|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:
- 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 Quintana, and 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 Reyes, and Justus Sheffield. Each 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)