Not your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers…

You’re at the local grocer staring at a shelf in the cereal aisle, wishing you were watching baseball and/or Naked and Afraid. Perched next to each other on the shelf are a $4.00 box of Cocoa Puffs and a $2.00 box of Choco Spheres. Do you choose the known quantity name brand or take a gamble on those mysterious spheres at half price? It was always an easy choice for frugal old Grandpa-Donk, he didn’t build his fortune of Donkey-units by purchasing the luxury orbs of chocolate. To this day Gramps would poop himself if we ever brought home a box of Depend’s Diapers. It’s Señor Crapper’s or nothing for the old timer.

In fantasy baseball we face many of these same decisions. Not only pre-draft, as I highlighted in the wildly popular Horse v. Donkey preseason series, but also in-season as we weigh the name brand Jake Arrieta’s against the knock-off Tommy Milone’s. Ooof what has the world come to when these are my choices! Hint: Take Tommy. Are you really about to make a case for a 32 year old pitcher who has thrown 159 minor league innings over the past two seasons and has the average fastball velocity of a kindergartner? Stop spoiling the big reveal, stupid random italicized voice!

Grey rambled through some interesting ideas while tripping on LSD this past week, “Conspiracy Theory Alert!  You know how every pitcher is humping the speed gun?  It’s true.  Everyone wants to throw the hardest.  It’s like every pitcher was raised on Nolan Ryan noogies.  Velocity is where’s at!  Dot dot dot.  Or is it?!  Damn you, Reversal Question!  You nearly gave me a heart attack.  If everyone’s throwing hard, then what it is it that hitters see a lot of?  No, not the inside of cages.  I mean, maybe, but not where I was headed.  Hitters see a lot of fast, um, fastballs.  What do they not see a lot of?  Zack Greinke’s 88 MPH sludge.  Of course, if it was meatballs, it would be another thing, but it’s not. Speaking of meatballs, has anyone else noticed Donkey Teeth smells like month old meatballs?” Hey! Start feeding me fresher meatballs if you don’t like my month old meatball musk!

As for Milone, he fits this mold perfectly with his 87.5 MPH average fastball velocity.  Am I excited about Tommy Milone? Shizz no, I’m not the one dropping acid. I mean, not at the moment, it’s been a few years. But Milone has always featured very good control and now he’s bringing a 25% K-rate to the table with almost a strike out per inning since being called up a month ago. T-Milone also calls Seattle’s pitcher friendly T-Mobile Park home, he’ll face off against the Royals and Orioles in that home park this week, and Streamonator LOVES those match ups. I’m adding Tommy Boy and hoping I don’t have to call for housekeeping.


Some other knock-off names that have been pitching like the real deal…

Charlie Morton (+8) – Ground Chuck has been pitching more like a Morton’s Steakhouse Filet. He’s carried the Astro’s magic over to the Rays and has even increased his swinging strike rate up to a career high of 13.2% so far this season (11.9% SwStr% in 2018). The 35 year old’s K-rate is also up over 30% for the first time in his career. He’s pretty much the knock-off version of Justin Verlander right now.

Lance Lynn (+24) – The Lance Lynn brand has never been a best seller, but prior to last season Lynn had posted 3 straight seasons of 175+ IP with a sub-3.50 ERA. He’s added a half MPH to his average fastball velocity and he’s throwing a lot more sliders this year, leading to a career high K-rate through 86 innings. In 51 1/3 IP since May 1st, Lynn boasts a 3.63 ERA and 1.23 WHIP with 60 strike outs, and the FIP fairies are whispering that he’s actually been even better than that. Anyone care for a bowl of Lance Strasburg? Mmmmm salty beard!

Julio Teheran (+13) – Speaking of fairies, Fantasy Master Lothario has been quick to point out the regression fairies prancing anxiously around Teheran. The thing is, throughout his career Teheran has often been a low WHIP guy who outperforms his FIP/xFIP and harbors terrorists. So I wonder if the fairies might just lightly tickle him with their regression feathers. We can also toss him into the drug induced conspiracy theory bucket with his 89.9 MPH average fastball velo. Let’s call him private label Jose Quintana.

