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Rest of Season Starting Pitcher Rankings (May Update)


The calendar's turned to May and we're heading out to the mound for a Rest-of-Season update of our mixed rankings analysis. RotoBaller writers Nick Mariano, Pierre Camus, Bill Dubiel and Scott Engel want you to crush the competition and know that rankings can't end on draft day. Check out our fantasy baseball rankings dashboard for the latest and greatest ranks at any time.

Starting pitching is necessary to claim a title in most leagues, but you can take many routes to get there. Those who invested in aces may be hurting early, but lots of them are simply suffering from noise. Whether you're hunting insight on whether to abandon ship on some top arms or seeking out lower-owned hurlers to buy into, we've got you covered here with ranks that go 175 arms deep.

Without any more delay, let's break down the 2019 starting pitcher rest-of-season rankings for May.

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 (May)

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 Position Nick Pierre Bill Scott
1 1 Max Scherzer SP 9 10 5 21
2 1 Justin Verlander SP 12 15 17 11
3 1 Jacob deGrom SP 10 19 9 23
4 1 Trevor Bauer SP 14 14 18 17
5 1 Gerrit Cole SP 15 21 22 13
6 2 Chris Sale SP 32 31 16 25
7 2 Blake Snell SP 19 22 35 30
8 2 Carlos Carrasco SP 31 54 32 32
9 2 Aaron Nola SP 54 33 34 43
10 2 Jose Berrios SP 45 27 66 35
11 2 Patrick Corbin SP 35 38 38 71
12 2 Noah Syndergaard SP 48 48 39 49
13 3 Clayton Kershaw SP 42 36 93 33
14 3 Zack Greinke SP 47 71 51 42
15 3 Walker Buehler SP 44 69 43 59
16 3 James Paxton SP 66 62 45 52
17 3 Stephen Strasburg SP 62 65 50 50
18 3 Luis Castillo SP 67 82 62 48
19 4 Jack Flaherty SP 63 80 55 94
20 4 German Marquez SP 79 86 77 75
21 4 Tyler Glasnow SP 64 52 85 138
22 4 David Price SP 86 77 88 90
23 4 Zack Wheeler SP 97 112 65 84
24 4 Jameson Taillon SP 161 64 64 73
25 4 Madison Bumgarner SP 113 114 104 70
26 4 Charlie Morton SP 82 99 133 95
27 4 Masahiro Tanaka SP 125 96 106 113
28 4 Robbie Ray SP 110 101 139 106
29 5 Caleb Smith SP 114 122 148 87
30 5 Chris Paddack SP 121 141 111 127
31 5 Mike Foltynewicz SP 129 129 128 117
32 5 Matthew Boyd SP 120 139 153 128
33 5 Rich Hill SP 103 142 136 161
34 5 Chris Archer SP 144 118 155 134
35 5 Mike Clevinger SP 154 211 54 148
36 5 Cole Hamels SP 147 127 167 130
37 5 Kyle Hendricks SP 169 124 126 176
38 5 Hyun-Jin Ryu SP 131 168 170 133
39 5 Joe Musgrove SP 146 149 183 129
40 5 Collin McHugh SP 151 157 161 139
41 5 Shane Bieber SP 155 103 192 159
42 6 J.A. Happ SP 213 147 118 140
43 6 Yu Darvish SP 166 144 131 187
44 6 Mike Soroka SP 138 164 200 137
45 6 Kenta Maeda SP 149 135 173 189
