The List 4/22 – 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=”30293″]


Fringe Starters


Pitcher Why They Missed The Cut
Jimmy Nelson Nelson will be around the 50s when he’s back from the IL
Tyler Skaggs Hit the IL with an ankle sprain, I’ll re-add him when 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.
Nathan Eovaldi Hit the IL with an elbow injury. When starting again, he’ll be 40/50s
Touki Toussaint Newcomb has been demoted to Triple-A
Nick Pivetta Wright has been demoted to Triple-A
Ross Stripling He has just one start left, so I removed him. I’d rather stream in 12-teamers.
Julio Urias He’s now #7 on the block in L.A. Despite my love for him, he’s not worth the stash.
Alex Wood I’m just going to wait until he’s back to properly rank him. Most likely in the 50s.
Yonny Chirinos Low IPS and is a bit too volatile to recommend. Openers aren’t fun.
Corbin Burnes Demoted to Triple-A
Justus Sheffield Good stash option, but I want to focus on guys in the majors now this week.
Martin Perez Not enough so far to suggest rolling with Perez
Dallas Keuchel He won’t be starting until May at the earliest and he’s not worth the stash on your roster.
Julio Teheran Couldn’t handle Cleveland = not worth it.
Andrew Heaney Shut down again with elbow trouble. That’s scary and makes his expected return even later.
Jake Odorizzi 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.
Sandy Alcantara He’s incredibly raw and the ceiling is not worth the destruction along the way.
Lucas Giolito Questionable with a hamstring injury, probably return soon.


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


  • Not a whole lot of shuffling done in the Top 35 or so, just some love given to Jameson Taillon, James Paxton, Patrick Corbinand Chris Sale (increased velocity last start –> step in the right direction despite the ER tally). Deservedly so, while Zack Wheeler fell a bit as he has yet to shed off the early rust. Still love him, but with the other arms killing it now, he needed to take a dip.
  • Tier 7 is where things get stupid. This and Tier 8 are a Wild West of arms. I want all of them. I couldn’t help but give love to Carlos Rodon and his improved slider, rooted in a strong heat up/sliders down approach, while Kevin Gausman is cruising for the Braves. Domingo German’s lengthy time in the rotation mixed with legit strikeout upside deserves the push up, and the shock of Mike Soroka earning extended time in the Braves’ rotation moves him swiftly up the ranks. Poor Touki Toussaint.
  • It may seem weird that Kyle Freeland fell after his strong start in Coors – the same for JA Happ and Eduardo Rodriguez! – but none of these arms are out of the woods yet and still carry their concerns while the names that jumped ahead are well deserving. Don’t look so much into it.
  • The biggest questions I received entering today’s edition was “where will Luke Weaver, Sonny Grayand Frankie Montas rank?” It’s awfully close as I think all three have improved and are shaping up to become strong assets through the year. Montas has a little more to figure out, but I’d love to roll the dice on all three as we’re just over a week away from May.
  • Jerad Eickhoff has entered the fray and I’m down to take a shot as he opens Tier 9. His curveball is legit and makes for an intriguing upside play for the price of free.
  • Joining The List this week is the return of Reynaldo Lopez (Still cautious, but it’s working right now), Vince Velasquez (I’d be surprised if he enters tier 7/8), Zach Davies (considerable stream option), Zack Godley (is this really going to last?), Anthony DeSclafani (I don’t really buy it, but it’s #99), and Forrest Whitley (fewer good options at the end, might as well stash).
  • Yusei Kikuchi and Michael Pineda took two of the biggest hits this week. Kikuchi isn’t panning out as the Kyle Hendricks type of arm I anticipated and it’s time to lower him to the standard “good Toby” ranks. Pineda took his first stumble of the year and suggests that he may not be so far off from the Cherry Bomb of old. Keep in mind, these shifts aren’t that massive for the players themselves, but with so many options, you’re better off moving along and trying something else at this moment.
  • Two other players who deservedly fell: Collin McHugh and Brandon WoodruffI still like owning McHugh a good amount, though allowing 9 ER in one outing may be the sign of something greater. I’d pick him up if he was dropped, but I can’t ignore how poor his fastball was in this start. Woodruff, meanwhile, hasn’t been able to put it together and is running out of time to figure it out. I’d avoid until he showcases a true step in the right direction.

