So you started the season with a monstrous keeper squad of Jose Ramirez, Giancarlo Stanton, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Luis Severino? Now you’re sitting in a bathtub, crying like Grey as he watches Travis Shaw and Jose Peraza bag his sack of Whole Foods groceries in the year 2021. Peraza holds the bag while Shaw inserts the various packages of beyond meats. The toaster is already plugged in and heating up next to your bath; Johnny Cash’s rendition of “Hurt” is blaring on your old school boombox as you shovel Hagen-Daas into your face. Suddenly everything goes black! Did the toaster slip into the tub? Nope, you blew a fuse!

Now you have a choice. Either go flip the breaker, crank The Man in Black back up, and finish the job; or wipe those tears away and send out a flurry of fantasy baseball trade offers before your deadline passes. In an effort to save a life, here are my top 20 starting pitchers for 2020:

Note: Be sure to check out the bonus podcast below the rankings featuring Grey and Donkey Teeth

Rank Name Team Age
Tier 1
1 Max Scherzer Nationals 34
2 Jacob deGrom Mets 31
3 Gerrit Cole Free Agent 28
4 Walker Buehler Dodgers 24
Tier 2
5 Justin Verlander Astros 36
6 Blake Snell Rays 26
7 Luis Castillo Reds 26
8 Trevor Bauer Reds 28
9 Shane Bieber Indians 24
10 Jack Flaherty Cardinals 23
11 Chris Sale Red Sox 30
12 Mike Clevinger Indians 28
Tier 3
13 Patrick Corbin Nationals 29
14 Aaron Nola Phillies 26
15 Jose Berrios Twins 25
16 Chris Paddack Padres 23
17 Hyun-Jin Ryu Free Agent 32
18 Stephen Strasburg Nationals 30
19 Charlie Morton Rays 35
Tier 4
20 Noah Syndergaard Mets 26
21 German Marquez Rockies 24
22 Lucas Giolito White Sox 24
23 Shohei Ohtani Angels 25
24 Corey Kluber Indians 33
25 Tyler Glasnow Rays 25
26 Luis Severino Yankees 25
27 Carlos Carrasco Indians 32
28 Zack Greinke Astros 35
29 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 31
Tier 5
30 Domingo German Yankees 27
31 Mike Soroka Braves 21
32 Madison Bumgarner Free Agent 29
33 James Paxton Yankees 30
34 Zac Gallen Marlins 24
35 Yu Darvish Cubs 32
36 David Price Red Sox 33
37 Zach Plesac Indians 24
38 Matt Boyd Tigers 28
39 Brendan McKay Rays 23
40 Brandon Woodruff Brewers 26
41 Zack Wheeler Free Agent 29
42 Caleb Smith Rays 27
Tier 6
43 Jameson Taillon Pirates 27
44 Robbie Ray DBacks 27
45 Eduardo Rodriguez Red Sox 26
46 Sonny Gray Reds 29
47 Kyle Hendricks Cubs 29
48 Max Fried Braves 25
49 Dinelson Lamet Padres 27
50 Dustin May Dodgers 21


Outside looking in: Mike Foltynewicz, Aaron Sanchez, Miles Mikolas, Brad Keller, Joey Lucchesi, Steven Matz, Jose Quintana, Marcus Stroman, Dylan Cease, Reynaldo Lopez, Griffin Canning, Jon Gray, Wade Miley, Julio Teheran, Michael Pineda, Mike Minor, Drew Smyly, Lance Lynn



  1. Homer's got the Runs says:

    I would think had Clevinger been healthy all year he would be 4 or 5 spots higher. Also would of thought Lance Lynn would be in the top 50 considering the year he has had.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      Sure on Clevinger, he’s in the same tier as those guys 4-5 spots higher so there’s not a lot of separation in my mind.

      You’re probably right on Lynn. He isn’t a sexy name but he hasn’t really faded much in the 2nd half. I thought there was a strong top 50 argument for the whole “outside looking in” list which is why they’re listed. I’ll be monitoring that list closely down the stretch…

    • mike says:

      Would HAVE

  2. Dave Phillips says:

    No Frankie Montas?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      He’s a tough one and I overlooked him here, good catch.

      I don’t think he makes my top 50, but he definitely belongs in the group that just missed and I could see having him as high as the late 30s. While it seemed like a legit breakout, we don’t really know because of the PED shadow. I’ll say he’d be in the 51-55 range for me right now, but his upside makes him an intriguing option for sure.

  3. John says:

    What do you think of Frankie Montas? He was fantastic before his suspension and it seemed like a legit breakout.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      He’s a tough one and I overlooked him here, good catch.

      I don’t think he makes my top 50, but he definitely belongs in the group that just missed and I could see having him as high as the late 30s. While it seemed like a legit breakout, we don’t really know because of the PED shadow. I’ll say he’d be in the 51-55 range for me right now, but his upside makes him an intriguing option for sure.

  4. Maximumxpower says:

    At this point would you drop Adalberto Mondesi or Lourdes Gurriel?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      If it’s a roto league and you have to lose one then I’d ditch Mondesi.

      If it’s H2H then the math gets a little funky…do you have a playoff spot locked up, are you fighting for a spot, do you have a glaring need, what are the categories, etc.

