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Rest-of-Season Starting Pitcher Rankings (Midseason Update)


The Midsummer Classic has come and gone, leaving us without baseball for what seems like the longest week of the calendar year. Before the second half of the 2019 MLB season gets underway, the RotoBaller staff has updated our fantasy baseball rankings for the remainder of the year. RotoBaller writers Nick Mariano, Pierre Camus, Bill Dubiel and Scott Engel want you to crush the competition and know that rankings don't stop mattering once your draft is over.

Starting pitchers have been the bane of fantasy owners' existence this year. Whether you side with Justin Verlander or not, it's obvious that offense as a whole, especially home runs, are up. That's been bad news for many SP that were drafted in the first few rounds. If you are still in the thick of the race in your mixed roto league, it's critical to find the right pitchers to trust so your ratios don't tank.

Throw those preseason ADPs out along with any preconceived notion of how these players were going to perform - we've taken into account injuries, team context, Statcast metrics, and gameplay observations in order to provide you with the most current rankings possible. Check out our fantasy baseball rankings dashboard for the very latest rankings which are continually updated. Without any more delay, let's break down the 2019 SP rest-of-season rankings for July.

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 - 5x5 Mixed Leagues (July)

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.

Ranking Tier Player Position Nick Pierre Bill
1 1 Max Scherzer SP 5 11 4
2 1 Chris Sale SP 8 15 7
3 1 Justin Verlander SP 7 18 6
4 2 Gerrit Cole SP 12 12 11
5 2 Jacob deGrom SP 13 26 12
6 2 Trevor Bauer SP 32 20 32
7 2 Luis Castillo SP 36 31 40
8 2 Jose Berrios SP 42 23 45
9 2 Clayton Kershaw SP 41 36 36
10 2 Zack Greinke SP 23 60 37
11 2 Blake Snell SP 30 58 35
12 3 Hyun-Jin Ryu SP 35 61 38
13 3 Walker Buehler SP 33 66 39
14 3 Stephen Strasburg SP 44 59 49
15 3 Aaron Nola SP 59 35 64
16 3 Patrick Corbin SP 77 49 52
17 3 Charlie Morton SP 55 77 58
18 3 Noah Syndergaard SP 58 75 62
19 4 David Price SP 72 81 75
20 4 James Paxton SP 70 86 74
21 4 Lucas Giolito SP 78 117 82
22 4 Mike Clevinger SP 87 108 91
23 4 Shane Bieber SP 95 99 98
24 4 Masahiro Tanaka SP 118 64 120
25 4 German Marquez SP 117 97 101
26 4 Mike Minor SP 105 93 118
27 4 Madison Bumgarner SP 102 110 107
28 4 Matthew Boyd SP 104 118 110
29 5 Mike Soroka SP 107 138 89
30 5 Jack Flaherty SP 144 95 135
31 5 Robbie Ray SP 147 84 149
32 5 Jake Odorizzi SP 129 135 124
33 5 Kenta Maeda SP 130 131 138
34 5 Cole Hamels SP 139 125 140
35 5 Chris Paddack SP 145 143 132
36 5 Zack Wheeler SP 138 160 139
37 5 Caleb Smith SP 164 114 159
38 5 Griffin Canning SP 150 165 151
39 5 Eduardo Rodriguez SP 186 120 188
40 6 Kyle Gibson SP 154 197 157
41 6 Yu Darvish SP 148 219 143
42 6 Jose Quintana SP 182 164 183
43 6 Liam Hendriks SP 196 #N/A 176
44 6 Yonny Chirinos SP 222 123 217
45 6 Max Fried SP 195 183 187
46 6 J.A. Happ SP 214 137 214
47 6 Domingo German SP 215 153 199
48 6 Brandon Woodruff SP 113 322 133
49 6 Nick Pivetta SP 177 236 179
50 6 Sonny Gray SP 209 194 206
51 6 Tyler Glasnow SP 292 190 136
52 6 Andrew Heaney SP 133 344 156
53 6 Carlos Carrasco SP 162 301 173
54 6 Kyle Hendricks SP 233 186 239
55 6 Joey Lucchesi SP 263 180 237
56 7 Steven Matz SP 259 179 244
57 7 Joe Musgrove SP 270 140 276
58 7 Chris Archer SP 271 154 275
59 7 Jon Gray SP 278 145 277
60 7 Rick Porcello SP 260 172 269
61 7 Trevor Williams SP 250 188 267
62 7 Jon Lester SP 243 211 254
63 7 Miles Mikolas SP 268 177 268
64 7 Rich Hill SP 171 379 172
65 7 Jameson Taillon SP 253 212 262
66 7 John Gant SP 211 222 300
67 7 Jake Arrieta SP 274 198 278
68 8 Anibal Sanchez SP 227 320 228
69 8 Corey Kluber SP 247 284 245
70 8 Ryan Yarbrough SP 257 271 #N/A
71 8 Lance Lynn SP 217 353 225
72 8 Zac Gallen SP 275 245 281
73 8 Tyler Mahle SP 277 258 270
74 8 Dallas Keuchel SP 295 250 263
75 8 Zach Plesac SP 279 252 260
76 8 Brad Peacock RP/SP 294 256 266
77 9 Spencer Turnbull SP 378 213 234
78 9 Mike Foltynewicz SP 374 148 307
79 9 Marco Gonzales SP 283 265 282
80 9 Trevor Richards SP 281 275 279
81 9 Pablo Lopez SP 266 317 258
82 9 Matt Strahm RP/SP 287 274 284
83 9 Sean Newcomb SP #N/A 282 #N/A
84 9 Ross Stripling SP 272 251 325
85 9 Jesus Luzardo SP 249 356 248
86 9 Julio Teheran SP 246 361 257
87 10 Michael Pineda SP 290 287 289
88 10 Marcus Stroman SP 276 306 287
89 10 Merrill Kelly SP 256 342 273
90 10 Framber Valdez SP 350 270 256
91 10 Diego Castillo RP/SP 269 374 243
92 10 Carlos Martinez SP/RP 228 308 362
93 10 Luis Severino SP 262 368 272
94 10 Jordan Lyles SP 280 336 288
95 10 Jason Vargas SP 315 354 293
96 10 Adrian Sampson SP/RP 291 330 291
97 10 Yusei Kikuchi SP 356 199 359
98 10 Scott Oberg SP 293 319 308
99 10 Julio Urias SP 321 277 327
100 10 Wade Miley SP 232 480 235
101 10 Tommy Milone SP 317 370 323
102 11 Sandy Alcantara SP 324 338 301
103 11 Michael Wacha SP 331 304 338
104 11 Martin Perez SP 248 477 265
105 11 Jeff Samardzija SP 329 326 337
106 11 Aaron Sanchez SP 322 348 334
107 11 Brad Keller SP 334 333 340
108 11 Freddy Peralta SP 337 329 342
109 11 Jalen Beeks SP 379 288 349
110 11 Peter Lambert SP 346 #N/A 333
111 11 Logan Allen SP 338 #N/A 343
