August Starting Pitchers

July was a nightmare. August looks better. Slogging through the July rankings was remarkably difficult because it seemed that everyone after about #40 or so was the same and they were somehow all awful. The middle of the pool has crystallized a bit and hopefully the deadline leaves things settled for a bit, too, outside of the unpredictable injuries. Speaking of injuries, I don’t include guys who are out for a long time, but I did start to put some guys back in who are due back within the week or so (the longest might be P.Lopez, who is tracking around mid-August).

Please leave your questions and comments below!

The tiers are as follows:

#1s (10 SPs) – The true aces of fantasy baseball.

Must Start (20 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 for the foreseeable future.

Usually Start (20 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 (30 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 (40 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).

August 2019 Rankings
Name Tier TM LG July Diff Proj. Upcoming
1 Max Scherzer #1 WAS NL 1 0 at NYM, MIL, at PIT
2 Justin Verlander #1 HOU AL 2 0 at BAL, at OAK, DET
3 Gerrit Cole #1 HOU AL 4 1 COL, CWS, at OAK
4 Jacob deGrom #1 NYM NL 5 1 WAS, at KC, ATL
5 Hyun-Jin Ryu #1 LAD NL 6 1 ARI, at ATL, NYY
6 Walker Buehler #1 LAD NL 7 1 ARI, at MIA, TOR
7 Charlie Morton #1 TB AL 9 2 TOR, at SEA, DET
8 Zack Greinke #1 HOU AL 12 4 COL, CWS, at OAK
9 Stephen Strasburg #1 WAS NL 11 2 at NYM, CIN, at PIT
10 Clayton Kershaw #1 LAD NL 10 0 STL, at MIA, at ATL
11 Shane Bieber MS CLE AL 16 5 at MIN, BOS, at NYM
12 Patrick Corbin MS WAS NL 20 8 at NYM, MIL, at PIT
13 Noah Syndergaard MS NYM NL 34 21 WAS, at KC, CLE
14 Luis Castillo MS CIN NL 15 1 LAA, CHC, STL
15 Jose Berrios MS MIN AL 18 3 ATL, CLE, at TEX
16 Chris Sale MS BOS AL 3 -13 LAA, at CLE, PHI
17 Aaron Nola MS PHI NL 27 10 at SF, CHC, at BOS
18 Trevor Bauer MS CIN NL 14 -4 CHC, at WAS, SD
19 Lucas Giolito MS CWS AL 19 0 at DET, OAK, at LAA
20 Mike Soroka MS ATL NL 25 5 at MIN, at MIA, LAD
21 Kyle Hendricks MS CHC NL 29 8 OAK, at CIN, at PIT
22 Mike Clevinger MS CLE AL 23 1 TEX, BOS, at NYY
23 Domingo German MS NYY AL 36 13 at TOR, BAL, CLE
24 Matthew Boyd MS DET AL 17 -7 KC, SEA, at HOU
25 Sonny Gray MS CIN NL 46 21 CHC, STL, SD
26 Lance Lynn MS TEX AL 39 13 at CLE, at TOR, MIN
27 Caleb Smith MS MIA NL 35 8 ATL, LAD, at ATL
28 Yu Darvish MS CHC NL 59 31 at CIN, at PHI, SF
29 Chris Paddack MS SD NL 30 1 COL, at PHI, at CIN
30 Mike Minor MS TEX AL 22 -8 at CLE, at MIL, MIN
