Not your Grandfathers Top 100 Starting Pitchers…
These baseballs are juicy. Juicier than Grandpa-Donk’s drawers the first time he visited Méjico. The juicy balls are causing some major volatility among our starting pitcher ranks this year. Few pitchers are exempt from the pitcherocalypse. Carlos Carrasco has suffered from severe constipation each of his last three outings, Tyler Bauer ate some questionable China-Buffet during May, and Patrick Corbin’s Gatorade was spiked with laxatives in Cincinnati this past Friday. Even the mythical Yusei “The Kooch” Kikuchi has required adult diapers for his two recent explosions.
As the driver of the Kikuchi Razzwagon, I do apologize for crashing us into a Porta-John these past two weeks. There’s been talk of The Kooch tipping his pitches; I like the narrative, it makes me feel a little better, but I’m not sure it’s true. His command was flat out awful in those two blow ups, as hitters teed off on his hanging off speed pitches. It was also his third time facing the A’s and second time facing the Angels; his funk may suffer from the law of diminishing fantasy returns once teams have gotten a good look.
Regardless, I can’t blame anyone for moving on in 10-12 teamers, but I might give a reach around thru this buy-window in deeper leagues. Is that a buy-window or a guillotine? Just leave me alone random italicized voice! The Kooch is a crafty veteran who will benefit from some extra rest this week, a trip to the laundromat, and a heavy dose of prune juice. Don’t be surprised if there’s another dominant run in store as we get the Kikuchi Razzwagon back up running, and deodorized, this summer.
During these scary times, a few brave men have been slurping the prune juice and keeping themselves regular…
Lucas Giolito (+28) – Two weeks ago I said, “Giolito seems to be breaking out. We profiled him on the most recent Ditka, Sausage, and Fantasy Sports: A Fantasy Baseball Podcast. Not to be confused with the Ditka, Sports, and Fantasy Sausage Podcast, which I recommend as well.” Since then Giolito has only gotten better. Even I didn’t expect him to be this good. He isn’t the sub-2.00 ERA pitcher he was in May, but he’s quickly blossoming into a fantasy ace. The regression fairies will have a much tougher time tickling Giolito’s groin with their fairy feathers since he takes refuge in the weakest division in all of baseball.
Joey Lucchesi (+32) – Grey’s preseason darling is finally delivering all of the authentic pasta and meatballs we were promised. The good kind of meatballs, not the ones he was serving up in April. Across 30 1/3 May innings pitched, Don Lucchesi of the Gambino crime family posted a 2.97 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP with 28 strikeouts while walking only 5. I wouldn’t be comfortable taking a loan from him, but I would be comfortable starting him everywhere but Coors right now.
Griffin Canning (+24) – We broke-down Canning’s funk on the most recent Sausage Pod thingy. He has “Rookie that comes in and baffles the league his first time thru” written all over him in permanent Sharpie. Let this be a lesson, kids, never be the first one to pass out at a party.
Zach Plesac (N/A) – Plesac is the latest in the line of 1,000 second generation players to be called up. I’m most looking forward to Bartolo Colon Jr’s debut in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest later this summer. Like most shady rookie pitchers who you pick up late at night off the wire, Plesac is probably going to roofie you at some point. But I’ve ranked this under the radar prospect aggressively at #64 because there’s decent strikeout upside and a reasonably high floor due to plus command. The Indians also have a history of getting the most out of their pitchers.
Nick Pivetta (N/A) – Apparently all of our fearless Fantasy Master Lothario’s preseason sleeper pitchers just needed a month to warm up and/or an extended demotion to the minor leagues. Since rejoining the big league squad last week, Nicky Pee-Pants has given up only 6 hits and 2 walks in 11 innings against the Cardinals and Dodgers while recording 15 strikeouts. He was also very good in his six weeks down at AAA. I think I might have Battered Fantasy Manger Syndrome, but I’m ready to crawl back into bed with Pivetta. What could possibly go wrong?
Jake Odorizzi (+22) – What’s that smell? Did Odorizzi also have an accident in his trousers? Nope, that was me when I saw that Odorizzi is currently the #4 ranked pitcher this season according to the Razzball Player Rater. The regression fairies are coming for Odorizzi but, like Giolito, he takes refuge in the AL Central and he doesn’t even have to face the best team in the division (because, ya know, he pitches for them). Continue to follow this Latter-K Saint until he touches you inappropriately.
