The List 4/26: Top 100 Starting Pitchers For 2021 – Week 5

Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2021 - Week 5.

It’s the weekly tradition here at Pitcher List where I rank the Top 100 Starting Pitchers in fantasy baseball and it’s time for Week 4’s starting pitcher rankings.

Want an earlier update to The List? Join me on Mondays at 12:00pm EST as I live-stream its creation each week!

As always, make sure to read the notes as there are many changes that have good reasons behind them, and please consider that these ranks are based on a 12-teamer, 5×5 roto format. Adjust accordingly to your situation.

 

Ranking Notes

 

  • This is your reminder to please read these notes as they’ll tell you plenty about why “someone moved up” or “why is he at #X?!”
  • Seriously. Read the notes.

 

  • No, Jacob deGrom is not getting his own tier, despite being the featured pitcher this week. He’s dope and makes us all feel dope, but Shane Bieber and Gerrit Cole are pretty dope, too. And that’s lovely.
  • It wasn’t easy to do, but I felt I had no choice but to raise Trevor Bauer to the #5 spot as he’s 1) is being allowed to hold consistently high pitch counts 2) is pitching at the same ability from last year and 3) will have an easier schedule than Coors and 2x SDP moving forward.

 

  • I’ve extended Tier 2 to include Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnesand Lance Lynn as all of them are showcasing legit ability + are allowed to go deep into games. No, Burnes doesn’t travel higher up the list despite his high quality of innings – he still has the lowest expected volume of the bunch.
  • Lynn is expected to return on Friday and you should slot him in right away. No reason to hold him back against Cleveland. Sorry, that’s an innate -1 for everyone below #13 on The List.

 

  • Tier 3 is a small one this week, with Tyler Glasnow falling a touch. While he had his slider command in the early portion of the season, it’s fallen off lately, displaying an uglier side of Glasnow. The ceiling is still massive, but it’s more wobbly than the rest.
  • I was tempted to slot Zac Gallen ahead of Glasnow given his return and comfort with his curveball, but there’s still a slight question about his innings for the rest of the season. If you were able to snag the injured Gallen in your leagues at a discount, you should be celebrating.

 

  • There was a ton of debate about what to do with Tier 4 inside the Twitch Chat, especially with Luis CastilloI elected to keep him inside the Top 20 believing that Castillo should rebound as the season continues. He’s had rough Aprils in the past and once he’s in full rhythm, he’s clearly a Top 15 option.
  • Really, Tiers 4-6 can be shuffled around plenty, but I wanted to give some love to Charlie Morton, Julio Uriasand Joe MusgroveEach have come out guns blazing and have the skill set to keep them steady through the year.

 

  • I placed a quartet of underperformers in Tier 5, all of whom have a TIARA and I expect to improve as the season goes on. It’s very easy to want the pitchers in Tier 6 over them and I doubt blame anyone who feels that way – we still have over five months left of the season, however, and each of those pitchers have a track record to show this is a blip, not a crash.
  • Yes, that does include Kenta Maedawho has yet to find his changeup. It’s been there for so long for him, he’ll get it back.

 

  • Tier 6 has plenty of the fun guys. Trevor Rogers keeps climbing and I hope to push him up with every week as he affirms his talent. Kevin Gausman has also done his part to suggest his 2020 ascension was not an anomaly and I hope his fastball/splitter approach can propel him through the year.
  • Some may want Pablo Lopez higher in this Tier. I’m hesitant to support his approach that’s rooted in a somewhat volatile changeup and command of his four-seamer. If he’s able to find a groove with his cutter or breaking ball, PabLo could rise quickly.

 

  • Tier 7 has a collection of arms who seem to be on the precipice of pushing Top 35. Aaron Civale hasn’t quite gotten locked in with his repertoire yet, an important landmark for a pitcher who relies on the whole being more than the sum of its parts. If he’s able to mix-and-match effectively or find that one true money pitch, Civale will take leaps forward.
  • Dustin May has solidified his spot in the Dodgers rotation and the introduction of his curveball has ballooned his strikeout numbers. I’m still not in love with his sinker being the defacto fastball, but he’s clearly a starter you should trust moving forward.

