Paul Sporer’s Updated Starting Pitcher Rankings – June 2022

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This is long overdue, but thank you for the patience.

I’ll aim for 3-4 wk intervals going forward and it will usually fill in for a Monday version of Boxscore Bits as it is today (and into Tuesday… this one took awhile!). They should be viewed in a 3-4 wk context, too. Trying to think for the entire rest of the season is unnecessary because we know things will change and we are allowed to change our roster so a narrower focus will help you sort things out as you run through the many globs of pitchers where the talent isn’t that far off so you look toward more secondary factors to make the decisions (recent performance, schedule, supporting offense/defense, venue, etc…) on a week-to-week basis.

I do have larger groupings when it comes to in-season rankings with 6 tiers of ranked arms and then injury and prospect guys. Aces, Must Start, Usually Start, Team Streamer, Standard Streamer, and Deeeep Leagues. There isn’t a big split between Usually Start and Team Streamer (guys who you purposefully curate their starts, but don’t cut them when not starting them because of their upside) as the US group has guys you consider sitting at COL or against a high-powered offense you’re afraid of (NYY, NYM, BOS, HOU, LAD off the top of my head) where as the TS group is must-sit in those situations among others such as a home/road split (like Mahle, for example).

While my focus is primarily on 15-team mixers, these should work pretty well across the 12s and even 10s with slight adjustments based on your league. I’m quite confident starting the top 2 tiers (45 starters) across all formats and then there are some adjustments to be made in the streaming tiers for 10s and 12s which you can apply based on how your league facilitates streaming (daily/weekly pickups, pickup limits, scoring system).

ACES: The best of the best right now.

I’m writing up all of the Aces, but not everyone will get a note in the tiers after this one

ACES
Rk STARTING PITCHER TM Spring Rk Diff.
1 Gerrit Cole NYY 1 0
2 Shane McClanahan TBR 24 22
3 Corbin Burnes MIL 4 1
4 Zack Wheeler PHI 13 9
5 Sandy Alcantara MIA 6 1
6 Justin Verlander HOU 18 12
7 Joe Musgrove SDP 8 1
8 Kevin Gausman TOR 27 19
9 Max Fried ATL 10 1
10 Pablo López MIA 53 43

  • Gerrit Cole’s nightmare start hurts, but it’s not actionable.
  • Shane McClanahan’s innings could be a question down the line, but I’m not sure it’ll ever be a major issue this year as I think they allow him around 175-180 IP.
  • Not even a little concerned about the back-to-back duds for Corbin Burnes.
  • Zack Wheeler is back back.
  • Sandy Alcantara’s Ks are trending up (29% in L4) but even if he lives in the 22-24% range, his IP volume can make up the deficit relative to others (would have 185 Ks in 200 IP at this pace, a total that finished 23rd last yr).
  • Justin Verlander truly is a unicorn!
  • Joe Musgrove is riding a hot 7% HR/FB to that insane 1.50 ERA, but the expected regression doesn’t worry me in the slightest.
  • Max Fried might stand out among this group because of his K% (24% since ’21), but he has elite control, keeps the ball down, and like Alcantara, he misses enough bats to put up a solid total if he goes 180+ IP (~165 Ks, which was top 30 total last yr).
  • Pablo Lopez will go as far as that shoulder allows. That’s what put the brakes on him for me with that Spring rank. If you’ve read my stuff, you know I try not to overrate individual injury risk for pitchers because they are all injury timebombs and everyone is 1 pitch away, but I’m also not so strident that I will ignore a chronic issue like Lopez’s shoulder so he landed in my Elevated Injury Risks tier with Kershaw, Castillo, Thor, Gallen, Sale, Flaherty, Severino, Clevinger, Wood, and Cobb — only Thor and Gallen have avoided the IL front that group (some started on the IL). I wouldn’t worry about trying to trade out from under the shoulder risk, though. He came at a discount because of it and he’s heavily outperforming that draft cost so now we just hope he stays healthy en route to a brilliant full season.

MUST START: Set it and forget it…

…unless you’re using Ohtani as a hitter.

