The List 7/17: The Top 100 Starting Pitchers For 2020 — 60 Game Edition

Nick has updated the Top 100 SPs for 2020 just in time for your draft.

Once we got word of a season plan, I updated The List back on June 23rd knowing there would be lot of changes before the start of the season. I had planned to put this out on Monday, but with draft weekend ahead of us, I wanted to get a proper update out for everyone’s drafts. As always, read the notes before looking at the ranks, they explain a lot.

 

Ranking Notes

 

  • This is the final update of The List until Monday July 27th when baseball has actually returned. BASEBALL IS BACK IN ONE WEEK. WHAT.
  • For those initiated, a Toby is a middling pitcher who is borderline a waiver wire arm. A Cherry Bomb is a volatile arm who is either super sweet or blows up in your face.

 

  • Take note that the re-introduction of Carlos Carrasco (I’m so happy you’re okay!) at #22 gives many an innate “-1” to their rank…until Jesus Luzardo, David Price, Michael Kopech, Jose Urquidy, and Eduardo Rodriguez‘s removals that push the back-half up and give them an innate “+5”. This is your obligatory “READ THE NOTES” before reacting to the small “+2” or “-1” rank changes.
  • I also removed many players who simply didn’t have the early schedule you’d want for someone on the fringe anyway. You’re going to see plenty of green and double-digit increases in the back-half of The List because of this, but don’t get too alarmed. Most are just “hey, not a terrible first start and they could do fine” kind of players.

 

  • During PitchCon, I sat down with injury specialist Stephen Lyman, where we discussed many players with injury questions and how to properly put weights on them. There are a number of players who have injury concerns that I’m not as worried about relative to others. (Watch our hour-long talk here):
    • I’m placing Mike Clevinger ahead of Shane Bieber, as we shouldn’t be worried about his knee at all given the large time off to properly heal. I like Clev dog. You should too.
    • Charlie Morton often gets hurt by the longevity of the season and a season a third in length will do wonders for his overall performance. He was a true ace last year and gets a well-deserved bump.
    • I was giving Blake Snell a heavy drop before, given the injury cloud already circling, but given it was loose bodies that were removed and should be fully healed, I’m in on Snell rebounding from an odd year where he lost the feel for his curveball and slider in the zone. That should come back.
    • Griffin Canning‘s PRP injections should come with concern, though he may get the Mariners first and I’m in for that.

 

  • One of the major changes from 162 games to 60 games is my emphasis on volume from Day 1. I’m personally favoring pitchers who I believe have the ceiling to go at least six frames from their very first start of the season, as each individual start matters more than ever. I’m calling those SP “Ego Starters” as they won’t let managers baby them early or pull them when they are performing well. It’s not always directed to their personality, but more that I trust they will go deep early in the year. These players include Lance Lynn, Madison Bumgarner, Carlos Carrasco, Zack Greinke, Aaron Nola, Sonny Gray, Frankie Montas, Mike Minor, and Trevor Bauer
  • The other side of the coin are pitchers who we know are limited right away. Walker Buehler is scheduled for two – just two! – innings Friday night, forcing me to push him down in favor of pitchers who will get more volume this season. It feels very strange to do so, but a week or two into the season, you’ll be happy having 18 frames of Luis Castillo more than Buehler’s nine.

 

  • Yes, despite being a Gallen Gal, I’ve lowered Zac GallenI can’t say with conviction that he’ll be given the same leash as those mentioned above and it saddens me that I need to push him down because of it. Not to mention, there is the innate risk of putting too much stock into his expected development. Still love him, just have to favor the floors of others more.
  • You may find it weird to see Tyler Glasnow this far down. Given the short sample size of 2019, his COVID illness that delayed his start of camp, and lack of third pitch, I think you’re better off chasing other arms instead that have the full package ready for opening day.

