Every Monday during the season, I will be releasing “The List” where I rank the current value of the Top 100 pitchers in fantasy baseball for the rest of the season. Use these rankings to help understand what to expect from pitchers for 2017 and as a tool to gauge trade value in your fantasy leagues.
Let’s see how the SP landscape has changed:
- The SP landscape is pretty ridiculous this year, with few premium options, plenty of disappointing “wait and see” pitchers, and really only 50 arms that I would be satisfied owning. There are a number of names here that I’d own over others, yet even pitchers in the 80s and 90s could be more favorable in my eye given the right matchup. Keep mixing and matching and don’t underestimate the schedules ahead.
- Starting at #36 with Justin Verlander, it gets messy quickly. We have a ton of arms that we have to hold on to for lack of better options on the wire (Rick Porcello, Gerrit Cole, Kyle Hendricks) and then around #43 with Mike Clevinger we get to the point where it’s all about chasing upside. There are plenty of arms that you simply need to take fliers on – Joe Biagini, Brad Peacock, Andrew Triggs, Jordan Montgomery – as the relative “household name” starters such as Matt Shoemaker, Lance Lynn, Mike Leake, Jake Odorizzi aren’t performing well enough or consistently above average to make it worthwhile to favor them over these upside plays. Again, it’s wild that we’re talking about this around #50.
- I wanted to drop Aaron Nola farther, but it’s hard for me to slot him past #30 where there aren’t arms that exhibit the same upside he brings. That’s not to say he isn’t frustrating to own right now, but are we really that harsh on him right now after two disappointing starts? I’d rather have him over Dylan Bundy who pitches on the fringe of disappointment, Steven Matz and Alex Wood who are expected to return from injury this week and Robbie Ray, who looks like a prime sell high candidate at the moment. Still, if Nola doesn’t put it into gear during a beneficial two-start week, I’ll be the first to slot him below the tier of disappointment (ending around the low 40s).
- Jameson Taillon is blowing my mind with his recovery from testicular cancer, but I am cautious to promote him so heavily given the condition. Obviously pick him up if he were dropped, but I want to wait-and-see here.
- I wrote about Jimmy Nelson over the weekend and how he’s made a change to his repertoire. With the thin SP options out there, I’d prefer to bet his different approach carrying him through the year over other questionable options.
- We keep waiting for Masahiro Tanaka and Jose Quintana to turn it on, but it just hasn’t come yet. I wouldn’t flat out drop them unless better options are available, and most likely you’re better off just holding pat.
- Dinelson Lamet is the latest of young arms to get the call and impress shortly, making owners wonder if he’s the right flier that will save their season. I have limited expectations given his overall command, but he’s definitely worth the flier and should be owned to see this one through.
- Behind Lamet is Adam Wainwright who has been a much improved pitcher over his last four starts. You can thank extra vertical movement on his Cutter that has induced plenty of weak contact. It could be a flash in the pan, but I’d want to be on the ride until it stops.
- The hype around JC Ramirez is dwindling as Ramirez took a new approach that lowered the strikeout totals. It was in an effort to pitch to better contact…which hasn’t worked well in his favor. The peripherals aren’t pretty and I’d rather chase other upside arms.
- There are plenty of new names this week as the endless flux continues. J.A. Happ returned much sooner than I realized, and he really should have been in the 70s last week. It’s getting harder for me to deny Dan Straily a spot despite more overall distaste for him and his multiple double-digit strikeout games this year can’t be ignored. Chase Anderson has exhibited increased velocity and nearly two ticks more whiffs, forcing his way into the ranks. Trevor Bauer has strikeout upside, while Randall Delgado could continue in the rotation with Zack Godley in the minors. David Paulino is getting more time and provides some upside as Joe Musgrove recovers, Jeff Hoffman has great stuff and is a great streaming option against weaker teams. Ariel Miranda and Edinson Volquez demand spots given their recent starts, Francisco Liriano has returned to the DL and is as much of worthwhile gamble as any, while CC Sabathia has churned out four straight productive solid outings.
- Leaving us this week are Matt Moore, Derek Holland, Ian Kennedy, Alex Cobb, Joe Ross, Jerad Eickhoff and Amir Garrett. These arms simply aren’t worth your look as streaming options above the others on The List at the moment. Injured arms such as Eduardo Rdorgieuz, Tyler Anderson, Vince Velasquez, and Charlie Morton were booted to make room for arms that can help now.
Any thoughts about Drew Smyly rest of the season?
My guess is early July/ASB return for Smyly, where he could be a solid second half performer – around the 40s or so.
It’s hard to tell at this point and if you somehow have a DL spot open or want a stash, you could do worse.
Given the volatility of starters this year in 12 teamers, though, I’d rather have more lottery tickets on my roster at this point.
Nick, as a new fantasy baseball team owner, from years past roughly how many starting arms are you usually comfortable owning (IE, are obviously worth holding instead of using streaming options)? I assume there’s less variance later in the year after things have ironed themselves out a bit, right?
In your standard 5×5 12 teamer, I like to shoot for about eight-nine starts a week. That dictates six to seven starters on my roster. From there, it depends on my opponent to see if I’ll need maybe one or two more starts.
This year, I think I have about six stable options and use the others slots on a week-to-week basis.
Not Nick but can tell you that this definitely depends on the league. For example, if the maximum moves per week is only 1 then the number of pitchers you want to hold goes up drastically. However if you have infinite moves/week then streaming becomes way more viable again.
Worried about T Ross after those last two rehab starts?
I am a bit, though it could be one of those situations where he simply needs more time on the hill instead of a long slump that carries on deep into the season. He’s an obvious DLH situation when he gets back and we’ll wait-and-see.
What do you like about Bundy so much? Poor peripherals and pitching in a tough home ballpark in the AL beast with the Jays now reloaded.
Bundy and Taillon are both on the waiver wire, as of this week. Which would you drop Odorizzi for? (ESPN standard category H2H 10 team league)
(or, drop maeda as well, and try grabbing them both)
Drop Maeda + Odorizzi for Bundy + Taillon
Would you consider Volquez’s stuff good enough to be a cherry bomb after his no-hitter?
hi Nick! I have GCole but Nola, ArSanchez, Biagini are on waivers. Is cole worth dropping for them? I know hes ranked higher but hes not looking like he did before. I have Kersh, Scherz, Manaea, AWood, DPom, and Vargas also on my team.
I’d rather own Nola than Cole.
Good Call! At least for last night he was definitely the right pick up!
What is wrong with DeGrom?