The Change: Eno’s Starting Pitcher Rankings

The easiest way to tell you who I like is to actually tell you how I like every pitcher, I guess. So, by popular demand, here are my starting pitcher rankings. With a few toys that could be useful to you.

When making these rankings, I started with z-score style rankings based off of Steamer projections. You can find those yourself by using the Pauction Nalculator, for example. That’s a good way to keep your feet grounded in reality, since Steamer projects to the middle.

But breakouts happen. And so I’ve added a couple stats that help me spot breakouts. Strikeout minus walk rate was the backbone of the first ERA estimators ever put together (kwERA), so they aren’t new. And they might be a little better for in-season prediction versus season-to-season. Either way, they are clearly important and can give us a good snapshot of talent, even in a small sample.

I also consulted Arsenal Score, which weights whiff rates and grounder rates on pitch types to find pitchers with either balanced arsenals or exceptional pitches. You’ll see that I used Arsenal Score less among more established pitchers, and more among the end-of-tier sleepers with smaller track records. At some point, your results on the field matter more than your actual individual pitches, after all.

Lastly, I added the NFBC average draft position data and made an NFBC ‘rank’ that you could pair with the RotoGraphs rankings and my own rankings to find pitchers that may be undervalued.

Hopefully this will help you in drafting season. Roles are keeping some of my better-liked sleepers down for now, so if something changes this spring in a few rotations, I’ll be sure to point them out.

Here’s a link to the downloadable google sheet, and below you’ll find it in visual form for your eyeballs.

