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  • Michael Simione

Top 100 Starting Pitchers For 2020

Tier 1

1. Gerrit Cole - Gerrit Cole leads the league in SwStr%, Zone Swing & Miss%, Out of Zone Swing & Miss%, and Whiff%. Can he just stay in Houston, please?

2. Jacob deGrom - Best ERA in MLB last two years combined.

3. Justin Verlander - Will HR's become a big issue?

4. Max Scherzer - Back problems are a worry.

Tier 2

5. Walker Buehler - Has amazing 3 pitch mix.

6. Mike Clevinger - Top 5 in FIP xFIP K-BB% and K%.

7. Blake Snell - 17.8 SwStr% - highest in the league min. 20 starts.

8. Luis Castillo - Changeup Ranks: xwOBA 2nd - K% 1st - xFIP 4th - SwStr% 1st

9. Shane Bieber - 214 IP with a 25.5 K-BB%

10. Chris Sale - Finished 2019 with a 2.93 xFIP, 13.32 K/9, 3.00 SIERA.

11. Stephen Strasburg - Stayed healthy - top 5 pitcher in 2019. Now do it again!

Tier 3

12. Patrick Corbin - Slider has the highest SwStr% of any pitch in the league (among starters)

13. Clayton Kershaw - Should give you mid 3's ERA. Health is the main concern.

14. Jack Flaherty - Insane 0.91 ERA in the second half. 2020 will let us know if we can trust that fastball.

15. Luis Severino - Riddled with injuries. 2018 - 191 IP 3.10 xFIP and 22.3 K-BB%.

16. Aaron Nola - Control should come back. Great bounceback candidate. 2 straight years with over 200 IP.

17. Charlie Morton - Had the quietest top 10 fantasy pitching performance ever.

18. Lucas Giolito - Breakout season with an 11.62 K/9 and 15.0 SwStr%. Velo went up 1.5 ticks. Should produce mid 3's ERA.

19. Corey Kluber - Age/injury risk a concern. In 2018 he pitched 215 innings with a 2.89 ERA.

20. Carlos Carrasco - It would be awesome if he can come back and dominate on the mound once again.

Tier 4

21. Yu Darvish - Changed release point. 2nd half: 2.76 ERA - 13.00 K/9

22. James Paxton - 150 IP 3.82 ERA 11.11 K/9 14.1 SwStr% 34.0 O-Swing %. This is what he is. I wouldn't expect more than 160 IP from him.

23. Tyler Glasnow - Injury ruined breakout season. 60 IP 1.78 ERA and an 11.27 K/9

24. Noah Syndergaard - 4.02 SIERA - 3.83 xFIP - 4.28 ERA. I don't think he will reach his potential with the Mets.

25. Chris Paddack - 3.93 xFIP 1st half. 4.21 xFIP 2nd half. Has 3 solid pitches with a wicked changeup. Seemed to be worn down the second half of the season. Expect 180 innings at most.

26. Sonny Gray - Rebound season: 3.42 FIP, 3.65 xFIP 3.97 SIERA. 4 pitches with positive pVAL.

27. Zac Gallen - Zac Gallen pitched from June 20th - September 15th. In that period he had an ERA of 2.81 (13th) which was better than Soroka, Greinke, Hendricks, Strasburg, Kershaw, and Buehler. Gallen’s fastball had a 5.3 barrel %. That ranked first.

28. Frankie Montas - Frankie Montas was suspended after his start on June 20th. Before that he was 9th in ERA (2.70) 4th in FIP (2.91) and 10th in xFIP (3.42). He was also 15th in K-BB% (20.5) and 11th in SIERA (3.72)

29. Brandon Woodruff - Average SwStr% and two-pitch mix worries me. Top 20 in a lot of metric categories though.

30. Zack Greinke - FB Velo of 90.0! Age 36. 3.96 SIERA.

31. Lance Lynn - Threw his cutter 560 times and had a 0.0 Barrel%

32. Jose Berrios - Sub 4 ERA 3 years in a row. Should provide 190 IP with a high 3 ERA.

33. Hyu-Jin Ryu - 1st Half: 2.89 FIP/3.12 xFIP. 2nd Half: 3.40 FIP/3.60 xFIP. K-BB% went from 21.3 to 16.3. Health worries me.

34. Trevor Bauer - Really effective slider and knuckle curve. 4.33 xFIP and 4.14 SIERA. Has only had one season under a 4 ERA!

