The List 8/27: Ranking All Starting Pitchers Based On ROS Schedules

The List that you know and (hopefully) love has retired for the season. Each week through the end of the year, I instead review the expected rest of season probable pitchers and sorting pitchers in a loose rank based on their expected matchups.

I began doing this a few years ago when I realized how heavily I began shifting from ranking pitchers based on their skill set to heavily weighing their expected matchups as the season’s end approached on the horizon. There’s simply more value than ever knowing who pitchers are facing and there’s no reason beating around the bush.

So today, The List will be separated into three parts: Opponent ranks, expected team schedules, and loosely ranked groupings of expected starts.

Disclaimer: This is incredibly hard to accomplish. Considering how even my streaming picks one or two days out often changes, you can imagine how difficult it can be to accurately predict which teams every pitcher with face in the next five weeks. Reasons for displaced rotations can be:

  • Injuries
  • Days-off that skip a fifth rotation spot or a pitcher simply gets skipped
  • Days-off needed where teams make it a six-man rotation for a week or two
  • Call-ups that steal rotation spots
  • Double-headers and rain-outs
  • The Dodgers being the stupid Dodgers
  • Openers are a thing because I needed a proper bane for my existence

But I’m going to try my best because that’s all we can do at this point. I appreciate all of your for your patience as I had to color in every individual cell using Dan Wist’s awesome table tool & this would have taken even longer with Colin Charles’ amazing help outlining expected schedules.

Enough of that, enjoy the longest article I’ve written all season.

 

Team Offense Ranks

 

I’ve elected to group opposing offenses into five categories and color-coded them to help y’all easily identify good and bad estimated schedules.

Team Offense Ranks

I’m curious if you disagree or agree based on these, it can be hard to properly assess the strength of a team. Should it be over the full year? Since the second half? Based on wRC+? Strikeout rate? Etc.

There are a couple close calls, and I can see Atlanta and Washington flipped, but hot dang as has the Nationals’ offense been on a tear. Please let me know if you disagree.

Alright, with these team assessments in mind, let’s move to the individual team tables. This is going take a while.

 

Expected Matchups By Team

Arizona Diamondbacks
  • There’s a chance that Zac Gallen loses a start or two due to the Diamondbacks preserving his arm for next season. It could mean Taylor Clarke squeezes in as a sixth man or simply takes his turn in the rotation once or twice.

 

Atlanta Braves
  • Keep an eye on Mike Soroka and Max Fried as they could be limited down the stretch in favor of call-ups to be preserved for the playoffs.

 

Baltimore Orioles
  • It’s too bad the Orioles get some lovely schedules when we really don’t want to stream any of them.

 

Boston Red Sox
  • David Price should return next week, making this a messy schedule to create. Brian Johnson could easily be displaced as well as the season comes to its end.

 

Chicago Cubs
  • The Cubs have such a wonderful ROS schedule. Hopefully their arms can step up and take full advantage.

 

Chicago White Sox
  • The White Sox have a double-header on the 27th, leaving the 28th open for a spot starter of their choosing. You want nothing to do with that.

 

Cincinnati Reds
  • Here’s to hoping both Tony Disco and Castillo get that seventh start as they could both be valuable assets with their great ROS schedules.
  • And we’ll cross our fingers Trevor Bauer gets his act together in time.

 

Cleveland Indians
  • Keep in mind, Corey Kluber could return in September, possibly directly taking over Plutko’s rotation spot. Three starts as a tune-up against Detroit, Chicago, and Washington may be it.

 

Colorado Rockies
  • With all matchups inside Coors, I moved teams up two tiers, so hosting the Pirates = 2nd tiers and Brewers + Brewers = Top tier.
  • In all likelihood, the only starts that could matter here are a possible desperate stream of Lambert and Melville on the road against the Giants and Padres. And even that is bad
  • German Marquez was placed on the IL and could return for his September 7th start, at the very least the road date against the Giants. Keep that in mind.

