The royal we already went over all the hitters for 2017 fantasy baseball rankings.  That’s not the “royal we” as that term usually implies.  It was me writing it alone while wearing a Burger King crown.  I refuse to draft a top starter where they are usually drafted.  Unlike hitters, you need six starters, depending on your league depth.  Simple math tells us there’s plenty of starters to go around.  Simple Math also says, “Stop putting words in my mouth!”  In most leagues, there’s a ton of pitchers on waivers that can help you — all year.  Not just in April, and then they disappear.  With the help of the Stream-o-Nator, you can get by with, say, three starters while streaming the rest.  There’s also the fact that three stats by starters are difficult to predict due to luck.  Wins, ERA and WHIP are prone to shift due to which way the ball bounces and whether or not the guys behind the pitchers can score runs.  Finally, the best starters can give you four categories.  The best hitters can give you five categories.  As always, where I see tiers starting and stopping are included and my projections.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball:

1. Clayton Kershaw –  This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Sale.  I call this tier, “Security blankets are for bouncers who are chilly.”  This is a refresher for noobs, which I believe is spelled with two zeroes.  I’ve gone over this before, but it bears repeating like a hairy gay man from San Francisco who stutters.  If you own Kershaw or any of the guys in this tier, you’re drafting scared.  You’re scared to go into the season without a number one starter.  You’re afraid that if you don’t have an ace you’ll never find a starter off waivers or your later picks won’t pan out.  You’re chicken, as Biff would say, because there’s more pitchers than Michael J. Fox can shake a stick at.  The only people that draft a top starter want a security blanket.  They want to feel like they’re pitching staff is safe.  They want to feel nuzzled like a bug in an alpaca rug.  If you would’ve owned Kyle Hendricks, Tanner Roark, Aaron Sanchez, Drew Pomeranz, Danny Duffy and David Price last year, your ERA would’ve been 3.15 in 1173 1/3 IP.  And that would’ve been in spite of your top pitcher drafted, David Price!  Without Price, your ERA would’ve been 2.94!  Sure, I’m cherrypicking guys from last year…Just like you could’ve cherrypicked any of them off waivers in your league or drafted them way later than the top 20.  Not one of the guys I mentioned I told you to avoid either, except Price.  In some leagues, you could do fine NOT drafting ANY starters.  Yes, I brought out the caps.  I’m not only talking about H2H leagues where you can carry only relievers.  I’m talking 10 or 12-team roto leagues where you can stream starters.  Maybe you own one starter and stream five spots.  Maybe you own two guys and stream four spots.  Maybe you drink seven cups of coffee and stream all day.  Even if you want to draft an entire rotation and hold them (or try to), you don’t need a guy from this tier.  There’s plenty of options later to fill out your rotation so you’re competitive in leagues where you can’t stream.  I’m not suggesting you Reggie Roby starters.  I’m telling you to Reggie Roby top starters.  Concentrate on your hitting while these guys are being drafted.  As for Kershaw, he’s great, yadda3. 2017 Projections: 19-6/2.44/0.95/261 in 222 IP

2. Max Scherzer – At 32 years of age, he got better.  His best K-rate of his career and his highest fastball velocity on average at 94.3 MPH.  Too bad The Freak nickname was wasted on Lincecum.  Since Scherzer grew up in a house that watched a lot of Jeopardy!, and since the host of Jeopardy!, whose name won’t be spoken until he grows back his mustache, is French Canadian, maybe we should call Scherzer “Le Freak.”  Maybe that’s too much explanation for a nickname.  I don’t know, these are not questions but ponderings.   Or as his manager, Dusty Baker would say, “It’s the ninth inning, can you throw a few more?”  2017 Projections:  18-7/2.51/0.96/270 in 225 IP

3. Madison Bumgarner – I realize that I can’t say every year that Bumgarner is going to break down due to innings, then eventually take credit for predicting it when he finally does after being wrong about him breaking down for three straight years.  That doesn’t exclude me from using that as rational for avoiding him.  If Bumgarner was regularly being underdrafted, I might even draft him myself, because his numbers don’t scream that the end is nigh.  By the way, if you ever go into the nude hosiery business, you should call them, Nigh Highs.  I won’t be manufacturing pantyhose any time soon, so you can have the name.  2017 Projections:  17-9/2.78/1.04/232 in 218 IP

