Old guys can throw balls, man. 

You probably haven’t been to the gym in a minute, but just imagine/remember the locker room. 

Young guys’ tend to have a little less movement. More velocity, fewer wrinkles, less wiggle.

Ah, the pleasures of youth. 

Command is where the locker room analogy falters. Old guy pitchers’ balls have movement and command. They are stars of their own Viagra commercials, popping their car’s hood on the side of the road because they’ve learned a thing or two about engines by now and just plain know how to get stuff done. 

Youth reigns in dynasty baseball, but it’s nice to have some oldsters in the locker room when readying a crew for extensive ball-work. 

This old-balls bit is gaining momentum in my mind, and I’m not loving that, so let’s bounce to the first fifty.


Rank Player Age Team
1 Gerrit Cole 29 NYY
2 Walker Buehler 25 LAD
3 Jack Flaherty 24 STL
4 Shane Bieber 24 CLE
5 Jacob deGrom 31 NYM
6 Shohei Ohtani 25 LAA
7 Mike Clevinger 29 CLE
8 Lucas Giolito 25 CHW
9 Luis Castillo 27 CIN
10 Blake Snell 27 TB
11 Tyler Glasnow 26 TB
12 Jesus Luzardo 22 OAK
13 Stephen Strasburg 31 WAS
14 Chris Paddack 24 SD
15 Mike Soroka 22 ATL
16 Julio Urias 23 LAD
17 MacKenzie Gore 21 SD
18 Clayton Kershaw 32 LAD
19 Chris Sale 31 BOS
20 Frankie Montas 27 OAK
21 Trevor Bauer 29 CIN
22 Max Scherzer 35 WAS
23 Justin Verlander 37 HOU
24 Nate Pearson 23 TOR
25 Aaron Nola 26 PHI
26 Jose Berrios 25 MIN
27 Patrick Corbin 30 WAS
28 Brandon Woodruff 27 MIL
29 Zac Gallen 24 ARI
30 Yu Darvish 33 CHC
31 Noah Syndergaard 27 NYM
32 Charlie Morton 36 TB
33 Eduardo Rodriguez 27 BOS
34 Tarik Skubal 23 DET
35 Sonny Gray 30 CIN
36 Jameson Taillon 28 PIT
37 Zack Greinke 36 HOU
38 Spencer Howard 23 PHI
39 Forrest Whitley 22 HOU
40 A.J. Puk 25 OAK
41 Michael Kopech 24 CHW
42 Max Fried 26 ATL
43 Matt Manning 22 DET
44 James Paxton 31 NYY
45 Casey Mize 23 DET
46 Asa Lacy 20 ??
47 Dinelson Lamet 27 SD
48 Zack Wheeler 29 PHI
49 Hyun-Jin Ryu 33 TOR
50 Kyle Hendricks 30 CHC

Thanks for reading! I’m @theprospectitch on Twitter, Reddit and Words with Friends.

  1. NUX says:

    #51 Joe Musgrove

    • Grey

      Grey says:

      #52 Pete Alonso — oh, wait

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:

        Satchel Paige would’ve been so perfect for this post . . . I’m not sure why these names led me to Satchel, but I’m pleased, and I thank you both.

        • Grey

          Grey says:

          Howm’ever I can help

      • Biff Malibu says:

        #53 Joey Bats. Flipping bats n breaking sliders

  2. Jolt In Flow says:

    Ohtani #6?! I have to admit, I didn’t see that one coming.

    Skubal #34, loving that.

    Whitley #39, you’re high on him. Mind you, he might be a post-hype guy to target, hoping that he recovers from the dregs of his suspension.

    Have to research this #47 Asa Lacy guy.

    Thanks Itch.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      I think Ohtani might be the no-doubt #1 in daily formats by 2021. So difficult to calculate the added value if he continues being a five-category plus with the bat on the per game basis.

      Skooby dooby doo coming to a town near you!!

      along with those other meddling Rock City kids

    • Hobbs

      Hobbs says:

      First of all, love the post, Itch! I can never get enough of these.

