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We are getting closer and closer to the first pitch of the 2018 MLB season. Spring training is in full swing which means we are right in the thick of draft season. Below you will find our updated head-to-head points league rankings for starting pitchers.

In this article, I will be discussing the updates to our starting pitcher rankings for points leagues - and provide some analysis on each tier. If you have a draft coming up soon, make sure to use all of our rankings for all league types. Regardless of the platform or scoring, we have every set of rankings you would need to draft a championship team.

We have had some movement after late free agency signings and trades. Whether you are like me and wait on pitcher to focus on value you, or your like to stock your rotation with top talent, I will break down all the tiers so you can find the best options for your team.

Editor's Note: Try our exclusive Premium Lineup Tools for free, all throughout the MLB playoffs! Our proprietary Matchup Rating projections, Lineup Optimizer, DFS value picks and more. Sign Up Now!

 

Updated Head-to-Head Points League Rankings: Starting Pitchers

Ranking Tier Player Position Auction $
1 1 Clayton Kershaw SP 38
2 1 Max Scherzer SP 34
3 1 Corey Kluber SP 33
4 1 Chris Sale SP 33
5 2 Noah Syndergaard SP 30
6 2 Stephen Strasburg SP 28
7 2 Jacob deGrom SP 28
8 2 Luis Severino SP 27
9 2 Zack Greinke SP 25
10 2 Carlos Carrasco SP 23
11 2 Yu Darvish SP 23
12 2 Justin Verlander SP 22
13 2 Carlos Martinez SP 22
14 2 Robbie Ray SP 20
15 3 Chris Archer SP 19
16 3 James Paxton SP 19
17 3 Aaron Nola SP 18
18 3 Dallas Keuchel SP 18
19 3 Jake Arrieta SP 17
20 3 Jose Quintana SP 17
21 3 Gerrit Cole SP 15
22 3 Lance McCullers SP 15
23 4 Rich Hill SP 14
24 4 Masahiro Tanaka SP 14
25 4 Alex Wood SP 14
26 4 Jose Berrios SP 14
27 4 David Price SP 13
28 4 Zack Godley SP 13
29 4 Luis Castillo SP 13
30 4 Kyle Hendricks SP 13
31 4 Shohei Ohtani SP/OF 12
32 4 Jon Lester SP 12
33 4 Sonny Gray SP 11
34 5 Michael Fulmer SP 11
35 5 Luke Weaver SP 10
36 5 Johnny Cueto SP 9
37 5 Danny Duffy SP 9
38 5 Jonathan Gray SP 9
39 5 Jameson Taillon SP 9
40 5 Marcus Stroman SP 9
41 6 Gio Gonzalez SP 8
42 6 Garrett Richards SP 8
43 6 Madison Bumgarner SP 7
44 6 Trevor Bauer SP 7
45 6 Drew Pomeranz SP 7
46 6 Dylan Bundy SP 6
47 6 Charlie Morton SP 6
48 6 Taijuan Walker SP 5
49 6 Kenta Maeda SP 5
50 6 Aaron Sanchez SP 5
51 7 Danny Salazar SP 5
52 7 Lance Lynn SP 5
53 7 Michael Clevinger SP 4
54 7 Chase Anderson SP 4
55 7 Cole Hamels SP 4
56 7 Kevin Gausman SP 3
57 7 Jordan Montgomery SP 3
58 7 Michael Wacha SP 2
59 7 Jeff Samardzija SP 2
60 7 Patrick Corbin SP 2
61 7 Dinelson Lamet SP 2
62 7 Alexander Reyes SP/RP 2
63 7 Blake Snell SP 2
64 8 Sean Manaea SP 2
65 8 Lucas Giolito SP 2
66 8 Julio Teheran SP 2
67 8 Jacob Faria SP 2
68 8 J.A. Happ SP 2
69 8 Rick Porcello SP 2
70 9 Eduardo Rodriguez SP 2
71 9 Jimmy Nelson SP 2
72 9 Ervin Santana SP 1
73 9 Tyler Chatwood SP 1
74 9 Zach Davies SP 1
75 9 Alex Cobb SP 1
76 9 Marco Estrada SP 1
77 10 Jake Odorizzi SP 1
78 10 Carlos Rodon SP 1
79 10 Felix Hernandez SP 1
80 10 Tanner Roark SP 1
81 10 Steven Matz SP 1
82 10 German Marquez SP 1
83 10 Luiz Gohara SP 1
84 10 Josh Hader SP 1
85 11 Reynaldo Lopez SP 1
86 11 Joe Musgrove SP 1
87 11 Vincent Velasquez SP 1
88 11 Chris Devenski SP/RP 1
89 11 Matt Shoemaker SP 1
90 11 Hyun-Jin Ryu SP 1
91 11 CC Sabathia SP 1
92 11 Jake Junis SP/RP 1
93 11 Daniel Straily SP 1
94 11 Anthony DeSclafani SP 1
95 11 Miles Mikolas SP 1
96 11 Ivan Nova SP 1
97 11 Walker Buehler SP 1
98 12 Matt Harvey SP 1
99 12 Jerad Eickhoff SP 1
100 12 Collin McHugh SP 1
101 12 Tyler Anderson SP 1
102 12 Michael Foltynewicz SP 1
103 12 Kyle Gibson SP 1
104 12 Tyler Glasnow SP 1
105 12 Adam Wainwright SP 1
106 12 Brandon Woodruff SP 1
107 12 Chris Stratton SP 1
108 12 Ariel Miranda SP 1
109 12 Daniel Norris SP 1
110 12 Chad Kuhl SP 1
111 12 Mike Montgomery SP/RP 1
112 12 Sean Newcomb SP 1
113 12 Michael Kopech SP 1
114 12 Jhoulys Chacin SP/RP 1
115 13 Trevor Cahill SP 1
116 13 Carson Fulmer SP 1
117 13 John Lackey SP 1
118 13 Mike Minor SP/RP 1
119 13 Junior Guerra SP 1
120 13 Amir Garrett SP 1
121 13 Mike Fiers SP 1
122 13 Robert Stephenson SP 1
123 13 Andrew Triggs SP 1
124 13 Miguel Gonzalez SP 1
125 13 Mike Leake SP 1
126 13 Jordan Zimmermann SP 1
127 14 Ian Kennedy SP 1
128 14 Julio Urias SP 1
129 14 Kendall Graveman SP 1
130 14 Jason Hammel SP 1
131 14 Matt Moore SP 1
132 14 Joe Biagini SP/RP 1
133 14 Homer Bailey SP 1
134 14 Kyle Freeland SP 1
135 14 Zack Wheeler SP 1
136 14 Brandon Finnegan SP 1
137 14 Wei-Yin Chen SP 1
138 14 Tyler Skaggs SP 1
139 14 Matt Andriese SP 1
140 14 Daniel Mengden SP 1
141 14 Jason Vargas SP 1
142 14 Liam Hendriks SP 1
143 14 Tyler Mahle SP 1
144 14 Brock Stewart SP 1