4. Chris Sale – Here’s what I said this offseason, “Red Sox made a huge splash yesterday trading away Yoan Moncada, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Diaz and Michael Kopech for Chris Sale.  Red Sox must be appealing to Bernie Sanders with their rotation: two lefties named Sale and Price.  Dave Dombrowski sure does love to trade away his top prospects.  Dombrowski buys 10 copies of Baseball Prospectus every year, crosses out the ‘u,’ and barters them for two cartridges of Nintendo Baseball Stars.  Dombrowski used to have four young kids, until he traded them to a Mormon family for an honors student three months from graduating high school.  Dombrowski dreams of finding the Fountain of Youth so he can trade it for a veteran fountain.  I’m not going to compare Sale to Price even if the Jew in me wants to talk wholesale.  Price had concerning stats going into last year and is older.  Of course, some of Price’s concerning stats were a lower K-rate and a falling velocity on his fastball, which are two warning signs with Sale too.  Okay, maybe I will compare the two.  Sale’s fastball velocity went from 94.5 MPH to 92.8 MPH, while relying on it 7% more of the time.  You’re a big-time Razzball noob — Razzboob? — if you think I’m going to suggest you draft an ace, and Sale is no different.  I’m not about to say he’s going to fall off, but declining velocity, K-rate and rising xFIP is not an ace I’d be excited about.”  And that’s me quoting me!  2017 Projections:  18-8/3.31/1.08/244 in 225 IP

5. Noah Syndergaard – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Lester.  I call this tier, “2500 Jokes To Start A Toast!”  The first joke is, “They said I needed to give a toast tonight, so I brought a loaf of bread.”  The 2nd toast is, “Pumpernickel.”  Third toast, “Some poor sucker drafted an ace.  What a joke!”  This tier is another tier of pitchers I won’t be drafting, but, unlike the first tier, and this is where my logic gets twisted, I don’t like this tier.  Yes, I didn’t want to draft the first tier, but I did like them, i.e., I liked them, but didn’t like them.  If I were to draft a top tier ace, I would’ve drafted from the first tier.  This tier is filled with guys that I wouldn’t draft even if I drafted top SPs, i.e., I don’t want them and I don’t like them.  As for Syndergaard, “She’ll let you in her house….If you come knockin’ late at night…. First class used to be a better seat, but now, eight-pound-head kid, it’s a better life….Except for those two in the front row talking about getting engaged while they fight…..”  Sorry, I see Syndergaard and I immediately think Secret Garden by Springsteen (Jerry Maguire remix, of course).  So, do I love that Syndergaard has a bone spur in his elbow?  No.  Do I plan on drafting him?  Nuh-uh.  So, it doesn’t really matter if I rank him 5th or 23rd.  2017 Projections:  16-7/2.67/1.05/235 in 203 IP

6. Jake Arrieta – I can’t find positives in Arrieta’s line, and almost dropped him out of the top 20, but it’s lip service where he’s ranked.  I don’t want him.  He lost a mile on his fastball, which he threw 10% more because he lost the feel for his slider.  He had a 3.68 xFIP and his walk rate went up from 1.9 to 3.5.  Um, that’s awful.  Oh, yeah, he’s also going to be 31 years old.  Yeah, Arrieta’s trash, but I guess you gotta rank him somewhere.  2017 Projections:  17-10/2.98/1.06/196 in 205 IP

7. Jon Lester – Look at his last four years:  3.75 ERA, 2.46 ERA, 3.34 ERA, 2.44 ERA.  We’re in an odd year.  It’s all Saberhagenmetrics.  Okay, it’s not all Saberhagenmetrics.  His BABIP was artificially low last year, and his xFIP was 3.47.  His K/9 dipped below 9 for the first time in three years and his walk rate went up.  A lot of his value last year came from 19 wins, which likely won’t change much with the Cubs, but even if it falls to 16 wins and 3.50 ERA, it’s not nearly as interesting.  Don’t draft him and put yourself in a hole.  A hole?  Yes, you are.  Now avoid.  A void?  Yes, another name for a hole!  2017 Projections:  16-9/3.35/1.10/206 in 210 IP