  5. brett says:

    Rather have which of the following 5 keepers 260 auction budget 12 team. QS instead of wins: Drafted players can be kept year 2 at auction price and then in year 3 contracted for $5 increases each year starting immediately or kept for draft price year 3 and then you lose him.

    I have 3 great options and can’t keep all. Can you rank the order you would keep? And if you keep Snell what would you do. I don’t like keeping pitchers at high prices.

    Snell I can have for only 2020 for 3 or give a 2 year contract making him 8 in 2020 and then 13 in 2021
    Paddack $2 in 2020 and then in 2021 $2 or I can contract for additional years.
    Bieber $9 in 2020 and then 9 in 2021 or I doubt I’d contract.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      Snell, Bieber, Paddack for me.

      I’d go with the $3 Snell for 2020 only option…seems like you won’t have issues finding another great cheap keeper at the end of next year.

  6. Brett says:

    No Urias? He should start next year and could be top 30 though could understand inning concerns.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      Good call. Yes, there’s innings concerns but if he’s starting I’d say Urias deserves a spot somewhere near the top of tier 6 or even bottom of tier 5.

      I’ll refine this list with a couple posts in September…

  7. JayA says:

    Great and very useful list and podcast. Of course, it totally messed with my mind as I was about to pull a deal focused solely on next year. In our league, you can keep a guy the following year in the round he was drafted, plus 4. So, if drafted in 20, he’s 16 the next year and 12 the following, and so on.

    So, accordingly, who do you prefer, Lynn keepable in 27 or McKay keepable in 16? Prior to this ranking, I would have thought Lynn. Now, I’m all messed up!

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:


      I see the argument for Lynn if it’s a deep league, but even then I’d take the shot on McKay. I’ve always had a thing for the shiny toy though.

      McKay’s upside is very high but you’re probably only looking at 140 innings. Lynn is the floor option but can get you 180+ innings. I almost always shoot for the ceiling, plenty of back up options in season if you swing and miss…

  8. NonTrads says:

    Zac Gallen?

    Just curious your thoughts if he makes top 50.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      I like Gallen a lot. Really thought I had him in there, may have fat fingered it.

      I’ll get him added ahead of Darvish at 34…

      Thanks, NonTrads.

  9. Manny says:

    FYI you have Caleb Smith listed as a Ray. Great work as this is really helpful for the keeper/dynasty leagues. Also glad to see that Urias/Montas/Gallen all seem to be right on the fringe as essentially top 40-60 guys…

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:


      I’m talking to Grey about hiring all of you on in the Razzball editing department. As long as you’re fine with being paid in mustache rides.

  10. Brett says:

    Also I know pitching is deep but no gallen? Not a believer?

    • Brett says:


      • Donkey Teeth

        Donkey Teeth says:

        Can’t sneak anything past you guys!

  11. mUshi says:

    Hi donkey. In a 20team keeper, do i trade jd mart for oscar mercado and gary sanchez?

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      Hey mUshi,

      Are there any contracts involved or other relevant factors? Do you keep a certain number of players and if so who are your other keeper options?

      At first glance I’d say hold JD, but the 20 team depth does make it slightly more interesting for me…

      • mUshi says:

        Hey. We keep 8 (keep forever), no contracts, no limitations on hitters/pitchers as keepers. My team is:
        3 of – Puig/brantley/jd mart
        1 util/bench bats – goodrum/r.nunez/urias/happ
        Sp – bieber/gray/civale
        Rp – kennedy/castillo/leclerc/raisel

        I was also offered strasburg for jd mart.

        Thanks for the help

        • Donkey Teeth

          Donkey Teeth says:

          The Mercado/Sanchez offer isn’t bad at all but I think I’d hold out for better.

          Definitely not opposed to moving JD for two solid keepers since it looks like you could use one more. Maybe try to deal him for an OF and SP. I like Mercado but Sanchez wouldn’t really be a target of mine…

          I’d pass on the Strasburg offer as well.

          No problem.

  12. Nick says:

    Hey Donkey,

    Dynasty team, my pitching team needs a revamping !
    Best SPs on DL : Snell 6 and Glasnow 25 – to be activated before the start of next season
    SP1 : Giolito 22
    SP2 : Domingo German 30
    SP3 : Lucchesi (55)
    Then Hamels – Yarbrough – Roark + Alex Young (Arizona rookie)

    i can snatch Lamet 49 and Plesac 37 on FA ,,, for who ?
    Keller – Smeltzer also avb

    My RPs are Robles + Pagan for saves + Goody for holds
    on FA : Lugo – Law are avb

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      Hey Nick,
      I’d swap Young and Roark out for Plesac and Lamet.

  13. C says:

    Gallen pitches in Zona now.

    Kershaw seems low. Ditto with Giolito.

    But hey, that’s just me.

    • Donkey Teeth

      Donkey Teeth says:

      Indeed he does, thanks.

      Giolito had a great start after I dropped this and I like him a lot long term. Might bump him ahead of Strasburg in the next iteration.

      I still have no trust in Kershaw to stay healthy. He’s a guy I’ll just avoid, plenty of other arms to choose from.

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