I’m a little uneasy about putting out rankings at this stage of the game given the uncertainty surrounding the start of the MLB season, but I know many of you need to make some decisions about keepers and are probably starting to think about drafts. I strongly recommend that your league considers delaying any keeper deadlines and solidifying a draft date until the start of the season is more of a certainty. A lot can happen between now and Opening Day and that will directly affect player values. Those of you that read my posts over the years know that I am a numbers guy. My rankings are based on my estimations. Estimations are my version of projections. However, I have not yet started to formulate my estimations given the aforementioned MLB climate. Luckily for me, and you, Rudy, perhaps the best in the business, has generated projections. I think I might have broken a record for the number of commas in that last sentence. Almost certain it was bad grammar. Today’s rankings are based on a proprietary blend of those projections and my patent-pending algorithms.

I don’t often do ranking tiers, but when I do, I share them with you.

Tier 1

There is only one pitcher in this tier and that’s Gerrit Cole. Based on what I’m looking at, Cole is going to score 50 more points than the next pitcher. That’s the biggest gap between two pitchers ranked side by side and because of that, I think he has to live in a tier of his own. By the way, that’s the working title for a movie starring Tom Hanks and Gerrit Cole disguised as a woman so he can pitch for the Rockford Peaches. Cole was my top pitcher last year coming into the season and he ended the year in the top ten, number 7 based on my standard scoring. Predicting Cole to finish in the top ten is far from bold. Let’s keep in mind, however, that he had quite a bit of adjusting to do due to MLB’s midseason rule change cracking down on sticky substances. This clearly had an effect and slowed him down a bit. Something else worth pointing out is that every pitcher that had more points than Cole last season also had more starts and pitched more innings, except Max Scherzer. With another three starts, Cole jumps to number two based on his average points per start.

Gerrit Cole – 19.52 (Projected Points Per Start (PPS))

Tier 2

This next tier starts with Corbin Burnes. Burnes had a great 2021 and I think he continues to build on that. Any time a pitcher throws nearly 7 strikeouts to every walk, you’re going to have a great points league pitcher. Burnes missed some time due to COVID and a minor knee issue, and in my opinion, that’s the only thing that kept him from finishing as the top SP.

Next up is a pitcher that could very well end up number 1. Jacob deGrom. I’m going to repeat what I said about Burnes. The only thing that kept deGrom from finishing as the top SP was his health. The only thing that kept me from ranking him with or above Cole is his health. It sounds like he is tracking to be “good to go”, but he is 33 years old. The Mets did bring in Max Scherzer, so that should take a bit of the pressure off of deGrom.

Speaking of Max Scherzer, he’s next on my list. Year in and year out Max refuses to disappoint. He is a dominant force in any fantasy format, especially points leagues. Last year he led all pitchers with at least 25 starts with 20.81 points per start. Like anyone in this tier, Scherzer could end the season in the one spot.

Corbin Burnes – 18.16
Jacob deGrom – 20.45
Max Scherzer – 18.13

Tier 3

I toyed with putting Shane Bieber in tier 2, but ultimately felt more comfortable putting him at the top of tier 3. Shoulder issues derailed his 2021 season, but there’s no denying he is an ace. When he was on the mound he got the job done to the tune of just under 18 points per start.

The two pitchers I am most interested in owning in this tier are Walker Buehler and Jose Berrios. With Scherzer departing Los Angeles, Buehler is now the top dawg. He’s got some big shoes to fill, but I’m confident he can do so. His 19.2 points per start last year seems to agree with me. As for Berrios, he consistently pitches deep into games, averaging 6 IP per start last year. That number is consistent with his career number of 5.8 IP per start. The more innings a pitcher pitches, the more points he accrues. With the offensive firepower the Blue Jays possess, he’s going to get plenty of run support to rack up those wins.

Shane Bieber – 17.05
Brandon Woodruff – 16.2
Walker Buehler – 16.05
Zack Wheeler – 15.81
Jose Berrios – 15.80
Robbie Ray – 15.74
Lucas Giolito – 15.52

Tier 4

Give me Kevin Gausman, Freddy Peralta, and Julio Urias and call it a day. These three starting pitchers can very easily pack quite the punch in points leagues. Last year they averaged 17.66, 17.31, and 18.30 points per start respectively. This entire tier is a group of pitchers that can easily jump up a tier and I fully expect some of them to do so. I can also see one or two stumble backwards. I am certainly interested in seeing where Chris Sale winds up.

Kevin Gausman – 15.51
Aaron Nola – 15.43
Freddy Peralta – 15.31
Julio Urias – 15.30
Lance Lynn – 14.81
Chris Sale – 14.76
Sandy Alcantara – 14.74
Dylan Cease – 14.47
Frankie Montas – 14.23
Max Fried – 14.12
Alek Manoah – 14.09
Yu Darvish – 14.02

Tier 5

Look who we have here. Justin Verlander. If that’s not a blast from the past. As you can see from his projected points per start, he should be up in the 4th tier. The reason he’s here is because he’s 39 years old and he missed all of 2021 and pitched 6 innings in 2020. However, if there’s a pitcher in this tier or the one above that could far outperform his ranking, it’s Verlander. I guess Chris Sale would fall into that category as well.

Justin Verlander – 15.48
Clayton Kershaw – 14.9
Charlie Morton – 14.18
Luis Castillo – 14.12
Carlos Rodon – 14.11
Framber Valdez – 14.01
Joe Musgrove – 13.99
Eduardo Rodriguez – 13.81
Sean Manaea – 13.77
Blake Snell – 13.72
Shane McClanahan – 13.60
Jack Flaherty – 13.45
Jordan Montgomery – 13.31
Tyler Mahle – 13.22
Hyun Jin Ryu – 13.19
Chris Bassitt – 13.04

Tier 6 (and beyond)

The pitchers that I’ve got an eye on are Logan Gilbert, Pablo Lopez, Tarik Skubal, and Marcus Stroman. But that’s just me.

John Means
Ranger Suarez
Logan Webb
Zac Gallen
Shohei Ohtani
Pablo Lopez
Logan Gilbert
Luis Severino
Noah Syndergaard
Lance McCullers Jr.
Tarik Skubal
Adam Wainwright
Nathan Eovaldi
Marcus Stroman
Luis Garcia
Jon Gray
German Marquez
Mike Clevinger
Shane Baz

Follow malamoney on Twitter at @malamoney

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Jason Morgan
Jason Morgan
5 months ago

Good to have you back malamoney. You know I love the points league stuff.

Who are you taking with the number one pick?

B. Rabbit
B. Rabbit
5 months ago

Hey Mala,

Keeper question, knowing you don’t have exacts without knowing how many games are played, would you keep Bo Bichette for 12 dollars (300 auction) or Jose Ramirez for 32. League settings -1 for Ks.

Thanks for your input!

B. Rabbit
B. Rabbit
Reply to  malamoney
5 months ago

Ha ha, thank you. I appreciate the response.

5 months ago

Man, I was hoping you’d say “give me Sandy and call it a day.”

I’m trying to decide between Alcantara, Gausman, and Peralta for my fourth keeper. I was leaning towards Alcantara.

(My other three keepers are hitters: Acuña, Soto, Vlad Jr.)

Reply to  malamoney
5 months ago

Cool, thanks!