 

  • Tier 8 is where is starts to get messy. Like, really messy. You’re going to have problems with this and I don’t blame you.
  • For real, if you have a major disagreement with anyone starting with Eduardo RodriguezI’m sure it’s a fair argument. The lines blur fast as it’s a mixture of proven arms who are in a rut, upside pitchers who have yet to fully stretch their wings, those fortunate to have schedules of bliss, and solid, reliable arms who don’t offer much of a ceiling. Please don’t be too upset.

 

  • So yeah, here I was, planning on dropping Jameson Taillon and Corey Kluber outside the Top 50 and I just can’t. Yes, Eduardo, Freddy Peralta, and Huascar Ynoa are a bit more exciting and could hold onto their success through the year, but in the end, I’d rather hold Taillon and Kluber for another week or two to see if they blossom before taking the “hot stuff of the week” who could be gone before May starts.
  • That includes Chris Paddack as well, who hasn’t quite sold me yet on his recovery, but has at least managed to keep your ratios intact along the way.

 

  • Tier 9 is… a lot. There’s a part of me that wanted all of Alex Wood through Cristian Javier to be inside Tier 8, but at the same time, all of the early arms have their cases to be made as well. Marcus Stroman can be a consistent rock through the year. Jordan Montgomery’s underlying pitch metrics indicate success with his cutter, changeup, and breakers. Triston McKenzie needs another start or two to get into rhythm, but has legit upside. And so on. It’s messy, I told ya.
  • I want to be more in on Matthew Boydbut without his slider earning whiffs, I’m hesitant to believe this is more than a Vargas RulePlease, prove me wrong Boyd.

 

  • I’m worried that what we’re seeing from Andrew Heaney is one of his patented hot streaks where his yearly undulation will show itself in the near future. Still, ten strikeouts against Houston with excellent pitch separation is something to cheer about.
  • It’s frustrating to wait for Jose Urquidy to reach his potential, but it’s hard for me to lower him too far after struggling in Coors. He should be much better and help your squads through the year.

 

  • Speaking of Astros, Cristian Javier returned this past week with a different approach on his breaker, finally earning whiffs with the vicious offering. If it sticks, he can be Top 50 arm quickly.
  • Ryan Weathers arrived and wowed all of us as he nibbled the edges with fastballs and mixed sliders to great effect. With Dinelson Lamet and Adrian Morejon vacating a rotation spot, Weathers could run away with this.

 

  • Things get more precarious in Tier 10. I’m excited to see Sean Manaea get more whiffs and I’m not sure it’ll stick. Still, it’s worth a bump over his teammate Chris Bassitt for as long as they’re here.
  • Robbie Ray finally pumped fastballs in the zone for a start and walked away with nine strikeouts and zero walks. I truly hope it’s something that sticks.

 

  • And here’s Patrick CorbinDo I think he’s this bad for all of 2021? No. Do I think he’s struggling right now? Absolutely. It’s the point where we consider he could make the tweak and turn into a legit Top 30 arm again soon, but we just don’t know when.
  • Look, I don’t know how to properly rank German Marquez given the whole Coors thing, but the man had both his slider and curveball working in his last start and it was glorious. If he can keep that up, there’s a chance he could be like his 2018 self again.

 

  • Tier 11 is where you’ll find most of your Toby options, with Dallas Keuchel technically falling, but actually keeping the same relative perception I had last week – the rank is all relative to the SP landscape!
  • Madison Bumgarner makes his return to The List with his fastball velocity at 91 mph, propelling him to a no-hitter on Sunday. Now with Rockie Road and 2x Miami ahead, he should be a serviceable option in 12-teamers.

 

  • Adbert Alzolay also makes his return as he faced Freddy Peralta for the third time this season. His fastball/slider combination makes for an intriguing strikeout play, one who could improve with more experience on the bump.
  • Jon Gray also gets his introduction as he has a solid schedule ahead, including a road start in Arizona. He’s tossing the ball as well as we’ve seen him and you may want to capitalize.

