The List: 2020 Update

April's here and it's time for an update.

With the indefinite delays in our season continued and the dearth of any information whatsoever available to us, we at Pitcher List felt it was our duty to update our fantasy baseball community with our newest edition of The List.

So, it’s my pleasure to unveil the Top 10 pitchers in the new, official 2020 update to The List.

All rankings will be with 12-teamer, 5×5 head-to-head leagues in mind, and hopefully, my astute blurbs for each player will help those outside the standard format to adjust accordingly.

As always, feel free to comment or reach out to me personally with any questions, comments, or complaints.


Tier 1: Core Four



1. Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees) – The newly acquired  Yankee is nothing short of incredible. Cole struck out over 300 batters with a similarly great 2.50 ERA in 2019 and proved that he’s an elite arm for the foreseeable future.

But, as we all know, vision is by far the most important part of pitching. Much more important than the actual pitching. If that’s the case, what would happen if the reigning AL Cy Young and top fantasy pitcher were suddenly given the gift of perfect vision in the form of prescription glasses?

Your mind would explode from how amazing Gerrit Cole would become. 


Dave’s Reluctant Projection: 1.80 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 46% K rate in 200 IP



2. Yu Darvish (Chicago Cubs) – Darvish hasn’t been in his peak form in quite some time as he ended last season just a shade under the dreaded 4.00 ERA, with a terribly high 11 wild pitches and a shockingly similar 11 HBP.

Darvish recouped a bunch of value for fantasy owners with a stellar second half to end 2019, due to some tweaks in his mechanics, a full slate of healthy, and regained confidence. And, while his draft stock has already accounted for those second-half improvements leading into this season, just imagine what Darvish’s stats could look like if he reached his peak performance.

I guess what I’m saying is Darvish could probably make do with some eyeglasses. 


Dave’s Reluctant Projection: 2.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 38% K rate in 180 IP



3. Trevor Bauer (Cincinnati Reds) – After a breakout 2018 where he compiled a 2.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 11.3 K/9 while only giving up 0.5 HR/9, Bauer took a giant step back last season, pitching poorly for not one, but two teams. He shattered his previous season-high of HBP with a league-leading 19, allowed 3.5 BB/9, and his ERA ballooned up to a 4.48. Yea, that’s not good.

Now, Bauer is a huge proponent of Driveline’s advanced data-driven performance training and is one of the brightest minds in the game always trying to get ahead of the curve with technology.

But, maybe Bauer could improve his game more if he spent less time watching pitching videos and more time reading some of those eye charts at his optometrist’s office.


Dave’s Reluctant Projection: 2.80 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 39% K rate in 190 IP



4. Robbie Ray (Arizona Diamondbacks) – 4.34 BB/9 for a starting pitcher?? The man with two sets of first names could do well to add a second set of eyes to his arsenal, and we’ll leave it at that.


Dave’s Reluctant Projection: 3.00 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 41% K rate in 170 IP


Tier 2: The Wrath of Khan



5. Max Fried (Atlanta Braves) – One of the many young arms in the Braves rotation, Fried looks to improve further on an already exceptional rookie season from 2019. One area of improvement could be on his face, above his nose, and in between his ears. Yep, we’re talking about some glasses.

Hopefully, Max rolls with our advice, because it could be the difference-maker in his sophomore season.


Dave’s Reluctant Projection: 2.75 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 30% K rate in 180 IP



6. Spencer Turnbull (Detroit Tigers) – There was a lot to love last season when it came to Turnbull’s game, but also a lot left to be desired. Turnbull was electric at times, but having the right stuff isn’t everything, as he finished the season with a league-worst 17 losses.

Here’s hoping that Spencer hits up Warby Parker online store (we’re not silly, we practice good social distancing here) during the delay to help make his wins column higher than his loss column for the upcoming season. 


Dave’s Reluctant Projection: Stats not projected, but prob like 15 or 16 wins?


Tier 3: The Rise of Relievers



7. Brandon Workman (Boston Red Sox) – Prior to suspended play, Workman was set to be the main closer for Boston this season. On the off chance that he finds himself in a closer-by-committee role, there’s still a lot to love about Workman for fantasy this season. One thing I don’t love, however, is his lack of glasses.

If Workman is able to work on that and add a pair of spectacles to his ensemble, then we could be looking at the top reliever in the league.


Dave’s Reluctant Projection: 1.75 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 37% K, 60 saves



8. Jeurys Familia (New York Mets) – After spending a season with Oakland and now back with the Mets, Familia was reported showing up to camp in the best shape of his life, having dropped 30 pounds over the offseason.

Unfortunately, accounting for quarantine body, those pounds might be packing on again, and for all we know, Familia might currently be in the worst shape of his life. But, that’s not really that big of an issue if Jeurys decides a pair of optics is the correct move.


Dave’s Reluctant Projection: 2.75 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 31% K, 45 holds/saves



9. Joe Kelly (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Now, you might be thinking, “Hey, Joe Kelly already wears glasses.” And you’d be right.

But, and hear me out, what if he added a second pair of glasses? I’m thinking Kelly could become a relief pitcher so good, Eckersley himself, would plan to substitute his Hall of Fame bust for a bust of Joe Kelly instead. 


Dave’s Reluctant Projection: 1.45 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 39% K, 55 holds/saves


Tier 4: Colon Alone



10. Bartolo Colon (Free Agent/Claims he’s not retired) – After sitting out all of the 2019 season due to zero interest from major league teams, Big Sexy is still not giving up on a return to the majors. His most recent season pitching in 2018 was definitely not great, and for that matter, Colon hasn’t really shown anything even close to good since 2016.

But hey, if his stuff is truly gone, maybe getting a pair of glasses is the only option to revive Bartolo’s career. Probably not, but we can only hope. 


Dave’s Reluctant Projection: 5.75 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 18% K rate in 180 IP


Tier Infinity


Umpires – They should really get their eyes checked. Maybe then they could actually read the words April Fools’ Day!

Huge thanks to Dave Fisher for writing this article on my behalf. Give him a follow on Twitter and read his other work on the site here.

Featured image and altered photos by the great Justin Paradis. Check out his twitter @FreshMeatComm.

Nick Pollack

Founder of Pitcher List. Creator of CSW, The List, and SP Roundup. Worked with MSG, FanGraphs, CBS Sports, and Washington Post. Former college pitcher, travel coach, pitching coach, and Brandeis alum. Wants every pitcher to be dope.

3 responses to “The List: 2020 Update”

  1. Dave says:

    I think Darwinzon Hernandez with his absolutely atrocious walk rate (to include his MiLB #s) is clearly the number one candidate for glasses (or something)! ;-)

  2. HarryLime52 says:

    Thanks for the laugh. It was needed.

  3. Will says:

    I reread this like 3 times super confused trying to figure out what I was missing. And then I remembered what day it is. Well done.

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