Fantasy Baseball: Top 25 starting pitchers

Clayton Kershaw

The rankings of the top 25 starting pitchers of the Fake Pigskin staff features many of the same names but the order they fall is very interesting. The top of each ranks is fairly similar much like the First Round Roundtable we had last week. For a full two round mock draft and break down check out the 60 Feet, 6 Inches podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.

As for the starting pitcher rankings two names stood out in my rankings as compared to the rest of the group Chris Archer and Cole Hamels found themselves several picks higher in my rankings. Archer is guy I have extremely high expectations for. He proved his stuff was lethal a season ago eclipsing the 250 strikeout mark which was good for 4th best in all of baseball. Unfortunately for Archer he is on a Rays team that is much closer to the cellar of the AL East than the penthouse. Outside of his team and the almighty win his walk rate is cause for concern. He was 7.6% last season which ranked in the bottom 40. Cutting down on the walks will go a long way for Archer. I expect another step forward from him which should help him find a home inside the top 10 and maybe even top 5 as I ranked him.

Hamels is the other pitcher who is much lower with the other rankers. There is cause for concern with the switch from Philadelphia to Arlington. This is a legitimate concern as ESPN’€™s Tristan Cockroft broke down in his park factor rankings. His number however remained pretty steady even when making the park switch for his last 12 starts. In 206 he should be able to be at or around a strikeout per inning. He should also be able to keep his ERA in the low threes. Placing him at 10 may be a little aggressive but i feel much safer with Hamels than Jose Fernandez, Stephen Strasburg, and Dallas Keuchel though he may not have the upside of those three.

Kyle Robert Damian Dabrowski Ben Rolfe Ron McCleese Consensus
1 Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw
2 Jake Arrieta Max Scherzer Max Scherzer Max Scherzer Max Scherzer
3 Max Scherzer Jake Arrieta Chris Sale Madison Bumgarner Madison Bumgarner
4 Madison Bumgarner Chris Sale Madison Bumgarner Chris Sale Jake Arrieta
5 Chris Archer Madison Bumgarner David Price Jake Arrieta Chris Sale
6 Chris Sale Jacob deGrom Corey Kluber David Price David Price
7 Felix Hernandez Jose Fernandez Jake Arrieta Jacob deGrom Jose Fernandez
8 David Price Matt Harvey Jose Fernandez Jose Fernandez Corey Kluber
9 Corey Kluber David Price Felix Hernandez Dallas Keuchel Jacob deGrom
10 Cole Hamels Corey Kluber Zack Greinke Gerrit Cole Felix Hernandez
11 Carlos Carrasco Zack Greinke Jacob deGrom Zack Greinke Gerrit Cole
12 Dallas Keuchel Gerrit Cole Carlos Carrasco Matt Harvey Zack Greinke
13 Jose Fernandez Stephen Strasburg Gerrit Cole Felix Hernandez Chris Archer
14 Jon Lester Dallas Keuchel Matt Harvey Corey Kluber Dallas Keuchel
15 Gerrit Cole Felix Hernandez Chris Archer Stephen Strasburg Matt Harvey
16 Stephen Strasburg Chris Archer Stephen Strasburg Chris Archer Carlos Carrasco
17 Jacob deGrom Carlos Carrasco Noah Sydnergaard Noah Sydnergaard Stephen Strasburg
18 Zack Greinke Noah Sydnergaard Dallas Keuchel Carlos Carrasco Jon Lester
19 Adam Wainwright Jon Lester Jon Lester Jon Lester Noah Sydnergaard
20 Noah Sydnergaard Johnny Cueto Johnny Cueto Johnny Cueto Cole Hamels
21 Jeff Samardzija Sonny Gray Cole Hamels Adam Wainwright Johnny Cueto
22 Matt Harvey Cole Hamels Danny Salazar Cole Hamels Adam Wainwright
23 Tyson Ross Danny Salazar Tyson Ross Danny Salazar Danny Salazar
24 James Shields Garrett Richards Garrett Richards Sonny Gray Sonny Gray
25 Garrett Richards Carlos Martinez Francisco Liriano Carlos Martinez Tyson Ross

 

(USATSI)

(USATSI)

Jose Fernandez
Damian Daborski

Jose Fernandez is one pitcher that I’m particularly high on heading into 2016. I know he’s coming off Tommy John and likely won’t pitch over 180 innings, but that doesn’t scare me. We said the same thing about Harvey last season and look how that turned out. Further, those injury concerns should allow you to grab Fernandez at a discount price. I expect a sub 3 ERA with a top 5 k rate and terrific WHIP. Not bad for a guy who’s currently going as the 10th pitcher off the board.

Back end of the top 25
Ron McCleese

At the end of my top 25 there were a couple pitchers I feel are on the verge of a breakout season. One made the consensus Top 25 and the other just missed. These two pitchers are both young flame throwers and could easily be in the top 10-15 discussion next year.

Danny Salazar has teased his fantasy owners since his debut in 2013 begging the question can you finally trust him in 2016? The answer is a resounding YES! Salazar came in at No. 23 on our consensus rankings and if not for the inconsistency that has plagued him early in his career, I could make a case for him to be lower. Salazar is a power pitcher who challenges hitters with a lights out four and two seem fastball that reach 95-98 mph. His secondary offerings are just as devastating boasting a split-finger change-up that keeps hitters guessing and generates lots of K’s. His four plus pitch arsenal helped him register a 25.6 swing-and-miss rate (6th best in AL) and 52 percent strikeout rate in 2015. Salazar allowed two runs or fewer in 17 of his 30 starts last year. The sky is the limit for Salazar in 2016 and he’€™s a safe bet for 15 plus wins, 200 plus strikeouts, and an ERA in the low-3.00s.

Carlos Martinez didn’t make our consensus Top 25 and that’€™s a shame because Damien and I feel that he’€™s very deserving of making the list. Martinez has elite velocity and was lights out after being moved from the bullpen to the Cards starting rotation last year. In 2015 Martinez pitched a career-high 179.2 innings posting 14 wins, 184 strikeouts, and a 3.01 ERA. Martinez sports an electric mid-90s fastball that can get close to triple digits in addition to a plus slider and change-up. At 24 Martinez is just scratching the surface and has the look of the Cardinals next ace. The only thing holding Martinez back from reaching the next level is the possibility of an injury. Martinez is worth the gamble on draft day since his ceiling is through the stratosphere and because he’€™s got 200-strikeout potential.

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