The List 8/3 – 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

 

  • It feels like there’s more injuries and shifts in performances than we typically see in just ten days of a season, let alone one with so many teams missing games due to COVID-19 illnesses. Remember, I have to react stronger this season given the shorter year than I do normally and I will no doubt be wrong plenty this season.
  • Don’t forget, if you’d like to see how I craft The List and ask questions as I change things on the fly, I live-stream making The List every Monday at 1:00 pm EST on Twitter. Swing by next week!

 

  • With Clayton Kershaw returning with 92 mph velocity (up two ticks from last year!), there is an innate (-1) granted to everyone outside the Top 10. And yes, I had to move Shane Bieber into Tier 1. The guy is stupid good.
  • Staying inside the Top 10, Walker Buehler will likely move to #5 next week, but for now, we need to wait until he’s fully ramped up to a place where seven innings are attainable.

 

  • The Top 20 saw some changes that may surprise. Charlie Morton’s velocity dip has led to a disappointing opening to the season, forcing me to push high ceiling arms who have performed effectively ahead.
  • Luis Castillo takes a small dip as his teammate Sonny Gray has been outstanding and understandably the better choice at the moment.

 

  • It wasn’t easy to move Blake Snell out of the Top 20, but with another start under fifty pitches – and not of quality – there isn’t as much time to consider him above Kenta Maedawho has a wonderful schedule and is in rhythm with his secondary stuff.
  • Tyler Glasnow is still on the outside looking in as his curveball disappeared over the weekend, showing off his volatility we hoped would never return.

 

  • Two major stories were the incredible performances from Aaron Civale and Zach Plesacwho have shot up the ranks in a heartbeat. I loved what I saw from both, giving Civale the edge as he has performed to his ability on two starts thus far. I’m taking a leap based on just one outing from Plesac, but it was a ceiling we see from very few behind him and could stick through the year. I debated it plenty and while a move to the 40s could follow down the road, I’d favor Plesac over the dramatic dip in velocity from Madison Bumgarner
  • Some may be expecting a larger fall for Luke Weaver after allowing double-digit ER across his first two games, but I trust his stuff just like we did with Zac GallenStick with him, I believe you’ll be rewarded for it.

 

  • Mike Minor’s shift of approach has me a little worried as he focused more on sliders paired with a slower fastball, while the ascension of Dylan Bundy is everything we’ve wanted. He’s Top 50 and it’s a lovely thing with more sliders and fewer fastballs fueling his excellent start.
  • I can’t say no to Nate Pearson’s excellent slider and moments of dominance against the Nationals, though I had to move him into Tier 5 as we start to move toward pitchers with a large floor below. He’s not as sure of a thing as you want him to be.

 

  • Kris Bubic and Cristian Javier also made their MLB debuts last week and have earned a spot on The List. I’m lower on Javier than most given his low stamina (he showed terrible signs before 50 pitches!) but he’s worth a flier pickup in most leagues.
  • Bubic could turn into a Toby type with a touch of strikeout upside fueled by an elite changeup, but for now, he reminds me a bit of Jason VargasHopefully he blossoms into the Vargas that created the famous rule.

 

  • Robbie Ray took an expected dip given his failure to fine-tune his command despite a new arm circle. It wasn’t further as I think he’s closer to locking in than the recent lines would suggest, but I understand jumping ship for an arm below him.
  • I’ve given the same treatment to Matthew Boydwho hasn’t gotten the feel for his slider and curveball just yet. It could show up as soon as his next start, but there’s a hard decision to make if you should take that chance or not.

 

  • Saturday saw a flurry of forgotten names make legit strides in their ability, forcing a meteoric rise. Tyler Chatwood’s cutter is working wonders as it gave him confidence to throw fastballs for strikes, Yusei Kikuchi added a tick of velocity with a new cutter that misses a ton of bats, and even Kyle Freeland is feeling like his 2018 self with much better command and a heavier secondary approach.
  • Chriss Bassitt also deserves your attention once again with a solid sinker getting the job done for Oakland. With a good offense and defense behind him, Bassitt is making the case for Spider-Man or maybe something more.

