’s unfortunate.

 

168. Kyle Gibson (Texas Rangers) – What a wonderful 2018 it was. Gibson had showcased a string of eight starts to finish 2017 that weren’t terrible for the first time in, maybe ever, and it made us ask if there was something tangible entering the year. The first half was wonderful, the second half was not, and the third half – well, the entirety of 2019 – was definitely not. It just kept going south with the Rangers in 2020 and the luscious reality of a slider and changeup both returning a 20% SwStr just wasn’t enough to mask his poor heater. That blasted heater. I won’t ignore that if his slow ball and breaker each continue to miss bats that there will be moments of bliss when his fastball isn’t sent into orbit. But good luck trying to figure out which nights that will be.

 

169. Eric Lauer (Milwaukee Brewers) – I guess Lauer is still starting in Milwaukee, but I don’t expect it to bring much fanfare. He’s had his moments acting as much of a Toby as anyone and I’d love to see him limit damage with his four-seamer once again in 2021. There is the chance that Freddy Peralta is given another shot at the rotation and strips it from Lauer, though Peralta has displayed enough volatility to empty my Aspirin bottle. I wouldn’t focus a whole lot on Lauer – especially with the Brewers’ hard innings limits – but he may be good for a few streams given the right matchup.

 

170. Matt Moore (Philadelphia Phillies) – Whoa, he’s back! I have no idea what to expect from Moore but at the very least it seems like he has a job for the Phillies out of the gate, likely with Spencer Howard getting more time in the minors to kick off the season. That doesn’t mean in any way this is going to last, but who knows, maybe his cutter and curveball drank from the same fountain as Drew Smyly’s arsenal.

 

171. Jordan Lyles (Texas Rangers) – You know, I won’t rule out that Lyles can find his fastball/curveball combination once again. Back in 2019, there were moments when he’d go four-seamers up and tons of curveballs down for plenty of strikeouts (24% strikeout rate!), but it all disappeared in 2020. It’s a long season ahead, there’s time for Lyles to figure it out and produce for a few streams here and there.

 

172. Jorge López (Baltimore Orioles) – This may come as a surprise, but López has the highest potential here. He flashes ace-like ability but has never been able to be consistent with his stuff. It’s a curse, really. Those flashes happen inside games, which explains a ten-strikeout start with three longballs in 2019. If you elect to rely on him for an evening, I can see a night of excitement and despair in two dramatic hours. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked in.

 

173. José Ureña (Detroit Tigers) – Oh man, hey buddy. I guess you’re in Detroit now, which makes sense since you can go 180 frames this year of whatever-ERA and call it a day. There will be days where you’ll force people to tweet me, asking if you’re worth the pickup. I wish I can save this blurb and just send it to them each time. Well, fine. His sinker can be great if it hits the corners at his mid-90s velocity, but I’d only be starting him against the Tigers…who he plays for. So that’s going to be rough.

 

174. Michael Wacha (Tampa Bay Rays) – He is starting for the Rays…right? Is being the #5 SP for the Rays truly “Starting”? Wacha has displayed moments of being legit over the years, but it just doesn’t come together as you want it to. That cutter and changeup can both be solid, and that curveball may as well be non-existent these days. Those two pitches don’t do enough, sadly, and you should be looking elsewhere, especially in the haze of his position.

 

175. Kyle Freeland (Colorado Rockies) – Man, I wish Freeland could return to being a Cy Young candidate, spotting that heater inside to right-handers in the mid-90s at times, then featuring a changeup that fell off the table and a cutter that messed. Them. UP. It was lovely, we finally saw a command guy do the right things in Colorado for a change and I hoped it was here to stay. Narrator: It wasn’t. There’s no reason to trust a man in Coors like Freeland to kick off your season, but let’s see if he can grab at that skill set once again.

 

176. Austin Gomber (Colorado Rockies) – Let’s take Gomber, a guy who makes his beans with a big curveball, and place him in the home field that most limits the effectiveness of curveballs. It’s cool to see him possibly slot into a regular role, but this certainly can’t end well. Maybe for a stream in June on the road, but without Arenado the offense is even worse – and so is the defense – and…ugh. That’s rough, Gomber.

 

177. Will Crowe (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Will has fallen into a spot with the Pirates in the Josh Bell trade and Joe Musgrove trade and the Jameson Taillon trade. He may have one of the last “wait, that guy is a starter?” roles out there, especially with many free agents available that normal teams would have already signed for his spot but, you know, this is Pittsburgh. I wish I had good things to say but he only had one pitch above a 10% SwStr rate – a curveball he threw eight times and recorded one whiff. And they all rejoiced. Look, I understand he’s the protector of the realm ‘n’ all, but that doesn’t mean you need to take this Crowe into your homes. Jokes aside, it would be all kinds of Kuhl cool if he became a pitcher of note. A man who seizes opportunity, you know?

 

178. Joe Ross (Washington Nationals) – I feel like this should be a joint Ross/Austin Voth write-up as either one can take the job in the spring. Me? I want Voth to get it as I think he has more potential in that repertoire. Or watch Erick Fedde get it and bother us all. Regardless of who does, I think you should be sitting this out. Ross hasn’t flexed anything new, Fedde isn’t worth the risk, and Voth needs to prove himself after his horrendous 2020. But yeah, let’s hope it’s Voth.

 

Tier Whatever: Random Free Agents Who May Not Be Free Agents Now

 

179. Rick Porcello (Free Agent) – Hey Porcello. I know we haven’t been all too keen of each other as of late, but even I recognize that among your volatility, you’ve still managed to string together your fair share of quality outings. Like a Cherry Bomb from the dollar store. I can grasp those in QS or innings focused leagues starting you on a given night but for the rest of us, I’ll say you’re a streamer at best and that’s when I’m in a good mood. Spoiler: I’m pretty much always in a good mood. Unless I started Porcello. Seriously though, Porcello, I know you’re the guy that I’ll constantly get questions about through the season and that’s okay. You’re always The Thief to me.

 

180. Cole Hamels (Free Agent) – The man will go down as an Atlanta legend after his 3.1 frames of 3 ER on September 16th, 2020. But seriously, I think there’s still value left in the tank with Hamels, who has sustained impressive SwStr rates through his career while showcasing talent to stay under a 4.00 ERA and 1.30 WHIP…outside of that 1.39 mark in 2019. I genuinely believe Hamels will sign with a team and we’ll be using him as a temporary streamer off-and-on through the season. Just, you know, sign and stuff.

 

181. Homer Bailey (Free Agent) – Oh Homer Bale. You sprung into relevance in 2019 when your splitter was rocking our worlds and you even gave us a taste in 2020 across just eight frames in Minnesota. Now you’re on the market and we have no idea what’s in store for you. Let’s say he signs with a team and is able to slot him into the rotation right away. I’m still cautious as his best WHIP of the last five years prior to 2020 is 1.32. Yeesh. Look, if he’s feeling his splitter at any point this year on whatever hypothetical team he’s on, you may want to take a shot for a game or two. But that’s really it. Anything more and you’re downing Baileys to deal with Bailey.

 

182. Brett Anderson (Free Agent) – It still blows my mind that a pitcher who hasn’t hit a 16.2% strikeout rate since 2013 can still be fantasy-viable. Anderson is able to carve innings without a dramatically terrible WHIP or ERA. It’s weird and makes for such a small margin for error – not to mention his lack of durability that has reduced him to just two seasons of 20 starts since his 2009 rookie year – but hey, I recognize he could be a streamer on some days.

 

183. Mike Leake (Free Agent) – Will Leake find a job? I’m not entirely sure he will and I have this terrible feeling that if he does, it will remove starts from someone we actually want to get time on the bump, like Michael Lorenzen/Tejay Antone or, dare I say, Nick Pivetta. But hey, the guy still has a really good slider, somehow, and that makes him a major leaguer, I guess.

 

184. Aaron Sanchez (Free Agent) – Remember when he was dealt to Houston and we all collectively freaked out? Sadly it didn’t last long as injury took him out for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020, but now he’s back and stronger than ever*. Note*: Maybe not stronger than ever. I can’t help but be a little intrigued to see where he lands and if he can be a streamer with a tinge of upside – he did have that 10 strikeout game in July 2019 followed by a pair of six strikeout stunners in Houston that hinted at something more (34 strikeouts in four starts!). I have a small feeling this is a new Nate Karns situation and I really hope that’s not the case.

 

185. Aníbal Sánchez (Free Agent) – It’s the other Sánchez, the one that has actually been somewhat useful in recent years. Sadly I don’t think his cutter and splitter are going to be as good as that lovely 2018 run and maybe some of 2019 and this seems more like the proper time for Aníbal to hang up the cleats. Nearly 2,000 innings pitches across his career, well done, man. But hey, if not, there are worse streaming options against poor offenses.

