Dynasty Starting Pitcher Rankings: February 2019

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By Connor Henry

We’ve finally made it to the start of our dynasty starting pitcher rankings. There’s been continuous rearranging and shifting of the rankings and tiers, but I believe I’ve finally found the perfect rankings (kidding). So today, here are the first 30 starting pitchers ranked for dynasty league purposes. The rankings represent relative value in a dynasty league by taking into consideration immediate value vs. years of possible relevance left. As always these rankings should be manipulated to match the league type you play, so take them with a small grain of salt. Below the rankings are some thoughts as to how the rankings were created.

Tier 1: Elite
1. Chris Sale – 29
2. Jacob Degrom – 30

Tier 2: Studs
3. Max Scherzer – 34        
4. Aaron Nola – 25            
5. Blake Snell – 26            
6. Walker Buehler – 24     
7. Luis Severino – 24        
8. Gerrit Cole – 28             
9. Trevor Bauer – 28

Tier 3: Upside Chasers
10. Noah Syndergaard – 26   
11. Corey Kluber – 32       
12. Clayton Kershaw – 30 
13. Justin Verlander – 35  
14. Jack Flaherty – 24       
15. Shohei Ohtani – 23      
16. Patrick Corbin – 29     
17. Jameson Taillon – 27  
18. Forrest Whitley – 21    
19. Jose Berrios – 24

Tier 4: Solid Options
20. James Paxton – 30       
21. Carlos Carrasco – 31   
22. Mike Clevinger – 28    
23. Stephen Strasburg – 30
24. German Marquez – 23 
25. Jesus Luzardo – 21      
26. Luis Castillo – 26        
27. Tyler Glasnow – 25     
28. Robbie Ray – 27          
29. Alex Reyes – 24          
30. Carlos Martinez – 27   

Tier 1: Chris Sale and Jacob Degrom will both have moved into their 30s by mid-season and still I cannot keep them from being 1 and 2 in the rankings. Both have elite arsenals and with any luck could have a few more seasons of being on top of the seasonal rankings.

Tier 2: I had a very hard time determining whether to include Scherzer in the top tier or not. He is truly a magician and has shown no signs of slowing down, but I can’t help but lower him to #3 and the second tier. Following closely are two incredible young guns. Nola and Snell both posted incredible seasons and while Snell won the Cy Young and has better strikeout upside, Nola feels safer by a hair. You can’t go wrong with either, obviously. Buehler comes in at #5 with his electric fastball and curveball. While the injury risk still exists due to his slender frame and an innings limit will still be in playfor 2019, Buehler flashed the immense upside he has during the second half and into the playoffs. Severino, about to turn 25-years old, struggled mightily in the second half of 2018 but I’m willing to write it off as a fluke and move on. Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer close out the second tier and rather fittingly have quite the rivalry going. I see them both as elite options for many years and could flip-flop them in a heartbeat if one falters out of the gate, but I do not expect that.

Tier 3: Thor was a tough guy to rank but I settled at #10, just behind the tier of studs. If he can prove health for an entire season I will be forced to move him up, but I might always be wary of his durability. Kluber, Kershaw and Verlander are clumped together within this tier as veterans with some “stuff” left in the tank. Kershaw scares me due to the lingering back issues and I’m selling him in all leagues but I’m still confident he can put together some ace-level seasons, albeit with a cap of 170-ish innings. Verlander, soon-to-be 36, has seemed to only get better with age and I expect that he might be able to sustain this production for a few more seasons. If he signs a contract extension with the Astros I’ll have to move him up despite his age. Flaherty shot up the rankings this season due to a huge uptick in strikeouts. He struggled lasting deep into games but if he can tighten that up, the 24-year-old has huge potential. Ohtani clearly has incredible upside, both as a hitter and a pitcher, but the injury still scares me and therefore I couldn’t bring myself to rank him ahead of the three trusty vets. Corbin took a turn toward ace-dom in 2018 and I completely buy it. Taillon is a personal favorite of mine and kind of feels like a safe, young option in this tier. The slider he introduced mid-season last year instigated an uptick in strikeouts and I’m all in. The first prospect slots in at #18 and all reports of Whitley speak to him being truly ahead of the game when it comes to pitching. He should get a shot this year to prove he’s on his way to becoming a top-of-the-rotation starter. I don’t love Berrios due to his inconsistencies but considering he’s only 24, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he finds consistency and becomes the ace Minnesota needs him to be.

