The List 5/20 – 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=”31533″]


Fringe Starters


Pitcher Why They Missed The Cut
Jimmy Nelson Nelson will be around the 50s when he’s back from the IL
Corey Kluber On the IL with a forearm injury – Top 10 arm
James Paxton On the IL with a sore knee – Top 15 SP
Jameson Taillon On the IL with an elbow injury – Top 25 SP
Tyler Glasnow On the IL with forearm strain – “4-6 weeks”
Kenta Maeda He’ll be back around the 40s/50s when he returns from his “IL Stint”
Trevor Williams He’ll be back around the 50s/60s when back from the IL with a side strain
Clay Buchholz Isn’t cutting it as a Toby
Drew Pomeranz The last one off. K upside is interesting, but low IPS and too low of a ceiling.
Dereck Rodriguez A Toby who hasn’t helped enough to justify his ranking
Nick Margevicius Looks more like a Cup of Schmo than a rosterable arm
Luis Severino The recent injury news sets him back to July 1st, hopefully. He’ll be Top 15 then.
Mike Clevinger His injury has Clev out until June/July. He’ll be Top 20 then.
Nathan Eovaldi Hit the IL with an elbow injury. When starting again, he’ll be 40/50s
Touki Toussaint Touki has been demoted to Triple-A
Nick Pivetta Pivetta has been demoted to Triple-A
Alex Wood I’m just going to wait until he’s back to properly rank him. Most likely in the 50s.
Jhoulys Chacin Even his recent stretch isn’t worth the floor
Corbin Burnes Demoted to Triple-A
Justus Sheffield Good stash option, but I want to focus on guys in the majors now this week.
Dallas Keuchel He won’t be starting until May at the earliest and he’s not worth the stash on your roster.
Andrew Heaney Shut down again with elbow trouble. That’s scary and makes his expected return even later.
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.


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 categories leagues.


Player Notes


  • It’s time to bring both Bauer and deGrom down The List as we elevate Blake Snell and give Chris Sale the praise he deserves for a 46% strikeout rate across his last six starts. Stupid.
  • Not a whole lot happened otherwise inside the Top 30 outside of German Marquez and Zack Wheeler each taking hits for not acting like the consistent arms we need them to be. David Price’s return from injury dictates a slot into the Top 25, and it’s about time I rewarded Hyun-Jin Ryu, those his days are numbered given his injury history.
  • The fourth tier is often the most fun and I elected to thrust plenty of intriguing upside places at the backend. Brandon Woodruff, Chris Bassitt, Tyler Mahleand Jordan Lyles each showcase strikeout ability, though I wonder if any will be consistent with their repertoire through May and beyond. Given the warts of arms in tier 5, it makes sense to favor them as possible impact plays for 12-teamers. Jerad Eickhoff is sandwiched among these names as he still sports a pair of strong breakers despite his poor heater.
  • Staying in Tier 5, I’m favoring Martin Perez and Spencer Turnbull a little more. Each play in a weak division and while Perez is fighting Cole Hamels to be Spider-Man, Turnbull is close to making a Top 35 run if he refines his breaking balls and continues to steer clear of sinkers.
  • Speaking of Spider-Man, I had to force Marco Gonzales down considerably as he’s fanned just 11 batters in his last four games. Yikes.
  • With Kenta Maeda hitting the IL, Ross Stripling benefits and becomes an instant add among leagues. He may not make a proper start – possibly one shortened inning start – before Maeda returns, but if you’re looking for something to take a chance on, he’s the best you’ll find on the wire.
  • Join The List this week are Steven Matz (return from injury), Jose Urena (streaming option), John Means (streaming option), and Sandy Alcantara (maaaaaaaybe his recent CGSHO shifts gears for the future).

(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/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.

35 responses to “The List 5/20 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday”

  1. Nancy Yost says:

    Where is Heaney going to open up on the list? Should be up next week.

  2. Nick says:

    Are these rankings geared more toward roto/categories than points?

    • Nick Pollack says:


      These ranks are for 12-teamers in H2H categories leagues.

      • Dizzy says:

        Not sure if you do any points leagues, but are there any specific writers or sites you’d recommend that focus on points leagues specifically? I’ll still keep reading everything on pitcherlist regardless, but not having to worry about whether I’m making the right “value conversions” for format differences while reading advice would be nice.

        • Kyle says:

          Would also be curious to know this. Ive got no idea where to go — Scott White? Definitely not AJ Mass

          • Marty the Celery Salesman says:

            AJ Mass is so side of the mark; they really need to reassign those points league rankings back to Tristan. His May 20th ROS rankings have Mikolas 16th among pitchers, Strasburg 42nd, and Paddack 59th. What?!

        • ScottC says:

          I’ve asked for points versions of the hitter list, because the hitter list is terrible for points rankings (and just feels off in general, but steals must be SUUUUUPER valuable to that author). Adding my comment/name here in support of points list for pitchers also in case helps show demand and interest.

  3. Frankie says:

    My Monday is now complete.
    I’ve been rolling with Porcello and Pineda due to injuries and they haven’t been “that bad” actually. Do you expect things to get better for either, or is this kind of their ‘high floor’ ranks?
    Thank you, Nick!

