July 27-August 2, 2020
We’re watching baseball again! I’m watching baseball again! The Japanese and Korean and Taiwanese people, well, they’ve been watching baseball for like a month because they stayed home instead of going to Uncle Johnny’s Cinco de Mayo party. Be a hero, wear a mask!
This top 100 starting pitchers series is, as David Bowie would stutter, Ch-ch-ch-changing. For the duration of summer training, I treated readers to a daily update in the Top 100 Starting Pitchers while they went through their draft boards. Feedback on the constantly updated list was super-positive for the most part, because most sites weren’t providing news links and sleeper articles and rankings–all updated daily–in one spot. Now that drafts are finished, I’m shifting back to the usual weekly updates. It’ll be like Friends used to be, before you could watch it 24/7 on every streaming platform and TV network.
If you want daily rankings, take a look up top at the “MLB Tools” in the category bar and get yourself a subscription to Rudy’s excellent tools that will help you choose Roto, H2H, and Daily Fantasy lineups. Myself, I’m a MLB Roto Deluxe w/ Ad-Free subscriber. That subscription level allows me to see which pitchers I could stream to not be in last place in the Razzball Experts League (woot! 10th place right now! I’m coming for you, Grey!). If you like this site and like the writers and what we do–whether here, on Twitter, on Reddit, on YouTube, or under the ocean in our secret base of fantasy analysis–support us with a subscription.
So whereas Rudy’s premium tools are looking at the immediate future, I’ll be looking at overall performance, news, and outlook for pitchers for this season and beyond. This will be useful for seeing player improvement and tracking redraft trade targets, waiver wire acquisitions, and dynasty prospects.
Okay! Let’s get into the news. And, almost none of it is good. We’re three games into the season and starting pitchers are almost at the “warm body” period, with creatures like Randy Dobnak, Wade LeBlanc, Brady Singer, Eric Fedde, and Logan Webb making starts. Now, with such volatility, I haven’t changed much in the Top 100 this week because we’re now looking at rest of season value instead of draft value. However, some of the injuries we’re seeing are concerning, and will affect not only this season but future season values.
Justin Verlander — [Insert Kate Upton joke] Dusty Baker reports that Justin Verlander is formally out for two weeks, and The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Verlander is being shut down for the season. Come on Dusty, give Verlander a break! Regardless, if you have Verlander in a re-draft, you probably want to move him for whatever you can get and let the other owner take the risk. If you have Verlander in keepers or dynasty, note that his current elbow injury is the third major injury this year for the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer. No doubt Verlander will want to return and end his career on his own terms, but that may happen in 2021. For the Top 100 list, I’m taking Verlander off for now. Obviously, he’s not starting, and I wouldn’t recommend trading for him in any format. Unless you’re that bold, daring type that likes pitchers with surgically repaired groins and elbow issues in a shortened coronavirus season.
Marcus Stroman — Has a torn calf muscle. He mansplained to reporters that he would still be making his start had he not gone for an MRI. Which is like Uncle Johnny saying he could still hit the club right now had he not gone to the club in May and developed blood clots in his lungs from coronavirus. Stroman is a dart throw for 2020; roster at your own risk.
Eduardo Rodriguez — Right now there’s a contingent of Razzball readers who are crying into their frappucinos that they play fantasy sports to get away from coronavirus news. Well, here’s the truth: Eduardo Rodriguez, who tested positive for coronavirus earlier this month, developed an associated myocarditis and couldn’t complete his bullpen session. Friends, stay safe, and best wishes to Eduardo on a complete recovery. For fantasy purposes, Rodriguez is a dart throw for 2020.
Stephen Strasburg — Has a “nerve issue” in his throwing hand and was scratched from his first start. Now, I’m neither a hand surgeon nor a hand model, but I’ve watched enough Zoolander to know that a pitcher probably needs functional nerves in their hand to pitch well. Strasburg received treatment, and at the time of writing, we don’t know if he’ll miss more time.
Rich Hill — What the hill? I thought he was back. Rich Hill was supposed to take Odorizzi’s spot, but then Hill was pushed back in favor of Randy Dobnak. And Dobnak was tossing absolute potatoes to the White Sox batters after the third inning. Twins management says that Rich Hill needed more time to prepare for his first outing. At the time of writing, Hill stands to be the fifth starter for the Twins, and it’s unclear if there’s an injury.
John Means — Means hit the IL with arm discomfort and might miss two starts or more. If you’re in a dynasty league, he’s worth a stash, but otherwise let him hit the waiver wire.
Corey Kluber — Left his first start after facing three batters with tightness in his shoulder. He hasn’t been a starter in fifteen months, and that might stretch to sixteen months now.
Dustin May — I told you all pre-season to keep drafting May. He got the opening day start for the Dodgers on short notice when Clayton Kershaw got the late scratch, and turned in the 6th best FIP of the season. Keep your fingers crossed that he stays in or near the rotation after Kershaw returns.
Ross Stripling — Fantasy owners salivated over Stripling’s first appearance, and he combined his outrageous curveball with a changeup for 45% of his pitches to strike out 7 batters in 5 innings. Stripling seems to have a spot in the Dodgers’ rotation, so he’s worth owning in all leagues.
Brady Singer — Singer made a start for the Royals after Jakob Junis tested positive for coronavirus. The 23-year old has never pitched above AA before, so he threw a fastball/slider combo for 5 innings and struck out 7 while allowing only 2 runs on 3 hits. Singer is absolutely worth a dart throw if you’re in need of pitching, but given his lack of track record, his two-pitch repertoire, and residence on a crummy Royals team, he’s not an ideal target in redraft leagues.
That’s a lot of news, so let’s get into the rankings. Outside of major injuries, I’m not moving pitchers in the top tiers until next week.
Premium IP, W, K, ERA, and WHIP
|2||Shane Bieber||2||14K in first start|
|4||Max Scherzer||5||11K in first start|
|5||Stephen Strasburg||4||Nerve injury|
|8||Luis Castillo||9||11K in first start|
|9||Jack Flaherty||13||7IP in first start|
|10||Charlie Morton||13||6ER in 4IP|
|11||Trevor Bauer||16||13K in first start|
|13||Yu Darvish||9||3ER in 4IP|
|19||Clayton Kershaw||15||Back soreness|
|21||Kyle Hendricks||27||First CG of 2020|
|22||Walker Buehler||29||First start vs Houston|
|27||Blake Snell||29||2 IP in first start|
|30||Jake Odorizzi||30||Scratched from first start w/ back pain.|
|42||Corey Kluber||33||Scratched from first start with shoulder tightness.|
|64||Anthony DeSclafani||68||On IL, will miss first start|