MUST START
Rk STARTING PITCHER TM Spring Rk Diff.
11 Aaron Nola PHI 12 1
12 Shohei Ohtani LAA 23 11
13 Shane Bieber CLE 20 7
14 Tarik Skubal DET 68 54
15 Frankie Montas OAK 16 1
16 Luis Severino NYY 61 45
17 Carlos Rodón SFG 29 12
18 Clayton Kershaw LAD 54 36
19 Julio Urías LAD 5 -14
20 Kyle Wright ATL 109 89
21 Lucas Giolito CWS 11 -10
22 Nestor Cortes NYY 71 49
23 Logan Gilbert SEA 35 12
24 Dylan Cease CWS 31 7
25 Zac Gallen ARI 58 33
26 Logan Webb SFG 9 -17
27 Alek Manoah TOR 30 3
28 Joe Ryan MIN 43 15
29 Luis Castillo CIN 56 27
30 Tony Gonsolin LAD 80 50
31 Lance Lynn CWS 22 -9
32 Yu Darvish SDP 28 -4
33 Triston McKenzie CLE 38 5
34 Robbie Ray SEA 21 -13
35 Sean Manaea SDP 39 4
36 Eric Lauer MIL 84 48
37 Chris Bassitt NYM 40 3
38 Michael Kopech CWS 32 -6
39 José Berríos TOR 17 -22
40 Luis Garcia HOU 36 -4
41 MacKenzie Gore SDP 113 72
42 Miles Mikolas STL 92 50
43 Framber Valdez HOU 34 -9
44 Patrick Sandoval LAA 33 -11
45 Cristian Javier HOU 118 73

 

