After each week of positional coverage, we will wrap things up here on Sunday with our 2016 dynasty/keeper rankings.
Players are ranked with the next five years of production in mind, so when you see Lucas Giolito ranked ahead of a player like Felix Hernandez – that does not mean that we believe Giolito will be the superior short-term option.
Taking part in our dynasty rankings will be Paul Hartman, Kevin Jebens, Jim Finch, Ron Vackar, Josh Coleman and Mike Sheehan. Our six experts each ranked their top 75 Starting Pitchers. Players marked N/R were not ranked inside the top 75 by that particular person.
Clayton Kershaw was the unanimous choice for the number one spot, followed closely by Madison Bumgarner with Max Scherzer and Chris Sale tied for third. All four of those players received a ranking inside the top-5 making them the clear-cut top choices to build your fantasy team around.
As for the remaining players, our panel shares their thoughts on each below.
5. Noah Syndergaard – Mets: He built upon his rookie season in 2016 and met and or exceeded all expectations of him. You can’t ask for a better dynasty building block than a 24-year-old strikeout pitcher coming into his prime.
6. Corey Kluber – Indians: Kluber has been really solid for three straight years. The only small blip in his 2016 numbers was a slight bump up in his BB%. Otherwise, this is a fantasy ace.
7. Jake Arrieta – Cubs: Despite last season’s disappointment, Arrieta still managed to finish among the Top-60 players on Yahoo. The 3.47 BB/9 is easily the biggest area of concern moving forward, but perhaps fatigue from the 2015 innings increase was the logical reason. The walk rate will improve and the top-tier ace will resurface. Despite being 31 to begin the 2017 season, Arrieta’s career workload (992.2 IP) is only a half-season more than Stephen Strasburg (924.1 IP).
8. Yu Darvish – Rangers: He’s a strikeout guru with absolutely filthy stuff. If he throws even 170 innings, he will be a fantasy ace. All pitchers are health risks so make the splash on the Japanese version of Max Scherzer.
9. Stephen Strasburg – Nationals: He’s solid. He’s just not a top-5 SP due to health and other minor concerns. See my article on Strasburg for more.
10. Jon Lester – Cubs: Lester was fortunate last year with a high LOB% and low BABIP, so I don’t think a low-two ERA is going to happen again. Saying that, he has a 3.00 ERA over the last 4 years combined with 61 wins and 800 strikeouts. He’s as safe as anyone to win 15 and strikeout 200 each of the next 4 years too.
11. David Price – Red Sox: I was not a big fan of his move to Fenway last year, and I am still not a fan. That is not a park that plays well to his declining repertoire. He’s a guy who likes to live up in the zone, but has steadily lost velocity over the years. Price is better than his 3.99 ERA in 2016, but he is no longer locked into ace status for our fantasy squads. Still a decent #2, though.
12. Johnny Cueto – Reds: He suffered a minor setback with the move to Kansas City in 2015, but Cueto was back to his normal self in 2016. You can’t rely on the strikeouts, but his ERA and WHIP alone should keep him just outside the top-10 for several more years.
13. Carlos Carrasco – Indians: Carrasco has been in the rotation full-time for the last 2 seasons. In both he has managed a K/9 greater than 9.00, a BB/9 lower than 2.15, and a GB rate greater than 45%. He has yet to produce a top-10 season, but the recipe for such an accomplishment is there. While Carrasco will be 30 to begin the season, he is just over 700 IP for his career, a significant lower workload than most pitchers his age.
14. Jacob deGrom – Mets: deGrom looks like he’ll be ready to go for spring training. Don’t let him slip in your draft; only Kershaw and Arrieta have a lower ERA than deGrom over the past three seasons. He has a 26% K rate too for good measure.
15. Chris Archer – Rays: Slightly high walk rate for an ace held in check by elite strikeouts and grounder tilt. Correcting his HR/FB puts his ERA back under 3.50, and he’s in his prime. A solid investment.
16. Carlos Martinez – Cardinals: He might not be the reincarnation of Pedro, but he is a reliable top 20-25 SP on a good team in a good park. I am still hopeful that more Ks will come, but he’s rock solid even if they don’t.
17. Gerrit Cole – Pirates: Ignore his 2016 final line. Cole had a 2.77 ERA prior to his injury so take his second half with a grain of salt. He has the ceiling of a number-two starter and the floor of a third. You might be able to buy low after last season.
18. Justin Verlander – Tigers: Dynasty rankings are a strange beast. On one hand you want to give a little nod to the younger crop. Often forgotten is that many dynasty owners are in win-now mode. Verlander is a pitcher who should be on the roster of a team in win-now mode.
19. Kyle Hendricks – Cubs: I can’t sum up Hendricks any better than our own James Krueger did this week. Don’t be afraid to invest; he might just be getting better.
20. Cole Hamels – Rangers: A three-year rise in walks resulted in a 3.45 BB/9 (career high) for 2016. At 33, is this where we see the decline of Cole Hamels? I’m not quite ready to sell my shares of Hamels at a discount. His K numbers are still strong, he has 7 consecutive seasons of 200 IP, and his pitching skill set tends to be one that ages well. Volume, win potential, and solid K skills still has Hamels as a top-20 SP option for years to come.
21. Jose Quintana – White Sox: Mr consistency. Constantly underrated and he finally won more than 9 games. It’d be nice if he played in a better park on a better team, but he’s also still only 27. As boring and solid of a pick as you can make.
22. Masahiro Tanaka – Yankees: Reached 200 IP, corrected some gopheritis, and has elite BB/9. However, dropping K/9 and that partially torn UCL hang over him, so I can’t put him in the top-20.
23. Danny Salazar – Indians: Strikeouts, strikeouts, and more strikeouts. Salazar has the 9th highest K% among starting pitchers over the past three years. If he can stay healthy and rack up 200 innings, he’s a star.
24. Zack Greinke – Diamondbacks: He has enough of a great track record that I give him a mulligan due to his injury, settling into new contract, and spike in HR/FB. Don’t expect 2015 again, but 2014 is still possible.
25. Aaron Sanchez – Blue Jays: I’d really like to see the Ks go up considering how nasty the stuff appears to the eye test. Hate the park, but I trust this year’s breakout. Look to buy on him early if he gets off to a slow start because of the big innings jump.