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Top 100 Starting Pitchers For 2022 Fantasy Baseball – 3/21 Update

UPDATED Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2022

I’ve Made One Final Top 100 Update – CLICK HERE

We’re a little over two weeks from Opening Day (YES!) and instead of waiting to update my Top 100 Starting Pitcher fantasy baseball rankings until the final week of the pre-season, I elected to make a traditional update to The List so everyone can view them in one large table.

Want an earlier update to The List? Join me on Mondays at 12:00pm EST as I live-stream its creation each week!

Have questions? My “office hours” are on Twitch 9:00 am – 11:00 am EST Monday – Friday + the aforementioned stream for The List.

For each edition of The List, I have a set of rules to outline my thought process and how to best use these rankings. These are a little different today as we sit firmly inside the preseason. Please take note:

  1. This is 5×5, 12-teamer, H2H format focused. It generally is the same as roto as well, but make sure you adjust accordingly.
  2. For the preseason, I’m creating two separate tables. First, is an injury table that outlines what tiers I’m taking these players in my pre-season drafts and a second for what tier they’d be if fully healthy. It’s the best solution I could come up with to help ya’ll out.
  3. Second is a table of pitchers outside the Top 100 I considered. Please read this if you can’t find your guy.
  4. Since this is a 12-teamer, I heavily weigh upside in the back-half of the rankings. Tier 10 is likely going to underperform those in Tier 11 across a full season, but it’s in your best interest to chase Tier 10’s ceiling vs. settling for Tier 11’s floor.
  5. I’ve made a decision to remove all the labels that I struggle to maintain through the season to instead give each player just one label at a time. It streamlines the process much better and hopefully gives you a more targetted understanding of the player.
  6. I’ve also made the decision to not mention Trevor Bauer. There’s too much of a headache for many reasons. Just don’t do it.
  7. The notes outline oh-so-much to help your team. Please read them if you can instead of just scrolling to the bottom.

 

Let’s get to the tables. First is the injury table:

 

Injured Players Removed From The List

 

I’ve placed Lance McCullers Jr., Jack FlahertyShane Baz, and Chris Sale all in the same tier for a reason—it’s the point in the draft where you can afford to take an IL stash and not miss out on a legit arm for the year. Take note of how your draft is unfolding and when you get to the moment where the other starters on the board don’t push the needle a whole lot, consider these injured arms.

Quick note on Baz, he had surgery to remove loose bodies in his elbow today—literally as I was writing the notes for this. It seems like he won’t be in the majors until early May, which isn’t a major change from our current outlook, but it does dampen his value a touch.

Now let’s take a look at the pitchers I considered for the Top 100 but didn’t quite make the cut:

 

Other Starting Pitchers I Considered

 

Lastly, I heavily recommend you read my 40,000 words on All the Top 224 Starting Pitchers for 2022 that I released in February. About 95% of it still applies and will do so much to help you understand the skill sets of everyone ranked here. Seriously, it will answer all your questions and it took months of work to put together. Read it.

 

 

Ranking Notes

 

  • This is your reminder to please read these notes as they’ll tell you plenty about why “someone moved up” or “why is he at #X?!”
  • Seriously. Read the notes.

 

  • The first tier isn’t changing at all. Yes, I know about Zack Wheeler’s slow start to the year. From what we’ve seen, he’s slightly behind, but nothing that should shift his outlook for the season. My guess is something around ~70 pitches for his first start instead of 90+. You know, that’s what we’re expecting from Walker Buehler and Julio Uríastoo. Don’t overthink this.

 

  • I made a few small changes in the second tier—I moved Shane Bieber ahead of Robbie Ray and promoted Lucas Giolito to #11 and Tier 2. For Bieber, I’m still concerned that his fastball command could still be wonky, but he seems to be 100% healthy, making my skepticism rooted from his two “rehab” starts in 2021 unfounded. Still love Sandy and Julio more, but Bieber needed the love.
  • As for Giolito, I’m a fan of his consistency and his improved slider last year + his extra velocity to mid-to-upper 90s. Sign me up across 180+ frames.

 

  • Yeah, I did some things in the third tier. I found myself having doubts about a lot of pitchers here, making it clear that I was far too low on Charlie MortonMeanwhile, I’ve found myself too lenient to overlook Aaron Nola’s flyball problem last year and Kevin Gausman’s dramatic shift from San Francisco to Toronto. It means Joe Musgrove and Logan Webb get sizeable bumps, especially when paired with Chris Sale and Jack Flaherty’s removal.

