Considering there has only been one full night of games since I penned the last Top 100, there was more movement than I had figured there would be. I’m not one to rest on my laurels, you see. What the hell does that phrase mean, anyway? Isn’t a laurel like a Christmas wreath? Maybe I’ve just seen Blazing Saddles too many times. Many phrases don’t make sense though, if you think about them. How did “cut the mustard” become a phrase, for example? Nobody has ever cut mustard in the history of time. Unless they’re snorting lines of mustard off of their coffee table, I guess. Even when I freeze my mustard, I put it in an ice cube tray so it’s already separated and I don’t have to cut it before melting it upon my wiener. Think ahead a little, people. Mmm. Um, anyway, there are some pitchers to discuss. Eduardo Rodriguez, a top 30 starter according to last week’s list, is gone for at least a month due to ligament damage in his ankle. Jeff Samardjiza went back on the DL as quickly as he came off it, and I really wish he would just stay healthy but be bland so I can stop writing his confounding name. Carlos Martinez continues to be a headache and is back on the DL again. I don’t rank injured starters, so even though it sounds like a brief DL stint, I’m leaving him off for this week. His last stint was supposed to be a lot shorter than it ended up being, too. Steven Strasburg finally returned to action, but got pounded for six runs in 4.2 innings. He’s probably just kicking off rust, but I eased him in to the back end of the top 20 just to be safe.

 

The Newcomer

  • Yefry Ramirez, BAL (SP87) – Don’t look now, but it’s an Orioles pitcher that might actually be worth our time in fantasy. He’s got a three pitch mix – fastball/slider/changeup – that is plenty enough to at least let him remain a starter in the near future. He’s only tossed 23.1 innings with the O’s, but hasn’t been blown up (3.09 ERA/3.63 FIP) and is netting over a strikeout per inning. The 14% swinging strike rate and 35.7% chase rate are incredibly encouraging, although bound to regress a bit over time. His control could be better (3.47 BB/9 w/ O’s, 2.75 at Triple-A), but he has also been adept at limiting hard contact (27%). He also appears to be a pop-up machine, which can help pitchers suppress BABIP. A fly ball pitcher in Camden isn’t exactly what the doctor ordered, but now that Chris Tillman has mercifully been DFA’d, Yefry (such a fun name) has a shot to carve out his own slot in this easily whittled rotation.

 

The Risers

  • Felix Pena, LAA (+7) – Guys like Jeremy Hellickson and Tyler Anderson were technically bigger movers this week, but I’ve discussed them here recently and I want to talk about someone new. Felix Pena has some pretty snazzy numbers on the year: 26.1 IP (5 GS, 2 relief appearances), 3.42 ERA/1.33 WHIP, 10.94 K/9, 3.08 BB/9. Despite his early success, Pena is looking a lot like this year’s JC Ramirez. He’s 94% fastball/curveball, with the rare show-me change sprinkled in on occasion. The slider is great though, with 26% whiffs and a .125 BAA. He hasn’t pitched deep into any games yet, with a couple of 5.1 IP starts being the deepest he’s gone. Between that and the lack of a deep repertoire, Pena is looking like fool’s gold to me in the long run. Perhaps in the short term he can find some element of success the way JC Ramirez did last year and you can play the matchups, but that’s as far as I’m willing to go with him right now.
  • Nathan Eovaldi (+7) – While Eovaldi’s 4.26 ERA isn’t too enticing, he’s actually been a much different – and dare I say, better – pitcher than ever before. He’s scrapped any semblance he’s ever had of his curveball and changeup, instead opting for a new cutter and splitter combo that he’s using around 44% of the time. They’ve been solid despite not getting a ton of whiffs, but his fastball/slider makes up for them. The slider is getting 16% whiffs, which is fine, but the fastball is getting 13% whiffs! That’s more than double the average fastball, and way up from his previous years. He’s also getting pop-ups at double his career rate at 16.7%, which as I mentioned with Yefry Boy is a great way to cheat BABIP death. He’s been done in by the long ball so far, but I think he can pitch closer to his 3.49 SIERA moving forward with a good walk rate and decent K/9.

 

The Fallers

  • Kyle Hendricks, CHC (-10) – Soft tossers like Keuchel and Hendricks have to live on the fringes of the strike zone with plus to double-plus command to thrive. We saw Keuchel struggle earlier this season in that regard, and now we’re seeing it with Hendricks. His 32% hard contact rate is a career worst, as is his 22.5% line drive rate. Neither are bad marks for most pitchers, but for someone like Hendricks who throws an 86 MPH fastball with a 78 MPH changeup as his only other real pitch, he needs to induce soft contact by the boatload. He actually put together two decent starts before his last dud, but I’m not buying a turnaround just yet. His strikeout rate is lower than ever this year (6.81 K/9), making a ceiling-versus-floor gamble with him less potentially fruitful than ever before. I am hereby deducting you one Hendrick, Kyle. You are now Kyle Hendrick, and don’t make me take away the other one too.
  • Luke Weaver, STL (–) – Ok so technically he isn’t a faller since he wasn’t on the list last week, but I haven’t talked about him here so now seems like the right time. Weaver has been up and down from the minors recently, but with Carlos Martinez back on the shelf for the time being, he should remain with the team. He’s been a huge bummer overall this year, with a bloated 4.79 ERA over 20 starts. His strikeouts are down, his walks are up, and people kick the jukebox whenever “Dream Weaver” comes on. The worst part is that whenever I type “Luke” on my phone and the autocorrect is on, it turns it to “Like”, which is so wrong. I DON’T LIKE LUKE WEAVER, PHONE, STOP RUINING MY LIFE!! More like Dislike Weaver, amiright?! I was actually off Weaver coming into the year since he overperformed last season, but now the pendulum has swung too far the other way. His 8.24 K/9 is still decent enough to get his strand rate up from 69% and pitch closer to his 4.11 FIP moving forward, which is a number far more tolerable for mixed leagues. Hopefully the Cards give him the leash to get there.

 

The Top 100 Starting Pitchers

Rank Name Prev Rank
1 Max Scherzer 1
2 Chris Sale 2
3 Corey Kluber 3
4 Luis Severino 4
5 Clayton Kershaw 5
6 Justin Verlander 6
7 Jacob DeGrom 7
8 Trevor Bauer 9
9 Gerrit Cole 8
10 Aaron Nola 10
11 Noah Syndergaard 11
12 James Paxton N/A
13 Blake Snell 12
14 Zack Greinke 13
15 Madison Bumgarner 15
16 Jose Berrios 14
17 Carlos Carrasco 16
18 Stephen Strasburg N/A
19 Charlie Morton 17
20 Patrick Corbin 18
21 Lance McCullers 19
22 Ross Stripling 20
23 Alex Wood 21
24 Tyler Skaggs 22
25 Miles Mikolas 26
26 Jack Flaherty 25
27 Mike Clevinger 28
28 J.A. Happ 29
29 David Price 35
30 Robbie Ray 24
31 Johnny Cueto 27
32 Rick Porcello 31
33 Mike Foltynewicz 32
34 Chris Archer 33
35 Kenta Maeda 39
36 Sean Newcomb 34
37 Shane Bieber 36
38 Sean Manaea 37
39 Zach Eflin 38
40 Dallas Keuchel 41
41 Walker Buehler 42
42 Andrew Heaney 47
43 Tyson Ross 40
44 Dylan Bundy 43
45 Nick Pivetta 44
46 Jon Gray N/A
47 Jordan Zimmermann 46
48 Kyle Freeland 49
49 Kyle Gibson 50
50 CC Sabathia 52
51 Jose Quintana 53
52 Gio Gonzalez 54
53 Freddy Peralta 51
54 Jon Lester 48
55 Carlos Rodon 45
56 Jake Arrieta 55
57 Vince Velasquez 56
58 Steven Matz 57
59 Marco Gonzales 58
60 Zack Wheeler 66
61 Nick Kingham 69
62 Jameson Taillon 61
63 Nathan Eovaldi 70
64 Tyler Anderson 73
65 Dereck Rodriguez 60
66 Joey Lucchesi 62
67 Mike Minor 63
68 Trevor Cahill 64
69 Kyle Hendricks 59
70 Masahiro Tanaka 71
71 Joe Musgrove 67
72 Wade LeBlanc 68
73 Fernando Romero N/A
74 Rich Hill 72
75 Mike Montgomery 75
76 Jeremy Hellickson 94
77 Jhoulys Chacin 77
78 Matt Boyd 78
79 Reynaldo Lopez 79
80 Jaime Barria 80
81 John Gant 83
82 Sam Gaviglio 82
83 Andrew Suarez 97
84 Matt Harvey 91
85 Jose Urena 81
86 Felix Pena 93
87 Yefry Ramirez N/A
88 Cole Hamels 84
89 Luis Castillo 85
90 Luke Weaver N/A
91 Mike Fiers 86
92 Brent Suter 87
93 Zack Godley 88
94 Nick Tropeano N/A
95 Chase Anderson 89
96 Anibal Sanchez 90
97 Tyler Mahle 100
98 Daniel Mengden N/A
99 Anthony DeSclafani 95
100 Ivan Nova 96

