Not your Grandfather’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers…
Grandpa-Donk: World traveler, meteorologist, woodworker, Señor Crappers spokesperson, and wise elder. One fact you may not know about Gramps is that his favorite movie is King Arthur. The old Donk and his friend Sweaty Jimmy have a thing not only for handling wood together, but also for the Knights of the Round Table. After a long day of working with each other’s sweat moistened wood, it’s not uncommon to see G-Donk and Jimmy together watching Sir Lancelot’s feats of courage while spooning ice cream into one another’s mouths like very normal heterosexual men.
Speaking of Sir Lancelot, have you noticed what Lance Lynn has been up to? If Lynn had pitched in that crazy London Series there’s a decent chance he would’ve been knighted. Fun fact: Granddaddy-Donk was knighted back in the 60’s; all it took to be knighted back then was some good smoke and semi-straight teeth.
As for Lynn, the 32 year old has compiled 14 consecutive starts of 6+ innings and he’s thrown 7+ innings in 9 of those outings. Since May 10th, Lynn has gone 8-2 with a 2.66 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 98 strikeouts in only 81 1/3 innings pitched. He hasn’t required Señor Crappers since that fart (which wasn’t just a fart) back on April 23rd.
Back in Week 12 I said, “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!” I sound pretty smart, for a Donkey.
So, can we call it square for the whole Kikuchi debacle yet? Speaking of The Kooch, he’s been looking a little better of late. Watching him pitch no longer makes me want to slam my junk in a car door. I may have to see if the the ole Kooch Razzwagon will fire back up. Fair warning: The Koochwagon only has three tires and no steering wheel, but the acid spiked punch never runs out!
It’s safe to watch these guys pitch after you drink the Koochwagon punch…
Max Scherzer (No Change) – Is Mad Max the only pitcher in the world who enjoys playing with juiced balls? That sounded dirty, let me rephrase: Scherzer likes juicy balls. In the month of June, Blue Eye posted a 1.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, and 13.60 K/9 across 45 innings. Grey just ranked Max #5 overall in his Top 100 for the 2nd half, but then Scherzer hit the IL with a mid-back strain yesterday and now Grey is backpedaling saying he’d take Cole or Verlander as his #1 SP for the 2nd half. I wholeheartedly disagree, Scherzer is my #1 for the rest of season even with the injury and it’s not that close for me. I anticipate he’ll return later this week with two more black eyes and a missing ear.
Gerrit Cole (+2) – I will say the Cole Train does deserve an honorable mention. Since being roughed up against the White Sox back on May 22nd, Cole is sporting a 2.21 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 13.11 K/9 in 57 innings. I have him easily ahead of Verlander at this point.
Robbie Ray (+5) – Alright, so maybe you’re better off not watching Ray pitch after dropping Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The walks will always be frustrating, but Ray has dominated in his first two July starts, and few other pitchers have his strikeout upside. If you need to make up ground in pitching categories in the 2nd half, acquiring Robbie Ray might be a worthwhile endeavor for your team.
Jon Gray (-3) – I said in the last edition of the Top 100 that I wouldn’t start any pitchers in summer Coors with these helium balls. I’m stunned to see Jon Gray has actually been a homeschooler this year, posting a 3.24 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in Coors in contrast to a 4.29 ERA and 1.40 WHIP on the road. Everything I thought I knew is crumbling before my eyes. I’m afraid there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors here though. I’d try to sell Gray before the regression fairies carry him off into the Colorado thin air.
Sonny Gray (+28) – Lots of Gray/Grey talk in this edition of the Top 100. The move to the NL seems to have revitalized Pickles’ career. Seriously, his nickname is actually “Pickles”. Sonny hasn’t been sucking on pickles this year; since May 15th Gray has a 2.93 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 10.95 K/9. I’m expecting the regression fairies to tickle his pickle a little in the 2nd half, but I also wouldn’t be rushing out to sell him.
Brendan McKay (+2) – Speaking of pickles, McKay makes my pickle stand tall. The young lefty features three plus pitches in his fastball, curve, and cutter. He also has a decent change which he hasn’t really busted out on major leaguers yet. The fact that he can command all of his offerings gives him a very high floor. He also plays both ways, which is fun. I’m not sure how many innings the Rays will let him throw, but being in a playoff race, maybe they push him a little?
Zack Wheeler (-5) – We also discussed 2018 vs 2019 Wheeler on that most recent episode. If you aren’t going to listen, you could at least click the play button to boost my self-esteem; you don’t want me turning into Eeyore over here, do you?
Michael Pineda (+9) – I didn’t expect to be writing about Pineda this season. There have been some ups and downs this year, but since the start of May it’s been mostly ups: 3.82 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 62 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings. Most impressively, he’s only given up 10 walks during that stretch and he’s keeping the home run ball in check (10 homers given up during that time as well) which has always been a major downfall for Pineda. A 3.82 ERA may not sound great, but it only takes a 6.90 ERA to win your league this year!
Maybe I shouldn’t have drank so much of the punch on the Koochwagon…
Chris Sale (-6) – The Condor has been a picture of inconsistency this season and brutal in his last three starts. Sale’s 2nd half struggles are well documented, but those struggles are relative to his typical dominant first halves. On the bright side, his fastball velocity has been creeping up the entire year and the strikeouts are still as good as ever. Maybe his first and second half splits will be inverted his year. Grey ranked Sale #20 overall in his Top 100 for the 2nd half. That ranking is a little aggressive for my liking, but I do agree you might be able to find Chris on sale for bargain bin pricing in your league right now. Stick your head thru that buy window and see what the price is.
Mike Minor (-13) – Since I told you to sell him for more than a cup of Grey’s cream of meat in the last edition of the Top 100, Minor has gone two starts throwing a total of 9 1/3 innings with a 6.75 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. The good news is, he struck out 11 batters in those two starts and one of those outings was against the Astros. I think there’s still a good chance Minor will be a top 50 pitcher for the rest of the season, so if his owner is panicking about those last two games then I’m ready to flip flop and buy. Heck, maybe you can get him in exchange for a small cup of Grey’s love mayonnaise.
Anyway, here’s my updated Top 100 Starting Pitchers for 2019 Fantasy Baseball:
RIP: Tyler Skaggs #45
Injured: Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, Luis Severino, Cole Hamels, Brad Peacock, Pablo Lopez, Luke Weaver, Jimmy Nelson, Alex Wood, Jonathan Loaisiga, Nate Eovaldi, Jon Duplantier, Jose Urena, Gio Gonzalez, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Richard, Jefry Rodriguez, Jeremy Hellickson, Tyson Ross, Marco Estrada, Danny Salazar, Taijuan Walker, Ryan Borucki, Edinson Volquez, Tyler Anderson
On the Farm: Matt Manning, Adbert Alzolay, Jesus Luzardo, Alex Reyes, Mitch Keller, Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, Mike Foltynewicz, Forrest Whitley, Sean Reid-Foley, Jos Urquidy, Lucas Sims, Casey Mize, Justus Sheffield, AJ Puk, Kyle Wright
Suspended: Frankie Montas
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.