  • Shane Bieber’s velo is down a good bit (1.7 mph), but the results remain excellent (3.37 SIERA). He has lost 7 pts off his 2019-21 K%, but it was 33% so he had some wiggle room to give and still succeed. The HR suppression has definitely helped cover the lost dominance (6% HR/FB, 0.6 HR/9) and it’s reasonable to expect some give back there, but it won’t destroy his fantasy value, especially if that 14% SwStr fuels some added Ks.
  • Tarik Skubal’s HR suppression improvement has been huge for him (7% HR/FB, 0.5 HR/9) and comes by way of an arsenal adjustment with a 14 pt. dip in four-seamer usage, 7 pts of which have been funneled into his sinker, driving an 8 pt. jump in GB rate to a career-best 47%. He will likely allow more HRs from here forward, but it feels safe to say he’s not the guy allowed 2.2 HR/9 with a 20% HR/FB from 2020-21.
  • While we haven’t seen Luis Severino’s velo get all the way back to 2018-19 levels (97.6 mph), it’s the highest we have seen from him since ’18 at 96.4 mph. He has gone at least 6 IP in each of his last five starts and has returned to must-start stud status!
  • I cite arbitrary samples all the time in my writing, though I always try to identify a change behind the surge or decline I’m highlighting as opposed to just finding the best sample for my point. Carlos Rodon has a 4.80 ERA/1.57 WHIP in his L6 starts, but a 2.73 ERA/1.37 WHIP in his L5 if you lop off that 8 ER dud at StL. However, the 1.37 WHIP undercuts the quality of that 2.73 ERA and hints that there is more going on than just the 1 bad start if you’re looking at the 6-start run. His command and control have been inconsistent over this period with a 10% BB and 8.2 H/9 even when you remove the Cards start and just look at the last 5. With no corresponding velo/spin rate dips or any sort of injury concern out of the SF camp, I’m inclined to see it as standard in-season variance, especially coming off 6-scoreless v. LAD with 8 Ks and a 97.4 mph average fastball that tied his season-high from his April 9th opener.
  • For all the issues Julio Urias is working through (-1.4 mph velo, -4 pts in K%, surge in HR/9 to 1.7), he still has a 2.80 ERA thanks to a .221 AVG and 82% LOB rate. His SwStr and BB rates have held firm and was dominant his last time out with 10 Ks in 6 IP at SFG.
  • Sometimes when a heralded prospect like this starts to breakout, we can forget to critically examine the profile, leaning on confirmation bias since this was expected, it just came a bit later than we thought. Looking through Kyle Wright’s work in these first 12, it is hard to find anything to be all that concerned with going forward. He likely won’t continue at exactly this clip (2.57 ERA), especially with his tiny HR rate (0.5), but his 19% K-BB rate is 20th among qualified starters. With 137 IP at Triple-A last year, he shouldn’t be held back by workload, either.
  • Since last year, Nestor Cortes has a 2.55 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 27% K, and 6% BB in 137.7 IP as a starter. He is milking every bit of that 10% SwStr rate, but even a dip in strikeouts wouldn’t destroy his fantasy value. He was perhaps the biggest snipe in my Main Event in Las Vegas. Jeff Zimmerman and Tanner Bell got me. Prior to our draft, he’d been going in the 22nd round. I use ADP as a guide, particularly when jumping someone. On my 17/18 turn, I considered Cortes with my Mize pick, but thought it was still a little early and penciled him in for my 19th round pick, still 3 rounds ahead of his ADP to that point. I was so set that I had Cortes that I started looking up my hitter to pair with him at the 19/20 turn (I picked 15th slot). And then it happened. With the 8th pick of the 19th round, Jeff and Tanner blew up my plan. I ended up taking Reid Detmers. How many no-hitters does Cortes have, Jeff? Yeah, that’s what I thought!! The pain has gotten worse by the start.
  • Dylan Cease seems good for a dud every 5-6 starts, but his most recent one included 6 unearned runs! He did walk 7 Rays the outing before that but escaped with 2 unearned runs thanks to just 1 hit allowed. Even with these occasional bombs, he is still fantastic with incredible upside.
  • One of the reasons I liked Logan Webb so much this draft season was his floor. Obviously his true floor is lower than this, but I felt comfortable that I was at least getting what we’ve gotten so far: 3.77 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 14% K-BB rate in 71.7 IP. His SwStr has spikes, too, with 5 starts at 12% or above so there will be good K games. If he can avoid anymore 1s (he has 2!!), I think he will easily beat the 20% he has to date.
  • Joe Ryan has been awesome so far (2.28 ERA, 0.99 WHIP). The HRs that pushed him to a 4.05 ERA last year are down to just 0.6 per nine with just a 5% HR/FB rate. He is still a heavy flyball guy, but his 14% pop-up rate is tied for 2nd-best with Tyler Wells behind only Max Scherzer at 16%. There will likely be some give back on that HR rate, but he is contributing to the suppression with his difficult-to-square stuff.
  • Tony Gonsolin has reigned in his control issues from last year (14% BB) with an 8% mark on the season and just a 5% mark in his last five starts. Unsurprisingly, he has gone 6 IP in each of those starts. In his first six starts when he had a 12% BB rate, he made it 6 IP just once.
  • Lance Lynn returned Monday night and was a little bumpy, but I’m not moving him down off that (10 H, 0 BB, 4 K, 4 ER in 4.3 IP). His velo was down from last year, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that. First start back after a lengthy IL stint (this was his season debut) gets you a little bit of a pass.
  • Robbie Ray is still missing a ton of bats (15% SwStr) so that 25% K rate should rise, but the BB% and H/9 regression is making the homers a lot more painful. He could get the BB% back down, but his 9% is still a sharp improvement from 2017-20 (12%) and it’s hard not to think last year was just a spike year and not the new normal. He’s still good, but maybe not elite. There’s also the one bad inning thing. Meltdown innings have been the bulk of his damage and the thinking is that with the damage clustered, perhaps there is a fix Ray can employ if there is a common thread within those blowups. It could also just be wild sequencing punctuated with untimely home runs. I haven’t deep-dived the innings to see what’s up. Maybe we should get Nick to do that in one of his weekday morning streams!
  • Eric Lauer has given back some of the velo gains, sitting 93.1 mph in his last 5 after running a 94.1 in his first 6 starts. He pitched to a 3.19 ERA/1.14 WHIP at 92.5 mph last year, admittedly with a 4.24 SIERA. He has maintained his 79% LOB rate from last year and while he has given some of that .249 BABIP back, it’s still at .264 – good for 26th among qualified starters. The tradeoff is the homer run rate (1.6), but he keeps the bases relatively clean and lessens the impact of those longballs.
  • Michael Kopech just feels like he’s living on a wire right now. He is remarkably difficult to hit, but there’s no way a .177 BABIP can hold. Julio Teheran’s .217 from 2018 is lowest qualified full season since 2017 (excluding 2020, of course). Now also dealing with a knee issue, it’s hard to have full confidence in Kopech despite how well his results have gone. Great talent with tons of upside, let’s hope he stays healthy!
  • Jose Berrios has instilled some confidence with his last two starts (1.80 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 33% K, 6% BB). Three particularly awful starts are really holding his overall line back (16 of his 34 ER in 7.7 of his 64.7 IP) and it will take some time to work those off, but I’m not sitting him.
  • Patrick Sandoval’s changeup has come and gone this year leading to an 11% BB rate but also greatly helping his .226 AVG. The 2.83 ERA will go up if he continues to post a 1.35 WHIP. There is just one season like this since 2010 (<3.00 ERA, >1.30 WHIP, 150+ IP) – Jaime Garcia for St. Louis back in 2010 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 163.3 IP.