Name AL/NL Arsenal K-BB% NFBC ADP NFBC Rank RG Rank My Rank
Clayton Kershaw NL 2.26 27.8% 4 1 1 1
Max Scherzer NL 0.78 20.9% 27 4 4 2
Stephen Strasburg NL 2.42 22.9% 28 5 5 3
Felix Hernandez AL 3.97 22.2% 13 2 2 4
Chris Sale AL 1.49 24.7% 22 3 3 5
Madison Bumgarner NL 0.51 20.2% 29 6 8 6
David Price AL 1.57 23.1% 32 7 7 7
Corey Kluber AL 3.88 22.9% 33 8 6 8
Zack Greinke NL 2.39 20.0% 49 11 9 9
Yu Darvish AL 2.69 22.0% 46 10 10 10
Cole Hamels NL 3.00 16.8% 59 14 13 11
Matt Harvey NL #N/A #N/A 69 16 26 12
Johnny Cueto NL 1.70 18.4% 41 9 11 13
Jon Lester NL 1.72 19.4% 54 13 14 14
Jordan Zimmermann NL 0.74 19.1% 61 15 12 15
Alex Cobb AL 1.74 15.0% 87 19 17 16
Alex Wood NL 1.26 18.0% 103 25 23 17
James Shields NL 0.06 14.5% 103 24 21 18
Hyun-Jin Ryu NL 0.05 17.4% 154 34 20 19
Julio Teheran NL 0.62 15.3% 78 18 24 20
Carlos Carrasco AL 3.93 21.0% 118 28 15 21
Marcus Stroman AL 0.73 15.5% 164 37 25 22
Gerrit Cole NL 2.34 17.2% 90 21 27 23
Jacob deGrom NL 2.47 17.9% 114 27 31 24
Jeff Samardzija AL 2.55 18.1% 75 17 19 25
Adam Wainwright NL 0.16 14.4% 52 12 18 26
Jake Arrieta NL 2.30 20.5% 106 26 22 27
Michael Wacha NL 0.42 13.7% 168 40 41 28
Phil Hughes AL -1.42 19.9% 183 45 29 29
Gio Gonzalez NL 2.74 16.2% 125 29 28 30
Drew Smyly AL 1.05 14.7% 177 42 43 31
Hisashi Iwakuma AL 0.12 18.8% 102 23 16 32
Masahiro Tanaka AL 1.37 22.1% 134 30 32 33
Cliff Lee NL -0.61 17.1% 165 38 34 34
Garrett Richards AL 3.04 16.7% 168 41 44 35
Lance Lynn NL 2.16 12.6% 149 32 35 36
Homer Bailey NL 3.12 13.1% 218 55 38 37
Sonny Gray AL 1.44 12.1% 88 20 30 38
Mat Latos NL -0.81 11.4% 179 43 60 39
Andrew Cashner NL 0.45 12.7% 163 36 52 40
Tyson Ross NL 3.54 15.2% 101 22 39 41
Drew Hutchison AL 0.34 15.8% 261 66 58 42
Chris Archer AL 0.54 12.3% 189 47 54 43
Matt Shoemaker AL -0.84 18.4% 213 54 47 44
Zack Wheeler NL 3.20 13.6% 160 35 57 45
Collin McHugh AL 0.12 18.7% 207 51 37 46
Anibal Sanchez AL -1.83 14.0% 188 46 36 47
Jered Weaver AL -0.95 11.7% 202 50 48 48
Danny Salazar AL 1.52 17.9% 231 57 53 49
Michael Pineda AL 0.19 17.9% 165 39 56 50
Justin Verlander AL -1.17 10.5% 194 48 62 51
Mike Fiers NL 0.14 21.5% 198 49 33 52
Francisco Liriano NL 2.47 13.6% 228 56 42 53
Ian Kennedy NL 2.37 16.2% 182 44 49 54
Dallas Keuchel NL 0.99 12.1% 248 63 55 55
James Paxton AL 2.17 9.9% 239 58 75 56
Yordano Ventura AL 2.85 11.5% 149 31 61 57
Jose Fernandez NL 1.99 27.8% 211 52 69 58
Jose Quintana AL 0.41 15.2% 212 53 45 59
John Lackey NL -0.20 14.1% 285 73 51 60
Matt Cain NL -0.75 10.2% 248 61 63 61
Doug Fister NL -1.62 11.2% 153 33 46 62
Brandon McCarthy NL 1.57 17.0% 262 67 50 63
Jesse Hahn AL 1.44 12.4% 301 80 92 64
Scott Kazmir AL -2.27 14.7% 248 62 40 65
Jake Odorizzi AL -1.72 16.0% 241 59 64 66
Chris Tillman AL -0.16 9.6% 267 70 70 67
Kyle Lohse NL -2.44 11.8% 293 76 71 68
Rick Porcello AL -1.53 10.5% 290 74 68 69
CC Sabathia AL 2.55 18.2% 356 93 89 70
Wily Peralta NL 1.53 11.1% 294 78 76 71
Shelby Miller NL -0.38 7.1% 249 64 78 72
Kevin Gausman AL 0.36 10.5% 264 69 73 73
Henderson Alvarez NL -0.23 10.1% 301 81 74 74
Jason Hammel NL 0.53 15.9% 309 82 66 75
Ervin Santana AL 0.49 14.2% 298 79 77 76
Trevor Bauer AL 0.55 12.5% 322 83 97 77
Jake Peavy NL 0.09 11.2% 330 87 67 78
Drew Pomeranz AL 0.78 13.7% 327 86 98 79
Chase Anderson NL 1.26 13.4% 457 119 111 80
Matt Garza NL 1.47 11.2% 324 85 83 81
Tony Cingrani NL 0.16 9.3% 355 92 88 82
Mike Minor NL -1.61 11.9% 294 77 72 83
Derek Holland AL 0.12 13.7% 243 60 59 84
Shane Greene AL 2.09 15.1% 398 105 100 85
Mike Leake NL -0.89 12.6% 351 91 81 86
Wade Miley AL 1.26 12.5% 360 94 85 87
Wei-Yin Chen AL -2.08 13.1% 340 88 80 88
Carlos Martinez NL 4.34 12.4% #N/A 131 99 89
Andrew Heaney AL #N/A 10.3% 348 90 131 90
