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Updated Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues


We are continuing our updated analysis of points league tiered rankings with a final look at starting pitchers. In H2H points leagues, starting pitchers are the lifeblood of a fantasy team. The more innings and strikeouts a starter can rack up, the further it carries your team toward a championship.

There is a solid core of SP at the top that are sure to fly off draft boards much earlier than in roto leagues. While you don't necessarily need to have an ace in the first round or two, you will need to make sure that your later selections are on the reliable end. Less-enticing pitchers such as Jose Quintana, Rick Porcello, Zack Godley, or Trevor Williams could be solid rotation pieces, while breakout candidates like Luis Castillo, Nick Pivetta, or Nathan Eovaldi should be discounted a bit.

If you are relatively new to points leagues, you need to pay close attention to the difference between these rankings and that of standard 5x5 roto formats. In a points system, you need to account for walk and strikeout rates while de-emphasizing steals and saves that are so valuable in roto. Using RotoBaller ranks gives you a considerable advantage over the rest of your league which will likely run off of a standard rankings list. Get to know the overvalued and undervalued players to dominate your points league!

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Starting Pitcher Tiered Ranks - H2H Points Leagues (March)

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was recently named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season. You can see his secret sauce below! Additionally, industry legend Scott Engel recently joined the RotoBaller team and provides his insights as well. Scott is an FSWA Hall Of Famer and award winner.