46 6 Jose Quintana SP 135 169 143 209
47 6 Domingo German SP 136 180 165 198
48 6 Eduardo Rodriguez SP 190 121 169 212
49 6 Miles Mikolas SP 244 133 233 152
50 6 Steven Matz SP 254 178 217 135
51 6 Sonny Gray SP 172 198 196 221
52 6 Trevor Williams SP 262 183 199 149
53 6 Luke Weaver SP 196 181 185 238
54 6 Max Fried SP 184 209 214 200
55 6 Jon Gray SP 222 158 223 214
56 7 Kyle Freeland SP 253 190 163 241
57 7 Luis Severino SP 214 240 212 201
58 7 Jake Arrieta SP 255 200 194 267
59 7 Jon Lester SP 257 285 175 207
60 7 Pablo Lopez SP 237 226 231 #N/A
61 7 Rick Porcello SP 234 268 144 283
62 7 Brad Peacock RP/SP 311 222 235 171
63 7 Joey Lucchesi SP 247 173 268 255
64 7 Kevin Gausman SP 193 250 267 234
65 7 Marco Gonzales SP 249 277 145 282
66 7 Mike Minor SP 261 182 298 219
67 7 Jake Odorizzi SP 336 197 218 #N/A
68 7 Martin Perez SP 226 #N/A 276 #N/A
69 8 Zach Eflin SP 370 207 230 220
70 8 Marcus Stroman SP 366 219 197 249
71 8 Yusei Kikuchi SP 296 186 310 266
72 8 Tyler Skaggs SP 260 282 240 284
73 8 John Gant SP 252 #N/A 283 #N/A
74 8 Corey Kluber SP 390 237 258 188
75 8 Jerad Eickhoff SP 292 247 #N/A #N/A
76 8 Ross Stripling SP 356 292 168 277
77 8 Jordan Lyles SP 318 253 252 #N/A
78 8 Anthony DeSclafani SP 300 #N/A 256 #N/A
79 8 Anibal Sanchez SP 331 324 179 #N/A
80 8 Andrew Heaney SP 264 345 251 275
81 8 Brandon Woodruff SP 267 289 308 #N/A
82 8 Frankie Montas SP/RP 302 349 #N/A 215
83 9 Reynaldo Lopez SP 324 300 284 250
84 9 Matt Strahm RP/SP 285 228 358 #N/A
85 9 Vince Velasquez SP 385 204 288 #N/A
86 9 Spencer Turnbull SP 323 232 367 268
87 9 Carlos Rodon SP #N/A 210 415 269
88 9 Jimmy Nelson SP 281 311 315 #N/A
89 9 Jeff Samardzija SP 378 342 246 252
90 10 Alex Wood SP 314 351 262 #N/A
91 10 Merrill Kelly SP 271 354 302 #N/A
92 10 Yonny Chirinos SP 412 212 #N/A #N/A
93 10 Julio Urias SP 360 290 317 #N/A
94 10 Diego Castillo RP/SP 227 326 450 287
95 10 Dereck Rodriguez SP 364 333 281 #N/A
96 10 Kyle Gibson SP 319 338 326 #N/A
97 10 Michael Wacha SP 381 298 304 #N/A
98 10 Nathan Eovaldi SP 462 258 266 #N/A
99 10 Michael Pineda SP 309 293 411 #N/A
100 10 Carlos Martinez SP/RP 445 294 282 #N/A
101 10 Forrest Whitley SP 353 278 399 #N/A
102 10 Trevor Richards SP 310 337 389 #N/A
103 11 Aaron Sanchez SP 368 346 331 #N/A
104 11 Jhoulys Chacin SP 332 376 338 #N/A
105 11 Jesus Luzardo SP 250 440 371 #N/A
106 11 CC Sabathia SP 362 401 303 #N/A
107 11 Lucas Giolito SP 298 362 419 #N/A
108 11 Derek Holland SP 258 480 349 #N/A
109 11 Dallas Keuchel SP 328 387 373 #N/A
110 11 Gio Gonzalez SP 468 260 #N/A #N/A
111 11 Nick Margevicius SP 350 365 386 #N/A
112 11 Brad Keller SP 313 430 359 #N/A
113 11 Corbin Burnes SP/RP 406 325 374 #N/A
114 11 Nick Pivetta SP 474 456 178 #N/A
115 11 Lance Lynn SP 457 #N/A 289 #N/A
