Chad Young’s Ottoneu FanGraphs Points SP Ranks

In order to follow the same preview path as the Ottobot Podcast, we’re gonna pivot off of offensive ranks and jump to SP. I find this to be the most challenging list to create – there are so many relevant players, so many ways to evaluate them, and so little confidence in projections, at least compared to hitters. So in addition to my list, I am going to share a few notes on how to adjust rankings from your favorite pitching analyst.

Other Ottoneu Rankings: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF

I am doing this because there is so much variation in pitcher rankings and if you like someone else’s list more than mine, I am not offended, but I do want you to keep in mind that those lists are not Ottoneu lists and that matters. There are nuances to the scoring that can really move the needle.

Here are the nuances you need to remember and use to adjust other lists:

  1. Ottoneu points leagues heavily punish HR. In 4×4, keeping your HR/9 down is crucial. Dating back to the start of 2019, 94 SP have 150+ IP. Among the top 20 in HR/9 are Yusei Kikuchi (13th), Chris Paddack (14th), John Means (17th), and Tyler Mahle (20th). That hurts them more in Ottoneu than other formats. That’s not even mentioning well-known homer-allowers like Matt Boyd (1st and 1.98 HR/9).
  2. Strikeouts matter more than they do in 5×5. In 5×5, K are just one of five categories, but in Ottoneu points leagues they are basically the only way pitchers can accrue points, beyond just throwing innings. In FanGraphs Points, you need high K/9 guys to make up for any hits they give up. In SABR Points, you can get away with low K’s if you keep walks and HR down, but those strikeouts are still where you get upside. This means someone like James Paxton (11th in K/9 since 2019) is going to have more upside than he would elsewhere) while Dallas Keuchel (85th at 6.80 K/9) are less valuable than you might think.
  3. The rules make it easier to stash arms. The combination of a 1500 IP cap (which means you can backload your innings, if you want), the 40-man rosters and the ability to hold a guy on the 60-day IL without using a roster spot makes it easier to grab and keep an injured SP to help you later in the year. Chris Sale, Noah Syndergaard, and Luis Severino should be more valuable in Ottoneu than shallower formats.
  4. Total innings matter less, but still matter. A guy going for 5 points per inning over 200 innings is more useful than one going for 5 points per inning over 100, but the difference is smaller in Ottoneu than other formats, for the same reasons as #3 above, particularly the IP cap. As a result, I’ll take a better P/IP rate over more total points or more innings pitched.

Our regularly schedule pre-list reminders:

  1. These are based on points leagues, but can roughly be used for 4×4.
  2. I use projected points/IP as a starting point, but factor in future value and my own adjustments to projections.
  3. These rankings are position-specific – for a guy like Garrett Crochet, I am ranking him as a SP, not as a RP.
  4. The tiers below range up – so when you see Pablo Lopez in the $10 tier, that means I might go to $11, $13, or even $14 on him, but probably not to $15 or beyond.
  5. All tiers are pre-inflation.

Without more preamble, 149 SP for your enjoyment:

Chad Young’s Ottoneu FanGraphs Points SP Ranks
Tier Rank Player P/IP Per Depth Charts Notes
$55 1 Jacob deGrom 5.75 He’s well above the pack.
$45 2 Shane Bieber 5.32 He looked like he was well above the pack, but the schedule last year was so easy that I think he’s not quite DeGrom for now.
$45 3 Gerrit Cole 5.36 You want to tell me Cole is better than Bieber this year, fine, but I’ll take the 25 year old over the 30 year old.
$35 4 Walker Buehler 5.07 His projection isn’t quite top-5, but he’s one of the few this high who still has upside beyond his projection .
$35 5 Lucas Giolito 5.15 Expect something like his 2019 K’s and his 2020 BB’s, which is pretty close to this projection, which puts him 8th by P/IP, but younger or healthier than some ahead of him.
$35 6 Luis Castillo 4.80 I think the 2020 is a bit better than he can realistically continue, but there is room for him to slip back to 2019 and still be great.
$35 7 Brandon Woodruff 4.78 This might make me the high man on him, but I really just have him where Eno Sarris does, except with a bump for age vs. guys like Scherzer or Darvish.
$35 8 Yu Darvish 5.05 I can’t see him in a lower tier, but he feels risky to me here, given his injury history.
$35 9 Max Scherzer 5.15 Same, but his injury present instead of his injury history.
$30 10 Jack Flaherty 4.95 I’d rather grab Flaherty or someone else at the top of this tier than Darvish or Scherzer at the bottom of that tier, assuming a lower price.
$30 11 Blake Snell 5.00 Maybe the best candiate to jump from the $30 tier to the $45 tier.
$30 12 Tyler Glasnow 5.24 It’s hard not to wonder what would happen if he put his 2020 Ks with his 2019 BBs and HRs.
$30 13 Aaron Nola 4.74 2019 made me nervous but it looks like an outlier from a legit ace.
$30 14 Corbin Burnes 4.68 He had to better control contact to bounceback from 2019 and he did just that.
$30 15 Zac Gallen 4.46 Works the edges as well as anyone and might still have room to grow.
$25 16 Trevor Bauer 4.73 2020 was a painfully easy schedule; 2018 and 2020 don’t look like any other years of his career; and he’s not the 220 IP workhorse people want to think he is.
$25 17 Clayton Kershaw 4.75 I keep hearing that Kershaw isn’t what he once was, and that is true, but when your peak is “short list all-time great” you can step back and still be an easy top 20 SP.
$25 18 Carlos Carrasco 4.87 My sense is that people are sleeping on him and I think he’s the guy in this tier you can get cheapest, perhaps even cheaper than some guys a tier or two down.
$25 19 Sonny Gray 4.46 After outperforming his peripherals in 2019, he underperformed them in 2020, and I suspect something in between his 2019 and his 2020 is what we get in 2021.
$20 20 Lance McCullers Jr. 4.55 If I could count on him for 170 innings, he would be even higher, but I love what he brings on a per inning basis.
$20 21 Jesus Luzardo 4.55 This is a bet on development and the first guy on the list who is being carried to this spot by his future value as much as his current.
$20 22 Framber Valdez 4.59 Three straight years of increasing zone% and first strike rate have me willing to believe he can continue to control the walks.
$20 23 Hyun-Jin Ryu 4.21 The increase in Ks in 2020 was a big boost to his value in Ottoneu.
$20 24 Kevin Gausman 4.59 3.11 FIP over his last 82 innings is only 82 innings, but if it were 200 or 300 innings, he would be a universal top 20 guy.
$15 25 Dinelson Lamet 5.10 The injury risk is the most discussed, but he also needs to avoid a return to his previous HR rates.
$15 26 Charlie Morton 4.65 His underlying numbers were better than he looked on the surface and his last 5 starts were 2.58 FIP.
$15 27 Kenta Maeda 4.32 He’s almost 32 and spent 2020 beating up on the minnows of the AL Central; I suspect we see a sizable step back.
$15 28 Ian Anderson 4.11 I was out last year and at this point, I am probably too late to get in.
$15 29 Zack Wheeler 4.03 He’s a high floor guy in Ottoneu, but the ceiling isn’t exciting due to the lack of strikeouts.
$15 30 German Marquez 4.10 Coors might be a problem, but it can play to your advantage if you use him appropriately.
$15 31 Zach Plesac 3.53 Brings so much to the table and is so young that you can grab him here and hold him for years to come.
$15 32 Kyle Hendricks 3.82 Perennially underrated in most formats because he’s not that exciting, he is a good pitcher who is a bad fit for this format.
$10 33 Chris Sale 5.46 Sale is almost 32, but if you are looking for a guy outside the top 10 who could be clearly inside the top ten by October, he’s your guy.
$10 34 Luis Severino 4.65 Or he is.
$10 35 Noah Syndergaard 4.44 Thor has been so good when he has pitched and at 28, you could have a 3-4 year ace if he returns to form.
$10 36 Pablo Lopez 4.15 2020 was what I expected in 2019 and while I am a little hesitant with him after being all-in for 2019, he could be back in the top 25 next year.
$10 37 Jose Berrios 4.30 I am always lower on him than others and I haven’t been wrong yet.
$10 38 Joe Musgrove 4.28 He has to keep at least some of the K gains despite leaving the pitcher-friendly Central, but if he does, the ceiling is high.
$10 39 Frankie Montas 4.18 He was supposedly pitching hurt last year and if so, this ranking will look low.
$10 40 Lance Lynn 4.13 He’s almost 34, been suffering a hidden decline, and is moving to a really rough park.
$10 41 Sixto Sanchez 4.18 7.62 K/9 as a rookie isn’t a disaster, but he never struck out more than a guy per inning in the minors either, which caps his Ottoneu potential.
$10 42 Stephen Strasburg 4.49 He’s an old 32 given the mileage on his arm and the injury issues and carpal tunnel seems problematic for a pitcher.
$10 43 Chris Paddack 4.31 Paddack is looking at issues with his spin rate; even if he can’t directly fix that, the deep dive into what went wrong in 2020 is a positive step towards having 2021 go right.
$10 44 Max Fried 4.26 I was low on him last year and he didn’t give me any reason to change my mind. So I won’t.
$10 45 Jose Urquidy 3.31 The strikeouts disappared in 2020, but looking at his AA and AAA numbers, it’s hard not to get excited about what he might be.
$10 46 Julio Urias 4.17 He was very good last year and could be even better this year, but the strikeouts haven’t been there as a starter and matter too much in Ottoneu to have him much higher.
$10 47 Nate Pearson 3.94 I love the upside and this is a bet that even if he isn’t top 50 right away, his future value will make up for it.
$10 48 James Paxton 4.40 I am ready to ready to be hurt again.
$10 49 Shohei Ohtani 4.03 This price tier is misleading because (a) it’s his value as a SP, not as a SP who also can be your util for 80 games and (b) there’s a ton of volatility and he could easily double or even triple this up.
$10 50 Marcus Stroman 3.93 Sorta like Hendricks, but less underrated in other formats.
$10 51 Sandy Alcantara 3.57 Another guy who would be more valuable in Ottoneu if he could get a few more strikeouts.
$5 52 Marco Gonzales 3.68 Call him boring if you want, but he is an excellent pitcher who offers very high floor, but the lack of high strikeout rates caps his value in Ottoneu.
$5 53 Tony Gonsolin 3.90 It’s all about opportunity with Gonsolin, as I think he is better than Price; but between injuries and underperformance, he’ll get his chance and keep a job.
$5 54 Tyler Mahle 3.76 Mahle is a popular breakout pick, but it’s hard not to think 2020 was the breakout already.
$5 55 Aaron Civale 3.45 Civale has been shifting from a change to a split-change this off-season and given Cleveland’s track record with helping pitchers make the leap, I am very intrigued.
$5 56 Triston McKenzie 3.60 He gets more talk than the guy above him and the ceiling is probably higher, but the floor is lower.
$5 57 Patrick Corbin 4.00 Velo was down and hard contact up in 2020, so the bottom could completely fall out, but 2020 was 2020 and there’s a lot of upside if he returns to form.
$5 58 Zack Greinke 4.03 Velo was down and hard contact up in 2020, and he’s 37, so the bottom will completely fall out sometime soon.
$5 59 Cristian Javier 3.19 He wasn’t bad in 2020, but if you look at his minor league track record, it’s easy to dream on a jump in Ks pushing him further up this list.
$5 60 Jameson Taillon 3.70 His value in Ottoneu came from limiting HR despite not piling up Ks; if Yankee Stadium saps that advantage, he could fall fast.
$5 61 Mitch Keller 3.75 He’ll be less popular than a lot of prospects, becaue he “failed” where they haven’t had a chance, but development isn’t linear and the talent is still there.
$5 62 Casey Mize 3.24 Despite the rough 2020, I think Casey Mize will be a very good MLB pitcher, but perhaps in the “better in real life than in fantasy” model.
$5 63 Logan Gilbert 3.64 I think you get more innings out of Mize than Gilbert this year, but I think you’ll want Gilbert over Mize in the future.
$5 64 MacKenzie Gore 4.01 Yes, he is a higher rated prospect than some of those ahead of him, but he is buried in San Diego and their unwillingness to give him a shot makes me nervous.
$1 65 Andrew Heaney 4.22 The projections are always high on him and yet he never seems to match those expectations.
$1 66 Dustin May 4.31 Projections like him more than Gonsolin, I like Gonsolin more than him, computers are smarter than me, but it’s anyone’s guess what the Dodgers think and do.
$1 67 Elieser Hernandez 3.63 I had him ranked 93rd and started to write this blurb and was looking for a stat to justify that ranking and now he is here, projections be damned.
$1 68 David Price 3.95 In a redraft, I might prefer Price to May or Gonsolin, but he lacks the upside and future value they bring to the table in Ottoneu.
$1 69 Dylan Bundy 3.84 If the decreased HR rate was a result of a new park, new team, new approach or some other change, he’ll be really valuable again; if it was just short season noise, he won’t.
$1 70 Michael Kopech 3.56 He’s got to give up less hard contact in the air, but the pieces are there.
$1 71 Spencer Howard 3.56 In 2020, he looked like a guy who needed time in AAA, but now he gets another shot at MLB with some innings under his belt.
$1 72 Yusei Kikuchi 3.84 Adding two MPH to his fastball did wonders for Kikuchi in 2020; watch his spring velocity closely and jump on him if it’s still up.
$1 73 Grayson Rodriguez 1.59 He looks like a near-ideal Ottoneu pitcher, he’s just too far away to be worth much more than this today.
$1 74 Deivi Garcia 3.78 Should be the favorite for the 5th starters spot in New York for me, but he is not guaranteed many innings this year.
$1 75 Luis Patino 3.71 Tampa is so crowded, it’s not clear when he’ll get his shot or in what role, but I have faith the Rays will find a way to optimize his value.
$1 76 Forrest Whitley 2.90 In his next appearance, he’ll likely cross over 200 pro innings, spaced out over six years which means there is a lot we don’t know about him.
$1 77 Ryan Yarbrough 3.73 He lacks the Ks you want in an Ottoneu starter, but he limits walks and HR and is a useful rotation piece as a result.
$1 78 Garrett Crochet 5.29 This might be selling his 2021 value short, given he could be a high-end RP for part of the season.
$1 79 Zach Davies 3.18 If he falls back to his pre-2020 performance, his Ottoneu value will be even lower than this, and there is limited upside.
$1 80 Edward Cabrera 3.53 Of all the young Marlin pitchers, I think I like his upside best, but I don’t think he helps much, if at all, in 2021.
$1 81 Tarik Skubal 3.73 His Statcast sliders tell the story of a guy who avoids contact well but gave up too much hard contact when contact was made.
$1 82 Brady Singer 3.64 Making the jump from AA to MLB without any real drop in performance is impressive; can he find more Ks than he did in the minors?
$1 83 Matt Manning 3.46 I am probably wrong to be higher on Skubal than Manning, but here we are.
$1 84 Max Meyer N/A This is based purely on what scouts are saying/writing, cause we haven’t seen him throw a pro pitch yet.
$1 85 Asa Lacy N/A Why is he below Meyer? Cause Meyer went third and Lacy fourth. Seemed as good a reason as any.
$1 86 Dane Dunning 3.76 Give me his upside over the stability of a bunch of the names below him.
$1 87 John Means 3.14 All the pitching evaluators I respect most: “John Means is super interesting and exciting!” Me: “But…why?”
$1 88 Spencer Turnbull 3.73 He’s got a career 0.69 HR/9 rate despite playing in the juiced ball era and that makes him a safe play in Ottoneu, especially 4×4.
$1 89 Drew Smyly 3.79 I am skeptical that he continues what he started in SF, but if he does, this ranking will look foolish.
$1 90 Brailyn Marquez 2.75 I think Marquez can do some good stuff, but I also think he spends some time in the minors getting the experience he missed in 2020.
$1 91 Chris Bassitt 3.80 I want to think of Bassitt as one of the A’s solid young SP, but he is 32 and without a late breakout, he just isn’t that enticing in Ottoneu.
$1 92 Mike Soroka 3.88 Just doesn’t do the things that matter most in Ottoneu and the achilles injury gives me a LOT of pause.
$1 93 Justus Sheffield 3.56 If he can get his 2019 Ks, 2020 BBs, and career HR, he’ll be far more valuable than this; if he gets his 2020 Ks, 2019 BBs, and his projected HR, he won’t.
$1 94 Clarke Schmidt 3.08 His injury knocked him down quite a bit in my book.
$1 95 Jordan Montgomery 3.98 I need to see him throw 50+ innings in a season before I get too excited about the breakout potential.
$1 96 JT Brubaker 3.84 Sorta like Montgomery, but in Pittsburgh.
$1 97 Corey Kluber 4.24 I was on an island in thinking Cleveland was smart to get out when they did, and while a bounce back is possible, I think you are more likely to cut him in June than keep him in December.
$1 98 Emerson Hancock N/A Why is he below Lacy and Meyer? He went 6th.
$1 99 George Kirby N/A Maybe it’s because I am a Cleveland fan, but I love pitching prospects who hit their spots and avoid walks and his 55/70 rating on command makes me drool.
$1 100 Eduardo Rodriguez 4.13 I am probably too low on him, but the health concerns are enough to make me hedge.
$1 101 Nathan Eovaldi 4.00 Or maybe I just don’t like Boston pitchers?
$1 102 Tanner Houck 3.06 Actually, I like this one, and while the Red Sox claim Houck will start in AAA, he is too interesting to stay there long.
$1 103 Michael Pineda 3.62 Even if you leave aside the injury issues and all the missed time, he’s had a HR bugaboo for years and that will kill you in Ottoneu.
$1 104 Zach Eflin 3.50 Want to bet on Pineda’s outlier HR rate or Eflin’s outlier K rate?
$1 105 Shane Baz 2.01 Remember when I said I love guys who have great command and avoid walks in the minors? Yeah, that’s not him.
$1 106 DL Hall 2.11 Remember when I said I love guys who have great command and avoid walks in the minors? Yeah, that’s not him.
$1 107 Matt Liberatore N/A I think the two ahead of him have more Ottoneu upside, but if you place these three in a different order, I am fine with that.
$1 108 Alec Mills 2.97 His Ottoneu success will be dictated by whether or not he can get back the Ks he lost in 2020.
$1 109 Garrett Richards 3.99 Genie, for my first wish, I would like to give Garrett Richards a career full of health, just to see what he can do.
$1 110 Sean Manaea 3.94 The jump in GB rate in 2020 was an interesting development in terms of his ability to keep down HR/9 and boost his Ottoneu value.
$1 111 Jake Odorizzi 3.69 He would be higher up if he had a locked up job, but even though I am sure he will pitch, he doesn’t project to put up many points.
$1 112 Michael Lorenzen 3.61 He’ll start with a rotation spot but I think he ends up back in the pen where they can more effectively use his bat, and clearing the way for…
$1 113 Tejay Antone 3.68 If he had the job, he would be much higher.
$1 114 Dylan Cease 3.61 He may have the tools to compete for a Cy Young, but give me Kopech and maybe even Crochet in this rotaion over him by the All-Star Break.
$1 115 Brad Keller 3.43 Keller is working on adding a changeup to his repertoire and if that boosts his Ks by like 25%, he’ll be a really nice sleeper.
$1 116 Rich Hill 3.68 At 40 years old, he just shifted from “great when he’s healthy” to “good when he’s healthy” and if that doesn’t revert, he won’t be useful.
$1 117 Logan Webb 4.07 His projection is boosted by a handful of relief innings, which is how he ends up 53rd in projected Pts/IP and 117th on my list.
$1 118 Shane McClanahan 3.78 Getting close to the end of the roster-worthy prospects.
$1 119 Adbert Alzolay 3.50 All the walks are fine with all the strikeouts and no HR, but his track record doesn’t give me a lot of “no HR” vibes.
$1 120 Trevor Rogers 3.96 You’re buying the prospect pedigree and speculating on the big 2020 K-rate, not on what he’ll do for you in 2021.
$1 121 A.J. Puk 4.27 Genie, for my second wish, let’s be proactive and give Puk the career I wished for Richards before it is too late.
$1 122 Taijuan Walker 3.46 Taijuan Walker wasn’t actually that good last year and while there is still a ton of talent in that arm, we’re still waiting for the true breakout.
$1 123 J.A. Happ 3.56 Happ is a perfect example of a low-cost vet who can help you quite a bit if he can just be a steady producer.
$1 124 Daniel Lynch 2.68 Another prospect that just barely makes the “yeah, he is worth having on your team for now” list.
$1 125 Robbie Ray 4.16 He has more upside than almost most of the others this far down the list, just cause he can pile up Ks.
$1 126 Alex Wood 4.21 I was a huge Alex Wood fan, back in the day, but I refuse to get drawn back in again. For now. Check back in April.
$1 127 Kris Bubic 3.67 The Royals asked a ton of him last year and he performed admirably, but I don’t see a ton of growth coming.
$1 128 Cal Quantrill 3.26 I have no idea how Cleveland will use him, but if he finds himself in the rotation, I would definitely gamble on that org unlocking something.
$1 129 Nick Lodolo N/A The last pitching prospect on the list.
$1 130 Chris Archer 3.93 Until 2020, he wasn’t as bad as you think, and Tampa is as good a place as any for him to get right.
$1 131 Dallas Keuchel 3.61 It’s not that I think Keuchel is done, but even the best version of Keuchel was less valuable in Ottoneu than other formats
$1 132 Carlos Martinez 3.54 Going back to the rotation in 2020 did not work out so well.
$1 133 David Peterson 3.76 Think he’s little more than a placeholder for now.
$1 134 Caleb Smith 3.34 He was much better in Arizona than Miami, but still not that great.
$1 135 Griffin Canning 3.79 We’ve long ago reached the point where an of these guys can be fine or not fine and you are better off choosing who you like than relying on a ranking.
$1 136 Mike Minor 3.79 Despite the ERA, his 2019 and his 2020 were pretty similar.
$1 137 Kwang-hyun Kim 3.80 I have said this about like a dozen guys before, but he plays down in Ottoneu because low K/low BB works better in MLB or 5×5 than Ottoneu leagues.
$0 138 Ross Stripling 3.86 I think he is better than his 2020, but he’ll need to prove it to get a shot.
$0 139 Anthony DeSclafani 3.78 Maybe the new park suppresses his HR and lets him throw a bit more freely and allows him to break out?
$0 140 Kyle Wright 3.52 So many walks and HR, so few K.
$0 141 Merrill Kelly 켈리 3.40 He made real strides last year, but he needs another step up to have relevance here.
$0 142 Matthew Boyd 3.91 Giving up as many HR as he does, it’ll be hard for him to return much value and I’ll let someone else speculate on the upside.
$0 143 Dean Kremer 2.79 His numbers were helped by a 0% HR/FB rate that is going to jump given how much hard contact he allows.
$0 144 Steven Brault 3.37 He was a bit better last year, but still not great.
$0 145 Chad Kuhl 3.29 If he can bring the walks back down that would help a lot.
$0 146 Jose Quintana 3.55 Prime Quintana was less vauable in Ottoneu than other formats and this is not prime Quintana.
$0 147 Nick Pivetta 3.24 When he moved to Boston, he gave up more hard contact and had less velocity and pitched much better and sometimes baseball is weird.
$0 148 Vince Velasquez 3.67 Prediction: at some point this year, he throws a 13 K gem and gets auctioned in every league and three weeks later is the most cut player.
$0 149 Miles Mikolas 3.72 Think his 2019 is about what we should expect going forward.

A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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Chuck Churns
Chuck Churns

Thanks for doing these. People who play points, us second-class citizens all, are a huge group starving for info while we pay for these sites.