Dynasty Starting Pitcher Rankings: Part 2: February 2019

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Part 2 of the dynasty starting pitcher rankings is here! As with the first 30 names there’s been continuous rearranging and shifting of the rankings and tiers, but I’ve finally found and order I’m happy with. So here are the next 42 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 5:
31. Zack Wheeler – 28
32. Nick Pivetta – 25
33. Eduardo Rodriguez – 26
34. Julio Urias – 22 
35. Brent Honeywell – 23
36. Mike Foltynewicz – 27
37. Madison Bumgarner – 29
38. Jon Gray – 27 
39. Chris Archer – 30  
40. Zack Greinke – 35  
41. Andrew Heaney – 27 
42. Masahiro Tanaka – 30    

Tier 6:
43. Josh James – 25 
44. Shane Bieber – 23 
45. Michael Kopech – 22
46, Kyle Hendricks – 29  
47. Miles Mikolas – 30  
48. Mackenzie Gore – 19
49. Yusei Kikuchi – 27  
50. Lance McCullers – 25
51. AJ Puk – 23  
52. Casey Mize – 21 
53. Touki Touissant – 22 
54. Mike Soroka – 21 
55. David Price – 33 
56. Yu Darvish – 32             

Tier 7:
57. Joey Lucchesi -25 
58. Joe Musgrove – 26 
59. Alex Wood – 28 
60. Sean Newcomb – 25
61. Chris Paddack – 23 
62. Kevin Gausman – 28 
63. Jimmy Nelson – 29 
64. Tyler Skaggs – 27 
65. Nathan Eovaldi – 28 
66. Charlie Morton – 35 
67. Zack Godley – 28  
68. Sixto Sanchez – 20 
69. Jose Quintana – 30 
70. Rick Porcello – 30 
71. Kyle Gibson – 31  
72. Dallas Keuchel – 31       

Tier 5: Wheeler and Foltynewicz both reside in this tier and while many people may disagree with my ranking of Wheeler a few spots ahead I see him as a much safer, more refined pitcher. They both throw hard, generate an average number of groundballs and have 10% swinging strike rates, however Wheeler has better control and gave up hard contact only 25% of the time compared to Foltynewicz’ 35% rate. While I do like them both, I lean in Wheeler’s favor going forward. Nick Pivetta has skyrocketed up my rankings and possesses all the tools to be a true breakout this year. He brings a 12% swinging strike rate, league average hard contact rate, above league average groundball rate and great control, all adding up to a breakout in my book.

Julio Urias and Brent Honeywell are the two prospects I’ve ranked in this tier mainly due to their ceilings and proximity to make an impact. Both should be able to make some starts in the Majors this year and while innings limits are definitely a concern, I still believe they could be #2 fantasy starters going forward.

The back end of this tier has some trusty veterans and possible bounce backs that I’m interested in buying in dynasty. Despite Jon Gray’s unfortunate home confines, I suspect he has the skills and pedigree to turn it around. He’s had documented issues with eating on game day and weight loss in 2018, but with a new diet and regiment being put into place for 2019 I can’t help but look fondly at his 3.47 xFIP. Heaney is another favorite of mine and everything he showed last year speaks to a #3, verging on #2, fantasy starter who is still only 27. Archer and Tanaka have both suffered from being a bit “hittable” in the past and while I do get frightened by their 37%+ hard contact rates in 2018, they both show great swing and miss ability paired with above average command and league average groundball rates.

Tier 6: Josh James and Shane Bieber lead off Tier 6 and both possess substantial upside that I’m becoming more invested in by the day. James may have to work a little harder for his starting job if the Astros keep on signing guys like Wade Miley off the street, but the strikeout upside is elite and he could profile as a Gerrit Cole type if he can hone his command. Bieber might be in the opposite boat where he actually has to learn how to throw fewer strikes so he can get people to chase and either miss or make weak contact. If he can do that, he has all the makings of a solid #3, maybe #2, fantasy starter.

Gore, Puk, Kopech and Mize represent the high upside prospects in this tier who could be solid strikeout and ratio contributors for many years to come. Both Puk and Kopech are close the Majors but are also recovering from Tommy John surgery so exercise a bit of caution when buying in dynasty leagues. The new Mariner, Yusei Kikuchi, was difficult to rank but all signs point toward an above average control pitcher who also misses a fair number of bats. The ceiling might not be sky high like Gore and Kopech, but he should be a polished mid-rotation arm for many years to come. Touki Touissant and Mike Soroka both got a taste of the Majors last season for the Braves and showed promise. I rank Touissant a bit higher due to the strikeout potential he’s flashed throughout his minor league career but Soroka has always shown better command and overall pitchability. Depending on if either of them break camp as a starter in Atlanta, the rankings will be adjusted accordingly.

One surprise name in this tier might be Lance McCullers and I might be alone in my ranking of him inside the Top 50 dynasty starting pitchers, but his curveball is just so nasty. He’s still only 25 and if he can ever surpass 160 innings he could be a Paxton-like pitcher, which is certainly valuable for the innings he provides. To close out the tier I ranked some trusty veterans, Darvish and Price, who should be able to provide #2 fantasy starter value for a few more seasons. Both have injury risk, especially Darvish, but it may be a perfect time to buy low on for strikeouts and solid ratios.

Tier 7: The last tier I’m discussing today starts off with three solid mid-rotation arms. Lucchesi, Musgrove and Wood all project to be solid assets in strikeouts and ratios and have shown the ability to give you 150 innings or so of production. Musgrove may be the guy with the highest upside and I believe we began to see that come to fruition with an uptick in his swinging strike rate toward the end of the season. Don’t write him off as Kyle Gibson (who’s not that bad) just yet. I may be the low guy on Newcomb but I see a guy who might never live up the #2 starter he was supposed to be. He looked to have turned a corner at the beginning of 2018 but the control, the swing and miss and the hard contact rate all regressed back to career norms. I think the talent is still there, but I’ve begun to lose some hope in it all coming together for Newcomb.

Chris Paddack and Sixto Sanchez are the two prospects in this tier and both come with considerable upside. Paddack shot up prospect lists last year and profiles as a #3 or #2 fantasy starter if he continues developing some breaking pitches. Sanchez, on the other hand, throws 100+ and dominates batters with above average command when he’s on, but also struggles with ongoing injury issues. Also in this tier reside Godley and Nelson, who are two guys I’ve been targeting in dynasty leagues due to their dropping price tag. Nelson missed all of last season with shoulder issues but appears ready for spring training. The risk is significant coming with these types of injuries but the ace-like numbers he was putting up before surgery speak for themselves in this case. Godley burst onto the scene with a devastating curveball in 2017. Despite the curveball’s continuing success in 2018, Godley lost all command with the rest of his arsenal. If he can control the walks in 2019, he’s still got huge swing and miss potential to go along with a 50%+ groundball rate.

Quintana, Porcello, Gibson and Keuchel have all meandered their way into their 30s and do little to excite me. They look like solid inning eater pitchers for the next few seasons but will provide little value besides some wins and good ratios. Use them as the anchors to your fantasy rotation.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve always been a big believer in Chris Archer. He took a big step back last year, but after settling in to his new team this year…do you think he can get back to his former self?

    • Yea I’ve always been a fan of Archer, maybe too much just because he seems like a great guy haha. But yes! Even if it didn’t show too much in the results he was throwing a pretty effective Changeup last year. If he can keep hitters more off balance with that pitch, his slider could play up even more than it usually does. I just can’t quit on him yet.

  2. I think you’re too low on Freeland. The dude was 6th in WAR last season despite having the Coors handicap. Should be 30 spots higher imo

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