The List 4/8 – 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=”29339″]


Fringe Starters


Pitcher Why They Missed The Cut
Julio Teheran The actual last one cut. He starts today in Coors and I’m already anticipating a poor outing there. Maybe next week.
Sean Newcomb Still terrible secondary stuff. Had a great start, but didn’t make any strides to made me a believer.
Yonny Chirinos I don’t believe he’ll be without an opener for long + he has a low IPS and is a bit too volatile to recommend.
Forrest Whitley He’s still a guy to stash, there are just too many guys that I wanted to fit in on The List.
Justus Sheffield Same with Sheff – he’s a good stash option, but I want to focus on guys in the majors now this week.
Martin Perez Spring Training velocity reports are definitely interesting but I need to see it during the season first.
Dereck Rodriguez May deserve a spot as a Toby above other options, I just don’t see enough upside to make him a deserve a spot
Dallas Keuchel He won’t be starting until May at the earliest and he’s not worth the stash on your roster.
Vince Velasquez A massive Cherry Bomb without the clear path to working out of it with inconsistent secondary options.
Carlos Rodon Still too volatile.
Luke Weaver He hasn’t figured it out yet, but he could be given a mini-TIARA and turn it around right away.
Andrew Heaney Shut down again with elbow trouble. That’s scary and makes his expected return even later.
Jake Odorizzi Had a great first, then was atrocious. Not worth the investment as he’s a Cherry Bomb with more bad than good.
Trevor Cahill He may improve as April continues, for now, I’d wait and see.
Ivan Nova Just not enough upside and while he’s a decent streamer, it’s never for a high ceiling. Just not enough there.


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, here are the new List features from last year’s editions:

  • 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.
    • Ratio Focused = Their value lies in you chasing their ERA/WHIP more than strikeouts and Wins.
    • Toby = Boring arm that doesn’t excite you, but you stare at the waiver wire and accept that he just okay enough. You don’t like that he’s around the office, but he gets his work done.
    • Cherry Bomb = Volatile pitchers who are either “super sweet” or “blow up in your face.” Heed warning.
    • Ace Potential = I define an ace as: 3.40 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 24% K rate, 6.0 IPS. It’s why you see some surprising names as having the upside of an ace.
  • Fringe Starters added
    • There are always a handful of starters I badly want to add 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
    • This will be where IL Players will land. I’ll mention where they would slot when healthy.

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


  • After his second start of diminished velocity, I had to lower Chris Sale on the ranks. I expect him to regain it, but I have to lower him based on the waiting period for him to actually get to that ace level of dominance again.
  • Mike Clevinger is ridiculous and deserved the bump over Buehler and Taillon. And while I am very slightly worried about Zack Wheelerhe doesn’t deserve a drop yet.
  • I’m still hesitant on a full ace season of German Marquez and Jose Berrios, but they certainly have made a good case out of the gate, lifting them up the 20s as other arms have disappointed, including Miles Mikolas who should recover but deserves the drop for now.
  • Some may want Yu Darvish lower and I understand it. I’ve been open about my feelings of a rebound as the season progresses and it’s not as if those in the 30s are locks for dominance.
  • Shane Bieber effectively swapped places with Nick Pivettanot intentionally but have acted as two sides of the same coin. Pivetta’s fastball command has been terrible, while Bieber displayed fantastic ability to keep it up while pairing it with slow breakers and changeups down. It could shift on a dime, but I often give preference to those that pitch locked-in games.
  • With Clayton Kershaw returning shortly, Julio Urias took a major hit this week. I was hoping that he would either A) outperform other rotation options or B) continue to get innings based on more injuries, though neither came to fruition. I’m very much in when Urias gets a consistent workload down the line, though.
  • Merrill Kelly jumps up massively after making his first two starts of the year. Sunday evening’s outing in particular impressed me and considering the size of tiers seven and eight, the jump isn’t as large as the ranking would suggest.
  • I liked plenty of Zach Eflin’s recent approach with his heavy heater and a ton of sliders. He improved his changeup as well and he definitely deserves your love out on the wire.
  • The return of Spencer Turnbull shouldn’t surprise many as he went from looking lost to displaying his ace upside last time out. Expect a bit of volatility as he polishes his repertoire, but he certainly deserves your attention.
  • For those wondering why Corbin Burnes rose this week, there were a lot of arms that fell past him instead (note the higher number changes around him!). If you’re curious why he’s still in the Top 50, I simply believe his repertoire speaks to better production than allowing 3 HR per game. It may be a little shaky now, but I see excellent times ahead.
  • I’m not loving Matt Strahm as much as I did entering the year, but his second start was more encouraging than the first with more strikes and increased velocity. He was lowered and it could shift again next week.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez’s mix of mediocre sliders and a changeup that can’t find the zone brings him down in the ranks, especially when we have to consider his lack of innings over the years due to injury – he’s never had a season with 25 or more starts.
  • There are a decent amount of volatile arms dropping as they’ve entered “wait and see” mode in 12-teamers, making it a better investment to chase arms that are performing over Reynaldo Lopez, Anibal Sanchez, Jose Quintana, Lucas Giolito, Rick Porcello, Sandy Alcantara, and others that either won’t get picked up in the meantime or don’t have an outlook of making a huge impact if they pull out of their downturn.
  • Joining The List this week are Jordan Zimmermann (Hot start!), Mike Minor (solid rebound start, questionable if it will last), Wade Miley (could be a cheap Wins arm), and Zack Godley (finally showcased upside against the Red Sox).

