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Howdy Razzball, faithful! 

I was kicking around some ideas in January when Truss asked me to take the Top 100 Starting Pitchers over for 2024. I think it’s now time to turn one of those ideas into reality.

But first…as always, I like to lead with the link to Rudy’s.Razzball subscriptions. The tools, ad-free-browsing, Streamonator, and War Room access make it well worth the price of admission

Also, Razzslam 5: Cinco de Slammo starts today! I hope you all got in under the wire before we closed off registrations. I’m looking forward to defending my 7th place title (an old boy can still dream, can’t he?).

Definitely not Rudy……And definitely not Grey.

I’m going to assume that a lot of you remember the old MTV show, Celebrity Deathmatch. It was a marvel of claymation beauty that ran from 1998-2007. Each episode pitted two (or sometimes more) ‘celebrity’ personalities against each other in a ‘conflict to the coffin’, so to speak. There are over 100 episodes of this small screen gem, with matchups such as Busta Rhymes vs. William Shakespeare and Barry Bonds vs. Bud Selig. Truly a shining moment in television history.

Well, it got me thinking…what if we managed to have Razzball AND some of the other fantasy baseball ranking spots sign some insurance waivers, (knowing full well that they’ll never hold up in court), then have them face off against one another in a fight to the death? Ok, maybe not to that extreme, but at least compare rankings of certain starting pitchers and see who comes out on top? Sounds like a plan to me!

So, in the true spirit of referee Mills Lane…(or, maybe ‘Marmo Lane’)…

 

Ohhh…Hang on! That’s the wrong, “Let’s Get It On” clip!

 

First, I’ll introduce our challenger…I call this “The Aggregator”. It’s kind of like the Abomination from the MCU, but less intelligible…and tougher to follow. The Aggregator is a combination of rankings and information from a few different sources that I’m sure you’ll recognize. You can think of it as a combination of sorts. Kind of like the Power Rangers for you 90’s kids. Or the Constructicons for all of you over 40’s. Anyway, here’s “The Aggregator”…

A mish mash of ADP, rankings, general silliness…and a statcast head.

Well, this certainly is a bit daunting. Let’s check in on our champion. Yes, the one known across the land as the best ranker in the history of rankings (according to FantasyPros a couple of weeks ago). I give you: Razzball.

Yep. Don’t fool with this one.

So, I had a lot of names to consider in our head-to-head battle here, and some of them are easy matchups for each combatant to tackle. But I thought it would probably be good to include a few of my recent selections from the TGFBI draft that started last Monday. For what it’s worth, our draft began at the same time as every other league…but has progressed about as quickly as Lance Lynn hiking up a mountain with cement shoes on the wrong feet. All I mean by that is that I don’t have many pitchers to share from TGFBI…yet

(Rankings are an aggregate of starting pitcher ADP/rankings from NFBC. Fantrax, and ESPN rankings. Razzball rankings are … uh, ours).

So, as Mills Lane said…”Let’s get it on!”

ROUND 1

Framber Valdez – Aggregator ranking : 15/9/11 (12) ; Razzball ranking : 4

Ok. Out of the gate we go with a haymaker. First and foremost, in leagues with Quality Starts as its own category, Framber is a beast and deserves to be drafted as such. But, alas, most of our Roto or Head-to-Head leagues don’t use QS as a stat so that means Framber’s best attribute shouldn’t float him to the top of our pitcher queue. Seriously, type “Framber Valdez quality starts” into The Google and have a gander at the gushing gloriousness. Is Framber a Top 10 starting pitcher? Probably. Is he a guy I’m drafting ahead of Zach Wheeler, Corbin Burnes, Luis Castillo, or Pablo Lopez? Probably not.

Round 1 – AGGREGATOR WINS!

ROUND 2

Eury Perez – Aggregator ranking : 22/49/28 (33rd) ; Razzball ranking : 45 

This one is one of those super slick picks that the sleeper peepers are blinking hard over this spring. Eury Perez was ranked as the 7th overall prospect by Baseball America in 2023. Last year he threw 91.1 innings in Miami (along with 36.2 in AAA), posted a 10.64 K% and a 3.05 BB%. And he won’t be 21 years old until April 4th? He’s slotted in as Miami’s SP2? And he is 6’8” tall? Wowie. Don’t draw attention to the pelvis injury in September, the drastic increase in FB in the second half (47% to 60%) or the crummy xFIP, (it was 4.11) when we’ve got a giant kid who throws 98 MPH!

Round 2 – AGGREGATOR WINS!

