The List Update: Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday

Nick Pollack updates his Pitcher List of the Top 100 Starting Pitchers for 2018.

[pitcher_list list_id=”14789″ season=”2018″ include_stats=”1″]

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 2018 and as a tool to gauge trade value in your fantasy leagues.

The baseball season hasn’t begun yet, but plenty has changed since I released my rankings in early February.

Let’s talk about how the SP landscape has changed:

  • I went plenty of the major changes in last week’s mini-update, including the fall of Jose Berriosswapping of Luis Severino and Noah Syndergaard and why I’m not a fan of Chris Archer
  • …but I changed slightly on a few guys since then. I found myself reaching a little farther than #50 on Lucas Giolito where I wanted to chase him right above Jake FariaThere are times where it feels like a pitcher is ready to breakout and with Giolito and Faria trending differently during the spring (I know, it’s the spring!), I feel it’s better to get Giolito one round earlier than Faria, where you can still get both on your roster.
  • The worst part about making this list is figuring out what to do with injured players. Instead of demoting them to a default end ranking, I elect to wade through the troubling waters of their trade value, and I’ve slotted Madison Bumgarner right after his teammate Johnny Cueto but before the upside targets of Giolito and Faria.
  • The same goes for Jeff Samardzijawho will also be missing a good chunk of time to start the year. His ceiling is lower than Bumgarner’s though, making him fall to #58.
  • Jack Flaherty shoots up the ranks as he has a firm job in St. Louis with Adam Wainwright‘s injury. Not the same instant upside as players like Sean Manaea and Patrick Corbin due to a questionable heater, but he deserves your love in a 12-teamer, moreso than my other late fliers like Joe Musgrove and Reynaldo Lopez.
  • Don’t sleep on Chris Stratton, Mike Minorand Jake Junis as well, who have rotation spots and hints that their stuff could dictate very serviceable 12-teamer arms. Worst case, you can always get an “innings eater” type like Zach Davies, Tanner Roarkor Marco Estrada if it doesn’t work out.
  • Marco Gonzales and Nate Karns join The List as they have had impressive springs to earn their rotation spots. I’m still skeptical that it will carry over in the regular season – Karns underwent TOS and while I loved him before his injury last season, that’s a tough hill to climb, while Gonzales’ consistency is heavily in question – but they deserve your attention now.
  • Other pitchers joining The List this week include Felix Hernandez, Cole Hamels, Mike Foltynewicz, Trevor Williams, Chad Kuhland Matt HarveyI’m in the camp that Felix and Hamels will continue to trend down, but there’s still hope as veterans that they can figure it out. Foltynewicz is a PEAS and I have little hope that he’ll suddenly turn the corner, Williams was productive at the end of last season but lacks the stuff to make a major jump in the rankings, Kuhl is the opposite – a hard heater and great slider – but nothing else and it pulls him down. I have no faith that Harvey will pull off a stable season ahead, but at this point you could do worse than hoping for lightning to strike.

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.

38 responses to “The List Update: Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday”

  1. Avatar Nick says:

    The highlight of the day.

  2. Avatar BJ says:

    Bridwell moves up 5 spots, despite being booted to the minors?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Looks more like a temporary move as they don’t need him for the first week or so.

      I have no problem swapping him with someone not on The List, there are a ton of “blegh” names at the end of it.

  3. Avatar theKraken says:

    What do you not like about Berrios over the offseason?
    What about Bauer? – I know that question doesn’t make sense, but you strike me as a guy who would get a 90s movie reference. Surprised to see him trending up.
    I don’t need to ask about Montgomery or Clevinger – I know that you just like them.

  4. Avatar Nick says:

    What would Stroman be ranked without the nagging injury issues this spring? 40s seems low for a guy who had a 3.10 ERA last season and is basically the righty version of Keuchel.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I trust Keuchel’s ability to create outs on batted balls plenty more than Stroman + he doesn’t have Toronto’s home infield and infield defense.

      Stroman would be around the same spot as he doesn’t look to be missing any time.

    • Avatar theKraken says:

      I did actually. Just didn’t think to put them together.

  5. Avatar Nick says:

    Also, why Happ in the 70s? Dude is top 20 in ERA the last three seasons and his peripherals got better last year. You’d actually take Jake Junis and Mike Minor above him?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Happ is in the 70s because he has a terrible history of struggling on the field and doesn’t bring the upside of someone like McCullers or even Morton to justify him getting more love than others ahead of him.

  6. Avatar Kevin says:

    Hey Nick,

    Thanks for your work as always! Quick Mets question (no, it’s not about the Syndergaard swap, which I totally understand): how much would you have to see from Steven Matz before he cracks the list? Terrible start to the spring, but a really strong last few starts and a solidified spot in the rotation. I’ve always loved him and have such high hopes, if he can just stay healthy…

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I was definitely tempted to do it, but with his injury history + the major question of “is he even productive when he pitches?” made me elect to leave him off for now.

      Show me good velocity and whiffs with his curveball and I’m game.

  7. Avatar Tim says:

    I know K/BB is one of the few ST stats that has any predictive value and wow Jake Junis’ 20/1 K/BB ratio this spring. Think he can really be a serviceable 7/8 starter in a 14 team league? What’s his upside, something like a mid 3’s ERA, 1.2 WHIP and an 8 K/9?

  8. Avatar Nick says:

    I get putting McCullers or Morton higher. But some of the names above Happ in the 60s don’t make much sense to me. Guys who have never pitched major innings as a starter at the MLB level and whose upside seems to be what Happ did last year.

