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The List 5/9: Top 100 Starting Pitchers For 2022 – Week 5

Updated Top 100 Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2022.

Welcome to The List, where I rank the Top 100 SP for Fantasy Baseball every single Monday of the year.

Want an earlier update to The List? Join me on Mondays at 1:00pm ET as I live-stream its creation each week!

Have questions? My “office hours” are on Twitch 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday – Friday + the aforementioned stream of The List.

For each edition of The List, I have a set of rules to outline my thought process and how to best use these rankings. Please take note:

  1. This is 5×5, 12-teamer, H2H format focused. It generally is the same as roto as well, but make sure you adjust accordingly.
  2. We have two tables to review before the notes and rankings. First is an injury table that outlines where players would be relatively ranked if fully healthy. It’s the best way to tackle how to value players on the IL.
  3. If a player is on the IL or not confirmed inside the rotation, they aren’t on the List. That includes injuries and guys in the minors, but there are exceptions for players who are expected to be in the rotation but are being skipped this week.
  4. Second is a table of pitchers outside the Top 100 I considered. Please read this if you can’t find your guy.
  5. Since this is a 12-teamer, I heavily weigh upside in the back-half of the rankings. Tier 10 is likely going to underperform those in Tier 11 across a full season, but it’s in your best interest to chase Tier 10’s ceiling vs. settling for Tier 11’s floor.
  6. I’ve made a decision to remove all the labels that I struggle to maintain through the season to instead give each player just one label at a time. It streamlines the process much better and hopefully gives you a more targeted understanding of the player.
  7. The notes outline oh-so-much to help your team. Please read the notes if you can instead of just scrolling to the bottom.

 

Let’s get to the tables. First are all of our injured compatriots:

 

Injured Players Table

 

I made a decision this week: I’ve removed the “Preseason tiers” and changed “tiers” to “Relative Rank” as it’ll be more consistent week-to-week — Tiers change while their relative rank does not.

Please understand that “70-80” does not guarantee the player will be exactly in that range when they return. Rankings are 100% relative to the landscape and while this table reflects where they would sit in a vacuum, it’s a fluid creature. Sometimes there are oh-so-many options, sometimes I want to see them healthy and stretched out again, and others we’re starving for pitchers and they jump higher than “70-80”. It’s a loose reference point and why it’s called “relative ranking.” I hope it helps!

Now let’s take a look at the pitchers I considered for the Top 100 but didn’t quite make the cut:

 

Other Pitchers I Considered

 

Lastly, I heavily recommend you follow my daily SP Roundup that outlines all pitcher performances through the season, or if you want a primer on most of these pitchers, you can check out my 40,000 words from the pre-season via my Top 224 Starting Pitchers for 2022 from February. Both will help you get a grasp of my general thoughts on most of these guys (especially the roundup!) as I simply can’t detail everything about 100 pitchers in these notes each week.

 

 

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.

 

  • Hi. That’s it. Thanks for reading the notes.
  • Okay fine, the first tier doesn’t change because these guys are dope and make us feel dope. No shock there.
  • By the way, a lot of players are currently out with COVID. While I do believe they’ll make a start before next week’s edition, rules are rules and they aren’t confirmed to return yet. Sorry Adam Wainwright, Zack Wheeler, and Marcus StromanEflin, you weren’t going to make it anyway, but I’m sorry for you, too.

 

  • The second tier is the same at the top and after I moved some things around into a third tier, I elected to open it up to add some newly crowned Aces Gonna Ace members – Max Fried, Alek Manoahand Justin VerlanderThere is still some distance between Woodruff and Buehler to the end of the tier, but I think they are all worthy of hanging around.
  • Ah! And Lucas Giolito too, who has featured a fantastic repertoire since returning from injury. You should feel wonderful rostering Giolito throughout the year.

 

  • I didn’t know quite how to organize the three members of the third tier, so I gave them their own little spot. I believe in Sandy Alcantara’s stuff that I think his current command issues will be ironed out in due time, allowing him to become one of the few true workhorses in the game.
  • Meanwhile, Julio Urías is still making it work with depreciated velocity (I’m scared of him coming a bit down to Earth) and Shane McClanahan is one start away from his AGA label. I adore his shift to roughly 30% fastballs this season.