112 11 Zach Eflin SP 300 428 299
113 11 Luke Weaver SP 402 229 411
114 11 Ian Kennedy SP 252 446 344
115 11 Trent Thornton SP 339 358 345
116 11 Zach Davies SP 288 481 285
117 11 Eric Lauer SP 326 340 389
118 11 Vince Velasquez SP 394 260 402
119 11 Dylan Bundy SP 282 488 286
120 11 Jhoulys Chacin SP 319 412 326
121 12 Jimmy Nelson SP 415 360 283
122 12 Felix Pena RP/SP 320 445 310
123 12 Mitch Keller SP 351 406 321
124 12 Jordan Yamamoto SP 388 331 366
125 12 CC Sabathia SP 390 312 395
126 12 Anthony DeSclafani SP 306 511 290
127 12 Reynaldo Lopez SP 372 403 339
128 12 John Means SP/RP 367 #N/A 376
129 12 Elieser Hernandez SP/RP 369 #N/A 378
130 12 Chris Bassitt SP 333 485 314
131 12 Chase Anderson SP 393 352 401
132 12 Adam Conley SP/RP 385 #N/A 381
133 12 Dereck Rodriguez SP 396 351 405
134 12 Josh James SP 330 411 414
135 12 Collin McHugh SP 398 371 394
136 12 Mike Fiers SP 335 501 329
137 13 Tanner Roark SP 325 519 331
138 13 Danny Duffy SP 399 370 408
139 13 Dylan Cease SP 384 #N/A 404
140 13 Cal Quantrill SP 418 362 425
141 13 Alex Wood SP 395 409 403
142 13 Kevin Gausman SP 410 404 397
143 13 Nathan Eovaldi SP 411 380 421
144 13 Jakob Junis SP 392 420 400
145 13 Robert Stephenson SP 400 #N/A 409
146 13 Seth Lugo SP/RP 403 #N/A 412
147 13 Cole Irvin SP #N/A 408 #N/A
148 13 Felix Hernandez SP 404 #N/A 415
149 13 Alex Reyes SP/RP 420 384 427
150 13 Adam Wainwright SP 405 #N/A 416
151 13 Corbin Burnes SP/RP 426 378 429
152 13 Homer Bailey SP 407 #N/A 419
153 13 Dinelson Lamet SP 408 #N/A 420
154 13 Sean Manaea SP 409 #N/A 424
155 13 Drew Pomeranz SP 406 427 417
156 13 Jose Suarez SP 511 #N/A 324
157 13 Derek Holland SP 416 #N/A 422
158 14 Corbin Martin SP #N/A 419 #N/A
159 14 Jon Duplantier SP 419 424 426
160 14 Wade LeBlanc SP 421 #N/A 428
161 14 Kyle Freeland SP 513 392 380
162 14 Trevor Cahill SP 387 505 393
163 14 Amir Garrett SP 382 517 390
164 14 Touki Toussaint SP 413 500 391
165 14 Jerad Eickhoff SP 412 515 396
166 14 Clay Buchholz SP 478 #N/A 406
167 14 Sam Gaviglio SP/RP 480 #N/A 407
168 14 Gio Gonzalez SP 417 497 423
169 14 Forrest Whitley SP #N/A 484 413
170 14 Nick Margevicius SP 520 355 495
171 14 Wily Peralta SP/RP #N/A #N/A 457
172 14 Jose Urena SP 519 #N/A 418
173 14 Zack Godley SP #N/A 492 #N/A
174 14 Drew Smyly SP #N/A 506 #N/A
175 14 Robert Gsellman SP/RP #N/A #N/A 525
176 14 Jaime Barria SP 526 502 557
177 14 Justus Sheffield SP #N/A #N/A 531
178 14 Ivan Nova SP #N/A #N/A 533
179 14 Dylan Floro SP/RP #N/A #N/A 541
180 14 Luiz Gohara SP #N/A #N/A 543
181 14 Kyle Wright SP #N/A #N/A 547
182 14 Jeremy Hellickson SP #N/A #N/A 551
183 14 Alex Cobb SP #N/A #N/A 554
184 14 A.J. Puk SP #N/A #N/A 572