35. Robbie Ray - 10.7 Barrel% is not good. 2 really good breaking pitches. I think we see 2018 Robbie Ray.

36. Dinelson Lamet - In the second half of the season here are the K/9 leaders with at least 12 starts: Cole, Verlander, Darvish, and.. Lamet. He also posted a 3.97 ERA, 3.85 FIP, and 3.36 xFIP.

37. Max Fried - Max Fried’s last two months of baseball: 10.32 K/9 (17th) 0.95 HR/9 (17th) 22.4 K-BB% (10th) 3.65 ERA (26th) 3.09 FIP (9th) 2.91 xFIP (5th) 3.39 SIERA (7th). I LOVE YOU.

38. Madison Bumgarner - A lot of miles for an age 30 arm. 4 ERA seems likely.

39. Mike Soroka - Low K's and 3.85 xFIP/ 4.28 SIERA limit the potential for me.

40. David Price - 10.73 K/9 - SIERA 3.85 - SwStr% 11.2. Stuff is still there - rising in age is a concern.

Tier 5

41. Shohei Ohtani - Shohei Ohtani’s ten starts in 2018 had a line of 10.97 K/9, 3.31 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 3.53 xFIP, 19.4 K-BB%, and a 15.2 SwStr%.

42. Mike Minor - Developed a really good changeup to match with his fastball. Fastball pVAL:11.9. Changeup pVAL: 22.3

43. Kyle Hendricks - Mr. Consistency. Has never had an ERA over 4. Limited K potential hurts his value. Pair with a risky pitcher.

44. Zack Wheeler - He can move up if he signs with someone like the Astros. Has shown glimpses of greatness. His 2nd half ERA the past two years combined is 2.26.

45. Domingo German - Suspension is looming due to off-field issues. Solid potential with curveball/changeup combo.

46. Lance McCullers - Definite injury risk here. In 22 starts in 2018: 3.86 ERA, 3.50 FIP, 3.43 xFIP to go with a very good 13.5 SwStr%.

47. Jesus Luzardo - I mean did you not see him pitch in the playoffs?

48. Andrew Heaney - Another injury-prone pitcher with high potential. I once asked Eno, "All of his stats are great but he is being drafted so low, how come?" Eno's reply was due to his arm slot it makes him injury prone and he thinks TJ surgery is looming.

49. Caleb Smith - Caleb's first half: 3.50 ERA - second half: 5.42 ERA. Clearly got fatigued as 150 innings was the most he has ever pitched.

50. Matt Boyd - Just like Caleb - amazing first half horrible second half. Some say fatigue and others say it's due to only having two pitches. I think its fatigue.

Tier 6

51. Griffin Canning - Finished 2019 with a 13.8 SwStr% (Flaherty) and 25.0 K% (Berrios).

52. Eduardo Rodriguez - 200 IP with a 3.81 ERA is nice. But will the Fastball and Changeup be enough to repeat?

53. Sean Manaea - His one good year in 2018 came with a 4.26 FIP, 4.53 xFIP, and 4.46 SIERA. Throws across his body which is a concern.

54. Jake Odorizzi - Had a great 2019 at age 29. The worry is he relies heavily on his fastball. If that isn't working then Minor isn't working. Leaves little room for adjustment.

55. Luke Weaver - Breakout was taken away due to injury. Through 12 starts he has a 2.94 ERA, 3.07 FIP, 3.87 xFIP and 21.2 K-BB%. Luke Weaver’s best pitch was his changeup. It had a pVAL of 6.3, which was 5th best in the league.

56. Mike Foltynewicz - Finished the year strong - the only question is can he get back to his 2018 form?

57. Ryan Yarbrough - In the last 3 months of baseball Ryan Yarbrough had a .262 xwOBA. That ranked 8th overall. He also ranked 4th in xwOBAcon. Yarbrough also had the 2nd lowest exit velocity at 79.0.

58. Mitch Keller - Mitch Keller had a 24.1 K-BB% in his first major league stint. That ranked 14th among starters in the last 3 months.

59. Kenta Maeda - In the second half of the season, Kenta Maeda had the 8th highest SwStr% (15.4). Higher than Clevinger, Flaherty, and Darvish.

60. Yonny Chirinos - Relies on a splitter and is limited in the K department. It should be solid overall looking around a 4ish ERA.

61. Sandy Alcantara - Sandy Alcantara increased his sinker usage in August and September. In those months he had a 2.78 ERA with a 3.74 FIP. He also hit the edge of the zone 43.5% of the time while the league average is 39%.

62. Brendan McKay - Not a great first major league stint beside the 10.29 K/9. He is risky but it's the Rays. If you have high floor guys up to this point - this is the risk worth taking.

