Updated Starting Pitcher Rankings (2019): #1-20

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We’ve already learned about two significant issues hanging over the starting pitcher market, with Carlos Martinez and Clayton Kershaw both being shutdown early on this spring.  We’ve already touched on their status, which you can read by clicking here.   Where do they fall on the rankings (while Kershaw remains in the Top 20, it’s based on 160 IP and if this latest setback has a bigger impact his ranking will plummet)?  Has there been any other movement?  Let’s take a look:

  1. Max Scherzer – Washington Nationals
  2. Jacob deGrom – New York Mets
  3. Chris Sale – Boston Red Sox
  4. Aaron Nola – Philadelphia Phillies
  5. Justin Verlander – Houston Astros
  6. Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets
  7. Corey Kluber – Cleveland Indians
  8. Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians
  9. Luis Severino – New York Yankees
  10. Patrick Corbin – Washington Nationals
  11. Gerrit Cole – Houston Astros
  12. Blake Snell – Tampa Bay Rays
  13. Trevor Bauer – Cleveland Indians
  14. Miles Mikolas – St. Louis Cardinals
  15. James Paxton – New York Yankees
  16. Walker Buehler – Los Angeles Dodgers
  17. German Marquez – Colorado Rockies
  18. Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals
  19. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
  20. Shane Bieber – Cleveland Indians

Thoughts:

  • Is Bieber’s presence within the Top 20 the most surprising?  He’s among our biggest breakout starters for 2019 and one player we are targeting wherever we can (despite a 4.55 ERA over 114.2 IP in the Majors last season).  A lot of the struggles can be placed on the “luck” metrics (.356 BABIP, 69.4% strand rate), as he showed strikeouts (9.26 K/9), elite control (1.81 BB/9) and enough groundballs (46.6%).  With a year of experience the upside is there to take a significant step forward and emerge as a SP2 or better.
  • One of last year’s biggest breakouts was the Rockies’ German Marquez.  Obviously the “Coors Field Effect” is always going to hang over him, so can he replicate that success?  We took an in-depth look, including our 2019 projection, which you can read by clicking here.
  • The biggest question facing Walker Buehler isn’t his talent, because he proved that last season.  The question is if the number of innings he pitched in 2018 is going to impact his workload/performance in ’19 (he threw 177.0 innings, including the playoffs).  With Kershaw already battling injury it’s going to be even tougher to envision the Dodgers limiting their best pitcher, though it’s a risk that we also can’t ignore.
  • The knock against Miles Mikolas was his relative lack of strikeouts in ’18, though his SwStr% spiked to 11.5% in the second half.  Could we see a jump, even if it’s just into the 7.5-8.0 K/9 range?  That type of mark, coupled with elite control, could push him into one of the top options in the league.

Sources – Fangraphs, NFBC

5 COMMENTS

    • Greinke falls short of the Top 20 due to:

      1) Home run issues
      2) Risk of luck regression considering his 40.9% Hard%

      I’ll do a full article on him shortly, as a few people have asked!

    • Most people are going to be higher on him, but I have a few concerns in terms of his strikeout rate and home runs starting to catch up with him (especially as he’s been throwing fewer sinkers). He’s still a SP1 and I could see someone wanting to push him up a few spots, but there’s enough downside risk that I’d be hesitant.

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