The List 8/10 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday

Nick's weekly update of the top 100 starting pitchers.

We’re back in the regular groove of Monday afternoon updates of The List! As always, make sure to read the notes as there are many changes that have good reasons behind them.

 

Ranking Notes

 

  • With Stephen Strasburg returning from injury, please note the auto (-1) that was nullified by Charlie Morton heading to the IL…until about the 30s where I had to remove Zach Plesac for being stupid. I don’t know how much time Plesac will miss, but it’s at least one start if not more.
  • I also elected to move Walker Buehler To #5 after throwing 87 pitches in his latest game. There’s little reason to think he can’t be the arm we expected now that he’s fully stretched out

 

  • The Top 20 saw some major shifts with Clayton Kershaw showcasing poor command a slightly lower velocity in his second start. I think he’s still great, but I was too excited about the new velocity last week.
  • Welcome to the Ohio party as Indians and Reds pitchers make up six of the Top 10 pitchers. What a world we live in.

 

  • I also docked Jack Flaherty and Patrick Corbin simply because their teams have missed plenty of games. I imagine Corbin will be a little rusty relative to the field for a week or two, while we’re still unclear of when we’ll see Flaherty back, let alone how much an understanding of how many pitches he’ll throw in that game.
  • After watching Chris Paddack once again fail to get into a groove where strikeouts were flowing, I’m questioning if he belonged in the Top 20 discussion, and brought him down to #21. Still solid and always startable, but not as impactful as other options.

 

  • Tier four saw some major risers and fallers. I can’t ignore how well German Marquez is pitching with his slider looking like it did in 2018, soaring his rank in the Top 30 starters. Jesus Luzardo not only is healthy and in the rotation, but hinting 90 pitches as well, and his ability suggests major success in the future.
  • On the downside, Zack Wheeler hasn’t unlocked his potential like I hoped he would, failing to go north-south nor earn sustained success with his slider. I still think that future is ahead, but it’s not there at the moment. Blake Snell also saw a tumble as he’s yet to hit 60 pitches in a start thus far. I can’t ignore other arms who are doing more in that roster spot.

 

  • We have the fun tier in Tier 5, as I elevated a pair of Dodgers arms in Dustin May and Ross StriplingSure, there is Dodgeritis likely at play, but both of these pitchers have solid schedules pair with a fantastic offense behind them. Their floors are well above most in the following tier + with each start they get a longer leash in the rotation. With Alex Wood unlikely to return as a starter, I’d feel confident with them in my staff through the year
  • Yes, Dylan Bundy continues his ascension, though I wonder if this is his peak with a tougher schedule ahead of him. Nevertheless, his changes are real and he deserved the love.

 

  • Tier 6 is where it got incredibly tough for me. It’s a group of arms who are struggling mightily but over time should improve drastically (Jose Berrios, Luke Weaver, Robbie Ray, Garrett Richards), mixed with pitchers who are helping in all leagues and could do so through the full year (Dallas Keuchel, Masahiro Tanaka, Chris Bassitt)
  • Then there’s also John Means who I simply can’t get enough of. Watching 95+ mph velocity paired with an elite changeup and breaking pitches that flash brilliance is everything you want from a southpaw known for his command. He has yet to have that full breakout start, but his stuff suggests it’s as soon as his next outing.

 

  • No, I’m not sure what to do with James PaxtonWhile Sunday featured an 11 strikeout performance, it also came with his depressed 92 mph velocity and secondary stuff that dreamt of days gone by. I’d sell high if I could, but in most cases hold and see if he can come close to repeating.
  • We also can welcome back Jake Odorizzi to The List after making his season debut. His Saturday outing didn’t come with the standard red paint at the top of the zone, but it came with 71 pitches and I imagine we’ll see 85 or so that better represent Odorizzi in future starts as he warms up.

 

  • Anthony DeSclafani also returned and had his slider of old that makes us excited to own him. While he may end up being just a Tobyhe has a lovely schedule as a Cincinnati Red and deserves to be owned in most leagues.
  • The same goes for Randy Dobnak who doesn’t have strikeout stuff, but his ability to provide excellent ratios while an absurd offense supports him against weak lineups is a recipe for major fantasy value.