 

  • The fourth tier is bookended by newcomers to the tier, positively and negatively. Robbie Ray and Logan Webb awkwardly wave at those below them, pitching at a level that isn’t quite of a legit SP #1 and more as an SP #2/3. And hey, that’s completely fine, but I needed to reflect their spot on The List a little better.
  • On the other side, I had to give more love to Shohei Ohtani and Zac GallenDespite my concerns about his full-season volume (I’m imagining 130-140 frames), Ohtani has been that good and arguably could rise up further on The List. Keep in mind, unlike other injury concerns, Ohtani wouldn’t hit the IL as his start reduction may keep him off the bump, but not the scorecard. As for Gallen, his fastball has been pristine while the secondaries hopefully returning in full form soon.

 

  • The fifth tier features Shane Bieber and begins a group of pitchers who may frustrate all season long…or get it together and become studs shortly. Bieber sat 90 mph without command against the Jays and got burned by it, continuing a season-long struggle to return to his former self. I don’t believe I’ll be dropping Bieber much more than this (i.e. I anticipate him to settle as an SP 2/3) and follow the velocity in future starts – even at 92/93 and not his prime 94 mph self should be very strong.

 

  • Returning to The List in tier is Luis Castillowho makes his first start on Monday. I’m excited to see him toss as A) He missed all of April, his worst month and B) He tossed 4.1 frames in his rehab outing which would imply roughly 80 pitches or so in this game. Oh and C) Castillo is super fun to watch when he’s on. Can’t wait.
  • I moved Charlie Morton slightly up The List as his curveball performed well in his recent outing. We’re very far from being out of the woods and we simply want to see more of it moving forward, but hey, it’s a start.

 

  • As for Trevor RogersI moved him down some more and into Tier 7. BUT NICK! HE JUST WENT FIVE SCORELESS FRAMES. Sorry for the caps. Yes, Rogers did well against a mediocre Padres lineup where he didn’t excel with either his changeup or slider. In other words, it was another start displaying the same skills that have created our anxiety each time he pitches. I’m thrilled he did well for you teams, I’m not thrilled he didn’t take a step in the right direction with his slider nor changeup.

 

  • I lowered Patrick Sandoval last week and afterward said I felt like I was slightly too harsh on The Irish Panda. Well, he went and did the same thing again that made me worried in the first place – failing to do enough with his fastball and slider to properly support the changeup – and I’m seeing him on the same wavelength as Sean Manaea, Alex Woodand Alex Cobball of which seem a touch safer at the moment. I’m still an obvious fan of what Sandoval can do, and we should recognize his volatility a bit.
  • Speaking of Alex CobbI raised him back up as The Thing returned + he was sitting 95 mph. This is the Cobb you remember pre-injury.

 

  • Not a great day for “Mike” as Mike Clevinger and Michael Kopech both fell a bit today. Clevinger returned from the IL and was a bit underwhelming – he was 1.5 ticks down to 93.5 mph, while his breaking balls were far from their best selves. Obviously I’m not ready to call it off and suggest he’s never going to return (it was his first start back in nearly two years!), but it may take a moment to get the man we were hoping for.
  • As for Michael Kopechhe’s become much more fastball dependent, a pitch that isn’t looking like the same heater we know. Meanwhile, he’s losing feel for his slider and curveball and it all feels a little…lost at the moment. I’m worried this is going to hurt soon.

 

  • I’m sure many were wondering where George Kirby would end up and it’s just outside the Top 50. His four-seamer is a fantastic pitch to earn whiffs and keep his walk rates down, while the slider is mixed in as a strike-earning pitch to keep batters honest. I’m a little hesitant to praise Kirby much more as I didn’t see a whole lot of strong depth in the arsenal (his slider isn’t a major whiff pitch), but the fastball is good enough to demand a pickup in all 12-teamers.

 

  • I think this is a good time to talk about my philosophy with these tiers and groupings for a second. Right at Tier 9 is what I call “The Last Bastion of Stability” – essentially pitchers who are a touch better than a standard Toby and are guys you’re expecting to roster for more than a week. Still, given the wide landscape of Starting Pitching in 12-teamers, these players don’t have massive long-term value given the cornucopia of options in Tier 11 & Tier 12 should you need to drop one of them.
  • This means someone like Garrett Whitlock vaults up the rankings more than I imagine you’d expect – in my view, it’s in your best interest to chase the pitcher who could push the needle the most since you have so many options to fall back on should it not work out. The SP landscape defines the rankings. I hope that explains these tiers a bit better.