(Photo by Gerry Angus/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.

26 responses to “The List 4/8 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday”

  1. Turp says:

    Where would Yonny Chirinos land?

  2. AA says:

    Hey Nick!
    Having a tough time getting a handle on Strahm and my staff in general. His velocity is down (91-93) as you know after a great spring. I don’t like to overreact after 1-2 outings, but there are a few concerns. I have guys like Boyd, Strahm, M Kelly available on my wire, mainly because it’s 10 team and 35 max transactions (ugh) per year.

    We also keep 5 guys every year at round cost (I have Severino at 15 and Nola at 14 for my SPs, so will likely keep keeping them unless something nuts happens). My staff is super messy/risky – Nola, Sev, Wheeler, C Smith, Strahm, Happ, Musgrove, Pivetta. H2H btw. Any advice appreciated!!

  3. Mike says:

    Hey Nick, Trent Thornton has been pretty good so far, not worth an Honorable Mention at least? 34.2% K-BB, 2.05 SIERA, I know it was the Tigers and Indians but he did what you’d like to see against teams like that, can’t really knock him for succeeding just bc of who the opponents were.

  4. Derek says:

    E-Rod was dropped in my league, is he worthy of a stash and use of a high waiver in a dynasty league? A young guy obviously that looked like a pretty nice starter in the spring. Thinking of dropping Touki for him but not sure of giving up my waiver spot at 3. Do you think the better option would be picking up Caleb Smith instead of E-Rod for rest of year (no waiver needed)? Obviously Smith is rated higher. Thanks!

  5. Derek says:

    The Kershaw ranking seems very light considering he’s coming back this weekend. Even with injury concerns and diminshed velo, you’re expecting strong Ks, WHIP, and what, a 2.90 ERA? That should definitely vault him over Paxton and I think above Corbin.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      I’m not sure we’ll get that, though. We don’t know what Kershaw we’re going to get just yet.

      If he looks strong in the first outing, I’ll raise him next week.

  6. Douglas says:

    Keep Strahm or drop for Caleb Smith/M. Kelly. Looking for upside

  7. Scott says:

    What’s going on with Happ? 2 lousy starts vs balt is now how I expected him to start? Too early to panic or are you worried? Thx

  8. Mike says:

    Who is the better pickup … caleb smith or boyd?

  9. Adam says:

    Is Margevicius close to fringe status?

  10. Drew says:

    With the news that Peacock is headed to the pen, is he a drop in favor of someone like Turnbull or M. Kelly?

  11. Jack says:

    What does cherry bomb mean?

  12. Jack says:

    Yo Nick, roughly where would you put Urias now that Ryu is hurt, thereby giving the kid a few more starts? Around 50?

    • Frankie says:

      Urias is still only in for a few more turns in the rotation. Roberts said Ryu isn’t a long term issue.

  13. Tyler says:

    Nick, these new tags are awesome! it would be amazing if we could somehow filter by them.

    Additionally, has anyone come up with a way to get these lists on fantasypros so that we can see who is taken and available in our league?

  14. Michael says:

    Hey Nick – Trying to assess Strahm’s value in a QS and Sv+Hld league. How would you value him against upside plays but not current starters Julio Urias, Josh James and Brad Peacock?

  15. Basichu says:

    Love what you do; just sharing thoughts. I think you are a little too bearish on Rodon. It’s early, but 14% swStr rate, prior career high 10.3. Further, I thought he faced a tight zone in his last start against an elite patience team (Rays). After taking giving up the 4th run, he followed with 3.1IP, 3H, 0R, 1BB, 6K. I was highly impressed. Top 70 imo.

  16. Michael says:

    Hi Nick, Thanks for the great work. I love the site and its sabermetric analysis. Have you ever considered updating the pitcher rankings on Sunday as opposed to Monday since it’s fairly common for weekly pickup leagues to conduct their wavier runs on Sunday night? Personally I would love to have your updated rankings to consider when making my weekly roster decisions. Thank you.

    • Nick says:

      Hey Michael!

      Creating The List take up a lot of time on Mondays, time that I simple don’t have on Sundays.

      I understand how it’ll help having it out early, it’s sadly not an option for me.


  17. Big League S. Choo says:

    I legit don’t know how you can look at what Castillo has done since May of last year, as well as just the pure nastiness of his stuff, and not say he’s a Top 15 arm.

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