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

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
Jimmy Nelson With the recent ETA sitting in Early May, I figured I’d simply leave Nelson off until he returns. He’ll then be placed around the early 50s.
Tyler Skaggs Update: Hit the IL with an ankle sprain the moment as I published today’s List, he’s been removed until he returns.
Luis Severino The recent injury news sets him back to July 1st, hopefully. He’ll be Top 15 then.
Mike Clevinger His injury has Clev out until middle July. He’ll be Top 20 then.
Hyun-Jin Ryu Ryu is recovering from a groin injury and will miss a few weeks. Ryu is off The List as he’s turned “short” IL stints into long ones prior. He’d be in the low 30s.
Sean Newcomb Newcomb has been demoted to Triple-A
Kyle Wright Wright has been demoted to Triple-A
Alex Wood I’m just going to wait until he’s back to properly rank him. Most likely in the 50s.
Yonny Chirinos I don’t believe he’ll be without an opener for long + he has a low IPS and is a bit too volatile to recommend.
Forrest Whitley He’s still a guy to stash, there are just too many guys that I wanted to fit in on The List.
Justus Sheffield Same with Sheff – he’s a good stash option, but I want to focus on guys in the majors now this week.
Martin Perez Spring Training velocity reports are definitely interesting but I need to see it during the season first.
Dallas Keuchel He won’t be starting until May at the earliest and he’s not worth the stash on your roster.
Vince Velasquez A massive Cherry Bomb without the clear path to working out of it with inconsistent secondary options. A poor schedule ahead makes this not the right time for a pickup.
Andrew Heaney Shut down again with elbow trouble. That’s scary and makes his expected return even later.
Jake Odorizzi Had a great first, then was atrocious. Not worth the investment as he’s a Cherry Bomb with more bad than good.
Trevor Cahill He may improve as April continues, for now, I’d wait and see.
Ivan Nova Just not enough upside and while he’s a decent streamer, it’s never for a high ceiling. Just not enough there.
Sandy Alcantara He’s incredibly raw and the ceiling is not worth the destruction along the way.
Reynaldo Lopez Once he can harness both his changeup and slider during a start, he’ll return.
Lucas Giolito He’s still struggling with consistency making this too much of a risk each start.
Zack Godley There’s nothing to latch onto to help us believe in a positive stretch ahead.
Zach Davies He had an impressive outing, but he has a tough schedule and I wouldn’t put stock in it.

 

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, here are the new List features from last year’s editions:

  • 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.
    • Ratio Focused = Their value lies in you chasing their ERA/WHIP more than strikeouts and Wins.
    • TobyBoring arm that doesn’t excite you, but you stare at the waiver wire and accept that he just okay enough. You don’t like that he’s around the office, but he gets his work done.
    • Cherry Bomb = Volatile pitchers who are either “super sweet” or “blow up in your face.” Heed warning.
    • Ace Potential = I define an ace as: 3.40 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 24% K rate, 6.0 IPS. It’s why you see some surprising names as having the upside of an ace.
  • Fringe Starters added
    • There are always a handful of starters I badly want to add 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
    • This will be where IL Players will land. I’ll mention where they would slot when healthy.

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

 

  • This is the week when I needed to make sweeping changes. Who are the “stable” guys in the 30s/40s? Is it time to cut bait on some arms and chase other upside plays? Lots of movement and I won’t get to all of it here. Hopefully the roundups covered my thoughts through the week 🙂
  • Please note that multiple names fell off the list due to injury or demotions, inherently giving positive movement to about 90% of The List. Don’t look at the color, look at the relative movement.
  • I struggled the most with the mini-tier Kyle Hendricks, Kyle Freeland, and J.A. HappThese are arms that should be solid ratio arms through the year, but simply haven’t performed up to snuff thus far. It’s April 15th and I truly believe all of them will get there, but is it worth it to stick around with them now and turn down guys like Touki Toussaint and Trevor Richards for that? Yes and no. They are in the same tier for a reason, go for it if you feel comfortable letting them go, I get the feeling we’ll see most of these “stable” arms jump significantly in a week or two as they get their footing.
  • I gave love to Jose Berrios, Patrick Corbinand German Marquez for their hot starts and lowered Chris Sale to a point that I imagine is even value on the trade market. It just seems so wrong to turn down Kershaw, Carrasco, Marquez, etc. for Sale when he presents such an enigma. Zack Wheeler’s next start will be heavily scrutinized as he could fall under Luis Castillo if I’m not loving his fastball command.
  • Jameson Taillon and Miles Mikolas each fell given their lack of strikeouts thus far. I think they will both recover as the season continues, but for now I understand favoring others.
  • I imagine the biggest splash will be the jumps made by Matt Boyd (Boyd Boyz for life!), Tyler Glasnow, Joe Musgrove, Chris Archer, Caleb Smith, and Collin McHughIt’s a product of their strikeout success and the horrid SP Landscape that plagued many of the 30s/40s names. These are better arms to bet on for now and let’s see how it plays out.
  • Major – and expected! – hits came to Nick Pivetta, Corbin Burnes, Pablo Lopez, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, and Nathan Eovaldi. All of these names could make jumps against quickly – well Peralta may take more time – so monitor them and be quick to jump on the wire if they make distinct changes.
  • A few Toby types looked fantastic this week, including Sonny Gray, Jake Arrietaand Jose QuintanaThis could be the start of a trend, it could be nothing, but they definitely deserved the raises.
  • It’s time for Brad Keller to join the party as he’s effectively throwing heat up with breakers down. I don’t love his stuff, but this approach will make him a good Toby in a weak division. It took me long enough to put him here!
  • Joining The List this week are Drew Pomeranz, Nick Margevicius, Clay Buchholz, Carlos Rodon, CC Sabathia, Lance Lynn, Tyler Mahle, and Luke Weaver. Margevicius is a Vargas Rule, Lynn Pomeranz, and Mahle could be decent streamers on a given day, Sabathia will ramp up to be a cheap Win Toby, Rodon is volatile buy is earning a decent amount of whiffs, and both Buchholz and Weaver could turn into decent 12-teamer options if they repeat their recent outings.

(Photo by Frank Jansky/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


Jake

Curious your thoughts on jimmy Nelson? Where could you see him being on the list? Is he someone you would want to stash?

theKraken

Not Nick, but I am psychic and I think he would say something like, “With the recent ETA sitting in Early May, I figured I’d simply leave Nelson off until he returns. He’ll then be placed around the early 50s.”

Steve C

Hey Nick, great list, love your work! Curious why Buehler hasn’t dropped in your rankings after a horrific start to the season.. you still believe he’s a top 15 pitcher as of right now?

Dave Cherman

Not Nick, but in general, Nick doesn’t want the list to be too overreactionary week to week because it’s a ROS rankings, not power rankings. If Buehler is still top 15, it’s because Nick thinks Buehler’s skills still merit Top 15. Keep in mind that Buehler basically didn’t pitch all spring training and is still getting into a groove. Thanks for the read, Steve!

Dan

Maybe I’m nitpicking but why is Marquez listed as a Quality Start guy? He finished 15th overall last year in QS’s which includes the awful first half. He seems like a grinder who the Rockies will hope to get 7 innings a night from.

Chris

I’m not Nick, but if you look at his game log for last year after coming back from injury on June 30, he had 15 QS in 17 starts, and this year, he has 3 QS in 4 starts – that’s 18 QS in his last 21 starts. No other pitcher has as many QS during that time period. I’m guessing but that might be the reason.

Nick Pollack

I don’t like it either, but I have to acknowledge that he’s in a groove where the changeup is having a positive impact thus far.

JS

K/9 league – who should I drop for Fried?