You can find Dokken on Twitter @NathanDokken

  1. Glenn E Leslie says:
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    Oops, where is Duffy?

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Glenn E Leslie: I mean……I guess he deserves a spot at the back end. He’s been taking advantage of some easy matchups, but he’s finally been not horrible at least. I’ll consider him for next week’s list.

  2. Simsbad says:
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    You felt you needed to take Gausman off the list entirely?

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Simsbad: Man I don’t know where he went but he should’ve been in the 70’s. I must’ve overwritten his name accidentally somehow. He’s been a bummer, but not bad enough to get the boot from the top 100. Consider him 75.5.

  3. Marcel says:
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    what do you think of Stroman’s latest start? Good things to come or just leave him alone?

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Marcel: It was against the Orioles, who are horrendous. I need to see him string together a few good starts against real offenses before I can get on board.

  4. Andrew Edenbaum says:
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    What did Sanchez do to be dropped 6 spots. Oh, he held the Nationals to 3 runs in 6 innings. haha

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Andrew Edenbaum: The Nats are only 14th in MLB against righties, it’s not like he shut out the Red Sox or anything. The point you should have made is that he’s got peripherals that suggest he’s more like a mid-70’s SP than the total back-end. I’ve been waiting for him to get back to giving up a ton of bombs like usual, but until that happens he’s very usable.

  5. Andrew Edenbaum says:
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    Lester moved down 6 spots and he gave up 12 runs and 15 baserunners. Forgot, Sanchez was AT the Nationals.

    • Cram It says:
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      @Andrew Edenbaum: Is this a top 100 for last week?

      • Dokken

        Dokken says:
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        @Cram It: Lester only gave up 8 ER, but I already had Lester ranked well below what his value had been because I was expecting him to regress quite a bit. Hence the modest drop.

  6. Re-Pete says:
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    For this week (7/23), I have to start two of these three. Can’t decide:
    1. Vince Velasquez (@CIN/Castillo)
    2. Strasburg (@MIL/TBD)
    3. Gausman (BOS/Porcello) + (TB/TBD)

    At the beginning of the year, this was an easier question. Help, please!

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Re-Pete: Despite Stras’s recent hiccup, he’s the easy choice for me here. The other two are far too capable of blow-ups.

  7. BirdMan says:
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    M. Tanaka at 70? Why so low?

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @BirdMan: Well, he’s not very good! I really dropped him quite a while ago actually, even before his DL stint. We’re going on two years now of him being one of the most homer-prone pitchers in the league with a 4.50+ ERA that isn’t helpful at all.

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