by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all know how risky it is to investment in any pitcher, as anyone is seemingly one pitch away from Tommy John surgery (just look at Alex Reyes as an example). Of course you can say that any player can get hurt, and that’s fair, the risk just seems to be a little bit greater when it comes to starting pitchers. With that thought in mind, let’s kick off our 2017 rankings and take a look at who is worth investing in and who may be worth steering clear of:
1. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals
3. Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets
4. Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants
5. Chris Sale – Boston Red Sox
6. Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians
7. Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians
8. Yu Darvish – Texas Rangers
9. Jake Arrieta – Chicago Cubs
10. Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals
11. David Price – Boston Red Sox
12. Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays
13. Jon Lester – Chicago Cubs
14. Masahiro Tanaka – New York Yankees
15. Carlos Martinez – St. Louis Cardinals
16. Kyle Hendricks – Chicago Cubs
17. Johnny Cueto – San Francisco Giants
18. Jacob deGrom – New York Mets
19. Dallas Keuchel – Houston Astros
20. Matt Harvey – New York Mets
- Keep in mind that there is a little bit of risk with Scherzer and his availability for the start of the season as he battles back from a stress fracture in his finger. There’s plenty of time for him to get healthy, though it’s not a guarantee. He wouldn’t fall far, but dropping below Chris Sale or Corey Kluber (depending on how much time he’d miss) is realistic.
- What Yu Darvish showed us in terms of strikeouts (11.84 K/9) and control (2.78 BB/9) over 100.1 IP in 2016, after missing all of 2015, is extremely important. Walks were always the biggest issue hanging over him, so his ability to come back this strong shows us just how good he can be. Would it really be surprising to see him emerge as a Top 5 option?
- No one is going to argue against the season Kyle Hendricks posted in 2016 (2.13 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) or his ability to have a solid 2017 campaign. The chances of him replicating last season’s success, though, are slim to none. He benefited from a .250 BABIP and 81.5% strand rate, both of which should regress. With his elite control (2.04 career BB/9) and ability to generate enough strikeouts (8.05 K/9 in ’16) and groundballs (49.4% for his career) he should still be seen as a Top 20 option. Just don’t make the mistake of paying for his 2016 results.
- Last season was an absolute disaster for Chris Archer, posting a 4.02 ERA. Of course he had strong peripherals (10.42 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, 47.8% groundball rate) and that represents more potential, as he should improve on his home run rate (1.34 HR/9) and his performance on the road (5.44 ERA, compared to a 3.87 career mark).
- Dallas Keuchel was another underperformer in 2016, posting a 4.55 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He still showed enough strikeouts (7.71 K/9), control (2.57 BB/9) and groundballs (56.7%), and he should improve on his 1.07 HR/9, .304 BABIP and 68.4% strand rate. There were some injuries involved and he could easily see his groundball rate jump back up (58.9% for his career). He’s another prime example of a pitcher not to avoid.
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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|