      Second, Jolt — expect Lacy to be the first arm off the board this June, probably will go around picks No. 3-5 overall. Southpaw out of Texas A&M with a massive ceiling. He’ll be a popular first-year player draft target.

      • Grey

        Grey says:

        How ya not gonna give us a third of all? Rule of threes, man!

        • Jolt In Flow says:

          Thanks Itch, and Hobbs, and Grey.

          I figured I’d throw you in Grey, in keeping with your pointer to Hobbs.

        • Hobbs

          Hobbs says:

          Just here to break down traditional writing principles one comment at a time!

          • Grey

            Grey says:


      • The Itch

        The Itch says:

        Thanks, Hobbs!

        Kinda wish these could go on forever . . . the content void is fast approaching . . .

  3. Jacob Hartman says:

    Whaddup The Itch!

    Really excited to see what MacKenzie Gore can do in The Bigs this and next year.

    Curious about the Ohtani and Gio rankings, as I would guess Giolito would be ranked higher. Do you think that Ohtani will be on a normal rotation in 2021?

    Also, I think that I like Lamet way more than you, but I dig your post nonetheless! For realz—Appreciate you putting value to those exciting Detroit arms.

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      What up Jacob!?

      I’m trying to factor the bat into the ranking . . . not sure how to handle the huge difference in his weekly league value as compared to daily.

      I like Lamet too–trade for him last year and drafted him in a start-up this winter–I just worry the two-pitch focus could hold him back.

      He’s gotta find a way to decrease his pitch count per plate appearance. I like his chances a lot and bumped him up a bit while considering this response. Even if he can’t add a third consistent offering, some guys can dominate for our game with two pitches. I mean I ranked Paddack super high, and he’s got the same issue.

      Anyway, thanks for the kind words!!

      I’ll be thinking about pitching for a while and suspect Lamet and Paddack might creep toward each other a little. Darvish and Woodruff keep looking low to me, too.

      And Skubal.

      Skubal always looks low to me : )

  4. Chucky says:

    Mr Justin Verlander-Upton @ #25? And a Yankee no less? “The Boss” once thought he had assembled a former Oakland A’s Championship starting rotation ( Catfish, Kenny Holtzman and Vida Blue) until Bowie Kuhn stepped in. I guess Cashman could lay claim to Houston hurlers Cole and Verlander. Why not?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      Thanks Chucky!

      Was one of my weird team brainfart typos, but I love how you rolled with it!

      I was just thinking about the Cole contract this morning. Like, if he’s 30 in year one, and you have to pay 30 million for him to not pitch for a year, do you make the signing?

      Also thought about the Mookie move.

      Boston looking pretty good with that right now.

      No reason they can’t make him an offer in FA, too.

  5. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:

    Gimme all that Nate Pearson!

  6. Coolwhip says:

    This is much ado about nothing, but curious on reasoning. The Gap between Gore and Pearson, talk to me about it. Gore more of a finished product? command?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      Forced me to think on this a bit, thanks!

      I might’ve overvalued the divisions.

      Even elite guys have struggled to find consistency in the AL Beast (recently Snell and Paxton though injuries were involved), but I do think they’ll creep closer together as the process moves along and I just spend more time considering the decade-plus scope of the position.

      Another guy I’m struggling to place is Jon Gray. He’s a buy all day for me in dynasty leagues where you’re in for the long haul, but it’s hard to rank him too high before we know here he’s headed.

      Anyway I actually prefer Pearson as a prospect. Like, if their settings were reversed, I’d be borderline certain Pearson was destined for some stretches of fantasy greatness, and I’d be a bit worried about Gore in the East.

      On a thirteenth hand, we have the universal DH and the possibility that Colorado fires its hapless front office. They’re really a sleeping monster if they stop trading their 11th overall picks for 5 years of Ian Desmond at 15 mill per.

      Luckily they can’t do that anymore, but they would if they could.

      All over the place a bit here, but you got me grinding gears on this for a while. Thanks!

