It’s time to update the rankings. This is an especially tough ranking this early into the season because we have 3-4 starts for most guys and I don’t want to overreact… or underreact for that matter. My thoughts from March on these guys still carries a lot of weight, but factors like velocity, pitch mix, and role can influence a big change. The performances carry weight, too, but I try to temper what I’ll do based on three starts.
Pay attention to the tier! If I didn’t rank someone as high as you thought I should, but they are still a must or usually start, then it’s probably not worth freaking out too much. Those tiers mean they are in the rotation pretty much all the time. I’m open to debating slotting, too, but worrying about a 4-spot difference between two guys in the same tier is probably a waste of time. I’ll have some more extensive notes on a host of big movers coming soon (likely early next week as I probably won’t have time on Friday).
The tiers are as follows:
#1s (7 SPs) – The true aces of fantasy baseball.
Must Start (23 SPs) – Should be pretty obvious, but these are the guys who always start. Again, it isn’t just the very best guys. There are second and third tier arms in terms of market value that I’d start every time out. They don’t have an obvious split or weakness that would give you a better chance at picking off their poor starts. Some of them are “No Coors Field”-types, but it’s predominantly set it and forget it.
Usually Start (25 SPs) – If “No Coors Field” is 20-25% with the MS group, it’s more like 60-70% with this group. You need to find a reason to sit them right now in most formats. You might feel like you can spot them properly, but we’re just not that precise in identifying when a solid arm will falter. These guys are good enough to thwart any opponent even on something less than their best day or they could get smacked by a weaker opponent. If you’re rostering them, you should probably be starting them.
Shallow Spot Start (35 SPs) – Flawed talents. A lot of these guys are on the cusp of or have been in the Usually Start tier, but currently you’re looking to curate their starts a bit where you can. These guys might also be US tier arms here temporarily while they get on track. Pay very close attention to gamelogs of pitchers, get a feel for how they arrived at their bottom line numbers. Not all ERAs are created equally and that’s why it’s not a gauge for future production, especially in small samples. I decided to split the group a bit as sort of a way to identify upward or downward mobility for these guys. The shallow ones are a bit more talented and/or running hot so we’re maybe keeping a closer eye on them.
Deep League Spot Start (30 SPs) – I know many of you are dealing with some brutal pitching staff conditions right now after drafting a rotation you thought would be a strength, so you might find yourself in this tier a little more than you’d like. There is some talent to be plucked and the right two-start week could really set you up. This is essentially the Spot Star tier for single leagues or super-deep mixers (16+ teams).
Please leave your questions and comments below!