The royal we already went over all the hitters for 2018 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 2018 fantasy baseball:

1. Max Scherzer – Went over him in the top 20 for 2018 fantasy baseball.

2. Clayton Kershaw – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Sale.  I call this tier, “La Croix bacon-avocado cheeseburger flavor.”  By the tier name I mean, these are the best of the best, so why don’t I want any part of them?  La Croix is delicious.  Bacon-avocado cheeseburgers are delicious.  So, when you put them together, isn’t that wonderful?  No, it’s sparkling water that tastes like the smell in an Arby’s bathroom.  Great starters in fantasy are La Croix bacon-avocado cheeseburger flavor.  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 Aaron NolaAlex WoodRich HillJames PaxtonRobbie Ray and Madison Bumgarner last year, your ERA would’ve been 3.12 in 864 1/3 IP.  And that would’ve been in spite of your top pitcher drafted, Bumgarner!  Without Bumgarner, your ERA would’ve been better at 3.10!  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 Bumgarner.  Also, I could’ve easily slanted the results by saying I told you to draft Kluber, C-Mart, Carrasco, Verlander and other starters who were drafted high, but not top five starter high.  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.  2018 Projections: 17-6/2.51/0.94/225 in 202 IP

3. Corey Kluber – I forgot this classic bit of informational head-shaking from Kluber’s Wiki page:  the Padres traded Kluber to the Indians for Ryan Ludwick.  All dem memes — blinking white guy meme, black guy pointing at his head meme, I caN’T EvEn BeLIeVe thE pADreS trADed kLuBer SpongeBob meme — can’t properly contextualize my dismay.   If the Padres would’ve done nothing in the last six years, they’d have Rizzo, Kluber and, well, Yangervis Solarte, but still.  Kluber just had his best season of his career, and he already won the Cy Young in 2014, that’s how good he was in 2017.  He had a 11.7 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 2.52 xFIP, 2.25 ERA, 18 wins, and a 1.79 ERA in the 2nd half in 110 1/3 IP.  My guess is when he has a 4+ ERA in April this year a lot less people will be trading him away, but never underestimate a panicked fantasy owner.  2018 Projections: 17-7/2.61/0.97/228 in 205 IP

4. Chris Sale – He had Corey Kluber’s season in its inverse — Korey Cluber?  Meh, now he sounds like a YouTubrity.  Sale’s overall numbers were still beautiful, but his 1st half was better than his 2nd half.  His April ERA of 1.19 led to a 2.75 ERA in the 1st half, with a 4.38 ERA in August it showed kryptonite and led to a 3.12 ERA in the 2nd half.  This might be an indication that Sale’s on the wrong side of the age curve for hard throwing pitchers, but it was mostly his slider abandoning him late in the season, and his K/9 in the 2nd half was still 13.5 with a 2.62 xFIP, and 308 Ks on the season, so, yeah, it’s not just my Jewish heritage saying it’s hard to be negative on a Sale.  2018 Projections: 17-9/2.87/1.01/256 in 207 IP

5. Stephen Strasburg – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Carrasco.  I call this tier, “Skunked can of La Croix bacon-avocado cheeseburger flavor.”  This is just like the above tier, and I will be avoiding it, but rather than the above guys who I actually like, just won’t draft, I do not like the guys in this tier, and would never draft them at their price.  So, while I wouldn’t draft the above guys, I really wouldn’t draft these guys.  Got it?  Cool.  Full disclosure, I had Strasburg in the Sale tier, then moved him down here.  I like Strasburg, but a guy who hasn’t thrown 200 IP in three years doesn’t deserve to be in the 1st tier of starters.  Might be a case made that he doesn’t even deserve to be in this tier, but I’m not making that case.  Like a kissing booth, this is all lip service since I’m not drafting Strasburg either way.  2018 Projections: 16-7/2.96/1.04/211 in 182 IP

