I was gonna write a big intro with fanfare and fireworks and 19 different synonyms for “Rocktoberfest” but I’m staring at a 3,000-word article and I know y’all have spring fever. I really hope it’s not Covid. ENYWHEY. Let’s forgo the comedic intro and get deep into the pitcher landscape, which is rocky and tumultuous as if a meteor landed and blew everything up. Also, I talk about Robbie Ray’s tight pants. Come, meet me after the jump!

News and Notes

Carlos RodonBEING THE PITCHING GUY IS GREAT, I GET TO TALK ABOUT NO-HITTERS EVERY WEEK! Whew! Well, now that we’re on pace for nearly 30 no-hitters this year and a couple of perfect games, I suppose I better revamp my rankings to predict who goes the distance. Lemme look at last year’s no-hitter…ah, yes, Alec Mills. Where is he now? Oh, the bullpen on the Cubs, sitting in favor of aces like Jake Arrieta. So here’s the deal with Rodon: the guy’s barely returned from Tommy John surgery, and he was basically out of a job until this winter when Bob Nightengale reported that the White Sox had re-signed their closer, Carlos Rodon. Nightengale’s error must have really peeved Rodon, who blasted his way into spring training and then began destroying MLB batters. Like, we have a lot of data on Carlos Rodon. He’s got 550IP of pretty blah numbers, and the best fantasy performance he’s given came in 2016, when he finished as SP67. In other words, Rodon’s been in the majors for nearly six years and has never been good enough to roster on a 12-team lineup…until now. Throw me some hate mail if you want, but I didn’t believe Rodon’s spring training re-invention, and I’m still — still! — pretty hesitant about recommending him. But the data all agree: Rodon is now — at least for the moment — a top-tier pitcher. Is his arm strong enough to hold out? Will his changes last? Will I ever stop writing about Robbie Ray in his tight pants? Oh, hey, ya know what? Rodon’s still available in 25% of leagues. Go get him and welcome to the 2021 version of Corbin Burnes.

While I’m at it, I’ve seen some commentary that the 2 no-no’s to start 2021 is a statement about the lack of offense on the field, helping justify MLB’s proposition to move the pitcher’s mound back a foot. Honestly, Rodon’s no-no had only 7 strikeouts, meaning the other 20 batters all put the ball in play. When you think about it, even a team batting .100 should have eeked out 2 hits. Yes, no-hitters are a skill and should be celebrated, but to a degree, we have to recognize the role of arbitrariness. Sure, if Rodon had K’d 15 people, the discussion would be different. But 20 balls in play and no hits means a lot of defensive work and a fair amount of luck. I say let the players play, and don’t start messing with the mound distance. Onwards!

Corbin BurnesSpeaking of historical starts, Corbin Burnes has 30K:0BB, 4 hits in 18IP, giving him a WHIP of 0.10…and he’s still 16th on the player rater. Like, the guy has nearly thrown three no-hitters in a row with 10K a piece and he’s still below Ryan McMahon and Mitch Haniger. So! Don’t draft pitchers early. Uh, this is awkward, so lemme quote Blink-182 and move on: I’m feeling this. 

Wade MileyLemme remember back, not fondly whatsoever, to 2020, when lil’ Blair started writing for Razzball. [wavy lines and whooshing noises] Also the not fond part is because of the pandemic, not because I didn’t like writing for Razzball [wavy lines finish] Whoa man, it’s week 3 of 2020, and Randy Dobnak and Alec Mills are in the top 10 on the Player Rater! Now, I can either dump my savings into short-selling Dobnak, or Bitcoin and Dogecoin…what should I do? SHORT SELL DOBNAK! [wavy lines] OK, back in 2021, and I’m still as poor as in 2020, but I’m slightly smarter on pitchers. Wade Miley is a top 10 SP on the Player Rater. He has a career BABIP of over .300, and his current BABIP is .143. He has a career Left on Base percentage (LOB%) of about 73%; this year, it’s 100%. His career K-BB% is 10%, and this year it’s 17%…you get the point. Sometimes pitchers get lucky, and maybe Miley is going to have that late-career renaissance that Rich Hill had. His fastball is worse than his career averages, and he’s throwing his changeup more. So, uh, it’s not like we’re seeing a massive re-discovery of Miley. He might be worth rostering in deep leagues as a dart throw, but I would treat him more like Alec Mills from 2020 — starting in the top 10 pitchers and plummeting down off of rosters by the end of the year.

Danny DuffyWhat is this, hipster pitcher list? Yeah, I mean, I could just be like “Yu Darvish good” but that doesn’t help the managers who don’t have Yu Darvish rostered, right? So here’s where I check the percent of players rostered in the RCLs, and where I report some value might be found. Caveat the first: RCLs cater to streaming. Caveat the second: like Wade Miley above, being high on the Player Rater early in the year isn’t necessarily a sign of enduring success. But when we’ve got an 11% rostered player who is SP21, we might want to take a look at them, right? Danny Duffy is bizarro-Wade Miley: they’re both playing way beyond their fantasy pay grade, except Duffy seems to be showing early signs of legitimate improvement. Now at 32 years old, Duffy’s fastball is back to its highest velocity since 2016, and his peripherals are all in line with career norms. He’s throwing his slider more than ever, and Ripley (believe it or not!), he’s actually getting a bit unlucky on his called strikes. Everything else is in line with career norms…which is to say, “bleh,” but if you’re looking for a streamer or an SP5, Duffy’s got the early lead on your gig work opportunity.

Luke WeaverSame familiar story as the other pitchers. Weaver was a top 40 SP on Grey’s rating going into 2020, and then 2020 happened and everything fell apart. Thing is, 2020 was in itself a small sample size, even if the year lasted 900 days and is still going. Weaver actually had K-BB% and SIERA rate in 2020 that would have put him fringe top 60, if it wasn’t for the outrageous .364 BABIP. Everything else was more or less in line with his career norms, but the lucky extra people getting on base were driven home by his normal proclivity to give up homers. Now it’s 2021 and 50% of us have some Moderna in our arms and fresh haircuts, and Luke Weaver has 12 innings of pretty adequate pitching. There are a couple of things to pay attention to with Weaver, the first being his .064 BABIP. Sometimes you roll a seven, other times seven rolls you. The other thing is that he’s completely abandoned his curveball. OK, we’re only a couple of starts into the season and sometimes pitchers don’t throw their entire repertoire. But, Weaver is effectively going fastball/changeup so far, and that’s it. And it’s working. But you know, I was a fastball changeup pitcher in high school and that got me sent out to right field when my slider never took hold. Weaver’s profile looks more like a reliever right now, and if he doesn’t bring in a breaking ball soon, he’ll be back to the pitching trenches in short order.

Huascar YnoaNow we’re throwing with fire! Full disclosure: I spent nearly all of my RazzSlam FAAB on Huascar. Why did I spend nearly all my FAAB on a guy who has 2 starts and no clear rotation spot? Because if Ynoa catches on, he’s going to be 2020 Corbin Burnes in 2021. But not 2021 Corbin Burnes because that’s cleanliness which is next to godliness. So, if I said, 30.2% K-BB%, 2.29 SIERA, and 32.9% CSW%, you’d find those numbers in my S-Tier (no, don’t go looking for that on my body). OK, the 92% zone contact rate is horrifying but the 14% swinging strike rate is thrilling. His slider is one of the best in the league, most of his contact is medium-hard (hehe!) and hitters are basically driving the ball into the ground when he’s standing 60’6″ inches away. Manfred wants another foot though. If I had another foot, you’d be calling me a Martian. ENYWHEY. IFF (the philosophical kind) Ynoa keeps up his current rates, he’s a top 20 pitcher with top 10 upside. But he also has the ability to finish as SP60 or in the bullpen. No pain, no gain, right? I’m not sitting on the sidelines for Ynoa, and you know a good pitcher when you see them. He has the highest upside of any pitcher that started in the “streamers” tier this year, and that’s all you need to worry about. If you capture that upside, your team just landed another SP1. If he flops, oh well, Danny Duffy is still out there. Yeah, his Saturday start was crizzap. His CSW% was 33%. His xFIP was 3.55. His swinging strike rate was 12%. Even the best pitchers are studs only 75% of the time and throw duds the other 25%. If Ynoa throws like this he did to start the season 60% of the time, he’s still a top 30 pitcher. Roll the dice!

Michael FulmerWhen you’ve got Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, and Matt Manning gunning for your job, you do your best to improve, right? Fulmer entered into a crowded rotation in Detroit, where everything is up for grabs as A.J. Hinch tries to rekindle his career with the MLB equivalent of the Bad News Bears. Fulmer had 10 starts last year and 27 innings pitched. I mean, SP were down to 4.8 innings per start last year, but Fulmer was basically an opener. With an 8,78 ERA and a 6.91 FIP, Fulmer invited the young studs in the Tigers’ farm system to take his job. Then, to open 2021, Fulmer threw 7 innings in relief, tallying up a 12 K/9 with no walks and an ERA around 2.57. Pitching Twitter lit up with Fulmer’s first start, where he threw 5 innings, allowing 2 runs and 3 hits while striking out 2 against Houston. Fulmer’s fastball is up 2MPH from 2020, but none of his pitches are really valuing off-the-charts. Whereas Ynoa’s slider is more or less the third-best slider in MLB right now, Fulmer has some negative value pitches and his slider is rating in the top 10. The last time Fulmer’s pitches rated “exceptional” — in my esteemed Zagat’s Guide to Pitch Ratings — was 2017. So, we can keep an eye on Fulmer, but I wouldn’t expect too much change from him compared to previous years.

Stephen Strasburg4IP, 8R (7ER), 5BB this week, cumulative 6.93 FIP and 5.19 SIERA. Told y’all to temper expectations. He just hit the IL with [checks notes] shoulder inflammation. Seriously y’all, that’s not good. The guy who couldn’t feel his hand last year and destroyed a vestigial tendon in his leg this year is now out with an injury that is super-debilitating for pitchers. Hopefully, you took my advice to stay away from him, and if you didn’t, well, go get Ynoa if you can.

