Top 30 SP Rankings for 2020

I recently did a solo pod covering my top 30 and I made some mistakes. I didn’t include Madison Bumgarner in the honorable mentions and I forgot to transfer Jose Berrios from the scrap list to the main one I used on the pod (that’s what I get for using two different files). I decided to do a write up and get a bit deeper on the ranking. There are a lot of changes! If you listened to the pod, have fun finding all the differences.

Obviously, they are going to change even more as the season finishes and we get into the offseason, but I was somewhat surprised at how much I changed things over the course of two days just by doing some deeper research. Maybe that’s not surprising at all… of course more research should influence my thoughts on these guys. Anyway, let’s get into it!

Let me know what you think in the comments. There are 52 names listed with the Honorable Mentions (and yes, the HMs are ranked, unlike on the pod), did I miss anyone that has to be within the top 52? As for ranking disagreements, I’m particularly interested in the sharper disagreements (like 7-10 spots). Flipping #22 and #25 is more a personal preference but thinking #30 should be at #19 or something like that is worth some discussion.

2020 Top 30 First Run
Rk Player Comment
1 Justin Verlander Has 2.52 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, & 30% K-BB in 410.7 IP w/HOU
2 Max Scherzer Even at age-35, he’ll still be a consistent 1st rounder
3 Jacob deGrom Ws have once again held him back (7-7 rec. despite 2.68 ERA)
4 Gerrit Cole He will be my #1 if he re-signs with HOU this offseason
5 Walker Buehler Has fully delivered on incredible draft hype; only 25 in ’20
6 Chris Sale Still top 25 this yr despite 4.40 ERA bc of 36% K% & 1.09 WHIP
7 Shane Bieber Going to contend for some IP crowns which is so valuable
8 Stephen Strasburg Pacing toward 2nd 200+ IP season; has literally never been bad
9 Blake Snell Still has 9th-best K-BB this yr despite ups & downs
10 Clayton Kershaw 6th-best ERA & 9th-best WHIP of Top 30… very nice
11 Mike Clevinger Could’ve built on great 200 IP ’18, but inj. cost him 2+ mos.
12 Noah Syndergaard Can he just get to HOU already so he can reach his potential?
13 Patrick Corbin Backed up huge 2018 w/another great season; quiet stud
14 Luis Castillo Ascent began in 2H of ’18: 2.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 28% K in 215 IP
15 Aaron Nola Has regained ace status this summer (2.09 ERA, 83 K in 73.3 IP)
16 Charlie Morton Age (36) will suppress his price making him a fantastic buy
17 Trevor Bauer Inconsistency remains remarkably frustrating; ’18 was career yr
18 Jack Flaherty SL surge driving insane 2H: 0.79 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 56 K in 46.3 IP
19 Chris Paddack Really eager to see what a full yr has in store for the cowboy
20 Zack Greinke Not sure he can get better at age-36, but HOU works wonders
21 Jose Berrios Might not have another level, but this level works just fine
22 Corey Kluber Still worried that poor FB will foster a late-career HR issue
23 Mike Soroka Fantastic ratios make his modest K% easy to take on
24 Lucas Giolito Everything in breakout is backed up, but will it hold for ’20?
25 Shohei Ohtani When we learn more about his 2020 SP outlook, we can adjust
26 Hyun-Jin Ryu His 1.64 ERA & 4% BB% since ’18 are best among top 30 arms
27 Yu Darvish If BB gains are real, he’s once again a premium arm
28 Sonny Gray Shift out of NY has panned out as planned
29 Frankie Montas PED susp. cut breakout short, but improvements were real
30 Domingo German Needs to cut HR rate to maximize 21% K-BB; has K upside, too
Hon. Caleb Smith 28% K% since ’18 is tied w/Strasburg & Buehler
Hon. James Paxton 2018 HR issue exacerbated in NY + more injuries & now age-31
Hon. Kyle Hendricks 3.48 ERA this yr would be highest in 4 seasons if it holds
Hon. Tyler Glasnow Greatly improved control was driving breakout before inj.
Hon. Mike Minor 4th-best ERA of Honorable Mentions since 2H of 2018 (3.09)
Hon. Lance Lynn 3rd-best FIP of Honorable Mentions since 2H of 2018 (3.06)
Hon. Matthew Boyd 3.0 HR9 has curb-stomped ERA over L10 starts (5.97)
Hon. Brandon Woodruff Stupid oblique strain has stunted an impressive breakout
Hon. Madison Bumgarner Need to see where he lands as 2.95 home ERA is carrying him
Hon. Carlos Carrasco Handling his leukemia is the only concern right now
Hon. German Marquez Coors caps upside, the park remains undefeated
Hon. Robbie Ray Excellent K/poor WHIP combo always costs fair market price
Hon. Zack Wheeler Mid-4.00s ERA masks strong skills in breakout follow-up
Hon. Luis Severino Could miss the entire season; love the upside, but be careful
Hon. Julio Urias 22 y/o will be in the rotation next yr
Hon. Luke Weaver Flexor strain derailed breakout; could get Sept. starts
Hon. Eduardo Rodriguez Could still find another level, but for now he’s a fantasy #3
Hon. David Price Will be 34 y/o coming off a tough season & currently on IL
Hon. Max Fried New SL has added K upside to one-time top prospect
Hon. Kenta Maeda Essentially a RH, older, & cheaper verison of Robbie Ray
Hon. Zac Gallen Dominated bouncy ball AAA for 91 IP (29% K-BB, 0.71 WHIP)
Hon. Brendan McKay Base skills are impressive (21% K-BB); intriguing ’20 upside

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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Little surprised Dustin May isn’t an HM, he did well in the minors and has been very good in the majors so far (SSS of course). Is he missing due to performance or uncertain opportunity?