(Photo By Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire)

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

39 responses to “The List 4/22 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday”

  1. Thomas Willdridge says:

    Ou est Stripling?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I should have put him in the Fringe!

      He’s out of the rotation after his next start and that doesn’t make him a good play right now.

  2. Jack says:

    Mchugh moving down two whole tiers based on one bad start seems pretty aggressive. I know the tier systems are probably not something you even wanted to make but for fans bitching about lack of them…but his velocity wasn’t really down afaict so I don’t see why we wouldn’t just chalk it up to one awful start where they wouldn’t pull him because they wanted to save the pen even tho he was getting shelled

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I totally get that, I’m a bit worried there’s something else at fault here and it’s a bit of a correction that I was probably too high on him last time.

      It was a *really* bad start. His heater was flat out gone. It could definitely be a one-time thing and I’d love to own him now, I just can’t ignore that this has the signs of not being a one-time game.

  3. Big League S. Choo says:

    Man, no respect for Castillo still.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      We’re still in April, I’ve been quick to love Castillo in the past, which you know incredibly well.

      I don’t have much of a choice. I think you understand.

  4. John says:

    How would you expect to rank Skaggs, Heaney, and Nelson ROS coming off the DL? Have all 3 but with injuries piling up, will likely have to drop one.

    • Kris says:

      Personally I’d go Nelson, Skaggs, Heaney. Skaggs is due off the IL very soon, and Nelson just went to AAA to get a few starts before coming back off the IL. Always liked Nelson’s upside over Skaggs, but they’re pretty close. Heaney is still quite a ways away, you’d probably be safe dropping him.

  5. Bartolo says:

    With Whitley in the top 100 and Sheffield on the fringe, how far behind is Cease?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      He’s around there as well! There are a lot more I could potentially add, Cease may even be #3 of Prospect arms.

  6. David says:

    You are pretty high on Robbie Ray. He was just dropped in my league. I have guys like Rodon and Trevor Williams (not to mention Glasnow and Boyd), but it doesn’t feel right to drop any of them for Ray. You think he still has 2016/2017 upside?

  7. MIKE GAYLIN says:

    Should we be dropping Ross Stripling in 12 teamers? Thank you!

  8. Chucky says:

    Quality vs Quantity: Max, Keller and Renato or Bieber, Ray and Matt Chapman? Keeper w/o contracts 12 T

  9. Jordan says:

    Over the course of the year would you rather have holland, pablo lopez, or soroka?
    And Kikuchi is no TOBY!

  10. Clay Cotton says:

    Things went wild after the top 40. I’m definitely feeling that churn on my teams; it seems like all my guys like to disappoint me now and again.

  11. John C says:

    If a pitcher is a tier above a pitcher on your squad, would you immediately drop and pick up the higher tier pitcher? Or do you like waiting a couple weeks to see?

    Wondering the best way to use the chart when scouting the waivers, thanks Nicks!

  12. Corky says:

    Why so high on Holland (#44)? (Sporer has him #93 for comparison).

  13. Tim K says:

    Jon Lester behind the likes of Merrill Kelly, Pablo Lopez and Matt Strahm is absolutely banana-land. Jaw dropping.

    • Ender says:

      Lester has a 100% LOB this year, only reason he has been usable. The skills are bad at this point. Maybe he should be a little higher but he really has not been good this year.

  14. Matt says:

    Would you trade Taillon for Aaron Judge? 12 team, 5×5 H2H – rest of my rotation is Syndergaard, Kershaw, McHugh, Folty & Stroman so I could probably afford to lose Taillon

  15. Most Underrated in the Game - Call me Tommy Pham says:

    Strahm fell despite a great outing against the Reds?