 

  • It’s nice to see Masahiro Tanaka make his return and have instant success on the field. I wonder if his splitter will be consistent through the year after last year’s massive volatility, but for now, he should be added just as a strong Win candidate each night.
  • Anthony DeSclafani also returned from injury and becomes a solid asset given the Reds lax schedule throughout the year. Don’t create high expectations, but you should be satisfied with DeSclafani in most 12-teamers.

 

  • I know that John Means had a rough outing against the Yankees, but it came with a four-tick bump in his fastball velocity that forces him to be on your radar. It may take another start to harness his command, but Means with a phenomenal changeup and 95 mph can be a huge force in the league.
  • With Alex Wood hitting the IL, the door remains open for Dustin May to get more innings, especially as he continues to get stretched out. He doesn’t come with the strikeout upside we’re looking for, but he should be rostered in the majority of leagues.

 

  • A few pitchers are looking lost with their command, forcing me to lower them dramatically. Josh James and Dylan Cease are far from where they need to be to make you feel confident starting them, forcing me to drop them a combined 40 spots this week. I hope they prove me wrong by next Monday.
  • I had to also give a major fall to Josh Lindblom after he left his sole game of the year with back cramps. We are unsure if he’ll miss time or if he’ll be limited in the short term and this haze forced me to plummet his rank for the time being.

 

  • Lastly, we had many new additions to The List:
    • Randy Dobank will get some time now that Homer Bailey is on the IL. He should be decent, but nothing special.
    • Touki Toussaint has taken Mike Foltynewicz’s spot and features a fantastic curveball, but a questionable floor given his poor fastball and split-change command. Tread carefully.
    • Despite an eight strikeout performance, I’m still skeptical of David Peterson’s ceiling. His command seems decent but not great without a major whiff pitch in his arsenal. Hopefully his slider improves and I can keep lifting him up the ranks.
    • As I make my daily streamer picks, I could find myself considering any of Alec Mills, Taijuan Walker, Merrill KellyMarco Gonzales, Adam Wainwright, Jon Lesteror even Tanner Roark if they faced a weak opponent, granting all of them a spot on this week’s edition.

 

