The List 4/15 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday

Nick Pollack released his weekly update, ranking the Top 100 Starting Pitcher rankings for fantasy baseball.

[pitcher_list_new list_id=”29571″]

 

Fringe Starters

 

PitcherWhy They Missed The Cut
Jimmy NelsonWith 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 SkaggsUpdate: Hit the IL with an ankle sprain the moment as I published today’s List, he’s been removed until he returns.
Luis SeverinoThe recent injury news sets him back to July 1st, hopefully. He’ll be Top 15 then.
Mike ClevingerHis injury has Clev out until middle July. He’ll be Top 20 then.
Hyun-Jin RyuRyu 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 NewcombNewcomb has been demoted to Triple-A
Kyle WrightWright has been demoted to Triple-A
Alex WoodI’m just going to wait until he’s back to properly rank him. Most likely in the 50s.
Yonny ChirinosI 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 WhitleyHe’s still a guy to stash, there are just too many guys that I wanted to fit in on The List.
Justus SheffieldSame with Sheff – he’s a good stash option, but I want to focus on guys in the majors now this week.
Martin PerezSpring Training velocity reports are definitely interesting but I need to see it during the season first.
Dallas KeuchelHe won’t be starting until May at the earliest and he’s not worth the stash on your roster.
Vince VelasquezA 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 HeaneyShut down again with elbow trouble. That’s scary and makes his expected return even later.
Jake OdorizziHad a great first, then was atrocious. Not worth the investment as he’s a Cherry Bomb with more bad than good.
Trevor CahillHe may improve as April continues, for now, I’d wait and see.
Ivan NovaJust not enough upside and while he’s a decent streamer, it’s never for a high ceiling. Just not enough there.
Sandy AlcantaraHe’s incredibly raw and the ceiling is not worth the destruction along the way.
Reynaldo LopezOnce he can harness both his changeup and slider during a start, he’ll return.
Lucas GiolitoHe’s still struggling with consistency making this too much of a risk each start.
Zack GodleyThere’s nothing to latch onto to help us believe in a positive stretch ahead.
Zach DaviesHe 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.
    • Toby = Boring 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. Happ. These 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 Pitcher List. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar Jake says:

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

  • Avatar Steve C says:

    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?

    • Avatar Dave Cherman says:

      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!

  • Avatar Dan says:

    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.

    • Avatar Chris says:

      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 Nick Pollack says:

      You’re 100% right, he should be labeled as a QS arm. Thanks for that! I’ll update it now.

  • Avatar marichal says:

    Jordan Lyles doesn’t even make the Fringe List?!?

  • Avatar Chaz Roe says:

    I will NEVER understand the Chris Archer love

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      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.

  • Avatar JS says:

    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

  • Avatar Manley Ramirez says:

    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?

  • Avatar Mookie says:

    No love for Brett Anderson?

  • Avatar Tal says:

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

  • Avatar Bon says:

    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!

  • Avatar Chris says:

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

    • Avatar Chris says:

      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 Nick Pollack says:

        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?

        • Avatar theKraken says:

          Well, the good news was always that he was going to encourage others to read it.

        • Avatar Chris says:

          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 Nick Pollack says:

            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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