 

Detroit Tigers
  • There is a double-header against the White Sox on the 27th, with Zimmermann able to pitch on four-days rest, but VerHagen just on three-days for the 28th. Likely Edwin Jackson for that day. They’ll figure something out.
  • This could also be a six-man rotation with Jackson included, so hold onto your butts.

 

Houston Astros
  • It’s unclear if Framber is indeed getting that Toronto start on the 31st, or even sticks in the rotation for that matter. Monitor this one closely.

 

Kansas City Royals
  • It’s too bad Keller performed so poorly on Monday as his next three starts really could return great value, even with a sub 100 pitch count (isn’t everyone for the most part anyway?). Here’s to hoping his velocity jumps back up to 94/95 mph on Saturday.

 

Los Angeles Angels
  • Heaney manages to dodger a decent amount of poor matchups (Boston, Cleveland, New York), so enjoy his next four-start run before reluctantly dropping him the final week of the year.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers
  • I know, Where’s Dustin May!? He went last night and I have no idea how the Dodgers are going to play this out. On the plus side, it’s all beneficial matchups save for the weekend Diamondbacks series ahead. He’s supposed to get a start this weekend, so keep that in mind. Since I didn’t know which start I just left him out for now.
  • Hyun-Jin Ryu may get a break in September, so maybe we’ll see May next week step in against Colorado? We’ll see. Take this one with the biggest grain of salt.

 

Miami Marlins
  • There’s a good amount of upside here inside the Marlins, without a ton of really scary matchups, save for the Nationals twice.
  • Look to possibly stream a few if you need the big-swing plays.

 

Milwaukee Brewers
  • While I’d love Houser to get seven starts, it’s not cool that his final one would come in Coors.
  • Jordan Lyles is the only one outside of Houser I’d consider much here, save for back-to-back stream with Gio Gonzalez and maybe Zach Davies in mid-September.

 

Minnesota Twins
  • It’s good being on the Twins, who have a two-week gauntlet sandwiched by amazing matchups.
  • Consider streaming Martin Perez and Michael Pineda where you can.

 

New York Mets
  • Despite Matz’s hot streak, he has a rugged path to the finish line, without a single 4th or 5th tier matchup.
  • I wonder if these matchups make Marcus Stroman an easy drop in favor of what’s on your wire.

 

New York Yankees
  • The Yanks have a ton of lax games ahead, especially Paxton with 5/6 games coming from the two bottom tiers
  • CC Sabathia could provide some value after his next Oakland start if you’re in a deeper league.

 

Oakland Athletics
  • Chris Bassitt could cruise to the end with his fantastic schedule, while Tanner Roark may be the sneakiest pickup of September.
  • Homer Bailey takes the brunt of the matchups early, but could be serviceable in the back-half of September.

 

Philadelphia Phillies
  • There is a double-header against the Nationals on the 25th, but they’ll use a spot-starter for that.
  • I’d avoid Jason Vargas for the most part here, while Vince Velasquez’s upside likely doesn’t warrant his risky schedule.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Mitch Keller is the interesting one here, who could capitalize on every matchup ahead with his strong three-pitch repertoire. The floor is obviously low, but there may not be a bigger pickup to make.
  • Sorry Joe Musgroveeven facing the Cards, Giants, and Mariners in a row isn’t enough to convince me to chase you. There’s just too much risk.

 

San Diego Padres
  • Chris Paddack is very unlikely to get all of these starts and the Padres’ expected schedule is certainly going to be shifted around plenty as he misses starts or gets pushed back.
  • It’s a pity that Dinelson Lamet is facing a difficult road ahead and it may be wise to move on from him as soon as after San Francisco – likely after the Cubs for most.

 

San Francisco Giants
  • Jeff Samardzija has been cruising and has a decent, but not great schedule ahead. Don’t ignore the schedule and I’d be dropping after St. Louis at the latest.
  • Johnny Cueto is expected to return around the start of September, it’s possible he takes over for Dereck Rodriguez’s spot directly. Keep watch as he’s worth the pickup when he arrives (DLH, of course).