Rank Tier Player Name Position Nick JB Bill Auction $
1 1 Max Scherzer SP 3 2 4 44
2 1 Jacob deGrom SP 5 6 6 41
3 1 Chris Sale SP 6 5 9 40
4 1 Justin Verlander SP 8 9 14 37
5 1 Corey Kluber SP 17 12 10 36
6 2 Gerrit Cole SP 13 17 22 34
7 2 Aaron Nola SP 25 10 19 32
8 2 Trevor Bauer SP 10 15 33 31
9 2 Blake Snell SP 23 18 24 30
10 2 Carlos Carrasco SP 20 21 27 29
11 2 Noah Syndergaard SP 21 32 43 28
12 2 Walker Buehler SP 33 28 42 27
13 3 Patrick Corbin SP 42 25 44 24
14 3 James Paxton SP 41 41 37 24
15 3 Stephen Strasburg SP 46 45 45 23
16 3 Zack Greinke SP 45 50 46 22
17 3 Luis Severino SP 44 37 61 21
18 3 Jameson Taillon SP 52 57 57 20
19 4 Clayton Kershaw SP 79 67 25 20
20 4 German Marquez SP 58 64 50 19
21 4 Mike Clevinger SP 51 55 68 19
22 4 David Price SP 64 56 56 19
23 4 Jack Flaherty SP 65 63 53 19
24 4 Zack Wheeler SP 57 60 69 17
25 4 Jose Berrios SP 74 70 58 17
26 4 Miles Mikolas SP 66 72 80 17
27 4 Masahiro Tanaka SP 84 107 100 16
28 4 J.A. Happ SP 91 103 99 16
29 5 Kyle Hendricks SP 78 113 103 15
30 5 Mike Foltynewicz SP 118 99 83 15
31 5 Charlie Morton SP 127 82 92 14
32 5 Madison Bumgarner SP 143 89 104 14
33 5 Chris Archer SP 135 102 116 14
34 5 Luis Castillo SP 125 133 129 12
35 5 Kyle Freeland SP 148 129 115 11
36 5 Yu Darvish SP 113 134 148 10
37 5 Nick Pivetta SP 134 145 133 9
38 5 Rick Porcello SP 122 159 138 9
39 6 Rich Hill SP 124 151 165 9
40 6 Cole Hamels SP 142 156 144 9
41 6 Robbie Ray SP 133 150 164 8
42 6 Eduardo Rodriguez SP 140 127 181 8
43 6 Nathan Eovaldi SP 132 144 177 8
44 6 Jon Gray SP 179 158 118 7
45 7 Andrew Heaney SP 170 128 183 6
46 7 Dallas Keuchel SP 187 157 145 6
47 7 Hyun-Jin Ryu SP 145 186 #N/A 6
48 7 Shane Bieber SP 158 154 186 6
49 7 Collin McHugh SP 119 211 178 5
50 7 Alex Reyes SP/RP 240 196 95 5
51 7 Carlos Martinez SP 211 173 153 5
52 7 Jose Quintana SP 177 174 197 5
53 7 Kenta Maeda SP 156 188 217 5
54 7 Ross Stripling SP 136 185 240 5
55 7 Jake Arrieta SP 164 202 209 4
56 7 Jon Lester SP 180 201 198 4
57 7 Tyler Glasnow SP 190 153 239 4
58 7 Sean Newcomb SP 220 172 196 4
59 8 Marco Gonzales SP 189 229 195 4
60 8 Tyler Skaggs SP 166 203 245 3
61 8 Alex Wood SP 212 204 202 3
62 8 Zack Godley SP 221 221 188 3
63 8 Yusei Kikuchi SP 154 190 289 3
64 8 Anibal Sanchez SP 149 232 269 3
65 8 Brad Peacock RP/SP 235 303 #N/A 3
66 8 Joe Musgrove SP 195 222 259 2
67 8 Kyle Gibson SP 250 237 193 2
68 9 Kevin Gausman SP 218 215 248 2
69 9 Dereck Rodriguez SP 230 250 215 2
70 9 Joey Lucchesi SP 208 209 285 2
71 9 Mike Minor SP 226 257 223 2
72 9 Michael Fulmer SP 194 286 233 2
73 9 Josh James SP 296 194 226 2
74 9 Steven Matz SP 242 225 252 1
75 9 Julio Urias SP 270 226 308 1
76 9 Jhoulys Chacin SP 202 261 277 1
77 9 Carlos Rodon SP 251 254 254 1
78 9 Jimmy Nelson SP 193 251 321 1
79 9 Matthew Boyd SP 229 276 263 1
80 10 Trevor Williams SP 257 262 250 1
81 10 Reynaldo Lopez SP 241 259 293 1
82 10 Jesus Luzardo SP 223 243 331 1
83 10 Marcus Stroman SP 297 249 276 1
84 10 Mike Soroka SP 275 269 281 1
85 10 Dylan Bundy SP 254 274 302 1
86 10 Julio Teheran SP 295 268 267 1
87 10 Derek Holland SP 255 330 261 1
88 10 Sonny Gray SP 298 275 #N/A 1
89 11 Chase Anderson SP 280 313 274 1
90 11 Jake Junis SP 327 289 266 1
91 11 Mike Fiers SP 281 296 306 1
92 11 Aaron Sanchez SP 293 299 #N/A 1
93 11 Luke Weaver SP 264 333 #N/A 1
94 11 Trevor Cahill SP 294 331 278 1
95 11 Forrest Whitley SP 289 263 358 1
96 11 Vince Velasquez SP 291 318 312 1
97 11 Freddy Peralta SP 277 320 329 1
98 11 Matt Strahm RP/SP 276 340 311 1
99 11 Trevor Richards SP 316 317 304 1
100 11 Brandon Woodruff SP 303 326 #N/A 1
101 11 CC Sabathia SP 315 366 273 1
102 12 Jose Urena SP 279 358 #N/A 1
103 12 Michael Wacha SP 317 271 370 1
104 12 Michael Pineda SP 323 329 #N/A 1
105 12 Danny Duffy SP 292 334 353 1
106 12 Martin Perez SP 328 #N/A #N/A 1
107 12 Corbin Burnes SP/RP 353 302 341 1
108 12 Caleb Smith SP 287 369 343 1
109 12 Tanner Roark SP 359 359 282 1
