This week…was a project. I had to miss last week (although I did get to run into Johan Santana and Rod Carew at Target Field…you know, NBD) so there was a lot to catch up on this time out. I also have to qualify that with only a handful of weeks left in the season, you can take these ranks to be more fluid than in the past. The vast majority reading this are in standard 10-12 team mixed leagues. In those leagues, you can pretty much stream plus matchups with anyone outside of the top 60 and worry less about the actual ranking. Take full advantage of the Streamonator. Pick on the worst offensive squads in baseball – the White Sox, Orioles, Mets, Royals, Padres, Marlins, and Tigers are punching bags. Even the Reds, Giants, and Twins have been bad over the second half thus far, and sure aren’t going anywhere fast.

We have unfortunately lost Johnny Cueto for the season with Tommy John, and we’re still a ways off from the return of Stephen Strasburg, Carlos Martinez, Yu Darvish, or Michael Fulmer. Oh, and another qualifier: the Rays are making this list harder for me to make with this whole “Opener” business. I obviously have Blake Snell on the list, but I’m gonna go ahead and treat their long relievers that actually go fiveish innings as starters. Yonny Chirinos and the newly acquired Tyler Glasnow make the list, though their roles are somewhat murky. Fantasy-wise it’s actually a bit of an advantage for these guys as far as accumulating wins. Fewer starters than ever in MLB are going 5+ innings to qualify for the win; with the Opener taking care of the first inning, all the other guys have to do is toss four innings to qualify for the dub. There’s a lot of new blood on the list this week, so rather than spending time with some of the risers and fallers, we’ll peep the newbs. That’s as cool as my slang gets, by the way.

 

The Newcomers

  • Tanner Roark, WSH (SP63) – You may recall several weeks ago as I cursed Roark’s stupid beardy face and banished him from the list. My anger was well founded, since over the span of 49.1 innings from May 31st-August 13th, Roark posted a 7.11 ERA/1.93 WHIP. HOWEVAH (Stephen A. Smith voice), since July 25th, he has allowed just four runs in 29.2 innings with a 27:2 K:BB ratio. The key? He has simply shifted where he stands on the rubber, and is getting the location and sink he needs to be successful. As far as I’m concerned, we can return to valuing Roark close to the way we did before his awful stretch.
  • Clay Buchholz, ARI (SP85) – Full disclosure: I have disowned Clay Buchholz. I will never roster him again, no matter what. He has sucked me in year after year over the course of his career, and it typically resulted in disaster. Either he got blown up for a 4.50+ ERA (’08, ’12, ’14, ’16, ’17) or suffered long-term injury (every year except ’10, ’14, ’16). I want no part of this ride. Speaking of such things, he’s back off his recent trip to the DL, and he’s got his ERA down to 2.67 over 11 starts. No matter how much I hate Clay, I have to rank him. The 14.8% K-BB% is decent but uninspiring, limiting his ceiling. He has also allowed a 37% hard contact rate, and all of his ERA estimators have him regressing by at least a full run. His changeup has been excellent this year though with a 2.77 pVal, and has a great velocity gap of 13 MPH from his fastball. He gets the Padres next, and I believe enough to endorse that stream.
  • Trevor Richards, MIA (SP86) – I’ve been a bit of an unbeliever of Richards, but he’s been solid enough to earn a spot on the top 100. A 3.98 ERA over 17 starts deserves a spot on the list, and he’s striking out nearly a batter per inning. There’s the good – now let me tell you why I’m not very interested. First, he’s an extreme fly ball pitcher who has only a 0.73 HR/9. He’s been great at limiting homers throughout the minors, so perhaps this is some innate HR limiting superpower. More likely, his 42% hard contact rate will catch up to him, and more balls will leave the yard. I also don’t see the strikeout rate holding. He is netting just 9.8% whiffs and 31% chases outside of the zone, both very pedestrian numbers. Combine that with a 3.98 BB/9 and I just can’t get too jacked for Richards.
  • Ryan Borucki, TOR (SP87) – Despite Borucki having no pedigree (475th pick back in 2012) or any fanfare upon his call-up, he has given us a terrific 2.81 ERA over his first 48 innings (8 GS). While I have to give him his due and give him a spot on the list, I’m not convinced Borucki is a very impactful fantasy arm. This is going to sound a lot like the Richards analysis…because it is a lot like the Richards analysis! Borucki was quite adept at limiting homers in the minors, and has a microscopic 0.19 HR/9 to this point. That’s a 1.9% HR/FB. You can file that under “unsustainable”. His xFIP normalizes the HR/FB% and puts his ERA at 4.55. While Borucki has better control than Richards, his strikeout rate is far worse at 6.00 K/9. His swinging strike rate of just 6.7% confirms that the low K-rate is here to stay. Even if the HR regression doesn’t catch up to Borucki the rest of the way, his ceiling is lower than the one in Peter Dinklage’s condo because of the K’s.
  • Tyler Glasnow, TB (SP90) – Unlike Richards and Borucki, Glasnow is a low-floor, mega-ceiling option. It feels like we’ve been waiting on Glasnow to put everything together forever, yet he’s just 24 years old. Glasnow was inconsistent out of the pen in Pittsburgh, with an 11.60 K/9 but 5.5 BB/9 and 4.34 ERA/1.45 WHIP. The Rays have started him twice in a row and appear set to stretch him out as a starter. He’s allowed just two runs on four hits over seven innings with Tampa, striking out 14 while walking just 1. Wow. He hasn’t adjusted his arsenal since the move though, and without a third pitch I’m still not convinced he’s a good starter. If the Rays have finally found a way to harness his control at least, that alone will go a long way towards him being a viable fantasy option. He’s definitely worth the flier in deeper formats and remains a must-own in dynasty leagues.
  • Tommy Milone, WSH (SP91) – A Quad-A pitcher if ever there was one, Tommy Boy actually had me going there for a bit with his first two starts for the Nats. He gave up just four runs in 12 innings with a 15:0 K:BB rate, but those starts came against the Mets and Marlins. The Braves came to town and knocked him around for seven runs in six innings in his third start, fully wet-blanketing most of the optimism I had. He still hasn’t walked a batter, for what that’s worth, and there is a notable change to dig into here. Milone has scrapped the cutter that had just one MPH of separation from his fastball and was terrible last year. Instead, he’s tossing a slider at 78 MPH around 13% of the time. It’s getting a solid 17% whiffs, and his o-swing% has erupted to 47%. Unfortunately his fastball is terrible, and he’s going to be homer-prone because of it. You can stay away unless you’re in a deep mixer.

The Top 100 Starting Pitchers

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

You can find Dokken on Twitter @NathanDokken

 
  1. Chucky says:
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    Your late to the show on Godley. #3 K’s since ASB. The ERA and Whip too, rock solid 2.84/1.04 not to mention 2 Ws, and a nifty .572 OPS v. I don’t know what he’s doing differently, but its working.

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Chucky: Today’s start makes three good ones in a row, which is a bit more actionable than what was really just two good starts even just since the ASB. I don’t see a change in pitch mix or anything, so perhaps it’s something mechanically he’s cleaned up. Unless he blows up this week he should make a decent jump on the next list!

    • Slappy Jack says:
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      @Chucky: I still don’t trust him

  2. Rick Brown says:
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    Hey Dokken,
    I play in a H2H league on Yahoo called Metal & Hardrock #1.You wouldn’t be Rokken with Dokken would you?

    RICK

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Rick Brown: I wish I was, Rick. I wish I was.

  3. Weird Fishes says:
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    where would C-Mart and Wacha slot in here if they were healthy?

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Weird Fishes: Martinez would slot in around 30, Wacha around 45.

      • Dokken

        Dokken says:
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        @Dokken: Update: Martinez will pitch out of the bullpen the rest of the season whenever he’s off the DL. Don’t expect him to return to the list.

  4. Tiny C says:
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    Did today’s news from LA- LA land that Maeda and Stripling would be shipped to the bullpen in favor of inserting Wood and Ryu into the Dodger rotation change your rankings on any of them? I’m thinking of dropping Chase Anderson for Ryu or Trevor Richards this week. Good move for either one?

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Tiny C: Yeah, that news definitely caught me off guard. Ryu is really hit or miss, but I’d rather have him than Anderson or Richards. Keep in mind his first start off the DL will likely be abbreviated.

      • Re-Pete says:
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        @Dokken:
        After the Ryu start going so well, any thoughts as to where he slots in?

        • Dokken

          Dokken says:
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          @Re-Pete: He’s still a bit volatile injury-wise, but hopefully he can make it the last couple weeks and be fine. He’ll be around SP40 next week.

  5. batflix says:
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    It’s weird, Kyle Freeland is in the FA pool in most of my leagues (~7) and I can’t bring myself to pick him up.
    even tho I probably should

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @batflix: It’s hard to get too excited for any Rockies pitcher, I get it! He has also been pitching over his head for sure, but he’s a solid overall option.

  6. Cheaptrout says:
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    If the starter does not go five, he is not eligible for the win, but anyone following him is. The second pitcher does not have to go four to qualify for the dub.

    • Starz says:
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      @Cheaptrout: Huh, I had to look this up and the rule only mandates a starting pitcher go 5 innings (or 4 innings at home of shortened) to credit for the win. It doesn’t cover relief pitchers at all, so I guess you’re right. I always thought the pitcher in the 5th inning mattered.

      Have we seen this used recently where a reliever gained the win by pitching at least one inning, earning the lead before the 5th inning, and coming out of the game before the end of the 5th (with the lead holding)?

      One cool wrinkle is the exception to this rule where the official scorer can use judgement when awarded a W to a relief pitcher. From rule 9.17(c):
      “The official scorer shall not credit as the winning pitcher a
      relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when at
      least one succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping
      his team maintain its lead. In such a case, the official scorer
      shall credit as the winning pitcher the succeeding relief pitcher
      who was most effective, in the judgment of the official scorer”

      • Dokken

        Dokken says:
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        @Starz: This is true! So weird to think about this in relation to what the Rays are doing. Weird and fun. Damn I love baseball.

  7. MagaMan says:
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    Gun to your head Bieber @ Cincy (Stephenson) or Dereck Rodriguez @ Cincy (Desclafani)? I need wins, bad……

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @MagaMan: Egads, I’ll answer willingly! You don’t need to put a gun to my head. I guess I’ll go with Rodriguez, but wins are fleeting, my friend.

  8. Ozzie Smith says:
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    A lot of those guys in the top 50 that are hard to own in 10 team and 12 team redraft leagues.
    I find myself with several guys I would love to give the boot to in one particular 10 team league in favor of streaming…
    Archer
    Ray
    Quintana
    Guys on the wire…
    Wheeler
    Heaney
    Pivetta
    Skaggs
    Gausman
    Etc.
    Tough year for pitching

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Ozzie Smith: Yeah man, I only really feel good about the guys in the top 20. Even SP20-30 is pretty blah. Weird year for sure. I’d definitely be open to streaming out Quintana in particular for plus matchups with guys like Pivetta and Wheeler. Unfortunately we lost Skaggs now, too.

  9. Anthony Culotta says:
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    No German Marquez?

    • Dokken

      Dokken says:
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      @Anthony Culotta: I meant to slot him into the back end and I totally failed. He deserves a spot on the list. Not in love with him by any means, but he’s a top 100 SP for sure. Noted for next week.

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