Good afternoon, everyone–don’t panic, you’re in the right spot. You’re used to coming here for EverywhereBlair’s outstanding rankings and coverage of MLB starting pitchers, but our guy needs a fill-in this week and next. I’ll do my best to bring you my iteration of SP rankings while hopefully not disappointing those of you who come to this column each week for Blair’s fantastic work.

First, a little about me. You can call me Hoove, and I’m a veteran at Razzball, but a rookie at writing here. MattTruss and the guys were gracious enough to give me an opportunity to do some fantasy baseball writing, and it’s been a blast so far. A little about my philosophy before we get into the meat of the article.

I think pitching is mostly about K%-BB%. Much of the rest, to me, is noise, though there is still plenty of useful noise. For my rankings here I’ve basically utilized six categories. The first is the aforementioned K%-BB%; secondly is CSW%, which is a pitcher’s percentage of inducing called and swinging strikes. Thirdly and fourthly are O-Swing% and Z-Contact%. O-Swing% is the number of out of the zone pitches a hitter swings at divided by the total number of out of the zone pitches the hitter faces. Z-Contact% measures pitches on which contact was made in the strike zone divided by swings at pitches in the zone. In essence, does the pitcher induce chases outside of the strike zone, and miss bats inside of the strike zone?

Lastly, I use xFIP and SIERA. xFIP, or expected fielding independent pitching, estimates a pitcher’s performance based solely on events within his control – strikeouts, walks, hit-by-pitches, and flyballs allowed. SIERA quantifies a pitcher’s performance by trying to eliminate factors the pitcher can’t control by himself. But unlike a stat such as xFIP, SIERA considers balls in play and adjusts for the type of ball in play. My rankings come from using all of these metrics in a rudimentary formula I’ve workshopped. I’m not going to bore you with how the sausage is made, but I do want you to know I didn’t come up with these by just looking at a list of names, Jenga-ing some guys around because I like the cut of one’s jib, and putting a bow on it. When I discuss the SPs in this article, I won’t be getting into any other metric other than the ones I’m using for my rankings.

I think these stats provide a great opportunity to measure the skills a SP has some control of but also incorporates the data on batted balls in play. You won’t find anything in here about pitcher wins or cumulative stats. This isn’t to say that wins don’t matter, or racking up high strikeout numbers don’t matter–please, use these and make them *yours*. If you like a guy that I have ranked lower than another pitcher because the skills may be similar but one guy has two wins and the next guy has five, by all means, make a flip for yourself. I’m trying to Sam Hinkie (of Philadelphia 76ers infamy) my way into “trusting the process”–if we focus on the pitchers with the best skills (the best inputs), the wins and cumulative stats (or, outputs) will follow. 

There are 100 ways to skin a cat (though please don’t put any creative ones you’ve used in the comments), so if there are metrics you like to use and feel I disregarded something useful, I understand that and am willing to wear it. The nature of rankings are subjective, and in so many cases, we’re trying to split the smallest of hairs. And no matter how good Blair or your favorite fantasy baseball writer is, always remember–YCPB (You Can’t Predict Baseball). 

As for injured players, it’s a difficult dance on what to do with guys who aren’t currently playing (Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Freddy Peralta are examples of notable names), and players like Shane Baz who have recently returned and have a whopping two innings to their name in 2022.

 

Injury Notes

  • Dropped Walker Buehler from the list entirely as the Dodgers reported he will be shut down for 6-8 weeks.
  • Freddy Peralta is off of the list entirely as the Brewers say he will miss most of the season.
  • Cubs manager David Ross said he’s hopeful Marcus Stroman doesn’t miss more than the allotted 15-day IL time, so for now, he stays.
  • Lance Lynn is expected to start vs Detroit on Tuesday, June 14, so without any data for 2022, I’m going to use the data from 2021 (not entirely sound, as year-to-year fluctuation is a real thing) and insert him around where it would put him.
  • deGrom is throwing off of a mound, and Scherzer is progressing more quickly than the Mets had hoped, but they’re still not ready for me to include them in any of these rankings.
  • Milwaukee righty Brandon Woodruff is on the IL and has Reynaud’s Syndrome, which causes numbness in extremities due to blood flow. Woodruff has had issues with three fingers on his pitching hand, which is obviously worse for his status going forward than if they were on his glove hand. Manager Craig Counsell said he’s responding to treatment well but there’s no timetable on his return, so for now, Woodruff is off of the board.