 

Rankings Analysis - Top Tiers

Tier One

After pitching to an uncharacteristically high 4.12 ERA in the first month, Mad Max has been lights out ever since. We should be grateful that he's sitting out the All-Star game in order to stay fresh for the stretch run. He's locked in as the top fantasy SP for the rest of this year and that likely won't change.

Roller coaster enthusiasts, masochists, diehard Red Sox fans convinced the team is going to turn it around any day now and bring anotha' ring home. Those are the people enjoying their draft-day shares of Chris Sale at an average price tag of a first-round pick. His K-rate is still strong at 34.5% but his swing-and-miss rate has fluctuated wildly from month to month, as has his ERA.

After a horrible April, Sale posted a 2.82 ERA in May and 2.73 in June. Then he ruined it all by giving up five earned runs in each of his last two starts before the break. If you own Sale or bought low on him after the panic started, hold tight and enjoy the strikeouts, if nothing else.

Tier Two

Bauer isn't pitching to last year's level but I'm not discounting improvement in the second half. His 38.2% hard-hit rate has jumped back to 2017 levels, nine points higher than last year. That has led to an ERA that's a run and a half higher than last year too. I wouldn't be surprised if the recent trade rumors spark a resurgence, whether they come to fruition or not. A move to a contender would obviously help his win potential and could push him back into the elite once more.

My personal ranking for Zack Greinke and Blake Snell are about 20-30 spots lower than my compadres. This has nothing to do with those particular players. In fact, it's the start of a trend where I seem to have several starters in the top 25 lower than the consensus.

Tier Three

A 3.74 ERA and 1.30 WHIP aren't what we expected out of Aaron Nola. At least he's stayed healthy so far! Nola's hard-hit rate is in the 26th percentile and he's already allowed 15 HR in 19 starts after allowing just 17 all last year over 33 starts (cue Justin Verlander quote). So Nola may be a victim of the juiced ball to some extent but in a season where an ERA of 3.00 puts you on the top-10 leaderboard, we can't complain too much in this case. His strikeout rate is comparable to last year and he has a chance to match last year's 17-win total if the Phillies play up to their potential.

Patrick Corbin was thought to be a Cy Young dark horse coming into the season after his move to Washington. Last year's breakout was no fluke, as he's matched nearly every metric from 2018 and, aside from a few more longballs allowed, looks to be a strong SP2 in fantasy rotations. If the Nats keep pushing for a playoff spot, he will be a key factor. I see no reason to expect decline, unlike pitchers like Hyun Jin Ryu and Luis Castillo who have yet to hit a rough patch but could do so based on their history.

Speaking of the Cy Young award, maybe Noah Syndergaard won't ever win one after all. Early on, we blamed the ball and his lack of grip. Then it was injury. Now, we don't know what to make of the once-mighty Thor. Our own Scott Engel wrote a detailed profile on him early in the season and followed up with another Insider Report indicating he could still be a buy-low candidate based on several factors. It's hard to keep the faith at this point with a 4.68 ERA weighing him down. What's worse is that his K% has been dropping for three straight years. New rumors suggest he could be on the trade block but it's not certain whether the Mets would trade him. Either way, buying low has just become too risky at this point.

 

Rankings Analysis - Middle Tiers

Tier Four

Let's talk Cleveland. Shane Bieber was absolutely dominant in his one inning of labor at the All-Star Game, striking out the side. Sure, Aroldis Chapman did the same thing and earned the save but did he pitch the all-important fifth inning? I think not. Hometown conspiracy aside, Bieber has been one of the better pitching surprises of the season. He's walking just over five percent of batters faced and his ratios are inflated by a couple of disastrous starts earlier in the year. That said, it should be noted that his 45.6% hard-hit percentage is in the bottom 5% of the league. As a rookie, he may be prone to more disastrous starts in the future too, so be cautious.

Mike Clevinger gets a pass because he's been dealing with strains and sprains all year. His last outing of the first half was promising though, as he tossed six scoreless innings on July 3. There could be a buy-low window still.

If anyone should be highest on Lucas Giolito, it should be me. I mean, I wrote the book (article) on his breakout 2019 season. But I understand his inconsistency and control issues could continue to creep back. His latest outing, where he surrendered five walks and six earned runs, can be dismissed. The fact that he hasn't finished six innings in any of his last four starts is hard to ignore though. The Cubs seem to be his biggest problem lately but if he is tiring out or losing his command for whatever reason, it may be time to bail. Let's see if the break does him some good before pushing the panic button.