Framber Valdez (NA) – After his 5 starts down the stretch in 2018, walks were the concern with Framber coming into this season. So far he seems to be keeping the walks in check with only 3.46 per 9 innings through 39 IP this year and his rotation spot is starting to feel pretty safe. Plus Valdez gets the Astros magic bump. That gets me thinking, why didn’t anyone give Corbin Martin a bump from their stash? Back to Framber Valdez though: High K potential, good offense backing him, weak division: Sign Donkey up! We could have a discounted Yu Darvish type on our hands here.

Zach Plesac (+12) – I highlighted Plesac in the rankings two weeks ago and then B_Don licked my Plesac on the Fantasy Sausage Podcast after that. I like what I’ve seen from him and suspect he could go on a Mike Soroka type run here.

Elieser Hernandez (NA) – It’s interesting that the fantasy community has been abuzz with hype for Elieser’s AAA teammate Zac Gallen, all the while Hernandez was posting video game type numbers himself: 1.13 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 12.94 K/9 across 48 AAA innings this year! Uhhhhh, yep that’s really good! He’s seen a large jump in his swinging strike rate this year, he pitches in a great pitchers park, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a former Astros prospect. If you’re looking for a deeper name who could blow up (positive or negative) and nobody is talking about, here’s your guy.

Some other hot no-namers who I like, and thought about writing blurbs about, but had to go spend time with Papa-Donk: Merrill Kelly (+31), Brad Keller (+50), John Means (+33). That reminds me, Happy Father’s Day folks! A box of Señor Crapper’s for everyone on Donkey Teeth!


Some false advertising from a few name brand guys…

Chris Paddack (NA) – We often discuss a honeymoon period where rookie pitchers are dominant before scouting catches up to them. We’re likely out of that honeymoon stage with Paddack. The Padres have sent him down to control his innings and he should be back up shortly. I think he’ll still be useful for the rest of the season and I would do my best to hold onto him but the innings limit will continue and I’d expect more of a top 50 pitcher than top 25 pitcher.

German Marquez (-11) – I haven’t been shy about expressing my love for Marquez this year, but I’ll be honest, our relationship has suffered through some rocky patches recently. Pride Month is supposed to be a time where we celebrate together, I don’t know why German insists on spoiling it. The good news is, I’ve watched a lot of Marquez this year and he goes on unhittable stretches often. His stuff is still filthy. The rough outings have usually been isolated innings and many times there are tough luck plays involved. I think Marquez has another elite half season in the arm but I’m bumping him down in the rankings for the time being.

Aaron Nola (-6) – I told you to buy Marquez over Nola back in early February. OK, maybe I should just light that page on fire at this point. What’s that? I’m being told that you can’t light web-pages on fire!? Sonuva! Actually, according to the Razzball Player Rater, through June 15th Marquez has been the 38th best SP while Nola has been the 88th best SP. ::Slowly removes head from oven:: I don’t think Nola is actually this bad, but he hasn’t been able to get ahead in the count this year and he’s not getting the swinging strikes he was last year either. He’ll need to improve in both departments to right the ship. I wouldn’t put too much effort into acquiring A-A-Ron, but if his owner is fed up the buy-low window is probably wide open. Let’s hope that’s a window and not the buy-low guillotine!


