The List 3/25 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday

The List

Rank Change Pitcher Labels
1 T1 - Max Scherzer
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
2 - Jacob deGrom
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
3 - Chris Sale
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
4 T2 - Justin Verlander
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
5 - Trevor Bauer
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
6 - Gerrit Cole
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
7 T3 - Corey Kluber
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
8 - Blake Snell
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
9 - Noah Syndergaard
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
10 - Aaron Nola
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
11 - Carlos Carrasco
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
12 T4 - Walker Buehler
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
13 - Jameson Taillon
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
14 - Mike Clevinger
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
15 - Patrick Corbin
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
16 - Zack Wheeler
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
17 +1 James Paxton
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
18 +1 Jack Flaherty
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
19 T5 +1 Stephen Strasburg
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
20 +1 Zack Greinke
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
21 +1 Miles Mikolas
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
22 +1 Yu Darvish
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
23 +2 David Price
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
24 - German Marquez
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
25 +1 Clayton Kershaw
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
26 -9 Luis Severino
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
27 T6 - Jose Berrios
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
28 +2 Madison Bumgarner
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
29 - Robbie Ray
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
30 -2 Luis Castillo
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
31 +1 Masahiro Tanaka
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
32 -1 Nick Pivetta
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
33 - Kyle Hendricks
Ace Potential
Ratio Focused
34 - Charlie Morton
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
35 +4 Kenta Maeda
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
36 +10 Kyle Freeland
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
37 - J. A. Happ
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
38 -2 Mike Foltynewicz
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
39 +3 Nathan Eovaldi
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
40 +3 Shane Bieber
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Cherry Bomb
41 T7 -3 Yusei Kikuchi
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
42 -7 Ross Stripling
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
43 +1 Joe Musgrove
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
44 +5 Eduardo Rodriguez
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
45 +7 Matt Strahm
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
46 +8 Chris Archer
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
47 +17 Chris Paddack
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
48 -7 Tyler Skaggs
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
49 +9 Julio Urias
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
50 -10 Andrew Heaney
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
51 -6 Tyler Glasnow
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
52 +1 Derek Holland
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
53 +2 Joey Lucchesi
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
54 +3 Hyun-Jin Ryu
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
55 -8 Cole Hamels
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
56 - Rich Hill
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
57 T8 +22 Pablo Lopez
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
58 UR Caleb Smith
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
59 UR Corbin Burnes
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
60 +22 Kyle Wright
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
61 -11 Jimmy Nelson
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Stash Option
62 -2 Merrill Kelly
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
63 -2 Jeff Samardzija
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
64 +4 Sonny Gray
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Cherry Bomb
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
65 UR Brandon Woodruff
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
66 UR Bryse Wilson
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
67 -8 Collin McHugh
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
68 +27 Trevor Richards
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
69 +1 Matt Boyd
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
70 -8 Reynaldo Lopez
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Cherry Bomb
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
71 -2 Alex Wood
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
72 +4 Michael Wacha
Injury Risk
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
73 +12 Luke Weaver
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
74 UR Brad Peacock
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
75 T9 UR Freddy Peralta
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
76 +1 Marco Gonzales
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
77 +3 Kyle Gibson
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
78 +16 Steven Matz
Strikeout Upside
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
79 -1 Anibal Sanchez
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
80 +1 Jon Gray
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
81 +2 Michael Pineda
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
82 -11 Jake Arrieta
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
83 -35 Jon Lester
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
84 -12 Rick Porcello
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
85 -11 Kevin Gausman
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Toby
Streaming Option
86 -11 Jose Quintana
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
87 -3 Zach Eflin
Low Ips
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
88 +10 Jhoulys Chacin
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
89 UR Spencer Turnbull
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
90 UR Domingo German
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
91 -4 Zack Godley
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
92 T10 -19 Dallas Keuchel
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Toby
Ratio Focused
93 -2 Mike Minor
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
94 -2 Jake Junis
Strikeout Upside
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
95 -6 Trevor Cahill
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Streaming Option
96 - Julio Teheran
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
97 +3 Aaron Sanchez
Strikeout Upside
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
98 T11 -33 Forrest Whitley
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
99 -33 Alex Reyes
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
100 -33 Justus Sheffield
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option

