The List 4/16: Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday

Nick Pollack updates his Pitcher List ranking the Top 100 Starting Pitchers in fantasy baseball for the rest of 2018.

[pitcher_list list_id=”17596″ season=”2018″ include_stats=”1″]

Welcome to The List – The weekly top 100 rankings of starting pitchers in fantasy baseball for the rest of the season. Use this list to help make choices on the waiver wire and as a tool to gauge trade value in your fantasy leagues. These rankings are made with 5×5 H2H standard 12-team leagues in mind.

Let’s talk about how the SP landscape has changed since last week:

  • So many changes, so little time…Gerrit Cole gets an obvious jump into the Top 15 with his absurd start to the 2018 season, while Shohei Ohtani also sneaks into the Top 20. I didn’t expect myself to be so high on Ohtani, but with plenty of SP #2 arms faltering, it was hard for me to justify weighing his injury inevitability so heavily.
  • Yu DarvishJose Quintanaand Chris Archer took three of the heaviest falls, with both struggling mightily in their opening starts. I think Darvish isn’t down for the count, but he still has tinkering to do to right the ship, while guys like Jose Berrios and Trevor Bauer are locked in and producing. Quintana’s velocity has dropped a tick and while I expect a rebound from his early performance, I question if he’s going to outclass those in front of him when he does. Archer has had plenty of back luck his way – sub 60% LOB rate! – but not all his punishment has been unfair. There are things he needs to tweak and to see other arms like Luke Weaver (his Curveball is the final piece of the puzzle he needed!) and Jameson Taillon (improved fastball command) perform well early, I had to slot Archer in the 30s.
  • Along with Weaver and Taillon, Patrick Corbin and Dylan Bundy made sizeable jumps into the Top 30. They are both following the same approach of throwing their excellent sliders plenty, but there are other elements adding to their promotions. Bundy has showcased more consistent velocity and stamina through starts, while Corbin is changing speeds with his slider, getting more out of his best pitch as he throws it north of 50% of the time.
  • Michael Fulmer also took a dive given his inability to take the next step in missing bats. I still think he has that upside even without the leap forward thus far with a skill set that should make him valuable even without a high tally of strikeouts, but he had to take a dive after his recent questionable outings.
  • There are two separate tiers of Spice Girls sandwiching a tier of stable backend starters. Reynaldo Lopez and Jakob Junis are two intriguing upside plays at #49 and #50, each with a repertoire that could translate to bigger things through the year. Then from Miles Mikolas to Jon Gray are arms that should be owned, filled with either decent upside with good floors (Eduardo Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalezor a few players that should be consistency good for your squad (Rick Porcello, J.A. Happ). There’s also Jacob Faria who took a step forward last time out after two horrid starts, and Jon Gray who should be better than he recent outings but still has his issues. The final tier of Spice Girls goes from Mike Minor to Andrew Triggseach showing off good strikeout upside and hints of stronger days ahead. I have no problem switching around these guys as it’s a grab bag of “I hope this works.”
  • Big falls came for both Michael Wacha and Kenta MaedaWacha simply has not put it together to launch his 2018 campaign, without a proper foundation in his fastball and changeup to get settled in. Maeda’s role in the rotation is surprisingly suspect, and when he does, he can’t be depended on to last more than five innings, opening him up to disastrous outings, even if it comes with the occasional blissful evening.
  • Nick Tropeano, Vince Velasquez, Luiz Gohara, and Andrew Cashner joined The List this week. Tropeano returned from TJS to a resounding performance against the Royals as his slider did some excellent work, Velasquez – even without strong secondary pitches – has excelled with his fastball, Cashner’s command has been on point, and it may be time to start considering a stash of Gohara as he’s a few weeks away from his callup.

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 Kris says:

    I know the Dodgers are kind of a mess right now, but I’m surprised to not see Ryu listed. Curious what your thoughts are on him.

  • Avatar Jacob M says:

    I think Luke Weaver is overrated watching him he is just too wild; Archer is gonna turn it around and be on the come up soon i believe. What are your thoughts now on Arrieta? I’m assuming you’ll get back to this by tomorrow at the earliest

  • Avatar A's Heartbreaker says:

    Oh Triggs. What a mess of a start

  • Avatar Sticki says:

    Garrett Richards numbers aren’t that good. Why so high on him?

  • Avatar The Prince says:

    What’s the thinking behind moving Jon Gray down 10 spots? His peripherals are as good or better than last year, he’s just had some bad BABIP and LOB luck. His FIP is 3.59. His velocity is down just 0.5. He seems like a buy low to me. Is there something else you’ve seen that wouldn’t lead you to believe this is the same pitcher, maybe better than last year’s version?

    • Avatar The Prince says:

      Bump!? I was REALLY curious about your thoughts on this one Nick, and would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks man.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      His slider + curveball aren’t as sharp as we’ve seen and I’m starting to wonder how much we can actually trust him if we own him. Would you start him in Coors often? Is he worth it on the road against strong offenses?

      If we can say that he’s not startable for half his starts, then he deserved this drop on the list.

      • Avatar The Prince says:

        Thanks for your quick reply Nick! We knew he’d play half his games in Coors when we all ranked him at the beginning of the year, no reason to knock him for that now. I usually agree with your assessments, but I’m going to trust the numbers here. I say Jon Gray is top-30 RoS! Good luck and thanks for this fantastic site.