 

  • I have no idea what to do with Zack WheelerI love the guy but I think he has all the reason to properly opt-out of the season as he has a child on the way. It’s a huge risk to grab him at this point and I’ve pushed him much farther than I’d like because of it.
  • I really think many are overlooking Shohei OhtaniI know I’ve talked about volume, but there’s a difference between production per start vs. production over the full year. Shohei has the ability of a Top 15 starter and you want his ability on your team.

 

  • I dropped Julio Urias down as I wonder if the Dodgers are going to use their pitching depth to prevent him from going a full six frames each game.
  • I love Mike Foltynewicz but sadly the Braves have admitted that they are taking things slow with their starters this year. I had to bring down both him and Mike Soroka because of this.

 

  • With David Price opting out, some are chasing Ross Stripling and Dustin MayI’m not, but I’ll add them as things could change quickly. I expect the Dodgers to still carry Dodgeritis, preventing Stripling or May to get significant innings for a while. It hurts, I know.
  • I’m wondering how to feel about Jordan MontgomeryOn one hand, if he has increased velocity, he’ll be on a winning club and given opportunities. On the other, he gets the Phillies and Red Sox out of the gate. He takes a hit because of the innate risk there. Blegh.

 

  • I’m so sorry John Meansbut you have a tough schedule to start the year. It’s not fair.
  • The same goes for Dallas Keuchelthough I’m certainly less emotional there. An early matchup with the Twins means you’re unlikely to be happy early, but Keuchel should be a solid Toby through the year on a winning ballclub.

 

  • With Yonny Chirinos still missing from Summer Camp, Brendan McKay could slide into the Rays’ rotation. I wouldn’t expect him to get the volume early, but you should keep an eye on him.
  • I considered removing Michael Fulmer and Chad Kuhl as they’ll be “piggy-back” starters initially, but I think their upside makes them worthwhile at the end considering the other options are pitchers you don’t want to stream to start the year. If they do well in their first start, their limitations could be removed.

 

  • I have many concerns that neither Corbin Burnes nor Freddy Peralta will get the innings we want them to get in Milwaukee, but their upside is certainly worthy of a Top 100 spot. Monitor this situation carefully.
  • With Michael Kopech opting out, Carlos Rodon has a chance to earn innings inside the White Sox rotation again. He deserves a look, but who knows what quality those hypothetical innings would be.

 

  • Okay, okay, I added Nate Pearson, Spencer Howardand MacKenzie Gore to The List. I understand that each of the teams could easily add them to their rosters after the first turn of the rotation and could make an impact right away. I prefer Pearson the most of the crew, but remember, you’re likely better off using that spot for a stream that the first week – you need every solid start you can get!
  • Sadly I had to lower Dylan Bundy as he’s likely to face the Athletics and Astros out of the gate. I’m curious as to what we’ll see from him in 2020, but you want to watch from the sidelines.

 

  • And let’s talk about the pitchers I’ve added that could have a favorable start in their first start of the year that should be considered at the end of your draft:

 

Fringe Pitchers I Considered

 