 

  • I was excited to see Kyle Gibson feature his slider more than ever over the weekend and it may turn into a strong 2020 if he continues to throw his best pitch more often. Play the matchups right and this will be strong.
  • Last week we were in the dark about Josh Lindblom’s next outing, but we ended up seeing a decent start with a brand new slider that has potential to become a legit whiff pitch. At #61, it’s the perfect spot to chase him.

 

  • A slew of left-handers saw major drops in Tier 7. All three of Mike Minor, Andrew Heaneyand Sean Manaea have shown decreased velocity on their fastballs, leading to poor outings. I’m concerned across the board as none of them had elite velocity in the first place, with Manaea having the highest floor, but Heaney carrying the highest upside, and Minor somewhere in the middle.
  • A pair of rookies close out the tier in Brady Singer and Spencer HowardI like Singer’s floor a little more, especially with consistent playing time, but if Howard can dial up his fastball often while earning consistency with his three secondary pitches, he has the chance to zoom up the ranks quickly.

 

  • Tier 8 is a mix of upside and floor with intersecting trends that could continue in opposite directions. Pablo Lopez carries a phenomenal changeup and well-commanded heater, but the approach and lack of a strong third option are preventing him from pushing Top 60. Touki Toussaint flashed his potential with a nine strikeout effort, but his overall command is questionable and may rear its ugly head plenty in the weeks ahead.
  • I was sad dropping both Tyler Chatwood and Yusei Kikuchi this week as neither built upon their high ceilings established the previous week. Chatwood has a higher chance of reclaiming his rank given Kikuchi’s tougher schedule, but both still retained the skills they flashed in their recent outings. Keep an eye on both of them

 

  • Tier 9 is just…sad. Joe Musgrove missed his start over the weekend with an ankle injury, though his performances on the field leave plenty to be desired. If he were on track to start without a hitch, I’d likely have placed him at #65, but the extra haze lowers him a tier.
  • Then there’s Madison Bumgarner and Matthew BoydBumgarner’s drop in velocity paired with back spasms forced me to drop him massively, especially when we don’t know when he’ll start next. His stuff is speaking more to a Toby than ever before. Meanwhile, Boyd has lost all semblance on his first-half 2019 self, failing to get a feel for his slider and failing to command his fastball. It could click in a hurry, but it’s not worth the risk in the meantime.

 

  • Tier 10 features Chad Kuhlwho may get an extended look in the rotation in Steven Brault’s place as he carries 95+ velocity and a wicked slider. Something to consider if you’re chasing upside.
  • I also added Framber Valdez simply because of being in Houston and getting a chance for Wins. Don’t trust this for long, though, there is a low floor ready to show itself.

 

  • There’s also Nathan Eovaldi getting a boost after earning nearly 20 whiffs on Sunday, something he hadn’t come close to previously this season. I’m a little skeptical, but he deserved a bump to #81 for it.
  • I added a tier just for MacKenzie Gore and Casey Mize as we wait to hear more. They would jump up to the 60s if they got the call, but for now they are worth the stash above the Tobys in Tier 12.

 

  • Lastly, we have the bottom of the barrel in Tier 12:
    • Brandon Bielak gets the add for having good enough stuff to survive through five innings (Thanks Dusty Baker!) and secure a few Wins as long as he’s in the rotation
    • Kevin Gausman is earning too many whiffs for his own good, but has a stupid tough schedule. Proceed with caution.
    • Alex Cobb is feeling his splitter at the moment, but that could fade at any moment.
    • Patrick Sandoval and Justus Sheffield each have intriguing upside, but are also incredibly volatile. Not the worst hail mary arms to start.
    • Kicking Tyler Mahle out of the rotation was Wade Miley who could be a cheap Win earner on the Reds
    • He didn’t have the 95+ mph velocity, but Brad Keller has returned and had excellent fastball/slider separation. There could be something there.
    • Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone are feeling their changeups at the moment and could surprise in good matchups
    • Lastly, Zach Davies is not a terrible Toby with the Padres offense behind him.