6. Noah Syndergaard – The Mets have a new manager, Mickey Callaway, who I will start calling “The Caddy” because Callaway will be lugging around a useless club.  However, he may not have that terrible of a pitching staff.  Assuming health.  There’s that old chestnut.  Syndergaard had a 10.1 K/9 and 0.9 BB/9 last year.  EXCLAMATION MARKS!  In only 30 1/3 IP because of injury.  Lowercase yay.  See no reason why Syndergaard won’t be healthy, but put confidence of Mets starters in one hand, and their ability to stay healthy in the other hand, and you have two empty hands.  Seriously, how can you put someone’s ‘ability to stay healthy’ in a hand?  C’mon.  2018 Projections: 15-10/2.81/1.06/215 in 184 IP

7. Jacob deGrom – I just Googled “DeGrom elbow” and there was 44,000 results.  “DeGrom shoulder” produced 78,000 results.  “DeGrom neck” produced 117,000 results.  “DeGrom hair” produced 300,000 results, all of which were grown men complaining about how deGrom cut off his hair in October.  “My emojis are all sad, even the eggplant,” said one Mets fan.  So, assuming deGrom is healthy, and didn’t generate all his power Samson-like from his hair, he should be solid.  Again, that assumption is high on the ass meter.  2018 Projections: 16-9/3.06/1.15/221 in 195 IP

8. Carlos Carrasco – In a lot of ways, I’m not ranking starters by their projected ERAs (though I am), I’m ranking starters based on their K/9 and BB/9 (and other stuff, but you catch the drift).  Parentheticals be damned, somehow a guy has a 10.2 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 with a career 3.78 ERA, as Carrasco does, and be a top seven starter.  For the first time in his career, Carrasco (Careerasco?) threw 200 IP last year.  Not bad for a 25-year-old.  Less so for Carrasco who is about to be 31 years old.  I know, I was surprised he was that old too.  Not as surprised, as say, a cat jumping out of a closet.  They should do a Cats revival on Broadway where the whole thing is cats jumping out of closets.  Nothing in Carrasco’s peripherals is pointing to a guy who will fail this year, but nothing is saying, “Yeah, he’s totally going to be a 2.50 ERA pitcher,” either.  2018 Projections: 15-10/3.35/1.12/217 in 194 IP

9. Luis Severino – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Yu.  I call this tier, “Draft, but don’t be a Panty Mouth.”  By the tier name I mean, I will draft these guys if they’re available at a reasonable price.  Yes, I like these guys and will be drafting them, but you’re way too excited, and the St. Bernard panting vibe you’re giving off is betraying your cool demeanor.  You can’t be too anxious, otherwise you’re going to overdraft starters.  There’s still plenty of guys.  So, don’t be a sweating drool face, Panty Mouth.  You didn’t think “Panty Mouth” meant something else, did you?  As for Severino, if he was in the NL, I would’ve ranked him five spots higher.  What?  Even in Coors?  Okay, no, but stop quibbling, you quibbler!  For average fastball velocity on qualifying pitchers, Severino was number one with 97.6 MPH.  Can you say butter with fifteen syllables?  Okay, a fast fastball does not make a pitcher.  True.  But how about Severino’s sixth best in the majors slider, the sixth best change, and a top 20 fastball?  Can you induce another five or six syllables in that butter pronunciation?  I think you can.  2018 Projections:  16-8/3.10/1.06/222 in 190 IP

10. Robbie Ray – Damn, Cousin Sweatpants, I wanna draft all of the starters in this tier, but this is where not being a panty mouth comes in.  You really don’t need a starter here, but if you get caca-cuckoo for Ks like me, I can see why you’re foaming at the lips.  Ray had 218 Ks last year in only 162 IP.  Imagine he throws 200 IP this year.  Oh, man, I’m feeling lightheaded from wonderful.  I wanna go into a Thai massage right now and ask for a Robbie, and hope they misinterpret my meaning.  2018 Projections: 16-7/3.26/1.16/234 in 191 IP

11. Carlos Martinez – Reminds me of Carlos Carrasco with slightly less Ks, slightly better division to pitch in, worse walks, better dependability, less upside, less downside, more porn in his Twitter likes, much younger, with a similar fastball velocity.  See?  Just like Carrasco!  2018 Projections: 15-8/3.24/1.19/212 in 202 IP