 

  • In the fourth tier, the only change was the rise of Justin Verlanderwho has come out featuring the same velocity as his pre-TJS self. It doesn’t mean he’s back to his old self ability-wise, but it certainly makes me feel more comfortable drafting him and letting him ride early.
  • I also removed Blake Snell from this tier and put him in the fifth. Snell had success late in 2021 rooted in a simpler approach of fastballs & breakers. Now that he wants to bring his changeup back into the fold, I worry it’ll be the unwelcome return of volatility.

 

  • Staying in the fifth tier, Chris Bassitt gets a huge boost from me as once again I’ve been undervaluing him. Arguably, the move to New York is worse for him given the benefits of Matt Chapman and O.Co previously, though I see Bassitt with different eyes now as a dependable starter slated for heavy volume in 2022. Pair that with a slider that helped inflate his strikeout rate last year, I can see Bassitt producing quality outings consistently.

 

  • It looks as though Zac Gallen will be a touch late on making his first start of the 2022 season, but it’s not enough for me to dramatically shift my approach with him in drafts. I’m excited to see his secondaries recover from an injury-plagued year as he’ll get all the opportunities in Arizona.
  • Pablo López also took a small dip, though that was more of a product of Tyler Mahle and Bassitt’s rise. In short, PabLó is still someone I’m interested in for 2022, even with the health concerns.

 

  • Oh hey, Tier 6. I saw you over the horizon and didn’t realize how stupidly large you are. I expected by now to be dramatically shifting both Mike Clevinger and Luis Severinohowever, Severino came out firing 97 mph heaters (albeit, with pedestrian command) and Clevinger is seemingly good to go on Tuesday. I wonder how much they’ll shift before my next The List update, days before Opening Day.

 

  • Lance McCullers Jr. and Clayton Kershaw took tumbles, with the former getting pushed to the injury table given his elbow problems. As far as Kershaw goes, he’s healthy for now, at least, but there isn’t a whole lot of confidence that he’ll be healthy for long this year, let alone at his elite level when he does.
  • In some ways, Kershaw and Shane Baz are opposites—Kershaw will pitch early but for an undetermined amount of time, while we won’t see Baz until May. Be ready to draft some early help if you do chase Baz (same goes for Michael Kopech).

 

  • I found myself leaning more toward Patrick Sandoval in drafts than I had previously ranked him in February. Maybe it’s a product of my lack of love for Framber Valdez, Marcus Stromanand the “when-is-he-gonna-pitch” Shohei Ohtanibut I also love chasing the Irish Panada’s incredible 32-whiff catalyzing changeup.
  • Okay okay, I was too low on Eduardo Rodríguez. Do I think he’s a league winner? Absolutely not, but I recognize that his four-seamer is incredible and his situation in Detroit should only improve his outlook.

 

  • I elected to push up the likes of Adam Wainwright and Alex Wood as I found myself leaning on them for early starts in the year. They should both be a step up from your typical Toby types and as we move further down the draft board, they stand out above the rest.
  • I elected to drop Huascar Ynoa a bit, even though I’d still love to have him on my teams this year. The strikeout ability is very much present, but the volume is more in question given his light pitch mix and the fastball gets hit far too hard. Don’t rule him out given the red, but the other arms in the tier should help and have a little higher floor.

 

  • Instead of the middling volume Tier 8 from before, I decided to push up the guys I found myself chasing at the end of drafts. Stephen Strasburg is apparently a little behind schedule, making me elect to chase Noah Syndergaard instead after reports came of the Angels allowing him to throw curveballs and possibly sliders.
  • Tanner Houck fell down as I’m skeptical of his early schedule and how the Red Sox will use him. The slider still needs to take strides forward as well, given its sub 65% strike rate last year. There’s just a little too much needed to tweak for me to take him above Triston McKenzie and Joe Ryan.

 

  • Yes, I’m still a fan of drafting Eric LauerHis increased velocity on his four-seamer and cutter fueled a phenomenal 2022 campaign and I don’t see those skills going away. Meanwhile, he resides in the NL Central and should tally the Wins with the Brew Crew.
  • His teammate Aaron Ashby fell six spots, however, as I’m worried he’ll act as a dead roster spot for a good while—while he is being stretched out by Milwaukee, he’s the clear #6 option and has to wait until a clear rotation spot opens up. Who knows when that will be.

 

  • Are you looking for the Toby tier? Welp, we’re still not there. Hyun Jin Ryu, Anthony DeSclafani, Zach Eflin (he may be ready by opening day!) and Steven Matz could fit the bill, but they each have a chance to be more than that in 2022. The same goes for Alex Cobb in his new ballpark in California.
  • Meanwhile, Tylor Megill, Reid Detmersand Bailey Ober each have intriguing upside. Ober’s four-seamer reminds me me of peak Jake OdorizziMegill was pumping 96+ mph with consistency over the weekend as he holds the #5 spot with Taijuan Walker out (and who knows, maybe there’s still an open spot when Walker returns?), and Detmers could seize the sixth spot for the Angels with his excellent breakers. This is fun to chase.

 

  • Speaking of fun to chase, Tier 10 is filled with your final dart throws. Michael Lorenzen isn’t quite as appealing as Detmers, but he has a firmer spot in the rotation and could be beneficial with his 95+ mph velocity & two solid secondaries in sliders and changeups.
  • Don’t let the red fool you about Jesús Luzardo, Luis Patiñoand Nick Martínez. Each are interesting choices at the beginning of the season who could get us excited after their first outing. We want a curveball focus from Luzardo, reliable innings from Patiño, and, well, something good to justify Martínez’s stellar NPB numbers.

 

  • There’s also a ton of UR in this tier. Why? Well, it’s filled with intriguing prospects who could find themselves with a rotation spot out of camp. Nick Lodolo looked phenomenal for the Reds and could keep it up to force some time on the bump in April, while Matt Brash and George Kirby are each battling over Seattle’s #5 spot. There’s also the fifth spot open for Atlanta and Houston, which could go to Kyle Muller and Cristian Javierrespectively. Monitor them all.
  • There’s also Patrick Corbin and Mitch Keller to keep an eye on. We likely won’t feel confident about Corbin as a dominant in-season start, but for Keller, if he can rack up spring strikeouts with his breakers after showing up with increased velocity, he’ll have my attention.

 

  • There’s a whole lot of red in the final tier as I pushed down the “safe” options in favor of chasing dart throws at the end of your 12-teamer drafts. If you’re in deeper leagues, definitely consider some of these instead of those in Tier 10.
  • I’m leading with Kyle Gibson here as his first week will consist of the gaunt Oakland offense & the Marlins. That could be fruitful for some early streaming.

 

  • Justin Dunn also warranted a spot as he looks situated to start indefinitely in Cincinnati. I’d be cautious at first, but if his velocity stays elevated and he can develop his breakers, you may be adding him before summer arrives.
  • Lastly, I found myself shrugging at Casey Mize’s situation. It’s a tough schedule out of the gate and without something new to get us excited for the future, I don’t see a reason to draft him instead of the possibility Aaron Civale leans more on cutters & curveballs, or Zach Thompson who could soar with his…cutter and curveball.
Editor’s Note: I’ve removed Justin Dunn as he’s confirmed to miss months with a shoulder injury. Josh Winder has replaced him at #100 as he may steal the #5 spot for the Minnesota Twins.

 

YOU SHOULD READ THE NOTES

 

