Starting Pitcher: Points Leagues Rankings and Tiers

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Welcome to this series of analyzing our site’s points league rankings, compiled by myself and Kyle Bishop. We’re good people, you should get to know us. Today we're taking a look at our tiered starting pitcher rankings for points leagues.

Points leagues abide by different rules, with walks and strikeouts usually being of notable importance compared to typical 5x5 leagues. It’s not as simple as that of course, but we’ll go off of ESPN’s default model. For pitchers, it's three points per inning pitched, five for a win or a save and one per strikeout with a point deducted per hit allowed and walk issued, as well as two points off for every earned run and five off for a loss. Let's get to the arm action.

Editor's note: Be sure to also check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's already loaded up with tons of great rankings articles and draft analysis. Aside from our tiered staff rankings for every position, we also go deep on MLB prospect rankings, impact rookies for 2017, and dynasty/keeper rankings as well. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.

 

2017 Fantasy Baseball Points Rankings: Starting Pitcher (February)

Overall
Ranking
Tier Player Name Position Nick Kyle Composite
Ranking
1 1 Clayton Kershaw SP 1 1 1
5 1 Max Scherzer SP 4 7 5.5
8 1 Noah Syndergaard SP 10 8 9
12 1 Chris Sale SP 8 18 13
14 1 Madison Bumgarner SP 12 15 13.5
20 1 Corey Kluber SP 17 22 19.5
34 2 Yu Darvish SP 25 44 34.5
36 2 Justin Verlander SP 24 50 37
38 2 Johnny Cueto SP 35 41 38
40 2 Jon Lester SP 39 40 39.5
43 2 Jake Arrieta SP 40 46 43
44 2 Stephen Strasburg SP 33 53 43
51 3 Carlos Carrasco SP 44 62 53
53 3 David Price SP 60 47 53.5
55 3 Chris Archer SP 48 61 54.5
60 3 Jacob deGrom SP 54 64 59
69 4 Masahiro Tanaka SP 57 91 74
71 4 Gerrit Cole SP 75 77 76
75 4 Zack Greinke SP 78 78 78
78 4 Kyle Hendricks SP 53 107 80
80 4 Cole Hamels SP 82 84 83
86 4 Aaron Sanchez SP 63 111 87
89 4 Rich Hill SP 74 103 88.5
91 4 Carlos Martinez SP 88 93 90.5
92 4 Jose Quintana SP 73 108 90.5
96 4 Kenta Maeda SP 93 92 92.5
104 4 Danny Duffy SP 103 101 102
110 4 Michael Fulmer SP 96 126 111
111 5 Danny Salazar SP 92 137 114.5
115 5 Rick Porcello SP 106 133 119.5
116 5 Marcus Stroman SP 83 158 120.5
117 5 Jonathan Gray SP 100 142 121
122 5 Matt Harvey SP 108 141 124.5
124 5 Julio Urias SP 112 146 129
128 5 Steven Matz SP 127 135 131
131 5 Tanner Roark SP 121 149 135
135 5 Julio Teheran SP 117 157 137
137 5 Aaron Nola SP 137 139 138
142 5 Felix Hernandez SP 120 162 141
146 5 John Lackey SP 138 148 143
149 5 Sean Manaea SP 133 161 147
151 5 Anthony DeSclafani SP 143 156 149.5
154 5 Lance McCullers SP 129 178 153.5
156 5 Drew Pomeranz SP 149 160 154.5
159 5 Jeff Samardzija SP 151 164 157.5
162 6 J.A. Happ SP 146 180 163
163 6 James Paxton SP 141 187 164
165 6 Dallas Keuchel SP 165 165 165
172 6 Kevin Gausman SP 161 190 175.5
173 6 Sonny Gray SP 179 173 176
174 6 Robbie Ray SP 152 203 177.5
177 6 Vincent Velasquez SP 186 170 178
180 6 Adam Wainwright SP 168 193 180.5
182 6 Jameson Taillon SP 176 188 182
185 6 Garrett Richards SP 190 184 187
193 6 Carlos Rodon SP 169 225 197
194 6 Drew Smyly SP 198 199 198.5
195 6 Jake Odorizzi SP 199 200 199.5
196 6 Luke Weaver SP 189 212 200.5
199 6 Marco Estrada SP 171 231 201
202 6 Matt Shoemaker SP 153 253 203