110 12 Sandy Alcantara SP 302 378 327 1
111 12 Chris Paddack SP 322 352 #N/A 1
112 12 Zach Eflin SP 343 308 378 1
113 12 Tyler Anderson SP 314 399 318 1
114 12 Jeff Samardzija SP 299 367 366 1
115 12 Brad Keller SP 330 368 356 1
116 12 Jake Odorizzi SP 379 327 357 1
117 12 Matt Harvey SP 341 341 382 1
118 12 Lucas Giolito SP 311 412 345 1
119 12 Framber Valdez SP 286 426 #N/A 1
120 12 Lance Lynn SP 342 362 371 1
121 12 Seth Lugo SP/RP 357 418 305 1
122 12 Touki Toussaint SP 388 335 #N/A 1
123 13 Pablo Lopez SP 332 402 351 1
124 13 Ryan Yarbrough SP 405 321 361 1
125 13 Clay Buchholz SP 339 395 355 1
126 13 Robbie Erlin SP 320 410 #N/A 1
127 13 Merrill Kelly SP 321 417 #N/A 1
128 13 Justus Sheffield SP 358 381 #N/A 1
129 13 Wade Miley SP 351 391 #N/A 1
130 13 Anthony DeSclafani SP 377 345 393 1
131 13 Dinelson Lamet SP 431 #N/A 319 1
132 13 Felix Hernandez SP 404 379 349 1
133 13 Antonio Senzatela SP 378 #N/A #N/A 1
134 13 Jordan Montgomery SP 384 #N/A #N/A 1
135 13 Mike Leake SP 324 501 328 1
136 14 Jason Vargas SP 368 405 #N/A 1
137 14 Ivan Nova SP 335 490 338 1
138 14 Dan Straily SP 396 #N/A #N/A 1
139 14 Taijuan Walker SP 441 #N/A 354 1
140 14 Jeremy Hellickson SP 382 419 397 1
141 14 Brent Honeywell SP 470 439 320 1
142 14 Matt Shoemaker SP 406 420 #N/A 1
143 14 Alex Cobb SP 386 446 #N/A 1
144 14 Marco Estrada SP 318 519 #N/A 1
145 14 Domingo German SP 412 431 #N/A 1
146 14 Wade LeBlanc SP 374 506 388 1
147 14 Gio Gonzalez SP 541 371 380 1
148 14 Nick Kingham SP 403 504 386 1
149 14 Kyle Wright SP 423 453 #N/A 1
150 14 Wei-Yin Chen SP 319 557 #N/A 1
151 14 Joe Ross SP 504 434 390 1
152 14 Wily Peralta SP/RP 537 408 383 1
153 14 Diego Castillo RP/SP 420 471 #N/A 1
154 14 Adam Wainwright SP 510 #N/A 389 1
155 14 Jonathan Loaisiga SP 408 503 #N/A 1
156 14 Ervin Santana SP #N/A 456 #N/A 1
157 15 Chris Stratton SP 522 #N/A 391 1
158 15 Yonny Chirinos SP 512 413 #N/A 1
159 15 Mitch Keller SP #N/A 468 #N/A 1
160 15 Robert Gsellman SP/RP 546 #N/A 392 1
161 15 Jaime Barria SP 533 407 #N/A 1
162 15 Danny Salazar SP 456 509 #N/A 1
163 15 Ryan Borucki SP 534 524 396 1
164 15 Chris Devenski SP/RP 487 #N/A #N/A 1
165 15 Drew Smyly SP 535 447 #N/A 1
166 15 Tyler Beede SP 493 #N/A #N/A 1
167 15 Dylan Cease SP #N/A 495 #N/A 1
168 15 Jon Duplantier SP #N/A 496 #N/A 1
169 15 Felix Pena RP/SP 514 600 381 1
170 15 Daniel Norris SP 500 #N/A #N/A 1
171 15 Tyson Ross SP 553 454 #N/A 1
172 15 Edinson Volquez SP 506 #N/A #N/A 1
173 15 Luiz Gohara SP 558 464 #N/A 1
174 15 Matt Moore SP 511 #N/A #N/A 1
175 15 Daniel Mengden SP 572 451 #N/A 1
176 15 Drew Pomeranz SP 557 477 #N/A 1
177 15 Andrew Suarez SP 570 465 #N/A 1
178 15 Zach Davies SP 527 521 #N/A 1
179 15 Jake Faria SP 543 527 #N/A 1
180 15 Eric Lauer SP 587 488 #N/A 1
181 15 Logan Allen SP #N/A 542 #N/A 1
182 16 Adam Conley SP/RP 524 569 #N/A 1
183 16 Tyler Mahle SP 630 473 #N/A 1
184 16 Fernando Romero SP 566 537 #N/A 1
185 16 Sean Reid-Foley SP #N/A 552 #N/A 1
186 16 Jordan Zimmermann SP 540 572 #N/A 1
187 16 Amir Garrett SP 559 #N/A #N/A 1
188 16 Jerad Eickhoff SP 631 489 #N/A 1
189 16 Ian Kennedy SP 560 #N/A #N/A 1
190 16 Brandon Finnegan SP 573 #N/A #N/A 1
191 16 John Gant SP 625 531 #N/A 1
192 16 Max Fried SP 576 581 #N/A 1
193 16 Dylan Floro SP/RP 583 #N/A #N/A 1
194 16 Nick Tropeano SP 586 #N/A #N/A 1
195 16 Shelby Miller SP #N/A 587 #N/A 1
196 16 Mike Montgomery SP/RP 591 #N/A #N/A 1
197 16 Daniel Ponce de Leon SP 636 551 #N/A 1
198 16 A.J. Puk SP 594 #N/A #N/A 1
199 16 Tyler Chatwood SP 597 #N/A #N/A 1
200 16 Taylor Widener SP 603 #N/A #N/A 1
201 16 Jharel Cotton SP 605 #N/A #N/A 1
202 16 Manny Banuelos SP 606 #N/A #N/A 1
203 16 Adalberto Mejia SP 609 #N/A #N/A 1
204 16 Andrew Cashner RP/SP 613 #N/A #N/A 1
205 16 Dylan Covey SP 614 #N/A #N/A 1
206 16 Thomas Pannone SP 618 #N/A #N/A 1
207 16 Bartolo Colon SP 628 #N/A #N/A 1
208 16 Junior Guerra SP 632 #N/A #N/A 1
209 16 Joe Biagini SP/RP 637 #N/A #N/A 1
210 16 Francis Martes SP 647 #N/A #N/A 1