116 11 Drew Pomeranz SP 441 378 314 #N/A
117 11 John Means SP/RP 380 #N/A #N/A #N/A
118 11 Danny Duffy SP 423 327 403 #N/A
119 11 Jose Urena SP 392 #N/A 385 #N/A
120 11 Alex Reyes SP/RP 483 370 321 #N/A
121 11 Ian Kennedy SP 397 479 300 #N/A
122 12 Clay Buchholz SP 416 431 347 #N/A
123 12 Sandy Alcantara SP 377 388 434 #N/A
124 12 Josh James SP 430 371 405 #N/A
125 12 Jakob Junis SP 393 377 447 #N/A
126 12 Dylan Bundy SP 428 442 352 #N/A
127 12 Freddy Peralta SP 431 323 479 #N/A
128 12 Mike Fiers SP 422 483 334 #N/A
129 12 Tyler Mahle SP 415 404 428 #N/A
130 12 Julio Teheran SP 451 392 408 #N/A
131 12 Trevor Cahill SP 386 488 391 #N/A
132 12 Mitch Keller SP 448 #N/A 397 #N/A
133 12 Wei-Yin Chen SP #N/A #N/A 423 #N/A
134 12 Robert Stephenson SP 424 #N/A #N/A #N/A
135 12 Zach Davies SP 382 420 473 #N/A
136 12 Sam Gaviglio SP/RP 425 #N/A #N/A #N/A
137 12 Amir Garrett SP 481 399 398 #N/A
138 13 Seth Lugo SP/RP 484 #N/A 372 #N/A
139 13 Sean Newcomb SP #N/A 444 414 #N/A
140 13 Jonathan Loaisiga SP 469 484 340 #N/A
141 13 Drew Smyly SP #N/A 433 #N/A #N/A
142 13 Zack Godley SP #N/A 455 413 #N/A
143 13 Felix Hernandez SP 434 #N/A #N/A #N/A
144 13 Tyler Anderson SP #N/A #N/A 435 #N/A
145 13 Wade Miley SP 387 498 424 #N/A
146 13 Marco Estrada SP #N/A #N/A 439 #N/A
147 13 Griffin Canning SP 439 #N/A #N/A #N/A
148 13 Felix Pena RP/SP 438 #N/A 451 #N/A
149 13 Chase Anderson SP 399 482 456 #N/A
150 13 Tanner Roark SP 447 #N/A 457 #N/A
151 13 Taijuan Walker SP 479 426 #N/A #N/A
152 13 Jon Duplantier SP 482 423 #N/A #N/A
153 13 Robbie Erlin SP #N/A #N/A 453 #N/A
154 13 Mike Leake SP #N/A #N/A 454 #N/A
155 13 Chris Devenski SP/RP #N/A 428 492 #N/A
156 13 Dinelson Lamet SP 461 #N/A #N/A #N/A
157 13 Jason Vargas SP #N/A #N/A 461 #N/A
158 13 Wily Peralta SP/RP #N/A 425 498 #N/A
159 14 Adam Conley SP/RP 420 #N/A 510 #N/A
160 14 Justus Sheffield SP #N/A 406 531 #N/A
161 14 Jalen Beeks SP 470 #N/A #N/A #N/A
162 14 Framber Valdez SP 497 #N/A 459 #N/A
163 14 Sean Manaea SP 480 #N/A #N/A #N/A
164 14 Brent Honeywell Jr. SP 488 #N/A #N/A #N/A
165 14 Matt Harvey SP 466 #N/A 520 #N/A
166 14 Antonio Senzatela SP 494 #N/A #N/A #N/A
167 14 Adam Wainwright SP 440 #N/A 559 #N/A
168 14 Touki Toussaint SP 463 487 550 #N/A
169 14 Wade LeBlanc SP 489 #N/A 521 #N/A
170 14 Robert Gsellman SP/RP #N/A 500 525 #N/A
171 14 Jaime Barria SP 498 485 557 #N/A
172 14 A.J. Puk SP 464 #N/A 572 #N/A
173 14 Tyson Ross SP #N/A #N/A 518 #N/A
174 14 Kyle Wright SP 493 #N/A 547 #N/A
175 14 Ivan Nova SP #N/A #N/A 533 #N/A
176 14 Eric Lauer SP 495 #N/A 574 #N/A
177 14 Dylan Floro SP/RP #N/A #N/A 541 #N/A
178 14 Luiz Gohara SP #N/A #N/A 543 #N/A
179 14 Jeremy Hellickson SP #N/A #N/A 551 #N/A
180 14 Alex Cobb SP #N/A #N/A 554 #N/A