 

186. Trevor Cahill (Free Agent) – I feel like every spring we get a taste of Cahill and go “hey, he’s actually kinda good!” and then he isn’t anymore, turning into his Irish doppelganger, Trevor O’Cahill. It’s sad, I really want him to pull it off for a full season, but I know it won’t happen. I feel like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the indifferent Hill.

 

187. Gio González (Free Agent) – Will we see González land on a team that will let him start regularly? I’m not really sure we will after his poor efforts with the White Sox last year. Look, with most of these free agents, if they sign, teams won’t care how many innings they throw in games. It’s the one positive here – they’ll have a shot at a quality start when they get their chances. I still don’t love the odds with González, but I have to acknowledge it.

 

188. Tyler Anderson (Free Agent) – Tyler Anderson had the 16th best four-seamer CSW last year at a 33.5% clip, just below Jack Flaherty. Crazy, I know. It propelled him to a few dazzling starts including a complete game shutout against the Diamondbacks. The Birthday Party is there, but good luck predicting when it will happen – he pitched that goose egg against the Diamondbacks, then allowed 11 ER in his next two starts…against the Diamondbacks. Maybe he can keep batters at bay with that changeup again this year, but don’t go expecting a 69 wRC+ on the pitch a second time round.

 

189. Jeff Samardzija (Free Agent) – I get a sense that Samardzija will land somewhere soon and I’m indifferent to it. His stuff just isn’t good enough for you to confidently trust on a given night. But hey, that’s the case with everyone down here, isn’t it? Welcome to the party Loose Lips, and you know what, I don’t think I need to call you that anymore. I feel for you, Samardzija. You’re in a spot where it looks like you’re shoving the ball to home instead of that beautiful ziiiip on a fastball. It’s hard out there, you have my sympathies. Here’s to you defying all of us and producing in some way in 2021.

 

The Final Tier: They Could Make Some Starts, Maybe

 

190. Tejay Antone (Cincinnati Reds) – I don’t inherently like putting Antone this far down, but I have to acknowledge that we won’t see much of Antone until something dramatically changes. If you remember from 2020, Antone displayed himself as a possible streamer and we even had a potential date against Pittsburgh stripped from us and I was devastated. That’s what this game does to us. Antone is equipped with a fantastic slider – 57% zone rate, near 19% SwStr rate – and a fastball/curveball combination that needs to take a step forward if he’s to demand at least five innings every five days.

 

191. Shane McClanahan (Tampa Bay Rays) – There are a lot of Rays inside this Top 200 and while that makes sense given how often they move around their bottom arms, it does overlook the fact that those at the end of their rotation generally don’t go deep into games. It’s too bad, really, as I think Shane’s skill set is pretty dang good. He throws hard with a great curveball – you saw it in the playoffs last year – and if he does get a legit opportunity, he could be turning heads quickly.

 

192. Ross Stripling (Toronto Blue Jays) – I don’t know what’s going on in Toronto. Is it six-man? Does that mean Stripling can be a starter? What about Chatwood? Or Anthony Kay? He’s not even ranked here! We’ve been waiting ages for Stripling to finally get his shot in a rotation and sadly it seems like we’re going to have to wait even longer. However, if he does regularly start, there is upside here, without question. He held a 3.02 ERA across 122 frames in 2018 with a 27% strikeout rate, rooted in a fantastic curveball. I don’t think he can climb back there but if he gets a chance, I’m all ears. Until then, he’s not worth the risk.

 

193. Tyler Chatwood (Toronto Blue Jays) – Maybe Chatwood gets the chance before Stripling, who knows. What I do know is Chatwood showed new life last season throwing his cutter more than ever and it was superb. For a start or two. Then he was hurt and that was it, the pumpkin returned and he was no longer Chatdid, but Chatwould. The Jays could open the door for Chatwood – they did sign him, after all – and watch him have another dazzling night. We’ll all be shook. So, so shook.

 

194. Randy Dobnak (Minnesota Twins) – The man was a solid 5-innings and out last year for a solid ERA/WHIP and rarely more than a single strikeout. Now he’s the sixth option on the squad with the Shoemaker signing and Dobnak never really had a chance. He’ll be back, though, there are too many innings to fill and you have to believe the Twins will give him a chance before Devin Smeltzer.