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

 

Fringe Starters

 

Pitcher Why They Missed The Cut
Marcus Stroman Not enough whiffs and it’s hard to trust the BABIP to fall with Toronto’s turf and poor infield defense.
Dereck Rodriguez He could be a Toby and likely deserves a spot, and I want to see an improvement in his repertoire first.
Wade Miley Great for a gamble at a cheap win, I worry about his low IPS and lack of strikeouts.
Martin Perez Spring Training velocity reports are definitely interesting but I need to see it during the season first.
Trevor Williams His fastball vastly overperformed last year and I don’t buy a repeat.
Vince Velasquez A massive Cherry Bomb without the clear path to working out of it with inconsistent secondary options.
Tyler Mahle I’m waiting to see if we can trust his new curveball + Alex Wood should return shortly.
Carlos Rodon More of the same for 2018 is not enough to warrant a 12-teamer add. Too volatile.

 

What is happening!

It’s a new season and the weekly updates to The List have returned. I’ll be ranking the Top 100 Starting Pitchers every Monday from now until the end of the season.

Before I dive into the player notes, there are a few changes to go over:

  • Previous/Best/Worst columns removed
    • These took a heavy chunk of loading time and ultimately provided very little value. The change arrows themselves are all that’s needed
  • Tiers added
    • As much as I hate making tiers (When do they start and end? How big are the cliffs?), ya’ll have been asking for them and I’m here for all of you. Please understand how hard it is to accurately place them and don’t get too worked up about it.
  • Labels added
    • There’s often confusion as to why a pitcher is a spot or two above or below another. These labels should help understand what each pitcher brings to the table, showing that some pitchers may be better or worse for what you need.
    • Hover over them (or tap on mobile) to see each label’s name next to the pitcher.
  • Fringe Starters added
    • There are always a handful of starters I badly want added to The List but I don’t have enough room. I’ll always have this table at the end for a collection of starters – in no order – that I also heavily considered, as well as why they could be relevant
  • Injured Players added (next time)
    • I struggled plenty to figure out how to handle IL pitchers last season and will be making a change starting next week – removing players who are out for at least four weeks at placing them in a separate table labeling the rough range where I’d place them if they were healthy.
    • This will start next week as I understand many are still drafting and need this reference point for their drafts.

Please let me know how you feel about these changes and I’m looking forward to another fun year assessing the wonderful entity that is the SP Landscape.

On to the notes! Remember, these ranks are for 12-teamers in H2H leagues:

 

Player Notes

 