 

Player/Ranking Notes

    • My formula *loves* Spencer Strider and Aaron Ashby. The real world knows that their starts may not be as long as Shane McClanahan’s or Kevin Gausman’s, but the numbers say these young dudes are bringing all of the smoke to the mound. Strider was top-10% in four of my six inputs, and Ashby was in three. Strider is 3rd in baseball in Z-Contact% and 4th in K%-BB%, which means he’s throwing batters all kinds of strikes and they still can’t hit it. Ashby is 2nd in MLB in CSW% and 9th in xFIP.
    • Wait, is Jeffrey Springs an ace? Not yet, no–his K%-BB% and CSW% just isn’t in that territory yet. But what is rocketing him up my list are his Wizard Percentages (O/Z)–he’s 2nd in baseball in O-Swing% and 4th in baseball in Z-Contact%. His stuff has been terrific and batters are chasing what look like good pitches but aren’t, and then when he actually throws good pitches, they aren’t touching him.
    • Why do you have Justin Verlander so low, Hoove? I get it…the man’s had terrific results this year, and as a forever Tigers fan, I’ll always cheer for the guy. But we can’t say he’s vintage Verlander when his K% and CSW% are career-lows and his BB% is a career-high. He’s below-average at getting hitters to chase, and in-zone the hitters are making good contact. His xFIP and SIERA only say he’s been good, not elite like his current actual ratios suggest, so expect those to tick up as the season continues. This is a clear case of what I discussed earlier–his seven wins no doubt buoy some Verlander value here, and they may continue to with Houston being a very good team, but too many skills data point to movement in the wrong direction going forward.
    • You have last year’s Cy Young winner ranked in the 60s? I don’t make it a habit to answer to completely made-up voices, but in Robbie Ray’s case, it must be addressed. Ray’s still missing bats in the zone with a very good Z-Contact%, but his control is killing him this year (and every year other than his outlier Cy year, I suppose). He’s in the bottom 10% of K%-BB% for me, he’s got the lowest CSW% of his career by over 2% (which means he’s not getting the chases outside of the zone like he’s used to because his in-zone contact percentage is still very good). He’s below-average to poor in both xFIP and SIERA. Perhaps we should look at Robbie Ray as the pitcher he’s been for 75% of his career and not the one he was in 2021.
    • Let’s address some of the more established SPs with histories of success that miss my initial top-100. Jose Berrios, Ian Anderson, Charlie Morton, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Ian Anderson are all guys you may want ahead of guys like Vince Velasquez, Johnny Cueto, Bruce Zimmermann, or any number of guys on the back end. Heck, if all were available on the wire, I’d no doubt pick up one of the former names before I reached for the latter ones. But I wanted to stay true to the results of my process because once I start putting my bias into it, then why can’t I bias things in other ways, too? This way you can see the results, see the ranks, and if *you* decide you value somebody I have lower than somebody I have higher, then you’ve made an adjustment for *your* bias–but you didn’t have to worry about me making adjustments for *my* bias.

To the rankings! (all data pulled the night of Friday, June 10 and doesn’t include weekend performances):

 

Rank Pitcher Team HVal (HooveVal)
1 Shane McClanahan TB 1.50
2 Kevin Gausman TOR 1.83
3 Spencer Strider ATL 1.83
4 Corbin Burnes MIL 1.83
5 Zack Wheeler PHI 2.67
6 Aaron Ashby MIL 2.67
7 Gerrit Cole NYY 2.67
8 Tarik Skubal DET 2.83
9 Shohei Ohtani LAA 2.83
10 Dylan Cease CHW 2.83
11 Carlos Rodon SFG 3.00
12 Pablo Lopez MIA 3.00
13 Jeffrey Springs TB 3.00
14 Nestor Cortes NYY 3.33
15 Max Fried ATL 3.33
16 Frankie Montas OAK 3.33
17 Aaron Nola PHI 3.33
18 Kyle Wright ATL 3.50
19 Joe Musgrove SDP 3.50
20 Carlos Carrasco NYM 3.67
21 Sandy Alcantara MIA 3.67
22 Tyler Anderson LAD 3.67
23 Nathan Eovaldi BOS 3.83
24 Lucas Giolito CHW 3.83
25 Shane Bieber CLE 4.00
26 Wil Crowe PIT 4.00
27 MacKenzie Gore SDP 4.17
28 Martin Perez TEX 4.17
29 Luis Severino NYY 4.17
30 Alek Manoah TOR 4.17
31 Alex Wood SFG 4.33
32 Ross Stripling TOR 4.33
33 Logan Webb SFG 4.50
34 Justin Verlander HOU 4.50
35 Sean Manaea OAK 4.50
36 Jordan Montgomery NYY 4.50
37 Brady Singer KC 4.67
38 Tylor Megill NYM 4.67
39 George Kirby SEA 4.83
40 Lance Lynn CHW
41 Steven Matz STL 4.83
42 Garrett Whitlock BOS 5.00
43 Dane Dunning TEX 5.00
44 Eric Lauer MIL 5.00
45 Bailey Ober MIN 5.00
46 Cristian Javier HOU 5.17
47 Luis Castillo CIN 5.17
48 Tony Gonsolin LAD 5.17
49 Jose Quintana PIT 5.33
50 Corey Kluber TB 5.33
51 Jameson Taillon NYY 5.50
52 Kyle Gibson PHI 5.50
53 Yu Darvish SDP 5.50
54 Nick Martinez SDP 5.50
55 Logan Gilbert SEA 5.67
56 Jakob Junis SFG 5.67
57 Patrick Sandoval LAA 5.67
58 Chris Bassitt NYM 5.67
59 Tyler Mahle CIN 5.67
60 Paul Blackburn OAK 5.83
61 Zac Gallen ARI 5.83
62 Robbie Ray TOR 5.83
63 Drew Smyly CHC 5.83
64 Framber Valdez HOU 6.00
65 Drew Rasmussen TB 6.00
66 Nick Pivetta PHI 6.00
67 Joe Ryan MIN 6.00
68 Hunter Greene CIN 6.00
69 Tanner Houck BOS 6.17
70 Zach Eflin PHI 6.17
71 Jon Gray TEX 6.17
72 Luis Garcia HOU 6.17
73 Noah Syndergaard LAA 6.17
74 Miles Mikolas STL 6.33
75 Michael Kopech CHW 6.33
76 Julio Urias LAD 6.33
77 Josiah Gray WSH 6.33
78 Trevor Williams NYM 6.50
79 Keegan Thompson CHC 6.50
80 Dylan Bundy MIN 6.50
81 Zach Davies ARI 6.83
82 Tyler Wells BAL 6.83
83 Justin Steele CHC 7.00
84 Merrill Kelly ARI 7.00
85 Bruce Zimmermann BAL 7.00
86 Vince Velasquez CHW 7.00
87 Johnny Cueto CHW 7.17
88 Michael Lorenzen LAA 7.17
89 Alex Faedo DET 7.17
90 Jordan Lyles BAL 7.17
91 Cole Irvin OAK 7.17
92 Adam Wainwright STL 7.33
93 Adrian Houser MIL 7.33
94 David Peterson NYM 7.33
95 JT Brubaker PIT 7.33
96 Chad Kuhl COL 7.33
97 Yusei Kikuchi TOR 7.33
98 Zach Thompson PIT 7.33
99 Jose Urquidy HOU 7.33
100 Reid Detmers LAA 7.33
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Bob Lob Law
Bob Lob Law
1 month ago

Hoove > EWB

For a Top 100 SP article, your list has 100 pitchers, not 300. And it is not seeded with middle delivers that would not be realistically rostered ahead of a quality SP. It’s all about providing targeted advice not all pieces of data. As a reader, your list is easier to use for roster moves and pickup recommendations. Well done Hoove!

