The List 3/25 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday

Nick Pollack released his weekly update, ranking the Top 100 Starting Pitcher rankings for fantasy baseball.

[pitcher_list_new list_id=”28595″]


Fringe Starters


Pitcher Why They Missed The Cut
Marcus Stroman Not enough whiffs and it’s hard to trust the BABIP to fall with Toronto’s turf and poor infield defense.
Dereck Rodriguez He could be a Toby and likely deserves a spot, and I want to see an improvement in his repertoire first.
Wade Miley Great for a gamble at a cheap win, I worry about his low IPS and lack of strikeouts.
Martin Perez Spring Training velocity reports are definitely interesting but I need to see it during the season first.
Trevor Williams His fastball vastly overperformed last year and I don’t buy a repeat.
Vince Velasquez A massive Cherry Bomb without the clear path to working out of it with inconsistent secondary options.
Tyler Mahle I’m waiting to see if we can trust his new curveball + Alex Wood should return shortly.
Carlos Rodon More of the same for 2018 is not enough to warrant a 12-teamer add. Too volatile.


What is happening!

It’s a new season and the weekly updates to The List have returned. I’ll be ranking the Top 100 Starting Pitchers every Monday from now until the end of the season.

Before I dive into the player notes, there are a few changes to go over:

  • Previous/Best/Worst columns removed
    • These took a heavy chunk of loading time and ultimately provided very little value. The change arrows themselves are all that’s needed
  • Tiers added
    • As much as I hate making tiers (When do they start and end? How big are the cliffs?), ya’ll have been asking for them and I’m here for all of you. Please understand how hard it is to accurately place them and don’t get too worked up about it.
  • Labels added
    • There’s often confusion as to why a pitcher is a spot or two above or below another. These labels should help understand what each pitcher brings to the table, showing that some pitchers may be better or worse for what you need.
    • Hover over them (or tap on mobile) to see each label’s name next to the pitcher.
  • Fringe Starters added
    • There are always a handful of starters I badly want added to The List but I don’t have enough room. I’ll always have this table at the end for a collection of starters – in no order – that I also heavily considered, as well as why they could be relevant
  • Injured Players added (next time)
    • I struggled plenty to figure out how to handle IL pitchers last season and will be making a change starting next week – removing players who are out for at least four weeks at placing them in a separate table labeling the rough range where I’d place them if they were healthy.
    • This will start next week as I understand many are still drafting and need this reference point for their drafts.

Please let me know how you feel about these changes and I’m looking forward to another fun year assessing the wonderful entity that is the SP Landscape.

On to the notes! Remember, these ranks are for 12-teamers in H2H leagues:


Player Notes


  • There is a lot to talk about, but not a whole much has changed in the first forty or so picks, save for the timetables for Clayton Kershaw, Luis Severino and Mike Foltynewicz shedding some of their haze.
  • …Save for Kyle Freeland who I went back-and-forth with in March and have settled on buying into, with the major pull coming from improved velocity in the spring. Pair that with more cutters that miss bats and Freeland could return sneaky good value this year.
  • The fun lies in the seventh and eighth tiers. I don’t shy away from encouraging owners to craft half of their staff with upside plays, using the wire through the season to catch arms as they are possibly breaking out. Matt Strahm and Chris Paddack are all but locked into starting rotation spots, each possible Top 30 arms if they tossed over 160 frames. I don’t expect Paddack to exceed 150 (if even that), while Strahm could hover the number and pay major dividends this year.
  • Tier 8 is going to upset some people, but remember, this is about taking chances early in the year to find the guys that can help all six months. Those in Tier 9 may be a bit safer, but they don’t push the needle enough to justify missing out on a premier talent.
  • Speaking of Tier 8, Pablo Lopez, Caleb Smith, Trevor Richards, Brandon Woodruff, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wrightand Corbin Burnes were all confirmed in the rotation this weekend, creating an incredibly difficult morning for me as I tried to rank these names appropriately. It’s nigh impossible to tell which arms will turn out well and which will be done in a week or two, and I encourage you to stock as many as you can. I prefer Lopez for his fastball foundation and sturdy secondary pitches, but any of these arms can impress from Wright’s electric fastball, Burnes’ nasty slider, Smith’s raw whiffability, Wilson’s refined repertoire, Woodruff’s deceptive heater, and Richards’ changeup.
  • I electeed to drop Jimmy Nelson a bit as well as he’s been delayed into the end of April, creating more concern that he’ll return close to his 2017 ability.
  • Freddy Peralta isn’t in the same tier as the others given that it’ll take longer for us to trust his skills. He’s a Cherry Bomb through-and-through, creating a harder sell that you’ll want to endure his headache and stick on your roster through the year.
  • The more I considered Jon Lester in drafts, the more I wanted to avoid it all-together. I understand chasing wins and a decent ERA/WHIP, but it looked awfully comparable to the other Toby options on the board, like Kevin Gausman, Jose Quintanaand Rick Porcello.
  • Dallas Keuchel took a tumble as he hasn’t signed yet in the majors. Even if he signed this week, he would still need time to ramp up, pushing back an already middling starter farther down the ranks
  • The List is rounded out by three arms to consider stashing early in the year: Forrest Whitley, Alex Reyesand Justus SheffieldEach could be starting in early April and make a significant impact to your fantasy squads.
  • I’m curious what Spencer Turnbull will do to start the season, flashing a strikeout per inning and just two walks in fifteen frames this spring. Domingo German follows as I question how much playing time he’ll get with CC Sabathia returning shortly and Luis Severino due back in May.

(Photo by Juan Salas/Icon Sportswire)

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.

42 responses to “The List 3/25 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday”

  1. mike says:

    Thanks Nick!! Will there be an updated Cheatsheet with the latest List? Would love to have this list in that format for my draft tomorrow!!

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Thanks Mike!

      I’m not sure we can get that out in time as it we’ll need to update the Overall List as well.

      I’ll see what we can do!

  2. Jon S says:

    Hey Nick,

    Thanks for publishing updates to this list so often. It’s much appreciated. Quick keeper question…

    I’m in a daily 6×6 H2H categories (W,K,SV,ERA,WHIP,K/9) keeper league. We can keep 8 players year over year, with a yearly increase of $5 to salary ($260 team salary). I love the optimism for Zack Wheeler. Would you trade Forrest Whitley ($2) + Tyler Skaggs ($2) for Zack Wheeler ($11)?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      If you’re going for it this year, that deal works well!

      Otherwise, I like the idea of a cheap Skaggs and Whtiley. Pretty fair deal.

  3. Andy says:

    As the conductor of the Spencer Turnbull hype-train, I approve of this message.

  4. Perfect Game says:

    Strahm IP the last 3 years between all levels – 122 in ’16, 62 in ’17 and 61 in ’18. How many IP and QS do you realistically see him making this year? And is he more a buy/hold or streaming option?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Well, I think last year’s IP isn’t quite indicative as they came as a fireman, pitching through the entire year.

      That 61 translates to ~140 or so of a normal starters workload. I could see Strahm going past that this year.

      • Perfect Game says:

        What do you think about him going deep into games to qualify for QS should he accumulate 150 IP this year? 15 QS maybe? I’m trying to decide between him and Freeland. Freeland’s peripherals are scary and don’t want my ratios blown up if I can get the K’s and QS from Strahm.

        • Nick Pollack says:

          I’d definitely go for Freeland if QS are involved.

          • Perfect Game says:

            Ratios with Freeland don’t really concern you?

            My SP currently are Buehler, Flaherty, Clevinger, Marquez and Stripling. It’s a shallow 10-teamer (K, QS, ERA, WHIP) and need a 6th starter, specially with Stripling not assured of keeping the starter job.

        • Tim says:

          Choosing two of these three for my final two pitching slots for the long first week has been spinning my head in circles: Castillo, Paddack, and ERod. Paddock has the Giants, Castillo had an awful spring, ERod is the flower I”ve been waiting to bloom for three years..

  5. Pitcher GIFs fan says:

    Hey Nick,

    Thanks for putting in all the work on the list and for all the off season content! Would you rather stash Justus Sheffield the first few weeks or should i drop for a Merill Kelley/Pablo Lopez ?

  6. Scott says:

    Do you think Alex Reyes is best used in relief this year to keep his innings down and then transitioned to starter next year once he shows he can throw enough innings without getting hurt? Do you expect him to be used in high leverage situation? I think that if stl wanted him to start, he would have stayed in minors to get his pitch counts up. Thanks

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’m with you that the Cards should have just sent him to the minors, though they have a history of sending potential SP through the bullpen first (Waino, Wacha, Weaver, etc.). I think we’ll see Reyes in the rotation around mid May or so.

  7. Jay says:

    I see these are for 12 team H2H leagues but is it categories, points or a sort of amalgamation of both?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Categories, but it really doesn’t change much for points, honestly. Maybe a little more emphasis on IP heavy guys, but that’s league by league there.

  8. Zach says:

    Does “Low IPs” mean they will have an innings cap? I thought Flaherty was good for 180+ innings this year?

    • Dave Cherman says:

      Low IPS= low innings per start. Flaherty is more likely to give you 5 than 7 is what he means. You want to discount those players somewhat in QS leagues.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      It means that they have a low Innings Per Start rate – Flaherty was just 5.5 IPS last year! We’re aiming for around 6.0 IPS.

      Great idea to have a label for Innings Cap though!

  9. Jens Norman says:

    what is the definition of “ratio focused” ? it’s not in your glossary

  10. Jeff says:

    Nick, is Stripling dropping seven spots related to Urias gaining nine?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Not really, it’s more that I got Maeda and Stripling switched in their expected order the Dodgers.

      Still like Stripling, just not as much as his spot is less secure than before.

  11. Sean says:

    I LOVE the new labels! Nice work and way to keep upgrading every year.

  12. CJ says:

    ooooh yeah that’s the stuff

  13. Brendan says:

    I love these lists!!! I have a question about the term “ratio focused” though… what does it mean in the context you outline in your article? Thank you so much

  14. MIKE GAYLIN says:

    The List’s new look is amazing! Thank you!

  15. Steve C says:

    Great work, Nick! I appreciate all the time and effort you put into these rankings.

  16. Mike says:

    Really like the labels, but can you possibly incorporate a letter or something on each to make them more easily discernible? Right now I have to hover over each one since I can’t remember what color aligns to which label. Something like:
    AA – Aces Gonna Ace
    AP – Ace Potential
    IR – Injury Risk
    KU – Strikeout Upside
    IPS – Low IPS
    QS – Quality Starts
    PT – Playing Time Question
    CB – Cherry Bomb
    T – Toby
    RF – Ratio Focused
    STR – Streaming Option
    STH – Stash Option

  17. Frank says:

    Once Jimmy Nelson and Gennett officially go on IL I will have 2 free slots. C Smith, P Lopez, Holland, Woodruff and Lester all avail. I know what to do! Thank you for all of your work!

  18. Micah says:

    This is great – thanks for doing all this for us. Thursday can’t get here soon enough!

  19. Rafael says:

    Hi Nick! great work! very useful list!

    Man, I need your help. Opening day is coming and I will have Andrew Heaney at IL.
    There are a list of some of good pitchers available.
    My league categories for SP: W K/9 ERA Whip QS
    Who is worth pick up? more upside for my league?

    Kenta Maeda
    Julio Urias
    Cole Hamels
    Pablo Lopez
    Caleb Smith
    Brad Keller
    Kyle Wright
    Brandon Woodruff
    Trevor Richards
    Matt Boyd
    Zach Eflin
    Domingo German
    Josh James.


  20. G says:

    Looks a little funny but seriously solid revision! Labels are great!

  21. Evan says:

    Hey Nick!
    Thanks for this. Would Dakota Hudson make the list? If so, whereabouts would you put him?

  22. Anthony says:

    I love the idea of the labels. However, in an effort to offer constructive criticism, I think it’s a little awkward for the reader. A possible fix could be a chart with all the labels, and then checking/coloring/highlighting the ones that apply to each pitcher. Just an idea, I love what you guys do here.

  23. larry says:

    What’s your take on Peacock and McHugh. Who do think will stay in the rotation longer and have the better ratio’s?


  24. Christian says:

    Glad the season is starting, and glad I get to go through it with pitcherlist for my 4th straight year! Great changes to the list, but on mobile you can’t scroll left and right to see the label column. And in my 12 team league I drafted too many hitters and don’t have any room to at least play around with different pitchers. Is a trade my only strategy?

  25. Swfcdan says:

    No interest in Montas? Had a great spring after adding a splitter, could be a gamechanger for him.

  26. Keith Yanowitz says:

    I know hes not the best pitvher but shouldnt sean newcomb be on here at least

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