  • There is a lot to talk about, but not a whole much has changed in the first forty or so picks, save for the timetables for Clayton Kershaw, Luis Severino and Mike Foltynewicz shedding some of their haze.
  • …Save for Kyle Freeland who I went back-and-forth with in March and have settled on buying into, with the major pull coming from improved velocity in the spring. Pair that with more cutters that miss bats and Freeland could return sneaky good value this year.
  • The fun lies in the seventh and eighth tiers. I don’t shy away from encouraging owners to craft half of their staff with upside plays, using the wire through the season to catch arms as they are possibly breaking out. Matt Strahm and Chris Paddack are all but locked into starting rotation spots, each possible Top 30 arms if they tossed over 160 frames. I don’t expect Paddack to exceed 150 (if even that), while Strahm could hover the number and pay major dividends this year.
  • Tier 8 is going to upset some people, but remember, this is about taking chances early in the year to find the guys that can help all six months. Those in Tier 9 may be a bit safer, but they don’t push the needle enough to justify missing out on a premier talent.
  • Speaking of Tier 8, Pablo Lopez, Caleb Smith, Trevor Richards, Brandon Woodruff, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, and Corbin Burnes were all confirmed in the rotation this weekend, creating an incredibly difficult morning for me as I tried to rank these names appropriately. It’s nigh impossible to tell which arms will turn out well and which will be done in a week or two, and I encourage you to stock as many as you can. I prefer Lopez for his fastball foundation and sturdy secondary pitches, but any of these arms can impress from Wright’s electric fastball, Burnes’ nasty slider, Smith’s raw whiffability, Wilson’s refined repertoire, Woodruff’s deceptive heater, and Richards’ changeup.
  • I electeed to drop Jimmy Nelson a bit as well as he’s been delayed into the end of April, creating more concern that he’ll return close to his 2017 ability.
  • Freddy Peralta isn’t in the same tier as the others given that it’ll take longer for us to trust his skills. He’s a Cherry Bomb through-and-through, creating a harder sell that you’ll want to endure his headache and stick on your roster through the year.
  • The more I considered Jon Lester in drafts, the more I wanted to avoid it all-together. I understand chasing wins and a decent ERA/WHIP, but it looked awfully comparable to the other Toby options on the board, like Kevin Gausman, Jose Quintanaand Rick Porcello.
  • Dallas Keuchel took a tumble as he hasn’t signed yet in the majors. Even if he signed this week, he would still need time to ramp up, pushing back an already middling starter farther down the ranks
  • The List is rounded out by three arms to consider stashing early in the year: Forrest Whitley, Alex Reyesand Justus SheffieldEach could be starting in early April and make a significant impact to your fantasy squads.
  • I’m curious what Spencer Turnbull will do to start the season, flashing a strikeout per inning and just two walks in fifteen frames this spring. Domingo German follows as I question how much playing time he’ll get with CC Sabathia returning shortly and Luis Severino due back in May.

(Photo by Juan Salas/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


mike

Thanks Nick!! Will there be an updated Cheatsheet with the latest List? Would love to have this list in that format for my draft tomorrow!!

Nick Pollack

Thanks Mike!

I’m not sure we can get that out in time as it we’ll need to update the Overall List as well.

I’ll see what we can do!

Jon S

Hey Nick,

Thanks for publishing updates to this list so often. It’s much appreciated. Quick keeper question…

I’m in a daily 6×6 H2H categories (W,K,SV,ERA,WHIP,K/9) keeper league. We can keep 8 players year over year, with a yearly increase of $5 to salary ($260 team salary). I love the optimism for Zack Wheeler. Would you trade Forrest Whitley ($2) + Tyler Skaggs ($2) for Zack Wheeler ($11)?

Nick Pollack

If you’re going for it this year, that deal works well!

Otherwise, I like the idea of a cheap Skaggs and Whtiley. Pretty fair deal.

Perfect Game

Strahm IP the last 3 years between all levels – 122 in ’16, 62 in ’17 and 61 in ’18. How many IP and QS do you realistically see him making this year? And is he more a buy/hold or streaming option?

Nick Pollack

Well, I think last year’s IP isn’t quite indicative as they came as a fireman, pitching through the entire year.

That 61 translates to ~140 or so of a normal starters workload. I could see Strahm going past that this year.

Perfect Game

What do you think about him going deep into games to qualify for QS should he accumulate 150 IP this year? 15 QS maybe? I’m trying to decide between him and Freeland. Freeland’s peripherals are scary and don’t want my ratios blown up if I can get the K’s and QS from Strahm.

Perfect Game

Ratios with Freeland don’t really concern you?

My SP currently are Buehler, Flaherty, Clevinger, Marquez and Stripling. It’s a shallow 10-teamer (K, QS, ERA, WHIP) and need a 6th starter, specially with Stripling not assured of keeping the starter job.

Tim

Choosing two of these three for my final two pitching slots for the long first week has been spinning my head in circles: Castillo, Paddack, and ERod. Paddock has the Giants, Castillo had an awful spring, ERod is the flower I”ve been waiting to bloom for three years..