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
1 month ago

Hi Hoove,

what a week: for two consecutive days, i had pitchers who picked one hitters (Mikolas and Tyler Anderson). Amazing!!!

of course, i sat Oakland’s Blackburn and he pitched well this afternoon. with such an amazing two days, i just have feel fantastic!

thanks again for the thoroughness of your response!!

martin

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  martinrostoker
1 month ago

Glad your dudes have worked out for you, Martin. Thanks again for reading.

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
1 month ago

Hi Hoove,

You were certainly right about not picking up Alex Faedo of the Tigers.

1. i got impatient today and took Seranthony Dominguez of the Phillies and waived Merrill Kelly. i was going to activate him every day. what are your thoughts of my move and when to use him?

2. if i have to decide on a pitcher, then i use the Razz $ values. is this a good metric or do you have another idea?

3. I took your advice on picking up Jon Gray of Texas. His next two starts are at Detroit and home against Washington. His $ values are both about 10. would you start him at both locations?

Thanks so much for your thoughtful responses!!!

martin

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  martinrostoker
1 month ago

The Phillies say it’s going to be a committee with Dominguez and Hand both in the mix but I like Dominguez better and would have him in the lineup every day.

Razz $ values are great—and I’m a company man!

I’d start Gray with confidence vs both of those teams, and it pains me to say it as a Tigers fan. Hinch had a closed-door meeting after the 13-0 shellacking today, so maybe that helps turn things around. As it stands, most SPs are startable vs them.

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
Reply to  Hoove
1 month ago

Thanks so much!!!

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  martinrostoker
1 month ago

Any time, Martin; thanks for reading and actively participating.

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
1 month ago

Hi Hoove,

I am in a strange place. I am currently in second place in my Yahoo 12 team points league, Just for reference, I am usually in the bottom quarter of my fantasy league.

One rule in my league is the rules control the innings pitched during the season. You are only allowed 9 innings/day. Below is my current number for innings pitched:

Pos Innings Pitched Remain. nnings allowed Projected Max
Pitchers  611 838 1507  (+57.2) 1450

This means, that I unless I improve the projection, any points by pitchers for the last six games (57/9=6+) of the season would not count.

I wanted your opinion and what is the best option:

1. It is too early to worry with your path. Stay the course of concentrating of using starting pitchers. I only have one relief pitcher on my roster and adjust in August and September.

2. Only start pitchers with high razz numbers and always sit pitchers with negative razz to maximize change of success. For example, don’t start Paul Blackburn of Oakland at Boston with a $ value of – 34 or even at home against Seattle with a minus of -6

I really looking for your thoughts on how your would approach this situation and other options to consider. Below is my current staff

Corbin Barnes  
Pablo Lopez    
Cristian Javier  
Tyler Anderson 
Paul Blackburn
Mike Mikolas    
Aaron Ashby   
Jon Grey
Mike Cleavinger
Alex Wood
Nick Pivetta    
Jeffery Springs
Seranthony Dominguez

Thanks again for your detailed responses!!

Martin

 

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  martinrostoker
1 month ago

You’ve got a ton of great options, Martin—you’ve put together a good rotation.

When I’m in leagues like yours, I definitely monitor things once July hits. I’m in one now where I’ve begun being judicious and if they aren’t favorable starts for my guys, I put them in my pocket (studs excluded, like Burnes, PabLo, Ashby even, though I’d understand if you’re still in “show-me” mode in difficult match-ups).

I like where your head’s at with Blackburn and pitchers like him; if you at all are questioning whether a SP is a start, then maybe sit now.

I like giving myself options with my innings at the end of the year. Sometimes leaguemates run out of their innings and you may gain ground; other times you can lose your mid-tier guys and just stream good matchups (in redraft). There’s a Yahoo cheat that you may be aware of—if you have even one inning left on the last day of the season, you can pitch as many guys as possible and yahoo will count all of their innings. That’s stolen me points before in Ks where I may get myself 35 or 40 IP that day (at the risk of ratios, too, so careful).

Pitch your studs, sit guys in matchups you don’t feel good about, and give yourself options in the end game.

Good luck!