Anyway, here’s my updated Top 100 Starting Pitchers for 2019 Fantasy Baseball…


Rank Name Previous Rank
1 Max Scherzer 1
2 Chris Sale 5
3 Justin Verlander 2
4 Jacob deGrom 4
5 Gerrit Cole 6
6 Walker Buehler 7
7 Trevor Bauer 8
8 Blake Snell 3
9 Hyun-Jin Ryu 9
10 Lucas Giolito 13
11 Clayton Kershaw 14
12 Zack Greinke 19
13 Charlie Morton 21
14 Luis Castillo 22
15 Frankie Montas 24
16 Stephen Strasburg 11
17 Jack Flaherty 12
18 Shane Bieber 20
19 James Paxton 15
20 Jose Berrios 30
21 German Marquez 10
22 Matt Boyd 26
23 Aaron Nola 17
24 David Price 32
25 Zack Wheeler 25
26 Patrick Corbin 16
27 Mike Clevinger NA
28 Madison Bumgarner 28
29 Rich Hill 31
30 Cole Hamels 69
31 Joey Lucchesi 35
32 Jake Odorizzi 44
33 Brandon Woodruff 37
34 Yu Darvish 39
35 Brad Peacock 34
36 Kyle Hendricks 38
37 Robbie Ray 41
38 Mike Minor 46
39 Lance Lynn 63
40 Mike Soroka 27
41 Kenta Maeda 48
42 Yonny Chirinos 55
43 Julio Teheran 56
44 Andrew Heaney 49
45 Pablo Lopez 59
46 Mike Foltynewicz 43
47 Jon Gray 50
48 Eduardo Rodriguez 47
49 Matt Strahm NA
50 Masahiro Tanaka 42
51 Jose Quintana 54
52 Zach Plesac 64
53 Griffin Canning 45
54 Framber Valdez NA
55 Nick Pivetta 67
56 Wade Miley 62
57 Merrill Kelly 88
58 Steven Matz 57
59 Zach Eflin NA
60 Trevor Richards 66
61 J.A. Happ 65
62 Spencer Turnbull 60
63 Kyle Gibson 61
64 Miles Mikolas 53
65 Adrian Sampson 91
66 Sonny Gray 68
67 Jon Lester 85
68 Yusei Kikuchi 51
69 Mike Fiers 76
70 Brad Keller 120
71 Anibal Sanchez 102
72 Chris Archer 58
73 Mike Leake 135
Trevor Williams NA
74 John Means 107
75 Steven Brault 114
76 Dallas Keuchel NA
77 Dakota Hudson 96
78 Jimmy Nelson NA
79 Rick Porcello 71
80 Chris Bassitt 73
81 Joe Musgrove 74
82 Sean Newcomb NA
83 Jason Vargas 113
84 Jalen Beeks 84
85 Sandy Alcantara 111
86 Eric Lauer 89
87 Max Fried 52
88 Marcus Stroman 80
89 Tyler Mahle 79
90 Tanner Roark 75
91 Ryan Yarbrough 108
92 Michael Pineda 99
93 Marco Gonzales 97
94 Dylan Bundy 103
95 Tommy Milone 104
96 Martin Perez 72
97 Elieser Hernandez NA
98 Freddy Peralta NA
99 Tyler Skaggs 77
100 Jake Arrieta 82
101 Mitch Keller NA
102 Peter Lambert NA
103 Adam Plutko
104 Jordan Yamamoto NA
105 Jake Junis 95
106 Brett Anderson 109
107 Anthony DeSclafani 121
108 Drew Pomeranz 147
109 Zach Davies 83
110 Jose Urena 92
111 Shaun Anderson 112
112 Trent Thornton 93
113 Erick Fedde 98
114 Tanner Anderson NA
115 Tyler Beede 94
116 Kevin Gausman 87
117 Felix Pena 90
118 Ivan Nova 126
119 Jeff Samardzija 117
120 Michael Wacha NA
121 CC Sabathia 106
122 Aaron Sanchez 101
123 Daniel Ponce de Leon NA
124 Dario Agrazal NA
125 Gregory Soto NA
126 Antonio Senzatela 127
127 Ariel Jurado 116
128 Jose Suarez 131
129 Gabriel Ynoa 130
130 Homer Bailey 142
131 Ryan Carpenter 115
132 Wade LeBlanc 144
133 Nick Margevicius 124
134 Danny Duffy 100
135 Daniel Norris 128
136 Reynaldo Lopez 125
137 Cole Irvin 123
138 Cal Quantrill NA
139 Andrew Cashner 132
140 Glenn Sparkman 148
141 Manny Banuelos 140
142 Chase Anderson 119
143 Jeff Hoffman 139
144 Taylor Clarke 143
145 Odrisamer Despaigne NA
146 Brian Johnson NA
147 Jhoulys Chacin 137
148 Clayton Richard 138
149 Drew Smyly 141
150 David Hess 146
151 Edwin Jackson 149

Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Tyler Glasnow, Noah Syndergaard, Jameson Taillon, Luis Severino, Domingo German, Caleb Smith, Luke Weaver, Alex Wood, Jonathan Loaisiga, Nate Eovaldi, Jordan Lyles, Jon Duplantier, Adam Wainwright, Gio Gonzalez, Felix Hernandez, Matt Harvey, Jordan Zimmerman, Dylan Covey, Jefry Rodriguez, Jeremy Hellickson, Tyson Ross, Marco Estrada, Danny Salazar, Taijuan Walker, Ryan Borucki, Edinson Volquez

On the Farm: Chris Paddack, Alex Reyes, Jesus Luzardo, Zac Gallen, Forrest Whitley, Matt Manning, Corbin Martin, Lucas Sims, Casey Mize, Justus Sheffield, Brent Honeywell, AJ Puk, Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Freeland, Erik Swanson, Tyler Anderson

Out of the Pen: Josh James, Ross Stripling, Collin McHugh, Carlos Martinez, Zack Godley, Touki Toussaint, Vince Velasquez, Jared Eickhoff, Aaron Brooks, Derek Holland, Luis Cessa



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.

  1. ozzie smith says:

    Hold on and be patient for ROS
    I can’t make up my mind!

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      I’d go Paddack.

      No problem.

  2. toolshed says:

    Is this the new Corbin we can expect going forward or do you expect him to go back to being the good version of himself like he was earlier in the year?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      I think somewhere in between, probably a little closer to the early season version though.

  3. galica says:


    Great top 100 SP report!

    a. Would you start Kikuchi in a H2H points weekly locks league? I like him this week.

    b. My best to Donkey Breath.


    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:


      Sure, I’d give Kikuchi a shot…can’t do too much damage in H2H.

  4. RICE says:

    I could listen to stories about Grandpa-Donk all day long.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      So much wisdom!

  5. krazyivan says:

    Great report. I drafted horrible at SP and my keeper P is Carrasco so pitching was always going to be an uphill battle. Fortunately I traded to get Buehler, Montas, and Heaney and I’m liking where they’re heading (both in rankings and production).

    For my fourth starter I picked up veteran whose peripherals show a career high in strikeouts (25%), career low in walks (5.5%), has a 1.19 WHIP to go along with a 3.41 xFIP. It helps that he starts for a contender.

    It’s non other then post-post hype sleeper candidate Kyle Gibson. Hopefully after he holds the Red Sox in check this week he can move up in the rankings more for week 13. It’s a big moment to show himself as a legit SP to just plug and play the rest of the way.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      Thanks. From around #40-70 is pretty fluid. I definitely see the argument for Gibson up at the top of that range.

      Agreed, a good start against the Red Sox would go a long ways for me…

  6. surfer dude says:

    Hi DT, 10 tm h2h pts: Edwin Diaz had 1 good week out of the last 6, just a funk he’s going through or something more?
    Would either Hudson and Robles be a better option going forward?

    Thanks !

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      Hey Surfer Dude,

      I’ve notice that on Edwin as well, he didn’t look right in the games I watched Friday and Saturday. I was wondering if maybe he’s hiding an injury or something, but his velocity seems alright. Maybe just mechanical…

      I’d hold Diaz over those two and assume he figures it out sooner rather than later.

