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

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:

 

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

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Comments


Nick Pollack

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.

John

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

theKraken

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.

Brian

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?

Monty

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

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.

Sporer

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

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.

Monty

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!

Anonymous

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

“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!

JJ

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

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!

theKraken

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.

John Wood

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…

Nick Pollack

Hey Sporer!

With Skaggs, I figured I’d wait until something more concrete came out.

Heaney, the shutdown wasn’t official until *after* I made these rankings :-/

bbboston

Nick,

With Heany’s “shutdown”, would you be concerned enough not to “keep” him ($5) in a keeper league (8)?

Saint

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

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.

marv

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

Matt Campbell

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.

James

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!

Baby Seal

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. 😉

PitcherList Superfan

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?

AP

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)?

Monty

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

Chaco

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?

GoCubsGo24

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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