ROUND 3

Nick Lodolo – Aggregator ranking :  (70/84/71) ; Razzball ranking : 46

On Friday, Keelin asked us if we had anyone in mind that was coming back from an injury in 2023 and who we were looking forward to drafting from the NL Central this year. The overwhelming consensus among the writers in our Discord was one starting pitcher – Nick Lodolo. I did a bit of digging to get some info for Keelin and found a (not so) old article that was touting the 6th place finisher in the 2022 NL Rookie of the Year race as a legitimate Cy Young candidate heading into 2023. Of course, Lodolo’s 2023 season was cut short when he fractured his tibia in May, but if he’s healthy and in line to secure some innings for the Reds I’d say he’s worth a gamble.

While I was poking around on the Twixxer, I also found a quote from his manager on Friday afternoon. Keelin found and ran the same one in her Ambulance Chasers article here! (Great minds, and such). Check it out!

On Saturday, Lodolo was playing long toss. I guess you could say that with the type of injury he has it’s not like he’s throwing with his left leg, but monitoring his landing spot off the mound would be wise before you jump ADP by a lot. SP76? I think that’s way too low. Top 50? I’d like to think this is a step in the right direction.

 

 

Round 3 – RAZZBALL WINS!

ROUND 4

Logan Gilbert – Aggregator ranking :  (19/16/18) ; Razzball ranking : 12

My SP2 in TGFBI at 5.69

This round is a pretty tightly fought one. I suppose the rankings and ADP aren’t all that far off of one another with Gilbert. I honestly can’t understand why this guy isn’t ranked even higher than he is in some places this spring. He shaved nearly a full run off of his ERA from the first half to the second (4.19 to 3.29), maxed out at 96.1 MPH on his fastball last summer, and continues to show impeccable command (5% BB% last year). I assume the only reason he’s this low even in our rankings is more about the guys above him than anything that is knocking him down specifically. I’ll take that kind of arm as an SP2, especially when he’s throwing half his starts in that canyon they used to call Safeco.

Round 4 – RAZZBALL WINS!

ROUND 5

Carlos Rodon – Aggregator ranking : 44/94/51  (63) ; Razzball ranking : 23

My SP3 in TGFBI at 10.142

I really want to declare this a win for Razzball. I had Rodon during his breakout season with the White Sox in 2021 (as a reserve pick in AL only too!). That 12.55 K% was a thing of beauty and his 0.61 HR/9 was the lowest of his career. I had read more than a few posts about how much Rodon’s fastball velocity had spiked over the first couple of weeks of spring training, so I was certainly comfortable taking him as my SP3 in the 10th round of TGFBI.

Then, of course, 10 minutes later this popped up. 

Round 5 – DRAW! (I hope!)

ROUND 6

Shota Imanaga – Aggregator ranking : 62/76/90 (76) ; Razzball ranking : 42

My SP5in TGFBI at 13.189

I’m sort of surprised that we’re the highest on Imanaga, and it isn’t even remotely close. It feels like other people are so focused on Yamamoto that they haven’t done due diligence on the ‘other’ Japanese import for 2024. But you know who has? Whip. You can do a deeper dive into his Shota Imanaga profile from a couple of weeks ago to see all of the goodies. The Coles Notes version? A really high K% and a really low BB% last year in the NPB league.

Round 6 – RAZZBALL WINS!

ROUND 7

Freddy Peralta – Aggregator ranking : 14/18/16 (16) ; Razzball ranking : 4

My SP1 in TGFBI at 4.52

This is the head of the beast. Literally. The Aggregator’s skull up there (also literally) is Freddy Peralta’s Statcast page. Oh what a nice series of bright red lines. K% and Whiff% at 92nd percentile? xBA and xERA at 82nd percentile? Yep. I’ll take that, please. It looks like he’s put his injury woes behind him and with 210 Ks in 166 IP, I’m buying that all day for 2024. He was a perfect ace to take in the 4th round after everyone else chased the flashier names. 

Round 7 – RAZZBALL WINS!

 

THE VERDICT : Although The Aggregator put up a good fight, it’s Razzball FTW in the end. That shouldn’t be surprising at all if you’re here reading this. You already know that. But sometimes it’s nice to show the aggregates a thing or two, especially as we gather a ton of research and projections heading into our fever pitch for draft season.

The Champ

Well, now that we know we’re still on the top of projection mountain, I know we’ll all sleep easier tonight. 

  • Based on 5X5 SP Player Rater projections from 2024 15 team (Standard/NFBC) auction values/rankings (as of Saturday, March 2)

 

SP

RANK

(overall)

Name R$ NFBC 

ADP

FANTRAX ADP GREY 

RANK

(SP)

ROUND

(AVG)

UP

Or

DOWN

1 Spencer Strider 37 8.61 7.03 1 1
2 Gerrit Cole 29.5 14.22 11.85 2 2
3 Kevin Gausman 27.4 30.84 25.89 5 1
4 Framber Valdez 27.1 62.41 52.84 20 4/5
5 Zack Wheeler 25.8 28.74 28.93 4 2
6 Pablo Lopez 24.9 41.92 37.61 9 3
7 Aaron Nola 24.4 54.91 44.79 16 3/4
8 George Kirby 23.9 40.39 42.10 8 3
9 Luis Castillo 23.2 32.59 31.96 6 3
10 Corbin Burnes 21.9 25.01 23.50 3 2
11 Zac Gallen 21.8 40.52 29.38 10 2/3
12 Logan Gilbert 21.2 70.57 60.37 13 4/5
13 Blake Snell 20.8 66.42 52.21 17 4/5
14 Yoshinobu Yamamoto 20.5 53.87 53.53 15 4
15 Tarik Skubal 20.3 54.41 48.16 14 4 Up 1
    16 Freddy Peralta 20.3 60.72 55.59 7 4 Down 1
17 Max Fried 19.6 64.14 56.70 19 4/5
18 Logan Webb 19.5 63.35 40.49 11 4/5
19 Tyler Glasnow 19.3 44.68 43.64 18 3
20 Joe Ryan 17.8 95.45 78.33 25 6/7 Up 1
21 Zach Eflin 17.8 88.74 81.52 21 6 Down 1
22 Grayson Rodriguez 16.4 71.85 70.51 27 5
23 Carlos Rodon 15.6 164.37 200.69 62 12-14
24 Jose Berrios 15.4 170.43 127.98 43 9-12
25 Justin Verlander 15.3 127.78 124.30 38 9 Up 1
26 Jordan Montgomery 15.1 149.62 160.78 40 10/11 Down 1
27 Justin Steele 14.6 106.34 76.29 22 6/7 Up 3
28 Jesus Luzardo 14.5 88.98 70.46 12 5/6 Down 1
29 Sonny Gray 14.4 124.53 95.68 24 7-9
30 Cole Ragans 14.4 110.77 95.58 35 7/8 Down 2
31 Chris Sale 14.3 160.43 160.20 57 11/12
32 Bobby Miller 14.2 81.72 84.73 28 6
33 Hunter Greene 13.4 139.69 117.46 33 8/9 Up 1
34 Chris Bassitt 13.4 137.63 120.04 37 9/10 Down 1
35 Merrill Kelly 13 152.22 118.63 41 8-13
36 Joe Musgrove 12.8 110.09 100.07 34 7/8
37 Shane Bieber 12.1 171.58 140.46 59 10-12
38 Dylan Cease 11.5 111.50 75.87 32 6-8 Up 1
39 Eduardo Rodriguez 11.5 191.88 152.59 39 11-13 Down 1
40 Shota Imanaga 11.2 217.72 171.18 75 12-16 Up 2
41 Hunter Brown 11 187.56 147.15 45 10-13 Down 1
42 Yu Darvish 11 209.35 177.36 93 12-15 Down 1
43 Mitch Keller 10.9 169.52 123.73 30 9-11 Up 1
44 Tanner Bibee 10.8 116.88 108.37 29 8 Down 1
45 Eury Perez 10.6 80.41 81.52 23 6
46 Nick Lodolo 9.9 248.10 210.45 64 14-17 ***
47 Charlie Morton 9.6 238.24 203.37 51 14-16
48 Lance Lynn 9.5 310.06 312.69 103 20
49 Nestor Cortes 9.3 273.17 238.21 68 16-18
50 Lucas Giolito 8.9 218.60 157.42 60 11-15
51 Bailey Ober 8.7 161.09 159.99 42 11
52 Gavin Williams 8.4 166.03 147.49 56 10/11
53 Reid Detmers 8.3 243.39 196.96 77 14-16
54 Cristian Javier 8.2 179.28 156.88 55 11/12
55 Yusei Kikuchi 8 247.15 301.71 63 17-20
56 Nathan Eovaldi 7.8 206.97 159.42 50 11-14
57 Sean Manaea 4.2 429.17 343.10 101 24-32 Up 14
58 Braxton Garrett 7.6 195.76 180.90 26 13
59 Jon Gray 7.2 348.16 252.90 89 17-21
60 Griffin Canning 7.1 297.98 257.05 94 17-21
61 Andrew Abbott 7.2 267.29 281.63 76 18/19 Down 2
62 Nick Pivetta 6.8 185.31 175.42 53 13 Down 1
63 Marcus Stroman 6.3 278.64 311.08 72 19-21
64 Aaron Civale 6.4 210.85 213.02 52 14/15 Down 2
65 Brayan Bello 6.1 230.28 197.53 79 14-16 Down 1
66 Kenta Maeda 6 253.14 233.25 65 16/17 Down 1
67 Bryce Miller 5.7 187.70 171.37 44 12/13 Down 1
68 Bryan Woo 5.4 190.23 183.90 47 13 Down 1
69 Ranger Suarez 4.9 409.91 280.81 98 19-29 Down 1
70 Kyle Gibson 4.6 503.81 307.80 126 22-35
71 Emmet Sheehan 4.5 265.77 315.33 131 18-21
72 Miles Mikolas 4.7 502.77 326.42 102 22-35 Down 3
73 Michael King 4.3 151.15 211.96 49 11-15
74 Kyle Harrison 3.9 275.09 255.97 82 18/19
75 Brandon Pfaadt 2.4 213.78 209.73 80 15 Up 7
76 JP Sears 3.6 477.08 315.28 113 22-33 Down 1
77 Reese Olson 2.9 275.84 261.04 78 18 Down 1
78 Andrew Heaney 2.8 463.32 333.73 117 23-33 Down 1
79 Dean Kremer 2.8 381.65 260.00 70 18-27 Down 1
80 Walker Buehler 2.4 131.17 100.83 31 7/8 Up 1
81 Dane Dunning 2.5 467.05 348.6 71 24-32 Down 2
82 Seth Lugo 2.4 273.02 241.75 54 17-19 Down 2
83 Triston McKenzie 2.1 238.58 173.46 67 12-16 Up 1
84 Taj Bradley 2 262.39 233.39 83 16-18 Up 1
85 Steven Matz 2.1 469.10 379.57 99 26-33 Down 2
86 Cristopher Sanchez 1.9 250.92 238.77 66 16/17
87 Frankie Montas 1.7 408.40 353.86 105 24-29 Up 1
88 Edward Cabrera 1.8 311.57 276.84 81 19-21 Down 1
89 Jose Quintana 1.2 504.41 339.64 100 23-35
90 MacKenzie Gore 1.2 307.49 314.85 74 21
91 Tanner Houck 1.1 528.40 393.38 135 22-37
92 Brady Singer 1.1 533.96 359.30 N/R 24-37
93 Patrick Sandoval 0.9 526.53 351.51 127 24-36 Up 1
94 Louie Varland 0.9 347.54 331.74 88 23/24 Up 1
95 Luis Severino 0.9 335.11 314.10 92 22-24 Down 2
96 James Paxton 0.7 409.52 349.73 119 24-31 Down 1
97 Logan Allen 0.6 429.73 316.19 85 22-30 Down 1
98 Kutter Crawford 0.4 285.51 312.28 73 20/21
99 Jameson Taillon 0 336.48 292.26 96 20-23 Up 1
100 Trevor Rogers 0 427.13 332.47 121 22-31 Down 1
  • With the beginning of TGFBI drafts on the NFBC site, our ADP has certainly changed quite a bit. We’re currently drafting 28 leagues with 15 teams in each. I was almost certain that our 420 managers (noice) would create some serious swings in ADP this week. But other than some increases or decreases of thousandths of a position, these are pretty much the same ADPs as last week (rounded up or down, of course).
  • The Razzslam draft starts this week, too, and I have a feeling we’ll see much of the same ADP shifts with our drafts. Nothing too earth shattering, but I’ll edit that one up next week if anything looks out of sorts.

