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.

News

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.

Clayton Kershaw — Missed his first start with back pain. Reports indicate he should be back in the Dodgers’ rotation next week.

Jake Odorizzi Holy injuries Batman. Odorizzi was scratched from his start with back soreness. It’s so good for my hometown team that they have Rich Hill to fall back on.

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.

A.J. Puk — Received a rich plasma injection in his throwing shoulder. Given his prospect status, I would suspect the A’s treat him with kid gloves and go easy on him.

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.

Dylan Bundy — 6.2IP, 7K, 0BB, 1.20FIP in his first outing. Son told you to draft Bundy, and those who listened are cheering right 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 StriplingFantasy 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.

Rankings

Tier 1

Premium IP, W, K, ERA, and WHIP

Rank Name PrevRk Notes
1 Gerrit Cole 1
2 Shane Bieber 2 14K in first start
3 Jacob deGrom 3
4 Max Scherzer 5 11K in first start
5  Stephen Strasburg 4 Nerve injury
6 Patrick Corbin 7
7 Mike Clevinger 12
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

Tier 2

Rank Name PrevRk Notes
12 Chris Paddack 10
13 Yu Darvish 9 3ER in 4IP
14 Tyler Glasnow 14
15 Aaron Nola 20
16 Sonny Gray 21
17 Zack Greinke 19
18 Jose Berrios 18
19 Clayton Kershaw 15 Back soreness
20 Lucas Giolito 17
21 Kyle Hendricks 27 First CG of 2020
22 Walker Buehler 29 First start vs Houston
23 Zac Gallen 23
24 Hyun-Jin Ryu 24
25 Lance Lynn 28

Tier 3

Rank Name PrevRk Notes
26 Brandon Woodruff 26
27 Blake Snell 29 2 IP in first start
28 Kenta Maeda 31
29 Mike Soroka 37
30 Jake Odorizzi 30 Scratched from first start w/ back pain.
31 Carlos Carrasco 37
32 Zack Wheeler 32
33 Dinelson Lamet 38
34 Madison Bumgarner 34
35 Julio Urias 38
36 Max Fried 36
37 German Marquez 50
38 Frankie Montas 43
39 Andrew Heaney 42
40 Robbie Ray 35
41 James Paxton 46

Tier 4

Rank Name PrevRk Notes
42 Corey Kluber 33 Scratched from first start with shoulder tightness.
43 Ryan Yarbrough 51
44 Luke Weaver 45
45 Matthew Boyd 49
46 Lance McCullers 49
47 Adrian Houser 52
48 Sean Manaea 48
49 Joe Musgrove 49
50 Aaron Civale 57
51 Dylan Bundy 66
52 Joey Lucchesi 52
53 Jesus Luzardo 49
54 Mike Foltynewicz 54
55 Rich Hill 55
56 Caleb Smith 63
57 Dallas Keuchel 62
58 Zach Plesac 62
59 Carlos Martinez 83
60 Mike Minor 63

Tier 5

Rank Name PrevRk Notes
61 Shohei Ohtani 56
62 Steven Matz 66
63 Ross Stripling 71
64 Anthony DeSclafani 68 On IL, will miss first start
65 Mike Fiers 71
66 Matt Shoemaker NA
67 Johnny Cueto 67
68 Jon Gray 61
69 Mitch Keller 74
70 Kevin Gausman 70
71 Nathan Eovaldi 99
72 Pablo Lopez 72
73 Chris Bassitt 77
74 Garrett Richards 66
75 Dustin May 92
76 Tommy Milone NA
77 Marco Gonzales 84
78 Sandy Alcantara 74
79 Josh James 79
80 Alex Wood 82

Tier 6

Dart throws

Rank Name PrevRk Notes
81 Jose Urquidy 71
82 Brendan McKay 80
83 Kyle Gibson 88
84 Zach Eflin NA
85 Miles Mikolas NA
86 Justus Sheffield 86
87 J.A. Happ 93
88 Griffin Canning 82
89 Jeff Samardzija 89
90 Jon Lester 90
91 Anibal Sanchez 91
92 Brady Singer NA
93 Corbin Burnes NA
94 Spencer Howard NA
95 Josh Lindblom 95
96 Spencer Turnbull NA
97 Dylan Cease 93
98 Rick Porcello 98
99 Yusei Kikuchi NA
100 Nate Pearson 100

 

 
  1. Son says:
    (link)

    Thanks for the shoutout!!!

    What do you think of Blake Snell in dynasty?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
      (link)

      Absolutely a target. He’s recovering this year, and the Rays are a mess after Covid. If you want to trade right now, have at it and then enjoy the ride next year.

      Always love your articles, Son. Great insights.

  2. Coolwhip

    Coolwhip says:
    (link)

    Good stuff Dr. B, here’s a few of my notes:

    I gave a breakdown of Ohtani’s start… so i’ll post link
    https://twitter.com/CoolwhipRB/status/1287549642318774273
    Long story short… i’d knock him down a good chunk until i see him locate a 97 fb. He’s a mess right now.

    Also, where’s Tyler Chatwood??? He dominated Brewers including 3 Ks to Yeli. I’d put him in the 60s and bump Ohtani to the last category (maybe off all together until I see something).

    Mitch Keller’s velo was a bit off, that deserves a cyclops.

    Morton’s velo was down too, said he wasn’t “fully stretched” yet, also worth a cyclops.

