The List 5/6 – 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=”30939″]


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
David Price On the IL with elbow tendonitis
James Paxton On the IL with a sore knee
Jameson Taillon On the IL with an elbow injury
Steven Matz On the IL with a forearm nerve issue
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
Lance Lynn Too much of a Cherry Bomb with plenty of bombs
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 middle 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
Ross Stripling No longer in the Dodgers rotation
Julio Urias He’s now #7 on the block in L.A. Despite my love for him, he’s not worth the stash.
Alex Wood I’m just going to wait until he’s back to properly rank him. Most likely in the 50s.
Jhoulys Chacin Just hasn’t been able to capture the magic of 2018 yet.
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.
Sandy Alcantara He’s incredibly raw and the ceiling is not worth the destruction along the way.


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


  • First and foremost, with four Top 25 guys falling to injury – Jameson Taillon, Corey Kluber, James Paxtonand David Price – There is a lot of green to be had. Keep in mind the inherent “+4” for a lot of players.
  • I also should have placed Clayton Kershaw last week at #9 (now #8 due to Kluber). This has been corrected.
  • Some big moves this week as I’ve pushed up a lot of the early performers. Tyler Glasnow deserved more love despite my skepticism of his mechanics, Caleb Smith bumped ahead a crew of Spice Girls, Max Fried and Mike Soroka rising the ranks to #30 and #31, and Domingo German’s swing-and-miss stuff with job security landing him inside the Top 30.
  • Major jumps were also abundant in Tier 5, where I found myself chasing arms off waiver wires in all leagues. Luke Weaver’s fastball/changeup command is tantalizing, Jerad Eickhoff’s slider is a great addition to his curveball, Frankie Montas is missing bats, Mike Minor’s run is stupid good, Matt Strahm’s fastball getting work done even without a pristine slider, Griffin Canning looking impressive with three pitches in his debut, and Spencer Turnbull’s sparkling ERA returning possible value even when the regression hits.
  • I also had to rise the likes of Anthony DeSclafani and Rick PorcelloTony Disco has improved with his increased curveball usage, while Porcello is forming into a decent Toby for a winning ballclub.
  • Martin Perez, Jake Odorizzi, Zach Daviesand Lucas Giolito all join The List this week. Perez holds the #1 cutter in the majors and could be a stable arm through the year, Odorizzi is doing great things with his deuce, Davies is a clear Vargas Rule, but needs to be owned at the moment, and Giolito’s secondary stuff looked great against the Red Sox despite the bottom line.
  • Few expected drops came as well. Yu Darvish’s command is far from consistent and while I debated heavily on putting him farther, his ceiling makes him still a must own in 12-teamers. Trevor Richards and Michael Pineda are Cherry Bombs that need to be approached with caution. Brad Keller isn’t returning the Toby value we wanted, Kenta Maeda could be out of a job soon with Ross Stripling and Julio Urias accessible options for the Dodgers, and Kyle Freeland’s command is far from its 2018 self.
  • Finally, there’s Felix Hernandez and Jonathan Loaisiga entering this week. Loaisiga will be taking James Paxton’s spot in the rotation and could return dividends soon, though it may take a start to get there. Felix has become intriguing recently, featuring plenty more curveballs with success, earning 8 Ks in back-to-back games.

(Photo by Cliff Welch/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.

24 responses to “The List 5/6 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday”

  1. Q says:

    Where would Stripling be if he were back in the rotation?

  2. Chucky says:

    Tell me about Zach Gallen. Reasonable stash?

  3. Syryn says:

    I know this is minor but you consistently have Whitely at 100. Now I’m not going to ask why exactly 100 or anything like that, but more so why do you prefer Whitley over some other AAA arms? Whitley has struggled so far this year in AAA and might be there for a while, while other arms like Gallen, Cease also have a high pedigree, are doing well in AAA, and should be up sooner.

    • Nick Pollack says:

      That’s a really good question.

      I guess it’s a gut reaction that he’ll be up in about two weeks to replace Brad Peacock.