 

  • Okay back at it, and staying with Garrett WhitlockHe looks to be locked into a rotation spot with the Sawx and features a fastball that misses plenty of bats. If his slider can be a consistent whiff pitch as well, you may have yourself a phenomenal starter through the year. Take the chance.
  • Sonny Gray also joins the eighth tier as he made his way back from the IL. I wasn’t thoroughly impressed given his reliance on fastballs to get the job done, but I’m certainly thrilled to have him back. He should be a solid play through the year with good strikeout volume…even with the stumbles along the way.

 

  • Alright, let’s actually talk about the ninth tier now, which begins with Merrill Kelly as he continues to roll. Carlos Carrasco was dropped to the 11th tier last week for simple reasons: 1) His slider/changeup hadn’t been there all year and it led to a blowup in his previous start and 2) with Atlanta + Philly up next, he seemed a bit shaky to trust. Welp, he demolished Atlanta and made me look foolish. While I still don’t believe he’s a “must hold”, I recognize he’s been far more often good than bad, and I’ve raised him to #60.
  • I didn’t give a raise to Eduardo Rodriguez (and I didn’t touch him, his “-1” is other guys getting added) as he didn’t have his changeup working in his last start. Until I see him grooving with the slow ball and his four-seamer, I’ll have him here in Tier 8.

 

  • Considering that this is essentially the “Tier of Tobys before the true tier of Tobys”, Jameson Taillon jumps far up the ranks today. I was afraid of two straight starts against the Jays for Taillon and with one Toronto start behind him (and cruising, at that) he deserves a lot of love today. Again, the “cliff” of must-hold arms ended near #50 on The List, so you’re going to see these large jumps in the back-half of The List throughout the year. Hopefully not this large again, though.
  • The other adjustments in this tier aren’t too significant. Drew Rasmussen fell since he failed to earn whiffs with his slider & cutter like the one start we saw, but he’s still a decent arm each outing. As for Miles Mikolashe’s simply not a strikeout arm and those bouts of plentiful Ks are not his true nature.

 

  • Tier 10 is a return to chasing ceiling as I still have no idea how much more of MacKenzie Gore we’ll see. He would be in the eighth tier if I felt he’d be in the rotation once Blake Snell returned, but with the haze lingering (and his secondaires not consistently appearing), I have him down at 66.
  • I gave a massive bump to Tony Gonsolin as it’s the tier of “hey, this could be something and shouldn’t kill you.” While I still heavily question if the slider is doing what it needs to do, you’re often starting Gonsolin and hoping it pans out. He deserved the raise plenty.

 

  • Joining The List this week and starting him among the ranks are two young arms and an injured vet. Jon Gray returned from the IL and made his second start today…before leaving early with knee soreness. It’s unclear if he’s on the IL now and I’m not exactly sure how to handle it. So there he is, at #71 with an injury label – it’s too bad as his slider was looking far better in this one.
  • Josh Winder and Spencer Strider are making The List this week as they seem to have rotation spots. Winder holds on with the injury to Chris Paddack (who I’m expecting to be on the IL as of publication) and I see Winder as a 90/91 mph kitchen sink pitcher who happens to throw 94 mph.

 

  • With Spencer StriderI could have placed him in Tier 13 with the other “stash” plays, but I’m expecting him to be the #5 arm for Atlanta moving forward after he nearly tossed 70 pitches over the weekend. Atlanta is going to a four-man rotation with two days off this week and I’d expect him to be a proper starter next week. 100% up to you if you want to stash it now.
  • I gave a small dip to Kyle Bradish as I was a little too aggressive ranking him last week. Still, I see him similarly to Winder with a solid repertoire who can get strikeouts. I dig it, just not too aggressively right now as he gets his footing.

 

  • Tier 11 and Tier 12 are Toby B and Toby C tiers – in short, they are incredibly similar as pitchers who can go six frames and can be started against all but the top tier offenses. Do I feel the need to go after them and hold on tight? Absolutely not, but look to them if they are on your wire to fill in any voids you have during the week. Seriously, there isn’t much more to it.
  • That said, there are some interesting names in the bunch. Jakob Junis is getting chances for the Giants and with his slider looking as elite as ever, he may be finding his way into Tier 10 next week.