 

Rankings Analysis - Top Tiers

Tier One

Being a top-tier pitcher has led to mixed results thus far, but these five arms still demand respect and should be viewed as true SP1’s. Scherzer is battling ridiculously poor luck despite gains in his strikeout rate and a trimmed walk rate for beautiful peripherals. Verlander continues to stave off Father Time and deliver quality starts on command. Some of deGrom’s turbulence can be blamed on injury, yet he still has 49 strikeouts in 32 innings. If healthy, he’s a pitching god. Bauer and Cole are both putting any doubts of being a one-year wonder to bed.

Tier Two

Sale’s April sent off the loudest of alarms, as reduced velocity and shoddy command led to horrid results and an admission that he’d “never felt so lost on the mound.” I remain cautious, but he’s started to look better lately and his ceiling remains the No. 1 pitcher in baseball.

Carrasco and Nola also own cold starts, though Carrasco is one of the better buy-lows out there. The 5.60 ERA/1.33 WHIP obscure a beautiful 2.94 SIERA -- better than 2018’s 3.03 mark -- and the 50 strikeouts in 35 ⅓ IP (33.1% K rate) point to a 250-strikeout season. Compare that to Nola, whose SIERA has risen from 3.40 in ‘18 to 4.40 in ‘19. Nola’s poor 8.3% swinging-strike rate is way down from 2018’s 12.4% clip and mixed with more walks and more homers for a heartbeat-inducing 1.61 WHIP and average 22.8% strikeout rate. We know he’s got more in the tank, but you can see I’m the low man here.

Tier Three

Syndergaard reminded everyone of his godlike talent by twirling a complete-game shutout and making his own offense with a solo homer. Still more thrower than refined pitcher, Thor is still a high-end SP2 with the raw ability to one day become more. Kershaw is healthy now and can be an anchor for as long as health holds, decreased velocity and all. Greinke remains one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball, especially with Chase Field’s humidor in tow.

Paxton’s ranking came as the injury news was developing and he’s not supposed to miss more than a few turns, so I still buy the double-digit strikeout performances that we saw in late April. Castillo continues to ascend the ranks, though his walk rate sits around 10% and he entered May with a mere 50% first-strike rate. He leads the league in pitching from behind in the count, something that’s tough to bank on moving forward. Obviously, I (and we) still view him as a stud but don’t be surprised as that 1.97 ERA creeps towards the 3.52 SIERA.

 

Rankings Analysis - Middle Tiers

Tier Four

I have Flaherty and Glasnow ranked ahead of Castillo, for instance. Not by much, but I like that Flaherty has brought his walk rate down from 9.6% in ‘18 to 6.5% here while increased his swinging-strike rate by a hair (13.4% to 13.6%). The longball has done him dirty thus far, taking a career trend and injecting steroids into it with the ‘19 HR surge, but the 3.42 SIERA has me buying in long-term.

And Glasnow, well he’s just a Georgia peach, ain’t he? Despite this being the year of hard contact, Statcast grades him with a 29.9% hard-hit rate yielded after that sat at 38.2% in ‘18. Joining that is a mere 4.4% walk rate (11.1% in ‘18), which creates a star.