Corbin Burnes or Pablo Lopez? I’m high on Lopez.

I have a good rotation: Marquez, Morton, Gerritt Cole, Clevinger (I know), Caleb Smith, Musgrove, and Bieber. I want Fried but don’t know who to drop.

Thanks

Manley Ramirez

Should probably refrain from commenting before his start against the Indians tonight, but can you explain the industry wide reverence for Kikuchi considering his known stamina limitations and mediocre results? There are plenty of similar crafty lefties, such as your boy Holland, that have an actual track record in the MLB but who are consistently ranked much lower. You have now (begrudgingly) moved Hamels into the same tier, but still below Kikuchi. Isn’t Kikuchi’s best case scenario Hamels with a lot fewer innings?

Tal

would you sell high on Luis Castillo in a dynasty league? if so who would you try to get in return?

Bon

About where is over/under line dividing keepers/streamers inn 12 team mixed leagues. Apologies if you’ve already answered this question elsewhere.

Finally, great job with your website. It has become indispensable for me!

Chris

I’m so sad this list and the changes are so idiotic that I’m now going to encourage others to read it.

Chris

That was too harsh. I don’t like this iteration of the list, but I’ll add that this is my favorite fantasy baseball site. The excellent writing, humor, and top notch analysis hooked me over a year ago.

Nick Pollack

That’s nice of you to return and say that. I’m all for discussing my rankings with you and I don’t expect them to accepted by everyone, – these obviously won’t be 100% right!

So let’s talk about it. What exactly is bad about these changes? Who would you rank higher/lower/over which pitchers?

Chris

It needed to be said. You and your team’s work is great. I read this site every day. I was in a bad mood and acted like a jerk.

As far as the list, my understanding is that you rank the pitchers for ROS performance and consider past performance, this year and past years for that evaluation. Meaning the YTD stats are informative and baked into the ranking for ROS but their overall placement is not based on the end of year stats.

Some of the changes to the list look like an overreaction to early season performance. For example, the ranking of Sale (full disclosure I have zero shares of him) seems extremely low for a ranking based on ROS. I would gladly trade several of the pitchers you ranked ahead of him, e.g., Wheeler, Flaherty, Marquez, Kershaw, etc. to acquire him. His ranking seemed to assume he won’t get his velo back this season, which at the time you made this list still seemed like a possibility, but absolutely not a certainty. If someone were to act on this ranking they would likely hurt their chances of winning their league substantially. Boyd over Darvish is odd. You watch their starts. Darvish is simply rusty from basically not pitching last year. His track record, stuff, and team context are much better. Boyd is fun right now but would you really trade Darvish for Boyd. Maeda’s skills and team context are superb. Why is he still so low? Richards, C. Smith, and Freeland over him doesn’t make sense. There are others but this comment is getting long and probably boring for others. And I don’t mean to nitpick. Again, I think your work is great. It’s just some of these seem really off when you think about what this list represents.

Nick Pollack

It’s all good Chris, it happens to all of us. Thanks for the kind words 🙂

I completely understand the dislike of the volatility of The List. It’s a really hard balance to make as it’s essentially used as a “stock market report” for SP.

I initially barely touched it back when I first starting doing this in 2015, and gradually over the years, I’ve found that you *need* to make these adjustments as soon as you become aware of the risk.

With Sale, I put him at a point that I thought he would be getting equal value. Yes, Sale will in all likelihood perform better than Flaherty, Wheeler, etc. starting in May, but how much are these weeks worth? And how great is the possibility there’s something that holds him back through the year?

The whole process is creating a balance between what I personally anticipate and baking in the chance of my expectations not coming to fruition.

With Maeda, I think you have a good case. He probably deserved to be at #39 behind Smith, arguably at #37. There is still a reasonable floor for Maeda, especially considering #Dodgeritis n all.

Definitely let me know when you disagree again in the future! These debates are what makes this game so fun.

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