Wednesday, March 22, 2017


1.  Clayton Kershaw:  Simply the best with no debate.  The only question is whether you want to spend a first round pick on a starting pitcher.
2.  Madison Bumgarner:  One day Bumgarner’s arm is going to fall off after all of these very high inning yearly totals but not yet.  Punched out a career-best 251 batters last season.
3.  Max Scherzer:  Believe it or not, Scherzer is not that far behind Kershaw as he is more durable and has the same type of massive strikeout stuff.  I did drop him down behind Bumgarner though given the fractured knuckle that has dominated talk around Scherzer this spring.
4.  Corey Kluber:  Already has a Cy Young and was worthy of a second one last season.  Rock solid and dependable ace. 
5.  Noah Syndegaard:  There is always the worry that Syndegaard’s elbow will explode on any one pitch given the fact he throws harder on average than any pitcher in the game but on stuff alone this guy is a monster.
6.  Johnny Cueto:  The numbers don’t lie here as Cueto consistently puts up miniscule ERA’s and WHIP’s but with a K rate that falls slightly below the aces listed above him.
7.  Chris Sale:  Has proved more durable the last few years and you can count on one hand pitchers who have such unhittable stuff.  Keep in mind though Sale goes into the offensive haven that is the AL East and into the launching pad that is Fenway Park.  Also Sale’s K/9 rate declined sharply last season as he admitted pitching more to contact.
8.  Jake Arrieta:  We told you to avoid Arrieta going into last season and that proved good advice as his ERA went from 1.77 to 3.10 and Arrieta lost his control in posting a gross 3.47 BB/9.  There is legitimate concern that Arrieta is a major injury waiting to happen given his very high inning totals the last few seasons.
9.  Stephen Strasburg:  Same story as always:  wonderful and dominant power pitcher but also as big an injury risk as you can get.  We suggest you avoid him based on the latter.
10. Justin Verlander:  Came back with a vengeance last season when us and many others wrote him of.  Kudos to Verlander but we still get the feeling his arm is going to bounce soon after so many innings. 
11. Jacob DeGrom:  It was a frustrating year for DeGrom last season as he had an ulnar nerve repaired in his elbow but his 3.04 ERA and K/IP still show ace ability.  His comeback this spring has been phenomenal however as DeGrom has hit 97 routinely on the gun and been as dominant as any starter in exhibition play.  
12. Jon Lester:  There have been a ton of innings on Lester’s arm as well the last few seasons but he is holding up well coming off a career-best 2.44 ERA campaign.  Keep in mind that Lester got a decent amount of BABIP luck last season and his adjusted ERA was a full run higher.  Draft him as a 3.30 ERA guy. 
13. Yu Darvish:  Darvish came back from Tommy John surgery and immediately began striking everyone out like he did before.  While his walks are always very annoying, Darvish looks ready to reclaim his fantasy baseball ace status. 
14. Chris Archer:  Go get him.  Archer is a strikeout machine whose 4.02 ERA might scare some people.  Don’t let that fool you as Archer had some poor BABIP luck and the 233 strikeouts and youth at the age of 28 show how potent he can be.
15. Carlos Martinez:  You always have to worry about the shoulder as Martinez has had yearly problem with the joint but the numbers (3.01 and 3.04 ERA’s the last two years) are beyond impressive.
16. Kyle Hendricks:  Already have talked at length about how Hendricks will be drafted too high this season as his 2016 was not as good as the surface numbers indicate.  Hendricks got a great deal of BABIP luck last season and his K/9 rate was just slightly above average.  More of a 3.20 ERA guy which is where you should have Hendricks penciled in when it comes to his draft spot.
17. Masahiro Tanaka:  Speaking of TJ risk, Tanaka continues to pitch with a tear in his UCL but is doing just fine coming off a 3.07 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.  He literally has almost been unhittable this spring and Tanaka's strikeouts have come back to very impressive levels in the small sample size.  
18. Cole Hamels:  Still pitched like an ace despite moving into an offensive haven that is Texas last season but keep in mind Hamels’ 3.45 BB/9 was a career-worst performance there. 
19. Danny Duffy:  Like with Carlos Carrasco, a curbed walk rate has allowed Duffy’s potent strikeout stuff to get launched.  Get on board.