For our ranking purposes, most were in before the extent of Taillon’s injury was known and I dropped him towards Mike Clevinger as a result. We’re still in the intel-gathering phase here, but I lean pessimistic with elbow injuries.

Tier Five

I went head-to-head with Derek Carty’s THE BAT projection system before the season began, with Caleb Smith being someone he liked a lot more than me. Our resident (and possibly only remaining) Marlins fan, Pierre, claims he totally called this in his preseason evaluation of the Marlins' young staff. Smith's inability to work deep into games and accrue wins on Miami scared me off, as well as a likely innings cap since he threw just 77 ⅓ IP in ‘18, though I liked his talents. Now, even Smith’s own mother wouldn’t have predicted how red-hot the southpaw would scream out of the gates with a 0.83 WHIP and a 26.9% K-BB% that ranks fifth out of qualified starters. He won’t last all year, at least in the rotation, and so I can’t go top-100, but he is no fluke either.

In fact, he also liked Matthew Boyd more than me...but I liked Cole Hamels more, so I promise I have something to offer! I’ve also been higher than most on Collin McHugh throughout the preseason, which paid off handsomely through his first four starts but then Texas happened. Oy. I still believe in that sick slider that he brought back in the bullpen last season even as his .229 BABIP regresses -- hopefully, the low 63.3% strand rate regressing helps balance it out as Houston wins many games behind him.

Tier Six

Here’s where the question marks start to rise up, but the upside remains startable in most matchups. I won’t blame anyone for moving on from Darvish since he seems to have caught whatever Tyler Chatwood had last season -- 27 walks in 32 ⅔ innings! -- and an MLB-worst 17.8% walk rate for qualified starters. The 13% swinging-strike rate offers some light at the end of the tunnel, but this rank only reflects what he could be again. I’m treating him like a guy in the Minors that I’m stashing as he stays far from my starting lineup.

Ignoring the injury-related Steven Matz low rank for me, the widest “low gap” that I can speak to is Trevor Williams. I respect his ability to outperform peripherals by suppressing hard contact (career 0.86 HR/9) but it makes for a tightrope act. Pittsburgh is unlikely to make him into a 15-game winner in 2019 and the 18.1% strikeout rate is 69th out of 85 qualified SP. No, that’s not nice -- the added whiffs this season means these low-K guys burn extra. Even with a healthy 3.74 ERA/1.11 WHIP through 43 ⅓ IP this season, Williams is ranked 322nd in 5x5 leagues.

 

Rankings Analysis - Lower Tiers

Tier Seven

What I said for Williams goes for Mikolas as well. And the injury pessimism is cranked to 11 on Severino, who is expected to be gone through the All-Star break, but we still dream of that August/September boost.

Looks like I’m a big ol’ Eflin hater, especially after he just tossed seven frames of one-run ball on Sunday night. While that trimmed his ERA to an even 3.00 through seven starts (42 IP), the 4.32 FIP and 4.68 xFIP rose a bit. His 31 K’s in the 42 frames are in Trevor Williams territory yet Eflin’s 1.50 HR/9 is aligned with the 1.55 career mark. Fangraphs has his hard-hit rate dropping from 29.1% in ‘18 to 21.2%, but Statcast has it rising from 33.2% to 34.5% with a slight rise in average exit velocity yielded. I side with Statcast and SIERA, so I’ll let you guys have all the Eflin fun.

Tier Eight

I don’t want this piece to be soaked in Haterade, but I can’t ignore being 120 slots lower on Stroman than the next-lowest ranker. The 2.20 ERA/1.20 WHIP is great and he’s even upped his strikeout rate to a healthy 22.8% (17.2% in ‘18) -- but his 3.81 xFIP and 4.19 SIERA are nearly identical to 2018. Statcast has his average exit velo up half a tick and after yielding an average launch angle lower than 0.5 degrees in his last four seasons, it’s up to five degrees in ‘19. Despite that, he’s yet to give up a homer. I accept being slow to accept Stroman, maybe I’m mistaken, but I just don’t see sustainable growth. Odorizzi is in the same camp, with a 4.48 xFIP and 4.34 SIERA behind his 2.78 ERA/1.09 WHIP.