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
1Gerrit ColeT1
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
2Jacob deGrom
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
3Max Scherzer
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
4Justin Verlander
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
5Mike Clevinger
T2
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
6Shane Bieber
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
7Charlie Morton
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
8Stephen Strasburg
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
9Jack Flaherty
T3
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
10Blake Snell
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+1
11Patrick Corbin
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
12Clayton Kershaw
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
+1
13Yu Darvish
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
14Luis Castillo
Aces Gonna Ace
Quality Starts
+1
15Walker Buehler
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
-10
16Lucas Giolito
T4
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
17Chris Paddack
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-
18Corey Kluber
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
19Aaron Nola
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
20Sonny Gray
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
21Lance Lynn
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+5
22Carlos Carrasco
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
+UR
23James Paxton
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
24Frankie Montas
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+3
25Zack Greinke
Aces Gonna Ace
Quality Starts
-
26Trevor Bauer
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Cherry Bomb
+2
27Zac Gallen
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
-5
28Madison Bumgarner
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
+1
29Tyler Glasnow
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
-6
30Jose Berrios
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+2
31Kenta Maeda
T5
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+4
32Shohei Ohtani
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+4
33Mike Soroka
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
-2
34Brandon Woodruff
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-4
35Matthew Boyd
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+2
36Luke Weaver
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
+4
37Hyun Jin Ryu
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
+4
38Max Fried
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
+4
39Joe Musgrove
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
+4
40Lance McCullers
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
+4
41Mike Minor
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
+11
42Carlos Martinez
T6
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-4
43Zack Wheeler
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-23
44Julio Urias
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
-5
45Kyle Hendricks
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
+1
46Sean Manaea
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Ratio Focused
+1
47Caleb Smith
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+1
48Robbie Ray
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
+2
49Dinelson Lamet
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
-
50Jake Odorizzi
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
+5
51A.J. Puk
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
+14
52Mitch Keller
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+1
53Andrew Heaney
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
-8
54German Marquez
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+3
55Dylan Cease
T7
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
+3
56Mike Foltynewicz
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-5
57Jordan Montgomery
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
Stash Option
+2
58Alex Wood
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
Stash Option
+2
59Sandy Alcantara
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+2
60Garrett Richards
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+3
61Marcus Stroman
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
+19
62Griffin Canning
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+8
63Rich Hill
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+8
64Josh James
Ace Potential
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+5
65Ryan Yarbrough
Playing Time Question
Toby
Ratio Focused
+14
66Josh Lindblom
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
-
67John Means
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
-5
68Pablo Lopez
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+UR
69Spencer Turnbull
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+4
70Zach Plesac
T8
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
+12
71Aaron Civale
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+12
72Anthony DeSclafani
Strikeout Upside
Toby
Ratio Focused
+9
73Nathan Eovaldi
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+13
74Kyle Gibson
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
+17
75Adrian Houser
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
-8
76Joey Lucchesi
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
-1
77Chris Bassitt
Strikeout Upside
Toby
Streaming Option
+21
78JA Happ
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+21
79Homer Bailey
Strikeout Upside
Streaming Option
+15
80Wade Miley
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+4
81Freddy Peralta
T9
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+UR
82Corbin Burnes
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+UR
83Jon Gray
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+5
84Nate Pearson
T10
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
+UR
85Spencer Howard
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
+UR
86MacKenzie Gore
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
+UR
87Carlos Rodon
T11
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+UR
88Ross Stripling
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+UR
89Dustin May
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
+UR
90Asher Wojciechowski
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+3
91Jordan Lyles
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+4
92Brendan McKay
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
+UR
93Dylan Bundy
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
-21
94Martin Perez
T12
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+UR
95Dallas Keuchel
Toby
Ratio Focused
-19
96Austin Voth
Strikeout Upside
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+UR
97Anibal Sanchez
Toby
Ratio Focused
+UR
98Michael Fulmer
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+UR
99Chad Kuhl
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-3
100Jake Arrieta
Toby
Ratio Focused
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 Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm 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.

20 responses to “The List 7/17: The Top 100 Starting Pitchers For 2020 — 60 Game Edition”

  1. Avatar Perfect Game says:

    No strikeout upside for Castillo who has a high K%?

    Saw on MLB Network a segment on Ray and how he altered his delivery by shortening his arm delivery ala Giolito for greater control and consistency. Fewer walks means more IP, K’s and QS potential. Worth monitoring.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks for the catch! Just added it to Castillo.

      Whoa, that would be wonderful for Ray! I’m curious to see his first start now and will adjust accordingly if A) it’s a legit change and B) there’s a difference in performance.

      • Avatar Perfect Game says:

        He looked good in intrasquad game. Al Leiter showed a side-by-side comparison of his delivery from last year to this year and same when Giolito and Bieber made the change. The shortened arm action on the take away makes the mechanics of the delivery more repeatable/consistent.

        • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

          I just watched that video, okay okay this is selling me a bit on Ray!

          You’re right, it definitively is a better arm circle for Ray and seeing him 96 on the gun is dramatic to say the least.

          Normally I don’t make any changes based on this stuff until I see it for a full meaningful game, but I am *certainly* intrigued!