  7. Poogy says:

    Traded Verlander for Bauer in my keeper league the other day. With no idea how this year is gonna play out I’m essentially playing for 2021. I think Bauer will bounce back to some degree as well. The list made me feel better about it!

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      Glad to help, Poogy!

      Seems extremely likely to me that we see a Bauer bounceback.

      He’s never been in an organization that aligns with his thinking on how to pitch, and now he’s in an almost impossibly perfect fit for his approach.

      Would not be shocked if his best season is ahead of him.

      That incredible stretch he had in Cleveland was in context of one of the worst hitting divisions in my lifetime, but the NL central isn’t wallbangers row these days either.

  8. BBHHI says:

    Not taking pot-shots….just wondering, how far off the list do McCullers, Heaney and McKay fall?

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      McCullers and McKay were among the last guys off the list.

      MC Lance especially seemed like he could be too low if he ever puts in a 180 inning season.

      Evidence suggests that could remain elusive, but he wouldn’t be the first guy to suddenly find a sustainable process that worked for him.

      He was pretty inconsistent on a start-to-start basis even when he was right, but that’s not a big deal in roto.

      McKay seems like a real value this year. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a young ace’s stock plummet so quickly. Everyone seems scared to buy him while they shove each other out of the way to board the Mitch Keller express. This puzzles me.

      • BBHHI says:

        TB overwhelmed with talent, making innings a real question mark, is guess.

  9. ryan says:

    Love these rankings! Anyway I am looking to possibly upgrade my sp in my 14 team h2h dynasty league. on paper I feel my pitching is good for the next year or so, but will take a huge nosedive due to age. Someone in my league is interested in alibies from my team. This guy has tons of young sp depth. Anyway he offered me a huge deal. Not sure if this is something i should consider. Do i trade away meadows corbin albies for ketel marte, max kepler, james paxton and shane bieber. i could also get both nate pearson and luzardo instead of bieber. Do you recommend I take this deal to help improve my sp?

    c sean murphy

    1b max muncy

    2b ozzie albies

    3b rafael devers

    ss bo bichette

    lf juan soto

    cf ronald acuna

    rf austin meadows

    util yuli gurriel

    bn luke voit

    bn cj cron
    bn luke voit

    bn omar narvaez

    na andrew vaughn

    na robert puason

    na luis matos

    na jeter downs

    na julio rodriguez

    na erick pena

    sp brandon woodruff

    sp julio urias

    sp max scherzer

    rp scott oberg

    rp ryan pressly

    rp brandon kintzler

    p patrick corbin

    p alex wood

    bn kevin gausman

    bn carlos rodon

    bn deivi garcia

    bn sixto sanchez

    bn edward cabrera

    bn nathan eovaldi

    bn matt shoemaker

    na luis patino

    • The Itch

      The Itch says:

      Thanks Ryan!

      Man this trade keeps growing and growing!!! Fun stuff!

      I don’t love Kepler or Paxton.

      If you can get Luzardo instead of Paxton and Pearson instead of Kepler, I’m thinking longer about it.

      As is, I see it as

      Meadows for Marte (I prefer Ketel but think consensus prefers Meadows)

      Ozzie for Bieber (consensus would prefer Ozzie, I think)

      Corbin for Paxton And Kepler (again I think consensus would prefer your side)

      So you’re losing a pinch of perceived value in all three exchanges.

      However if it’s Corbin for Luzardo

      Ozzie for Bieber

      And Meadows for Marte

      With a Pearson sweetener . . . maybe you can kick in a lesser arm like Eovaldi, Gausman or Wood if you have to, tho some players just prefer to give 4 for 3 and wouldn’t consider those guys anything more than a gesture, but you never know.

      • The Itch

        The Itch says:

        I wouldn’t offer the kick in pitcher, actually

        Just muddies the water

        If he doesn’t take that one maybe hit the reset and build around Ozzie for Ketel and Pearson.

  10. ryan says:

    He actually offered another trade. I would trade away woodruff albies for luzardo pearson and bieber. Not sure how i feel about this. I love the major improvements with my sp, but maybe I can trade someone like patrick corbin for a 2b. What do you think?

Comments are closed.