The List 5/3: Top 100 Starting Pitchers For 2021 – Week 6

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 6’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.

Here are the rules for those wondering why a pitcher is or isn’t ranked here:

  1. If a pitcher is on the IL or out of the rotation and not confirmed for a start this week, they are pushed into the Fringe table.
  2. If a pitcher is in a rotation and not confirmed to start but hasn’t been placed on the IL or officially removed, they remain on The List.
  3. These rankings are made as if I am drafting a team today for the rest of the season.
  4. This means the Top 40-50 picks are more for ROS, while the rankings after are more short-term focused.
  5. I will only incorporate a game played on Monday if the pitcher’s performance is completed before 2:00pm EST.

 

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 movement inside the Top 11 as Corbin Burnes had to be pulled for his current COVID-IL stint. It’s annoying, I know, I would normally have him at #12 on The List.
  • I elected to put Jack Flaherty in the second tier as he’s in rhythm with his slider and should have few hesitations from managers moving forward, hopefully pushing 180+ innings this season.

 

  • Tier 3 is a short one as many are wondering if Blake Snell can be the ace we envisioned. The answer is yes, just give him time to get settled. He has yet to complete six frames and isn’t as efficient as we’ve seen, though his WHIP will fall as the innings go up.
  • Julio Urias was given the AGA label during the roundup this morning and Sandy Alcantara could follow after his next outing. I wanted to give it to Sandy during the roundup and hopefully he fully earns it.

 

  • Yes, I’m still ranking Luis Castillo at 19 despite his hiccups. I made the fourth tier incredibly long to help showcase how it’s a blur across all thirteen of these players. In the end, Castillo’s upside is more tangible and realistic to hit moving forward than the rest of them, making me place him so high. If you’re rostering Trevor Rogers and don’t want to trade him for Castillo, I don’t blame you in the slightest.
  • Jose Berrios is beginning to turn the corner with his curveball and while he took a slight dip, I imagine he’ll stick comfortably inside the Top 40 through the season.

 

  • Welcome back Max Fried from the IL as he’s set to pitch on Wednesday. It’s a Still ILL and I anticipate Fried to settle inside the Top 30 soon.
  • Keep in mind, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Burnes were removed, granting +2 marks to all before Fried’s introduction.

 

  • In the fifth tier we have a collection of arms that could take the leap into the Top 30, but either need a longer track record or have to make a few critical adjustments to get there.
  • The fun one here is Carlos Rodón who has maintained his fastball velocity at 94/95 mph while his changeup has appeared as a difference-maker in his recent starts – moreso than his slider. It’s still too early to thrust him into Tier Four, but it’s hard to argue against his breakout performance.

 

  • Tier Six is where it gets interesting. I debated with Twitch chat for a while about where to place Kenta Maeda and in the end, I still feel that Maeda will figure this out. It’s hard to endure, – trust me, I know – and if you’d rather favor others, by all means. It’s the short-term vs. long-term play and I think by The List next week, we’ll have a much clearer outlook as he gets the Rangers + Tigers ahead.
  • Corey Kluber had a phenomenal outing on Sunday, but it came against Detroit and with a heavy focus on changeups. I want to propel him up the ranks and it’ll take another promising outing against the Nationals to do so.

 

  • Jameson Taillon is taking the steps forward that we want to see as he embraced his huge hook against the Tigers. The next step is nailing down that slider and there’s a feeling he improves with each start he makes. Keep riding this.
  • Freddy Peralta vs. Huascar Ynoa is a fun debate, ultimately with me siding with Peralta given his overwhelming fastball when placed in the zone. It’s incredibly close, though, and I’d love to roster both moving forward.

 

  • I do believe that Frankie Montas will climb the ranks across the season and we can continue that dream after he squares off against the elite Blue Jay offense in Florida. Yikes.
  • Danny Duffy is simply unreal right now. If I believed that he was this good, I’d have him already in Tier 5 at least – 0.60 ERA and 0.97 WHIP! – but I’m not sold that he can keep up his ~94 mph velocity all season long. He hasn’t averaged that heater for a full season since 2016.

 

  • Tier 7 is where a conspicuous drop-off begins. Given the lack of confident options, Robbie Ray jumps a whopping 17 points after displaying the ability to pummel the zone with four-seamers. It’s returned 14 strikeouts and zero walks in his last two outings and this could stick for a long while.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez uncharacteristically was unable to find his fastball in his last start and I’m hoping it was just a blip and not the start of a trend.

 

  • It’s a jumble of interesting options here with Sean Manaea gaining velocity and whiffs lately, teammate Chris Bassitt taking full advantage of his improved schedule, Alex Wood showcasing an amazing slider and promising good fortune for those willing to hold through a date in Coors, and Marcus Stroman returning to form despite a game cut short with a small hamstring twinge (he should make his next start).
  • The descent of Kyle Hendricks continues. He’s getting a harsher punishment for his struggles as his repertoire has suggested a small margin of error for a long time. His journey to redemption is a harder hill to climb and all we can do is hope he gets his command back soon.

 

  • It may seem aggressive to slot Shane McClanahan into the Top 60 (!). Remember, the numbers are all relative – we’re at the point where those in Tier 8 and below are not fundamental to your 12-teamer success. You should be taking a chance on a major impact player like McClanahan who carries an upper 90s fastball, low 90s slider, and solid changeup/curveball + has a rotation spot for the Rays over others who are often questionable starts for your leagues.
  • Sadly, Shohei Ohtani was scratched tonight after taking a pitch off the elbow. It’s frustrating as I wanted to see him get into a rhythm, and I imagine he’ll start in the next few days instead.