 

Rankings Analysis - Top Tiers

Tier One

Scherzer is the unanimous SP1 in pretty much all formats, no arguments there. It may be interesting to note that while deGrom is second in our rankings and typically comes off the board either second or third behind Sale, he finished behind both Verlander and Kluber in total points last year. The difference came down to record, as the Mets weren't able to do him right in terms of run support, as a 10-9 record can attest to. It's a matter of splitting hairs between all these top tier arms, so the edge should go to the starter you feel has the best chance to surpass 200 innings again and be backed by a decent offense. In that vein, Kluber could see negative regression as the Indians' lineup isn't quite what it used to be. He is as consistent as they come, but this is the deciding factor when our rankers placed him at the bottom of tier one.

Tier Two

It's unusual to see such a (relatively) wide discrepancy between rankers near the top but Aaron Nola and Trevor Bauer have some wide variations. Nick has Bauer ranked as his SP5, all the way up to 10th overall on his rankings despite the fact he finished as the 16th-highest point-scorer among SP last season. Conversely, Bill has him ranked 33 overall.

Aaron Nola breaks the top 10 for JB, but Nick has him as his 10th SP (25 overall). Again, Nick is going against last year's data which placed Nola as the fifth-highest pitcher in points leagues, but these are projections not recaps, so his forward-thinking logic must assume a full year of health for Bauer will cause his higher strikeout rate to result in a big jump in value.

Walker Buehler rounds out the top 12 starting pitchers but it is risky to take him ahead of some of the following names in tier three since it's assumed he could be capped around the sixth inning of some games. Nothing has been set in stone but many are optimistic he will be encouraged to reach 200 IP.

Tier Three

If you've read David Emerick's excellent series on finding the next "elite" starting pitcher, or his Bold Predictions, you know he is high on Patrick Corbin. JB is on board as well, ranking him above even the mighty Thor. Why not? Corbin followed up his dominant first half of 2018 with an even lower ERA in the second half (3.01) and a better K-BB% of 27%. The move to Washington is not friendlier in terms of home park, as Washington ranked 13th vs LHB and 14th vs RHB in terms of Runs Factor and was 14th and 15th in HR Factor, while Arizona and its new humidor fell down to the low 30s. The long ball wasn't a big problem for Corbin and all his peripherals suggest the 29-year-old could establish himself as a dependable arm for the foreseeable future.

Jameson Taillon might be undervalued in this format as the 18th SP on the board. While the pitchers ahead of him generally have a longer track record and better name recognition, injury concerns about for the likes of Stephen Strasburg, James Paxton, and of course Luis Severino.