63. Julio Urias - Dodgers president of baseball operations has announced he will be in the season in the rotation. Have to figure limited innings.

64. Carlos Martinez - While I do hate his attitude if he gets a spot in the rotation this would be a nice spot to get him. Remember he put up really good numbers for three years in a row.

65. Joe Musgrove - Has always been a weak contact/ground ball pitcher. Was unlucky last year with a low LOB% and a wOBA of .316 and xwOBA of .303.

66. Nathan Eovaldi - What a mess of a year for Eovaldi. I think he is a low 4's pitcher with a solid K upside. Three pitch repertoire is nice.

67. Garrett Richards - Richards could be a really nice comeback candidate in 2020. Barely pitched in 2019 due to injury. While injuries are an issue with him lets not forget he has "ace" material.

68. Masahiro Tanaka - Hey Tanaka! Can you please pitch like you are in the postseason for every start in 2020? Thanks.

Tier 7

69. German Marquez - German Marquez in 2018: 1.10 HR/9, 3.77 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 3.10 xFIP. Marquez in 2019: 1.50 HR/9, 4.76 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 3.55 xFIP.

70. Jon Gray - Weirdly enough here are his splits from 2019: Home - 3.46 ERA, Away - 4.22 ERA

71. Dallas Keuchel - Upped his cutter usage in 2019. Limited due to low K potential.

72. Wade Miley - Career year in 2019 - where he signs will be crucial.

73. Chris Archer - Can't see him pitching well especially in Pitt. Archer is a lost cause for me.

74. Rich Hill - Age 39, solid pitcher who will give you great ratios. Only looking at 130ish innings.

75. Dylan Cease - High upside - his value depends on his control. If it looks improved in spring training I am all in.

76. Johnny Cueto - Coming off Tommy John. I prefer to stay away but as a late flier, I can get behind it.

77. Joey Lucchesi - Decent fastball changeup combo. High floor low ceiling pitcher.

78. Merrill Kelly - Merill Kelly’s stats when his fastball velocity is 93mph or higher (5 starts): 1.74 ERA, 3.35 FIP, 16.0 K-BB%, and an 11.1 SwStr%. Keep an eye on that velocity come spring training.

79. Julio Teheran - He weirdly beats his peripherals almost every year. Good offense behind him but is kind of a meh pitcher.

80. Miles Mikolas - Had a down year in 2019. He threw his slider a lot less. Needs to go back to rocking that slider often. He is a safe bet for a low 4 ERA with maybe some room for improvement.

81. Steven Matz - Decent stuff and always goes on a nice run midseason. Health is the main issue.

82. Marcus Stroman - Stroman is low for me because he heavily relies on his slider. He is ride or dies with it. Also, he is a ground ball pitcher and the Mets defense won't help.

83. Adrian Houser - Adrian Houser’s fastballs in the second half: Four Seamer: 2nd in xwOBA and 6th in K%. Two-seamer: 3rd in xwOBA and 9th in K%.

Tier 8

84. Michael Kopech - Highly touted prospect but let's see what he does in the Majors.

85. Anthony DeSclafani - I wanted to put him higher but his pitches were kind of meh in 2019. Maybe the reds pitching coach can get him to reach his potential.

86. Justus Sheffield - So much strikeout potential here, but can he put it all together?

87. Pablo Lopez - Quietly had a good season if you really dive into him. Dark horse sleeper for me.

88. Reynaldo Lopez - Need that velocity to be up, at times he was hitting high 90's. Something to watch in spring training.

89. Dakota Hudson - Dakota Hudson had the highest ERA-FIP differential at -1.58 (3.35 ERA, 4.93 FIP).

90. John Means - Orioles fans love him but the low K potential and regression drops him for me.

91. Jeff Samardzija - I don't believe the sub 4 ERA but I do believe the innings. Gets a bump in points leagues.

92. Alex Reyes - Highly touted prospect but let's see what he does in the Majors.

93. Mike Fiers - Crazy lucky in 2019. DO NOT TRUST HIM.

94. Cole Hamels - I am staying far away - but still has some decent innings left in him.

95. Jose Quintana - I am staying far away - but still has some decent innings left in him.

96. Jon Lester - I am staying far away - but still has some decent innings left in him.

97. Josh James - Dependent on if he makes the rotation - goes way up in the ranks if so.

98. Dustin May - Dependent on if he makes the rotation - goes way up in the ranks if so.

99. Aaron Civale - Dependent on if he makes the rotation

100. Zach Plesac - Dependent on if he makes the rotation