 

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
-
4Shane Bieber
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
5Walker Buehler
T2
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
+3
6Mike Clevinger
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-1
7Sonny Gray
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+2
8Luis Castillo
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+3
9Carlos Carrasco
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
+7
10Trevor Bauer
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Cherry Bomb
+7
11Stephen Strasburg
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+UR
12Aaron Nola
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
13Patrick Corbin
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-6
14Jack Flaherty
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
-8
15Lance Lynn
T3
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
16Clayton Kershaw
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-6
17Yu Darvish
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
18Lucas Giolito
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
19Kenta Maeda
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+2
20Tyler Glasnow
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
+3
21Chris Paddack
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-9
22Zac Gallen
T4
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
+2
23Frankie Montas
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+2
24Brandon Woodruff
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+2
25Dinelson Lamet
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
+4
26Aaron Civale
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+4
27Germán Márquez
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+13
28Jesús Luzardo
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
+15
29Zack Wheeler
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-15
30Blake Snell
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
-8
31Zack Greinke
Aces Gonna Ace
Quality Starts
-4
32Julio Urías
T5
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
-
33Max Fried
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
-
34Dylan Bundy
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+11
35Spencer Turnbull
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+7
36Kyle Hendricks
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-
37Dustin May
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
+22
38Ross Stripling
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+28
39Ryan Yarbrough
T6
Toby
Ratio Focused
+2
40José Berríos
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-12
41Griffin Canning
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Cherry Bomb
+5
42Lance McCullers Jr.
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
-4
43Nate Pearson
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Stash Option
+6
44Hyun Jin Ryu
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
+9
45Dallas Keuchel
Toby
Ratio Focused
+17
46John Means
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+22
47Masahiro Tanaka
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+13
48Chris Bassitt
Strikeout Upside
Toby
Streaming Option
+15
49Jake Odorizzi
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
+UR
50James Paxton
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+17
51Adrian Houser
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
+6
52Jordan Montgomery
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
Stash Option
-2
53Garrett Richards
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-6
54Luke Weaver
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
-17
55Robbie Ray
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
-4
56Anthony DeSclafani
T7
Strikeout Upside
Toby
+17
57Randy Dobnak
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
+20
58Mike Minor
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-14
59Andrew Heaney
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
-20
60Kyle Gibson
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
+22
61Josh Lindblom
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Toby
Ratio Focused
+24
62Sean Manaea
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Ratio Focused
-8
63Brady Singer
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
+9
64Spencer Howard
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
+6
65Pablo López
T8
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+4
66Jon Gray
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+15
67Touki Toussaint
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+12
68Tyler Chatwood
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-13
69Yusei Kikuchi
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Toby
Streaming Option
-13
70Corbin Burnes
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-6
71Kyle Freeland
Cherry Bomb
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+3
72Steven Matz
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-11
73David Peterson
Playing Time Question
Toby
Streaming Option
+14
74Joe Musgrove
T9
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
-26
75Madison Bumgarner
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-40
76Matthew Boyd
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
-18
77Kris Bubic
T10
Toby
Streaming Option
+3
78Cristian Javier
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-7
79Dylan Cease
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
+4
80Chad Kuhl+UR
81Nathan Eovaldi
Strikeout Upside
Toby
Streaming Option
+13
82Framber Valdez
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+UR
83MacKenzie Gore
T11
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
+UR
84Casey Mize
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
+UR
85Brandon Bielak
T12
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+UR
86Alec Mills
Toby
Streaming Option
+3
87Kevin Gausman
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+UR
88Alex Cobb
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
89Asher Wojciechowski
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-13
90Patrick Sandoval
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+UR
91Justus Sheffield
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+UR
92Wade Miley
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
93Brad Keller+UR
94Merrill Kelly
Toby
Streaming Option
-1
95Marco Gonzales
Toby
Streaming Option
+1
96Matt Shoemaker
Injury Risk
Toby
Streaming Option
+2
97Wade LeBlanc
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
98Taijuan Walker
Toby
Streaming Option
-6
99Zach Davies
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
100Tommy Milone
Toby
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 Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm 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.

15 responses to “The List 8/10 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday”

  1. Thomas Bockenstedt says:

    How do you determine Ace Potential?

  2. theKraken says:

    I can’t imagine there being a single person that would buy Paxton. Either you are a Yanks fan and know all about the struggles or you are everyone else and also know about the struggles and hate the Yankees.

    • Rocket says:

      He pitched well yesterday. Not sure if you saw the game but, through six innings he had a low pitch count with 11 punch outs, 1 hit, 1 walk and no runs allowed. Boone let him go out for the 7th and he was hammered for a double and 2HRs. I would keep an eye on a guy that can blank the Rays for 6 solid innings and punch out 11 while allowing 1 BB. It is not a real long list of SP’s that have produced a line better than his line so far this year. I think moving him back to the top 50 makes sense. “Big Maple” has always needed to have his mechanics in sync to produce 97+mph and he is clearly not there yet. I am not Yankees fan and I would not classify what I watched yesterday as a struggle. I would not write him off yet.