      I have Whitley there as this reminder of “hey, if you have nothing to chase, sure, why not Whitley.” But you’re right, maybe he doesn’t deserve it over Gallen/Luzardo/Cease, I for whatever reason think he’ll be up first.

  4. Derek says:

    Yay Frankie Montas love

  5. Robert says:

    Top 50 Turnbull ..I love it

  6. Jeff says:

    Im genuinely curious why you have Nola as high as you do. He’s had a couple nice starts from an ERA perspective but his walk rate and whip numbers have me really concerned. Seems to me guys like greinke and sale and even Ryu (second best Siera in the league) should be easily ahead of him.

  7. tigersharkz says:

    Based on Stripling’s usage this past week (3 outings, back to back Sat/Sun) vs. Urias pitching only on 5/1, I’d say Urias is next up if a starter goes down, not Stripling. Everybody knows LA only “demoted” Urias to save his innings for later in the year anyway.

    • Frankie says:

      I think Stripling is becoming a very important piece in MR. And you’re right, LA wants Urias to eventually be stretched out enough to become one of the their top SP. They are doing everything in their power to ruin this guy though, so from a fantasy perspective there is just no security in owning either Stripling or Urias at this point. If you have a really deep bench, I would stash Urias first in hopes of the next spot start to limit innings on one of the current SPs or when one of the glass guys cracks.

  8. Mustache Johnson says:

    Hey Nick, any thoughts on Jesus Luzardo? Maybe he’s outside the parameters for this list but just curious on your thoughts about stashing him?

  9. Weebles wobble says:

    Hey I have a chance to grab either Weaver or Eickhoff. I guess you give Weaver the edge?

  10. Jim says:

    Nick, you said you were not impressed by Strahm’s stuff last week, but he climbed +15? Is that a cumulative effect of those ahead of him that dropped, or is there something under the hood that you like right now with Strahm?

  11. Greg says:

    Why the Maeda hate? He has great soft contact and should have a higher K% with his swing% being 13%. Seems like an overreaction to a bad month.

    • Manley Ramirez says:

      Agree, the Maeda panic seems overblown. It’s not like Stripling or Urias were models of consistency when they were in the rotation.

  12. Yusei I'm a Dreamer says:

    So what’s the move with Kikuchi? I really want to keep holding, and I’m sure part of that is the FOMO of letting another team pick him up. But with Weaver, Turnbull, and Canning on the wire, is it time to drop? I could use the spot for an RP too.
    I liked that last start, a lot, but if Nick says he’s in T6 then maybe I’m ready to move on.

  13. Peter says:

    Nick – How much would you bid for Griffen Canning – AL Only Roto 5×5. $70 FAAB for the entire season.

  14. sewerleague says:

    love me some list. thanks, you do great work.
    that being said…
    Mikolas waaaay too low…
    behind Spencer Turnbull??

  15. Michael says:

    Matz is on the IL?

  16. Bob Sargent says:

    Love your list and everything on it….until the very end on this one. Forrest Whitley is getting clobbered at Round Rock. Whitley was once a lock to be called up after Super Two service time issues were behind him, not so much anymore. I have lots of minor league pitchers ahead of him now, e.g., Luzardo, Cease, Mise, Manning, to name a few. Maybe you should too…

  17. Bob Sargent says:

    Oops, just saw you replied already to a similar comment…

  18. Moelicious says:

    Funny/sad how 8 of the 9 SPs in tier 4 cost nothing at the draft this year. Pick 200 or later for all except Morton. Don’t pay for pitching?

    • Greg says:

      Only elite pitching (tier 1 or 2). Having a Snell, Scherzer or Bauer is a game changer in this pitching landscape.

      • theKraken says:

        I own each of them and it hasn’t been game-changing. They have each taken their lumps this year.

    • theKraken says:

      Hindsight is worthless. That really isn’t much of a strategy as the entire league fights over those guys and you don’t know they are going to be somethign until everyone else does. Personally, I went heavy on SP right after the bats with elite potential dried up and it worked out OK.

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