In SP-eligible-but-not-really-SP news, John Gant has been a beast so far. Out of 223 pitchers that have had at least 40 batted balls off of them, Gant’s 83.5 mph average exit velocity on flies and liners is the lowest figure. Hitters simply aren’t getting good wood on his filth and I’m digging it. And in other news, my bold prediction about Anibal Sanchez being awesome is aging so very poorly, sigh.

Tier Nine

This tier has serious upside and I probably should have Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Woodruff, Spencer Turnbull and Martin Perez a little higher. DeSclafani has allowed just one run in his last three starts combined, yielding just nine hits with 20 strikeouts over 17 ⅔ IP. Woodruff has a beautiful 45/12 K/BB rate and 3.33 FIP/3.53 xFIP/3.63 SIERA underneath the 4.71 ERA, he just needs to get that command right. Turnbull’s turned in one poor start out of seven thus far, allowing two earned runs in his last four starts (24 innings) despite facing Boston and Philly alongside easier KC and Pittsburgh matchups. Perez had to open the season in Minnesota’s bullpen but eight shutout frames against the Astros is a strong signal that he’s hitting a stride.

Tier 10 & 11

Tier 10 kicks off with a Jimmy Nelson stash and ends with a Forrest Whitley stash. Nelson’s first rehab appearance came at Triple-A on Sunday, where he allowed three runs on two hits and four walks with three strikeouts in 3 ⅓ innings. Let’s hope that control comes back to him in short order and the 2017 Nelson rears his head. Don’t count on Nelson to reliably start for you before June. Whitley continues to show strikeout stuff at Triple-A (18 in 14 IP) but a 7.71 ERA/1.43 WHIP is rough, so a promotion isn’t pressing.

Tier 11 has my favorite stash, though, in Mr. Luzardo. The early-season shoulder injury doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the 21-year-old southpaw, as he was never going to pitch a full season’s worth of frames. The A’s have little rotation depth and all Luzardo did at age-20 was post a combined 2.88 ERA with 129 strikeouts in 109 ⅓ innings between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A in ‘18. He’ll get to call Oakland’s spacious park home and I can’t wait to see him in the show.

Tiers 12, 13 and 14

There’s little to see here in terms of upside, but Tier 12 has potential in Mitch Keller and Jonathan Loaisiga. Keller may take Taillon’s rotation spot down the road, but Pittsburgh has stated they don’t want to rush his development until he’s ready rather than forcing the majors due to injury needs. Loaisiga is stepping into James Paxton’s rotation slot, but he shouldn’t be needed for long.

Unlucky Tier 13 can bring you some other injury stashes in Taijuan Walker and Dinelson Lamet, as well as Arizona’s Jon Duplantier, who may step into Zack Godley’s rotation spot. Houston’s Framber Valdez has some appeal should he get a crack at the bigs again, which I’d anticipate since McHugh and Brad Peacock can’t stay in the rotation all year long (innings) and Wade Miley is Wade Miley.

You don’t want to venture into Tier 14, but those who still believe in Touki Toussaint making it as a starter rather than reliever are free to buy in for a penny. I think he joins fellow Tier 14-er Luiz Gohara in Atlanta’s bullpen someday, though the Braves could trade one or both of them for reinforcements elsewhere. Their rotation pipeline is sick. Other intriguing names would another couple of rehabbing A’s in Sean Manaea and A.J. Puk. It saddens me that we’ve been robbed of so many great pitching performances in lieu of Aaron Brooks box scores to open ‘19, but I dream of warmer days with sharp curveballs.

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