 

195. Josh Fleming (Tampa Bay Rays) – I recognize that I get excited at things normal people don’t get excited about. But come on, how can you not love Fleming’s strike zone plots that feature extreme pitch separation of sinkers and cutters, where he’s jamming right-handers endlessly up-and-in while keeping his heater down-and-away? It’s exactly how you squeeze out the most value possible with just a two-pitch mix! Anyway, it’s all pretty moot as we have no chance predicting how the Rays will use their arms this year – even if he becomes a “starter” will he actually start games? – and you can’t believe Fleming will turn into a regular character you want to trust every five days. Not to mention, who knows how long he can actually survive with just two pitches as that changeup was pretty meh.

 

196. Luis Patiño (Tampa Bay Rays) – Hey look, a third Ray in this tier. Patiño was a major piece in the Blake Snell deal and for good reason – he’s filthy. He throws 97 mph with a ridiculous slider and solid changeup as well. But will he get his shot? Probably not. I can see the Rays using him for 3-4 innings here and there or maybe even turn him into a fireman reliever and it frustrates me. Patiño has the talent you want in a young arm and 2021 has all the feelings of us simply waiting until 2022 and beyond. Blegh.

 

197. Collin McHugh (Tampa Bay Rays) – You know, there was a time I really liked McHugh. And then he got hurt. Then the fire nation attacked, 2020 happened, and he opted out. Look, I don’t think we’ll see McHugh start much, if at all this year, but if the Rays have their injury bug – which they often have – I can see a world where McHugh gets consistent starts down the road and hey, maybe he ain’t so bad. His slow slider is solid and the last time he was a full time starter, he held a 3.55 ERA. In 2017, but it was good! And that’s cool.

 

198. Adrian Morejón (San Diego Padres) – I’d imagine of all these names, Morejon is the most likely to make starts given the injury risks attached to all of the Padres staff & the possibility of a six-man rotation to help keep them healthy. If Morejon gets that chance, there could be something there. His splitter is destined to induce whiffs and his fastball sat at 96 mph even in his starts last season. There isn’t much else to rely on in that repertoire, but that could be enough for us to consider him as a streamer for some strikeouts every so often.

 

199. Nick Pivetta (Boston Red Sox) – What is happening, Pivetta. There was a glimmer of hope that the Red Sox wouldn’t sign anyone and you’d have a clear path to a starting gig in April. Wouldn’t that have been swell – a risk-free opportunity for Pivetta to get back on his feet. Who knows, he could still get that chance should anything happen to their current five-man rotation – it’s very rare for nothing to go wrong – and I wonder what kind of Pivetta we’ll see. Here’s to hoping it’s the mid-to-upper 90s version who throws over 40% sliders & curveballs. That would be lovely.

 

200. Cal Quantrill (Cleveland) – Ah yes, the UnQuantrifiable. With the fifth spot up for grabs, I expect Logan Allen to get the first crack, but there’s a chance Quantrill beats him to it. The ceiling is a Toby at best, as Quantrill’s slider nor changeup suggest a flurry of whiffs, but maybe the 26-year-old takes a step from Cleveland starters before him and figures a few things out. If he gets that fifth spot, Quantrill’s unknown is worth plenty more than the known, meh quantities around him.

 

201. Jakob Junis (Kansas City Royals) – There’s a chance the Royals go a proper six-man this year and maybe we’ll see more of Junis that just in long relief. You’re asking how much JJ is wentworth and sadly it ain’t a whole lot even with that slider of his. The other stuff just isn’t enough to warrant your typical fantasy attention.

 

202. Jaime Barria (Los Angeles Angels) – There’s Barria, there’s Felix Peña, there’s The Irish Panda Patrick Sandoval, and somehow six other capable arms inside the Angels organization, yet somehow they’ve arranged a staff that we don’t feel confident in as a whole. Welcome to LAA. With Barria, he’s shown positive moments with his slider and changeup, but you just can’t bank on that for a given night. Maybe as a desperate streamer – as you know multiple of these Angels pitchers are going to be out at some point in the year – but they don’t call him Santa Barria. It’s just Jaime.

 

203. Matt Harvey (Baltimore Orioles) – Hey Harvey. What is happening. You know, I don’t expect much, if anything this year. I really just don’t. But hey, you’ve been okay in the past and maybe you’ve been working hard and adapting and there’s something, something that will force the Orioles to start you this year. And maybe we’ll take note. Welcome to the darkest hour before what we all hope to be your dawn.

Nick Pollack

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

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