2016 Rankings: Top 40 Starting Pitchers (#1-20): Who Are The Best Options At A Deep Position?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Pitching is deep…  There is simply no questioning that fact and as we look at these rankings it becomes even more crystal clear.  That’s not to say that some pitchers aren’t better than others (obviously), but the talent pool has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years.

Who are the pitchers that we should be targeting?  Who brings a bit too much risk?  Let’s take a look at how the top of our pitching rankings shake out:

1) Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
2) Jake Arrieta – Chicago Cubs
3) Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals
4) Chris Sale – Chicago White Sox
5) Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants
6) Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians
7) Gerrit Cole – Pittsburgh Pirates
8) David Price – Boston Red Sox
9) Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians
10) Jacob deGrom – New York Mets
11) Matt Harvey – New York Mets
12) Jose Fernandez – Miami Marlins
13) Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals
14) Johnny Cueto – San Francisco Giants
15) Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros
16) Zack Greinke – Arizona Diamondbacks
17) Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets
18) Jon Lester – Chicago Cubs
19) Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
20) Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays

Thoughts:

  • We all know how good Jose Fernandez is, but he faces a potential innings limit this season after returning from Tommy John surgery. Don’t expect the same drama that surrounded Matt Harvey in ’15, as the Marlins, Fernandez and Scott Boras will likely set a hard cap and ensure that all parties are on the same page. If healthy and without limitations Fernandez would certainly be a Top 5 pitcher (and likely Top 3). As of right now we are projecting him for 180 innings, which could cap his value.
  • Carlos Carrasco’s name near the top of the rankings is going to cause some debate and is something we will definitely go into detail about in the coming days. The fact is that he’s not going to cost anything close to this type of price on draft day, yet his underlying metrics from ’15 justify him reaching this type of rankings with control (2.11 BB/9), groundballs (51.2%) and strikeouts (10.58 K/9 courtesy of a 14.0% SwStr%).
  • What are we expecting from Johnny Cueto, now that he’s back in the NL and calling a favorable ballpark home? Take a look at our 2016 projection by clicking here.
  • Many are going to have Chris Archer ranked higher than this, but there is reason to be concerned after his ERA (3.89 ERA) and control (3.59 BB/9) jumped in the second half. While we’d like to see him have a little more diversity in his repertoire, the slider is a wipeout pitch and there’s reason to believe that he can continue posting a K/9 in the 10.0 range.
  • We took a look at Jake Arrieta, who clearly has emerged as one of the truly elite pitchers in the game. To see what we are expecting from him in ’16, click here.
  • Stephen Strasburg name carries a lot of value, but can his production match it? He needs to stay healthy, which is the biggest question, and his miserable first half (5.16 ERA) came courtesy of poor luck (.355 BABIP, 64.1% strand rate). He brings strikeouts and control and should produce strong numbers, especially pitching in a relatively weak NL East, as long as he can stay on the mound.

*** Want a chance to win a Noah Syndergaard autographed baseball, complete with a “Thor” inscription?  Find out how by clicking here!! ***

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9 comments

  1. bbboston says:

    Rotoprofessor;

    Let’s say we get to July/August timeframe and Darvish’s rehab has been “successful” (whatever that means), does he land on this list and where?

    • Leo says:

      #5 for Darvish if completely health for me.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      A healthy Darvish would be in the Top 12-15, but he’s not going to be healthy and could struggle initially upon his return. Best case is a Top 25-30 this season thanks to the limited innings

      • bbboston says:

        Thanks!

        That’s what I expected, but it’s nice to have a top 15 guy for next year at the price of a guy coming of TJ this year.

      • bbboston says:

        PS: I feel like sometimes owners forget to add back a replacement’s stats during the DL period, when assessing Darvish’s value for this year. If you pick up a quality MR, then you should expect 4 out of 6 months from Darvish + effectively 1 month from a MR. So, the net result is about 5 out of six months from Darvish, but clearly not at the top of his game. Altogether, that probably means 160 k’s, an upper 3’s ERA with a somewhat weak WHIP. In other words, a 4 o5 5 SP contribution. Not bad, all things considered.

  2. Chris says:

    Something I would appreciate, especially as we get to the 20-40 range are players that might have an innings cap, but otherwise would perform like top 25 starters. Jose Fernandez above is a good example of that elaboration of this that you did. Raisel Iglesias and Patrick Corbin are other examples that might only get to throw 180 innings, but those 180 innings might be better than 180 innings of Jon Lester. Its just something I think that can add a quality reading that simple rankings miss.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I will definitely do the best I can to incorporate it, but will also likely do an article looking at these specific pitchers in one shot!

  3. warwar says:

    Seeing Felix at 19 is saddening. I wonder if he’s undervalued going into the year? I know he has a LOT of innings on that arm, but #19???

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I know, but besides the innings his poor second half (4.48 ERA) with a decreased velocity and giving up more home runs are all highly concerning. We’ll take an in-depth look at him coming up, but there are definite concerns.

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