 

  • There’s also Dane Dunningwho once again had strong command as he calmly performed against the Yankees. It’s a Vargas Rule as I don’t expect it to last through the year, but it’s something to consider at the moment.
  • I gave massive raises to both Tyler Anderson and Chris Flexen as, simply put, they’re doing it again. Let’s hope it stays that way.

 

  • Tier 12 leads off with Ranger Suárezwho is a Toby who could pull himself out of it and look like the man we saw in 2021. It may get worse before it gets better with a start against Seattle tonight and the Dodgers over the weekend, but I imagine Ranger to get it together at some point.
  • I’ve also re-added his teammate Kyle Gibson as, let’s all be honest, he’s as Toby as they come. THEY ALL ARE. Okay, except for Kyle Hendrickswho has somehow turned into a Cherry Bomb along the way. Go figure.

 

  • Tier 13 is the stash tier + possible blossoming upside in the near future. Cristian Javier and Aaron Ashby are getting their chances, but not quite in the way that you want. Javier is getting skipped as the Astros don’t need a sixth man (and how many more times will that happen?) while Ashby is stumbling with his opportunities. I expect Ashby to come into his own through the year, but you don’t need to jump on this right now.
  • As for Reid DetmersI believe in full season outlook, but it may take some time before he finds his slider and consistently earns whiffs outside of the zone. I know it’s in there, but I’m not adding him again until I see it.

 

  • Some may be enamored with Josiah Graybut he’s far too volatile with his command for me to consider picking up and holding. I really hope he develops it through the year, though.
  • And for Hunter Greenewell his fastball is simply too dang hittable & became moreso when he’s not sitting 100 mph. I won’t rule out the chance he figures it out, but it’s too dangerous in his current state.

 

  • We have a small final tier today with Jake Odorizzi making his appearance. He’s performed for three straight starts now and while I think it’s all a bit fragile, I can see some continuing to roll with Odorizzi as he sits in the Houston rotation.
  • And at the very end of The List is Aaron Civalewho looked far better in his most recent outing than all of April as he went 30% curveballs with 30% cutters. That’s the approach I’ve been dying to see from Civale again and even with his velocity a bit down, there’s a part of me that believes it can work with the new approach.

 

  • Oh and Germán Márquez will forever be at #99 on The List – he’s a pure gambit Cherry Bomb play in my book and good luck starting him if you like.

 

YOU SHOULD READ THE NOTES

 