USUALLY START: This is where league size comes into play.

This is a pivot group with a mix of veterans and young arms, standouts and strugglers, and even some hybrid pitchers who bounce between the pen and rotation. They rarely come out of your lineup in a 15, but they don’t hold that same esteem across all formats. Several of these guys are team streamers or standard streamers in 10s and 12s. 

USUALLY START
Rk STARTING PITCHER TM Spring Rk Diff.
46 Tyler Anderson LAD 96 50
47 Tylor Megill NYM 65 18
48 Carlos Carrasco NYM 85 37
49 Jeffrey Springs TBR NR N/A
50 Blake Snell SDP 25 -25
51 Trevor Rogers MIA 14 -37
52 Jordan Montgomery NYY 70 18
53 Charlie Morton ATL 19 -34
54 Sonny Gray MIN 45 -9
55 Alex Wood SFG 63 8
56 Adam Wainwright STL 77 21
57 Spencer Strider ATL NR N/A
58 Aaron Ashby MIL 115 57
59 Drew Rasmussen TBR 75 16
60 Jameson Taillon NYY 93 33
61 George Kirby SEA 137 76
62 Corey Kluber TBR 171 109
63 Brady Singer KCR 150 87

 

  • Tyler Anderson joined the Fewer Fastballs Movement (#FFM), shaving 7 pts off his mark for a career low 41% fastball usage which covers his four-seamer and cutter. He has taken more off the four-seamer, dropping 4 pts to 31%, with his changeup getting the excess and delivering beautiful results. It’s up to a career-high 32% usage and has allowed a .109/.108/.125 line in 65 PA with a 37% K rate. His .250 OPS against the change is baseball’s best, 50 pts clear of McClanahan’s change (min. 60 PA).
  • Tylor Megill was fine in his return from the IL, including a 96.5 mph fastball velo that was his 2nd best mark this year.
  • Jeffrey Springs is what Drew Rasmussen fans think Rasmussen is, transitioning into the rotation and even eclipsing 90 pitches in his last two outings. Springs is out of the bullpen and proud of his success thus far. They are both good, but I think this is a case where the Kirkland brand 5-and-dive Rays pitcher clearly comes out ahead of the leading name brand.
  • Blake Snell, Trevor Rogers, and Charlie Morton are three massive droppers, all toting 5.00+ ERAs with ugly WHIPs to match. Snell only has 25 IP so I’m not sure much can be deduced from his season yet especially when three of his five starts have been good. A lot of his drop is related to the recurrence of that left adductor injury that cost him a month. A trip to Coors this week would be one of those potential sit instances. Rogers’s changeup has made rare appearances this year. He allowed a .487 OPS with it last year. This year he has just four of 11 starts where it allowed a sub-.480 OPS. Everything works off the change so when it’s not there, he can struggle like we’ve seen. Morton has shown the relatively thin margin between a mid-3s and mid-5s ERA pitcher. His skills are worse than last year, but not that much worse as he still has a 3.99 SIERA and we’ve seen flashes of brilliances with four great starts and parts of many others where he very much looked like himself. The volatile command has led to a 2 pt. jump in BB% (10%), a near-doubling of his HR rate to 1.3, and a league-high 8 HBP – 5 of whom have scored. With 66 Ks in 60.3 IP and 4 Ws, he’s not killing you despite the poor ratios. At some point you would have to stop playing a 5.67 ERA, but I’m not there with Morton.
  • Spencer Strider finally had the dream start his stans have been wishing for: 5.7 scoreless with 8 K, 1 BB, 4 H on 92 pitches. He looked like a real starter! They have stretched him out incrementally since late-May with 46, 72, 87, and 92 pitches. We’ve seen the bumps his low-command profile can deliver, but the upside is worth it as long as the Braves commit to giving him at least 80 pitch/start.
  • Aaron Ashby is coming off a trash start (13 H, 6 ER at WAS), but he has also flashed that starter brilliance and now has two starts reaching 100 pitches. He and Strider are quite similar right down to the poor command that will drive volatility.
  • Corey Kluber’s rank isn’t really a rank. At that point in the list, I was deep into tiers of guys with a particular through line and I listed the injury tier last so he was 171. I was just parking him until we got some clarity. He has been great. Obviously, he has lots of injury baggage, but that was built into his low cost so now you just enjoy him while he’s pitching. His trash fastball will yield occasional stinkers, but the good should outweigh the bad.
  • Brady Singer essentially doubled his walk rate on Monday night with 5 in 5 IP, but it was at 2.8% so he had some wiggle room and the 5.4% is still quite good. A legit changeup has been a big part of his early success. He is using it at an 11% clip (4% in 2020-21) and while it isn’t dominating the opposition (.600 OPS in 10 PA), just the presence of an actual third pitch is an advantage. If he can hold this 24% K rate while still being a premium groundballer (53%), he could be a sneaky 2nd half stud. A 24% HR/FB has his HR rate at 1.8 (up from 1.0 coming into this yr) which is heavily influenced by the shellacking from HOU (7 ER, 3 HR). He has allowed 12 ER across 35.5 other IP including Monday night. Don’t get fooled by the season ERA of 4.24, he has been much better this year.