      • theKraken says:

        I saw that he pitched well. He shouldn’t have been sent out for the 7th and he certainly should not have been left in as long as he was. The Rays are not a great offense but they just have the best media backing.
        I was just saying nobody is going to be buying. Nick referenced the idea of selling high. He is clearly a hold as you won’t get anything for him. People like to pretend that there is a market for a player following a good game and there isn’t. One good game doesn’t bury the struggles by any stretch of the imagination. The fact that his line got torched by the 7th inning ensures that nobody would pay. We like to pretend that everyone else is a moron except for us.

  3. theKraken says:

    I am wondering if we shouldn’t be pumping up the Cardinals values going forward. The past is behind us and they have more games remaining, right? Perhaps all of the double-headers and 7 inning games will put enough of a damper on that especially for SP.

  4. Kyle says:

    How much of Corbin Burnes’ uncertain role right now is influencing the 70 ranking? If he were guaranteed to be in the rotation going forward would you still prefer Toussaint to him? Thanks!

  5. theKraken says:

    I am surprised you are not skeptical of Mad Max. He hasn’t been himself this year yet and isn’t he hurt? The FB has gotten crushed and the BB have been uglier than usual. He was not good after the DL stint last year. Look at the velo charts and this year looks a lot like the bad part of last season. To me it all hints at the idea that something isn’t right. He was head and shoulders above DeGrom last year pre-injury and gave it all back in a miserable month or so. Good Max has very few bumps in the road. I fear that his peak is way behind him at this point which makes the awards that he didn’t win, but could have a real shame at this point. We should be recognizing him as one of the all-time greats but we don’t because of the lack of awards and championships. He is a surefire HOFer but he should be inner circle. His contemporaries played in an era where you had to take the belt from the champion as opposed to hyping up the next big thing and that really does tarnish his resume relative to his peers. He is one of my favorites but I fear that the elite production is well behind him.

  6. theKraken says:

    On what basis is Yarbrough top 40?

  7. Anon says:

    What about Elieser Hernandez?

  8. Triumph the Dog says:

    Accolades for Means huh? I like it! Just how much you like him? If he indeed has a “breakout” outing next time around how high do you foresee ranking him? In other words what’s his ceiling?
    Recently picked up Framber but sounds like I should much prefer Means.

  9. Your Kitty says:

    Thank you for this list. Any opinions on Urquidy?

  10. Rocket says:

    Great to see Bauer back in the top 10. I was not sure if I would ever see it again but the guy has worked really hard to make it back.

    • theKraken says:

      lol Bauer has worked really hard to make it back. Does than mean he slacked off last year? That guy has squandered his god-given talent more years than not. As much as I detest the way he goes about his business I would have him 6th right now behind Justin Beiber and Nola with Scherzer out of the top 6. The current results and fact that he has managed to get out his own way before for a little while set him above a bunch of guys with current question marks IMO. He and Gray are really close, but Bauer was gifted a really special arm so I would pick him over Gray who is a better pitcher but has less stuff. The sky has always been the limit with Bauer and that is just generally exciting. WB is better than both of them but not pitching at his best at the moment and honestly he has me a bit worried. The Dodgers org is known for those quick hooks but they also seem to get guys hurt. Funny how teams that don’t treat their starters like starters don’t get the most out of them or keep them healthy. JF is probably well ahead of both as well as well, but he on the Cards who don’t play baseball anymore. I see the rest of the pack as either being a bit behind or just overly risky. Now that I think of it, Bauer did just have his start pushed back which does worry me enough to push him down below Gray. Bauer isn’t one to push a start back so something very well could be wrong with him. They are calling it extra rest but that doesn’t really make much sense if you think about Bauer’s general pitch counts over the past several years. I don’t think it is particularly taxing on him to throw 100+ pitches as he is as rubber-armed as they come these days. I would still have him ahead of Castillo who just isn’t a top 10 SP. With Castillo, as impressive as some of the pieces are it just doesn’t fit together as a complete package.

  11. mattmaison says:

    The graphic still says 8/3

  12. Goldy says:

    You are sleeping on M. Kelly?? C’mon back Nick, there’s still room for you on this bandwagon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Account / Login