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
+1
5Mike Clevinger
T2
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-1
6Jack Flaherty
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
7Patrick Corbin
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
8Walker Buehler
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
+1
9Sonny Gray
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+5
10Clayton Kershaw
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+UR
11Luis Castillo
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-3
12Chris Paddack
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
13Aaron Nola
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-
14Zack Wheeler
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+1
15Lance Lynn
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+3
16Carlos Carrasco
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
+3
17Trevor Bauer
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Cherry Bomb
+3
18Yu Darvish
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-2
19Lucas Giolito
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-2
20Charlie Morton
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-10
21Kenta Maeda
T3
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
+5
22Blake Snell
Aces Gonna Ace
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
-11
23Tyler Glasnow
Aces Gonna Ace
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
-1
24Zac Gallen
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
-1
25Frankie Montas
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-4
26Brandon Woodruff
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
+4
27Zack Greinke
Aces Gonna Ace
Quality Starts
-3
28Jose Berrios
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-3
29Dinelson Lamet
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
+5
30Aaron Civale
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+42
31Mike Soroka
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
-2
32Julio Urias
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
+5
33Max Fried
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
+5
34Zach Plesac
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
+37
35Madison Bumgarner
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-7
36Kyle Hendricks
T4
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-9
37Luke Weaver
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
-6
38Lance McCullers
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
-6
39Andrew Heaney
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+4
40German Marquez
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+5
41Ryan Yarbrough
Playing Time Question
Toby
Ratio Focused
+6
42Spencer Turnbull
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+8
43Jesus Luzardo
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
+8
44Mike Minor
Ace Potential
Quality Starts
Ratio Focused
-11
45Dylan Bundy
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+16
46Griffin Canning
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+9
47Garrett Richards
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+7
48Joe Musgrove
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
-9
49Nate Pearson
T5
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
+20
50Jordan Montgomery
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
Stash Option
+2
51Robbie Ray
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
-16
52Caleb Smith
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
-3
53Hyun Jin Ryu
T6
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
-12
54Sean Manaea
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Ratio Focused
+2
55Tyler Chatwood
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+36
56Yusei Kikuchi
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Toby
Streaming Option
+38
57Adrian Houser
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
+9
58Matthew Boyd
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
-16
59Dustin May
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
+16
60Masahiro Tanaka
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+UR
61Steven Matz
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-1
62Dallas Keuchel
Toby
Ratio Focused
+8
63Chris Bassitt
Strikeout Upside
Toby
Streaming Option
+14
64Corbin Burnes
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-
65Rich Hill
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
-7
66Ross Stripling
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
-18
67James Paxton
T7
Ace Potential
Injury Risk
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
-31
68John Means
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+21
69Pablo Lopez
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-2
70Spencer Howard
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Stash Option
-2
71Cristian Javier
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+UR
72Brady Singer
Strikeout Upside
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Ratio Focused
-13
73Anthony DeSclafani
Strikeout Upside
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
74Kyle Freeland
Cherry Bomb
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+UR
75Tyler Mahle
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
+1
76Asher Wojciechowski
T8
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+10
77Randy Dobnak
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
+UR
78Yonny Chirinos
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Streaming Option
+4
79Touki Toussaint
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
+UR
80Kris Bubic
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
81Jon Gray
Strikeout Upside
Cherry Bomb
+7
82Kyle Gibson
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
-9
83Dylan Cease
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Cherry Bomb
-21
84Josh James
Ace Potential
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
-19
85Josh Lindblom
Injury Risk
Quality Starts
Playing Time Question
Toby
Ratio Focused
-22
86Joey Lucchesi
T9
Toby
Streaming Option
-7
87David Peterson
Playing Time Question
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
88J.A. Happ
Quality Starts
Toby
Ratio Focused
Streaming Option
-4
89Alec Mills
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
90Freddy Peralta
Strikeout Upside
Low Ips
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
Streaming Option
+3
91Carlos Rodon
Ace Potential
Strikeout Upside
Playing Time Question
Cherry Bomb
-11
92Taijuan Walker
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
93Merrill Kelly
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
94Nathan Eovaldi
Strikeout Upside
Toby
Streaming Option
-9
95Anibal Sanchez
Toby
Ratio Focused
-3
96Marco Gonzales
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
97Adam Wainwright
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
98Matt Shoemaker
Injury Risk
Toby
Streaming Option
-1
99Jon Lester
Toby
Streaming Option
+UR
100Tanner Roark
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 courtesy of Minda Haas Kuhlmann (Twitter: @minda33. Instagram: @minda.haas) | 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 pitching coach and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

  • Avatar Perfect Game says:

    Looking at your color codes, between Woodruff and Maeda I take Woodruff if I want QS?

  • Avatar Jared says:

    Didn’t notice Duffy on the list. With a 3.30 SIERA this season, do we expect better from him or is he just toast in that KC rotation?

  • Avatar Shane says:

    Hey Nick! Great work as always. Wondering whereabouts you think Mize may fall on the list if he were to get the call like he was rumoured to yesterday?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I’m not exactly sure yet, generally I need to watch them perform in the majors before I have a good sense.

      Maybe 50s/60s?

  • Avatar Jrot says:

    Marquez at 40? Goes deeper into games, has better Velo, and misses more bats than 5 guys in front of him

  • Avatar Erik Nelson says:

    Any adjustments for teams packing in 7 inning double headers this season? Opportunities for like Miami pitchers to get a lot of Complete Games?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Nope, I’m not changing my outlooks based on that. Too much unknown + I don’t weight “CG” as a stat separately (though Innings Per Start does).

  • Avatar brett says:

    i love you nick, but deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      <3

      I don't think I disagree with you. I've actually mentioned in the roundups that deGrom may be #1 next week.

      Keep in mind, for fantasy, Cole's Win and Strikeout expectancy entering this year was significantly higher than deGrom's.

  • Avatar Luke R says:

    Luzardo has to come up into Zach Gallen territory in your next update.

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