 

  • Michael Pineda falls 25 spots as his time as a Vargas Rule may be coming to an end. That slider was not pretty, at all.
  • Don’t overlook the great schedule ahead for Wade Miley as he could scoop up some wins and Quality Starts against the Cubs, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh

 

  • Taijuan Walker drops as I’ve found myself not loving his approach. It’s a fastball that has fallen in and out of command, without a strong supporting cast to help him stay above water.
  • Despite the solid schedule ahead, I dropped Matt Shoemaker as he’s fallen out of rhythm with his slider + he doesn’t have his splitter back.

 

  • Deivi Garcia, Kwang Hyun Kim, Adam Wainwright, Spencer Turnbulland Drew Smyly all make their entrances this week. Garcia is getting the call against the Orioles today and we just don’t know what to expect. Kim exploded for eight strikeouts and may continue the streak. Wainwright has found his curveball/cutter combo again, Turnbull has a solid matchup against the Royals, and Smyly, despite his stumble against Arizona, could be a benefit now that he’s back from the IL.

 

  • Domingo German returned and gave an underwhelming performance against Cleveland, with a mediocre fastball and decent breaking ball. I’m not sold he can take advantage of the Tigers this week.
  • After flirting with a no-hitter, I had to give some love to J.A. Happ who could be a worthy streamer as the Twins celebrate a cushy schedule ahead.

 

  • Dylan Cease falls as he still can’t figure out his command – even against the Rangers. There’s little reason to suggest he gets it next time out.
  • I’m not sold that Dane Dunning has a lot in that arsenal save for a slider, forcing him to fall into the final tier. It’s a risky proposition to trust him moving forward, save for the weakest of offenses.

 

Fringe Pitchers I Considered

 

My rule for moving from the IL back to the rankings: If they are confirmed to return before the next edition of The List, then I will add them.

All right, now that the notes are at the top and you understand where I’m coming from, let’s get to The List:

RankPitcherBadgesChange
1Jacob deGromT1
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
2Shane Bieber
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
3Gerrit Cole
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
4Yu Darvish
T2
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
5Trevor Bauer
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+3
6Aaron Nola
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-1
7Lucas Giolito
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-1
8Walker Buehler
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-1
9Max Scherzer
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
10Clayton Kershaw
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
11Brandon Woodruff
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
12Corbin Burnes
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+1
13Lance Lynn
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+UR
14Tyler Glasnow
T3
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
-3
15Zac Gallen
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
16Jack Flaherty
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-2
17Blake Snell
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
+1
18Luis Castillo
T4
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Cherry Bomb
-2
19Hyun Jin Ryu
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-
20Sandy Alcantara
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
+1
21Charlie Morton
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
+2
22Julio Urias
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+6
23Joe Musgrove
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+6
24Lance McCullers
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
-2
25Dylan Bundy
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+5
26Sonny Gray
T5
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
-2
27Zack Wheeler
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-7
28Kenta Maeda
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
-11
29Zach Plesac
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-4
30Jose Berrios
T6
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-4
31Zack Greinke
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
-4
32Kevin Gausman
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
+5
33Trevor Rogers
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+5
34John Means
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+2
35Tyler Mahle
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
-4
36Pablo Lopez
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-4
37Ian Anderson
T7
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
-2
38Jesus Luzardo
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
-4
39Aaron Civale
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-6
40Dustin May
Ace Potential
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
+7
41Frankie Montas
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-2
42Kyle Hendricks
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-1
43Carlos Rodon
Ace Potential
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+1
44Eduardo Rodriguez
T8
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
+8
45Freddy Peralta
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+3
46Huascar Ynoa
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+8
47Jameson Taillon
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
-7
48Corey Kluber
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
-6
49Chris Paddack
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
50Marcus Stroman
T9
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-7
51Jordan Montgomery
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
-5
52Triston McKenzie
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+3
53Nathan Eovaldi
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+3
54Jose Urquidy
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
-9
55Andrew Heaney
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+7
56Matthew Boyd
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+1
57Alex Wood
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Streaming Option
+14
58Danny Duffy
Quality Starts
Toby
Streaming Option
+17
59Ryan Weathers
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+UR
60Cristian Javier
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+UR
61Steven Matz
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Streaming Option
-1
62Zach Eflin
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
Streaming Option
-1
63Sean Manaea
T10
Injury Risk
Toby
Ratio Focused
+5
64Chris Bassitt
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
-5
65Robbie Ray
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
+11
66Patrick Corbin
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-17
67JT Brubaker
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
-2
68Yusei Kikuchi
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
-17
69German Marquez
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+9
70Shohei Ohtani
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-12
71Brady Singer
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
-2
72Dallas Keuchel
T11
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
-9
73Marco Gonzales
Quality Starts
Toby
-7
74Madison Bumgarner
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+UR
75Justin Dunn
Strikeout Upside
Streaming Option
-2
76Adbert Alzolay
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+UR
77Anthony DeSclafani
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
-7
78Michael Pineda
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-25
79Wade Miley
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+7
80Kyle Gibson
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-1
81Mike Minor
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
+7
82Ryan Yarbrough
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-1
83Jon Gray
Strikeout Upside
+UR
84Taijuan Walker
T12
Quality Starts
Toby
Streaming Option
-20
85Matt Shoemaker
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
-11
86Deivi Garcia
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+UR
87Kwang Hyun Kim
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+UR
88Adam Wainwright
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+12
89Spencer Turnbull
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+UR
90Drew Smyly
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+UR
91Domingo German
T13
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+UR
92Dane Dunning
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-15
93J.A. Happ
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+UR
94Taylor Widener
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
-3
95Bruce Zimmermann
Playing Time Question
Toby
Streaming Option
+4
96Dylan Cease
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
-24
97Griffin Canning
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-14
98Joe Ross
Toby
Streaming Option
-6
99Jakob Junis
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
-14
100David Peterson
Strikeout Upside
Streaming Option
-20

