The List 3/13 – The Top 100 Starting Pitchers for 2019 (Mid-March Update)

Nick Pollack gives an early update to his Top 100 Starting Pitcher rankings.

What is happening!

I initially planned to have a few updates talking about a handful of players, but as we sit in the thick of draft season, I figured I’d release a new edition of The List prior to March 25th’s official relaunch of the weekly Monday column.

Remember, these ranks are for 12-teamers in H2H leagues:

 

RankPlayer
1Max Scherzer
2Jacob deGrom
3Chris Sale
4Justin Verlander
5Trevor Bauer
6Gerrit Cole
7Corey Kluber
8Blake Snell
9Noah Syndergaard
10Aaron Nola
11Carlos Carrasco
12Walker Buehler
13Jameson Taillon
14Mike Clevinger
15Patrick Corbin
16Zack Wheeler
17Luis Severino
18James Paxton
19Jack Flaherty
20Stephen Strasburg
21Zack Greinke
22Miles Mikolas
23Yu Darvish
24German Marquez
25David Price
26Clayton Kershaw
27Jose Berrios
28Luis Castillo
29Robbie Ray
30Madison Bumgarner
31Nick Pivetta
32Masahiro Tanaka
33Kyle Hendricks
34Charlie Morton
35Ross Stripling
36Mike Foltynewicz
37J.A. Happ
38Yusei Kikuchi
39Kenta Maeda
40Andrew Heaney
41Tyler Skaggs
42Nathan Eovaldi
43Shane Bieber
44Joe Musgrove
45Tyler Glasnow
46Kyle Freeland
47Cole Hamels
48Jon Lester
49Eduardo Rodriguez
50Jimmy Nelson
51Michael Fulmer
52Matt Strahm
53Derek Holland
54Chris Archer
55Joey Lucchesi
56Rich Hill
57Hyun-Jin Ryu
58Julio Urias
59Collin McHugh
60Merrill Kelly
61Jeff Samardzija
62Reynaldo Lopez
63Jesus Luzardo
64Chris Paddack
65Forrest Whitley
66Alex Reyes
67Justus Sheffield
68Sonny Gray
69Alex Wood
70Matthew Boyd
71Jake Arrieta
72Rick Porcello
73Dallas Keuchel
74Kevin Gausman
75Jose Quintana
76Michael Wacha
77Marco Gonzales
78Anibal Sanchez
79Pablo Lopez
80Kyle Gibson
81Jon Gray
82Kyle Wright
83Michael Pineda
84Zach Eflin
85Luke Weaver
86Sean Newcomb
87Zack Godley
88Jerad Eickhoff
89Trevor Cahill
90Martin Perez
91Mike Minor
92Jake Junis
93Wade Miley
94Steven Matz
95Trevor Richards
96Julio Teheran
97Touki Toussaint
98Jhoulys Chacin
99Dereck Rodriguez
100Aaron Sanchez