 

UPDATE: Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija rankings were updated on 3/24 based on injury estimates.

Tier 1

There really should be a tier above this with Clayton Kershaw by himself. He is almost always going to be the first pitcher off the board. The only thing you need to really worry about is that troublesome back injury that keeps popping up, but I don’t draft while worrying about injuries. If you draft Kershaw, you know what you will be getting.

Max Scherzer, Chris Sale and Corey Kluber slot right in behind him. All are great starters that will contribute to all categories. They will rack up the strikeouts, pitch deep into ballgames and will keep the WHIP down. If you are one that likes to take pitching early, make one of these guys your first or second pick. Depending on the format, Kershaw will go off the board in the mid to late first round, or early second, and the rest of these guys will go in the second round. If you miss out for some reason, don’t worry, there are plenty of options coming up.

 

Tier 2

I picked Madison Bumgarner to be the ace of my staff in The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. I just love the consistent performance he brings to the table. He had a fluke injury last year, but this was the first season since 2011 that Bumgarner didn’t have at least 31 starts in a season. It was also the first time he posted an ERA over 3.00 since 2012. He doesn’t get nearly enough attention out on the west coast. Also, he will only be 28 this season. Plenty of miles left in that arm.

Carlos Martinez had what appeared to be a down year in 2017, but was it really a down year? I had a chance to talk about him at length on the Champions Analysis Podcast when we did our AL and NL Central Preview Mock Draft. For a third straight season, his innings pitched increased and he topped the 200-strikeout threshold for the first time. The problem with Martinez last season was a case of the long ball. Martinez gave up a career-high 27 home runs and was plagued by a bullpen that let him down far too often. The Cardinals bullpen allowed 35% of inherited runners to score last season, tied for fourth-most in the majors.

Robbie Ray was one of my favorite stashes heading into last season, and he came through in a big way. Back to back 200-K seasons but Ray was finally able to limit opponent’s hits. He did have the same amount of strikeouts but in less innings pitched. He even posted a near-identical FIP (Fielder Independent Pitching) which shows a pitcher’s ability to limit walks and home runs but increase strikeouts. If the humidor does what it’s supposed to in Arizona, Ray could be looking at a decrease in home runs as well. Except him to build on last season.

 

Tier 3

This tier includes a couple of my favorite young arms in the game. Aaron Nola and James Paxton also took a step forward in 2017, much like Ray. The only thing holding Paxton back is his health. He has not been able to stay healthy to this point in his career. Last year was a career high with 136 innings pitched, and even then he had injury issues. Command can be an issue at times as well. 15 wild pitches led the league and an increase in walks per nine innings, up from 1.8 in 2016 to 2.4 in 2017. If he could stay healthy, he could catapult into Tier 2.