 

  • After a start looking lost with his slider, Michael Pineda found it and excelled. He’s back to being a sturdy (and often overlooked!) starter for your squad.
  • With his fastball at 91 mph and two great starts against the Marlins ahead, Madison Bumgarner should be well-liked by fantasy managers.

 

  • I haven’t been impressed with Jordan Montgomery as of late, as he’s lacking that sole pitch to push him over the edge. It’s a decent repertoire, it’s just lacking that legit plus offering, turning him more into a Toby than a potential ace.
  • It’s frustrating rostering Triston McKenziebut I suggest patience. Give him more time to get his breakers in check and McKenzie should get the walks down, get more efficient, and return value. Just give him another week or two.
  • The same goes for Patrick Corbin who was a touch better against the Marlins, but is a clear bench against the Yankees. Let’s hope he’s making the small adjustments needed with each start.

 

  • Kicking off Tier 9 is Domingo Germanwho exploded with 94 mph velocity after sitting 90/91 mph in his return from the alternate site. Let’s hope he stays at that velocity and can earn some Wins.
  • The tales of Kyle Gibson and Adam Wainwright are spreading like wildfire. Might as well keep starting these Vargas Ruleuntil further notice.

 

  • Tier 10 kicks off with Daniel Lynchwho will be making his MLB debut Monday evening. We don’t know exactly what to expect in his outing against Cleveland, but he’s worth the grab above those below him – you won’t lose much not rostering the bottom 25 arms on The List. Here’s to hoping he’s the next exciting prospect arm to wow us.
  • The trio of Dylan Cease, Griffin Canningand Garrett Richards have blossomed as of late. Cease expressed better fastball control and paired it with a whiff-heavy slider, while Canning and Richards excellent with fastballs inside the zone. There’s a chance for all of them that the success is short-lived, but each deserves your attention as potential adds off the wire.

 

  • The uncertainty of Ryan Weathers spells a problem in the ranks. He was initially raised up given his heavy workload early in his career as a starter, but with his recent injury scare, I imagine the Padres will limit him in his next starts – if he does make those starts. It’s a frustrating situation and I’d suggest searching for other options in the short term.
  • I know many want Anthony DeSclafani to rise up the ladder, but I’m cautious given numbers have been inflated from a pair of Rockie Road outings inside Oracle Park. I need to see more.

 

  • Carlos Martinez, Rich Hilland Nick Pivetta each return to The List this week in Tier 11. Martinez just had a great start against the Pirates with his cutter earning plenty of outs and can do more of the same against Rockie Road, Hill just had a shortened start based on a COVID IL stint and could return to 5-6 innings as soon as his next appearance, and Pivetta has a lovely two-start week where he could polish his BSB with heaters and breakers.
  • Jon Gray takes a tumble as he failed to take advantage of his start on the road and now has to spend time in Colorado. Bummer.

 

  • In the final tier, we have many new names. José Ureña has gone seven frames in four straight starts, Casey Mize could take his recent start and build on it (doubtful, but still), Cole Irvin, Justus Sheffield, Martin Perezand Tyler Anderson each could serve as streamers, and Luis Garcia could be someone to consider adding if Jake Odorizzi takes a good while to recover.
  • Mike Minor and Spencer Turnbull each fall into the final tier as they are figuring out their repertoires. Minor’s low 91 mph velocity wasn’t able to take advantage of excellent matchups, while Turnbull failed to find his breakers in his last start. There’s work to be done.

 

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

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. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar Tommy says:

    Excellent stuff as per usual! Gonso worth an IL-stash in 10-team redraft? surprised you have him just at top 80, or do you imagine his ceiling is higher and injury/time-off is currently holding his potential ranking down?
    In a vacuum Gonso or Santander the better stash in IL? thanks!

  • Avatar Mike Honcho says:

    I have 5 SPs in my 12 teamer that are T7, and 2 more that are injured who are both above top 15. I currently have rostered Montgomery, Luis Garcia, M.Fulmer. Are they just streamers or droppable? Should I be rostering high K MRs instead?

  • Avatar Matt says:

    Thanks so much for doing this each week its a huge help! curious to get your thoughts on where Johan Oviedo would land if he was reguarly in the rotation?

  • Avatar Johnny says:

    Any updates on Sixto’s injury? I’m starting to get impatient and Ynoa was just dropped. worth an add? I do have a deep rotation. (Bieber, Alcantara, Maeda, Civale, Means, Rogers, Taillon, Plesac, Ohtani. H2H league.

  • Avatar Bobby says:

    Who would you take a chance on for best W/K/ERA/WHIP outcome? Montas or Taillon? I thought Montas at the beginning of the season but he’s been losing my trust.

  • Avatar ThePrince says:

    Matthew Boyd?

  • Avatar Bill says:

    Why so much love for Charlie Morton? Imploding once again.

  • Avatar David says:

    Is Boyd better or Montgomery? Thinking of dropping one for a pickup.

    Both had Ace Potential as a tag in the week previous. Montgomery has lost that tag and is becoming more like a Toby, but Boyd’s HR-rate and BABIP suggest he’s getting lucky?

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