Well it was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it Michael Kopech owners? We wait all year for the call up, he gets multiple starts interrupted by rain, gets blown up for seven runs, and now won’t pitch a meaningful inning until 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery to fix his torn UCL. ISN’T BASEBALL FUN. I AM HAVING A BALL. You know what else is fun? Trying to rank starting pitchers when multiple teams aren’t even using starting pitchers anymore. Now it’s “openers” and “primary pitchers”. What am I supposed to do with this?! Ranking a hundred damn starters is hard enough without this Opener business to deal with! Come on MLB managers, throw me a friggin bone here! Where did my bottle of gin get to…
- Derek Holland, SF (+14) – The Giants may have the worst offense in baseball right now, but one thing they do have going for them is some solid pitching. Bummy has been a bit questionable given expectations, but surprises like Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez have been quite pleasant. You can count Holland among those pleasant surprises. He walks more batters than you’d like, and that keeps his ceiling somewhat capped. Outside of that though, he’s been effective. He now boasts a 3.54 ERA on the year (and I’m sure he does boast about it) along with nearly a strikeout per inning. He finally cracks the top 40 this week, although with that walk rate and only a few weeks left to go, this is about as high as he’ll climb.
- Luis Castillo, CIN (+9) – I could be mistaken, but I believe at one point Castillo had dropped off the list entirely. It was deserved, since he posted a whopping 5.49 ERA in the first half of the season. Yowza. Well, most casual fantasy baseballers have stopped paying attention by now, so they won’t know that Castillo has posted a 3.20 ERA over 45 second-half innings. He also has an obscene 10.60 K/9 and 1.60 BB/9. His fastball was getting tattooed early on, as his velocity dipped down to 95 MPH on average. So far in September it’s back up to 97 where it was last year, and the results have been markedly better. He’s at least back in streamer territory for the rest of the season, and his ADP in 2019 will be a fun one to watch.
- Jake Junis, KC (+14) – Junis was an easy one to write off after a 5.13 ERA through the All Star break. However, after the break he has posted a shiny 2.75 ERA with over a strikeout per inning. His command has improved, and with that he has been able to correct what killed him over the first half: the home run. He has gone from a 2.12 HR/9 in the first half to a mere 0.52 HR/9 over his last 52.1. He gets two starts next week against weak division foes in the White Sox and Twins, and he’s worth a look in deeper leagues as he tries to keep the good times rolling.
- Jose Berrios, MIN (-14) – After a few rough starts early in the season, Berrios was able to fix his delivery and get back to pitching like the Twins best starter. Granted, that isn’t saying much, but back to pitching like a top 20 starter. He got back into a slump over the second half, and unfortunately he hasn’t been able to get right as of yet. I gave him a bit of the benefit of the doubt after he fixed himself earlier, but this prolonged slump is too much to ignore with such little season left. Berrios has a 4.69 ERA over the second half while his walk rate has more than doubled to 4.46 BB/9. Fortunately he’ll miss the Yankees series and get the Royals again the next time out, so if you’re in a pinch you can throw him out there and hope for the best.
- Sean Newcomb, ATL (-18) – Newcomb was due for some obvious regression in the first half. His 3.51 ERA and 8.31 K/9 were nice, but he was still walking 4.46 batters per nine. His FIP was 4.15. His second-half FIP is 4.23, but his ERA has swung to the other side of his FIP, as it lies at 4.87. The K-BB% has only changed 0.4%. Fortunately for him, he gets the Giants his next time out, which is nearly a must-start. He’s still in deep league streaming territory, but I wouldn’t trust him against patient offenses.
- Andrew Heaney, LAA (-14) – I have no idea why most of these players I’ve highlighted today are rising or falling by 14 spots, but it’s kind of freaking me out. I mean, I could go in and change them I guess, but that seems like a lot of work. Besides, I enjoy creepy things. Yes, I am looking forward to Halloween. Where am I? Oh yes, Razzland. Baseball. Right. Heaney was a big riser earlier in the season, but it seems that as the Angels playoff hopes have faded, so too has Heaney. He has put up a 4.85 ERA over 55.2 second-half innings, dropping more than a strikeout per inning. He could very well just be wearing out, since his 164.1 innings are just a touch higher than the 49.1 innings he tossed in 2017 as he worked his way back from Tommy John. He’s tough to roll with the rest of the season, but I will probably be into his 2019 ADP if this second half depresses his overall numbers enough.
The Top 100 Starting Pitchers
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