51. Alex Cobb – Rays: He was ranked much higher after his 2014 season, and there was a lot of rust when he returned in September after a two-year layoff. This ranking is more of a leap of faith that the 29-year-old will bounce back and return to form. Where he goes from there will depend on how he performs in 2017.
52. Anthony DeSclafani – Reds: Both the walk and strikeout rates made positive moves, his slider showed a lot of improvement, and the contact rate went down slightly. While there was solid growth in 2016, DeSclafani isn’t as good as that ERA. DeSclafani is a solid pitcher to complement your aces and will add much-needed depth to your rotation. Expect numbers between his 2015 and 2016 season moving forward.
53. Matt Shoemaker – Angels: He has now been fantasy relevant in 2 of 3 years. He looked legitimately dominant at points in 2016. I think the splitter he added is more real than gimmick, which is good since he threw it over 35% of the time in 2016. I’m definitely targeting some shares.
54. Sean Manaea – Athletics: On the plus side: Manaea has an excellent home park, potential growth to an already solid 21% K rate, and solid control with a sub 2.50 BB/9 as a 24-year-old rookie. On the downside, a 50 IP jump in 2016 brings some caution for 2017. Even without health issues 2018 could be the timeline for 200 IP. That puts Manaea outside of a top-20 option for at least two seasons, but there is still a pretty good chance for quality production as he builds up his innings.
55. Tyler Glasnow – Pirates: Until he gains control of his stuff, there’s more hype here than a sure-fire lock for future ace status. You simply cannot survive long as a Major League pitcher with a 5.00 BB/9.
56. Jon Gray – Rockies: I love Jon Gray, and if he wasn’t pitching in Colorado I would be cutting his ranking in half. Gray had a 2.14 FIP in the second half last year with a 26% K rate. These are video game numbers; maybe he can succeed where so many others have failed pitching in Coors Field. It wouldn’t surprise me really given his talent – I’m just not betting the farm yet.
57. Garrett Richards – This ranking seems a little low considering what Richards did in 2014/2015, and he was off to a nice start last year before going down. That said, he will be 29 in May and doesn’t have an extensive track record so I can see some trepidation. He can perform like a #3 pitcher thanks to a superior ground ball rate, low soft contact percentage, and better than average contact rate. Durability is an issue.
58. Jose De Leon – Dodgers: Great showing in the PCL didn’t translate in his four MLB starts, but he has a bright future. Three plus pitches should help him find his groove sooner rather than later, and pitching for a contender will help boost his win total. Great investment even without a proven MLB track record.
59. Matt Moore – Giants: The NL and Petco made Samardzija viable again, so why not Moore? He’s another year removed from his TJ surgery, which fantasy owners tend to underrate as a hindrance to performance. I like his odds to be a solid contributor for the next few years while also giving you a shot at something great.
60. Tanner Roark – Nationals: His 2016 season was almost a mirror image of the one he had in 2014, but that 2015 season combined with an up and down minor league career makes him hard to gauge. The batted ball data checks all the right boxes, but the contact was too high, he walks a few too many, and the strikeout percentage was low (but acceptable). It’s hard to trust a late bloomer – if that is the case here.
60. Michael Pineda – Yankees: Pineda is a lot better than his 4.82 ERA this past season. His K/BB was solid at 3.91 and his xFIP was an encouraging 3.30. There’s a great buy-low opportunity to tap into here.
62. Jose Berrios – Twins: I’ve searched long and hard to find something positive about Jose Berrios’ big league debut, but I can’t find one. He’s even lost his prospect status as a kick in the groin to his fantasy owners. Just 22 years old, though, he should improve his K rate and BB rate moving forward. Remember, he’s only a half a year removed from being one of the minors’ top arms.
63. Robbie Ray – Diamondbacks: Elite strikeout stuff and ground ball tilt in 2016 was being held back by lack of control, unlucky BABIP, and higher HR/FB. But he’s in his mid-20s, and one or two adjustments will make him the steal of the draft.
64. Joe Ross – Nationals: From a skill set standpoint nothing stands out good or bad. His K totals will play and he’s shown good control the last two seasons, GB approach should minimize damage, and he plays for a team that figures to be competitive. Provided he remains in the starting rotation he will be a viable asset.