8. Justin Verlander – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Cueto.  I call this tier, “I have illusions of drafting these guys, maybe they’re delusions, or is it allusions?”  I’m writing this post in January, and I don’t know where most are ranking or drafting anyone.  If Verlander (or Kluber or Cueto or Darvish) is (are) available, then I’ll grab him (one of them).   I believe that Verlander is back to a dominant ace he was:  9+ K/9, 2.80-3.10 ERA, having the baddest bitch there is:

Verlander doesn’t make me vehemently disgusted, which I’m surprised about, but I don’t know what vehemently means so maybe.  Does it mean opposite of disgusted?  Because then I’m vehement, which is my favorite type of after dinner mint.  Verlander is 34 years old so I’m not paying a huge cost to get him, but, if he’s around for the right price, I’m in.  My guess is, he’ll be gone before I have a chance for him.  2017 Projections:  15-10/3.31/1.05/220 in 217 IP

9. Corey Kluber – When the rain just stops, you can open a window and see a rainbow.  That rainbow is Kluber farting, because all he does is beautiful.  Kluber is so special, he makes the word ‘pubes’ sound less gross because it sounds almost like Klubes.   If you’re not sure about Kluber, then you likely didn’t watch the playoffs.  Or ever see a rainbow.  Or hear the word pubes.  2017 Projections:  17-10/3.36/1.08/229 in 220 IP

10. Yu Darvish – There is a legit chance I own Darvish, and on multiple teams.  I believe this, and I don’t think I’m completely deluding myself.  I think there’s a real possibility to grab him.  I hope so, because if anyone can go from a starter outside the top ten to the number one pitcher drafted next year, it’s Darvish.  Yeah, I said it.  I think Darvish can replace Kershaw next year as the first pitcher off the board.  I legit think there’s a chance here for Darvish to have a 2.50 ERA and 250 Ks for the 250 double-double with no decimals!  Darvish does have a certain air of Giancarlo to him too.  In other words, everything needs to come together for Darvish health-wise and it never seems to happen that way.  Here’s hoping this is the year!  2017 Projections:  15-5/3.04/1.15/239 in 201 IP

11. Johnny Cueto – You say to me, “Unkie Grey, what does a pitcher look like that goes to the NL West?”  I say, “Cueto went from 3.44 ERA to 2.79 and 7.5 K/9 to 8.1.”  You say, “Unkie Grey, what about Samardzija?”  I say, “I’m not your uncle, kid.  Get out of here!”  2017 Projections:  16-10/3.04/1.11/192 in 210 IP

12. Carlos Carrasco – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Martinez.  I call this tier, “Slowly remove the hand from under your bun and click yo’ mouse.”  It’s time, guys and five girl readers.  We’ve waited long enough now.  You can start drafting to your heart’s desire.  Actually, not true.  Draft one of these guys.  In the days that follow, I’ll have a pitchers’ pairings post to help you draft an entire staff.  By the way, the only people who have ever said ‘in the days that follow’ in real life have been boring professors.  Borfessors?  As for Carrasco, in a freak accident last year, he broke a bone in his hand.  This doesn’t concern me at all.  If anything, it could be considered a good thing because it shut him down early and he didn’t need to throw more innings in the playoffs.  I’m in on the guys in this tier hard, and I don’t think I’m being daft.   Though, Grey being daft is actually always a possibility.  “Did he tell us to draft Brett Lawrie six years in a row?”  “Grey being daft.”  “Did he really rank Price all the way down there?”  “Daft.” “Did he really use hydrogen peroxide after he shaved?”  “Dafter shave.”  This is something I see just about every year.  Players (hitters too) break out and no one drafts them like they should.  Instead, people will either draft guys they know — Price — or guys that just had a career year — Porcello.  I think there’s a certain element to drafting that people don’t want to look stupid.  You’re in a draft with your friends, or at least people you pretend to like, and it’s your turn to draft.  You then draft Price in front of Carrasco because you’re afraid of being mocked by people not as smart as yourself.  I don’t know, it’s a working theory.  If Carrasco pitches 220 IP, he will be a top 5 starter.  2017 Projections:  15-9/3.28/1.13/192 in 190 IP

13. Chris Archer – How’s that Texas expression go?  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice and I can’t believe I’m drafting Chris Archer again?  While living through the massacre that was Archer last year, and it was a massacre — only thing that was missing was a wall with redrum written in Puig’s blood — I figured there was no way I’d draft Archer again.  I was out, as they say.  I don’t know who they are but they’re succinct.  Now, the wounds have healed and I’ve come to kiss the ring of a guy that has a 10+ K/9.   May the regress he made last year not lead to further regrets this year.  Turn of a phrase points!  2017 Projections:  13-12/3.33/1.17/225 in 200 IP

14. Carlos Martinez – Ya know, this tier of pitchers was good last year.  Sure, Archer’s ERA mucked up your team, only with an F, but he was still a top 40 starter last year.  C-Mart, on the other hand (or feet, if you prefer), was a top 20 starter last year.  That some people don’t realize that is not my fault.  The garbage overflowing in my bathroom waste bin is my fault, according to Cougs, but that’s all I’m taking credit for here.  2017 Projections:  15-10/3.17/1.19/193 in 205 IP

15. Jacob deGrom – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Strasburg.  I call this tier, “Avoid.”  I’m sorry, but this tier name is so self-explanatory it makes my teeth hurt.  My teeth hurt when I read truth.  Weird phenomenon, it’s called truth decay.  Truthpaste is the only cure.  Flossing helps though.  So, nothing against the Mets and their starters, but when I Google a pitcher’s name in January and I read, “Arm is feeling better, he can almost put on his own pants,” I get worried.  DeGrom has already undergone a Tommy John surgery (2010) and had ulnar nerve surgery in September, which has a timetable of three to six months.  He has one setback in April and he’s not going to be pitching all year and then ESPN will have a 30 for 30 in ten years called, “Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey:  Why Mr. Met Has A Teardrop Tattoo.”  2017 Projections:  13-10/3.12/1.15/191 in 194 IP

16. Stephen Strasburg – He has a partial tear in his elbow.  It’s a pronator tendon that’s torn.  WebMD says, “Pronator tendon is used mostly by pitchers and people who are calling someone a jerk-off, using the masturbator motion.”  If you think it’s a good idea to draft Strasburg, I’m using my pronator tendon to motion in your direction.  Strasburg has a torn elbow tendon; he has Dusty Baker as his manager; Strasburg can’t learn to throw lefty by April.  As the saying that no one’s heard before goes, if you draft, you R daft.  2017 Projections:  12-9/3.55/1.10/190 in 163 IP

17. Danny Duffy – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Cole.  I call this tier, “Buckle up, I’m creating turbulence.”  I didn’t forget Kyle Hendricks, Greinke, and scores of other guys.  They’ll be in the top 40.  Actually, if you see a top 20 starter list with Greinke, you should find a new source.  I’m not saying you have to use my rankings, but you really have to second guess anyone that puts Greinke in the top 20.  People will see my rankings and they’ll get turned off.  Let them go.  You know why they’re turned off?  They’re scared.  They don’t know these guys.  ESPN hasn’t put them on the cover of their magazine so they must not be top twenty starters.  Sorry, man and five womans, Duffy is this good.  His K/9 and walk rate last year were 9.4 and 2.1.  Pitchers don’t last that long.  Most of them, at least.  Sure, some have long, Hall of Fame careers, but most have three to four years where they’re dominant.  Duffy entered that time last year and will continue it into 2017.  2017 Projections:  13-10/3.45/1.15/201 in 195 IP

18. Kenta Maeda – This ranking is actually not that crazy for most ‘perts.  This is crazy because of who I am, because of how I roll.  (I really should have staged readings of my posts.  Bryan Cranston could make these words sing.)   I could see a lot of people ranking Maeda high.  Likely not higher than, say, Tanaka, but that’s why they’re stunods and I’m not.  So, why am I being aggressive on Maeda while everyone else is too instead of zigging where they’re zagging?  Or am I zagging and they’re zigging?  Are we both zigging?  Any hoo!  Maeda has the twelfth best swinging strike rate.  If a guy is getting swings and misses, it’s hard to hit them.  This should excite you.  If they’re doing it in the NL West, it should further tingle your nuggets.  If they’re doing it at 28 years old with a 2.6 BB, you should be on the ‘Yes, please,’ train going to Dirty-Thoughts-About-Your-Arm-Ville.  2017 Projections:   15-7/3.39/1.13/198 in 195 IP

19. Danny Salazar – A bit of a leap of faith here.  Salazar had a forearm strain at the end of last year, which is often a precursor for, “I’m so effin’ effed, my fantasy pitchers are all hurt!”  For a second, we should consider how the pitchers feel when they get hurt.  Meh, who cares.  Salazar’s forearm strain was considered mild, which, again, I wouldn’t trust.  Don’t trust injury news ever.  However, and this is a Gilbert Grape’s mom-sized however, Salazar returned in the playoffs, and looked fine.  Plus, that was five months ago, so I think Salazar dodged a bullet.  I can understand getting cold feet with him, but put on some slippers and draft him!  2017 Projections: 14-10/3.44/1.15/201 in 180 IP

20. Gerrit Cole – We’re giving Cole a bye on his previous season.  I don’t know why a 95 MPH fastball guy was only a 3.88 ERA guy while striking out only 7.6 guys per nine innings, but I’m overlooking it.  (Not true, I know why.  Or at least have a reasonable guess.  He was hurt.  He had inflammation in his elbow.  No, this isn’t good, but– Wait, can we get out of this parenthesis so I can just talk to you?  Thanks.)  Elbow pain is bad, but six months of rest and he supposedly has no ligament damage.  Like I said, he was still throwing 95 MPH, so I’m assuming a bit here, but he couldn’t have been that bad off.  His command was wonky and that seemed to be his biggest issue.  So, he couldn’t locate anything and he still had a 7.6 K/9 and a 3.88 ERA?  Sounds better now, right?  2017 Projections:  15-10/3.45/1.14/188 in 193 IP

To continue the starter rankings, click –> top 40 starters for 2017 fantasy baseball

 
  1. henncoop says:
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    Oh happy day the SP rankings…plus a slow night shift to read them. The sunshine is here is upon us even though even though it’s just 3AM

    • Bob Florence says:
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      @henncoop: Help me.I have a real tuff call in a standard yahoo (5 by 5) league in which we can keep 5 players. I have trout,betts,Springer,verlander,thor,Freeman.. Which player do I cut Grey? Is cutting Springer the way to go? sounds nuts, but having my OF filled going into the draft hurts.. thanks

  2. Boris says:
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    Hi, Grey

    Thanks for your post!!
    Could you help me pick 10 of my keeper list? (Roto league)

    Kris Bryant
    Miggy
    Corey Seager
    Gregory Polanco
    David Price
    Tanaka
    Archer
    Gary Sanchez
    Andrew Miller
    Danny Salazar
    Anthony Rendon
    Javier Baez

    Salazar or Rendon?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Boris: I have them both above Tanaka

  3. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Heyo! Really loving these rankings, and it’s definitely looking like I’ll have Duffy and Maeda everywhere.

    1. Lester’s #7 ranking is very bittersweet! Re our keeper trade chat yesterday of liking the Desmond ($9) and Lester ($25) side a lot more than Kershaw ($30), am I right to say that, from the Razzball perspective, that trade could be summarized basically as;

    “a Top 20 bat plus a random top 10 SP who we don’t really need” vs “another more expensive top 10 SP who we don’t really need”

    2. I assume you still like the $25 Lester and $9 Desmond over $12 Degrom and $10 Just Dong as keepers?

    3. Would you prefer any (or all) of the following keeper pitchers over $25 Lester?

    $18 darvish
    $9 Duffy
    $16 Maeda

    Thanks! Looking forward to the top 40 when we really start to get crazy.

    • Cram It says:
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      @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: I’d take all of those pitchers over Lester. They’re younger, probably better long term and cheaper!

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        @Cram It: Hoping you’d say that! My ultimate goal is to turn one of those guys into a $10 JD Martinez (giving me $9 Desmond and JD Mart for my $30 Kershaw), but if I can’t pull that JD prong off, want to make sure I’m getting the best keeper pitcher!

        Thanks.

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        @Grey: Thanks!

        Will do the Yu trade + hopefully be able to flip him for some bat like Odor; JD.

        Always appreciate the general “why you don’t need a top 10 SP” pep talk . . . I know it’s true, but always good to have it hammered home as a reminder when in doubt!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          No problem

  4. Jason says:
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    Hey Grey,

    New to razzball, your posts are like Crack! Thanks for opening my eyes to the matrix morpheus!

    My question has to do with roster assembly. I think in your ss post you said you’ll prolly be taking 1 or 2 bench and then here you said 6 SP.

    My league is 12 team 5×5 H2H 22 roster spots . 1 ea at the infield pos. 3 OF 1 UT then 3 sp 2 RP 3 P. So by my math that leaves 5 slots for RP. I normally grab 3 RP 8 sp and stream a few sp slots.

    How would you generally architect the framework based on my league settings? Thanks for all the hard work you do! Cheers!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Jason: Ha, no problem! H2H is a different beast, you should have a bench bat and 4 streaming spots for RPs and SPs

      • Jason says:
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        @Grey:

        Thanks Grey! Does H2H change how you’d be ranking your players by a significant amount or should I not be worried and stick to your gameplan?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Stick to my gameplan

          • Jason says:
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            @Grey:

            Thanks Grey! Does H2H change how you’d be ranking your players by a significant amount or should I not be worried and stick to your [email protected]Grey:

            Thanks, in the mocks I’ve done for my 10 team draft you’ve made it way too easy. I’ve been getting Bryant Correa Freeman odor desmond darvish in the first 6 rds…. crazy

            • Jason says:
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              @Jason:

              Inot my 12 team odor is a keeper so I’ll be going after schoop late. I love it when a plan comes together!

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Ha

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              No problem…. That is crazy

  5. Racehorse says:
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    “In the days that follow, I’ll have a pitchers’ pairings post to help you draft an entire staff. ”

    hubba hubba!

    [no question, just showing my anticipation]

  6. Tigres says:
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    Yay!

  7. #BlackmonMatters says:
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    Hey Grey,

    So you have deGrom as your number 7 sp, but he is in a tier that says you won’t draft him. Right now he’s coming off the board as the 18th sp according to nfbc. Why do you have him ranked so high but won’t be drafting him?

    Thanks!

    • And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:
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      @#BlackmonMatters: probably due to being that good if somehow healthy.

  8. miyata says:
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    Hi, Grey

    Thanks for your post!

    If I have the last spot, who is the better choice?
    Anthony Rendon or Danny Salazar

  9. Utz says:
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    Since the Jamie Garcia trade, do you see increased counting stats for Alex Reyes since your post back in November or will he stay at those projections?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Utz: He pitched 110 IP last year, for his arm’s sake he better not pitch more… He has no rotation spot right now either

  10. Rudy says:
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    SP rankings = razz-boner!!

  11. M says:
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    Although Arrieta has bad peripherals “under the hood” like the Xfip and losing a mile off his fastball and may not benefit from a great babip and as good of a defense. behind him in 2016, supposedly Arrieta said he was losing feel for his cutter and mechanics as a whole last year. If he regains the feel of his 2015 mechanics, do you think he rebounds to post say a 2.50-2.75 ERA?

    Also in a 15 team roto league would you rather have Arrieta for $25 or Duffy for $20?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @M: I’d take Duffy

      • M says:
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        @Grey: so essentially 2017 Arrieta is 2016 King Felix?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Si

        • And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:
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          @M: probably not quite that bad though.

  12. Manny says:
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    What’s funny is that based on your own projections, it can be argued that Maeda’s stats are actually better than the handful of pitchers above him. Based on just the projected numbers you have I would put him at 13 behind Cueto.

    • Cram It says:
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      @Manny: Rankings throughout aren’t solely based on the statistical projections he posts.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Manny: Guys above him are safer

  13. DonnieB says:
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    If you are in a 15 team NFBC draft, does it change your position on drafting SP? Particularly if you have a locked 50 player roster? Even a 30 player 15 team draft leaves little room for great steaming. Would you draft more “safety” or would you take your chances with waiting a few rounds on starting pitcher? Often times 5-6 SP are drafted in top 20 or so picks. Thoughts?

    • Cram It says:
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      @DonnieB: It does change the strategy, due to what you said, that you can’t pick up players to stream.

    • Big Odio says:
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      @DonnieB: yes it changes a lot. Our former writer the Big Magoo was an NFBC mainstay and he always recommended the ace in that format…don’t listen to grey on nfbc

      • DonnieB says:
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        Don’t listen to Grey? Never!

        • Big Odio says:
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          @DonnieB: For nfbc and pitchers you are in a weekly lock. Which means you are stuck for the week and with the limited faab budget your streaming will be a lot different. If you play your cards right and don’t blow your load early you can stream somewhat down the stretch when a lot of teams are out of bid dollars. When it comes to arms, aces can be key. Greys overall ranks will not help you with nfbc pitching values. His lean more towards the daily moves style of play. I’ve been involved in it for two years and let me tell you, no ace is no bueno.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @DonnieB: Yeah, you have to draft an ace, you can’t rely on streaming… Doesn’t change which pitchers I actually like though… I’d still wait until Verlander to start drafting SPs

    • And Now the Jon Lovitz Dancers! says:
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      @DonnieB: at the very least 15 teamers (esp weeklies vs dailies) are inherently different than 12 teamers. Grey’s rankings are ALWAYS (and always have been) for 12 teamers, particularly RCL’s (notice his “you only need 3 SP” line)

  14. A TreaTur Among Us says:
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    Really torn being a Nats fan and having to decide whether to keep Strasburg or Carrasco in a 14-Team H2H OBP League. Tell me it’s okay to let Stras go…if he loves me he’ll come back, right? Most likely, he’ll come back to me next year at a major discount when he spends half this year on the DL.

  15. Dr Y says:
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    thank you for the rankings. great job.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Dr Y: Thanks!

  16. Boomer19 says:
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    It’s a beautiful day when the pitching posts come out. And I love that we like the same arms. I can slot Duffy in as an rp (in my 14 team 5×5 roto league) which has a lot of value as we need 5 relievers. Should I keep him over Carrasco in this format? Thanks.

  17. Packers says:
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    I’ve been following your advice for 3 years now. I’ve won several leagues thanks to you. I play in 9 to 10 leagues thou so that increases the odds. They are all weekly lineup sets. They are also 6×6 with OPS and net wins as the extra categories. So 4 of the pitching stats are hard to predict, then I have saves and K’s. Last year drafting Archer, Pineda, Ray types won me the K’s. I do well with saves also. So I get my bats first like you suggest.
    1.
    You mention streaming quite a bit but are you talking daily or can I consider streaming in weekly leagues?
    I do subscribe to “son” and that helps because my reserves are mostly starting pitchers.

    2. Would you draft any different in a weekly format.

    • peacecoast says:
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      @Packers: Grey plays a lot in RCL’s and they have daily moves with no limits. So they can stream a lot, ask him how many moves he makes a year in those leagues. I also play in a daily lineup but weekly transaction league so I have to parse some of this info and recs here for my own purposes.

      Hard to stream in a weekly league unless you are going for two start pitchers.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Packers: 1. Can’t stream in weekly leagues the same way… You need to stream on Sundays for following week 2. I’d push it to Duffy to draft in daily leagues, in weekly leagues, I’d make sure I had someone in Verlander’s tier

  18. Five-On-One says:
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    Mr. Grey – Thank you for the rankings and the blurbs that are fun to read! A couple of questions for you (only one with respect to SPs):

    1) In a league with weekly line-ups, where it is not as easy to stream, does your philosophy on drafting (buying in an auction) SPs change at all?

    2) In a league with 2 catcher slots, does your philosophy on drafting (buying in an auction) catchers change at all?

    Thanks again for the daily entertainment.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Five-On-One: 1. See comment directly above you 2. Yeah, you need one decent catcher, say top 5

  19. Sweatpants Nation says:
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    Great right up.
    So to summarize: You like every pitcher in this top 20 EXCEPT the Thor group because they are too risky to draft that high (projections are best case scenerio, they stay healthy etc) and Price and Stras (for basicaly the same reason)?
    I like the overall approach you take to pitchers. Last year saw so many expensive guys under perform their cost for one reason or another- Cole, deGrom, Greinke, Archer, Stras et al (not the airline)

  20. Joe says:
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    Yes, finally! Top 20 SP, woohoo! Best SP rankings out there! Awesome job!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Joe: Thanks!

  21. Chocolate Chip Pancakes says:
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    Great start to the pitching ranks. Hoping you can share some wisdom. I’m in an 11-team $260 AL-only where around 20 of the top 25 pitchers will be kept going into the auction. I happen to own Kluber, Verlander and Fulmer for a grand total of $65. It’s more than I typically like to spend on starting pitching, yet I’m guaranteed to have the best pitching going into the season, possibly by a fair amount. Do I enjoy this competitive edge, sit back and get ready for opening day, or should I consider trading one of the three arms right now to exploit another team’s desperation? Thanks.

    • Cram It says:
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      @Chocolate Chip Pancakes: Trading should always be considered if you can improve your team, wherever, whenever, with whoever.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Chocolate Chip Pancakes: Agree with Cram, but I’d like hold and spend all my $ on hitters, you definitely don’t need more pitching other than fill-in guys

  22. Prettaaay, Prettaaay, Prettaaay, Pretty Good says:
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    Grey,

    Of all your rankings, I rely most heavily on your SP rankings. It took me a few years to come to terms with your idea that you don’t need an ace, but after a few years of success without one, I am now happily drinking the kool-aid.

    Question for you on Archer: In our league I can keep him at a reasonable price $15 (Last year Strassburg, Scherzer, Price, Sale, etc. went for around $30-$35 due to keepers, inflation, blah blah).

    The twist is that if I keep him, I can’t drop him without taking the salary cap hit. So… is Archer’s upside enough to take on that additional risk?

  23. peacecoast says:
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    Red Sox must be appealing to Bernie Sanders with their rotation: two lefties named Sale and Price

    You do know you are a comedic genius right?

  24. Old School Brother says:
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    Agree about Yu… he’s finally far enough away from his TJ surgery to be dominant, and on top of that its a walk year. at least 230 K’s for him this year

  25. The Eye of Horus says:
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    In a dynasty, would you consider trading away Kluber for McCullers +Giolito (and maybe a draft pick)? I also have Carrasco, Tanaka, Rodon.

    Thanks!

    • The Eye of Horus says:
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      @The Eye of Horus: By the way, if you are enjoying your Brit crime dramas, you really ought to watch Luther if you haven’t already.

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        @The Eye of Horus: You need to watch Line of Duty…. (I’ve seen Luther, I loved it) I’d hold Kluber

        • The Eye of Horus says:
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          @Grey: Thanks. By the way, have you seen Wolf Hall? Totally, totally, different. Brilliant acting. Troubles when troubles were heresy and papal annulments. I’m a big Brit TV historical series fan, and WH rocks my world. Not for all, though.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Oh, you have to watch Line of Duty if you’re a Brit TV guy, then watch Scott & Bailey…. I saw Wolf Hall, pretty dry, but well-acted and much more interesting than it had any right to be

  26. jon says:
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    Hey Grey.

    Just wanted your thoughts on my squad. this is a 10 team keeper. Keep 20, the following is who I kept.

    Votto
    Abreu
    Dozier
    Seager
    Seager
    Lamb
    Betts
    Springer
    Polanco
    Benintendi
    Puig
    Albies

    MadBum
    Carrasco
    Gerrit Cole
    Quintana
    Rodon
    Jansen
    Diaz
    S. Dyson
    Cody Allen
    Jose De Leon

    I’m thinking my pitching is a little weak due to JOFER16 departing R.I.P.

    Any bats i should sell high on for pitching or just take pitchers in the re-draft.