Thursday, March 23, 2017


41. Steven Matz:  Health is the only thing that holds the lefty Matz back as he has averaged a K/IP and posted 2.27 and 3.40 ERA's his first two years in the league.  Honestly though Matz can't be counted on to supply a full season which means he can't be ranked any higher than this.
42. Jameson Taillon:  Now two full years out from Tommy John surgery, the big strikeout potential of Taillon could start to show up this season.  Big upside.
43. J.A. Happ:  Yes Happ has been a different pitcher since overhauling his approach beginning in 2015 but he got a very lucky .268 BABIP to help him post a tough to repeat 3.18 ERA.  Add in the awful home park and Happ is a very solid bust candidate.
44. Tanner Roark:  Take away Roark's brutal bullpen stint at the start of last season and what we have is a 3.00 ERA starter.  The K rate is mediocre but Roark will win a bunch of games in Washington with solid ratios.
45. Carlos Rodon:  Starting to put it all together now as Rodon pitched like a number 2 the second half of last season.  With improving control, Rodon's explosive stuff could really launch him into something special.
46. Robbie Ray:  I bet you didn't know Ray struck out 218 batters in just 174.1 innings last season.  Yes the 4.90 ERA was ghastly but Ray was unlucky BOTH in his strand rate and BABIP.
47. Sean Manaea:  Batters hit just .263 against the lefty last season and Manaea recorded a splendid 2.44 ERA his last 13 starts.  This is one stock heading upwards and you have to love the home park.
48. Matt Shoemaker:  Has been a quietly impressive strikeout artist since becoming a starter with the Angels and the draft price will be low coming off that scary HBP to the head at the end of 2016.
49. Jerad Eickhoff:  Doesn't get talked about as much as Aaron Nola or Vince Velasquez but Eickhoff might have the best polish of the three.  While he doesn't have the K rate of those two, Eickhoff's control is very impressive for a young pitcher.
50. Marco Estrada:  Has now beaten the BABIP curve two years running and somehow is carving out good numbers in Toronto of all places despite a tendency to give up home runs.  You get the feeling a blowup and correction is on the way.  I won't go near him this season.
51. Kevin Gausman:  Hate the AL East which is why I have Gausman here despite some continued growth in 2016.  Upping the K rate as he goes along as well which adds to the positive outlook.
52. Joe Ross:  Dealt with injuries which hurt his 2016 campaign but Ross has registered ERA's of 3.64 and 3.43 each of the last two years.
53. Lance Lynn:  Great buying opportunity here for a guy who always wins games and has struck out 200 batters as recently as 2014.  Lynn has looked great this spring as well to add to the upside.
54. Vince Velasquez:  Another young kid who can really deliver the heat.  Unfortunately Velasquez may not be able to physically hold up as a starter given his health woes.
55. Taijuan Walker:  Gets a fresh start in Arizona but that is not a good match for a guy who gives up home runs.  Walker was very hyped coming up but that light has dimmed.
56. Michael Pineda:  Struck out 207 batters last season and dealt with some horrid BABIP luck as well which points to a turnaround.
57. Daniel Norris:  Overshadowed by Michael Fulmer but shouldn't be.  Jon Gary clone who could really take off this season.
58.  Jeff Samardzjia:  The old high-K rates from his Chicago Cubs days are no more but Samardzjia works well in a spacious park as your SP 4.
59. Eduardo Rodriguez:  Once over his knee problems, Rodriguez looked like a different pitcher for the better last season.  Hate the division however.
60. Matt Moore:  Moore has some of the old bite back on his stuff moving further away from TJ surgery but control woes still undermine him.
61. Sonny Gray:  I sounded the alarms here starting in early 2015 as Gray began to lose velocity.  The bottom completely fell out last year and while it is impossible to imagine such a horrid repeat, Gray's K/9 has dropped each of the last three seasons.  Look on by.
62. Julio Urias:  Likely will start the year in the minors as the Dodgers look to keep Urias' innings down but the outlook is very bright for this strikeout-inducing kid.
63. Gio Gonzalez:  Still striking guys out at a solid clip but Gio is becoming more hittable than ever.
64. Jeremy Hellickson:  Quality back-end arm who won't hurt you.
65. Zach Davies:  Opened eyes with very solid pitching for a bad team in 2016.  K rate better than advertised as well.
66. Jason Hammel:  Made a career out of being a first half gem and a second half dud.
67. Ian Kennedy:  Getting into the boring but effective veteran hurlers now.
67. Jake Odorizzi:  See above.
68. Drew Pomeranz:  Had a typical drop across the board going from San Diego to Boston and had elbow woes as well.  Yet another scare took place this spring so Pomeranz is sinking fast.
69. Adam Wainwright:  Age and severe drop in velocity now make Wainwright nothing more than a back-end innings eater.
70. Blake Snell:  It simply has not happened for Snell who continues to walk the ballpark and now his rotation spot is not a given. Big disappointment thus far.
71. Joe Musgrove:  Poised and polished pitcher who lacks to-end K stuff.
72. Steven Wright:  Do you really want to trust a knuckleball pitcher?
73. Chris Tillman:  Always good for wins and a modest ERA  but Tillman has to get back onto a mound which has not happened this spring.
74. Ervin Santana:  Santana pretty much the same pitcher as Tillman but just older.
75. Alex Cobb:  Another year removed from TJ surgery could help Cobb go back to being the interesting sleeper he was prior to the surgery.
76. Hisashi Iwakuma:  Losing velocity and numbers inching up everywhere.
77. Tyler Glasnow:  Another young hurler for the Pirates who can strike guys out.  Needs to stop walking so many hitters though as Glasnow is in the same boat as Snell.
78. Scott Kazmir:  Is is past time to move beyond this guy.  Always injury prone and starting to get hit hard again.
79. Bartolo Colon:  We have learned never to doubt Colon's ability to post useful ratios but he will struggle to strike out 125 batters.
80. Junior Guerra:  Former Mexican League product surprised with his overall 2016 results but he screams out one year wonder.

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