  16. Scott says:

    I wa ssirprised strahm went down after his 8 inning performance. The k rate is disappointing. Would you cut him for soroka? Looking at your ranks it seems that you would. Do you think soroka’s spot is in the rotation is secure?

  17. Kyle says:

    Drop Stripling or T. Williams for Soroka?

    Also, out of the following, which would you be the first to trade away based on their performance/perceived value and their ultimate underlying risk/actual value: Taillon, Mikolas, Darvish, Paddack, Stripling (RIP)

  18. Tim says:

    I traded Sale away straight up for Charlie Blackmon before this week (which also saved me $ in my capped league) and I’ll be white knuckling to find out if it was the right thing to do.

  19. Paul De Surra says:

    Got McHugh for Darvish in a points league. I was tired of the headache with Yu. Thoughts?

  20. Tyler says:

    Anyone know if there is a way to link this to fantasy pros to see who is available in your league?

    • Kevin says:

      You can install the fantasy pros chrome extension, then click the little icon and click “Add Player Cards to Page.” It lets you see who you own, who is available, and the latest FP notes.

  21. Don says:

    Hold on to Urias in a SV+H league? Where do you see him ranked in the bullpen?

  22. Kilgore says:

    Hi Nick, I love these rankings and look forward to them every week. I think your approach to ranking is based on some unique takes on the numbers (emphasis on CSW), upside, and your own personal observations of the games. I like it, but I need to offer some criticism that I hope you will take into consideration. I think you need to be more consistent and I’m not sure what these rankings represent. Is it who to roster now? ROS performance? Upside combined with likelihood of reaching that upside. I think it’s applied differently for different players. I see how upside could put Wheeler at #22, but wouldn’t that same idea move Glasnow ahead of him? Some guys who get demoted get moved off the list entirely (Touki, Burnes, Pivetta) but others in AAA still make the list (Whitley, Woodruff). Worst of all is the inconsistency around injured players. Clevinger, Ryu and others were removed entirely while on the IL, but Folty remains at #28 every week despite being injured for the whole season. Keep up the good work, but you might want to incorporate consistent CRITERIA for who goes where on the list. Have a great day!

    • theKraken says:

      I think this list represents Nick’s top 100 SP to own right now for the rest of the year. It isn’t a guide for who to grab on waivers, a useful set of tiers or a draft prep list – its the order that he ranks the pitchers every week. Its the reason this site has readers. Its a a bit weird when you contrast it with the direction much of the new writers are trying to take it, which is xFanGraphs. I think Nick using his own head is what makes it worthwhile. Sometimes his gut is good and sometimes its bad, but it is more good than bad. So many rankings get derailed by the numbers – see every algorithmic ranking. Its his insight and experience that makes this list worth reading above the others that hide behind numbers. We live in an era where actual human insight is becoming a rare commodity. I appreciate the inconsistency. In the end, we all make our own choices about what to do with the rankings. If you disagree with something, then don’t use it. Folty has 4 rehab starts under his belt, I don’t think he is out for the year. I don’t want him, but that is why he is on the list. I agree that the injury inconsistency is weird, but I don’t have any good ideas about how to solve that! I think he rties to let readers know when someone is nearing a return, but if they are not nearing a return they are not on the list. There is a very real chance that everyone out a few months doesn’t pitch again this year.

  23. Warren says:

    Would you pick up Zach Davies or Jerad Eickhoff off waivers right now?

  24. Chris says:

    I accepted a trade on Friday (prior to injury) to give away Judge for Strasburg and Kershaw!

  25. Eric says:

    Hey Nick! Would you rather pick up Skaggs or Eickoff in a 12 teamer?

  26. Eric says:

    What are your expectations for Duffy? Do you predict a list appearance in the future?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I don’t have high hopes as he was one of the worst Cherry Bomb offenders last year, giving owners little reason to trust him extensively.

  27. Willy Smith says:

    Its time to drop Taillon from the top 100….. this guy stinks. He can’t strike out.

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