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

Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Nick Pollack

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

  • Avatar Sam says:

    How does Plopez drop when his last 2 starts have been pretty much perfect?

  • Avatar omar says:

    Thoughts on Duffy’s sustainability? Need to create some roster space and thinking about trying to snag Alcantara with a combo of Civale and Duffy. Is that a good move, IYO?

  • Avatar Mike Honcho says:

    Robbie Ray seems to be a mystery to a lot of folks. On this site, you love he throws the fastball, on another site (rhymes with JazzFall) in today’s top 100, he HATES the fastball. “The problem is his fastball has a career .416 slugging against, so, if he’s going to throw it 75% of the time from here on out, expect maybe better control, but also more [gulp] homers. ” Which one is it? I call this confusion the “German Marquez Effect”, whereby no one can come to a consensus as to whether he’s “good”.

  • Avatar JR says:

    Aww I was hoping you featured a note of what Duffy has been doing. I see you have people like Taillon above him. Do you not like Duffy ROS? With his fastball velo up he’s looked awesome so far!

  • Avatar Will says:

    I know you talked about your reasoning for putting Manea ahead of Bassitt, but I still don’t totally understand Bassitts’ 5 spot drop. He is doing what he is supposed to do against lower-tier offenses and putting up some serious strikeouts. I just wanted to know if there was something else to his ranking.

  • Avatar KCR says:

    What am I missing on Jakob Junis?

    K/9 of 9.5, BB/9 of 3.2 with a K-BB% of 17.6.

    SwStr as good as Ian Anderson. CSW as good as Zach Plesac.

    Babip and LOB in line. Added a new pitch that’s working. xFIP and Sierra like him.

    Yet at No. 99, he’s at the cutline for starting pitching in a 16-team league.

    Any insights?

  • Avatar Fan says:

    FYI Nick, Arrieta may not have made the top 100, but it looks like he missed the list twice.
    All love for what you do though, keep doing it.

  • Avatar Dave says:

    Nick, either I didn’t notice it in the past, or there is a change. But, in your “Fringe Pitchers I Considered” you have Nate Pearson listed with an elbow injury. I thought it was a strained groin. Has something changed? If so, this is much more concerning. Thanks

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