Calm down fans! I know Blair just gave you his continuously updated Top 100 Starting Pitchers list. That’s the link you want to use for your drafting needs over the next week. (Note from Donkey: You can now bookmark this page you’re currently reading instead, it’s the same embedded table which will be updated. Or bookmark the other one if you like it more. Lots of options!). I’ll update that table every day as news breaks, and you’ll have the freshest info at your fingertips.
In the meanthyme–no, not the Spacehog rocker but my custom-made spicy herbal blend for your marinading needs–I’ll highlight some of the movers and shakers through the list.
Carlos Martinez — As Frank Sinatra sang in “That’s Life” — “You’re riding high in April, shot down in
May July.” Martinez is in covid protocol, and while there, the news came out that Cardinals coaches are considering using him in the bullpen in 2020. With no official news about bullpen/starter role as of this writing, I dropped Martinez into the “dart throws” tier. Treat him as such.
Zach Eflin — Eflin was already a dart throw, but then news broke yesterday that he is sidelined with back spasms. So, Eflin F’d-off the list, only to be replaced by…
John Means — No, not the utilitarian hero of the latest Ayn Rand fan fic, John Means will be the workhorse on a bad Baltimore Orioles team. But here’s the thing: Means has three plus pitches and a shot at big innings, so when you’re throwing darts, you can’t do much worse than that.
Miles Mikolas — Fully healthy and the #2 pitcher on the Cardinals. The Cardinals are still–reportedly–limiting innings at the start of the season. Until we hear otherwise, Mikolas remains a dart throw.
Mitch Keller — Keller was already McNasty, striking out nearly 30% of the batters he faced. He announced this week that he studied with crystals and bushido in the Rock Hard Samurai training school. Or he just announced he’s increasing the spin rate on his already ninja-like breaking pitches. I dunno, one of these is true. You figure it out!
Ross Stripling — OK, I have not included Ross Stripling. The news I see so far says that the 5th spot on the Dodgers’ rotation is Dustin May’s to lose, and Ross Stripling’s to win. Stripling has one plus pitch–his curveball, which is excellent–but his other pitches are average to worse than league average. Hitters make contact at his strike-zone pitches at a 90% rate! Stripling is 30 and the Dodgers tried to get rid of him in the offseason, whereas the Dodgers protected the 22-year old May. May features two pitches that are better than league average and basically just throws those. In a 60-game season, that’ll work. If/when Stripling gets a rotation spot, he would be in the ‘Dart Throws’ section. By all means (no, not John), I’m not telling people to avoid Stripling, but rather I’m saying that the lush Dodgers rotation spot is more likely to go to May.
Once again, bookmark this page, it’ll be continuously updated until the start of the regular season.
Drop your questions in the comments below and give me a follow on Twitter @everywhereblair.
Hi everywhereblair – extremely helpful list, love the tiers and drafting directions. Keep them coming!
So I have a draft strategy question. I’m in an 8 team league and we only have 3 acquisitions per week (if we had more I would just stream pitchers and wouldn’t be reaching out). We’re an ESPN league and Darvish is going around pick 90 so I’m thinking my first 9 picks are hitters and then taking Darvish in round 10 and then filling out my pitchers with most of my next picks with the hope that I load out the rest of my rotation with tier 2 and tier 3 pitchers. Do you think this is the best approach?
I know you mention how many to draft from each tier but I’m assuming it doesn’t necessarily correlate to an 8 team league. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
Darvish might be going late in ESPN, but it looks like on Yahoo people are taking him in the 50s overall. With tiers, it helps to view it as a grouping–if you get sniped on Darvish, you’ve got the people around him who are of similar performance that you can take.
But, generally speaking, let the other managers take the top pitchers while you’re grabbing hitters. Every draft is different–if your league mates hit pitchers early and hard, you might just have to bite the bullet and get a pitcher. However, I’m more than comfortable letting somebody like Greinke or Clevinger be my #1. Depending on league settings and your depth of rosters, you may need to adjust that, of course. With 8 teams, W will probably be more of a priority, thus you might want to prioritize pitching just a *touch* because W are so hard to predict.
Curious, why do you have Jordan Yammomoto so high? I think of his as a soft tosser who will get eaten up by the AL East.
I’ll get to both of your points here:
1) I agree, this is the year of the middle reliever. However, so many teams have so many questionable middle relievers that–for fantasy purposes–it’s going to be very hard to predict who will be in a position for W or good ratios. For the average fantasy Joe, it might be best to avoid middle relief. For people with a handle on middle relief, grab those wannabes and has-beens!
2) Yamamoto had three awesome pitches by PitchF/X rankings last year. Is 57 too high? Sure. But there’s not a ton of difference between Yamamoto at 57 and say, Dylan Bundy at 69.
3) I’ll keep on eye on Eflin. He’s basically a warm body dart throw. This list could very well like the end of Grey’s top 100, which goes to like 150. There are so many factors that could get players a job and put them in the top 100 or lose them a job and knock them out.
Cheers for reading!
I am just stacking pitchers and taking guys in 5 man rotations. My ace is in like tier 4 and Urquidy is my #2. Sad but I’m rolling with it.
I expect middle relievers like chad green to get plenty of work and be as valuable as many starters. Essentially starters will be yanked earlier with such a short season and that allows someone like Chad Green to pitch almost the same number of innings as most starters this year.
That is my thinking.
Also, Eflin was fine today throwing, so he’s back on track.
I made a big dynasty trade today.
I traded Paddack for Adell which I think was fair. But I then immediately grabbed Rich Hill as a Paddack replacement for this year. I feel like this was a smart move for a 60 game season based on what Hill could do.
Do you like and think this was a smart swap? I LOVE Paddack and it wasn’t easy trading him, but I know have a possible future OF or Robert, Adell, Kelenic, Mookie and Kristian Robinson.
I’ll deal with finding a Paddack replacement next year, but I feel like this was a good move for a 60 game season since such a good replacement was out there.
[loads up Fangraphs. checks Paddack’s park factors. checks neighboring players. finds Homer Bailey and Masahiro Tanaka]
OK, yeah, that was surprising, even to me.
It’s ironic that I do this Top 100 Starting Pitcher thing because, as a Razzball lifer, I know I’m not drafting anybody in the top 10. If I put Paddack in the second tier, does that make him draftable? Does he suddenly become a keeper instead of a hot commodity? Who knows?
That’s the thing about dynasty, right? We. Don’t. Know.
We do it for the love of the projections. We do it for the love of following a player’s career.
We do it because it’s so much harder to make meaning out of many years, as opposed to one year.
Now, if Paddack goes out and has a lights out 2020, sure we can look back on that and say, “I could have traded Paddack for Jo Adell AND XYZ.” But, this is going to be a wild year. And Paddack may be non-descript, in which case you wouldn’t have gotten Jo Adell in a trade.
So look at it like this: You got your guaranteed return. You got a top prospect with great upside. SP are quite replaceable. If Hill stays healthy, you can even flip him mid-year as people lose their minds about him, and grab a starter who wasn’t born in the Reagan administration.
So I wouldn’t overthink it. Celebrate the now, and enjoy your future outfield that’s gonna smash.
Wow, unreal answer here. And you just made me feel 100x better about this trade.
You pretty much confirmed everything I was thinking and trying to feel with this trade.. Arms are more easy to replace than possible 5 tool studs like Adell and I almost always pick bat over arm. The guy who owned Adell was never going to post him but something came up and he knew he needed an arm. He tried for Strasburg off me with Adell and I was close to a yes, but it didn’t feel right. Trade was dead and then 2 days later he countered with Paddack as an ask. Hill just felt more like a suitable replacement for Paddack than Stars and I had to do it. Prob my only shot at getting him.
I am so pumped to have the long term OF I have lined up and I didn’t really jeopardize my 2020 I feel. Thanks for the great response Blar!
Well I wouldn’t have done it.
Paddack is very likely the next Flaherty, Beuhler, Berrios, or Bieber. That’s what I see as his ceiling. Admittedly, some of the inside number suggest Paddack is not going to be as great as we think, though, so you might not have made a mistake.
However, Adell stuggled at Triple-A last year. So it might take some time for Mr. Adell to work the kinks out, and then again, he might not ever work them out. So, while this guy is being really nice to you, I’ll just tell you that I think you made a mistake. For your sake, I hope I’m wrong. I don’t own Paddack or Adell on any of my teams, so I’ve got no dog in this fight. Just observations.
That’s my biggest fear is if he becomes one of them, but I’ve done well snagging arms. Won’t like Adell’s swing and miss does scare me but his skill set makes me giddy
This is sweet, blair. Good stuff. I’ve got Houser taking NL Cy Young, just sayin’…
Houser: NL Cy — 1000%
Aside from spin rate, it’s hard to find a metric that doesn’t love Houser…
…including the butterflies in my stomach. *Swoon*
I keep telling people we’re gonna have some wild card award winners this year. German Marquez for Cy Young glory!
Cheers, can’t wait for the next prospect article!
Let the statistical variability ensue! Cheers!