TEAM STREAMERS: Not starting all the time, but good enough to keep

This group is kinda split into two camps based on strikeout ability, which is the best single metric to identify talent (it’s not perfect, but if you only got one, it’d be Ks). Stripling, Gibson, Kelly, and Walker bridge the two groups as those four can spike some big K games but it’s not a huge part of their profile. They lead into a 10-pack of finesse arms who certainly can be good – and many of them have been this year – but the lack of dominance puts them at the mercy of the ball bouncing their way consistently given all the contact. 

TEAM STREAMERS
Rk STARTING PITCHER TM Spring Rk Diff.
64 Hunter Greene CIN 73 9
65 Yusei Kikuchi TOR 91 26
66 Roansy Contreras PIT 125 59
67 Ian Anderson ATL 49 -18
68 Nick Pivetta BOS 99 31
69 Edward Cabrera MIA 130 61
70 Zach Eflin PHI 100 30
71 Tyler Mahle CIN 47 -24
72 Shane Baz TBR 175 103
73 Jon Gray TEX 76 3
74 Josiah Gray WAS 106 32
75 Ross Stripling TOR 164 89
76 Kyle Gibson PHI 87 11
77 Merrill Kelly 켈리 ARI 95 18
78 Taijuan Walker NYM 174 96
79 Noah Syndergaard LAA 57 -22
80 Paul Blackburn OAK NR N/A
81 Adrian Houser MIL 154 73
82 Cal Quantrill CLE 89 7
83 Alex Faedo DET NR N/A
84 Graham Ashcraft CIN NR N/A
85 José Urquidy HOU 42 -43
86 Dakota Hudson STL 102 16
87 Michael Wacha BOS 180 93
88 Martín Pérez TEX NR N/A
89 Michael Lorenzen LAA 103 14

 

