One of the last three dynasty rankings articles in the regular season, this article will be focusing on starting pitchers from the National League. One thing you all will probably notice is that there is more depth here than in the American League. There are also many more of these arms that are nearing or have already reached the big leagues than in the American League. As usual, if they would qualify as rookies in 2017, they can be on this list.
A quick note on how these articles are formatted. They are going to be sorted by who I think is the best option for dynasty owners based on a combination of estimated time of arrival and potential upside. I will include their stats from their current level, their age, their ETA and lastly a talent grade. The talent grade will be an all-encompassing grade designed to inform dynasty owners of how big of a fantasy impact a player will realistically have. It will take into account how long it takes to reach the big leagues and will be on a scale of 1-10.
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National League Starting Pitcher Dynasty Rankings
11. Luke Weaver (STL, MLB)
Stats: 21.0 IP, 3.86 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 11.14 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, 1.71 HR/9
If we are looking at pure stuff, Weaver is probably going to be at the backend of this list. But there are few who do more with less than this guy. Throughout his MiLB career, he has been able to post solid strikeout numbers while demonstrating both precise control and an ability to keep runs off the board. He has four pitches, but his mid-90s fastball and mid-80s changeup are his two best. He can spin a decent curveball and slider every now and again, but they are considered average to slightly below-average offerings. But as far as pitching prospects go, there are few who possess less risk than Weaver to pan out as a middle-of-the-rotation starter and that reliability is valuable to dynasty owners, particularly when he is already at the big league level.
Talent grade: 7.5
12. Reynaldo Lopez (WAS, AAA)
Stats: 33.0 IP, 3.27 ERA, 4.95 FIP, 7.09 K/9, 2.73 BB/9, 1.64 HR/9
The second of two Nationals’ pitching prospects to debut in 2016, Lopez is obviously not quite as exciting as Giolito, but he still brings some electricity when he takes the mound. Lopez has an excellent fastball that ranges as high as triple-digits but averages just a touch over 96 mph. His offspeed stuff is what really keeps him from being considered a future ace as he only has a slightly above-average curveball and a slightly below-average changeup.
I would be lying to you if I said I was 100% confident in Lopez’s ability to stay as a starter. He is considerably smaller than most starting pitchers these days (6’0”) and currently lacks the repertoire needed to get batters out deep in ball games. The Nationals are determined to work with him on becoming a starter which could help his dynasty value out a bit, but I would approach him with a bit of caution.
Talent grade: 7
13. Phil Bickford (MIL, A+)
Stats: 20.2 IP, 3.92 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 10.45 K/9, 5.66 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9
Just how loaded is the Brewers’ farm system right now? So loaded that a guy who was once considered the top pitching prospect in the Giants’ system is now considered only the third best guy. Bickford was acquired in the Will Smith trade on August 1 and the Brewers have to be excited about his upside. He has an upper-90s four seam fastball, a sinking two-seam fastball, a solid slider as his primary outpitch and a changeup that looks like it could be a slightly above-average pitch in the big leagues. At a time, scouts were uncertain if his command would hold up, but he has made tremendous strides and has started to put to rest doubts about his future as a starter. In a year or two, the Brewers will get a chance to add this electric arm to their rotation so dynasty owners with the patience to wait a season should be ready to stash him.
Talent grade: 7
14. Robert Stephenson (CIN, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 136.2 IP, 4.41 ERA, 4.65 FIP, 7.90 K/9, 4.68 BB/9, 1.12 HR/9
There are few I am more nervous about than Stephenson on this list. The reason being that for a guy with his stuff, he has never really dominated the minors like most expected him to. A huge part of that is because of his abysmal control, but the low strikeout totals is still a bit mystifying. With an upper-90s that can reach triple-digits, one of the best curveballs in the minors and an absolutely lethal changeup, Stephenson has all of the goods to be a front-of-the-rotation starter. I have him stashed in my dynasty league right now and am optimistic that he can still make it as a great starting pitcher, but I fear that his future may be in the bullpen where his electric stuff might play better in shorter outings. At 23 years old, he still has time to figure things out before he is forced to turn to the pen, but owners should at least be a little bit skeptical of owning him. His saving grace right now is his proximity to the majors.
