May Starting Pitcher Rankings

We are a month into the season and the pitching landscape is a mess. The top tier has been shaken to its core with several studs struggling their way through the month while streaming feels damn near impossible with they way the ball is flying out of parks. Of course, there have been bright spots and I do my best to highlight those while also being careful not overreact too much.

I look at my in-season rankings in 4-6 week blocks so the potential innings limits facing some of the younger arms rated highly aren’t really that important right now. Given that so much is going to change in the next month let alone the next five, I don’t see the point in pretending that these updates are viable for the rest of the season.

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.

The tiers are as follows:

#1s (6 SPs) – The true aces of fantasy baseball.

Must Start (33 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 (27 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 (25 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 (34 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!

May SP Rankings
RK Name Tier TM LG April Diff
1 Max Scherzer #1 WAS NL 1 0
2 Justin Verlander #1 HOU AL 3 1
3 Blake Snell #1 TB AL 5 2
4 Gerrit Cole #1 HOU AL 4 0
5 Trevor Bauer #1 CLE AL 6 1
6 Jacob deGrom #1 NYM NL 2 -4
7 Clayton Kershaw MS LAD NL 9 2
8 James Paxton MS NYY AL 15 7
9 Patrick Corbin MS WAS NL 10 1
10 Carlos Carrasco MS CLE AL 16 6
11 David Price MS BOS AL 13 2
12 Stephen Strasburg MS WAS NL 19 7
13 Luis Castillo MS CIN NL 20 7
14 Corey Kluber MS CLE AL 14 0
15 Noah Syndergaard MS NYM NL 7 -8
16 Chris Sale MS BOS AL 8 -8
17 Jose Berrios MS MIN AL 17 0
18 Jameson Taillon MS PIT NL 11 -7
19 Aaron Nola MS PHI NL 12 -7
20 Charlie Morton MS TB AL 18 -2
21 Jack Flaherty MS STL NL 23 2
22 Zack Greinke MS ARI NL 30 8
23 Tyler Glasnow MS TB AL 34 11
24 Chris Paddack MS SD NL 38 14
25 Zack Wheeler MS NYM NL 26 1
26 Walker Buehler MS LAD NL 21 -5
27 Caleb Smith MS MIA NL 48 21
28 Hyun-Jin Ryu MS LAD NL 51 23
29 Joe Musgrove MS PIT NL 29 0
30 Matthew Boyd MS DET AL 32 2
31 Shane Bieber MS CLE AL 31 0
32 German Marquez MS COL NL 22 -10
33 Jose Quintana MS CHC NL 39 6
34 Madison Bumgarner MS SF NL 24 -10
35 Domingo German MS NYY AL 44 9
36 Yu Darvish MS CHC NL 33 -3
37 Mike Foltynewicz MS ATL NL 81 44
38 Chris Archer MS PIT NL 25 -13
39 Masahiro Tanaka MS NYY AL 27 -12
40 Mike Soroka US ATL NL 85 45
41 Sonny Gray US CIN NL 58 17
42 Robbie Ray US ARI NL 45 3
43 Cole Hamels US CHC NL 40 -3
44 Collin McHugh US HOU AL 28 -16
45 Mike Minor US TEX AL 66 21
46 Rich Hill US LAD NL #N/A #N/A
47 Marco Gonzales US SEA AL 53 6
48 Kevin Gausman US ATL NL 35 -13
49 Steven Matz US NYM NL 61 12
50 Kenta Maeda US LAD NL 41 -9
51 Jerad Eickhoff US PHI NL 107 56
52 Brad Peacock US HOU AL 42 -10
53 Matt Strahm US SD NL 68 15
54 Tyler Skaggs US LAA AL 99 45
55 Joey Lucchesi US SD NL 50 -5
56 Eduardo Rodriguez US BOS AL 55 -1
57 Jon Gray US COL NL 37 -20
58 Kyle Hendricks US CHC NL 52 -6
59 Jon Lester US CHC NL #N/A #N/A
60 J.A. Happ US NYY AL 70 10
61 Marcus Stroman US TOR AL 87 26
62 Max Fried US ATL NL 97 35
63 Trevor Williams US PIT NL 47 -16
64 Yusei Kikuchi US SEA AL 43 -21
65 Kyle Freeland US COL NL 56 -9
66 Miles Mikolas US STL NL 36 -30
67 Luke Weaver SSS ARI NL 64 -3
68 Zach Eflin SSS PHI NL 60 -8
69 Jordan Lyles SSS PIT NL 49 -20
70 Yonny Chirinos SSS TB AL 57 -13
71 Pablo Lopez SSS MIA NL 72 1
72 Jake Odorizzi SSS MIN AL 89 17
73 Frankie Montas SSS OAK AL 63 -10
74 Carlos Rodon SSS CWS AL 54 -20
75 Jake Arrieta SSS PHI NL 71 -4
76 Drew Pomeranz SSS SF NL 80 4
77 Aaron Sanchez SSS TOR AL 79 2
78 Jeff Samardzija SSS SF NL 59 -19
79 Brandon Woodruff SSS MIL NL 67 -12
80 Trevor Richards SSS MIA NL 74 -6
81 Tyler Mahle SSS CIN NL 78 -3
82 Spencer Turnbull SSS DET AL 69 -13
83 Dereck Rodriguez SSS SF NL 90 7
84 Chris Bassitt SSS OAK AL #N/A #N/A
85 Wade Miley SSS HOU AL 76 -9
86 Merrill Kelly SSS ARI NL 77 -9
87 Reynaldo Lopez SSS CWS AL 113 26
88 Vincent Velasquez SSS PHI NL #N/A #N/A
89 Julio Teheran SSS ATL NL 84 -5
90 Brad Keller SSS KC AL 75 -15
91 Trevor Cahill SSS LAA AL 83 -8
92 Lance Lynn DSS TEX AL 103 11
93 Anibal Sanchez DSS WAS NL 82 -11
94 Jakob Junis DSS KC AL 96 2
95 Ryan Yarbrough DSS TB AL 98 3
96 Kyle Gibson DSS MIN AL 100 4
97 Rick Porcello DSS BOS AL 101 4
98 Trent Thornton DSS TOR AL 95 -3
99 Michael Pineda DSS MIN AL 86 -13
100 CC Sabathia DSS NYY AL 102 2
101 Griffin Canning DSS LAA AL #N/A #N/A
102 Michael Wacha DSS STL NL 91 -11
103 Nick Margevicius DSS SD NL 104 1
104 Felix Pena DSS LAA AL 106 2
105 John Means DSS BAL AL #N/A #N/A
106 Zach Davies DSS MIL NL 118 12
107 Clay Buchholz DSS TOR AL 108 1
108 Anthony DeSclafani DSS CIN NL 109 1
109 Freddy Peralta DSS MIL NL #N/A #N/A
110 Martin Perez DSS MIN AL 111 1
111 Tanner Roark DSS CIN NL 114 3
112 Eric Lauer DSS SD NL 115 3
113 Felix Hernandez DSS SEA AL #N/A #N/A
114 Homer Bailey DSS KC AL 110 -4
115 Adam Wainwright DSS STL NL #N/A #N/A
116 Antonio Senzatela DSS COL NL #N/A #N/A
117 Chase Anderson DSS MIL NL #N/A #N/A
118 Sandy Alcantara DSS MIA NL 112 -6
119 Jorge Lopez DSS KC AL 117 -2
120 Cal Quantrill DSS SD NL #N/A #N/A
121 Erik Swanson DSS SEA AL #N/A #N/A
122 Tyler Beede DSS SF NL #N/A #N/A
123 Danny Duffy DSS KC AL #N/A #N/A
124 Mike Leake DSS SEA AL 119 -5
125 Jose Urena DSS MIA NL 120 -5

We hoped you liked reading May Starting Pitcher Rankings by Paul Sporer!

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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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carter
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carter

I agree w rankings more than last time. Am a bit curious why Marquez fell so much however? He hasn’t really done anything to hurt, and looked dominant yday unless you scout the scoreline which was bad defense.