  • We’ve seen the highs and lows of Hunter Greene evidenced easily by the shorthand of Game Scores (version 2) with an 87 in the 7-inning shutout and 79 in his 7.3-inning no-hit effort down to a -12 (!) in the 8 ER meltdown at MIL. He is so electric that I could see him playing up as high as the Must Start class by the next update. For now, I’m still fine sitting him in the toughest matchups.
  • Yusei Kikuchi bounced back from a brutal April (5.52 ERA) with a 2.36 in May as the schedule gave him something of a reprieve, though still included back-to-back starts against NYY, both of which he dominated. The command has fallen apart again to start June with 3 HR to MIN and then 4 BB and 45 pitches in just 2/3rds at KC. Unless he cuts the walks (14%), he will remain volatile.
  • Prior to his 20 IP at Triple-A, Roansy Contreras hadn’t topped 8% BB rate in any pro stop. His 8% MLB mark this year is just fine with the nasty swing-and-miss stuff he has (28% K, 15% SwStr). He does have a show-me curve operating as his third pitch while the fastball and slider do all the work. He has a vague idea of a changeup, having thrown it 13 times for a 2.417 OPS in 4 PA. So far, hitters think it’s a really good idea.
  • Ian Anderson’s BB issues are catching up to him because of a drop in K rate (down 3 pts to 20%) and jump in hit rate (up 1.3 to 8.6 H/9). His fastball velo is down 1 mph and he simply hasn’t put batters away with it this year. His Put Away Rate (K% w/2-strikes) on heaters is down 13 pts to 6% on the year. He is trying to work the high heat in those counts and the pitches simply aren’t enticing enough, eliciting just a 23% swing rate (down 15 pts) thanks in part to an 8-pt. dip in zone rate (40%). Anderson’s is the 4th-worst Put Away rate with the heater and well below the 18% league average.
  • Tyler Mahle’s 21% Put Away rate has been a key to his success since the start of 2021… at least on the road. He has a 5.08 career home ERA in 262.3 IP because he is a home run guy in a home run park. Mahle has found some recent success at home with 3 straight gems that have lowered his season ERA to 5.07 and helped boost his K rate to 26%. I’d have missed those starts because I’m not playing him at home. I might’ve played the ARI one after gems v. SF and WAS (sneaky solid lineup at 13th wRC+ since May 1st), but I just can’t consistently trust him there. The damage erases the good. Four duds have overshadowed nine gems – well, combined gems… they weren’t all great, but none were legitimately bad and they add up to a 2.48 ERA in 50.7 IP. His next home start is against LAD. No shot.
  • I’m not overreacting to Shane Baz’s ugly return powered by a Luis freakin’ Arraez grand slam (best player ever!). At the same time, I’m not super bullish on him this year. I think he will be the third of the Springs-Rasmussen-Baz trio in terms of volume. He only threw 92 innings last year and he is coming off elbow surgery for loose bodies. I just don’t see TB turning him loose in any real capacity. I’m a huge fan long-term. If I’m wrong and we see 80+ pitches consistently for a few starts, I’ll gladly pivot and move him up the board. That upside keeps his roster spot in shallower formats even if I’m not using him weekly.
  • The back-to-back J.Grays was organic, but once it happened I couldn’t break them up! Obviously if I thought they had a major split in talent, I’d move them, but despite different makeups, they offer similar bottom lines. Josiah Gray has the massive HR issue (2.2 in 133 MLB IP) with wobbly control (11% BB%) while Jon Gray has battled health issues throughout most of his career and the volatility issues that come with large intervals of missed time, including wobble control (10% BB this yr).
  • Ross Stripling has taken advantage of a soft landing back into the rotation with at KC and at DET (11 scoreless, 2 H, 0 BB, 6 K). Those starts inspired many to pick him up just in time to face… check notes… NYY and CWS. Sweet. Maybe I should only list NYY as the White Sox have been hammered by injury and underperformance en route to the 24th-ranked wRC+ (92). Strip has severely cut his HR rate from 2.2 in 2020-21 to just 0.6 this year. The corresponding 12 pt. dip in HR/FB rate (7%) might not hold all year, but it has come with a near-20 pt. jump in GB rate up to 53%. I’ve always liked Stripling and think he can be a nice fill-in as long as you dodge NYY and BOS (2 of his next 3 slated against them, so he’s a stash if you have the spot).
  • Merrill Kelly has sustained the added velo this year, but that early season command has gone by the wayside with his two key pitches – fastball and changeup – consistently abandoning him within starts/innings/at-bats. The two pitches held opponents to a .583 OPS with a 24% K and 8% BB in 86 PA during his first 7 starts. In the 6 starts since, he’s at an .879 OPS with a 19% K and 16% BB in 69 PA. Not nice. If we don’t see signs of that command in the next start or two, he will once again become a standard streamer. In shallower formats, he already is and has likely popped up on different teams this season.
  • Taijuan Walker and Noah Syndergaard are both winning with finesse early on, each toting an ERA well below their SIERA while striking out 16% and 15% of their batters, respectively. Walker has a 3.08 ERA/1.25 WHIP in 52.7 IP while Thor is at 3.69 ERA/1.19 WHIP in 46.3 IP. Both have shown signs that they can exceed their current K rates, but neither looks as dominant as their past selves.
  • From Paul Blackburn to Michael Lorenzen is a group of 10 guys who win without Ks. Martin Perez is the only 20% K in the group with Graham Ashcraft bringing up the rear at 13% (though he is the only one who throws north of 94 mph at 97.3 and has shown an 11% SwStr in his last 3 after a 5% in his first 2). Ashcraft and Jose Urquidy have sub-5% BB rates while Dakota Hudson and Adrian Houser are both at 10%, but survive by inducing a lot of groundballs. Hudson has a 55% GB rate, behind only Ashcraft’s 59% mark while Houser still has a GB lean, but is down to 47% after a 59% mark last year.
  • Perez leads this group at a 2.18 ERA with an 11 pt. spike in GB rate (55%) really helping but a 3% HR/FB doing a lot of the work. There just aren’t any under the hood changes to suggest this change is real, outside of that GB surge.