Talent grade: 7
15. Kolby Allard (ATL, A)
Stats: 54.1 IP, 3.64 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 9.61 K/9, 2.48 BB/9, 0.66 HR/9
The only thing keeping Allard out of the Top-10 at this point is time. He has an elite repertoire, complete with a low-90s fastball with plenty of late life, a curveball that is considered one of the best from the left side of the mound and a changeup that impresses scouts coming from someone so young. He also has arguably the best control of any 19-year-old in baseball. The only problem is that he is at least two more seasons away from reaching the big leagues. But if dynasty owners can show patience and consider him worthy of stashing, the payoff could be huge as they could have a future one or two starter on their hands.
Talent grade: 6.5
16. Erick Fedde (WAS, AA)
Stats: 29.1 IP, 3.99 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 8.59 K/9, 3.07 BB/9, 0.31 HR/9
Boy the Nationals are going to have a really great rotation one day. The third name of their’s already to put up on this list, Fedde may not have the same insane upside of the other two, but he still profiles as an above-average future Major League starter. He has a fastball that goes about as high as 95, but typically sits in the low-90s and a slider that serves as his go-to outpitch. As is the case with many young starting pitchers, he still has some work to do on his changeup, but it at least profiles as an above-average pitch. His command stands out for someone with as little professional experience as he has which helps provide him with such a high floor. It is possible that Fedde debuts next season for Washington, but it will take a series of injuries or a trade for him to get a full time role in the rotation any time before 2018.
Talent grade: 6.5
17. Mitch Keller (PIT, A+)
Stats: (from A) 124.1 IP, 2.46 ERA, 2.42 FIP, 9.48 K/9, 1.30 BB/9, 0.29 HR/9
Keller is almost a carbon copy of Fedde with the only exception being their age (Fedde being three years Keller’s senior). They are roughly the same height (Fedde is 6’4” and Keller is 6’3”), the same weight (Fedde is 180 lbs and Keller is 195 lbs) and they have nearly the same repertoire. Both have a fastball in the low-90s, both have displayed above-average command for someone their age and both show flashes of a potential above-average changeup. The main difference being that Keller has a curveball while Fedde boasts a solid slider. Keller will not have as much trouble cracking his team’s rotation as Fedde will, but he still has a few more years of development to go before he is quite ready to burst out onto the scene. But dynasty owners in deeper leagues should feel confident enough to own him.
Talent grade: 6.5
18. Jeff Hoffman (COL, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 118.2 IP, 4.02 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 9.40 K/9, 3.34 BB/9, 0.83 HR/9
Yes, I know he’s already in the big leagues which is exciting, but Hoffman still has to be seen as a high risk pitcher. Any time you are talking about a pitcher who starts half his games in Coors Field, you have to mention the extreme risks that he will be a stream start guy only who can virtually never be trusted to start at home. But there is something to be excited about when discussing Hoffman: his repertoire. The right-hander attacks hitters with an excellent fastball/curveball combination and occasionally mixes in an above-average changeup. He also has shown no issue with throwing strikes, but that occasionally turns into a problem for him at times as he has shown a tendency in the minors to give up one too many home runs. For this reason, Hoffman is a high risk own in shallow dynasty leagues, but his upside is still worth taking in most deeper dynasty leagues.
Talent grade: 6
19. Braxton Garrett (MIA, ROK)
Now we get to the guy with arguably the lowest risk of any arm to come out of high school in this season’s draft. Garrett has pin-point command for someone of his age which many scouts believe will help carry him through the minors quite quickly. His repertoire is not quite as exciting as the next guy mentioned on this list, but Garrett still comes with a low-mid-90s fastball, near-elite, upper-70s curveball and an above average changeup. Most scouts expect him to reach the big leagues before any of the other high school arms drafted which definitely helps his fantasy value, but it should be noted that even then he may still not quite reach Miami until 2018 or 2019.
Talent grade: 6
20. Riley Pint (COL, ROK)
Stats: 28.1 IP, 5.40 ERA, 5.46 FIP, 9.21 K/9, 5.40 BB/9, 0.64 HR/9
I really like Riley Pint. He is an extremely talented pitcher with one of the most exciting fastballs to come out of high school since Tyler Kolek. He also has two other well above-average pitches (a power curveball and sinking changeup) with a slider that also grades as slightly above-average. But I have some concerns. Chief among them is the fact that he will eventually pitch in Coors Field. Second is that he struggles with his control. I expect him to regain his command after some more maturing, but Coors Field will always linger. He should be owned in deep dynasty leagues, but shallower leagues do not have to worry about taking the risk just yet.
Talent grade: 6
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