65. Collin McHugh – Astros: He’s better than anyone realizes. I expect him to be a top 35-45 sp for the next few years. There’s also some upside given that his park isn’t as bad as people think and the fact that he has a great lineup and bullpen supporting him.. For some deeper analysis that still holds up, take a look at my in season article.
66. Eduardo Rodriguez – Red Sox: Ready to give up on Rodriguez after a 4.78 2016 ERA? Not so fast! In hist last 14 starts of ’16, ERod had a 3.24 ERA, holding batters to just a .207 AVG with more strikeouts than innings pitched. Those are elite numbers, making Rodriguez someone worth holding on to just a little more.
67. Dylan Bundy – Orioles: I know there were flashes of his promise, but Bundy just isn’t a guy I can trust. He will have trouble going deep into games and really might be better served long-term in a bullpen role.
68. Chris Tillman – Orioles: An up and down season resulted in just an okay performance. I’m glad that 2015 seems to be a fluke, but this is what he is, and there’s no optimism for him improving more. I’d cap his best projections at 3.50 ERA and 1.25 WHIP — and that’s my ceiling for him. He’s usable but not impressive, and maybe not even reliable.
69. Jerad Eickhoff – Phillies: The numbers in 2016 are repeatable, but a high fly ball, hard hit and contact rate means the ERA will always be in danger. His walk rate is strong so the WHIP should stay low. That and the above strikeout ability should keep him relevant.
70. Michael Wacha – Cardinals: After three solid seasons Wacha hit a wall, and everyone scattered. His BABIP (.334) and strand rate (64.7%) were the primary contributors, and a rise in contact didn’t help. The batted ball data stayed solid and the velocity is still there so he’s not broken. This is prime buy-low material.
71. Tyson Ross – Padres: Prior to a lost 2016 due to injury, Ross had a 3.07 ERA in the previous 3 years. He had a 25% K rate to go with the 3rd highest GB rate in the majors during that time. Of course, he has to come back from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, so there is no guarantee that he’ll be back strong. Just don’t overlook him!
72. Joe Musgrove – Astros: He’s an intriguing option for future investment with good command. May suffer some growing pains, but he already has the upside of a #3 SP, and the Astros should give him a chance to shine.
73. Jeff Samardzija – Giants: Samardzija has likely left his previous owners unsatisfied. He looks like a guy who should blow fastballs by hitters to a K per inning, but profiles as more of a pitcher who needs to rely on control. Pitching in San Francisco helps a ton. If you can get past him ever realizing his previous ace potential, there could be good value here. I’d check in with his owner and see if you can’t pry him away at a discount.
73. Daniel Norris – Tigers: Last seasons 13 game preview netted a rather encouraging 7.3% BB rate. Between the last two seasons Norris has managed 26 starts and has posted respectable numbers thus far. A LH power pitcher is always coveted in Dynasty formats, and Norris is no exception. Walks can still be an issue in the future; combined with a FB approach it makes Norris susceptible to the occasional blowup thus making an ERA north of 4.00 the norm.
75. Luis Severino – Yankees: Except for his brief smoke and mirrors act from 2015, I see no reason to invest here. Package him in a deal to the Yankee homer that lingers in every league.
Have no fear if you did not see your player listed as there are a large number of consolation names. Luke Weaver and Lance Lynn each appeared on three of six lists and just missed the cut. Zach Wheeler, Ian Kennedy, Jordan Zimmermann, Yordano Ventura, Jeremy Hellickson, Marco Estrada, Archie Bradley, Brandon Finnegan, Josh Hader and Adam Conley each appeared on two of six lists. However, all but one were ranked outside the top-50.
The final group are those lone wolf players that we each like more than most and consider top-75 options. Those players are Hyun-Jin Ryu, Mike Foltynewicz, Alex Wood, Rich Hill, Jharel Cotton, Nathan Eovaldi, Jason Hammel, James Happ, Trevor Bauer, Dan Straily, Zach Davies, Tyler Skaggs, Nate Karns, Andrew Triggs, Drew Smyly, Tyler Anderson, Mike Montgomery, Hisashi Iwakuma, Patrick Corbin, Robert Stephenson and Homer Bailey.
That wraps up our Starting Pitcher rankings. Next week begins our relief pitcher/closer coverage which will wrap up Sunday with our top-20 relievers.