Tier 4: Paxton and Carrasco lead off this tier and both look like solid options for the next few seasons. Sure there’s injury risk with Paxton and Carrasco will be 32 soon, but ace level production is hard to come by. Carrasco’s teammate, Clevinger, slots in at #22 iand has turned into one of the steadier options in the league at the ripe age of 28. Strasburg has seemed to make it his mission to not make it through a complete season, but if he does he’ll still be the ace we know and (kind of) love. Marquez, still only 23 years old, made huge strides in his command last season which propelled him to an incredible second half. I’d be lying if I said I’m buying at his current price, but most of that hesitation is due to Coors Field. Luzardo could be a bonafide ace… there I said it. He’s done nothing but dominate through the minors and should get a shot to dominate the Majors in 2019. Next up is Luis Castillo and all I’m going to say is to look at his second half. He wasn’t incredibly unlucky,and he dominated. The next two, Glasnow and Ray, both represent high strikeout, high walk options at a relatively young age. It may be an aggressive ranking for the former top prospect but what if the Rays do what they did to Snell with him? I know, I know too soon, but what if? Two cardinals close out Tier 4 and while the ranking is similar, they are both in very different points of their careers. Reyes gets the nod due to age and upside but will have to prove his health and obtain a starting spot soon to keep me invested. Martinez, on the other hand, is looking to make a comeback in 2019 and has shown ace potential in the past. I’m holding to see if he can regain that form.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I’m Kind of surprised at how low German marquez is? Is that just all due to him pitching at Coors or is there another reason? Personally I’m not too concerned about the Coors effect because he has elite stuff and for one thing his division has 3 rebuilding teams in it ( Padres, Giants, D-Backs ) and while his home ERA will be a tad high due to Coors. I expect him to put up ace like numbers on the road.

    • His stuff is top notch but I’ve also always said the same thing about Jon Gray and look how that’s turned out so far haha. They had almost identical GB%, Hard Contact%, SwStk% and BB% in 2018 so that has to count for something. I’m not saying that’ll happen to Marquez but after only half a season of great production I struggle to rank him any higher. He could move up quickly with a hot start to the season.

      • I think Grays problems were more then just bad luck and Coors Field. You can’t blame Coors Field a whole lot either as the problem because Gray’s ROAD ERA was higher then his HOME ERA. ( 5.34 ERA on the road, 4.91 ERA at home ) His main issue I think was, he was horrendous with runners on base last year. I mean if you can’t get people out when runners are on base you’re not going to be successful. Also His FIP with runners in scoring position last season was over 4.50 Was bad luck and Coors Field a factor in Grays disasterous season? I guess a little bit, but his struggles with runners on base I think was the bigger problem.

        • interesting, didn’t see those FIP numbers w/ RISP but that’s certainly telling. So ya, I do like Marquez a lot more than Gray as evidenced by my rankings, just need to see a bit more than half a season to move him up higher 🙂

  2. Other than not having Max in tier 1 and having a couple studs in tier 3 instead tier 2, not bad.

    No matter how you cut it, after the top 30 it gets sketchy quick.

    • Thanks! Ya, ranking Max was tough as was ranking JV, Kersh and Kluber but I just don’t see them garnering the same value in a dynasty league right now compared to guys like Snell or Sevy. Hope you’ll read the next group of tiers when that’s released!

  3. I understand that this is a Dynasty ranking, but putting a guy who won’t pitch for the next 14 months at #15, putting Mad Max at #3, having Kluber and Verlander after #10, and having Marquez all the way down at #23 seems like click bait.

    • Ya I understand the comments. Ohtani is ranked in the starting pitching rankings but will provide value in other places so he was ranked accordingly. The Max one was hard and could’ve been in Tier 1 or 2 and idk, just have to see a bit more of Marquez before he moves into the 3rd tier (Coors Field effect ya know? lol). Everyone will have different opinions and different league dynamics but this is the ranking of value I believe they hold right now in a dynasty formats.

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