      No problem.

  7. Snacks Zillion says:

    Senor’ Crappers, LOL

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      Best bang for your butt!

      • Kruk_Ain't_An_Athlete says:

        Señor Crappers.
        ALT-164 = ñ

        I will never forget that after finding that nickname for Acuña earlier this year on Razzball. Good stuff!!

  8. Immaculate Inning says:

    Surprised Clevinger is so low compared to others ahead of him who have struggled a lot this season.

    On another note, I can’t find any news on Carrasco and when he might be back or what his actual condition is. Is there anything out there I’m missing?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      I’m just a little conservative on guys coming back from injury, re-aggravation is always possible. If he looks good in his first outing or two then he’ll rise quick.

      No idea on Carrasco, I’ve been wondering the same. Seems hush hush…very concerning.

      • Immaculate Inning says:

        Is he worth stashing in an IL slot or just move on?

        • Donkey Teeth

          Donkey Teeth says:

          I’m stashing for now

  9. prestige says:

    Merrill Kelly home vs Rockies tomorrow. You like that stream in shallow 10 team league? Needs Wins the most, Facing Sensatela

    Kikuchi home vs the Royals (Bailey) is another option

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      The Rockies are hot, I’d try Kikuchi.

  10. LenFuego says:

    I love how Kyle Gibson in his only start last week got the win in a tight 2-0 pitching duel, throwing 8 shutout innings while allowing only two base runners on two soft singles (one of which he erased with a ground ball DP to the next batter) with no BBs or HBPs, all at a good hitter’s park there in Minnesota … and dropped two spots in the rankings from 61 to 63!

    If he pitches a perfect game next week will he drop out of the top 70?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      That great start balanced the giant turd he dropped against that scary Detroit lineup on June 8th!

      I did say this in response to another commenter above, “From around #40-70 is pretty fluid. I definitely see the argument for Gibson up at the top of that range.”

  11. bigbear says:

    Kyle Gibson vs. Brad Peacock. What’s the difference? Similar ERA, Whip, K rates… I get a fast acting Peacock hits the velo-spot. But if Grienke can be ranked so high, why not a few rifts on the Gibson? Not saying Gibson should be ranked higher than Peacock, but a 28 slot difference is pretty big…

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      A lot of Kyle Gibson love going around today!

      I don’t mind him at all, but Peacock had 6 start stretch of dominance starting in early May and I have a thing for Astros arms. Gibson needs to show me a little more consistency before he jumps into the Peacock tier.

      You’re right though, he might not be all that far off.

  12. toolshed says:

    Strahm a hold or cut in a 12 team league?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      How many bench spots? Lean hold…

    • Grey

      Grey says:

      I’d start him at home

  13. LennyDykstraIsJustMisunderstood says:

    what do you think of these trades?

    Diaz for Peacock

    Felipe Vazquez for Woodruff

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      I like the closers there but does kind of depend on the league

  14. HamPorter says:


    In a deep AL Dynasty league with 5×5 roto scoring. With Clevinger coming back who would you drop for him?

    Starters: Cole, Framber, Price, Procello, Ed.Rod, Chirinos, Plesac
    Relievers: Hand and Shawn Kelley (He’s getting saves and they are extremely hard to come by)

    Thanks for the help!

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      That’s tough but I think it has to be Kelley of that group. Any chance you can make a trade?

  15. HamPorter says:

    Yeah, I was thinking Kelley too. I think I might be able to swing something if I package some prospects for a solid closer. Thanks!

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      No problem, good luck!

  16. avogt555 says:

    Based on your rankings. It seems that I should drop Soroka for Lucchesi or Lynn. Just seems hard at he’s got a 2.12 era and 0.98 whip. Why do you like Lucchesi and Lynn more? Thank you!

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      I’m expecting a bit of regression from Soroka rest of season, but they’re all really in the same conversation for me. If you like Soroka more then stick with him.

Comments are closed.