Pitcher GIFs fan

Hey Nick,

Thanks for putting in all the work on the list and for all the off season content! Would you rather stash Justus Sheffield the first few weeks or should i drop for a Merill Kelley/Pablo Lopez ?

Scott

Do you think Alex Reyes is best used in relief this year to keep his innings down and then transitioned to starter next year once he shows he can throw enough innings without getting hurt? Do you expect him to be used in high leverage situation? I think that if stl wanted him to start, he would have stayed in minors to get his pitch counts up. Thanks

Nick Pollack

I’m with you that the Cards should have just sent him to the minors, though they have a history of sending potential SP through the bullpen first (Waino, Wacha, Weaver, etc.). I think we’ll see Reyes in the rotation around mid May or so.

Jay

I see these are for 12 team H2H leagues but is it categories, points or a sort of amalgamation of both?

Nick Pollack

Categories, but it really doesn’t change much for points, honestly. Maybe a little more emphasis on IP heavy guys, but that’s league by league there.

Zach

Does “Low IPs” mean they will have an innings cap? I thought Flaherty was good for 180+ innings this year?

Dave Cherman

Low IPS= low innings per start. Flaherty is more likely to give you 5 than 7 is what he means. You want to discount those players somewhat in QS leagues.

Nick Pollack

It means that they have a low Innings Per Start rate – Flaherty was just 5.5 IPS last year! We’re aiming for around 6.0 IPS.

Great idea to have a label for Innings Cap though!

Nick Pollack

Not really, it’s more that I got Maeda and Stripling switched in their expected order the Dodgers.

Still like Stripling, just not as much as his spot is less secure than before.

Brendan

I love these lists!!! I have a question about the term “ratio focused” though… what does it mean in the context you outline in your article? Thank you so much

Mike

Really like the labels, but can you possibly incorporate a letter or something on each to make them more easily discernible? Right now I have to hover over each one since I can’t remember what color aligns to which label. Something like:
AA – Aces Gonna Ace
AP – Ace Potential
IR – Injury Risk
KU – Strikeout Upside
IPS – Low IPS
QS – Quality Starts
PT – Playing Time Question
CB – Cherry Bomb
T – Toby
RF – Ratio Focused
STR – Streaming Option
STH – Stash Option

Frank

Once Jimmy Nelson and Gennett officially go on IL I will have 2 free slots. C Smith, P Lopez, Holland, Woodruff and Lester all avail. I know what to do! Thank you for all of your work!

Rafael

Hi Nick! great work! very useful list!

Man, I need your help. Opening day is coming and I will have Andrew Heaney at IL.
There are a list of some of good pitchers available.
My league categories for SP: W K/9 ERA Whip QS
Who is worth pick up? more upside for my league?

Kenta Maeda
Julio Urias
Cole Hamels
Pablo Lopez
Caleb Smith
Brad Keller
Kyle Wright
Brandon Woodruff
Trevor Richards
Matt Boyd
Zach Eflin
Domingo German
Josh James.

thanks!

Evan

Hey Nick!
Thanks for this. Would Dakota Hudson make the list? If so, whereabouts would you put him?

Anthony

I love the idea of the labels. However, in an effort to offer constructive criticism, I think it’s a little awkward for the reader. A possible fix could be a chart with all the labels, and then checking/coloring/highlighting the ones that apply to each pitcher. Just an idea, I love what you guys do here.

larry

What’s your take on Peacock and McHugh. Who do think will stay in the rotation longer and have the better ratio’s?

Thanks

Christian

Glad the season is starting, and glad I get to go through it with pitcherlist for my 4th straight year! Great changes to the list, but on mobile you can’t scroll left and right to see the label column. And in my 12 team league I drafted too many hitters and don’t have any room to at least play around with different pitchers. Is a trade my only strategy?

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