Notes

  • I meant to add Brad Peacock as well and somehow left him off. He should be at #86—I don’t believe he’ll have the starting job for long if given it out of the gate.
  • Remember, once it gets near the mid-50s, it’s a free-for-all. Go for your guy, even if I’m ranking someone else slightly ahead of him.
  • Not a whole lot of movement in the first fifty ranks or so—not surprising as spring training shouldn’t do much to affect these ranks—though Luis Severino took a fall to the late teens with his shoulder problem. I expect him back around the mid-to-late April and return Top 10 SP value thereafter.
  • Carlos Martinez is off The List as he’ll be on the IL for weeks as the season starts. Maybe he does return as a starter, maybe as a closer, for now, I’m not touching him save for the final round or two as an IL stash.
  • Clayton Kershaw heads to the middle of the twenties, ahead of Jose BerriosYes, I’m incredibly concerned about his innings, though Berrios marks the spot where it’s a combination of risk and reward. Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda rise up a little with Kershaw’s injury woes.
  • I elected to drop Luis Castillo slightly as I’m growing a bit wary of his ability to locate with his fastball. His mechanics don’t speak to precision, as he slings the ball at a lower arm-angle and I’ve found myself going with Marquez before Castillo—or even holding off on drafting Luis altogether.
  • Falling as well due to injury is Mike Foltynewicz who will be missing Opening Day. I was already skeptical of a repeat from Folty and now I’m also concerned about a balky elbow that could continue to hamper him through the year.
  • The chaos in the Atlanta Braves‘ rotation is rampant. Mike Soroka‘s shoulder has brought him down again and I’m heavily concerned we won’t see him at all this year. Luiz Gohara had an early injury and has been sent to Triple-A, and there’s suddenly room for Kyle Wright and his phenomenal spring to take the leap. Not a terrible flier at the end of drafts as we wait to find out more.
  • We didn’t expect plenty of youth to make waves in spring training, but arms like Jesus Luzardo, Chris Paddack, Forrest Whitleyand Justus Sheffield looked the part and could all come up near the start of May. I elected to group them all together as one little mini-tier, though I completely understand if you want to go for something more secure behind them. Alex Reyes was included as he’ll be pitching out of the pen early.
  • Dreams may come true as Matt Strahm is getting plenty of attention as a possible starter for the San Diego Padres. Don’t spend an exuberant amount and overlook more stable options, but Strahm is a solid flier in the later rounds.
  • At the end of the ranks are a bunch of intriguing names. Aaron Sanchez and Martin Perez are each showing increased velocity and could be early pickups across 12-teamers. Pablo Lopez is also pumping gas and paired with two 16%+ whiff pitches, he could be a sneaky sleeper as well.
  • There are plenty other considerations—Sonny Gray‘s adjustments in Cincy, Matt Boyd holding onto his second-half velocity, Michael Pineda looking healthy, and Wade Miley in Houston could return dividends—and it goes to show just how deep your options are at SP this year. Plan to have a spot or two to cycle through arms at the beginning of the year to find what sticks.

(Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire)

Nick Pollack

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

  • Avatar Mathew Planalp says:

    Brad Peacock doesn’t make the list because he won’t be starting in May?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks for the catch! I added him on there in the notes. He should be at #86.

      Still have my worries about him though and I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s ousted by Whitley in May.

  • Avatar John says:

    What has Merrill Kelly shown this spring that has gotten you excited? If Burnes win the 5th spot, where would he rank?

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      I would be awfully concerned about the way MIL uses their pen. Personally, I don’t want much to do with anyone in their rotation.

  • Avatar Brian says:

    Wishful thinking (and I hate to make work), but any chance you have a version of that table with columns for Previous Rank and Change?

  • Avatar Monty says:

    What are your thoughts with Gausman reportedly being only in the high 80’s this spring so far? Would that change his ranking for you?
    How close was Domingo German making the list, Roster Resource now has him as the SP4 for the Yankees.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Ahhh Domingo!

      I probably should have given him some love, maybe around the early 80s.

      Still has kinks to work out though, and Domingo might hurt more teams than help.

      For Gausman, I’m waiting until the end of S/T to make that call. I’m well against the consensus on Gausman, so I haven’t had to think much about him. If the velocity is still down, that sounds more like his early injury is lingering.

      • Avatar Sporer says:

        Not sure hurting more than helping can be a disqualifier, though, given your penchant to chase upside with half the list. I do like German’s bat-missing abilities, though!

        • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

          Definitely right! And I 100% should have had him here.

          Let me explain that last part. Those other “chasing upside” guys aren’t in German’s position, though…which is likely a month of pitching as Severino returns (CC should be before him).

          The propensity for upside comes with the path to impact through the full year…and despite German’s ability to miss bats, his ceiling seems capped by lack of innings. All of that could change n all and maybe I’m not taking that into account enough.

          • Avatar Monty says:

            After watching him against the Sox today, it’s hard to not really like what you see from German. Here’s to hoping he can somehow sneak a rotation spot longer than we currently think!

  • Avatar Jim Delaney says:

    My man crush for Castillo might rival yours! Making him the cover picture, great call.