Tier Five

Upon reviewing these rankings, I've noticed I'm far higher on Jack Flaherty and lower on Mike Soroka than either Nick or Bill. I feel good about Flaherty showing improvement, especially because the K-rate is still strong and the Cardinals offense just has to get better, which will improve that 4-6 record. I feel pretty good about Soroka too so it must be natural fear of regression that drove me to rank him lower. Expected stats say that he is performing as he should but the fact he's striking out barely 20% of batters and has had some nice luck in the win column makes me leery.

I named Chris Paddack as the top sell-high SP about a month ago and am holding true to that. He's already been sent down temporarily once and will probably see more time off in the near future. He's got the stuff, even if his pitch mix is limited, but this isn't the year to trust him down the stretch of a fantasy playoff race.

Zach Wheeler has also been linked to trade talks and could wind up in San Diego or Milwaukee before the year is up. This would be a boon to his value, although that would involve trusting him. He's looked bad at times but all his xStats are above average, with a fastball velocity that ranks in the 95th percentile. That will play anywhere.

Time to represent my Marlins! Caleb Smith was one of the best pitchers in the majors before he hit the injured list and should rightfully have been nominated as the team's All-Star representative. Now that he's back, people seem have forgotten about his elite strikeout numbers and 1.01 WHIP. The wins are even more promising now that the Marlins are playing .500 ball since May. The fact he's even available in more than a third of fantasy leagues disturbs me.

Tier Six

I'm done with Yu Darvish. Done. I mean, I still own him in about six leagues so technically not completely done but you get the drift. He's been a hard pill to swallow even on a discounted draft price this year. Glimmers of hope, like his strong start against the Dodgers a couple of weeks ago, are immediately erased by four-run and five-run outings. He's only tossed four quality starts out of 18 this season. If you have aspirations of winning your league, move on from him now.

Is there still hope left for Nick Pivetta? He seemed to get it together for about a one-week span after being recalled from Triple-A and then continued to implode time after time. He is a lost cause at this point and doesn't belong in the top 200 overall.

Out of sight, out of mind? That seems to be the mentality of many fantasy owners. Young studs Domingo German and Tyler Glasnow are both similar to Caleb Smith in the sense that they were sensational to start the season and then hit the shelf with injuries and became devalued. I have personally been able to buy German and Smith at discounted rates over the past couple of weeks and may soon pull the trigger on Glasnow. His forearm strain isn't indicative of other major issues and he said he expects to pitch again this season. Reevaluate the situation in a week and see if he can help sooner than later.

 

Rankings Analysis - Lower Tiers

Tier Seven

I know I'm still too high on Jon Gray and always will be. He is what he is at this point - a hard-thrower who isn't fazed by Coors but is also prone to getting hit hard at times. He is and will remain a low-end rotation arm in fantasy.

On the other end of the velocity spectrum, Miles Mikolas isn't worth your time outside of points leagues - I'll have to slide him way down my personal rankings.

Trevor Williams isn't going to blow anyone away but he has shown the ability to limit opposing offenses. That said, he's been outright terrible in three starts since coming off the IL. For that reason, he's been dumped in many leagues. Take a wait-and-see approach to determine whether he can get back on track after the break. He could be a worthy streamer if nothing else, at least for your ratios.

Tier Eight and lower

Many busts reside here, such as Mike Foltynewicz, Yusei Kikuchi, and Ross Stripling. Starters don't typically post dramatic turnarounds midseason so taking a chance on a young pitcher like Zac Gallen, Jesus Luzardo, or Zach Plesac might be a better strategy.

Buy-low candidates worth considering for those in the middle of the standings include: Luke Weaver, Sandy Alcantara, Eric Lauer.

Regardless of standing, I'm not holding my breath waiting on Corey Kluber or Luis Severino to return in an effective way. Chalk it up as a lost season and move on.

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