STANDARD STREAMERS: Inconsistent arms with varying levels of value

STANDARD STREAMERS
Rk STARTING PITCHER TM Spring Rk Diff.
90 Dane Dunning TEX 90 0
91 Braxton Garrett MIA NR N/A
92 Kyle Bradish BAL NR N/A
93 Ranger Suárez PHI 48 -45
94 Reid Detmers LAA 66 -28
95 Rich Hill BOS 172 77
96 Madison Bumgarner ARI 158 62
97 Glenn Otto TEX 128 31
98 Kutter Crawford BOS NR N/A
99 Bruce Zimmermann BAL NR N/A
100 Tyler Wells BAL NR N/A
101 Erick Fedde WAS 193 92
102 Nick Martinez SDP 156 54
103 Andre Pallante STL NR N/A
104 Marco Gonzales SEA 88 -16
105 Zach Davies ARI 169 64
106 Zach Plesac CLE 83 -23
107 Chris Flexen 플렉센 SEA 152 45
108 JT Brubaker PIT 151 43
109 Ryan Feltner COL NR N/A
110 Chad Kuhl COL 189 79
111 Jordan Lyles BAL NR N/A
112 Konnor Pilkington CLE NR N/A
113 Matt Swarmer CHC NR N/A
114 Mitch White LAD 119 5
115 Mitch Keller PIT 111 -4
116 Kyle Hendricks CHC 97 -19
117 James Kaprielian OAK 179 62

 

  • Only 5 guys in this group have K-BB rates north of 15%. Ryan Feltner (20%) has Coors to contend with and his spot is up in the air with Senzatela returning. I still included him because he is next man up and there will definitely be another opening at some point soon. Braxton Garrett (19%) has 9 IP in the majors this year after just an 8% mark in his first 42 MLB IP. Mitch White (18%) also recently lost his job and was sent out after Kershaw returned. The Dodgers lack the SP depth of previous years so White will almost certainly get more opportunities as the season wears on, especially with the Buehler injury sidelining him for months. Heaney will get that spot initially, but then White is the 6th SP waiting in the wings for a group with a less-than-stellar health track record.
  • We all knew Ranger Suarez would regress from his 2021 heights, but to what level was the real question? I thought he’d be more of a mid-3.00s ERA/sub-1.20 WHIP rotation stabilizer. He’s been nothing of the sort with his changeup looking much worse than it did last year. The BB% and H/9 spikes have tanked the WHIP (1.50) and really undercut his chances at consistent fantasy success, relegating him to a streamer right now.
  • Since the no-hitter, Reid Detmers was hit pretty hard in back-to-back starts against TEX (8 ER, 11 base runners, 4 HR, 7 Ks in 9.7 IP) and then survived NYY/BOS with 8.7 scoreless, but only went 4.3 IP in each with 5 Ks and BB. With at LAD on tap this week, I ended up cutting him in my Main Event (15 tms).
  • I’m a big Glenn Otto fan and he has a great 2.45 ERA since an 8 ER bomb v. BOS (which was an easy sit), but just an 18% K and 14% BB rate in those four starts (22 IP). There is upside and he could find some consistency this year, but unless he reigns in the walks (13% season mark) his WHIP (1.36) will likely undercut any benefit from his ERA (4.24 on the season; 2.73 ERA in the 7 non-Boston starts). Keep an eye on him when he returns from the COVID list.
  • There is some intrigue with Kutter Crawford as SP. His 94.5 mph fastball in his lone start so far was still pretty good and he netted a 16% SwStr in the 5 IP of work. Of course, he also walked 4 and had just a 31% Zone rate. There will be volatility here and it could terribly awry, but with his kind of swing-and-miss, it’s worth keeping an eye on him.
  • Andre Pallante is the latest SP-to-RP conversion and looked good in 5.3 IP v. CIN. He has leaned heavily on a 61% GB rate and 95% LOB rate for his 1.04 ERA in 34.7 IP this year. He does have a 4.06 SIERA due in large part to a 5% K-BB rate. A 95 mph heater and 2 breaking balls (86 mph SL, 76 mph CB) give him three velocity bands to work with and he’ll need to keep the groundballs coming because he has never shown much swing-and-miss.
  • I’d have a lot more interest in Ryan Feltner if he pitched literally anywhere else. He has a 27% K rate, 6% BB in 26 IP with one bad home start (3 IP/6 ER v. ATL) spoiling his 4.85 ERA. As I mentioned above, he will find his way back into the rotation at some point. When he does, look for cozy road spots and manageable home matchups, just remember you’re always taking on the 10 ER risk if you start someone at Coors.
  • Mitch Keller has a 5.07 ERA/1.49 WHIP, but his 4.44 SIERA isn’t too bad. He only has a 19% K and 8% SwStr so there probably isn’t a real breakout coming until those improve. He did deliver on the velo hype from the offseason with a 2 mph improvement that has him sitting at 96.2 mph this year. Keller needs a swing-and-miss pitch. He has the slider, curveball, and changeup, but none have emerged as a true go-to pitch. The breakout might not come this year, but monitor his season in case that whiff pitch develops.

