2018 Preseason Rankings: Top 40 Starting Pitchers (#21-40): More Intriguing Names Worth Targeting

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Earlier this week we took a look at the Top 20 starting pitchers (click here for the rankings), which was filled with some intriguing upside names.  Does that mean the next 20 is filled with “safer” options?  There are some, but the rankings continue to be filled with upside.  Let’s take a look:

21. Zack Godley – Arizona Diamondbacks
22. Justin Verlander – Houston Astros
23. Masahiro Tanaka – New York Yankees
24. Patrick Corbin – Arizona Diamondbacks
25. Jon Gray – Colorado Rockies
26. Jeff Samardzija – San Francisco Giants
27. David Price – Boston Red Sox
28. Marcus Stroman – Toronto Blue Jays
29. Kyle Hendricks – Chicago Cubs
30. Alex Wood – Los Angeles Dodgers
31. Garrett Richards – Los Angeles Angels
32. Charlie Morton – Houston Astros
33. Jose Quintana – Chicago Cubs
34. Lance McCullers – Houston Astros
35. Johnny Cueto – San Francisco Giants
36. Sonny Gray – New York Yankees
37. Kevin Gausman – Baltimore Orioles
38. Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles
39. Luis Castillo – Cincinnati Reds
40. Danny Salazar – Cleveland Indians

Thoughts:

  • Alex Wood is going to be a popular name on draft day, especially when you look at his impressive 2017 numbers. However don’t be so quick to assume he can replicate them, especially after a significant second half regression.  For a detailed look on why we’d consider avoiding him, click here.
  • It would be easy to discount Patrick Corbin based on last year’s 4.03 ERA and 1.43 WHIP, but he showed signs of taking a significant step forward. His biggest struggles came on the road (1.97 HR/9), something we wouldn’t have expected, and an improvement there will go a long ways to him reaching his full potential (especially now that he will have the benefit of a humidor in Arizona).  You won’t have to pay this price tag, but be prepared to reap the benefits.
  • We’ve long said that Jose Quintana was more name than value, and that continues to be the case. Don’t be misled by his increased strikeouts, as the underlying metrics don’t support it (8.4% SwStr%, 28.4% O-Swing%), and a fairly pedestrian groundball rate could lead to home run issues.  He’s not a fantasy ace, and if that’s the price tag move on.
  • There were high hopes for Danny Salazar entering ’17, but he clearly fell flat and ultimately was demoted to the minors and the bullpen. While we wouldn’t overpay for a bounce back campaign, it seems far more likely that he enjoys one.
  • Jeff Samardzija appears to have become an under-the-radar option heading into 2018 drafts. Why?  Click here to find out.
  • It would be easy to get excited about Marcus Stroman as one of the elite groundball pitchers in the league, but a lack of strikeouts is going to hold him back. That’s not to say that he won’t improve, and the underlying metrics appear to indicate it’s possible, and that could lead to a Top 20 type season.

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers03/14/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Shortstops03/21/1802/27/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

21-40:
Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
--
Relief Pitchers02/12/18--

5 comments

  1. Carlito says:

    No way Luis Castillo should be that low…

  2. Jb says:

    Agree way too low on Castillo, too high on Corbin, Samadzjia, Godley, Richards, Morton in my opinion. I like Godley but he could regress a bit. I prefer Castillo over all but make be Godley on this list

  3. Carlito says:

    How high are you on Clevinger?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I feel a little bit better now that he’s going to be in the rotatio. I wouldn'[t say super high, but he’s a solid option

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