    Happ is 17th in ERA since 2015 (min. 400 IP). And he seemed to get better last year. He was top five at inducing soft contact. His K/BB trended above 3.00. He increased his o-swing rate. I get that he does it in an unconventional way with his reliance on two fastballs with mediocre velocity, and is a bit older, but as some point results are results.

  9. Avatar Rick says:

    Nick, great job and thanks for the hard work. What are your thoughts on Steve Matz?

  10. Avatar Mike says:

    Hey Nick, thanks for doing these. Based on listening to you on podcasts I thought you’d be higher on Aaron Sanchez. I was expecting him to be ranked closer to Clevinger. Is this because you’ve cooled, the injury risk or something else?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Is that so? I don’t think I hinted at a rise from Sanchez coming.

      I’m fine taking a shot on him, but I think people are expecting him to be healthy this year and I just don’t see it. Paired with the fact that he needed more time to develop the K%, I’m worried he’ll be worth it.

    • Avatar Mike says:

      I must be listening to too many podcasts then. It could have been one of your co-hosts or on Paul Sporer’s podcast. I’ve put Fulmer & Bauer in my lineup ahead of Sanchez until I see how he does in the first few starts.

      • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

        Sporer has been a big fan, so it may have been him when he came on last week.

        I’d definitely favor Fulmer and Bauer, though.

  11. Avatar Mitch says:

    I expect Harvey to shoot up this list as the season progresses!

    Any concern over how Paxton has looked this spring? You think he’s safe to rely on right out of the gate?
    Thanks.

  12. Avatar abel says:

    did something happen with lynn? he’s looked solid all spring.

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Nothing based on his playing but a reassessment of the field and what his value really is. I’d rather go for more upside players as I think you can find someone like Lynn on the wire of most 12-teamers.

  13. Avatar Dan M says:

    Thanks Nick! It seems that Tyler Chatwood is notably absent from The List. He’s looked good during camp. What are your thoughts?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Bad strikeout rate, even worse walk rate.

      I don’t buy the home/road splits from last year save for some very good luck. Not someone I’d chase.

  14. Avatar Tim Freeseman says:

    12 Team Weekly Points League….Here’s my staff, looking for you’re evaluation:

    Kershaw
    McCullers (Straight up trade for Archer since I was able to grab Snell very late, Archer fell to me, but I’ve never really been too high on him, and didn’t want two Rays on my squad. Thoughts?)
    Aaron Sanchez
    Gausman
    Wacha
    Snell
    Estrada
    Vince Velasquez
    Foltynewicz
    Reynaldo Lopez
    Tyson Ross (Minors Slot)
    Eduardo Rodriguez (DL)

    We only play one RP (Have Diaz & Familia)

    I like it, but am I too heavy on upside?? Good luck this year…Tim

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I’d much rather own Archer over McCullers, honestly.

      I wish you had more sustainability in that staff as pretty much everyone outside of Kershaw is questionable to me.

  15. Avatar Frank says:

    Great stuff as always! Any thoughts on Matt Boyd or Amir Garrett?

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      Boyd is not worth your time while Garrett looks to be set as a reliever instead of a starter.

      • Avatar Frank says:

        Thanks just watched Vince Velazquez pitch he looked good. I was high on him last year. I only saw him throw a fast ball and curve not sure if he has a third pitch. Any thoughts?

        • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

          You highlighted the problem – VV has a good fastball…and that’s about it. Curveball can be effective at times, slider is inconsistent, and I don’t love buying into it.

  16. Avatar Chris says:

    Thoughts on Cahill in Oakland? He’s shown flashes of solid ‘stuff’

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I’m very cautious with Cahill as he wasn’t the same when he returned from injury last season. There’s a lot more pointing to flop than success.

      I’m worried I’ll be back to calling him his Irish doppelganger, Trevor O’Cahill.

  17. Avatar springerdinger says:

    Any particular reason you are quite high on Stratton and Minor?
    Their spring numbers show uncontainable WHIP numbers

    • Nick Pollack Nick Pollack says:

      I think Stratton turns into a solid end-of-staff arm in a 12-teamer with a touch of strikeout upside in his fantastic curveball and slider that flashes plus.

      I think if Minor has decent velocity coming out of camp, the rest of repertoire speaks to an arm well above those in the 70s.

  18. Avatar Ken says:

    Could you touch a lottle on Mikolas over Junis? Traded Quintana this week and bow need a 12 team arm to fill out staff. Was condisdering both Mikolas and Junis but went Junis as there seems to be some K upside not yet discovered to go along with his command…

  19. Avatar Kleh Kleh says:

    Hey Nick- just had draft. You think this has what it takes?
    Greinke, Price, Godley, Weaver, Castillo, Snell, ASanchez
    thx…

  20. Avatar Dan M says:

    12 Team mixed H2H Points Weekly League Ended up with this staff, can still add a max of 12 SP and 5 RP. How do you think I faired?
    Jose Berrios SP | MIN
    Yu Darvish SP | CHC
    Zack Godley SP | ARI
    Reynaldo Lopez SP | CHW
    James Paxton SP | SEA
    Garrett Richards SP | LAA
    Chris Sale SP | BOS 
    Joe MusgroveRP,SP | PIT
    Tyler Skaggs SP | LAA
    Edwin Diaz RP | SEA
    Greg Holland RP | COL 

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