Not even a back injury can keep Clayton Kershaw from the top spot in my points leagues rankings. I thought about going with “He’ll Be Back” as my title considering his current DL designation, but I’m not really sure of the extent of his injury. However, Clayton Kershaw can probably get you more points while on the disabled list than several other pitchers whom are not. That’s actually a true statement considering multiple pitchers have turned in negative performances. Edinson Volquez, Eduardo Rodriguez, Dan Straily and James Shields are among those that have recently subtracted points from their teams’ totals. Plus, then I would have had to fill this post with both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Terminator references.
Last week I promised I’d focus on pitchers in the following week. Today is next week. It almost feels like time travel. Weird. Since I am a man of my word, here you go. Like last week, today’s pitcher rankings are based 70 percent on year-to-date performance, 30 percent on rest of season projections and 10 percent on experimental formulas.
Clayton Kershaw (256.06)
As the lede mentioned, Clayton Edward Kershaw, or CEW as those of us in his inner circle like to call him, is the best the pitcher in fantasy baseball. In fact, he’s the best player in fantasy baseball points leagues. I’ve been saying as much since as long as I’ve been writing for Razzball. I’ve been saying so for longer, but I have no documented proof. Anyone that does not draft Kershaw with the first pick in points leagues is an idiot. However, I prefer not to dwell in the past. I don’t care what your scoring system is, Kershaw has the most points in your league of any player. Even Jose Altuve falls short. In standard points leagues he has 435 points in just 16 starts. That breaks down to 27.1875 points per start (PPS). This is the number is generally use to compare pitchers. Obviously the more starts, the more weight this number holds. I’m sure all Kershaw owners are crossing their fingers, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. Crossing your fingers will have no bearing on the outcome of anything. It’s a stupid as a rally cap. If Clayton is out for an extended period of time, which could be the case, he will have to lose the top spot, but until then, he’s the number one guy.
Stephen Strasburg (213.16)
Might as well follow one DL’ed pitcher with another. Based on my current rankings, Stephen Strasburg is the second best pitcher in points leagues. This actually comes as a small surprise to even me. I expected top five, but not number two. His 22.5 points per start is strong enough to earn him the two hole and his 11.419 K/9 is third best behind Jose Fernandez and Max Scherzer. Not bad company at all. Strasburg is working his way back from an upper back strain and is eligible to return this Sunday. It remains unclear if that will happen. Regardless, his outlook for getting back on the mound is much better than Kershaw. See ya soon Stephen!
Jose Fernandez (212.62)
I think it’s safe to say that Jose Fernandez is back pitching at peak form. I was tempted to manually move him ahead of Strasburg, but didn’t want to interfere with the numbers. Jose leads all eligible starters with a K/9 of 13.115. Those are some Aroldis Chapman-like numbers. He is averaging 22.34 points per start and has allowed only 5 home runs in 94 2/3 inning pitched. This kid is exciting, and he’s only 23. I tried really hard to trade for him in the last week, but I’ve had no luck. The team that owns him is sitting in the forth spot where four teams make the playoffs. I offered him what I thought was a generous package of Wilson Ramos, Francisco Lindor, Gregory Polanco, Jung Ho Kang and Chris Archer. All of these players, except Archer are reasonable upgrades at their respective positions for him. Considering his staff also includes Sale, deGrom, Harvey and Wright (plus others), he could absorb the loss, which in terms of fantasy points, was less than what he was gaining with the bat upgrades. I tried playing the “Fernandez is going to be skipped sporadically throughout the rest of season making him a very risky start in our weekly league” card. And this is true. The Marlins have stated that they want to limit him to about 180 innings. At 6 1/3 innings per start, that leaves him with about 13 starts. He wasn’t buying anything that I was selling. I then pointed out that there was a reason he had not won a championship in the 16-year existence of our league. That promptly terminated out trade talks.
Chris Sale (211.57)
Surprisingly Chris Sale is only striking out 8.68 batters per nine innings. That’s approaching Zach Greinke territory. Well not exactly, but you catch my drift. Either way Sale slides in at number four on my list with 21.93 points per start. He leagues all starters with 13 wins, which certainly helps his ranking. Wins or no wins, Chris Sale is a top five pitcher. Anyone that disagrees is not good at evaluating fantasy players.
Max Scherzer (205.25)
Rounding out the top five is Max Scherzer. He has the highest ERA (by far) at 3.30, but also leads the Majors with 148 punch outs. That’s 147 more than Rougned Odor. Max’s biggest issue this season is the home run ball. He has given up 20 home runs so far this season. Only Chris Young (22) has given up more. He’s on pace to give up about 40 home runs. The most he’s given up in a single season was 29 back in 2011 with the Tigers. All that aside, he’s still a guy I want in my fantasy rotation. Although, I’d actually prefer Madison Bumgarner who just missed the top five at number 6.
Madison Bumgarner (198.90)
Jake Arrieta (198.45)
Johnny Cueto (196.80)
Jon Lester (187.74)
Noah Syndergaard (181.50)
Danny Salazar (180.28)
Corey Kluber (179.90)
Aaron Sanchez (177.89)
Cole Hamels (172.27)
Zach Greinke (168.03)
I’ve attached the spreadsheet. If you update the “Scoring System” tab to match your league, you then need to re-sort the “Score” column in descending order to re-rank the pitchers. You can also update the percentages for how much YTD and ROS account for the players current ranking by changing the “YTD” and “ROS” values on the “Scoring System” tab under the points section. Make sure that the two numbers add up to 100.
Please note that some pitchers in the spreadsheet that have been part-time RP and SP which have skewed scores. I manually updated Danny Duffy, Matt Andriese and Trevor Bauer by removing their RP stats, but I just didn’t have the time to do more. And I only did those guys because they errantly ended up in the top 15.
For your listening pleasure…