When compiling starting pitcher rankings, I definitely had an epiphany. When comparing positions in Fantasy Baseball, the size/format of your league will affect the starting pitchers more than any other position.
What I am saying is that if you are in a smaller, 5X5 category league with normal starting pitching requirements, I would classify it as the second deepest position after shortstop. I am in an 8-team keeper league and you can build your whole staff in the mid-to-late rounds. When you can get guys like Rick Porcello and Cole Hamels in the last few rounds of your draft then that is some serious depth.
I am also in a 14-team, 40-man roster dynasty league. It is also a points setup. Even with a newly instituted weekly innings limit, starting pitching is BY FAR the shallowest position. It is a very active league with trade block/requests every day. Every day, the vast majority are requesting solid starting pitching in return.
What I am getting at is the steep drop-off in the starting pitcher rankings. What I am also warning is that the drop-off is really hard to ascertain. Once again, your league setup affects the starting pitcher rankings more than any other position. Some guys are great in points league while being terrible in category setups. It goes both ways.
So with all that said, I would be the trendsetter or the zig-zagger. If you are in a huge league with lots of roster spots, be the guy to start the starting pitcher run. Normally I am not an advocate for reaching, but the pool can dry up quickly. In a smaller league, wait. When the starting pitcher run begins, shore up the other spots on your roster. There will be guys available late that can get you what you need.
These starting pitcher rankings are for mixed leagues. The Average Draft Position and Expert Consensus Rankings (both overall and by position) are relative to FantasyPros.com as of March 1.
2018 Starting Pitcher Rankings
|Rk.||Player, Team||ADP||ECR||ECR (Pos.)|
|1||Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers||5||10||1|
|2||Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals||11||12||2|
|3||Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox||13||16||3|
|4||Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians||14||17||4|
|5||Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets||30||33||7|
|6||Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants||25||29||6|
|7||Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals||27||26||5|
|8||Jacob deGrom, New York Mets||35||34||8|
|9||Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians||32||37||9|
|10||Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks||40||48||11|
|11||Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers||39||49||12|
|12||Luis Severino, New York Yankees||37||44||10|
|13||Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays||55||56||14|
|14||Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals||51||58||15|
|15||Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks||50||62||16|
|16||Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs||48||51||13|
|17||Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies||70||70||17|
|18||Jose Quintana, Chicago Cubs||72||77||20|
|19||James Paxton, Seattle Mariners||77||71||18|
|20||Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros||59||76||19|
|21||Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels||73||90||23|
|22||Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros||79||82||21|
|23||Rich Hill, Los Angeles Dodgers||109||113||29|
|24||Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs||98||108||28|
|25||Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs||101||100||26|
|26||Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees||85||83||22|
|27||Lance McCullers, Houston Astros||127||106||27|
|28||Jake Arrieta, Free Agent||87||97||25|
|29||David Price, Boston Red Sox||110||94||24|
|30||Alex Wood, Los Angeles Dodgers||97||115||30|
|31||Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians||163||159||41|
|32||Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants||139||124||33|
|33||Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds||148||121||31|
|34||Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins||96||122||32|
|35||Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays||111||129||34|
|36||Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants||150||146||38|
|37||Luke Weaver, St. Louis Cardinals||115||136||36|
|38||Sonny Gray, New York Yankees||126||144||37|
|39||Zack Godley, Arizona Diamondbacks||125||134||35|
|40||Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals||132||164||42|
|41||Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers||195||183||48|
|42||Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals||159||152||39|
|43||Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians||137||168||43|
|44||Drew Pomeranz, Boston Red Sox||168||181||46|
|45||Jonathan Gray, Colorado Rockies||156||162||40|
|46||Charlie Morton, Houston Astros||182||188||49|
|47||Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates||189||175||45|
|48||Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels||171||184||47|
|49||Taijuan Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks||197||210||55|
|50||Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays||213||202||52|
|51||Lance Lynn, Free Agent||196||222||57|
|52||Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox||217||229||59|
|53||Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers||190||206||56|
|54||Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles||186||200||53|
|55||Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers||164||172||44|
|56||J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays||259||247||62|
|57||Chase Anderson, Milwaukee Brewers||172||193||50|
|58||Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles||177||195||51|
|59||Sean Manaea, Oakland Athletics||250||238||60|
|60||Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres||221||208||54|
|61||Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals||251||256||64|
|62||Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals||258||260||65|
|63||Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves||211||236||63|
|64||Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks||255||273||71|
|65||Jacob Faria, Tampa Bay Rays||218||231||58|
|66||Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins||224||257||66|
|67||Michael Clevinger, Cleveland Indians||214||245||61|
|68||Brad Peacock, Houston Astros||222||261||70|
|69||Marco Estrada, Toronto Blue Jays||331||287||74|
|70||Alexander Reyes, St. Louis Cardinals||267||284||76|
|71||Alex Cobb, Free Agent||207||259||69|
|72||Jake Odorizzi, Minnesota Twins||276||275||72|
|73||Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners||249||297||77|
|74||Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays||210||258||67|
|75||Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees||262||269||68|
|76||Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox||235||276||73|
|77||Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox||387||306||81|
|78||Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers||359||272||75|
|79||Zach Davies, Milwaukee Brewers||268||300||80|
|80||Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox||388||280||78|
|81||C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees||278||342||97|
|82||Luiz Gohara, Atlanta Braves||303||295||79|
|83||Matt Harvey, New York Mets||312||396||91|
|84||Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles||329||580||173|
|85||Steven Matz, New York Mets||338||372||93|
|86||Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox||360||433||104|
|87||Mike Leake, Seattle Mariners||365||340||89|
|88||Sean Newcomb, Atlanta Braves||385||361||94|
|89||Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers||390||495||162|
|90||Jhoulys Chacin, Milwaukee Brewers||399||468||112|
- You’ll notice there are still some quality players in the starting pitcher rankings that are free agents. Keep an eye on where they end up as their ranking could be affected.
- I am a little bit lower on Yu Darvish than the consensus. We will need to see that he has overcome that disastrous World Series performance.
- I am also higher on Danny Salazar. I know he is dealing with an injury now, but he posted a 12.7 K/9 last season. Efficient strikeouts are my jam when it comes to roster construction.
- My favorite late-round starting pitcher: Chris Tillman. First off, do you realize he is only 29? I thought he was closer to 40, but he broke into the Bigs when he was just 21. Yes, I know last year was quite awful for the Oriole. But four of the previous five years he had a sub-3.78 ERA. He had also pitched at least 172 innings in four straight seasons. I see him bouncing back into a solid starter. A solid starter you can get at pick 580.
- Patrick Corbin is another guy that I like more in my starting pitcher rankings. He bounced back himself last year after a terrible 2016. And you know, humidor and stuff.
- Garion Thorne brought me around on both Blake Snell and J.A. Happ.
- In non-dynasty leagues with late-round keepers, Michael Kopech will be a guy to stash late. He has rookie of the year potential.
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