 

St. Louis Cardinals
  • I wouldn’t call myself a Dakota Hudson fan, but his first three matchups should be worthwhile.
  • Miles Mikolas is a coin-flip without a high ceiling regardless of the matchup.

 

Seattle Mariners
  • This is assuming that Justus Sheffield isn’t returning to the rotation. This one is going to be messy.

 

Tampa Bay Rays
  • I’m guessing that Austin Pruitt is the one that slides into the fifth rotation spot with an opener before him. We don’t want this.

 

Texas Rangers
  • Don’t rule out Kolby Allard or Brock Burke taking advantage of the rare decent matchups they have in the short term.
  • Let’s collectively hope the 2019 magic of Lance Lynn powers through a different stretch to end the month.

 

Toronto Blue Jays
  • I seriously have no idea who that starter will be. I looked everywhere.
  • The Jays have the worst team ROS schedule out there. Poor blue birds.

 

Washington Nationals
  • There is a spot-start for a double-header on the 25th against the Phillies, you won’t want that.
  • I wonder if Corbin is saved for a possible Day 163 instead of making that final start. Or maybe he needs to make it to win…

 

Starting Pitcher ROS Ranks

 

With these schedules in mind, I’ve elected to forgo the standard “Top 100” List and instead group pitchers into buckets. I left a “ranking” column just to help you keep track, but please note that these rankings are very loose. I have no problems with anyone suggesting certain starters should be higher/lower in certain tiers, or even jumping one or two based on the schedule.

This is mostly to help you strategize future starts and get a sense of who is out there that can help your teams in September. Matchups will be wrong, pitchers in the upside tier could easily be valuable than others. Please understand.

Let’s get to it then.

Just Start These Guys

 

There are a lot of pitchers here and I considered adding more from the next tier, but had to stop somewhere. There were a few tough choices, such as where to place Walker Buehler and his possible five starts vs. others with six or even seven, while his teammate Hyun-Jin Ryu is expected to miss one if not more of his outings. Kyle Hendricks and Yu Darvish both have seven cushy starts as well and it was difficult to weigh their expected outings this far in advance.

 

High Risk/Reward

 

We have potential aces in Bauer, Heavy, Berrios, and Boyd here, with guys that could take a step forward in Gallen, Wheeler, and Folty. Chris Paddack is likely to miss a few of these outings, or at least have a different schedule as he is skipped or pushed a day or two. Meanwhile, I hesitated where to put Eduardo Rodriguez and Dinelson Lametbut each could be highly valuable in some key matchups. Lamet could be moved all the way to the “Upside” tier, just to give you a sense of the rankings not matter much at all.

 

Decent Schedules & Floor

 

This has a collection of Tobys, guys that have some upside to them, but without horrific schedules, save for Steven Matz and Joey Lucchesi who each have a bit of a slog to the end. Jose Quintanalike Darvish and Hendricks, has plenty of opportunity to come out as a big impact play for Sepetember. Just get those heaters up and curveballs/changeups down, thanks.

 

Tobys to Consider

 

Some of these names will definitely fall under arms in the next group or two, as I could see myself passing on Zach Eflin’s tough end of the year, though I’d be fine grabbing him at least for the Mets and Reds next. Cal Quantrill may be a solid asset after today’s Dodgers outing and I was a little upset to see Ryan Yarbrough get three difficult matchups in the Astros, Red Sox, and Yankees.

 

Solid Schedules To Consider

There’s a decent amount to consider here. Mike Montgomery has a tough end of year, but can be utilized early for his easy Orioles/Marlins/White Sox trio of starts. Framber Valdez may get that start on Sunday and stick in the rotation, maybe he gets passed over and doesn’t start again. Joe Musgrove could be a streaming asset but good luck with that. Alex Young should have been in the Toby tier, but I really wanted to outline here how good his schedule was, I’d likely had him around 61/62. It’s almost like the ranks don’t matter right now. JUST PLAN AHEAD.

Upside Plays

Here are the guys that I’d be considering a bit during a given week of The List above plenty other names, but they don’t have excellent schedules. I love what Mitch Keller did last time out, but can he do it against the Phils on Wednesday? Can Dylan Cease carry over from his last start against the Twins and Indians? Brock Burke has made it work recently and could be valuable against the Mariners and Orioles. Will Pablo Lopez kick it into gear? Will Nathan Eovaldi be a solid play once he gets properly stretched out?

So many questions. It’s too bad Jacob Waguespack has an atrocious schedule. Poor Jays.

Random Serviceable Starters By Matchup

At the end we have random pitchers that could be streamers on a given day. Use this as a tool to mark off potential streamers for specific weeks, like how Homer Bailey could help at the end of September or Jakob Junis has a two-start week with the Tigers and Marlins.

And there it is. I’ll be updating this next Tuesday (I have a Labor Day Wedding) and every Monday thereafter. Hope this helps y’all out!

We made it.

Nick Pollack

Founder of PitcherList.com. Rotographs and Washington Post contributor and has worked with CBS Sports, Grantland, and SB Nation. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum.

sdf

Comments


Wes

This is fantastic. Now, do I drop Folty or Ray for Lester and his solid schedule? I’m definitely in the playoffs, but will be jockeying for a bye over the next week and a half. Standard five plus QS and HLD. I tihnk I may be valuing matchups over talent.

Your site has been killing it all year Nick! I haven’t fallen outside of the top three in my league since the third week of the season.

Maher

Wow! Nick, you outdid yourself. This is really helpful. One comment about the team offense rankings. You have Arizona listed in grey as an average team, but in the pitcher rankings, they are highlighted in yellow as a great team.

Dom

This is awesome and similar to something I do myself. A few things:

Clevinger and Plesac flip-flopped their rotation spots.
KC moved to a 6-man rotation with Duffy moving into the rotation likely on Saturday after Skoglund.

SJ

This. Is. Awesome. You guys at PL really bring it.

I’ve now heard talk about Kenta Maeda and Zac Gallen possibly being rested down the stretch. Who do you think is the guy to have ROS?

Ryan

Great stuff Nick, thanks for all the work you’ve put in on this. I’ve been enjoying the content you guys have been putting out over the last few years I’ve been coming to the site and just wanted to say thanks and keep up the good work!

Just to add the Dodgeritis, I’ve seen rumors of Julio Urías being stretched out to start after his suspension is up and Rich Hill is expected to be back sometime in September too. Also, there is the question of if/when they start transitioning Maeda to the bullpen. So as a Dodgers fan who’s gotten to watch a lot of the circus they’re conducting, I’m expecting September to be a mess of random pushed/skipped/spot starts and a warning to all dodger pitcher owners… Dave Roberts/the Dodgers are going to Dodgers.

Greg

Tony Disco wont be getting STL this wknd, will have a tougher sked with Double-dip this wknd made it seem like it. Makes him get PHI and CHC instead of STL and SEA. 🙁

Orange WHIPs

Extremely helpful, thanks for the work on this Nick.

Will this list be updates weekly on Mondays from here on out or what is the plan?

Scott

I love this! Thanks for putting this together. I love the twins schedule. Gibson didnt fare to well last week vs chw and det. Would you roll continue to use him if you were concerned about era, whip, qs and not really concerned about chasing wins?

Ryan

This is the best baseball article of the year… period. I always had to plan out end of season matchups by hand/excel… you did that AND you ranked the players. This is a classic article where the elbows are good and dirty. This is gold.

Dave

This is very well displayed (easy to read and understand – and really pops!). Thanks Nick. Have you heard if/when Manaea and Chirinos may return? Thanks again.

Brad R

Every update I’ve seen on Chirinos suggests late September. For me, that’s the last playoff matchup. They are saying “relief” role and while that’s also where he was originally projected, I don’t expect high IPS. Maybe 2 appearances at 3-4 innings best case scenario. I’m dropping in 15 mixed

PitcherList Superfan

Hey Nick, at the start of the article you have Arizona coded as an average offense, but in the pitcher ranks they are yellow indicating that they are a great offense. Which one are they?

DAVID TRAVIS

Great work, Nick! Amazing. You might want to check a few items. You have Trevor Bauer and Dakota Hudson pitching on three days rest.

Barry Martz

Thanks, Nick. Great tool. Everyone has to check weekly anyway. I still have SNELL, MANAEA, and GLASNOW on my IL HOPING they GET WELL SOON, and, I have Luzardo holding a spot. All callups and races will make changes in your list anyway so by using your FIRST table, we should be able to plug in the new pitchers with some confidence. Thanks again Nick.

Jim G

Nick, this is outstanding! Thank you!

Suggestion for an IL Stash article: As teams turn toward primary pitchers, a helpful topic would be addressing the likelihood and timeframe of players (including Snell, Glasnow, Chirinos, Severino, Cueto, Kluber, Carrasco, R. Hill, Woodruff, and L. Weaver) being incrementally stretched out through multiple inning relief roles once the MiLB season ends (9/2 for non-playoff teams).

That’s a lot of K’s and potential W’s sitting on a number of leagues’ waiver wires. Each of the pitchers listed above are not currently stretched out to start. They each play for teams who are 4.5 games or better from a playoff spot, and in are in need of SP. My guess is that at least 3 of those from the group are stretched out and starting games before the end of September.

I’d love to hear your insight.

Bob

Caleb Smith seems to be running out of gas. Not the same pitcher we saw earlier. Are you moving him down next week?

high

shuda moved him down 3 or 4 weeks ago. I would take (and partly did since I dropped Smith) guys like Civale, DeScal, Samardzjia, Houser, even Pineda over him.

John

I may be biased, but the Jays offense strikes me as better than “poor”. Since May 15th, they have a 99 wRC+ and a .454 SLG (11th best in MLB). It’s a very different team than the one that started the season.

That’s a minor critique though. Overall this is an amazing list – big thanks for taking the time!

Firtree Baseball

Great Article!
One suggestion, perhaps look into how teams do against lefties vs. righties. Things like the Mets struggle against lefties vs. the White Sox do better against lefties.

AJ

Do you downgrade starts at Yankee Stadium a level, like you downgrade starts at COL down 2 levels?

Domingo German is in the “just start these guys” group, but would you trust him at home late in the season, or go for a favorable matchup somewhere else?

rainmaker

You asked for critiques of your tiers and I don’t have any strong objections but does Washington really deserve to be in a tier above ATL and CHC? I would knock them and KC down a tier.

Also, did you give LAA and PIT a bump for their low K%? It might not help their offense but it does it make more difficult for opposing pitchers. Anyways, great job. Thanks

rainmaker

Oops, I just saw that you did mention strikeout rate so disregard the 2nd paragraph.

I would also argue that the White Sox should join KC in the bottom tier. They are 16th in Runs for the month of August but their OPS is the 4th worst in baseball over that same time.

Nick Pollack

Frustrating, isn’t it?

The cool part is seeing the schedule itself laid out per team, though, so you can at least matchup the first scheduled start and see their expected schedule.

And cool stuff!

Tommy

LOVE this article… I was trying to do this on my own and it made my head spin.

It looks like Sean Manaea is getting activated soon. Would you pick him up? I’m in the playoffs for a 2-week matchup next week and could use some starters.

Gallen, Montgomery and Alcantara have good schedules and are available. Who would you take?

Gary

Great article Nick.

Can you please rank these on pickup/stash priority. Thanks.

Manea, Luzardo, Houser, Civale, Desclafani, R.Lopez

Also, any sneaky 2 starts for next week?

Mark

Yur Edwardo Rodriguez starts do not match (team vs overall), Makes me wonder about the others…

sturock

Great feature, Nick! Thanks. I wish you could write something like this more often during the season, but it’s not as if you don’t have anything else to do!

Wes

Nick, is this going to be updated again? My playoffs don’t start until next week in one of my leagues.

Wes

Excellent! Thanks for the quick response. I’ll hold off on dropping anyone now. These callups are killing my roster mgmt.

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