31 Jack Flaherty US STL NL 40 9 at LAD, at KC, MIL
32 David Price US BOS AL 13 -19 LAA, at CLE, PHI
33 Zack Wheeler US NYM NL 28 -5 MIA, at ATL, at KC
34 Madison Bumgarner US SF NL 33 -1 PHI, OAK, at CHC
35 Robbie Ray US ARI NL 42 7 at LAD, SF, COL
36 Cole Hamels US CHC NL #N/A #N/A at CIN, at PHI, SF
37 Yonny Chirinos US TB AL 49 12 at SEA, DET, SEA
38 Brendan McKay US TB AL 54 16 TOR, at SD, SEA
39 Wade Miley US HOU AL 52 13 at BAL, at CWS, DET
40 Eduardo Rodriguez US BOS AL 50 10 KC, at CLE, BAL
41 Kenta Maeda US LAD NL 31 -10 ARI, at ATL, TOR
42 James Paxton US NYY AL 24 -18 at BAL, BAL, CLE
43 Jon Lester US CHC NL 55 12 OAK, at CIN, at PIT
44 Ryan Yarbrough US TB AL 75 31 TOR, at SD, DET
45 German Marquez US COL NL 32 -13 at HOU, at SD, MIA
46 Joey Lucchesi US SD NL 45 -1 at SEA, TB, at PHI
47 Jake Odorizzi US MIN AL 26 -21 ATL, CLE, at TEX
48 Max Fried US ATL NL 38 -10 at MIN, NYM, LAD
49 Kyle Gibson US MIN AL 47 -2 CLE, at MIL, CWS
50 Zac Gallen SSS ARI NL 48 -2 PHI, at COL, SF
51 Aaron Sanchez SSS HOU AL 105 54 at BAL, at OAK, DET
52 Jeff Samardzija SSS SF NL 117 65 WAS, PHI, at ARI
53 Anthony DeSclafani SSS CIN NL 103 50 LAA, at WAS, STL
54 Steven Matz SSS NYM NL 68 14 MIA, at ATL, CLE
55 Jon Gray SSS COL NL 63 8 at SD, ARI, MIA
56 Marcus Stroman SSS NYM NL 64 8 WAS, at ATL, CLE
57 Dallas Keuchel SSS ATL NL 106 49 at MIA, NYM, MIA
58 Jose Quintana SSS CHC NL 58 0 OAK, at PHI, at PIT
59 Masahiro Tanaka SSS NYY AL 37 -22 at BAL, at TOR, CLE
60 John Means SSS BAL AL 44 -16 NYY, at NYY, KC
61 Spencer Turnbull SSS DET AL 53 -8 CWS, KC, at TB
62 Julio Teheran SSS ATL NL 93 31 at MIA, NYM, MIA
63 Chase Anderson SSS MIL NL 114 51 at PIT, TEX, at WAS
64 Vincent Velasquez SSS PHI NL #N/A #N/A at ARI, at SF, SD
65 Brad Keller SSS KC AL 113 48 at DET, NYM, at BAL
66 Alex Wood SSS CIN NL #N/A #N/A CHC, at WAS, STL
67 Anibal Sanchez SSS WAS NL 62 -5 at SF, CIN, MIL
68 Miles Mikolas SSS STL NL 60 -8 at LAD, at KC, at CIN
69 Dustin May SSS LAD NL #N/A #N/A STL, at MIA, TOR
70 Martin Perez SSS MIN AL 66 -4 ATL, at MIL, at TEX
71 J.A. Happ SSS NYY AL 74 3 at TOR, at BAL, BAL
72 Mike Fiers SSS OAK AL 104 32 at CWS, HOU, NYY
73 Reynaldo Lopez SSS CWS AL 102 29 OAK, at LAA, at MIN
74 Tanner Roark SSS OAK AL 78 4 at CWS, HOU, NYY
75 Joe Musgrove SSS PIT NL 57 -18 at STL, CHC, WAS
76 Daniel Norris SSS DET AL #N/A #N/A CWS, KC, at TB
77 Dinelson Lamet SSS SD NL #N/A #N/A COL, at PHI, BOS
78 Pablo Lopez SSS MIA NL #N/A #N/A maybe at COL on 8/17
79 Chris Bassitt SSS OAK AL 94 15 at CHC, at CWS, HOU