  • Avatar Let's Play Two says:

    I’m really struggling over a potential deal trading Quintana for Morton. You have Morton ranked higher than Quintana now and Morton has been impressive. Even though it’s only three starts, he seemed dialed in. I think Quintana’s ERA will be close to or 4ish like 2017. I know you don’t like to put out projections, but the big question could help me in my decision making is do you believe Morton will outperform in the counting stats (K and QS) or be similar to Quintana with lower ERA and WHIP?

  • Avatar RiddleMe says:

    If you need to drop one of these guys —
    Taillon, Clevinger, Manaea
    thx….

  • Avatar Jpr says:

    Hey Nick,
    So I came here to figure out who to pick up between Ross and Chirinos. Thanks for nothing! Lol
    I tend to favor Ross because of the NL West/AL East factor. Maybe Chirinos is safer with injuries? Seems like a toss up but would love to hear a few thoughts comparing these 2. I go back and forth.

    Also, my first year as a regular on this site and it’s fantastic. The content is in depth and important while the daily podcasts are outstanding . Thanks for the great work.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks JPR! I hope to see you around the site through the year.

      I think Chirinos is the better bet given Ross’ next two starts against the Dodgers and in Coors. We can revisit it next week :)

  • Avatar Jacob says:

    I don’t get to watch the White Sox much, but I know Giolito was a very highly touted prospect. What ranks him so much lower than R. Lopez? Thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    • Avatar Mjagiel says:

      Sox fan here, his velo is down around 90-92 after being up around 95 in the spring, curveball that he was making progress with in the spring isn’t looking the same, and control in general has been pretty awful. Lot of bad with little signs of improvement in sight.

      • Avatar Jacob says:

        Thanks so much! That stinks to hear. I love when pitching prospects come and do really well, a la Strasburg and many others lately!

  • Avatar Tom Emanski says:

    Thanks for all your work, Nick. Your SP roundup has been my go-to every morning (and the new daily podcast is a great complement to it) and it’s awesome to see the evolution of your site over the last couple years.

    Curious if you have any concerns about Manaea’s velocity. Down 2mph from last April and 3mph from April 2016. And he hasn’t had a game in any freezing weather to account for it.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Interesting catch about Manaea!

      I’m not too concerned given that his velocity drop has come with some of the best fastball command he’s ever showcased. It’s possible he took a balanced approach to finetune his locations and it’s working.

  • Avatar Play Ball says:

    McCullers is available on the wire in my league. My staff includes: Kluber, Severino, Bauer, Godley, Cobin, Weaver and Quintana. Would you drop Quintana or anyone else for McCullers? I’m in a standard 5×5 season-long roto using QS instead of Wins, K, ERA, WHIP.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I think you hold Quintana (and the rest) given QS league.

      • Avatar Play Ball says:

        Thanks, Nick. Listened to your Podcast for the first time yesterday too. I’m really enjoying your site.

        I will need to make room on my roster when Schoop comes off the DL. Instead of dropping a good player I will regret, I think the best option is to try and do a 2 for 1 deal that includes a hitter and Quintana. I would be looking for pitcher in return and my target is Paxton. You are leery of Morton for injury history. Would you try and get Pax with his injury history? Anyone else you would target instead?

  • Avatar BravesUK says:

    And if i can add question. In one of my leagues i’m trying to buy low on either Greinke or Keuchel (for different prices clearly). You relatively confident neither will go the way of Archer/Quintana etc despite their starts so far?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I wish I could have answered this prior to Keuchel’s start yesterday, but yeah I’m more confident in them than Archer/Quintana.

  • Avatar BravesUK says:

    Just to say thanks. This is awesome. Have subscribed to the podcast too, you seem to get to SP’s on the rise before anyone else!

  • Avatar Sean says:

    Hey Nick,

    Just checking in on why you dropped Alex Reyes? I remember in the past when guys were on long DL stints they would tend to move up the list as their return date neared. Has some new information come out about him that I missed that is making you more pessimistic?

    Thanks again for your great work.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      It’s more that I’m finding myself less inclined to stash Reyes ahead of the other arms at this point.

      FWIW, there is very little separating the bottom 20 players or so, making it a definite case-by-case scenario if it’s worth it to stash Reyes in your league or not.

  • Avatar Jays fan says:

    Aaron Sanchez almost throws a no no and drops 10 spots? Rationale?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      15.9% strikeout rate, 1.42 WHIP, 5.17 SIERA with the lingering concern of his blisters returning. He still had 5 walks in that almost no-hitter start.

      I didn’t drop him really, I just found myself favoring the other arms that were previously behind him as they took steps forward.

  • Avatar vv says:

    I know they’re separated by almost 30 spots but would you say Mikolas is just an overall safer bet than Velasquez, and should be picked up over him? I like VV’s strikeout upside but maybe he can only rely on that fastball for so long (current but previous owner, have been burned before by his tantalizing K totals in the past), though I am a fan of the Phillies offense this year (what?)

  • Avatar Brett says:

    Are you done with Gaussman? Rather roster E-Rod in a QS league over him?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Yep! I trust E-rod a little more than Gaus. I haven’t given up just yet but I need to see more before raising him again.

  • Avatar Michael says:

    Interesting…doubling down on Castillo at #20 but punishing Archer, Quintana and Darvish for poor starts in spite of longer track records? Can’t wait to watch tonight to see what Luis does!

    • Avatar Michael says:

      This list is quite the undertaking, really loving reading it every week!

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Darvish is a complete mess right now, Quintana’s velocity has dropped, and Archer’s command is horrendous while he still lacks the third pitch (and what track record? Two straight years of 4.00+ ERA?)

      Castillo could easily join them next week with a pair of disappointing starts, but I figured I’d wait one more week before jumping off.

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