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
Reply to  Hoove
1 month ago

what a great reply! Thanks for taking so much much for this amazing response!

MTHtwentytwo
MTHtwentytwo
1 month ago

Really random observation – why is Logan Webb listed as a reliever for his April 19 appearance on his player page?

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  MTHtwentytwo
1 month ago

Hmm, good question. Wonder if EWB, Grey, or MattTruss can help out? I don’t have anything to do with player pages.

Grey
Admin
Reply to  Hoove
1 month ago

Question for Rudy, I’m assuming our stats provider just has a snafu

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
1 month ago

Hi Hoove,

am i glad that i listened to you and started Mike Mikolas and Nick Pivetta THANK you! WOW. please don’t lose your crystal ball!!

i have the Dodgers Tyler Anderson at home against the Angels and then Wednesday on the road against Cinn?

what are your thoughts about starting or sitting him against the Angels and Cincinnati?

Thanks again for giving me an early Christmas present!

martin

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  martinrostoker
1 month ago

Glad Pivetta worked out well for you, Martin.

Roll Anderson for both, and good luck! Though Great American Launching Pad in Cincy is almost in Coors Territory for my decisions.

Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson
1 month ago

Do you think Skubal ends the season in the top 30 ?

Love the write up !

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
1 month ago

Hi Hoove,

i was going to start Boston’s Nick Pivetta at Oakland. do you agree? are there certain teams or fields that you would sit him?

thanks so much!!!!

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  martinrostoker
1 month ago

Start Pivetta @OAK—good luck!

snapper
snapper
1 month ago

Mikolas gets no love.

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  snapper
1 month ago

Where do you like him at, snapper?

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
1 month ago

Hi Hoove,

love the column!

i started Alex Wood of SF, Javier of Houston and Kelly of AZ in my Yahoo pony’s league. i did well with Wood and Javier and lost points with Kelly. what are your thoughts on these three and when to start or sit them. would you
look to waive Kelly?

thanks so much!!!!

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  martinrostoker
1 month ago

Think Wood doesn’t get quite enough love in the fantasy community. Not saying he’s top-20 but xFIP and SIERA think he’s valuable. Probably not strong enough K%-BB% or CSW% to move into a higher tier but he’s a really solid 3rd guy.

Javier is buoyed by his ability to strike people out; he isn’t a control artist but he’s still able to rock an almost 22% K%-BB%. SIERA likes him about a half-run better than the xFIP.

Not sure I’m waiving Kelly without knowing a few options of who you’d replace him with. But I definitely like him least if the three. Just doesn’t strike enough people out, walks too many, gives up too much in-zone contact. If you have a couple of pick-up options, hit me back with a follow-up.

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
Reply to  Hoove
1 month ago

Hi Hoove,

I so appreciate your detailed responses!!! Well done!

Thought it best to list all my pitchers:

Corbin Barnes  
Pablo Lopez    
Cristian Javier  
Tyler Anderson 
Freddy Peralta  (IL)
Paul Blackburn
Mike Mikolas    
Aaron Ashby  
Merrill Kelly
Mike Cleavinger
Alex Wood
Nick Pivetta    
Jeffery Springs

I thought to best waive Peralta and Kelly> Do you agree that these two should be waived? The following are available:

Alex Faedo
Brady Singer
Glen Otto (Covid)
Jon Gray
Dakota Hudson
David Peterson
Adrian Houser
Dane Dunning

I could wait of course. Really looking forward to your thoughts.

Thanks!

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
Reply to  Hoove
1 month ago

Sounds like drop Kelly for Gray. Am I correct?

Should I then then drop Fredy Peralta for Dunning? OR wait another day to see if better waiver people come available?

Really enjoy our discussions!

Thanks so much!!!!

Grey
Admin
Reply to  martinrostoker
1 month ago

Sure…yes lose Freddy…No problem

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  martinrostoker
1 month ago

Concur with Grey here; Freddy is a drop.

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
Reply to  Hoove
1 month ago

Thanks Grey and Hoove!!

teppista
teppista
1 month ago

Love this..hopefully you can keep this column going!

