Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher Rest of Season Ranking Tiers

Want to talk about the race of the ultimate fool, try to classify the fantastic starting pitchers. We hunt a butterfly here. No matter how big the net and how sharp the focus, whatever we decide today will look, on some level, silly in just a few days.

But we are making slow progress. It’s a game about a game, and it’s fun, most of the time.

What you see below is how I would organize starting pitchers if I entered a new draft today. Use it to evaluate your team, consider pickups and drops, evaluate trade deals – the choice is yours.

My salaries are non-scientific in nature, intended primarily to show how I rank players and, more specifically, where the talent clusters are. Your list will be different, of course. That’s why we have a game.

I didn’t put anyone on the injured list; I’m not a doctor and the level of injury optimism varies widely between fantastic managers.

I will put a link to previous mixes at the bottom, with their release dates. Now let’s go to the mound.

The big bills

$37Spencer Strider

$35 Shane McClanahan

$33 Gerrit Cole

$32 Framber Valdez

$31Zac Gallen

$31Luis Castillo

$30Joe Ryan

$29 Shohei Ohtani

$28 Kevin Gausman

$28 Corbin Burnes

I’d like to know how Strider’s minor league season went this way: 3-7 record, 3.64 ERA over 22 games. Granted, he struck out 14.6 of nine, coincidentally his rate for this season at the majors. Score one for two-pitch pitchers, showing that if those bids are sufficiently dominant, a third-pitch isn’t necessary. Strider also benefits from the backdrop of the most talented roster in the NL. . . Valdez isn’t a batting magician like most of those other aces, but he has solid control and induces bushel ground balls. This is always the recipe for success. He allowed three or fewer earned runs in 11 of 12 rounds, and his only miss was an eight-strikeout game. Consistency is beautiful when you find it in this position.

It may be an arbitrary goalscoring game, but Burnes has bounced back somewhat after two terrible starts to the year. His last 10 starts break down as follows: 60.1 IP, 43 H, 19 ER, 23 BB, 60 K, 2.83 ERA, 1.09 WHIP. We should still note that his takedown rate, walk rate, and speed are all below his established tier, but I can’t pull him off the first tier just yet, not when recent results are encouraging.

Legit Building Blocks

$27Max Scherzer

$26 Christian Javier

$24Marcus Stroman

$24 Merrill Kelly

$24Logan Webb

$23Aaron Nola

$22 Nathan Eovaldi

$22Clayton Kershaw

$22 George Kirby


$20Chris Bassit

$20 Yu Darvish

$20 Logan Gilbert

$20Justin Verlander

$19Zach Eflin

$19Mitch Keller

$18 Sonny Gray

$17 Triston McKenzie

$16 Jon Gray

$16 Hunter Brown

$16Joe Musgrove

Stroman’s 2.39 ERA doesn’t match his 3.68 ERA, but it would be the fourth straight year he’s beaten that metric, so maybe that’s part of his profile. Stroman helps himself with a juicy ground ball bias and more control, plus he’s one of the smartest pitchers around. . . No one expected Eovaldi to throw like the ace Rangers pay Jacob of Grom be, but it’s not like Eovaldi hasn’t been in the elite before. He led the American League in FIP two years ago, finishing fourth in Cy Young’s vote, and his slightly depressed strikeout rate isn’t all that bad when you combine it with elite control (1, 6BB/9). Swapping Fenway Park for Globe Life Field is a win; Fenway is the second-friendliest yard on offense, while Texas Park ranks 16th, just around the league average.

Kershaw would be a top guy if he was likely to kick off a full season. The Dodgers are a load-management type team, feeling they’re already in the playoffs, so Kershaw is thinking of skipping a few starts during scorching summer days, maybe taking a ghost trip to IL. I still relish every Kershaw start, aware that he won’t be pitching forever. I just wish we still had Vin Scully to add his poetry to the pretty pictures. . . I could use a McKenzie splash on one of my key teams, so maybe the lowly rank is my own emotional conversation. McKenzie was a lawn mower in his MLB debut last weekend, and while you don’t want to oversell a start, it’s encouraging that his muzzle velocity (93.0 mph) is a tick above his average of career (92.4).