207 6 Joe Ross SP 202 213 207.5
210 6 Jeremy Hellickson SP 157 266 211.5
211 6 Jerad Eickhoff SP 219 209 214
216 7 Joe Musgrove SP 173 265 219
222 7 Collin McHugh SP 217 233 225
223 7 Michael Pineda SP 209 242 225.5
225 7 Tyler Anderson SP 183 273 228
227 7 Taijuan Walker SP 221 237 229
231 7 Hisashi Iwakuma SP 225 246 235.5
232 7 Junior Guerra SP 227 245 236
234 7 Jharel Cotton SP 229 250 239.5
238 7 Jason Hammel SP 197 292 244.5
248 7 Bartolo Colon SP 249 252 250.5
256 7 Alex Cobb SP 180 338 259
264 7 Ervin Santana SP 255 272 263.5
267 7 Ian Kennedy SP 304 239 271.5
268 7 Trevor Bauer SP 246 300 273
270 7 Francisco Liriano SP 218 330 274
271 7 Blake Snell SP 238 310 274
273 7 Matt Moore SP 236 316 276
274 7 Ivan Nova SP 248 305 276.5
279 7 Zach Davies SP 259 304 281.5
280 7 Gio Gonzalez SP 257 308 282.5
287 7 Chris Tillman SP 264 319 291.5
288 8 Steven Wright SP 240 344 292
289 8 Mike Leake SP 241 345 293
290 8 Brandon Finnegan SP 261 327 294
296 8 Michael Wacha SP 288 320 304
300 8 Eduardo Rodriguez SP 247 369 308
301 8 Lance Lynn SP 289 328 308.5
305 8 Tyler Skaggs SP 285 337 311
306 8 Jordan Zimmermann SP 265 360 312.5
307 8 Tyson Ross SP 359 269 314
310 8 Miguel Gonzalez SP 263 368 315.5
311 8 Luis Severino SP 338 294 316
326 9 David Phelps SP 320 340 330
328 9 Archie Bradley SP 310 357 333.5
329 9 Brandon McCarthy SP 322 347 334.5
330 9 Wei-Yin Chen SP 332 339 335.5
335 9 Adam Conley SP 373 301 337
336 9 Michael Foltynewicz SP 368 307 337.5
343 9 Mike Montgomery SP 341 346 343.5
345 9 Daniel Straily SP 296 391 343.5
349 9 Dylan Bundy SP 298 401 349.5
350 9 Alex Wood SP 293 410 351.5
355 9 Daniel Norris SP 448 262 355
364 9 Jose De Leon SP 419 312 365.5
365 9 Andrew Triggs SP 302 431 366.5
376 9 Shelby Miller SP 354 394 374
380 9 Tyler Glasnow SP 324 429 376.5
383 9 Doug Fister SP 381 381
390 9 Jaime Garcia SP 350 430 390
391 9 Zack Wheeler SP 384 397 390.5
392 9 Robert Gsellman SP 340 443 391.5
395 9 Scott Kazmir SP 329 460 394.5
402 10 Clay Buchholz SP 371 438 404.5
403 10 Kendall Graveman SP 316 494 405
406 10 Mike Fiers SP 353 459 406
408 10 Wade Miley SP 411 411
418 10 Jose Berrios SP 380 453 416.5
423 10 Jimmy Nelson SP 451 393 422
427 10 Rubby de la Rosa SP 429 428 428.5
431 10 Homer Bailey SP 431 439 435
433 10 Nick Tropeano SP 430 442 436
434 10 Chad Kuhl SP 428 444 436
435 10 Derek Holland SP 437 437
436 10 Seth Lugo SP 457 421 439
445 10 Ariel Miranda SP 463 433 448
448 10 Patrick Corbin SP 461 441 451
451 10 James Shields SP 406 499 452.5
455 10 Anibal Sanchez SP 432 476 454
471 10 Chad Bettis SP 467 #N/A 467
474 10 Josh Tomlin SP 469 #N/A 469
475 10 Reynaldo Lopez SP 473 466 469.5
477 10 Chase Anderson SP 472 #N/A 472
478 10 Matthew Wisler SP 476 468 472
482 10 R.A. Dickey SP 468 488 478
483 10 Brock Stewart SP 478 483 480.5
489 10 Nate Karns SP 482 490 486
491 10 Mike Clevinger SP 491 482 486.5
492 10 Hector Santiago SP 487 #N/A 487
493 10 Edinson Volquez SP 490 #N/A 490
496 10 Cody Anderson SP 495 #N/A 495

 


Starting Pitcher Points Rankings Analysis: The Tiers

Tier One

Clayton Kershaw is the god of points leagues given the pitcher-heavy tilt in most formats. His insane blend of strikeout stuff with pristine control makes him the overall No. 1 pick. Yes, even over Mike Trout. Max Scherzer, Noah Syndergaard, Chris Sale and Madison Bumgarner all ranked within the top six in the K/BB metric, with the first three names checking in at over 5.00(!).