12. Justin Verlander – Who’s 34 years old and just averaged 95 MPH on his fastball all year?  If you said your cousin, Laverney, I’m gonna say no, I don’t think so, but I don’t know Laverney.  If you were to say Justin Verlander, I’d say bingo, then a priest would check my card for a winner.  Not entirely sure how Verlander is doing it, but my guess is drinking the same boba milk tea as Nolan Ryan.  It appeared for about four years that Verlander lost that fastball feel, but now that he’s got it back, I’m not betting against him.  Steamer, which is usually conservative, even sees Verlander raising his 2017 K/9 of 9.6 to 10.1 in 2018.  (Though, they also see his ERA falling to 3.94).  2018 Projections: 16-9/3.41/1.15/223 in 212 IP

13. Yu Darvish – As for Yu, nice sweatpants.  Oh, wait, that’s you, not Yu.  Here’s the thing, and there is a thing, on our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater last year, Brad Peacock was a top 20 starter.  So, what does that have to do with anything?  Pitchers are straight garbage right now.  Could Darvish be a top 20 starter?  Yeah, he does have a top 15 K/9.  Last year, shizz went pretty pear-shaped — 3.86 ERA; 4.50 2nd half ERA; his K-rate fell almost two Ks per nine from the previous year.  This is ignoring his postseason too, as I’m trying not to hold small sample sizes against him.  Hey, that’s what the ladies usually say to me!  If we were to fault him for his postseason, shizz isn’t pear-shaped, it’s more the shape of a watermelon with a mushroom sitting on top, like a naked fat man lying down.  UPDATE:  Yu signed with the Cubs for $126 million.  If you just had Siri read that off to you, stop celebrating, and get off the phone with the Lambo dealer.  It’s not you, it’s Yu Darvish.  Not saying this is everything, but I just looked at the park factors for Wrigley vs. Dodger Stadium.  I mean, I knew they were grossly in favor of Dodger Stadium for pitchers, but I just wanted to confirm.  And, what do you know, I confirmed it.  Darvish had a 3.44 ERA in Los Angeles in 49 2/3 IP, and, while Wrigley won’t be as gentle, it won’t be any worse than Arlington, where he played previously with success.  He feels like a richer Archer.  Call him, Robin Hood: Prince of Ks.  2018 Projections: 14-10/3.51/1.15/221 in 196 IP

14. Chris Archer – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Bauer.  I call this tier, “The shruggle is real.”  *shrugs*  Man walking by, “Why did you just give such an aggressive shrug?”  Because I’m struggling to get extremely excited about these starters, but I need to draft a starter, and these guys should be solid, so I’m drafting them.  Struggling to draft with a shrug?  Yes, the shruggle is real.  I know, I know, we were chill AF for a second there, but by the end of this tier, I’d really like to see you own a starter.  As for Archer, something I’ve noticed with hitters is everyone’s HR/FB% was way up last year, because, ya know, everyone and your maw-maw hit homers last year.  Something I’m noticing three-quarters of the way through the top 20 starters is all hitters were K’ing Shizz from Shinola, which caused all starters to have high strikeout rates last year.  Archer was no different, posting his highest K/9 of his career (11.2).  The problem with Archer, and really there’s only one.  Doode gives up home runs.  He didn’t used to, but in the last two years he’s given up more than one ding-dong per nine, which has helped make his xFIP (3.35) more digestible than his 4.07 ERA.  If he avoids big innings (which vs. the Yankees should be no problem, right, brah?), Archer could put together that ever elusive 2.75 ERA with 250 Ks.  2018 Projections: 11-10/3.69/1.22/237 in 205 IP

15. Zack Greinke – There’s an easy way to get to positive on Greinke — he had a 2.86 ERA in 116 1/3 IP last year in the 1st half with a 10.1 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9.  Unfortch, with him at 34 years old, it’s easy for me to get negative too.  8.8 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 with a 3.63 xFIP in the 2nd half is a steaming cup of meh with a mehmallow melting on top.  His fastball has had declining value for two straight years, but his offspeed stuff still is still repped by Elite Model Management with a strong sashay on the catwalk.  This year the humidor appears to be in full effect, which means good things for the breaking stuff, and Greinke.  Struggling to not just draft Greinke with a shrug.  A shruggle.  2018 Projections:  14-9/3.45/1.10/202 in 205 IP