Talk to them, talk to them low

$15Tony Gonsolin

$15 Sandy Alcantara

$13 Tyler Wells

$13 Bryce Elder

$12Shane Bieber

$12Michael Wacha

$12 Taj Bradley

$12 Eury Perez

$12 Pablo Lopez

$12 Tyler Glasnow

$12 Domingo German

$11Bobby Miller

$11 Logan Allen

$11 Tanner Baby

$11Lucas Giolito

$11 Luis Severino

$10 Bailey Ober

$10 Drew Smyly

$9Freddy Peralta

$9Andrew Heaney

$9 Jesus Luzardo

$9 Dylan quit

$8 Dane Dunning

$8Alex Cobb

$8 Jose Berrios

$8Andrew Abbott

$8Michael Kopech

$8Charlie Morton

$7Bryce Miller

$7Anthony De Sclafani

$7 Kodai Senga

$7Nestor Cortes Jr.

$6Michael Lorenzen

$6Kyle Gibson

$6 Green Hunter

$6Blake Snell

Believe it or not, I played with even lower prices for Bieber. His speed is at an all time low and his swinging strike rate has plummeted. His off-speed throws are always positive, but he’s had a negative fastball rating for three straight years. Walk up, hit down, the line goes up; there is no positive twist to this story. Oh yeah, the Guardians attack isn’t much help either. . . I never doubt Glasnow will come in handy when healthy, but I never expect him to be healthy for more than a month at a time. The Baby Giraffe has gone 88 innings exactly once in his career. Know what you are signing up for. . . Senga is more like Jenga, a maddening puzzle that can be solved at any time. He alternated good and bad starts over the last six, struggling with control in the three wrong corners. For him to be the pitcher the Mets expected, he needs to get more swings and misses on boundary pitches and range deals. His chase rate is in the bottom third of the league.

We knew Alcantara would be a candidate for regression after a Cy Young season built on volume, but life with the Miami defense has been more erratic than expected. Some bad luck is built into this 5.02 ERA, but that’s not the full explanation – his xERA is 4.02. I think he can have an ERA in the mid to high 3s the rest of the way, and his 1.15 WHIP healer seems like a reasonable target.

Good deal

$5 Louie Varland

$5 MacKenzie Gore

$5Brandon Bielak

$5 Mikola Miles

$5 Brayan Bello

4 $Ben animated

JP$4 France

Canned griffins at $4

$4 Josiah Gray

$4 Jack Flaherty

$4Lance Lynn

$3Aaron Civale

$3Tommy Henry

$3James Paxton

$3JP Sears

$3Edward Cabrera

$3 Dean Kremer

$3Mike Clevinger

$3Kyle Bradish

$3Jordan Montgomery

$2 Julio Tehran

$2Yusei Kikuchi

$2 Zack Greinke

$2 Martin Perez

$1Kyle Freeland

$1Hayden Wesneski

$1 Rich Hill

$1Braxton Garrett

$1Kyle Hendricks

$1Patrick Sandoval

$1Trevor Williams

$1 Tanner Houck

$1Matt Boyd

$1 Roansy Contreras

$1Johan Oviedo

$1Tylor Megill

$1 Clarke Schmidt

$1 Taijuan Walker

$1Adam Wainwright

$1Reid Detmers

$1Jameson Taillon

$1 Grayson Rodriguez

$0Noah Syndergaard

$0 Graham Ashcraft

$0 Alek Manoah

Manoah has been the most destructive pitcher this year, torching ratios on 13 disastrous starts. He has the most walks in baseball, he’s had trouble with homers and his strikeout rate – which wasn’t great last year – is also down. Forget the forced speech, it’s an obvious cut now. The Blue Jays will likely send him or consider a move to IL soon, give Manoah some time to regroup. But I don’t imagine him being back in the circle of trust this year, for them or for us.

Currently injured – Ineligible for classification

Eduardo Rodriguez

justin steel

Dustin May

Jacob of Grom

Drew Rasmussen

Jeffrey Springs

Max fried

Chris Sale

Brandon Woodruff

Julio Urias

Tyler Mahle

Wade Miley

Vince Velazquez

Luis Garcia

Seth Lugo

Jose Urquidy

Alex Wood

Kenta Maeda

Nick Lodolo

Cal Quantrill

Previous mixes

Seekers (May 9)

Corner infields (May 16)

Average infields (May 23)

Voltigeurs (May 30)

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