80 Danny Duffy SSS KC AL 95 15 at DET, STL, at BAL
81 Marco Gonzales DSS SEA AL 84 3 TB, at DET, at TB
82 Jordan Lyles DSS MIL NL 43 -39 at PIT, TEX, at WAS
83 Jordan Yamamoto DSS MIA NL 65 -18 at NYM, ATL, at COL
84 Asher Wojciechowski DSS BAL AL #N/A #N/A NYY, at NYY, at BOS
85 Elieser Hernandez DSS MIA NL 81 -4 ATL, LAD, at COL
86 Jakob Junis DSS KC AL 121 35 at BOS, at DET, NYM
87 Merrill Kelly DSS ARI NL 82 -5 PHI, at LAD, SF
88 Gio Gonzalez DSS MIL NL #N/A #N/A TEX, MIN, at STL
89 Cal Quantrill DSS SD NL #N/A #N/A COL, TB, at CIN
90 Andrew Heaney DSS LAA AL 71 -19 at BOS, CWS, at TEX
91 Sandy Alcantara DSS MIA NL 79 -12 ATL, LAD, at ATL
92 Adam Wainwright DSS STL NL 120 28 PIT, at CIN, MIL
93 Jason Vargas DSS PHI NL 107 14 at ARI, CHC, SD
94 Mike Foltynewicz DSS ATL NL #N/A #N/A at MIN, at MIA, LAD
95 Homer Bailey DSS OAK AL 118 23 at CHC, at SF, NYY
96 Adrian Houser DSS MIL NL 80 -16 might replace Davies
97 Tyler Beede DSS SF NL #N/A #N/A PHI, at ARI, at CHC
98 Aaron Civale DSS CLE AL #N/A #N/A TEX, at MIN, at NYY
99 Adrian Sampson DSS TEX AL 73 -26 at MIL, at TOR, LAA
100 Trevor Williams DSS PIT NL 90 -10 MIL, at LAA, WAS
101 Dylan Cease DSS CWS AL 100 -1 at DET, HOU, at LAA
102 Andrew Cashner DSS BOS AL 108 6 KC, LAA, BAL
103 Mike Leake DSS ARI NL #N/A #N/A PHI, at COL, SF
104 Zach Plesac DSS CLE AL #N/A #N/A TEX, at MIN, at NYY
105 Chris Archer DSS PIT NL 98 -7 at STL, at LAA, WAS
106 Tyler Alexander DSS DET AL #N/A #N/A CWS, SEA, at TB
107 Jaime Barria DSS LAA AL #N/A #N/A at BOS, PIT, at TEX
108 Drew Smyly DSS PHI NL #N/A #N/A at SF, CHC, at BOS
109 Shaun Anderson DSS SF NL 119 10 WAS, OAK, at ARI
110 Rick Porcello DSS BOS AL 87 -23 KC, LAA, BAL
111 Jake Arrieta DSS PHI NL 88 -23 at ARI, at SF, SD
112 Trent Thornton DSS TOR AL 96 -16 at TB, NYY, SEA
113 Eric Lauer DSS SD NL 101 -12 COL, TB, at CIN
114 Devin Smeltzer DSS MIN AL #N/A #N/A CLE, at TEX, CWS
115 Dylan Bundy DSS BAL AL 85 -30 HOU, at BOS, KC
116 Wade LeBlanc DSS SEA AL #N/A #N/A SD, TB, at TOR
117 Alex Young DSS ARI NL #N/A #N/A at LAD, at COL, COL
118 Sean Reid-Foley DSS TOR AL 111 -7 NYY, TEX, at LAD
119 Michael Wacha DSS STL NL 99 -20 at LAD, PIT, at CIN
120 Dakota Hudson DSS STL NL 89 -31 PIT, at CIN, MIL

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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glad to see someone finally start to move Sale down. You show only next 3 starts- but 4th one is tough for him as well- quite possibly @ Colorado.

Have a feeling Sale has hurt badly some fantasy owners this year.