  • Avatar Anonymous says:

    Trying your suicidal “Wait Forever” strat in my 12-team H2H 5×5 this year. I can’t resist taking Bauer at the price, but after that, it’s bat, bat, bat…

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      “Suicidal!”

      I sure hope not….

      I’m fine with Bauer in the mid-third and later and going for bats after. It works, trust me!

  • Avatar Ben says:

    Where do you have Josh James?

  • Avatar JJ says:

    Why no Josh James? Saw you still have Reyes in there even though he’s likely to start out of the bullpen. Should I drop James for an arm you have in your 50s-60s?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I think James is going to be in the pen longer + he’s already a step behind with his injury.

      My best guess is that Peacock gets the job and is replaced by Whitley around May. The Astros will need James in the pen and it spells a tough path to innings as a starter.

      I’d make that swap!

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      I like James, but there is no guarantee that James is a starter as his stuff plays really well out of the pen – that’s why the spring injury is such a big deal for him. Reyes doesn’t belong on the list at all. I called exactly how last year played out for Reyes – let someone else draft him unless you want to speculate about a closer, which you shouldn’t pay that much for especially with CarMart and Hicks as high octane competition for the role. If he has a significant role and the stuff is all there (why would it be?), he will have his innings managed really tightly – STL screwed up last year and won’t want to make the mistake again.

  • Avatar John Wood says:

    I love this list, franz! I just drafted in my first nfbc last night and I was checking my team against your updated one. I think I’m ok…

  • Avatar Sporer says:

    40-41 feels high for Heaney/Skaggs given a shutdown for one & forearm trouble for the other.

  • Avatar Saint says:

    Caleb Smith stuck out 6 including Fowler, Goldschmidt, and Ozuna in his first inning of work this spring yesterday . 0 hits/walks/runs as well. Any interest yet after his surgery from last year? I had him last year based on your advise until he was shut down. My draft is on Saturday.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I made these rankings before he pitched, and that certainly raises an eyebrow!

      The question is if the Marlins are ready for him to start out of the gate, or if he’ll spend time elsewhere for a bit.

      I’m all for a late round flier on him.

  • Avatar marv says:

    Nick,
    In a 12-tm H2H cat keeper (keep 12) CATS – (9) R,H,HR,RBI,SB,BB,AVG,OPS,XBH – (8) W,CG,SV,K,GIDP,ERA,WHIP,QS.
    I need to Pick 12 keepers, Typically our league (with a deep bench – 6 bench) load up on pitching. We need to decide by this Saturday.

    I have Paxton as my 12th Keeper but now thinking Taillon. I didn’t keep Cole last year (kept Quintana instead) so that blew up in my face. Im worried that I’m doing the same by not keeping Taillon (that he’ll have a great season). Also, with Paxton now in NY, which isn’t a pitchers stadium do I keep Taillon over him?

    Current keepers: Goldy, Yelich, T. Turner, Rizzo, Bogaerts, Blackmon, Suarez, Verlander, Corrasco, Synderguard, Buehler and Paxton

    thanks bud,
    Marv

  • Avatar Matt Campbell says:

    What are your thoughts on Keuchel in a dynasty league? We keep 23 year to year and my last spot is coming down to two of Stripling, Keuchel, Lucchesi and Toussaint and each have fairly big short and long term variables.

  • Avatar James says:

    I love this list! I was able to draft #5, #16, #23, #24 in the first 14 rounds. Grabbed #31 & 35 in the 15- & 18th. And have #50, 51 and 52 on my bench. Let’s go!

  • Avatar Baby Seal says:

    Great list, Nick!
    1.Why do you seem so hesitant to keep the rankings fluid as you learn more information (e.g. Heaney mentioned in the comments)?
    2. Feel like you like Eovaldi more than you’ve ranked him here (which I’m fine with, I’ll take all the shares!!). On the pod you barely mentioned his slider, which could easily turn into a money pitch as he refines the cutter. Seems like your main concern is IP and length in the order, but there are plenty of guys just ahead of him w/ that exact same worry. My biggest concern with him would be ramifications from potential overuse in the playoffs.
    3. Loved the pod on Mikolas — really changed my view from like to love. Alex was fire there.
    4. Morton was a love guy for me, and I changed my tune post pod to merely liking him.
    5. You got me to love Musgrove even more, ty.
    6. Would love to see an update on what you think of the new pitches you’ve seen in the Spring and how that has changed your view on some pitchers; especially interested in Lucchesi
    7. Would you really take Folty over Happ considering the recent news??
    8. You saved my a$$ on over-drafting Berrios and Castillo. Sounds good in theory but not upon closer inspection. u da man.
    9. Could not see myself ever taking Freeland over Hamels or E-rod, even though I am meh on both. The floor is significantly higher there and the upside just doesn’t cut it for me. E-rod has as much upside IMO anyways.
    10. I love Tanaka in theory, but I’m not sure he takes the regular season seriously enough anymore. Can’t shake the feeling he’s holding back so he doesn’t blow out his arm again.
    11. Hendricks is criminally low here. How much more does this guy need to do to earn your respect?!? ;-)
    12. I think you like the idea of Fulmer happening more than you’re willing to admit the realistic chance it does.
    12. Urias over Luzardo?!?
    13. You like Eikoff more than Newcomb, come on.
    14. You gotta have Mad Bum over Castillo and Ray just on consistency, reliability, and pedigree alone. Give the man a break!
    15. Where can I find Spring Training velocity readings??

    LOVE the list, man. Would love to see more in the industry be willing to take a stand in what they believe and go against the herd.

    I live in Manhattan and would love to meet you guys in BK — keep us updated on the meet up!

    Sorry for the long post! I never comment on these sites, but since you provided so much value to me this year, figured I’d return the favor.

    – Baby Seal

    PS you stole my draft guide. Please return it. ;-)

  • Avatar PitcherList Superfan says:

    Nick, my keeer deadline is tonight…WHO DO I KEEP?

    8 team H2H One-Win Categories League
    Batting Categories: R, H, HR, RBI, SB, BB, E, AVG, XBH
    Pitching Categories: W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP

    Can keep up to 3 players from my final roster at the end of last year. 1st 3 rounds of the draft are keeper rounds and if I select less than 3 keepers, I will have a pick(s) in the keeper rounds.

    C: S. Perez
    1B: A. Rizzo
    2B: W. Merrifield, A. Mondesi
    3B: A. Suarez, M. Andujar
    SS: C. Correa, A. Rosario
    OF: S. Marte, M. Haniger, M. Brantley, M. Smith

    SP: C. Sale, B. Snell, C. Morton, W. Miley
    RP: C. Kimbrel, K. Yates, J. Leclerc, R. Iglesias, W. Smith, J. Jeffress

    Right now I am leaning towards just keeping Sale. If I did, that would mean that he would be my 1st round pick and I would get a pick in the 2nd and 3rd rounds when most other teams won’t because they will likely retain 3 keepers. Hitters are overvalued in my league based on mysclrimg categories, so I’ve also considered keeping no one and starting from scratch. Thoughts?

  • Avatar Play Ball says:

    Would these rankings be useable for a 10-team standard roto using QS?

  • Avatar AP says:

    Do you still like Josh James’ upside enough long term to hold him over someone more boring in the 60s/70s in a deep mixed dynasty league (12 team/35 keeper)?

  • Avatar Monty says:

    What are your thoughts now on Fulmer being shutdown with no return stated? Still an acquisition target for you, especially in dynasty formats?

  • Avatar Chaco says:

    I’m in a deep (14 team) NL with an auction this weekend. I like the depth this year, but the higher tier pitching is thin(!) — and much of it is kept.

    I opted for all hitters.

    Would go hard after Scherzer or try to pick two out of the Greinke/ Darvish/ Kershaw/ Bum group?

    From there I’m planning to load up on cheaper arms.

    Thoughts?

  • Avatar GoCubsGo24 says:

    Nick,

    What are your thoughts on the Marco Gonzales ranking? Seemed that he made some pretty nice strides last year, and while his spring hasn’t been great, he’s healthy and has the Opening Day nod.

    Thanks!

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