BIGGEST DUMPERS : With apologies to Cal Raleigh, these are some of the biggest dumpers (in value, not pants size).

There are no really big dumpers this week. Miles Mikolas fell three positions. Luis Severino, Cole Ragans, Aaron Civale, and Andrew Abbott dropped two spots.

The asterisks beside Nick Lodolo in the chart are more just a ‘proceed with caution’ than anything else. I still like him a lot (as evidenced by the write-up), but the health of his left leg is still in question (he’s headed to a specialist today). I would still draft him in redrafts with IR spots or reserve space, and it should be a given to grab him in keeper leagues. Just remember that if you’re in a league without those benefits you might want to be wary. He could drop a bunch of spots by next week if he gets bad news from the specialist.

BIGGEST JUMPERS : Who’s got hops? These are some of the biggest jumpers in value this week.

Sean Manaea had the biggest jump in rankings, launching up 14 spots from 73rd to 57th. He went 2.2 innings on Saturday in his debut, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out 3. The bad news? He gave up 7 hits and 3 ER.

Thicc Brandon Pfaadt jumped 7 spots from 82nd up to 75th, too. His playoff performance last year with 26 Ks in 22 IP and a respectable 3.24 ERA likely influences this increase. He’s another one that improved his numbers across the board from the first to second half last year, and boosted his K-BB% from 15 to 18%.

OOF

No one dropped off the list this week!

WHEE!

Much of the same here, as no one jumped on to our Top 100 list!

That’s all for this week! I hope enjoyed it!

Drop some comments in the chat if you’re feeling extra fired up about some of the names I do (or don’t) have here, too. Have a great week and for those of you drafting leagues already, good luck!

Follow me @marmosdad on Twitter/X and Bluesky @marmosdad.bsky.social