The List 8/12 – 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=”35125″]


Fringe Starters


Pitcher Why They Missed The Cut
Max Scherzer On the IL with a back injury – #1 SP contender when he returns
Yonny Chirinos On the IL with a finger injury – Top 45 SP
Tyler Mahle On the IL with a hamstring injury – Top 70 SP
Michael Pineda On the IL with triceps injury – Top 80 SP
Carlos Carrasco On the IL with leukemia – Top 20 SP
Corey Kluber On the IL with a forearm injury – Top 10 SP
Zach Davies On the IL with back injury – Top 90 SP
Jameson Taillon On the IL with an elbow injury – Top 25 SP
Tyler Glasnow On the IL with forearm strain – Top 25 SP
Luke Weaver On the IL with a forearm strain – Top 35 SP
Brad Peacock On the IL with a shoulder injury – Top 60 SP
Rich Hill On the IL with flexor strain – Top 40 SP
Pablo Lopez On the IL with back injury – Top 60 SP
Brandon Woodruff On the IL with an oblique injury – Top 30 SP
Danny Salazar On The IL with a groin injury – Fringe Top 100 when pitching
Frankie Montas Suspended 80 games
Matt Strahm Demoted to bullpen
Michael Wacha Demoted to bullpen
Zach Eflin Demoted to bullpen
Nick Pivetta Demoted to the bullpen
Jesus Luzardo In Triple-A – Top 50 SP
Jose Urquidy Demoted to Triple-A – Top 70 SP
Jimmy Nelson Demoted to bullpen
Kevin Gausman Expected to head to bullpen after acquired by Reds from Braves
Daniel Mengden He’s a Toby at best
Tommy Milone Too risky over the other options
Jake Faria Called up to replace Davies, if he starts and looks solid, could be on List soon
Daniel Poncedeleon I wonder if he can really put it together instead of being a major liability
Trent Thornton The strikeout upside is interesting, but it’s too low of a floor
Luis Severino The recent injury news sets him back to mid-August hopefully. He’ll be Top 15 then.
Jhoulys Chacin Even his recent stretch isn’t worth the floor
Trevor Williams The ratios nor strikeouts are there to chase him
Jason Vargas The Vargas Rule is no more
Mike Leake The reward is too little for the low floor in 12-teamers
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 another week and another edition of the Top 100 Starting Pitchers for Fantasy Baseball.

Before I dive into the player notes, here’s an outline of how I’m handling The List this season:

  • 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


  • With Hyun-Jin Ryu not only back from the IL, but dominating in the his return means I’m finally allowing him to be in Tier 1. I still have stamina questions deep into September, but with weeks to go, the idea that he can pull off these ratios for a full year is within reach. Chris Sale’s return to fame in his last start has him one spot higher still, though. That 50% extra strikeout production is just too much to ignore. Understand the innate (-1) assigned to everyone outside Tier 1 because of Ryu’s return.
  • Major boost this week to Jack Flaherty who has been unreal across his last six starts. This is the stretch we’ve been waiting for all year and while it could fade, the rest of Tier 3 is failing to put together a strong case for a Top 20 ranking. Flaherty deserves to be the focus.
  • Tuesday marks the return of Griffin Canningwhich is a slight DLH, but it may return five strong frames. His ceiling is a Top 25 stud, so take a shot where you can.
  • Mike Foltynewicz’s slider has returned paired with 95+ mph velocity. While his immediate next start against the Dodgers may bring a bit of disappointment, this could be a fantastic few weeks to end the season.
  • The Dodgers may be looking to Dustin May plenty in the final weeks of the season and while I’m skeptical of how high he can climb, he provides solid volume and Win chances every time he starts.
  • Tier six features plenty of questionable arms that could soar and become darlings of the off-season, or find themselves pushed out of the final rounds of drafts. Ryan Yarbrough is getting chances as a true starter for the Rays and capitalizing, Marcus Stroman’s shift to the Mets doesn’t do him favors, Masahiro Tanaka is more volatile than ever, and the headache of Jon Gray continues.
  • If you’re looking for the fun stuff, Tier 7 is your friend. Adrian Houser and Mike Montgomery enter the fray with incredibly impressive starts over the weekend and could provide value in the short term with the chance of lasting for weeks. Chris Bassitt is getting whiffs on heaters again and deserves your attention, especially if his secondary stuff follows suit. Aaron Civale has a rough schedule ahead, but if he’s still in the rotation in September, he can provide valuable innings, while Mitch Keller is returning to start tonight against the Angels and may provide dividends instantly.
  • Tier 8 is the Toby tier, with the surprise of Gio Gonzalez leading the fray above boring options like Dallas KeuchelJon Lester, Anibal Sanchez, and the rest. In some leagues, these arms are more valuable than plenty in Tier 7, though in standard 12-teamers, I’d prefer to chase the upside plays as the wire is full enough these days to find similar arms to these Tier 8 pitchers if the upside doesn’t come through.
  • At the bottom of The List, a few new names show up as dark horses to provide value. Joe Ross is surprising with his sinker as of late, Kolby Allard had two ticks extra velocity, Brett Anderson is beating the odds and could be a decent streamer, and Hector Noesi – yes, Noesi – pitched a shockingly good game on Sunday. Maybe it turns into something, likely not.