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  teppista
1 month ago

Appreciate the feedback teppista; this is EWB’s earned and well-maintained turf and I’m just glad they didn’t boot me for trespassing!

jimmothy66
jimmothy66
1 month ago

nice job! appreciate the explanations of the metrics you use to determine the rankings. in a keep forever dynasty league i have been offered strider for torkelson or vaughn. would you pull the trigger on that, and who would you give up?

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  jimmothy66
1 month ago

Not sure I’d do that for either of them just because I’m a little arm-averse in dynasty typically, but if you were set on acquiring Strider for a bat, I’d prefer to deal Vaughn rather than Tork.

Coconut Willie
Coconut Willie
1 month ago

What puts Nick Martinez above Eflin… I have Zach and Nick is available. Worth a Zach drop?

Thanks?

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  Coconut Willie
1 month ago

Most of what I used has them in the same bucket, but Martinez had another level of improvement over Eflin in O-Swing% and Z-Contact%. These two are close enough where I think it boils down to your personal preference here. Eflin has his statistical advantages over Martinez too.

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
1 month ago

Hi Hoove,

Thanks for filling in! Great job!!

What are your thoughts on Oaklands Paul Blackburn and the Cards’ Mike
Mikolas. How do you decide whether to start or sit them?

1. Mikolas’ next start is at home against Pirates and then on the road at Milwaukee. what would you do?

2. Blackburn’s next start is at Boston and then at home against Seattle? your Thoughts?

3. i also have Milwaukee’s Aaron Ashby. Glad to see his high grade on your scale. His last few starts have been disappointing. His next two starts are at the Mets and then home against the Cards? Thoughts on starting or sitting?

4. i think it’s time to cut Freddy Piralta. Do you agree? What are your thoughts on picking up Dakota Hudson or Alex Feado or wait for some body better?

thanks for your patience with all these pitching questions!

martin

martinrostoker
martinrostoker
Reply to  Hoove
1 month ago

Brilliant answers!!

thanks!

William Keogh
William Keogh
1 month ago

Nick Pivetta with BOS, not Philly. I got a shock there!

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  William Keogh
1 month ago

Whoa, good catch on my typo—my bad, William!

Grey
Admin
1 month ago

Great pinch-hitting work, Hoove!

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  Grey
1 month ago

I appreciate the feedback, Fantasy Master Lothario!

Ace of Spades
Ace of Spades
1 month ago

Hoove

As much as I look forward to reading EWB’s top 100 pitchers post , I have to say that it did not miss a beat with you temporarily subbing for him. Great job and I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  Ace of Spades
1 month ago

Can’t tell you how appreciative I am of your comment. EWB sets a high bar and you readers have come to expect (and accept) nothing but the heat he brings you. I’m happy to have the chance to do this for these two weeks.

If you want to catch any other work I do on the site, check out my weekly DFS article that comes out around noon each Friday! If I don’t win you money, hopefully I can provide you an entertaining read. You’ll probably get what you pay for out of it ?

Don't be a Hader
Don't be a Hader
1 month ago

Given the above analysis on R.Ray, is a return of Arozarena or Mullins to much or too little to expect as a return in a 12-team roto re-draft?

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  Don't be a Hader
1 month ago

I think that’s good/fair return for RR. Even though RR had a terrific outing yesterday, his K%-BB% was still just 12%, his CSW% was down from this year’s AVG, his O-Swing% was within a % of his rate this year, his Z-Contact% was 5% worse than his rate this year, and his xFIP for that game was only 4.52. So even on one of his best days of the season, almost all of these indicators went in the wrong direction. Looks like a terrific time to move him off of The Mirage(TM) (a not-so-good game masquerading as a good game; you think you want to chase it but it’s not what you think it is).

Thanks for reading, and the question!

MattTruss
Editor
Reply to  Don't be a Hader
1 month ago

I just traded him and Cronenworth for Tim Anderson in an RCL and I’m kinda giddy about it.

everywhereblair
1 month ago

Great work, Hoove!

Hoove
Hoove
Reply to  everywhereblair
1 month ago

Appreciate it man; just trying not to let you and your audience down. You do great work!