 

Rankings Analysis - Middle Tiers

Tier Four

Let's start with the fact that Bill has Clayton Kershaw ranked 25th overall (among all players, not just SP) while JB and Nick have him 67 and 79 respectively. If he finds his way to the mound by the end of April, he could return great value. Health questions aside, his K rate has been dropping since 2015, down to 23.9% last season over 161 1/3 IP. Kershaw would need to avoid the IL for the remainder of the year, jump back up closer to 10 K/9 and hang around long enough to see his win count get to the mid-teens. I'm not saying it can't happen but in a format where longevity and consistency matters, I'll take the seccurity of Mike Clevinger instead.

Miles Mikolas and his 18.1% strikeout rate don't seem suited for points leagues, or fantasy in general. His absurdly low 3.6% walk rate, 2.83 ERA, 1.07 and 18 wins from a year ago beg to differ, though. Mikolas is the classic ground ball specialist who is an innings-eater - dependable and just the kind of guy you want as your SP2 if you choose to grab an ace early and then wait it out for your next pitcher. He could also be paired with a high-upside arm like teammate Jack Flaherty or German Marquez, who each carry a bit more risk of negative regression despite tantalizing upside.

Tier Five

Speaking of risk, Mike Foltynewicz will not be in the rotation to start the season but is already set to begin a rehab assignment on April 4. There is a draft/buy-low window here for a player that, even if he does decline from last year, has continued to increase both his whiff rates and ground ball percentage. The control isn't impeccable (9.1% BB%) which is another reason he is available outside the top 30 SP.

Nick is decidedly down on Charlie Morton compared to his compadres. Morton finished as the 19th-highest point scorer among starters last year but no longer has the Astros offense to back him up. Then again, this is the same Rays team that helped Blake Snell to 21 victories last year. Well, not exactly the same but close enough. Park factors don't bode as worse for Morton so it is likely the prospect of facing the Murderers Row lineups of the Yankees and Red Sox more frequently that led to the lower rank. Although he does get the Orioles and Jays more frequently as well...

Nobody comes at a greater discount than Kyle Freeland, who outscored all but 11 other starters last year. Even if his 82.8% strand rate and low-for-anywhere-but-especially-Coors-Field 8.5% HR/FB rate do regress, he is a good bet to approach 200 innings again and earn somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 wins. Don't be too scared in this format to slot him at the end of your rotation.

 

Rankings Analysis - Lower Tiers

Tier Six

The potential breakout of Eduardo Rodriguez or the boring floor of Cole Hamels? That's a decision fantasy owners will have to make once they get to the sixth tier. Our rankers split the decision on this one but this author is a believer in E-Rod after glowing spring reports about his stuff, namely a developing cutter that could lead to a jump in strikeout rate if he can be more aggressive early in counts. Hamels is being undervalued based on his age but showed no signs of slowing down last year and now dwells in a friendlier league and home park than when he was in Arlington.

Tier Seven

If you're ready to take some risks, a pair of Cards lie in waiting. Carlos Martinez is probably not going to debut until May, so stash him only if you can afford the roster spot or have an IL spot available. Alex Reyes is not joining the rotation any time soon, so he is best used as a high-end reliever based on strikeout ability. His probable lack of wins or saves should handicap his value in all formats, so don't feel compelled to spend a pick on him inside the top 200 for non-keeper leagues. Bill is more than bullish on the young potential stud but his draft capital simply isn't anywhere that high.

Two of my favorite sleepers reside in this tier. One, Tyler Glasnow, has been bandied about all offseason by experts based on his pedigree, overpowering fastball that ranks in the 94th percentile, and progress from the second half of 2018 after moving to Tampa. The other, Sean Newcomb, went from hot prospect to forgotten man. With everyone glowing about Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson joining the Braves' rotation, while Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka, and Max Fried lie in wait, Newcomb is flying under the radar despite already having a rotation spot locked up long ago. Like Glasnow, his control is still an issue, but he could be one adjustment away from making major strides. He certainly has the capability to rack up strikeouts and wins already.

Tier Eight and Above

Some arms to watch in the latter portion of points league drafts or to monitor on waivers include: Yusei Kikuchi, Brad Peacock, Kyle Gibson, Joey Lucchesi, Steven Matz, Trevor Williams, Julio Teheran, Trevor Richards, and Vince Velasquez.

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