16. Aaron Nola – Out of all the pitchers in this tier, I’m most excited about Nola.  So, why the shruggle?  His track record of greatest hits is about as long as Crazy Town’s.  Come come my lady, you’re my butterfly, sugar baby.  And *raspberries lips*  That’s about it.  I love guys about to throw in their third full season, and under the age of 25 —  *chef’s kiss* — Muah!  I love me some of that sugar baby.  Could Nola still be another year away from a top 20 starter season?  Yeah, that’s my worry.  Hence, the shruggle.  2018 Projections: 14-9/3.41/1.18/188 in 184 IP

17. Jose Quintana – Last year feels like an aberration for Quintana as far as his 4.15 ERA is concerned.  This is anecdotal, but I think he knew he was leaving the White Sox and it was bothering him in the 2nd half.  Then, after he was traded, his K/9 swelled and his walk rate plummeted to his usual 2.2 BB/9 levels.  I know, it makes little sense that he wanted out of Chicago so bad that it affected him, then he was fine when he ended up back in Chicago, but it’s my working theory.  I’m also at a standing desk, so any working theory of mine is outstanding!  When people say, “Grey, do you work out?”  I say, “No, I work up!”  2018 Projections:  15-9/3.49/1.17/204 in 202 IP

18. Trevor Bauer – El oh eff me.  I didn’t want to put Trevor Bauer in the top 20 starters, even as I was writing his name in the top 20.  This feels like it’s going to bite me in the ass almost immediately.  Can you imagine a fantasy staff with Trevor Bauer as your number one?  I can:  insert poop emoji.  OR IS IT?!  Damn, Abrupt Reversal Question, bringing it.  In the 2nd half last year, he had a 3.01 ERA in 83 2/3 IP with a 10 K/9.  That’s a number one.  Of course, his 1st half was a 5.24 ERA and that might’ve been hard to stomach like a ghost pepper.  However, his 1st half K/9 was also a 10.  Who are you with all these 10’s?  Bo Derek?  So, what was the difference between the 1st half and 2nd?  He started throwing his curve 30% of the time, and everything clicked.  30% of the time leaning on the curve sounds like a lot, right?  Yeah, Nola and Kluber were right there with him.  Another thing that Bauer’s got going for him is he’s young and has been a workhorse compared to, say, Alex Wood or James Paxton.  I admit there’s some risk relying on Bauer, but his 2nd half appeared to be a forward step, and I’m ready for a trust fall into this shruggle.  2018 Projections:  15-10/3.59/1.29/204 in 189 IP

19. Dallas Keuchel – This is a new tier.  This tier goes from here until Ohtani.  I call this tier, “Wu-Tang ain’t the only thing not to eff wit.”  I want no part of these starters.  It’s not that I don’t like Daylass Koochel, it’s that I don’t understand him.  I get that he throws a ton of grounders — yo, that sinker, yo.  It doesn’t matter that his fastball is only 88 MPH, his ground ball rate was 66.8% last year, which would’ve been the 2nd best rate in the last seventeen years if he qualified (he only threw 145 2/3 IP last year).  This isn’t even about how he was seen in a walking boot right after the Astros won the World Series because his championship parade dance instructor was Mark Madsen.  This is because I just don’t understand banking on positive results from an 88-MPH, ground ball pitcher.  If he loses a hair off any of his pitches, he’s going to be a 4.75 ERA guy, and if you own him, you’re gonna lose more hairs than that.  2018 Projections:  15-7/3.41/1.14/160 in 190 IP

20. Shohei Ohtani – I already gave you my Shohei Ohtani fantasy.  It was written like the sunrise, too early in my eyes.  It was also written prior to us hearing about his elbow injury.  After we heard that, I wrote, “Revealed he has a sprain of his UCL in his right elbow.  So, you’re saying there was a reason he only threw 25 IP last year?  Surprise, surprise.  I guess he can always hit instead of pitch, or do neither and have Tommy John surgery.  The Angels are saying Ohtani can pitch through it, after he received some injections.  This makes him their third pitcher in last two years “pitching” through it.  I wonder if Garrett RichardsMatt Shoemakeror Skaggs have any advice for him.  Like, I don’t know, have the surgery immediately?”  And that’s me quoting me!  I also added that I’d be removing forty innings from my prior projections of 12-4/3.28/1.22/146 in 140 IP for Ohtani.  After reading more on his injury and success of the PRP injection, I’m going to leave my projections as they were, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think he was very risky, or that I was drafting him in any league.  Hence, the Wu-Tang tier.  2018 Projections:  12-4/3.28/1.22/146 in 140 IP

STARTER RANKINGS CONTINUE IN TOP 40 STARTERS FOR 2018 FANTASY BASEBALL

 
  1. Jose says:
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    Is Eric Fedde a keeper?
    Those he have a chance to make WAS rotation in 2o18?
    I keep hearing that WAS is looking for a starter, if they get one he would be the odd men out.
    1- Scherzer, 2- Strasburg, 3- Gio, 4- Roark 5- ???

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Jose: He’s the 5th man in the rotation right now, but they have other options and could still sign someone

  2. You don’t deserve your dog says:
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    i choose to focus on the fact that bumgarner got a big rest on that arm that threw less than half the innings of his career average in 2017. That extra rest was just what he needed after 3 WS runs on that arm. I know he had a torn labrum but it wasn’t pitching related and he pitched close to his typical self upon return from the injury. I put him in the first tier after Sale.

  3. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    Love that ray ranking!!! Plus, who knows what might happen for him with the mysterious ~humidor~ bump.

    Cracked up at that Korey Cluber blurb for Sale.

    Bauer was definitely a surprise, but the great thing about drafting him “as your ace” is that you won’t have to pay anything near ace prices to do so. Something like Nola/Quintana then Bauer as 2 would be a nice start.

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        @Grey: Might work! I can tell you that I’m psyched to be able to roll with Sev and Nola in my H2H categories keeper league, at a combined $10 total. Feel like I can basically just spend $1-$2 on every other SP + be absolutely fine (up to 3 waivers per week, so plenty of waiver moves available).

  4. Awesome Auger says:
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    Padres gave away Trea Turner too

    • Curious George Springer says:
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      @Awesome Auger: I was going to mention Turner and Joe Ross. I wouldn’t say they gave him away, though. They got Wil Myers in that deal. Not a good trade, but they got a very good player back.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Awesome Auger: I forgot about that, Padres are hilariously terrible

      • Sweatpants Nation says:
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        @Grey: Expos gave away so many HOFers. Wonder which was worse.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          They had to, no money

          • Whit says:
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            Rays fans have more misery than the Pads. We gave up Myers to get Ross and Turner and then traded them for F’ing souza. Seriously, They got Souza! WTF!!!!!!!

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Haha, ouch

  5. Hometown Heroes says:
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    I’m in a 12 team AL only roto keeper league and was offered Mookie(1 yr at $16) and Clevinger(2 yr at $10) for Buxton (3 yrs @ $16), Healy (1 yr $10) and Kyle Tucker$1 for first 3 yrs of service. I know Mookie is a stud but I’m worried about giving up too much of my future for one year. I need pitching help as well. Is clevinger even going to win a starting spot?

    Thanks for the help!

  6. Dodger Rabbit says:
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    Couldn’t get video to work. Tried two different browsers.
    Greyt stuff, otherwise!

    • Slappy Jack says:
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      @Dodger Rabbit: I also couldn’t get it to work *sadface eggplant emoji*

      • Count de Monetball says:
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        hope it works on my desktop, how can I start the day without claymation Grey?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Dodger Rabbit: Bummer, let me see what the problem is — thanks!

  7. Mickey Maloney says:
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    Always look forward to your Starting Pitching rankings, thank you! I still have PTSD after drafting MadBum last year. In H2H points league, do you generally subscribe to the strategy of drafting pitching early? Seems at least three SP will go in the first round.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Mickey Maloney: In points leagues, you have to draft starters earlier

    • El Marco says:
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      @Mickey Maloney: I’d go first SP in rounds 4 or 5 and grab two more solid ones In the next few rounds

  8. Dodger Rabbit says:
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    What are your projections for Alex Avila this year in Arizona?
    Thx!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Dodger Rabbit: I’ll update my top 20 catchers when I’m done here

  9. Jensen says:
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    If you are targeting 1800-1900 IP would your strategy on top end starters change?

    • Curious George Springer says:
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      @Jensen: if you plan to log a lot of innings the impact of having a top SP is even less. His contribution to the overall performance of your staff is a smaller percentage as the total innings you accumulate increases.

      • Jensen says:
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        @Curious George Springer: It’s also much harder to stream 1,000 quality innings than 400. I don’t have a side, I’m just making a counter point.

        I have Nola and McCullers. If I only need 1100 IP I feel a lot better about that combo than I do in my league where i need 1900.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Jensen: That’s a lot of IP, I’d draft even less top SPs

  10. G says:
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    Hey Grey,

    Wondering your more specific thoughts on choosing between Strasbourg and Madbum in pairing them with Severino who is my only pitcher keeper.

    I have some solid hitting keepers and have 12th and 13th overall picks. Normally I’d avoid a pitcher as you suggest but it’s actually advantageous for me
    To take one of Madbum or Strasberg for one f those picks considering how diluted the hitter pool is at top. The pitchers you have ranked before these guys are almost certainly going to be gone. Thanks as alway

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @G: Stras never pitches 200 IP, and Bum is an injury risk due to last year

  11. Cram It says:
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    @G: MadBum is one spot higher than Strasburg. What’s the issue?

    • G says:
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      @Cram It:
      No issue. And can see the one spot difference as you pointed out. Just wondering if one of them would be a better compliment to owning Severino considering the risks that come with each. I guess it’s hard to predict injury but wanted some extra feedback.

      I’m also not thrilled that my first two picks will be choosing from those pitchers and Donaldson and Encarnacion.

      • Cram It says:
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        @G: I don’t think owning Severino changes how you should look at them. I’d take Bum over Stras, for what Grey said.

  12. Cram It says:
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    Pitching is not deep!

    • Willy Mo says:
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      @Cram It: agree. Waiting too long for starters really burnt me last year. Grey makes it seem like it was easy to get an alex wood from last season (who i owned and i still stunk at pitching).

      The problem was by the time i was ready to start drafting pitchers, i needed to reach becasue in round 6ish all the good starting pitchers are gone and we were already well outside the top 20. So it felt like i should have drafted a pitcher earlier.

      Theres so many more quality hitters that i believe pitcher scarcity (gasp) needs to be accounted for

      • Cram It says:
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        @Willy Mo: It’s not necessarily easy to identify guys that will severely outperform their draft price but it can be done and that’s half the fun. Last year was brutal for SP’s. I don’t know if it was an anomaly or the start of something, but I’m still not drafting a starter in the first few rounds.

        • Willy Mo says:
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          @Cram It: yea i prolly just waiting too long last year. I think round 4 is the sweet spot, with guys like sevy and carrasco available.

          I dont think its a bad idea to draft another starter with one of your next 2 picks thereafter as well which is probably not the reccomended route.

          • Earl says:
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            @Willy Mo: I think I would agree that need 1st pitcher perhaps round #3 (Syndergaard or Strasburg) or definitely by round #4 with perhaps a Sevy or Carrasco maybe Ray??

            • Earl says:
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              @Earl: Last year on a team that did well in roto 5×5 league, I went hitters round 1-3, then starting pitchers 4 and 5, followed by hitter round 6 and then good closers rounds 7&8. Seemed to work well for me last year anyway. LOL.

          • Willy Mo says:
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            @Willy Mo: example:
            Round 6. Lets say u picked second in a snake draft and got-
            Altuve 2
            Springer 23
            Jose abreu 26
            Severino 47
            Rendon 50

            In round 6 the top pitchers available per fantasy pros for ur next pick are keuchel, nola, quintana. Top hitters buxton, wil myers, schoop.