Roenis Elias AL 0.66 11.4% 403 108 94 91
Jon Niese NL -0.95 11.8% #N/A 130 87 92
Danny Duffy AL -1.53 9.9% 271 71 86 93
Nathan Eovaldi AL -0.12 11.6% 380 99 116 94
Kyle Hendricks NL -0.43 10.0% 293 75 102 95
Joe Kelly AL 1.33 5.8%     139 96
Bud Norris AL -1.23 12.7% 361 95 103 97
R.A. Dickey AL -0.51 10.8% 284 72 65 98
Anthony DeSclafani NL -0.19 14.4% 595 128 132 99
Rubby de la Rosa NL -1.25 8.8%     147 100
Odrisamer Despaigne NL 0.32 8.2% 462 120 121 101
Clay Buchholz AL 0.01 10.6% 363 96 95 102
Gavin Floyd AL 2.75 14.0%     138 103
Patrick Corbin NL #N/A #N/A 523 125 128 104
Taijuan Walker AL #N/A #N/A 262 68 117 105
Justin Masterson AL 3.37 7.9% 399 106 113 106
Brett Anderson NL 1.82 #N/A 400 107 122 107
Dan Straily AL 2.79 10.0%     168 108
David Buchanan NL -1.73 7.8%     155 109
Bartolo Colon NL -1.84 14.3% 428 113 93 110
Allen Webster NL 2.59 3.1%     184 111
Dan Haren NL -1.85 14.1% 407 109 79 112
Nicholas Tropeano AL #N/A #N/A     156 113
Yovani Gallardo AL -1.04 11.3% 341 89 101 114
A.J. Burnett NL 1.49 10.1% 323 84 82 115
Tim Hudson NL 1.31 10.9% 395 103 84 116
Jesse Chavez AL -0.63 14.0% 449 117 125 117
Miguel Gonzalez AL -1.33 8.9% 452 118 112 118
Josh Collmenter NL -1.69 10.6% 385 100 96 119
Jeremy Guthrie AL -2.93 8.7% 524 126 130 120
Jaime Garcia NL 3.77 #N/A     189 121
T.J. House AL 1.17 13.5% #N/A 132 109 122
Jorge de la Rosa NL 1.03 9.4% 414 111 104 123
Chase Whitley AL -1.34 12.7%     166 124
C.J. Wilson AL 0.86 8.7% 365 97 107 125
Tanner Roark NL -0.30 12.4% 252 65 118 126
Alfredo Simon AL 0.59 8.7% 389 102 126 127
J.A. Happ AL -1.48 12.2% 472 123 91 128
Jeff Locke NL 0.57 8.9% 546 127 127 129
Matt Moore AL #N/A #N/A 422 112 114 130
Kyle Gibson AL 0.27 6.6%     161 131
Eddie Butler NL #N/A #N/A     195 132
Marco Gonzales NL 0.06 #N/A 486 124 108 133
Trevor Cahill NL 3.31 10.0%     175 134
Ivan Nova AL #N/A #N/A     153 135
Dillon Gee NL -2.16 9.0%     134 136
Erasmo Ramirez AL 0.26 7.7%     199 137
Carlos Rodon AL #N/A #N/A     136 138
Jarred Cosart NL -0.63 5.5% 375 98 110 139
Mike Foltynewicz NL #N/A #N/A     158 140
Edinson Volquez NL 0.24 8.5% 387 101 124 141
Robbie Erlin NL 0.16 11.7%     151 142
Noah Syndergaard NL #N/A #N/A     150 143
Josh Tomlin AL -0.10 17.9%     152 144
Buck Farmer AL #N/A #N/A     198 145
Rafael Montero NL 0.47 #N/A     182 146
A.J. Griffin AL #N/A #N/A 619 129 119 147
Alex Meyer AL #N/A #N/A     181 148
Nate Karns AL #N/A #N/A     142 149
Jarrod Parker AL #N/A #N/A     162 150
Tsuyoshi Wada NL 0.33 13.2% 464 121 120 151
Tim Lincecum NL 0.24 10.6%     141 152
Mark Buehrle AL -3.51 8.5% 447 116 115 153
Colby Lewis AL -3.38 11.2%     157 154
Jeremy Hellickson NL -1.27 11.7% 436 115 123 155
Vance Worley NL -2.53 12.5% 468 122 106 156
Jimmy Nelson NL 1.10 12.2% 397 104 105 157
Jason Vargas AL -1.55 11.0% 413 110 90 158
Charlie Morton NL -0.05 10.4%     160 159
Ubaldo Jimenez AL -1.38 7.1%     165 160
Jhoulys Chacin NL #N/A 5.2%     176 161
Tom Koehler NL -0.03 10.2% 429 114 129 162
Blake Treinen NL #N/A 7.9%       163
Cory Rasmus AL #N/A 17.8%       164
Jacob Turner NL -0.88 7.6%       165
Tyler Matzek NL -1.33 9.3%     146 166
Erik Johnson AL 1.16 #N/A       167
Aaron Harang NL -2.73 10.3%     178 168
Tyler Skaggs AL 0.98 12.1%       169
Josh Johnson NL #N/A #N/A     149 170
David Hale NL 0.80 1.3%       171
Trevor May AL 0.52 #N/A       172
Wandy Rodriguez NL 0.05 #N/A     192 173
Ricky Nolasco AL -1.45 11.1%     135 174
Brandon Beachy NL #N/A #N/A     133 175

We hoped you liked reading The Change: Eno’s Starting Pitcher Rankings by Eno Sarris!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

newest oldest most voted
Rufus T. Firefly
Guest
Rufus T. Firefly

Bless you, Eno.