Nola is winning this offseason just like the Phillies. Not only have they been one of the most active teams, making moves in order to win now, but have signed two of the biggest free agents in Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta. Nola will now get a chance to learn from former Cy Young winner Arrieta and will not have the pressure of needing to be the ace of a young staff. Nola will be the Opening Day starter, but having the veteran presence of Arrieta could pay huge dividends as Nola will know he has support. A young pitcher trying too hard can cause issues sometimes and while I think Nola has everything needed to be special, the Phillies are ready to win now. More experience in the clubhouse is good for all.

Man, will anyone benefit from a change of scenery more than Gerrit Cole? He went from being the ace of a team looking to rebuild and look towards the future, to the third starter for the defending champion Houston Astros. If you play in a league that takes wins into account, Cole is going to get a lot of those this season. Gone are the days of facing another team's ace (he will now leave that to Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel). He just hasn’t been the same since his breakout 2015 campaign, but a new home, a new team and a chance at a championship can help bring that back.

 

Tier 4

There is a lot of risk in this tier. The face of this risk, is one of the most intriguing players in all of baseball, Shohei Ohtani, who has been linked to arm problems since he signed with the Angels. We don’t know how much is true, but the Angels have publicly addressed the rumors and even said they were aware of them.

David Price was a mess last season. Not only was he battling injuries, but he was calling out Red Sox Nation and being labeled as a clubhouse nuisance by others. Even though he has been close, he hasn’t had an ERA over 4.00 since 2009 and still hovers right around that K/9 of 9.00. I wouldn’t draft him to be your ace, or even SP2. But he could be a nice bargain for those of you that decide to wait and skip on pitching early.

Michael Fulmer has been very good since being acquired by Detroit in a deal for Yoenis Cespedes. His rookie season was not one anticipated by many, including those in Detroit. Fulmer didn’t have the same success in his sophomore season, which was contributed to a lack of strikeouts. Even though Fulmer increased his innings pitched by 4.1, he saw his strikeouts drop by 18. Elbow surgery cost him the end of the 2017 season, but he should be back. There was no structural damage, but he has had some issues with soreness this spring. Keep an eye on his status while drafting.

 

Tier 5

One of my favorite values is included in this tier. Garrett Richards has been devalued after two injury-plagued seasons, but I think he will finally bounce back with a healthy 2018. He worked his way back with a few decent outings to close out the campaign last year. He has put an emphasis on refining his curveball. If this guy is available late in your draft, buy in.

 

Tier 6

Taijuan Walker is another Diamondbacks pitcher who will benefit from changes out west this season. The former top prospect of the Mariners has settled in nicely during his first full season with Arizona. Truthfully, leaving Seattle was best for Walker. There were many comparisons between him and former teammate Felix Hernandez, and that is a lot to live up to. In Arizona, he can just be himself and continue to grow. The best part of being in Arizona is the staff he is surrounded by. He doesn’t need to come up and be the next ace. Another step forward is in order this season.

 

Tier 7

This tier includes two of my favorite bounce back candidates for 2018. My first bet is on Giants Jeff Samardzija. Even with an awful season, Samardzija still struck out 205 batters. He still has all of the stuff to make hitters swing and miss, he just gave up the third highest hit total in his career. He plays in an excellent hitter’s park, so you have to think his defense let him down some last year. The Giants have added Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen and Austin Jackson to help that defense. A healthy team behind Samardzija means a rebound season.

One thing you always heard about the Giants, was their ability to win every other year. If you believe in things like that, then you believe Julio Teheran will also bounce back this season. Since his first full season in 2013, Teheran posted his lowest K/9 and highest BB/9 this past season. He will only be 27 this season, but the biggest question is whether he will be with the Braves all year. Teherans name has been coming up in trade talks for well over a year now. Players like that make me nervous, due to the uncertainty of their situation during the biggest stretch of the season. Regardless, if he gets his home run total down, his ERA could come back to the low three range and could be a great value this late.

 

Tier 8

I like Vincent Velasquez a lot more than most, but he was one guy I really liked coming up with the Astros. When he is on, he has some of the best pure stuff in the game. Last year was a complete disaster though. He wasn’t missing bats, giving up way too many hits and walking too many. I blame it on injuries, though. You could tell something wasn’t right all season. His K/9 fell from 10.4 to 8.5, which signals to me injuries were to blame. The key to growing as a young starter is finding consistency, whether with your delivery, pitches or routine. You can’t find that when you deal with injuries. If he can stay healthy, the consistency will come.

 

More MLB Rankings and ADP Analysis





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