            I think it makes sense to take one of those starters here in round 6 becasue the bext 3 pitcher names listed after the 3 i mentioned are cole, tanaka, and lester, of ehich should go much later and make for shaky sp2 imo.

            I def will be taking 2 sp with my first 6 picks. Not saying first round but in rounds 4 and 6 i think thats the where the value is with current adp.

          • Cram It says:
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            @Willy Mo: Round 4 is reasonable.

            • Sweatpants Nation says:
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              @Cram It: Yeah, load up on bats in the first 4-5 rounds and see how the draft is evolving from there. The problem with waiting too long is when you pick a hitter then have to wait while the next guy picks a pitcher that starts a run so by the time it gets back to you there isn’t much left to have confidence in. Auctions work a little differently, obviously, but you still have to avoid the over pay especially early.

      • Crime Dog says:
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        @Willy Mo: . I think all Grey’s pitching strategies center around your standard settings and size for the most part. I’m in a 14 team league where you need 7 starts a week with categories of QS, HR, SV, ERA, WHIP and K/9 and I adjust accordingly. I think I over adjusted last year in my first year when I took scherzer in the second. This year I will be looking to take my first starter at the end of 3.

        If I were in a standard 10 or 12 team I’d probably hold off until rounds 4 or 5 to take a pitcher. A lot depends on league settings.

      • Curious George Springer says:
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        @Willy Mo: I drafted Hill, Paxton, and Ray last year based on the metrics Grey talks about, and my staff was awesome. It can be done with some work.

    • The Great Knoche says:
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      @Cram It: There’s 150 starters!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Cram It: Not up top, but there are a ton of #2-4’s

      • Cram It says:
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        @Grey: If guys with a 4.00 ERA are #2’s then shizz ain’t deep. *cough cough* Gausman *cough*

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Oh, not deep conventionally, but I’m saying there’s about 40 pitchers that are all the same diff, so no reason to draft an SP high

          • Cram It says:
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            @Grey: Agreed. I’ll never draft an SP high regardless of the landscape. Finding those SP gems is my favorite part anyway. Just need to do a little extra research in this minefield and make sure I get some of them!

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Any chance you draft Shohei?

              • Cram It says:
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                @Grey: There’s a chance. I don’t how much he’s going for/ADP but I won’t pay for him as a top 100 player if that’s his price tag.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Yeah, he’s easily going in top 100

                  • Cram It says:
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                    @Grey: I’m not paying for that. But then I’m in the 8th round of the ‘Perts league, and I’ve half cockeyed and I’m staring at a queue of Jon Lester, Michael Fulmer and Adam Jones and I pull the trigger.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Oh eff all of those guys… My guess it will be Gallo or Ohtani…

                  • Cram It says:
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                    @Grey: I don’t even know how this guy is going to be used. Probably not interested in him at all at his price tag if he’s mainly going to hit. If I have a low risk team by the time he’s draftable, maybe I’ll take a chance on him.

                    Eff Gallo. I typically struggle in BA every year. I’m making a concerted effort to not put myself in that hole early.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      I hear ya on Gallo, but his price vs. Judge has me interested… Tho, the AVG will kill ya…. I’m not touching Ohtani, nothing but downside, and he only threw 25 IP last year…

            • Crime Dog says:
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              @Cram It: yo Cram, what do you consider high? Would you say regardless of any format, you’d never take a SP in the first 2 rounds? 3 rounds? what’s your cutoff with a format heavily weighted towards elite pitching in mind? hopefully that makes sense lol.

              • Cram It says:
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                @Crime Dog: I’m definitely not taking SP in the first 2 rounds. Format could dictate taking one in the 3rd, like a 15 team NFBC league, and so could the draft flow. I’m in a points league where pitching is weighted heavier than hitting, but still, I take my chances playing musical pitchers during the season if the ones I draft don’t work out.