RankPitcherBadgesChange
1Corbin BurnesT1
Aces Gonna Ace
-
2Gerrit Cole
Aces Gonna Ace
-
3Max Scherzer
Aces Gonna Ace
-
4Brandon Woodruff
T2
Aces Gonna Ace
-
5Walker Buehler
Aces Gonna Ace
-
6Kevin Gausman
Aces Gonna Ace
-
7Joe Musgrove
Aces Gonna Ace
-
8Lucas Giolito
Aces Gonna Ace
+1
9Carlos Rodón
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
+2
10Max Fried
Aces Gonna Ace
+2
11Alek Manoah
Aces Gonna Ace
+2
12Justin Verlander
Aces Gonna Ace
+2
13Shane McClanahan
T3
Ace Potential
+5
14Sandy Alcantara
Ace Potential
-6
15Julio Urías
Ace Potential
+2
16Robbie Ray
T4
Ace Potential
-6
17Logan Webb
Ace Potential
-1
18Frankie Montas
Ace Potential
+1
19Freddy Peralta
Ace Potential
+1
20Chris Bassitt
Ace Potential
+1
21Pablo López
Ace Potential
+1
22Dylan Cease
Ace Potential
+1
23Aaron Nola
Ace Potential
+1
24Shohei Ohtani
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
+9
25Clayton Kershaw
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
-
26Zac Gallen
Ace Potential
+2
27Shane Bieber
T5
Ace Potential
-12
28Yu Darvish
Ace Potential
+2
29José Berríos
Ace Potential
-
30Charlie Morton
Ace Potential
+2
31Luis Severino
Ace Potential
-
32Luis Castillo
Ace Potential
+UR
33Kyle Wright
T6
Ace Potential
+2
34Trevor Rogers
Ace Potential
-7
35Nathan Eovaldi
Ace Potential
-1
36Logan Gilbert
Ace Potential
-
37Tylor Megill
Ace Potential
-
38Joe Ryan
Ace Potential
-
39Jesús Luzardo
Ace Potential
-
40Eric Lauer
Ace Potential
+2
41Sean Manaea
T7
Ace Potential
+3
42Alex Wood
Strikeout Upside
+3
43Alex Cobb
Strikeout Upside
+7
44Patrick Sandoval
Ace Potential
-3
45Nestor Cortes
Ace Potential
+1
46Jordan Montgomery
Strikeout Upside
+2
47Tarik Skubal
Ace Potential
-
48Mike Clevinger
T8
Ace Potential
-8
49Michael Kopech
Ace Potential
-6
50Luis Garcia
Strikeout Upside
+1
51George Kirby
Ace Potential
+UR
52Noah Syndergaard
Quality Starts
-3
53Triston McKenzie
Strikeout Upside
-
54Sonny Gray
Strikeout Upside
+UR
55Tyler Mahle
Ace Potential
-3
56Garrett Whitlock
Strikeout Upside
+15
57Merrill Kelly
T9
Quality Starts
-3
58Eduardo Rodriguez
Strikeout Upside
-1
59José Urquidy
Quality Starts
+1
60Carlos Carrasco
Quality Starts
+12
61Framber Valdez
Quality Starts
-
62Ian Anderson
Cherry Bomb
-3
63Miles Mikolas
Toby
-8
64Jameson Taillon
Toby
+34
65Drew Rasmussen
Toby
-9
66MacKenzie Gore
T10
Ace Potential
-4
67Tony Gonsolin
Strikeout Upside
+21
68Josh Winder
Quality Starts
+UR
69Kyle Bradish
Quality Starts
-4
70Chad Kuhl
Strikeout Upside
+5
71Jon Gray
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
+UR
72Michael Lorenzen
Quality Starts
-6
73Spencer Strider
Stash Option
+UR
74Tyler Anderson
T11
Toby
+11
75Chris Flexen
Toby
+20
76Dane Dunning
Streaming Option
-
77Jakob Junis
Streaming Option
+UR
78Cal Quantrill
Toby
-5
79Paul Blackburn
Toby
+5
80Bruce Zimmermann
Toby
+1
81Nick Martinez
Toby
-3
82Ranger Suárez
T12
Toby
-15
83Madison Bumgarner
Toby
-4
84Steven Matz
Toby
-1
85Marco Gonzales
Toby
+1
86Kyle Hendricks
Cherry Bomb
-6
87Corey Kluber
Toby
+7
88Kyle Gibson
Toby
+UR
89Aaron Ashby
T13
Stash Option
+UR
90Reid Detmers
Stash Option
-21
91Cristian Javier
Stash Option
-27
92Josiah Gray
Cherry Bomb
-18
93Jordan Hicks
Stash Option
-
94Hunter Greene
Cherry Bomb
-26
95Glenn Otto
Strikeout Upside
-6
96Tanner Houck
Stash Option
+UR
97Jake Odorizzi
T14
Streaming Option
+UR
98Brad Keller
Streaming Option
+1
99Germán Márquez
Cherry Bomb
-12
100Aaron Civale
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 Nick Wosika/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 college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Mike Honcho says:

    You seem very wary of Carrasco. Is he a sell-high candidate?

  • JD says:

    Austin Gomber? Thought he made the list last week, then had a solid start.

  • Floyd says:

    Would you drop Josh Winder for Max Meyer (H2H where wins count big)?

  • Jim says:

    M Kopech sure looked better than a -6 in Monday’s game. His W-L record is still a joke, as are Wins as a fantasy category, but these rankings are becoming irrelevant if pitcher’s showing improvement are not being rewarded accordingly. Most of these ranks are based on a “hunch” or a feeling that Nick has — fair to a point, but let’s base it on performance as well.

  • LeftyNation says:

    Would you consider dropping kopech for Whitlock? Would that be a beneficial play ROS? Your insight or any insight would be much appreciated.

  • auni says:

    It would be so much easier to read the notes if they were presented to the side of the rankings. It’s very hard to scroll back and forth and keep track.

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