  4. Nick says:

    Marco Gonzales was dropped in a points league – should I claim him and drop Arrietta? Also own Pablo Lopez but kinda want to see where it goes with him, and Rick Porcello but I feel he gets a nice bump in a points league.

  5. Syryn says:

    Still low on Pineda? As you’ve noted his K rate is much better the last 3 starts thanks to finding his slider again. He’s also on a team with a lot of run support. His WHIP should also be solid due to the low walk rate. ERA will never be great but I see Pineda as a good contributor in WHIP, Ws, and Ks and worthy of a much higher spot.

  6. Gene says:

    How can two pitchers who have the aces gonna ace label (Strasburg/Smith) come after three pitchers who have the potential of being aces (Syndergaard/Berrios/Buehler)? By definition shouldn’t all the AGA pitchers be in a row? Just wondering.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Because the AGA label isn’t level performance among all of them.

      Thor/Berrios/Buehler hitting it = more production.

      Also heightened injury risk for Stras + possible Innings Cap and lack of track history for smith have to be factored in.

      • Andy says:

        I’m surprised to hear you think 1) Stras has a lower ceiling than those guys (every year that they have both been active, Stras had a better ERA than Berrios), and 2) Stras is a bigger injury risk than Thor or Buehler (who had a big workload in 2018).

        • MattK says:

          I don’t think he said Stras has a lower ceiling and the best predictor of future injury is past injury. Thor and Buehler have significantly fewer injuries in their past than Stras.

  7. BombsAndBalks says:

    Eflin is a QS monster, deserves the tag.

  8. Firtree Baseball says:

    Turnbull has a bad start and he goes up? fascinating

  9. Mallex P. Keaton says:

    Nick, would you concur the Dodgers’ usage of Stripling since taking him out of the rotation has been totally bizarre? 8 IP over the last month and only 1 IP in the last two weeks! I understand keeping him fresh as your SP6, but this is an extreme lack of use.

    • theKraken says:

      I think he is probably not healthy. He misses chunks every year.

      • Mallex P. Keaton says:

        Given the Dodgers’ proclivity for (ab)using the D/IL to their advantage to manipulate their active roster, I have to think that it’s not injury-related. Certainly they would have IL’d him if he was even close to being hurt.

  10. Harold says:

    Kikuchi with 4 QS in a row since his false start, averaging 6 K’s per start. Still a full tier below some questionable options, though. Is it just the playing time questions? Or do you see a low floor here?

  11. Steve Corrado says:

    Why did Giolito drop?

  12. Dizzy says:

    Pivetta has put up good numbers since his demotion: Over 32 IP he has a 3.09 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 35.4% K%, 0.56 HR/9. Only concerning thing is a 12.6% BB%. Obviously, it’s AAA so his numbers should be improved, but do you think he’ll get called back up soon? And if he were called up today, where would you rank him on the list?

  13. Scott (QC Bombers) says:

    Excited to check out anything that you are putting out right now? I can’t imagine trying to rank the top 100 and then have to listen why you are wrong!

    1) Castillo has 6 of 10 QS this year with the last one being pulled after 76 pitches and a rain delay. Is he a reliable QS guy at this point and just doesn’t have the percentage?

    2) I know you are not as high on Flaherty in 19. Do you expect that to carryover for keeper/dynasty leagues, or is this his ceiling?

    • theKraken says:

      2) Ceiling? Everyone knows he has scuffled this year. Why not call last year as his ceiling?

      • Scott says:

        I meant in reference to nick’s ranking in the low 30’s.

        We also all know that Flaherty has had, pretty much, one bad inning per start spiking his numbers. He loves to string walks and homers together, so I am curious if Nick sees anything that would enable him to get that under control and possibly improve that fastball, to be better than ‘18.

  14. Max says:

    I am curious for some insight on Mahle being that he jumped 28 spots and is now top 60. I see he dropped his slider and changeup and replaced them with a curve and splitter. The fastball and splitter appear to be plus pitches according to Fangraphs.

    However, his plate discipline aside from first pitch strike and zone % is below league average. The K/9 should fall. Zips and Steamer project the Ks to fall, the walks and HR to rise and the ERA to be closer to 4.50 than 3.50. And if you’re in a league that counts wins, he probably won’t help you there pitching for the lowly Reds. He also hasn’t pitched more than 6.1 innings all year.

  15. Mickey K says:

    Great stuff! Was wondering which names to remember come September when the innings limits on the upside arms like Soroka and Paddack kick in? We ride these arms into the fantasy playoffs but then we need to scramble to find replacements. Who are 4-5 arms you’d be looking at to be up and in prime form and no on any inning limits around early September or late August?

  16. Dan says:

    Looks like touki is in the bp

  17. The streamer says:

    You mentioned Eduardo Rodriguez as a Cherry Bomb. It is time to officially give him that label on the list.

  18. Micah says:

    Thanks for all the great work, Nick! I look forward to this list every week. Will you be updating it for Memorial Day or will the next update be June 3rd?

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