                • Crime Dog says:
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                  @Cram It: Good to know, thanks Cram. This is my second year playing fantasy baseball, longtime fan though, and still trying to get a solid base strategy to go by. I found this site a little too late last year and took Scherzer in 2, never again! I think a good rule of thumb it sounds like is never in the first 2 rounds no matter the format (unless of course it’s some sort of whacky all pitchers league).

                  • Cram It says:
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                    @Crime Dog: Right on! Glad you found fantasy baseball and this site. Grey and the gang will surely cover draft strategies and supply tools to help you draft a good team.

                    But yeah, the favored strategy around here is to not pay for pitching at the draft.

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    Crime Dog, I got your email, sending it along to Rudy

                    • Crime Dog says:
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                      @Grey: thank you!

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Let me know tomorrow if you haven’t heard back

  13. El Marco says:
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    It’s like Christmas! Love me everyone in the Archer tier. Bauer seems a tad high but I will trust you blindly like always. (As you slam my hand against the closest person’s arse) Damn you Grey!

    • Cram It says:
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      @El Marco: And 120 of them stink!

      • The Great Knoche says:
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        @Cram It: So deep. So Deep!

        • Cram It says:
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          @The Great Knoche: If I come away from the draft with Bauer as my ace, I’m going to kick a cat.

          • The Great Knoche says:
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            @Cram It: Yup, I just love saying pitching is sooo Deep!!!

            I’m in on Bumgarner, Strasburg, Severino, Ray. Not touching Mets so I may over-invest to make sure I get one of those guys.

              • The Great Knoche says:
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                @Cram It: Matt Harvey. The Comeback!

              • Willy Mo says:
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                @Cram It: lol matz? i guess hes a name. He had a mid 6 k rate over 66 innings last year, and injured as usual.

                You can get him in one of the last rounds id think. Fantasy pros has him as the 100th sp off the board at pick 347

                • Cram It says:
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                  @Willy Mo: I’m not putting any stock in last year. It was a lost season for him due to injury. Dude is good.

                  • Willy Mo says:
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                    @Cram It: always injured. Last year bad and injured. Hes just not built to be a guy who can take the ball every 5 days it seems

                    • Cram It says:
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                      @Willy Mo: Too soon to tag him as always injured.

  14. SWCMinor says:
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    I predicted (to myself) that Grey would be low on Severino due to the drastic increase in innings. I’m sad to be wrong, but happy that Severino (who I love) got a vote of confidence.

  15. MacGruber says:
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    I love the aggressive Bauer ranking.

    In a 15-team mixed if my starters were Syndergaard, Cole, McCullers and Pomeranz should I pay the[ high] auction price to get someone else in this tier or wait a bit and shop in the $5 bin for a bunch of high upside high risk dart throws?

  16. Fanciful Basesball says:
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    SPs are terrible. The worst thing your hitters are going to do in a freak day is go 0 and 9 on a doubleheader. But starting pitchers will put up two months of solid numbers, then get destroyed by a noodle-batted team for 7 earned runs, 12 hits, and 5 walks in 1.2 innings. Just like that, your h2h week is dead. Just like that, you’ve dropped down 3 points in roto. Just terrible.

    Starting pitchers are like the tail end out a bad relationship. The best times are sexy, but most of the time you’re just trying to hold on to normal, fearing the fight that will ruin your day. You never come home to your batters and spend an hour with them in awkward silence, not wanting to be the first one to speak. You can easily forgive batters, and they weren’t offended by what you said to them. Pitchers will leave your team if they catch you checking out another pitchers ERA on the wire.

    Batters never say “not tonight, I have a blister.”

    This was a reply about baseball.

    • @Fanciful Basesball: …and so much more. Great post. I heartily endorse the philosophy of hashtag FUCKPITCHING. I drafted a bunch of trash last year, picked up Lance Lynn the day after, and streamed my way to the playoffs. (only to get knocked out solely because of Yu Darvish getting his ass eaten by the Padres) ((and yes, I traded for Darvish for that “playoff run Ace”, never ever again.)) Stream life is exhausting, but its the only life for me.

    • Stickball Al says:
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      @Fanciful Basesball: Hahahaha !!! Thanks for the laugh…