This is a crazy time we’re living in. I’ve never made a version of The List before with so much uncertainty, but here we are, at the end of March, reading tea leaves to figure out when (or if?!) baseball will be played in 2020. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.
I’ve updated my Top 100 ranks since I made these at the start of February with most ranking shifts coming from the MLB delay, but a good handful are a product of a change of heart. Let’s get to it and make sure to check out the notes below.
- Chris Sale and Tyler Beede are gone because of TJS. It makes a huge impact on the ranking numbers, so keep that in mind. Luis Severino was removed last time, so no extra (+1) there.
- …and so does James Paxton jumping into the Top 25 as he has now been given enough time to heal before the season starts.
- Blake Snell, Justin Verlander, and Mike Clevinger took a lot of energy to consider here. I’m worried Clevinger rushed back too soon from surgery, so he gets docked just one spot behind Shane Bieber, but I’ll assume he’s good to go for the limited season. Verlander got the same treatment with Scherzer, as there is still some risk that his lat injury will stick around. I am worried that Snell’s injury will flare up again during the year, though, as no surgery took place. A lot more risk there, so he drops.
- Let’s tackle the major shifters due to a shorter season: Lance McCullers‘ innings are not an issue anymore. Shohei Ohtani will be healed and ready to go. Jesus Luzardo and Julio Urias jump a bit since their likely 140 IP limits will be hard to hit in a shorter season. Chris Paddack had a 180 IP limit that will not matter. Charlie Morton has less time for his likely injury, so I gave him a significant boost. Cole Hamels will be back from his injury and serve as a solid Toby like Dallas Keuchel. Lastly, I wanted to drop Griffin Canning further with his elbow injury, but the current status is he’ll be ready when we play, so I didn’t lower him too far. Still worth the lottery ticket.
- I’ve been impressed by the velocities of Jordan Montgomery, Alex Wood, and Taijuan Walker all sitting above 92 mph. The former two make for excellent late grabs to see how the season starts, while I’m down for Walker as a deeper flier.
- There was a lot of buzz about John Means improving his breaking stuff, vaulting him above the other Tobys. The same goes for Josh Lindblom, who showcased an impressive repertoire in the spring and is worth a dart throw before diving into the shrugs of arms in the bottom quarter of the ranks.
- It looks like AJ Puk and Michael Kopech will not start the season in the rotation. If you have the room, go for it as they could be impact arms, but it may be a bit frustrating, especially in a shortened season where each productive inning means more.
- I found myself favoring Mike Foltynewicz a bit more in drafts while stalling on Kyle Hendricks, resulting in a rise and fall, respectively. Folty is a sturdy option among a sea of upside takes and very close to Hendricks, with a slightly different balance of ceiling and floor.
- I’ve had a massive turnaround on Sonny Gray and I wasn’t giving him enough credit in February. The main argument against was expected regression from his slider and curveball (which still may come!), though learning that he improved the pitches when Bauer came over and introduced him to slow-motion cameras made me reconsider if I was being too harsh. In the end, he carries a similar ratio floor to Bumgarner with plenty higher strikeout ability, so I raised him to #23.
- I’m a touch worried about Carlos Carrasco‘s array of health problems, so I lowered him to the mid-20s as I found myself not wanting to take his risk over other similar arms.
- There’s a lot of hype around Max Fried for this season with his excellent slider and while I really hope it does pan out, there’s a heavy amount of risk associated with taking him inside the Top 40. With better overall arms having more security entering the year, I dropped him into the early 40s.
- Josh James is still battling for a fifth spot in the Houston rotation and could easily miss out, making me hesitant to chase him in the later rounds. The same goes for Austin Voth as Joe Ross is more than likely to steal the fifth spot in Washington. Sadly, I’m not a fan of chasing him in drafts. Edit: Rich Hill was somehow removed at #89, leaving Voth on The List. Hill has been added (he should be healthy by the start of the year and provides intriguing early upside!), forcing Voth, without a spot in the rotation, off The List.
- I found myself still staying away from Eduardo Rodriguez as I don’t trust that he’ll be a steady producer throughout the year. He’s still Top 60, but there are too many serviceable arms to go after instead.
- There are rumors that Spencer Howard could start the year in the rotation and he likely deserves a spot on The List because of that. I wanted to wait until I heard more as it’s just a rumor at this point, with Kopech and Puk much more in the discussion up to now than Howard. I have no problem with anyone stashing Howard for now though as a last pick in the draft.
Photos by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@FreshmeatComm on Twitter)