Jack Flaherty5IP, 1ER, 6K, 0BB. Despite his rough start he’s sitting in the top 40 on the pitcher player rater. Think of him like Dogecoin: pretty cheap now but about to blow up (in a good way).

Lance LynnTo the IL with a trap strain. That’s also what I call my unique genre of dance music that makes you sore.

Patrick CorbinThe hell is going on with Pappy Co? I mean, I’ve been writing about guys with 21.00 ERA for a few weeks now and telling you not to worry, and bois and 3 girls and 1 enby reader, I’m here to tell you: worry. Tee-bee-H, I’m seeing flashes of Luke Weaver in 2020. OK, that’s not re-assuring whatsoever. But PaCo’s velocity is down, which affects his slider, which is now clocked at 78 MPH, or not even worth pulling over on most interstates. Thing is, he’s still grinding a swinging strike rate about 10%, his CSW% is acceptable at 27%, and most of his zone contact numbers are on average for his career. And his BABIP is .381. Of course, it doesn’t help he’s walking more batters than he’s striking out. So, fingers crossed, PaCo pulls a Luke Weaver…or dare I say…Joe Musgrove, and shakes the rust off after a few starts to unleash a strong 2021 finish.

Robbie RaySigh. I mean, I’m friends with Eno Sarris on Twitter. I know super-serial MLB bigwigs read this website. And nobody passed my article to Robbie Ray? The reformation of Robbie Ray was simple: be like Corbin Burnes and get rid of the fastball and replace it with his sinker. 2021 comes and what’s Robbie Ray doing? He’s throwing his fastball more than ever and he’s nearly abandoned his elite slider for his mediocre curveball. Guy walked six batters in 5IP on Sunday. Like, I know I was bold to say, “Robbie Ray will finish in the top 50,” but it came premised on a very simple change that just reinvented Corbin Burnes’ career. See that blurb about Burnes 2000 words ago? 30K and 0BB? That’s all ya had to do Robbie: get rid of your awful fastball, not throw it more! ENYWHEY. Guess what pitch RoRa has basically abandoned in 2021? His sinker. His fastball is faster but the spin rate is down, and he’s back to doing his old gig of random burst of control and wildness. Sorry, everybody. If Ray continues following this trend of pitch selection, he’s not going to be roster-able in 12-team formats. At least we still have his tight pants.

JT BrubakerBelieve it or not, Brubaker is only two years younger than Ray. So, uh, we’re looking at a “slow starter” by MLB standards. And, well, his swinging strike and CSW% are pretty comparable to Patrick Corbin right now. Look at me hedge! Whereas I saw Ynoa’s numbers and got really excited, I’m looking at Brubaker’s stats and seeing SP30-50 upside. That’s not bad at all considering he’s a waiver wire darling. I’m not a huge strength of schedule truther, but Brubaker’s last two starts — where he had a 1.59 ERA and nearly an 8:1 K/BB — were against the Brewers and the Cubs, who are #28 and #29 in the league in wRC+. The Cubs have a team batting average of .184, and the Brewers have a team batting average of .210. So, I’m not selling the farm for Brubaker, but he’s definitely worth an add in all formats to see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Dane DunningLet’s finish the wrapup with Dane Dunning, who has 15IP, a 0.60 ERA, and a 24.1% K-BB%. Guess which two of those aren’t within his career norms? Dunning isn’t walking anybody, which gives him elite upside, but the last time he showed this kind of K/BB dominance was when he was in high-A ball. I’m not saying to avoid Dunning, but he’s less daring and more dulling.

FAAB God, Millionaire

Here are some lesser-rostered players in NFBC leagues that I’d consider FAAB’ing. I should note that in my Sunday night FAAB run, all of these guys were taken, so…good luck?

  • Alex CobbHe’s sitting on the cusp of tier 2 and he’s available in half of NFBC leagues. This could be the last cheap weak to snag him.
  • Jakob JunisPlaying well, could always end up in long relief.
  • Michael WachaLooks like he’s reinvented himself on the Rays. Don’t expect him to get quality starts tho…
  • Danny DuffySee blurb above.
  • Huascar YnoaStill available in 56% of NFBC leagues…who are surprisingly less competitive than Razzball’s Commenter Leagues [thinking face emoji]

Space:X Rankings

Well now! Hopefully you’ve read my spiels for the past 2 months and I’ll blast through this part: I rank in tiers, and the players near the top of the tiers represent a touch more certainty than the players in the bottom of the tiers. I fixed my organization this week, and this should cover just about every pitcher who has started a game so far. Pitchers who haven’t started a game (like Chris Sale, etc.) are not included.

  • S-Tier: Players have the qualities of pitchers most likely to finish in the Top 10.
  • A-Tier: Players have the qualities of pitchers most likely to finish SP5-40.
  • B-Tier: Players have the qualities of pitchers most likely to finish SP10-60.
  • C-Tier: Streamers and deep league pitchers
  • D-Tier: Contrarian matchup plays and injured pitchers.

Here are some notable player movements:

  • Shohei OhtaniOur writer Torres mentioned in group chat that Ohtani is #2 on the streamonator this week. Obviously, I’m in disagreement with that and in the full-season run. Please keep in mind, my rankings are based on season-to-date information, and Rudy combines recent and regressed info. Long story short: he’s a big gamble with big upside this week.
  • Tyler GlasnowJoins the S-Tier. He’s always had S-Tier stuff, but he’s also got D-Tier durability. One of these years he’ll last the whole season and return top 10 value, and fingers crossed that this is the year.
  • Hyun-Jin RyuJoins the S-Tier as well. Toldya.
  • Freddy PeraltaMakes the A-Tier. Toldya to add him in the last week of the pre-season.
  • Huascar YnoaEven after the bad outing, his numbers still indicate a potential for A-Tier finishes. Risky as heck but he’s this year’s Corbin Burnes if he holds his rotation spot and continues to produce like this. Yes, I know, two pitches. WHATEVER.
  • A-Tier in General: You see how all those pitchers in the A-Tier have very similar stats? And how some of them are names like Jordan Montgomery, Steven Matz, and Michael Pineda? That’s why you don’t draft pitchers early. If you need starters, there are a bunch of A-Tier all-stars who are still available on the waiver wire in most leagues.
  • Alex Cobb: Numbers are A-Tier quality, but he’s coming off major injuries. Take the gamble.

If you have questions, drop them down in the comments. Keep your hate mail in your desk, and have an awesome week!

Corbin Burnes 18.1 48.40% 1.07 39.00%
Jacob deGrom 20 44.40% 1.44 35.40%
Gerrit Cole 18.1 37.10% 2 35.30%
Joe Musgrove 19 32.80% 2.04 35.40%
Tyler Glasnow 24.2 32.20% 2.42 34.60%
Shane Bieber 21.1 32.10% 2.49 39.20%
Trevor Bauer 20 32.00% 2.45 34.80%
Jose Berrios 16 31.70% 2.55 30.40%
Lucas Giolito 17.2 30.90% 2.51 32.80%
Brandon Woodruff 17 24.60% 2.97 28.30%
Yu Darvish 24.2 24.50% 3.2 32.80%
Hyun-Jin Ryu 19 23.30% 2.86 32.10%
Aaron Nola 15.2 20.80% 3.41 28.70%
Zac Gallen 4 33.30% 2.47 34.10%
Lance Lynn 19.2 32.50% 2.36 28.10%
Max Scherzer 19 30.40% 3.09 32.10%
Freddy Peralta 11 30.00% 2.91 34.80%
Huascar Ynoa 15 28.80% 2.56 34.70%
Tyler Mahle 14 26.80% 3.06 33.20%
Carlos Rodon 14 26.00% 3.01 33.00%
Jose Urquidy 16 22.70% 3.47 26.10%
Trevor Rogers 15 22.60% 3.59 32.70%
Charlie Morton 17 22.50% 3.19 35.70%
Dylan Bundy 19 22.10% 3.39 33.10%
Clayton Kershaw 24.2 21.40% 3.29 31.50%
Andrew Heaney 14.1 21.10% 3.55 29.80%
Sandy Alcantara 24.2 21.00% 3.44 30.70%
Michael Pineda 18 20.90% 3.45 35.20%
Jordan Montgomery 17 20.90% 3.5 29.90%
Zack Wheeler 18 20.00% 3.55 27.10%
Sonny Gray 4.1 19.00% 3.96 32.40%
Zach Eflin 20 18.40% 3.85 28.00%
Kevin Gausman 19.2 17.60% 4.08 30.10%
Steven Matz 18.1 17.60% 3.73 30.00%
Blake Snell 10.1 17.60% 4.06 30.30%
Pablo Lopez 15.2 17.20% 3.8 27.80%
Yusei Kikuchi 19 16.50% 3.98 31.00%
Jack Flaherty 15.1 15.90% 4.12 26.80%
Walker Buehler 18 15.70% 4.13 28.20%
Kenta Maeda 14.2 15.70% 4.06 28.50%
Zack Greinke 25.2 12.10% 4.57 28.70%
David Peterson 10 31.00% 2.45 36.10%
Alex Cobb 11.2 30.60% 2.19 32.50%
Eduardo Rodriguez 10 27.50% 2.76 27.10%
Cristian Javier 8.2 25.70% 3.05 29.80%
Michael Wacha 11 25.00% 3.12 30.60%
Dustin May 10.1 25.00% 2.68 31.40%
Dane Dunning 15 24.10% 3.1 29.20%
Matt Shoemaker 11 23.90% 3.37 26.20%
Jakob Junis 10 23.70% 3.21 31.70%
Jake Odorizzi 3.1 23.50% 4.04 25.00%
Griffin Canning 10.1 20.90% 3.55 28.90%
Brady Singer 8.1 20.00% 3.29 33.10%
Luke Weaver 16.2 19.70% 3.85 27.80%
JT Brubaker 15.1 19.70% 3.37 29.30%
Johnny Cueto 20 18.90% 3.71 26.80%
Ian Anderson 15.1 17.90% 3.64 28.00%
Adbert Alzolay 10.1 17.90% 3.66 33.10%
Anthony DeSclafani 17 17.10% 3.7 25.50%
Taijuan Walker 10.1 17.10% 3.95 31.10%
Sean Manaea 16.2 15.90% 4.05 27.50%
Julio Urias 18.2 15.60% 4.15 29.50%
Jordan Lyles 15.1 15.60% 4.48 27.10%
John Means 16.2 15.40% 4.34 30.20%
Nathan Eovaldi 17.1 15.20% 3.48 29.80%
Aaron Civale 20.2 15.10% 4.05 23.20%
Kyle Hendricks 9 15.00% 4.07 25.70%
Tyler Anderson 15.2 14.90% 4.12 29.80%
Rich Hill 14.1 14.80% 4.09 31.80%
Max Fried 11 14.10% 4.1 30.10%
Chris Flexen 16 13.90% 4.19 21.20%
Mike Foltynewicz 16 13.40% 4.46 23.10%
Luis Castillo 15.1 13.40% 4.06 29.40%
Cole Irvin 15.2 13.20% 4.26 20.90%
Casey Mize 16 13.00% 4 25.90%
Jake Arrieta 17 12.50% 4.7 28.40%
Logan Webb 10.1 12.50% 4.17 31.70%
Jon Gray 15.2 12.30% 4.49 26.80%
Ryan Yarbrough 16.2 12.00% 4.47 27.50%
Matthew Boyd 19.1 11.50% 4.6 29.90%
Mike Minor 15.2 10.30% 4.83 27.40%
Jeff Hoffman 15.1 9.40% 4.84 27.20%
Marcus Stroman 12.1 8.70% 3.8 25.60%
Merrill Kelly 16 8.10% 5.01 25.00%
German Marquez 22.2 7.20% 4.73 25.90%
Chris Paddack 13 6.80% 4.91 25.50%
Chris Bassitt 16.1 4.20% 5.39 24.70%
Jose De Leon 9.1 28.90% 2.83 35.90%
Jameson Taillon 8.1 23.70% 3.55 27.80%
Drew Smyly 11 23.30% 3.41 29.20%
Trevor Cahill 13 23.00% 3.15 29.80%
Triston McKenzie 9 18.40% 4.19 27.60%
Wade Miley 11 17.90% 3 26.50%
Frankie Montas 14.2 17.20% 3.89 25.50%
Erick Fedde 11.1 17.00% 4.01 23.50%
Adam Wainwright 12.2 14.30% 4.16 31.90%
Danny Duffy 12 14.30% 4.34 25.40%
Matt Harvey 14.1 14.10% 4.15 23.60%
Zach Plesac 13.2 13.80% 4.21 25.30%
Aaron Sanchez 14.2 12.70% 3.97 24.80%
Jesus Luzardo 13 12.30% 4.52 28.20%
Lance McCullers Jr. 13.2 11.70% 4.47 33.00%
Kohei Arihara 14.2 10.50% 4.67 23.40%
Logan Allen 12 9.60% 4.41 26.00%
Corey Kluber 10.1 9.40% 4.65 30.50%
Trevor Williams 14.1 9.10% 4.4 30.20%
Shohei Ohtani 4.2 9.10% 4.89 30.40%
Carlos Martinez 15 8.80% 4.73 26.60%
Bruce Zimmermann 17 8.70% 4.83 26.90%
Stephen Strasburg 10 8.70% 5.21 29.50%
Taylor Widener 17 8.60% 5.12 29.10%
Marco Gonzales 15.1 8.30% 5.04 23.40%
J.A. Happ 8.2 8.30% 5.07 20.50%
Brett Anderson 17 5.80% 4.52 21.30%
Michael Fulmer 5 5.30% 3.28 26.90%
Adrian Houser 14.1 5.10% 4.53 19.90%
Garrett Richards 12 5.10% 5.4 22.70%
John Gant 9 4.80% 5.34 24.60%
Brad Keller 10.1 3.60% 5.13 22.90%
Dallas Keuchel 14 3.20% 4.99 27.40%
Austin Gomber 15.1 1.50% 6.09 26.80%
Zach Davies 11.1 -1.70% 6.17 23.40%
Patrick Corbin 6.1 -2.50% 6.68 27.30%
Chris Archer 2.1 40.00% 1.62 28.60%
Tommy Milone 2.1 36.40% 1.76 33.30%
Elieser Hernandez 2.1 33.30% 2.15 29.40%
Brent Honeywell 2 33.30% 2.31 33.30%
Tanner Houck 5 31.80% 2.29 34.10%
Derek Holland 2.2 23.10% 3.2 32.60%
Joey Lucchesi 3 21.40% 3.57 32.70%
Jorge Lopez 13.2 20.30% 3.38 28.40%
Anthony Kay 3.1 18.80% 2.67 21.40%
Kwang-hyun Kim 3 18.80% 3.8 26.50%
Ross Stripling 8.1 17.10% 4.03 26.50%
Nick Margevicius 3 16.70% 4.05 25.40%
Dean Kremer 10.2 16.00% 4.01 28.40%
Joe Ross 11 15.00% 3.93 31.40%
Domingo German 7 13.90% 4.49 29.30%
Kyle Wright 4.1 13.60% 4.31 30.80%
Tanner Roark 3 13.30% 5.65 25.40%
Justus Sheffield 11 12.80% 4.03 25.40%
Kyle Gibson 13.1 10.20% 4.58 30.00%
Madison Bumgarner 13.2 9.60% 4.87 29.20%
Dylan Cease 14 9.50% 4.92 26.20%
Ervin Santana 3 9.10% 6.45 30.60%
Jose Urena 14.2 9.00% 4.66 24.80%
Ryan Weathers 3.2 7.10% 5.08 21.50%
Mitch Keller 11.1 7.00% 5.24 27.50%
Lewis Thorpe 4 6.70% 4.52 35.00%
Martin Perez 10 6.40% 5.43 25.00%
Jose Quintana 5 5.90% 5.21 30.60%
Caleb Smith 3 5.60% 5.47 25.30%
Matt Moore 11 5.10% 5.52 21.80%
Adrian Morejon 4.2 5.00% 4.79 30.00%
Tarik Skubal 13.1 4.90% 6.2 23.60%
Nick Pivetta 14.2 4.60% 5.66 22.10%
Riley Smith 6 4.00% 5.39 20.70%
Antonio Senzatela 14 3.10% 5.26 22.60%
Chase Anderson 9 2.60% 5.64 27.90%
Chi Chi Gonzalez 10 0.00% 5.85 22.70%
T.J. Zeuch 8 0.00% 6.34 21.60%
Julio Teheran 5 0.00% 6.18 22.20%
Josh Fleming 5 0.00% 5.09 23.80%
Robbie Ray 5 0.00% 5.9 29.80%
Alec Mills 4 0.00% 3.85 17.10%
Justin Dunn 9.2 -2.40% 6.89 25.50%
Daniel Ponce de Leon 6.1 -5.70% 7.76 18.60%
Nick Neidert 9 -7.50% 7.62 19.30%
Daniel Castano 5 -10.50% 6.6 20.30%
Luis Garcia 3.1 -11.80% 8.87 20.60%
Chad Kuhl 10.2 -12.70% 8.42 26.90%

Aye, you made it this far, didn’t ya. EverywhereBlair is, well, located at home right now. He’s a historian and lover of prog-metal. He enjoys a good sipping rum. When he’s not churning data and making fan fiction about Grey and Donkey Teeth, you can find him dreaming of shirtless pictures of Lance Lynn on Twitter @Everywhereblair.

  1. NUX says:

    Love this post man, keep up the great work!

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Thanks Nux! Appreciate the support!

      • Jolt In Flow says:

        I echo Nux’s sentiment. You’re one of my favorite reads on here with your content and writing style.

        EWB, one quick one to check in on. Tarik Skubal; if you can give your best guess outlook on him for the current year? Will he even be in the MLB by year’s end? Will he be dominating by year’s end? Or do you expect him somewhere in the middle of those two outcomes?

        Thanks as always,


        • everywhereblair

          everywhereblair says:

          Jolt! You’re the best!

          Early in the year I proposed that the Tigers would have a low-key productive fantasy rotation. In my other role over at Pitcher List (where I don’t do fantasy but “real life” baseball), I was going to highlight the Tigers rotation this week…and then I loaded up the stats and I was far from impressed.

          Skubal’s young, and the sky’s the limit on his talent. But Hinch knows that he’s got time to rebuild the Tigers…their window of competitiveness isn’t this year, but next year and there after. Miggy will be off the books, and Tork will be the new face with a Mize/Skubal/Manning lineup (a ton of great talent in the Tigers farm system too). So with Skubal coming close to his service time limits, the Tigers may send him down. But Skubal has already shown that he’s mastered the minors, so somebody who gets paid big bucks in Detroit will make that decision.

          I see him improving if he spends more time in DET this year, probably towards an SP50-60 range. He’s going to have growing pains and bad starts, but his K upside and general K-BB% is elite upside.

          But 2022-2023? Oh hell yeah…if his trajectory maintains, we’ll be talking about him as top 30 easily.

          Hope this helps!

          • Jolt In Flow says:

            Perfect! Very much appreciated, EWB. That’s more than sufficient to help me make a decision on him.

            Keep up the excellent work.


  2. Murph says:

    Very helpful – I see you have Junis in the B tier but other sites seem to be bullish on his prospects cause of his new cutter … is he a better bet than a guy like Heaney long term? Or would you still take Heaney?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey Murph!

      Personally I like Heaney more, and a lot of folx early in pre-season wondered if Junis would even have a roster spot. The Royals have Kris Bubic due up soon, and Asa Lacy will be “the guy” within a year or two. Royals are waiting for that Bobby Witt/Asa Lacy combo to graduate and pair with Mondesi/Merrifield, so Junis — who is signed through 2024 — is basically a rotation filler until then.

      Heaney’s a free agent after next year so he’s got every incentive to get one more contract under his belt. So, long term, I stick with Heaney. Good luck!

  3. Marty Kearney says:

    Hello. I am starting Ryu and Trevor Rogers. With Gallen and Gray coming off the IL, I may have to cut a pitcher or two. We use 4 starters, 2 RP and a P category. Other SP are:

    Montas looks like he’s the first to drop. Your thoughts? Thanks

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey Marty!

      Of course I’m always looking to cut an RP first! But if that’s not an option, I cut Montas and probably Eovaldi. The reason is that people generally don’t like Eovaldi as much as Fried, so if Fried craps out, Eovaldi might still be sitting on the wire despite his production. Hope this helps!

  4. Don't Be a Hader says:

    Is G. Marquez rosterable in 12 teamers? Surprisingly good in his last home start.
    Rudy Gamble’s tools like him, BUT…
    You can’t start him at home; against the Dodgers; against the Padres…that’s a lot of don’t starts.
    And no one wants a Rock SP in a fantasy trade.

    The question is…is he more rosterable than say Smyly or your nemesis R. Ray?

    I guess when the ROx finally go full rebuild and trade Marquez and Story in a package he’ll be worth a roster spot?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey DBH!

      Agree with your assessments, and with Smyly going on the IL (who saw that coming?!?), Marquez is one of those upside streamers. A lot of his value last year (where he was a top 20 SP) came from being one of the top IP guys, and FWIW, big IP guys with acceptable K rates are super valuable in most leagues. WHIP is not as big of an issue as many pundits make it out to be. But, absolutely, Marquez is in a place where logical maneuvers just don’t apply. Who says, “Yeah, I’ll start Marquez against the Dodgers in Colorado!” Not me! So, diamond hands if you stick with him, but I’ve already dumped him from my RCL teams if that tells you anything.

      Hope that helps!

  5. Rush says:

    You’ve been high on John Means in your articles for quite some time. He looked dominant yesterday but moved down almost 30 spots in your rankings from the week before. Why did your outlook shift so severely?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey Rush!

      Thanks for checking in and for following my work! In regards to the tiers, it’s best not to see them “numerically.” As I covered in my pre-season article (https://razzball.com/top-100-starting-pitchers-preseason-sanjikai-edition/), it’s basically impossible to give a reasonable semblance of numerical ranking to players. So I present players in a tier where we can see their likely outcome based on their statistics. So, nothing truly changed in the assessment of Means from week 2 to 3; he’s still in Tier B, roughly in the middle of the tier in terms of my confidence in his performance. If anything, I just received more evidence to boost some lower ranked pitchers into upper tiers, such as Jordan Montgomery, Trevor Rogers, Yusei Kikuchi, etc. Means’ current stats –particularly his SIERA — are more typical of a mid-range starter, totally rosterable in 12-team formats across the board but not quite ready for A-Tier status.

      Hope that clears things up!

  6. Human Rain Delay says:

    Great list, lots of food for thought. Would it be possible to add row numbers to future lists to help visualize each pitcher’s relative ranking? Thanks!

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey HRD!

      I actually don’t rank numerically, so I personally worry that row numbers will give the perception that the players are hierarchical. However, I think it’s more than fair to add some markers to see “where” players are sitting roughly in terms of confidence intervals.

      Thanks for checking in!

  7. Slimcompoop says:

    What’s good Blair? Appreciate your stuff and find non-numerical rankings really helpful.

    I’m in a 12-team keeper and my pitching staff is Bauer, Darvish, Bundy, Dunning, Singer, Peterson, Bassitt, and Eovaldi. Not bad, but there are the likes of Brubaker and Canning out there that I’ve been keeping an eye on. Any moves there to be made in your opinion?

    Second question is who do you think are the end-of-season most impactful rookie starting pitchers that are currently in the minors?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey White Pony!

      I think you stick with that rotation, but I’m not opposed swapping Bassitt for Brubaker. I like Bassitt a lot but he can come with some big bumps and bruises. Canning is about the same kind of outcome as Bassitt.

      Depending on how you classify rookies, Skubal, Mize, McKenzie are probably my favorites to warm up. If you’re talking somebody who hasn’t reached the majors yet, I’d say Matt Manning is one of the upside arms to consider. Gore will probably show up this year but unless the Padres have a bunch of injuries, he won’t get many innings.

      Hope that helps!

      • Slimcompoop says:

        Thanks Blair! Good White Pony call…

  8. H says:

    Do you prefer Alex Cobb or Davis Peterson ROS?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Cobb by a nose. If he’s healthy, he’ll probably have the better outcome. That said, Peterson got banged up last year too…

  9. Anodyne says:

    You’ve persuaded me to pick up Huascar Ynoa. To grab him would you drop Matthew Boyd, Marcus Stroman, or Casey Mize?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      YOLO on Ynoa!

      I’d recommend dropping Boyd by a touch over Mize. I think Str0 is getting warmed up after time off so we’ve yet to see his true stuff. Boyd is likely there to eat innings this year, and Hinch won’t give him much of a leash. We’re seeing Boyd at his peak, whereas Mize is still ramping up.

      Hope this helps!

  10. Jordan says:

    Have Berrios, Lamet, Ynao, Pablo Lopez, Mahle, Pineda, Plesac, Mean, Sixto Sanchez.

    Do I have enough arms to trade Berrios for Pete Alonoso?

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      It’s tough, but I think you can do it. Lamet is the huge risk: if he’s healthy, you can do it for sure. But he’s been out of game activity and unable to throw his slider since last October, so that doesn’t bear well. Hope that helps!

  11. Huffin Gas says:

    Alright. Fine. I’m gonna pick up Cobb. You got me. I surrender. Don’t taze me.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      I’m already biting my nails!

  12. prestige says:

    Would you start Webb @ phillies tomorrow in 12 teamer? He worries me

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey Prestige!

      The official Razzball tools say “no.” I would only start Webb in a tournament situation…I see a 60% likely bad outcome and a 30% “ok” outcome and a 10% “hell yeah I knew he’d be an all-star” outcome.

      Hope that helps!

  13. muskysmell says:

    Hi, great stuff! Really hoping you’re right about Ynoa.

    Just wondering why you don’t have Nola in S-Tier. He seems like a Top 5 pitcher.

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey Musky!

      Yeah that’s my oversight. Nola was my #4 pre-season pitcher and when I’m lining up 150 SP, a couple are certainly going to get a bit overlooked. Nola is definitely S-Tier, and his complete game the other day wasn’t represented in the data I had collected by the time it went to press. Thanks for the heads up!

  14. The Rizzzzz says:

    So you’re saying I have to drop my sweet, sweet Dylan Cease for Michael Wacha? Ughhhh

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      You’re the one that said Cease is sweet. Cease sweet Cease sweet Cease sweet.

      I almost wrote sweat there.

      But yeah, Cease isn’t making magic right now. Maybe when it’s summer. Fingers crossed!

    • Ralph says:

      I have Nola, Castillo, Gallen, Fried, Plesac, Lamet, Carrasco, Montas, Marquez and Corbin. Urquidy, Montgomery and Kikuchi are available along with half the pitchers on your B tier. I value them just as I have them in order. What changes would you suggest? Thanks appreciated

      • Ralph says:

        Forgot to add it’s a 11 team roto league wins was replaced with quality starts

        • everywhereblair

          everywhereblair says:

          Hey Ralph! Next update to the rankings comes out this afternoon, so be sure to check that as well. Kikuchi and Urquidy went down to the B-tier, and J-Mont is still flying high. Danny Duffy made the highest jump and if he’s on the wire, he’s absolutely worth an add. So, J-Mont or Duff if you can, otherwise Kikuchi is my favorite there. Good luck!

  15. Thundershoe says:

    Hi EWB, Let me first pile on with the appreciation for your write-ups!

    Second, what do you make of Garrett Whitlock and what we could see from him this year. I’m monocling him in my 14-team H2H points league, where he could slot nicely in as a 5th RP (with only 4 RP slots) due to his SP/RP eligibility, providing those extra points here and there.

    Do you think he ends up getting some starts down the road? Is he more of a middle reliever whose stuff as good in longer outings? Could he actually start to see higher leverage situations and be a regular for holds (which are 2 pts in my league)?

    Finally, I picked up Bukauskas to see if I can win the lottery if he’s able to insert himself into the closer situation in Arizona. He, like Whitlock, has SP/RP eligibility in my league, so I’m hoping he sticks. Do you like him or Whitlock more (I realize Buk hasn’t even pitched in the majors yet!)? Sorry for veering off from talking SPs into RPs land!

    Thanks in advance for any input you provide!

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey Thundershoe!

      Boston is in a weird place in terms of rotation/RP. Their RP aren’t stunning because they’re mostly “OK” holds guys. Sawamura is an interesting piece there because he actually has the most closer experience of anybody. But if Whitlock plays above his pay grade–which is what he’s doing right now–Boston could easily give him a spot. They’ve got nothing to lose and are already allowing guys like Tanner Houck to get starts. Basically, if they’re in the running come June/July when Sale returns, you’ll see the “best 5” take the rotation no matter what. If they’re out of the running, they’re not gonna push Sale too hard and we could see a lot of starts from random pitchers.

      So, I think Whitlock gets the edge. RPs are quite literally a lottery right now, so it’s best to be flexible and grab anybody at the first sign of favoritism. That said, ARI seems to be a mess again this year and I wouldn’t chase their RP situation too hard.

      Hope that helps!

  16. Jack Deez Nutz says:

    Why is Marco Gonzalez so low???

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Haha! Yeah, he’s my boi and he’s not performing well this year. He’s got potential to turn it around and finish middle of the pack, but right now things aren’t working so well. :)

  17. Anthony says:

    Thoughts on urquidy? Is he really a top flight starter? Any insight would be helpful

    • everywhereblair

      everywhereblair says:

      Hey Anthony!

      Yeah he’s a gamble but we’re looking at a young pitcher who might be putting it together quickly. He’s got elite command but his K% fluctuates a lot. In fact, he’s actually missing fewer bats right now than in his 2019 campaign. But it’s kind of like putting together a puzzle: if we see the good stuff all come out, he could definitely be an A-lister. Even right now, after his bad start today (keeping in mind even the best starters only succeed like 75-80% of the time), he’s showing all the peripherals of a SP20-30 for fantasy. His floor is probably SP50, which isn’t bad at all in many leagues. So, I’m seeing more evidence for a “good” outcome than a “bad” outcome at this point, although I’ll hedge and add that he’s young so there’s lots of room for variance. Thanks for checking in!

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