DEEEP LEAGUERS: Rarely hit the radar in anything shallower than 15s

There have been moments on intrigue within this group, but far too inconsistent to trust. Even their best matchups don’t always pan out and their downside can really leave a lasting impact. 

DEEEP LEAGUERS
Rk STARTING PITCHER TM Spring Rk Diff.
118 Justin Steele CHC 203 85
119 David Peterson NYM 192 73
120 Mike Minor CIN 160 40
121 Taylor Hearn TEX 145 24
122 Daniel Lynch KCR 142 20
123 Keegan Thompson CHC NR N/A
124 Chris Archer MIN 173 49
125 Matthew Liberatore STL 124 -1
126 Zack Thompson STL NR N/A
127 Zach Thompson PIT 148 21
128 Germán Márquez COL 81 -47
129 Patrick Corbin WAS 101 -28
130 Devin Smeltzer MIN NR N/A
131 Austin Gomber COL 149 18
132 Beau Brieske DET NR N/A
133 Johnny Cueto CWS 198 65
134 Cole Irvin OAK 155 21
135 José Quintana PIT NR N/A
136 Drew Smyly CHC 184 48
137 Jared Koenig OAK NR N/A
138 Ryan Yarbrough TBR 153 15
139 Dylan Bundy MIN 147 8
140 Sam Long SFG 190 50
141 Kyle Freeland COL 162 21
142 Brad Keller KCR 165 23
143 Antonio Senzatela COL 168 25
144 Kris Bubic KCR 159 15
145 Carlos Hernández KCR 72 -73

 

  • Some of these guys could emerge from this group into more viable fantasy arms, but most barely even hit the streamer radar.

INJURED ARMS

INJURED ARMS
Rk STARTING PITCHER TM Spring Rk
INJ Brandon Woodruff MIL 2
INJ Walker Buehler LAD 3
INJ Max Scherzer NYM 7
INJ Freddy Peralta MIL 15
INJ Eduardo Rodriguez DET 26
INJ Bailey Ober MIN 44
INJ Nathan Eovaldi BOS 46
INJ Anthony DeSclafani SFG 50
INJ Marcus Stroman CHC 51
INJ Hyun Jin Ryu 류현진 TOR 52
INJ Jacob deGrom NYM 55
INJ Chris Sale BOS 59
INJ Jack Flaherty STL 60
INJ Jakob Junis SFG 201
INJ Mike Clevinger SDP 62
INJ Alex Cobb SFG 64
INJ Jesús Luzardo MIA 67
INJ Luis Patiño TBR 74
INJ Steven Matz STL 78
INJ Zack Greinke KCR 79
INJ Aaron Civale CLE 82
INJ Jake Odorizzi HOU 86
INJ Michael Pineda DET 94
INJ Nick Lodolo CIN 107
INJ Matt Manning DET 114
INJ Garrett Whitlock BOS 116
INJ Sixto Sánchez MIA 131
INJ Daulton Jefferies OAK 140
INJ Andrew Heaney LAD 146
INJ Lance McCullers Jr. HOU 170
INJ Stephen Strasburg WAS 176
INJ Domingo Germán NYY 178
INJ Matthew Boyd SFG 181
INJ Mike Soroka ATL 183
INJ James Paxton BOS 187
INJ Danny Duffy LAD 191

PROSPECTS

PROSPECTS
Rk STARTING PITCHER TM Spring Rk
PROS Matt Brash SEA 105
PROS Max Meyer MIA 110
PROS Nate Pearson TOR 117
PROS A.J. Alexy TEX 126
PROS Cole Winn TEX 127
PROS Spencer Howard TEX 129
PROS Clarke Schmidt NYY 132
PROS Luis Gil NYY 133
PROS Deivi Garcia NYY 134
PROS Tucker Davidson ATL 135
PROS Kyle Muller ATL 136
PROS Jackson Kowar KCR 143
PROS Cade Cavalli WAS 144
PROS Jordan Balazovic MIN 197
PROS Bryce Elder ATL NR





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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Greggmember
5 months ago

Cole and Dunning with differences of zero — “they are who we thought they were!!”