(Photo by Justin Paradis – @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.

21 responses to “The List 8/12 – Ranking The Top 100 Starting Pitchers Every Monday”

  1. SJ says:

    Been waiting all day for this! Thanks, Nick. Quick question. Why drop Kenta Maeda a spot after the strong start recently? I’m on the verge of giving up on him for Gallen ROS and have been struggling to get a good read on what’s been going with Maeda lately.

    • Chalupa Batman says:

      I dropped Maeda for Gallen 2 weeks ago in a H2H points league. IMO it will be a lateral move at worst but Gallen has way more upside.

      • rainmaker says:

        At worst, it’s a big loss. Maeda could start going more innings and rack up the wins while Gallen could fall apart as rookies sometimes do. I’d go with Gallen as well but Maeda has the higher floor imo

  2. Wes says:

    So glad to see Canning ranked so highly. Just dropped Tanaka for him in a dynasty league. Not looking back on Tanaka. However, Heaney is available as well, but Griffin is the preferred hold in keeper formats right?

  3. Stan says:

    Trying to decide between Lyles and Houser for H2H playoff run where wins count big. I was thinking Lyles until Houser’s last start. Houser more GBs…I see the ranks but who do you think is the better bet for next 6 weeks?

  4. Sal c says:

    Thoughts on Cueto?

  5. Scott says:

    I am surprised to see the drop in berrios and Gibson given their remaining schedule.

  6. Al Bumbry says:

    Throw DeSlafani down about 20 more spots and you’ll be getting warm.

  7. Kev says:

    What’s your outlook on Blake Snell? Still worth an IL spot? 10T 5×5. Thx.

  8. Bill from Jersey says:

    Nick, is it possible that the List overvalues K’s relative to other pitching stats like wins and ERA? And what about intangibles like reliability and team strength? Cause why are Yarborough, Fiers and Miley ranked behind Lamet, Gallen and Heaney? The first 3 I mentioned have all been highly successful for last 2 months and are on playoff chasing teams, that last 3 are pitchers with significant question marks, the only difference I see for the higher ranked 3 is the swing and miss factor… they may have innings limits too, so if I was to be looking at ROS, wouldn’t I want the first 3 over the second 3?

    • high_changeup says:

      Agreed, Caleb Smith, Paxton, and Matt Boyd are too high as well. They all happen to be lefties. Nick has had too much of a love boner for lefties on bad teams. I’m an Angels fan and Heaney just has massive issues this season. Smith just gives up too many homers with a not so impressive fastball. I could see Caleb turning it around but he’s been bad lately, had to drop him since he’s a Marlin.

    • rainmaker says:

      Ks and BBs have a lot less to do with luck than BABIP suppression. Fiers in particular has been leading a charmed life whereas Heaney has a much higher ceiling. That being said, I would personally have Miley over all 3 because he has been doing a great job at suppressing hard contact which is a stat that generally isn’t given enough credence.

      Also, it does seem neither Wins or QS’s are considered. I have Lamet and Tanaka in a 16 team league with both CATs. I understand why Nick has Lamet higher on the list but to my team, Tanaka is unquestionably the more valuable player for me because of all his W’s and QS’s. Also, Tanaka is more valuable in a 16 team league than he is in a 10 team league.

    • rainmaker says:

      Also the 3 of Lamet, Gallen, and Heaney would be more valuable in shallower leagues because of their upside. However, in my 16 teamer, Miley is a more coveted pitcher because the best SP on the waiver wire is Cashner making the floor more important.

  9. high_changeup says:

    Lmao at Matt Boyd being so high and Soroka being so low.

    I know, I know, innings limit.

  10. Ian says:

    David Price is not listed with your IL pitchers.

  11. Sam says:

    What are Garrett Richards and Johnny Cueto projected spots when they return?

  12. Ben Thomas says:

    Hey Nick,

    What are your thoughts on Miley vs. Lamet? I am honestly not quite sure of the differences in their profiles but wanted your perspective on who you would support rest of season?

    • Nick Pollack says:

      Lamet is only going to get more innings, which will increase his value through the end.

      Miley has inherent value pitching for the Astros, though I do wonder if he’ll take a step back in the final weeks.

      If you just need Wins/QS/Ratios, Miley is your guy. If you need a balance with Ks, I favor Lamet.

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