20. David Price:  Now we may know why Price's fastball dropped 2 mph last season and his ERA straddled 4.00.  An elbow injury this spring will have Price beginning 2017 on the DL but the big thing is that no Tommy John was needed.  That is YET.  
21. Gerrit Cole:  Tread very  carefully here as Cole had more arm problems last season (second time in three years) and his K/9 rate cratered.  Sizable Tommy John risk.
22. Jose Quintana:  No this is not a typo as the durable Quintana continues to get better and comes off a 2016 campaign where he reached high's in ERA (3.07), WHIP (1.16) and strikeouts (181).
23. Kenta Maeda:  MRI shows all sorts of elbow trouble that could blow up at a moment's notice but Maeda's 9.29 K/9 rate shows how much he fooled batters as a rookie.
24. Aaron Sanchez:  I suggest avoiding Sanchez this season as his K/9 is mediocre and he comes off a MASSIVE uptick in innings compared to 2015.  This almost always leads to depressed numbers and health woes the following season.
25. Lance McCullers:  Massive strikeout upside here but McCuller's control was hideous last season and his high-octane stuff makes health iffy.
26. Rick Porcello:  Love the durability here but Porcello got some sizable BABIP luck last season and the benefit of the Red Sox lineup supplying a bunch of run support.  Decent pitcher no doubt but Porcello is more an SP 3 than a Cy Young winner.
27. Felix Hernandez:  This is a huge drop in the rankings for Hernandez but understandable as he comes off two rough seasons in a row.  The fastball velocity is down 5-mph and counting and Hernandez is also losing his control (3.82 BB/9).  Avoid.
28. Michael Fulmer:  Was the definition of ridiculous at times during his rookie season for the Tigers but keep in mind Fulmer is a not a huge strikeout guy.  Beware of a slight sophomore slump as well.
29. Jon Gray:  all the advanced indicators are suggesting Gray is going to be a 200-K ace-level starter as soon as 2017; home ballpark be damned.
30. Carlos Carrasco:  Few in the industry were more bullish on this guy than I was and for good reason.  Unfortunately Carrasco is going the other way now as his velocity dipped last season, the home run began flying out at a very high rate, and now he has gotten destroyed this spring before injury issues sidelined him.  Avoid.  
31. Marcus Stroman:  Many will shy away from Stroman after his tough (4.37 ERA) campaign last season but his vast FIVE pitch arsenal and splendid control point to SP 2 status.
32. Danny Salazar:  The poor control reared its ugly head again last season and Salazar's rough delivery got him injured as well.  While we love the extreme strikeout stuff, Salazar is a big boom-or-bust pitcher.
33. John Lackey:  Actually reached a new career-high in strikeouts last season at the age of 37 and Lackey is as dogged as a pitcher gets.  Can still be quite useful as an SP 3 for another season.
34. Aaron Nola:  Again this is me being a firm believer in the ability that Nola has.  Like with Jon Gray, all the advanced metrics say Nola will be an ace-like starter and he was every bit of that the first two months of last season before injuries hit.
35. James Paxton:  Group Paxton in with Nola and Gray for vast upside.  Advanced numbers suggested Paxton has upper-level stuff which he has shown in spurts the last two seasons.
36. Rich Hill:  What a story this guy is as Hill is defying every trend or prediction at the age of 37.  Hill still strikes guys out at a level that an ace would and a 2.12 ERA last season pretty much says it all in terms of current ability.
37. Julio Teheran:  Good pitcher on a bad team so wins will be tough to come by.
39. Dallas Keuchel:  Correctly said Keuchel would go bust last season and boy did he as the ERA spiked to 4.55 and the health went bad.  While I think Keuchel will be better this time around, he is still nothing more than SP 3/4.
39. Matt Harvey:  Coming back from thoracic outlet syndrome, Harvey has struggled badly and his velocity is sitting in the low-90's which is a problem.  Scary times for Harvey whose stock continues to sink.
40. Zack Greinke:  The velocity is still slightly leaking and Grienke was torched at Chase Field all of 2016 which are big potential problems.  Downward we go as Greinke's fastball was sitting only in the high-80's this spring until his last outing.  Bad signs all around.  


  1. Where do you like Taillon and Rodon?

    1. next batch. like Rodon more than Taillon.


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