    • Coolwhip

      Coolwhip says:
      (link)

      also Klubs has a grade 2 tear of shoulder muscle thats going to put him out at least 4 weeks. That sounds a death sentence for this season.

      • everywhereblair

        everywhereblair says:
        (link)

        I was at 1,000 words of mostly injury update when I submitted.

        Can’t believe how much more happened in the next twelve hours. Insane, 2020. Folty gone too, fastball under 90.

  3. ESB says:
    (link)

    Appreciate the time and effort putting these lists together. I’ve got a few questions for ya… if you’d be so kind.

    I recently traded SP’s Matz and Chirinos, with RP Barnes for Manaea, Weaver, and Melancon. I needed a closer Braves seem like they’ll tally some wins, and both Manaea, and Weaver are top 50 guys on tour list. Thought I had made out pretty well then Matz looks dominate, and both Manaea and even more so Weaver got roughed up and Melancon has a back issue currently. So talk me off the ledge here lol.

    The rest of my staff consists of Canning, Hendricks, Carrasco, Gallen, C.Smith, Musgrove, Burnes and J. Montgomery in my NA spot. With Jimenez, and W.Davis as my closers along with Melancon.
    Best options on the wire are guys like Singer, Turnbull, Shoemaker, & S.Howard, are the best SP’s on the wire. Quite a few decent relievers like Lugo, Ottivibo, Holland, Bass, Minter, etc.

    Ok long post…my bad. But Id be interested on your thoughts on the trade and how you’d improve my roster. Thanks in advance.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
      (link)

      Keep in mind it’s just one start. If the season ended today, Yusei Kikuchi would be a top 25 starter. Covid is messing with a ton of pitchers…think of all the Blake Snell owners who watched him go 2 IP, or Giolito get shelled. Meanwhile, Randy Dobnak is like top 30 right now. Nobody can predict that level of volatility.

      Grab Lugo, and I’d take Turnbull, Howard, and Shoemaker in that order of preference. Smith will be covid delayed with the marlins so if you’re in redraft you might want to cut him loose. Keep an ear on the news overall… things are changing so rapidly.

      • ESB says:
        (link)

        Sound advice man. I have two similar SS’s in Anderson and Andrus, also I onlt have 1 utiliry spot and own K.Davis who’s been useless.

        Would you drop one of those guys or an arm to aquire Lugo and/or Turnbull? Thanks again man really appreciate your time.

        • everywhereblair

          everywhereblair says:
          (link)

          Andrus is the one I like the least there.

  4. scoboticus says:
    (link)

    Had an open IL spot in a dynasty league. Welcome to John Means!

    Thanks Blair!

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
      (link)

      No problem! Three plus pitches, advance in velocity, could be a nice stash.

  5. frank rizzo says:
    (link)

    Can you explain why you like Cleveland’s starters so much? I have Bieber, Civale and Plesac is still on the wire. I have Josh James but could easily be talked into dumping him for Plesac if there is something special about Cleveland that I dont’ know about.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
      (link)

      TBH, there’s not a lot of difference between Plesac and James when it comes to end of the year stats. Civale has a great low WHIP ability which is a steal at his ADP. But it’s hard to pass up killer K ability and the Astros. If anything, Astros home games have a bad park factor for pitchers, so I would give slight edge to Civale. Coolwhip would tell you to go James tho. So, maybe best move is to stay put!

      Cheers!

      • frank rizzo says:
        (link)

        Since bieber, clevinger, and carrasco all went 6 innings or more i was wondering if Tito was more willing to let his starters go a bit longer than other coaches?

        • everywhereblair

          everywhereblair says:
          (link)

          Yeah, Cleveland came out the gate saying they were gonna pitch a ton—Bieber was at 90 pitches in summer training.

  6. Harley Earl says:
    (link)

    I see you’ve changed your mind on Flaherty and the so-called “innings limit.” Yeah. I thought so.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:
      (link)

      I was reporting what Jeff Zimmerman and MLB.com was reporting.

      • Harley Earl says:
        (link)

        And you were wrong just like I said.

        I follow the Cardinals inside and out and there was never going to be an innings limit on a guy that threw 196 innings last year.

        Do your homework and you won’t get called out.

        • Yr Never Too Old For Balloons says:
          (link)

          doing his homework is in fact doing what he did. you sure as shit don’t show up when some “confidence” you have in something ends up wrong. he’s going off reports he reads. THAT IS the homework (NOW if j-zimm at mlb.com is known for plain being wrong on stuff, certainly that might not be a place to read in doing one’s homework, but that is an entirely different point than what you are going for here)

  7. Anodyne says:
    (link)

    Tommy Milone at #76? That feels like it needs some explanation.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      Forgot to carry zero? Tommy Milone at 760?

      • Anodyne says:
        (link)

        Ha ha! That’s right around where I have him ranked.

        • everywhereblair

          everywhereblair says:
          (link)

          Honestly, warm body period. I don’t want Yusei Kikuchi in here either. So many people recovering from covid or injuries or just being held back. TBH, I should adjust the dart throw tier because it’s starting to get huge.

          • James Bishop says:
            (link)

            I do see some intriguing names after Milone on your list: Eflin, Mikolas, Alcantara, Sheffield, Canning. I understand with all the injuries and covid cases it’s tough to fill out a rotation, but some warm bodies are better than others.

            • Anodyne says:
              (link)

              One guy not on your list who has launched himself into easy top 75 starter territory is Merrill Kelly. He looked great yesterday, which is more than enough for me in such a short season.

Comments are closed.