Pablo Lopez (-11) – I mentioned in the comments a month ago that I wouldn’t start P-Lo against good offenses on the road. Following up on that point: Lopez now has a 1.84 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 9.51 K/9 at home and a 8.26 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 7.62 K/9 on the road. Own Pablo, start him at home, don’t even think about it on the road.
Jon Duplantier (N/A) – The D-Bags have yo-yo’d this kid up and down from the minors more times than the masseuse when Robert Kraft visits. There’s a chance Dup might be up to stay this time and they’re letting him start. While he has nice strikeout potential in a good pitchers park, he’s also struggled a bit with walks this year. Duplantier is a streamer/deeper league option for now, but his upside means he should be solidly on your radar in all leagues.
Genesis Cabrera (N/A) – Has Genesis done anything to deserve a player blurb? Nope, the youngster has yet to discover the prune juice. But he has a great name and I was impressed with what I saw from the flame throwing lefty when I observed him live two weeks ago in Nashville. I believe he may have turned a corner in his last couple AAA starts, and the Cardinals seem to agree as they’re giving him one more chance to prove himself against the Reds on Tuesday. I elaborated on what I saw from Cabrera down in Nashtown, here. He’s strictly an NL-Only add for the time being.
These guys have been changing their undies several times per start…
Chris Archer (-14) – A lot has been made of Ray Searage ruining Chris Archer and being the worst pitching coach since Jesus’s cousin Lonny butchered the Bethlehem staff back in the year 23. I have no idea if Searage has anything to do with Archer’s recent struggles, but he’s lost two miles per hour on his heater over the past two seasons and he’s walking way too hitters to be successful. Just to play Devil’s Donkey, Archer’s most recent outing vs the Brewers was encouraging as he struck out seven and walked only two across seven innings. His velocity was also crept back up a little in that game. There could be a decent summer on the horizon for Mr. Archer.
Carlos Carrasco (-10) – Carrasco has been tough to own this year, trust me. On the plus side, if he hasn’t been destroying your ratios for the past two weeks, I think you’re getting a great buying opportunity. He’s a notoriously streaky pitcher and, though he is injury prone, nothing’s jumping out at me screaming he’s injured at this time. When Carrasco sauce gets on a hot streak, he’s as good as anyone in the league.
Anthony DeSclafani (-50) – Woof. Who recommended this guy a month ago? It was Donkey Teeth. Dang, what was I smoking? It was mushrooms. Ah, thanks for reminding me random italicized voice. Looking at DeSclafani’s May numbers (29 IP, 5.59 ERA, 1.41 WHIP) it seems he may have been smoking mushrooms also. Reading back I did say, “Another guy here that we shouldn’t fully trust since he hasn’t reached 125 IP in any of the past three seasons.” Pretty good hedging there, but really, it has nothing to do with why DeSclafani has been so bad. He’s been a little unlucky in his easier match ups and he’s been hit pretty hard in his tougher match ups, but still, I wouldn’t touch him right now even with your team.
Anyway, here’s my updated Top 100 Starting Pitchers for 2019 Fantasy Baseball…
Injured: Corey Kluber, Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, Luis Severino, Mike Clevinger, Jimmy Nelson, Trevor Williams, Luke Weaver, Alex Wood, Jonathan Loaisiga, Nate Eovaldi, Zach Eflin, Gio Gonzalez, Felix Hernandez, Matt Harvey, Jordan Zimmerman, Jeremy Hellickson, Tyson Ross, Marco Estrada, Danny Salazar, Taijuan Walker, Ryan Borucki, Edinson Volquez
On the Farm: Jesus Luzardo, Alex Reyes, Zac Gallen, Forrest Whitley, Matt Manning, Mitch Keller, Lucas Sims, Casey Mize, Justus Sheffield, Brent Honeywell, AJ Puk, Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Freeland, Erik Swanson, Tyler Anderson
Unsigned: Dallas Keuchel
Out of the Pen: Josh James, Ross Stripling, Collin McHugh, Carlos Martinez, Zack Godley, Touki Toussaint, Vince Velasquez, Freddy Peralta, Sean Newcomb, Aaron Brooks, Derek Holland, Luis Cessa, Framber Valdez
Find Donkey Teeth on Twitter @DonkeyTeeth87. Subscribe to his podcast: Ditka, Sausage, and Fantasy Sports on Itunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.
All statistics courtesy of Fangraphs & Baseball Savant.