RankPitcherBadgesChange
1Gerrit ColeT1
Aces Gonna Ace
-
2Corbin Burnes
Aces Gonna Ace
-
3Brandon Woodruff
Aces Gonna Ace
-
4Zack Wheeler
Aces Gonna Ace
-
5Walker Buehler
Aces Gonna Ace
-
6Max Scherzer
Aces Gonna Ace
-
7Jacob deGrom
Aces Gonna Ace
-
8Sandy Alcantara
T2
Aces Gonna Ace
-
9Julio Urías
Aces Gonna Ace
-
10Shane Bieber
Aces Gonna Ace
+1
11Robbie Ray
Aces Gonna Ace
-1
12Lucas Giolito
Aces Gonna Ace
+2
13Lance Lynn
T3
Aces Gonna Ace
-1
14Charlie Morton
Aces Gonna Ace
+8
15Max Fried
Aces Gonna Ace
+2
16Joe Musgrove
Aces Gonna Ace
+4
17Logan Webb
Aces Gonna Ace
+4
18Kevin Gausman
Aces Gonna Ace
-5
19Freddy Peralta
Aces Gonna Ace
-
20Aaron Nola
Aces Gonna Ace
-5
21Alek Manoah
T4
Ace Potential
+2
22Trevor Rogers
Ace Potential
+2
23Justin Verlander
Ace Potential
+10
24Frankie Montas
Ace Potential
+1
25Shane McClanahan
Ace Potential
+1
26Yu Darvish
Ace Potential
+1
27José Berríos
Ace Potential
+1
28Luis Castillo
Ace Potential
+2
29Carlos Rodón
T5
Ace Potential
+2
30Chris Bassitt
Ace Potential
+12
31Dylan Cease
Ace Potential
+4
32Blake Snell
Ace Potential
-3
33Zac Gallen
Ace Potential
-1
34Tyler Mahle
Ace Potential
+4
35Pablo López
Ace Potential
-1
36Mike Clevinger
T6
Ace Potential
+3
37Luis Severino
Ace Potential
+3
38Ian Anderson
Ace Potential
+5
39Michael Kopech
Ace Potential
+8
40Patrick Sandoval
Ace Potential
+9
41Nathan Eovaldi
Strikeout Upside
+4
42Clayton Kershaw
Injury Risk
-6
43Eduardo Rodriguez
Strikeout Upside
+15
44Logan Gilbert
Ace Potential
+6
45Shohei Ohtani
Injury Risk
-4
46Framber Valdez
Quality Starts
-2
47Marcus Stroman
T7
Quality Starts
-1
48John Means
Quality Starts
+4
49Sonny Gray
Strikeout Upside
+7
50José Urquidy
Quality Starts
+3
51Sean Manaea
Strikeout Upside
+4
52Tarik Skubal
Strikeout Upside
+7
53Adam Wainwright
Quality Starts
+10
54Jordan Montgomery
Strikeout Upside
+3
55Alex Wood
Strikeout Upside
+11
56Luis García
Strikeout Upside
+6
57Ranger Suárez
Quality Starts
+7
58Huascar Ynoa
Strikeout Upside
-7
59Jon Gray
T8
Quality Starts
+1
60Triston McKenzie
Strikeout Upside
+10
61Joe Ryan
Strikeout Upside
+10
62Tanner Houck
Strikeout Upside
-8
63Eric Lauer
Quality Starts
+9
64Noah Syndergaard
Ace Potential
+10
65Stephen Strasburg
Ace Potential
+8
66Aaron Ashby
Ace Potential
-5
67Josiah Gray
Ace Potential
+2
68Hyun Jin Ryu
T9
Quality Starts
-3
69Anthony DeSclafani
Quality Starts
-2
70Steven Matz
Quality Starts
+7
71Tylor Megill
Quality Starts
+UR
72Reid Detmers
Strikeout Upside
+UR
73Zach Eflin
Quality Starts
+UR
74Alex Cobb
Quality Starts
+12
75Bailey Ober
Quality Starts
+3
76Michael Lorenzen
T10
Strikeout Upside
+19
77Jesús Luzardo
Ace Potential
-1
78Luis Patiño
Ace Potential
-3
79Nick Lodolo
Ace Potential
+UR
80Matt Brash
Ace Potential
+UR
81George Kirby
Ace Potential
+UR
82Kyle Muller
Strikeout Upside
+UR
83Nick Martinez
Quality Starts
-4
84Patrick Corbin
Ace Potential
+UR
85Mitch Keller
Ace Potential
+UR
86Cristian Javier
Strikeout Upside
+UR
87Kyle Gibson
T11
Streaming Option
+UR
88Aaron Civale
Quality Starts
-1
89Zach Thompson
Quality Starts
-7
90Marco Gonzales
Quality Starts
-5
91Carlos Carrasco
Quality Starts
-11
92Rich Hill
Strikeout Upside
-9
93Cal Quantrill
Quality Starts
-5
94Tony Gonsolin
Strikeout Upside
-1
95Casey Mize
Quality Starts
-27
96Zach Plesac
Quality Starts
-5
97Germán Márquez
Strikeout Upside
-7
98Carlos Hernández
Strikeout Upside
-
99Miles Mikolas
Streaming Option
+UR
100Josh Winder
Stash Option
+UR

Labels Legend

Aces Gonna Ace
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low IPS
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
Stash Option

 

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDeseigns on Twitter)

Nick Pollack

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

  • LeftyNation says:

    Luis Garcia player page is linked to a different Luis Garcia. Ps. Is there any news on him during spring training?

  • Craig C says:

    When will the next SP update be? Before sunday (my draft :) )?

  • Monty says:

    No love for Kyle Wright?

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