I may have taken a step back from RotoGraphs, but I haven’t stopped playing fantasy baseball, and I have to take a look at all the pitchers anyway, and people keep bugging for my ranks in chats and anyway — here they are! I have some notes below the ranks, which are created for 5×5 leagues by using projections and then moving the players around subjectively for different reasons, most of which you will hear on our podcast.
But there are a few notes about tiers and places in the rankings that I like and dislike, notes that might help you think about your pitching strategy this year. Good luck!
I highlighted the end of tiers in yellow. I think I’d be uncomfortable with someone worse than Jacob deGrom as my ace in most leagues. That’s not to say the next guys are not good, and that you might be fine if you got two guys like Carlos Martinez and Jose Quintana as your first two pitchers, but if you were only going to get one from each tier, that’s about where I get nervous. Age, regression, or injury could hit that next group pretty hard.
I love Michael Fulmer. I think his strikeout rate will trend towards his swinging strike rate, and the discovery of that changeup means everything for his future. There’s some injury risk, but nothing like the next guy on the list. I really like that second tier, and I like it more than the third tier, despite the fact that I love Aaron Nola, and Carlos Rodon, and Jon Gray. I might take a pass on some of the helium guys in this tier like Jameson Taillon (no changeup) and Robbie Ray (same, bad outcomes third time through), and it would be weird to take the veterans in this tier high.
I like that last tier for some value. Nobody is talking about these guys, other than Julio Urias, who’s innings projection might make him a poor value. The A’s trio means I’ll just pick the one that drops to me here, and Dylan Bundy’s changeup, plus the cutter coming back and the developing curve… yes. Tyler Skaggs is a projection play — his projected numbers are over a run lower than his career numbers, and it’s a bit weird, but Adam Duvall was a projections play last year and it worked out to a T.
The next tier is also decent. I’d rather shop there than among the flotsam and jetsam that make up 90-110, as much as I think Chad Green and Cody Reed and Jose Berrios are stuff bets that are worth making. They are bets with a low cost, potential high reward, and very little floor. Pick your last guy on the roster here.
We’ll talk on the podcast this week about places where I was the most off of the consensus! Take a listen! EDIT: I moved a couple pitchers around after talking to Paul on the podcast.