  2. Avatar Jason says:

    Nick, love the site. News just broke that Luzardo is back at camp. Where would he rank given he might now be a little behind others pitch count wise.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      We’re still in the dark about his stamina and how the A’s will use him.

      At this point, I’d rather chase others. I can imagine him around the stashes of Gore/Pearson/etc.

  3. Avatar Dave says:

    Nick, great list! I noticed 3 of the “+UR” pitchers listed (Pablo Lopez, Freddy Peralta and Corbin Burnes) didn’t have any colored blocks in the Badges column. Was that an oversight?

    The order you chose for Pearson, Howard and Gore is interesting. I see in your notes that you like Pearson better. Was that because you think he is the best pitcher of the three, or were there other reasons as well? I ask because it seems San Diego wants to make a run this season (especially after seeing they just traded for Tim Hill) while Toronto… not so much. So, San Diego may have more of a sense of urgency in calling up Gore. Also, San Diego has a more pitcher-friendly park and more pitcher-friendly opponents’ parks, while both the NL West and the AL East will have the toughest schedules in the league (not sure which has the tougher schedule, but I’m guessing Toronto).

    Thanks.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Ah! Thanks for the heads up on the UR guys, I went in and fixed them.

      It’s a mixture that I’m confident the Jays will push Pearson given their solid offense and lack of quality pitching depth given Chase Anderson’s injury + I trust Pearson’s skillset of a blazing heater and plus plus slider more than the other two (despite what everyone says about Gore!).

  4. Avatar Duntroon68 says:

    You couldn’t have psychically forecast this list before I drafted Wheeler and Gallen as my SP2 and SP3 in a 50 round draft and hold two weeks ago? Otherwise, Verlander, K. Hendricks (Liam, too, for that matter), Ray, Weaver, Hill, Gibson, J. Gray, Canning, Turnbull, C. Anderson, B. Keller, Velasquez, Patino (Eno’s influence), Cobb, Wojciechowski, Pineda. I figured four starts of Pineda likely trumped whatever else I was getting in the 49th round. Seems like a much shorter list typed out than when I drafted. I mixed and matched influences but The List predominated.

  5. Avatar Firtree baseball says:

    Did you consider putting Reynaldo Lopez on the list?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I should have put him in the Fringe table. Given his massive volatility last year, I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting ReyLo early in the season.

  6. Avatar RC says:

    Great job including all of the numerous factors into your rankings. One trend I have noticed is that many are discounting older players like Verlander, for example. I think a short season really will work well for Verlander because he will not need to hold anything back. Also, his experience and track record playing for Houston supports future success. He is going to have one of the best defensive infields behind him with a potent offense to give him run support. My bold prediction is that he moves into a battle for #1 with Scherzer after a month of play.

  7. Avatar Yants says:

    Pleasantly surprised Snell is ranked so favorably. Thought you’d dock him some serious points for the cloudy offseason routine. LOVE the Morton respect. I love Voth as a favorite to leapfrog a ton of spots in the event that he gets through TOR relatively unscathed.

  8. Avatar Randy Beans says:

    Great list, thank you. Curious about the inclusion of Wojciechowski… What makes him a top 100 guy other than some Ks?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks Randy!

      Simply that I think he can take advantage of his first start against the Marlins. He’s had outbursts of greatness in the past and with a super good cutter and slider, there’s a chance he can excel against a weak Marlins lineup.

  9. Avatar NFBC Fan says:

    No Fiers?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Fiers is borderline for his first start against the Angels – I’d prefer to chase someone else instead, then stream him for his next start hosting the Rockies or heading to Seattle.

      In 12-teamers, that’s all Fiers is to me – a streamer.

  10. Avatar Aaron says:

    With the news that Wheeler’s wife had their child on Monday and he’s now scheduled to start on Saturday (meaning it sounds like he won’t miss any time during the season), where would you rank Wheeler now? Would he go back into the low 20’s where you had him in earlier versions of The List?

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