2015 Fantasy Rankings: Top Starting Pitchers #21-40

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know that pitching is as deep as it has ever been, but there also is significant risk in investing heavily in it.  With injuries seemingly causing issues for many of the top names, waiting on pitching may make the most sense.  That could mean building your rotation with several names on this list, which wouldn’t be the worst thing to consider:

21. Jordan Zimmermann – Washington Nationals
22. Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians
23. Johnny Cueto – Cincinnati Reds
24. Masahiro Tanaka – New York Yankees
25. Matt Harvey – New York Mets
26. Jacob deGrom – New York Mets
27. Sonny Gray – Oakland A’s
28. James Shields – San Diego Padres
29. Homer Bailey – Cincinnati Reds
30. Garrett Richards – Los Angeles Angels
31. Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
32. Doug Fister – Washington Nationals
33. Drew Hutchison – Toronto Blue Jays
34. Jake Arrieta – Chicago Cubs
35. Zack Wheeler – New York Mets
36. Hyun-Jin Ryu – Los Angeles Dodgers
37. Anibal Sanchez – Detroit Tigers
38. Michael Wacha – St. Louis Cardinals
39. Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates
40. Wily Peralta – Milwaukee Brewers

Thoughts:

  • Many people believer Johnny Cueto is once again going to be among the elite starters in the game, but there are a lot of warning signs that he could regress significantly.  There’s his strikeouts (8.94 K/9 despite a 9.8% SwStr%) and his luck (.238 BABIP, 82.5% strand rate), which would obviously cause a significant regression.  For more on Cueto click here.
  • Masahiro Tanaka was able to return late last season and tried to prove that his elbow will not be a concern.  Does anyone really believe that off just a handful of innings?  That’s not to say that he is going to go down, as all pitchers carry that risk, but there’s a little bit more hanging over him at this point.
  • While we may be in the minority, we still believe in Homer Bailey and his potential to breakout.  We dubbed him a post-hype sleeper recently, which you can read by clicking here.
  • Garrett Richards broke out in a big way last season, before it was cut short due to a significant knee injury.  While he may not be ready for Opening Day the reports appear to have him missing just a minimal amount of time (if at all).  With the emergence appearing to be for real and his combination of strikeouts (8.75 K/9), control (2.72 BB/9) and groundballs (50.9%), there’s a lot to like.
  • Could this be the season that Zack Wheeler finally puts it all together?  The question centers solely on his control, as he showed strikeouts (9.08 K/9) and groundballs (54.0%) last season.  He showed signs, at times, in 2014 including months of 3.38 and 2.51, and needs to show that he can do it consistently.  For more on Wheeler, click here.

Make sure to check out all of our 2015 rankings:

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4 comments

  1. ReleasetheMcKracken says:

    wow Jordan Zimmermann outside the top 40?

  2. Darin says:

    A lot of love for Carrasco this year, not just on this site. (Not that I’m cheating on you Professor on other sites). I had him last year and enjoyed his 2nd half, but seems like a small sample size to be considered top 25. Have Carrasco, Gray, Richards, Shoemaker, and Keuchel as my top 5 in AL-only 12 team keeper league, all $10 or less. Thoughts? Do I still need an “ace”? Darvish, Felix, and Samardjza will all be available. Thanks

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Hard not to like that group, though I do have my concerns with Shoemaker/Keuchel. I’m not sure either will maintain what they did and could easily regress.

      Do you need an ace? Probably not, as you can argue that you already have three. That said, if Samardzija specifically comes at the right price I wouldn’t hesitate to add him (I’d suspect the other two will be too expensive)

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