Tier Two

Yu Darvish likely deserves to be with the first-tier pitchers, but we’ve got some trust issues here after Tommy John surgery. Interestingly enough, Darvish’s control actually improved in his 100 1/3 innings last season despite worse control being a usual symptom of TJS. His control has steadily improved each year he’s been in the MLB (10.9% BB rate in ’13, then 3.43, 3.06 and 2.78 last season).

Justin Verlander and Johnny Cueto finished 11th and 12th in K/BB, respectively, and certainly make for great targets. Jon Lester should still be a strong pick but will have to adjust to life without David Ross. Jake Arrieta and Stephen Strasburg both have ace potential, but the former needs to conquer his command demons while Stras has big durability question marks.

Tier Three

David Price is going to visit Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion, which means you’re knocking him down all draft boards. Chris Archer still had his stellar strikeout rate last season (27.4%), but his 0.81 HR/9 jumped to 1.34 as his ERA rose from 3.23 to 4.02. His 9-19 record and 16.2% HR/FB should regress for the better, making him a nice buy. Jacob deGrom is another nice buy due to his season-long line being marred by his final three injury-affected starts (14 2/3 IP, 16 ER, 7 BB, 14 Ks), but before then he had a lovely 2.30 ERA.

Tier Four

This group has plenty of firepower at the SP2 class, but those higher names also have a flea or two. Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow still scares off some. Gerrit Cole had an awful 2016, ditto Zack Greinke. Kyle Hendricks has people wondering if he can keep up the soft-contact wizardry. Cole Hamels’ walk rate is getting alarmingly high. Aaron Sanchez has shown plenty of potential but relies on a low BABIP in the dreaded AL East. Rich Hill has huge durability concerns. Carlos Martinez and Jose Quintana both had SIERAs around 4.00. Kenta Maeda needs to show he can keep up the success now that teams have had a full year to study him. Danny Duffy and Michael Fulmer are both young.

Tier Five

Youngsters abound! And then Rick Porcello, Felix Hernandez and John Lackey. Porcello, the 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner, led all qualified starters with a 5.91 K/BB ratio. Everyone and their mother has him pegged for regression, but the question is really just about how far he’ll slide back. At age-28, he should still be hitting the mitt with his prime stuff. Felix needs to bounce back from a horrid 2016 that housed a career-worst 4.63 SIERA and 3.82 BB/9. I’m suspicious. Lackey has aged gracefully (career-high 11.5% swinging-strike rate) and still has the Cubbies stellar defense behind him, so I’m buying.

Tier Six

There’s a lot of electricity here, with two big arms looking to come back in force with Sonny Gray and Garrett Richards. While I had Gray heavily underlined on my “Do Not Draft List” for last season, I never saw such a fundamental collapse coming. He had operated with strong command for so long, posted BABIPs between .255 and .277 in each of his three MLB seasons before ’16, but then it jumped to .319 as his HR/FB rate nearly doubled from 9.3% to 17.5%. He was hurt and without pristine command, his game fails. He should be much better in 2017. Meanwhile, Richards will need to show that he can bring his control back to the ~7.5% mark and get that groundball-heavy profile going again with his plus-plus heater. It’s a worthy lottery ticket considering how strong his 2014 looked.

The Rest of the Field

I’m higher than Kyle on every pitcher in Tier Seven except for Ian Kennedy, whose terrible 4.67 FIP, 4.67 xFIP and 4.27 SIERA scream “run away” behind that 3.68 ERA from last season. Look out for Tyler Anderson this season, his peripherals were all beautiful – even more so considering he was a rookie in Coors Field. Tier Eight brings some guys who can eat up innings, with two very intriguing young arms in Eduardo Rodriguez and Tyler Skaggs and a third in Brandon Finnegan, though his metrics (4.92 SIERA) are weaker than E-Rod and Skaggs.

Tyler Glasnow just looked incredible in his first Spring Training showing as he pitched two scoreless innings and every out he recorded was via strikeout. He allowed one hit but walked nobody, which was his downfall last season. If he has finally conquered his control demons then you’re looking at a potential frontline starter.



2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings