2017 Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings: Starting Pitcher, Part Two (February)

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

We continue our February rankings with the 2017 starting pitcher fantasy baseball rankings (part two). Kyle Bishop covered the big names yesterday, so today I'll be looking at the later tiers. This is where you find the sleepers who will help you win your league.

As you may know, this round of rankings features input from Bill Dubiel, Brad Johnson, Jeff Kahntroff, Nick Mariano, Kyle Bishop and me, Harris Yudin.

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 Rankings: Starting Pitchers, Part Two (February)

Ranking Tier Player Position Brad Kyle Nick Bill Harris Y Jeff Auction $
1 1 Clayton Kershaw SP 4 6 7 7 11 3 42
2 1 Max Scherzer SP 20 16 13 13 19 12 36
3 1 Chris Sale SP 23 22 24 24 23 27 30
4 1 Noah Syndergaard SP 26 15 29 29 24 25 30
5 1 Madison Bumgarner SP 32 20 25 25 20 41 28
6 1 Corey Kluber SP 41 27 36 36 31 50 26
7 2 Yu Darvish SP 39 49 45 51 44 37 23
8 2 Justin Verlander SP 60 55 37 38 56 49 23
9 2 Stephen Strasburg SP 51 50 43 37 57 68 22
10 2 Jake Arrieta SP 53 51 47 44 32 84 21
11 2 Johnny Cueto SP 63 47 46 46 58 71 21
12 2 Jon Lester SP 67 46 51 50 43 75 21
13 3 Carlos Carrasco SP 65 63 58 57 61 72 19
14 3 Chris Archer SP 84 59 59 58 59 77 19
15 3 David Price SP 83 58 73 72 42 89 19
16 3 Jacob deGrom SP 97 68 70 70 62 76 19
17 3 Kyle Hendricks SP 78 103 66 66 98 82 18
18 3 Aaron Sanchez SP 75 128 80 79 77 99 16
19 3 Masahiro Tanaka SP 89 94 71 71 106 124 16
20 4 Gerrit Cole SP 103 82 85 84 85 134 16
21 4 Cole Hamels SP 112 92 86 85 74 125 16
22 4 Carlos Martinez SP 107 97 105 104 73 101 15
23 4 Jose Quintana SP 100 114 87 86 87 123 15
24 4 Zack Greinke SP 115 83 96 95 75 135 15
25 4 Rich Hill SP 105 107 94 93 107 100 15
26 4 Danny Duffy SP 164 102 111 110 78 105 13
27 4 Michael Fulmer SP 121 131 109 108 97 121 12
28 5 Danny Salazar SP 134 139 106 105 88 153 11
29 5 Kenta Maeda SP 139 96 107 106 119 183 11
30 5 Rick Porcello SP 114 127 129 131 99 152 11
31 5 Marcus Stroman SP 117 157 99 98 129 160 11
32 5 Jonathan Gray SP 128 137 124 126 117 182 9
33 5 Julio Teheran SP 155 156 137 140 89 157 8
34 5 Julio Urias SP 145 147 133 135 161 122 8
35 5 Matt Harvey SP 149 142 130 132 86 208 8
36 5 Lance McCullers SP 137 176 135 137 118 154 8
37 6 Aaron Nola SP 159 141 136 138 151 159 8
38 6 John Lackey SP 173 150 140 142 154 187 8
39 6 Steven Matz SP 204 153 146 147 148 151 8
40 6 Tanner Roark SP 191 151 138 141 152 206 8
41 6 Felix Hernandez SP 118 161 143 139 128 306 7
42 6 James Paxton SP 156 185 147 148 210 155 7
43 6 Sean Manaea SP 192 160 150 151 170 184 7
44 6 J.A. Happ SP 154 179 158 159 153 207 6
45 6 Dallas Keuchel SP 189 164 182 182 130 189 6
46 7 Kevin Gausman SP 197 188 180 180 149 158 6
47 7 Jeff Samardzija SP 203 182 152 153 191 209 6
48 7 Robbie Ray SP 172 202 153 154 208 255 5
49 7 Matt Shoemaker SP 168 252 171 171 195 193 5
50 7 Carlos Rodon SP 214 223 191 192 150 190 5
51 7 Jameson Taillon SP 207 186 184 184 162 246 5
52 7 Drew Pomeranz SP 244 159 167 168 194 253 5
53 7 Garrett Richards SP 210 177 211 211 193 210 4
54 7 Anthony DeSclafani SP 270 155 165 166 209 252 4
55 8 Sonny Gray SP 243 172 198 200 169 249 4
56 8 Vincent Velasquez SP 268 169 206 206 171 251 4
57 8 Marco Estrada SP 206 230 196 198 196 248 4
58 8 Drew Smyly SP 273 197 207 207 207 195 4
59 8 Jerad Eickhoff SP 235 209 234 234 222 194 4
60 8 Adam Wainwright SP 245 191 188 197 190 326 4
61 8 Joe Ross SP 300 213 218 218 244 156 4
62 8 Alex Reyes SP 208 210 220 247 3
63 8 Jake Odorizzi SP 274 198 213 213 223 254 3
64 8 Matt Moore SP 174 314 251 251 241 150 3
65 8 Tyler Anderson SP 265 271 202 191 268 256 3
66 8 Jeremy Hellickson SP 246 264 175 175 314 324 2
67 8 Francisco Liriano SP 224 329 223 223 291 211 2
68 9 Blake Snell SP 258 309 263 263 221 192 2
69 9 Taijuan Walker SP 220 234 255 255 247 301 2
70 9 Ivan Nova SP 264 304 235 235 243 250 2
71 9 Joe Musgrove SP 325 263 197 199 269 309 2
72 9 Raisel Iglesias SP/RP 221 203 348 348 276 170 2
73 9 Luke Weaver SP 282 212 210 210 344 310 2
74 9 Junior Guerra SP 260 243 260 260 267 297 2
75 9 Alex Cobb SP 248 335 200 187 318 302 2
76 9 Hisashi Iwakuma SP 262 244 256 256 246 328 2
77 9 Collin McHugh SP 355 232 243 243 248 294 2
78 9 Michael Pineda SP 302 240 238 238 313 296 2
79 10 Jharel Cotton SP 290 249 246 246 340 298 2
80 10 Trevor Bauer SP 293 299 266 266 211 349 2
81 10 Jason Hammel SP 287 291 245 245 293 346 2
82 10 Lance Lynn SP 269 326 241 241 362 300 2
83 10 Michael Wacha SP 304 318 310 310 224 307 2
84 10 Bartolo Colon SP 317 251 275 275 277 413 2
85 10 Eduardo Rodriguez SP 326 368 273 273 377 191 2
86 11 Mike Leake SP 259 343 270 270 316 376 1
87 11 Zach Davies SP 399 303 278 278 270 308 1
88 11 Jordan Zimmermann SP 286 359 293 293 290 325 1
89 11 Steven Wright SP 250 342 268 268 420 311 1
90 11 Dylan Bundy SP 400 401 317 317 265 165 1
91 11 Chris Tillman SP 391 317 286 286 245 347 1
92 12 Ervin Santana SP 354 270 265 265 242 477 1
93 12 Ian Kennedy SP 374 237 342 342 292 304 1
94 12 Gio Gonzalez SP 357 307 277 277 289 419 1
95 12 Archie Bradley SP 279 356 298 298 375 327 1
96 12 Tyler Skaggs SP 353 334 307 307 339 295 1
97 12 Mike Montgomery SP 289 345 353 353 347 299 1
98 12 Daniel Straily SP 309 390 330 330 342 323 1
99 13 Brandon McCarthy SP 234 346 360 360 493 245 1
100 13 Wei-Yin Chen SP 378 336 345 345 314 330 1
101 13 Miguel Gonzalez SP 450 367 284 284 380 1
102 13 Brandon Finnegan SP 389 325 283 283 454 385 1
103 13 Daniel Norris SP 376 260 427 424 338 303 1
104 13 David Phelps SP 381 337 336 336 455 305 1
105 13 Matt Andriese SP 432 324 324 1
106 13 Tyson Ross SP 409 267 385 383 365 353 1
107 13 Luis Severino SP 332 293 424 421 346 348 1
108 13 Robert Gsellman SP 331 443 315 315 345 436 1
109 13 Tyler Glasnow SP 442 429 340 340 328 335 1
110 14 Josh Tomlin SP 362 379 1
111 14 Adam Conley SP 433 300 412 409 341 329 1
112 14 Jaime Garcia SP 361 430 333 333 431 350 1
113 14 Michael Foltynewicz SP 275 306 476 476 409 322 1
114 14 Chris Devenski SP/RP 422 292 364 364 348 478 1
115 14 Shelby Miller SP 315 393 377 376 419 399 1
116 14 Andrew Triggs SP 496 431 321 321 343 1
117 14 Edinson Volquez SP 454 317 377 1
118 14 Scott Kazmir SP 443 459 328 328 363 1
119 14 Zack Wheeler SP 329 396 492 491 266 351 1
120 14 Alex Wood SP 379 410 356 356 438 387 1
121 14 Kendall Graveman SP 428 492 326 326 378 1
122 14 Jose De Leon SP 429 311 473 473 327 331 1
123 14 Clay Buchholz SP 363 438 409 406 461 375 1
124 14 Jimmy Nelson SP 314 392 491 486 432 374 1
125 14 Patrick Corbin SP 344 441 500 388 1
126 14 Lucas Giolito SP 452 442 441 329 429 1
127 14 Mike Fiers SP 458 458 373 372 437 416 1
128 14 CC Sabathia SP 403 400 460 1
129 14 Jose Berrios SP 466 453 444 443 326 403 1
130 14 Ricky Nolasco SP 401 398 477 1
131 14 Tyler Chatwood SP 465 464 381 400 1
132 14 Ariel Miranda SP 424 433 1
133 14 Rubby de la Rosa SP 380 428 482 1
134 14 Homer Bailey SP 421 439 456 455 386 1
135 14 Nate Karns SP 495 488 376 378 1
136 14 Liam Hendriks SP 395 445 444 471 1
137 14 Seth Lugo SP 342 421 494 492 450 1
138 14 Nick Tropeano SP 341 442 493 499 1
139 14 Chad Bettis SP 408 480 1
140 14 R.A. Dickey SP 483 486 421 389 1
141 14 Chad Kuhl SP 395 444 453 452 493 1
142 15 Brock Stewart SP 449 481 414 1
143 15 Reynaldo Lopez SP 459 465 430 1
144 15 Wily Peralta SP 453 1
145 15 Cody Anderson SP 463 1
146 15 Matt Boyd SP 463 1
147 15 James Shields SP 465 468 467 1
148 15 Matthew Wisler SP 467 467 1
149 15 Doug Fister SP 482 447 446 496 1
150 15 Hector Santiago SP 468 1
151 15 Chase Anderson SP 444 501 1
152 15 Mike Clevinger SP 474 480 1
153 15 Matt Garza SP 479 479 1
154 15 Kyle Gibson SP 479 1
155 15 Anibal Sanchez SP 486 474 497 490 464 1
156 15 Derek Holland SP 484 1
157 15 Tom Koehler SP 490 485 494 468 1
158 15 Wade Miley SP 475 489 489 1
159 15 Adam Morgan SP 495 493 1
160 15 Tyler Duffey SP 498 495 1

 

Starting Pitcher Rankings Analysis: The Tiers

Tier 7

By now, most owners have already selected three or four pitchers, so it’s time to look for upside. Two of my favorite pitchers this year are Kevin Gausman and Carlos Rodon. Both pitchers have one major flaw that have kept them from making the jump to the next level — command for Rodon, keeping the ball in the park for Gausman — and both have the stuff to get over the hump and break out in 2017. Anthony DeSclafani (3.28 ERA, 3.50 K/BB across 123.1 IP in 2016) is also a breakout candidate.

Questions surround several other pitchers in this tier. Drew Pomeranz was dominant in San Diego, but endured some struggles upon his move to Boston (4.59 ERA), so there is a fair amount of risk that comes with drafting him in mixed leagues. Garrett Richards is not only coming off a major injury, but also took a step back across the board in 2015. He remains incredibly talented, but is almost 29 with just one full season under his belt. I’m more likely to take a flier on Richards than on Pomeranz.

Tier 8

The most interesting name here is Sonny Gray. After finishing third in AL Cy Young voting in 2015, he labored through an incomprehensibly poor 2016 season, but the consensus among our rankers seems to be that the 27-year-old will bounce back and maintain mixed-league viability.

Vincent Velasquez, Jerad Eickhoff, Joe Ross and Tyler Anderson all eclipsed 100 innings for the first time in their respective careers last year, and will look to move forward in their second full seasons. Adam Wainwright and Francisco Liriano suffered rough 2016 campaigns and appear to be on the back end of their careers, but could still bounce back with decent performances this year.

Three former Rays — Drew Smyly, Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson — have something to prove in 2017. Smyly will be pitching in a new home park in Seattle, and will look to replicate his 2015 success. Moore will need to find his pre-injury form — and sustain it over the course of an entire season — if he wants to hold onto any mixed-league value. Finally, Hellickson must show that his 2016 resurrection was not a fluke in order to regain the trust of fantasy owners. I am most encouraged by Smyly, who is just 27 years old and showed a lot of promise down the stretch in 2016.

Of course, the news of Alex Reyes’ impending Tommy John surgery drops him far down this list.

Tier 9

Here you can find a bunch of promising prospects and a couple of guys who once were top prospects but now come with some concerns. Blake Snell has off-the-chart stuff and can become a hot commodity in mixed leagues if he can limit his free passes. Joe Musgrove and Luke Weaver, on the other hand, possess above-average control and should only improve in 2017 with some added experience.

On the other end of the spectrum, Taijuan Walker saw his FIP skyrocket up to 4.99 in his age-23 season, and while he’s still young — and clearly our rankings suggest that we all still have at least an ounce of faith — time is running out for him to figure it out. Additionally, Alex Cobb missed nearly two full seasons and was dreadful in limited work late in 2016. Two consecutive seasons with a sub-3.00 ERA before the injury provides Cobb with a lingering sense of optimism, but it’s never a guarantee that a guy who has missed this much time will rediscover his top form.

Tier 10

While I do see Jharel Cotton’s potential, it appears my colleagues are much more excited about the 25-year-old’s first full season in the big leagues. He can rack up strikeouts in bunches using a solid fastball-changeup combo, but lacks a strong breaking ball, and major league hitters could begin to adjust.

Alternatively, I appear to be the only who hasn’t given up on Michael Wacha. While I never expected the Cardinals to remove him from the staff, the Alex Reyes injury essentially locks up a rotation spot for Wacha. He is still just 25 years old, and while his 5.09 ERA is far from enticing, a 3.91 FIP and an unusually high BABIP indicate that his 2016 season is likely the outlier. I’m willing to take a chance on Wacha if his price drops on draft day.

I can’t write about this tier without including Bartolo Colon, who, despite joining a new NL East team, has shown no signs of slowing down and remains a reliable, deep-league option.

Tier 11

I’ll start this off by saying I am extremely concerned about Steven Wright’s major fall from grace in the second half (5.06 ERA, 2.68 before All-Star break), and would not take a shot on the 32-year-old this early.

On the other hand, Dylan Bundy belongs in a better tier. The former top prospect got his first chance in the majors last year, posting a respectable 4.02 ERA and managing one of the lowest hard hit percentages (28.0%) in the league.

In retrospect, Chris Tillman probably isn’t a top-250 player and should be moved down on my list— especially considering he may begin the season on the DL with a shoulder injury. Finally, Jordan Zimmermann endured the worst season of his career at age 32, and none of us really expect him to return to form in 2017.

Tier 12

Ervin Santana, Ian Kennedy and Gio Gonzalez have all been inconsistent over the last three years, each posting a sub-4.00 ERA twice in that span. All three pitchers can be used in deeper mixed formats, but lack the upside of many of the guys higher on this list.

Tyler Skaggs displayed some real potential late in 2016 after nearly a two-year absence. His 22.8% strikeout and 3.95 FIP are legitimate causes for excitement heading into 2017. Additionally, Mike Montgomery showed some nice things between roles and teams in 2016, and should be the frontrunner for the Cubs’ fifth rotation spot. In he were to win the job out of spring training, the 27-year-old southpaw could begin to appear on mixed-league radars.

Tier 13

Luis Severino is the most intriguing guy here. He followed up a spectacular rookie season with a 5.83 ERA and a demotion to the bullpen in 2016, but emerges as a post-hype sleeper one year after being drafted as a top-40 starting pitcher. Last year, Severino actually improved upon his strikeout and walk rates and lowered his HR/FB ratio, so there is reason for optimism regarding the soon-to-be 23-year-old.

As for the rest of this tier, Tyson Ross stands out, as well. The 29-year-old started opening day for the Padres but missed the entire rest of the season with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Now with the Rangers, he could return to top form and once again become a must-own in all formats if he can stay healthy. Furthermore, Brandon McCarthy has thrown just 63 total innings over the last two years and has heavy competition for Los Angeles’ No. 5 rotation slot, so I’m surprised to see him ranked in the top 250 for anybody.

Tier 14

The deepest tier features a wide array of arms. Most of these pitchers hold some value simply because they should take the ball every fifth day, accumulating wins and strikeouts in the process. Otherwise, C.C. Sabathia and R.A. Dickey could still be somewhat productive, but are on their way out and could wind up losing their jobs. Mike Foltynewicz and Zach Wheeler each received a vote of confidence inside the top 300, but both will need to earn rotation spots before fantasy owners can fully trust them in mixed leagues.

Most important in this group are Jose De Leon, Lucas Giolito and Jose Berrios. All three have limited major league exposure, each one struggling in his first stint in the big leagues in 2016. Additionally, all three pitch for teams unlikely to make a real playoff push. Still, they are top prospects with immense talent and potential, and, at the very least, make for solid keeper/dynasty-league draft selections.

Tier 15

As with most positions, there’s not much to like about the bottom tier. Whether it’s a pitcher past his prime, a veteran who have never made much of an impact, or a young pitcher with very limited upside, it’s hard to get excited.

One name to keep an eye on is Matt Wisler. A 5.00 ERA for the Braves last year is quite unappealing, but he actually improved upon his 2015 numbers in FIP (4.85), xFIP (4.71), K% (17.1%), BB% (7.3%), BABIP (.279) and GB/FB (1.05). Still just 24 years old, Wisler will have to fight for a rotation spot, but if he does earn one of the five slots, he could be an intriguing NL-only option.


MLB Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds