2017 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball: AL Fantasy Starters O-Z

We have finally reached the end of our series. As we saw in the last piece, the gap between the best and worst starters on the list is pretty thin. As a reminder, we are ranking the pitchers within this group according to their three and five year averages in the four major categories and quality starts as a fifth category. Rankings are based primarily on past performance, but we will occasionally adapt them to meet current conditions.

Jake Odorizzi—Tampa Bay Rays (10.0 wins, 3.72 ERA, 1.209 WHIP, 163.3 SO, 16.0 QS)

 3 Year 4 Category- 5

3 Year 5 Category- 7

5 Year 4 Category- 6

5 Year 5 Category- 7

Who would have imagined that Odorizzi would end up being the key to the Wil Myers trade for the Rays? In three seasons as a starter, he has averaged more than 30 starts a season. The only drawback in his game is that he has been a little homer happy in that time. He has been rumored to be on the trade block since the Rays are going through a rebuilding phase. If that happens then that obviously changes things for the better. Rank: 6th

Michael Pineda—New York Yankees (7.7 wins, 3.69 ERA, 1.133 WHIP, 140.7 SO, 10.7 QS)

3 Year 4 Category- 11

3 Year 5 Category- 14

5 Year 4 Category- 11

5 Year 5 Category- 14

When you see a consistent discrepancy between the four and five category rankings then you get a pretty interesting picture of a pitcher. Essentially, Pineda is a five inning pitcher. That may be because of past arm problems or because he wastes too many pitches. He might take the next step in the maturation process or he may not. Rank: 13th

Rick Porcello—Boston Red Sox (15.0 wins, 3.83 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 155.7 SO, 20.7 QS) 

3 Year 4 Category- 6

3 Year 5 Category- 5

5 Year 4 Category- 13

5 Year 5 Category- 16

Oddly enough, the peripheral numbers predicted similar numbers as what he finally produced. However, his season screams career year. That being said, his numbers indicate he is an above average starter overall and he is at best the third starter in the new Boston rotation. The three year rankings are probably more appropriate than the five year totals. He probably isn’t winning any more Cy Young awards. Rank: 5th

David Price—Boston Red Sox (16.7 wins, 3.23 ERA, 1.118 WHIP, 241.3 SO, 23.7 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 2

3 Year 5 Category- 2

5 Year 4 Category- 2

5 Year 5 Category- 2

 

The Chris Sale trade was the best thing that could have happened for Price. He had a decent season in 2016, but he wasn’t quite as good as the Sox hoped he would be. Now, all of the attention will be on Sale. People will focus too much on him being the number two starter, but those things really don’t matter. He should come close to those numbers above. Rank: 2nd

 

Jose Quintana—Chicago White Sox (9.2 wins, 3.43 ERA, 1.249 WHIP, 156.2 SO, 19.2 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 7

3 Year 5 Category- 6

5 Year 4 Category- 8

5 Year 5 Category- 6

 

Quintana is the biggest name on the trade block. Rumors have him going to Houston and if that happens he could see a huge bump in support from the fielding behind him. The Fielding Bible had the Astros led the American League with +81 in defensive runs saved. The White Sox were  -3 this past season. The Sox haven’t been above average since 2012. If he gets traded he could be the biggest sleeper in baseball. Rank: 7th

 

Garrett Richards—Los Angeles Angels (9.0 wins, 3.19 ERA, 1.238 WHIP, 118.8 WHIP, 13.8 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 8

3 Year 5 Category- 9

5 Year 4 Category- 14

5 Year 5 Category- 13

 

Richards is now the penciled in ace for the Angels next season. Even if he returns to 2015 form, that’s not quite good enough for the Angels to do much damage, but they are deeper in their lineup, so maybe he can pick off enough victories to be a decent fantasy starter. As has been said before, a player’s position within his own rotation is often overrated as number ones rarely match up against another team’s number one. Rank: 11st

 

Carlos Rodon—Chicago White Sox (9.0 wins, 3.90 ERA, 1.419 WHIP, 153.5 SO, 16.5 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 17

3 Year 5 Category- 17

5 Year 4 Category- 17

5 Year 5 Category- 17

If Quintana gets dealt then Rodon becomes the White Sox’ opening day starter. It could be a long season on the South Side of Chicago, but they are doing the right thing. They were going nowhere as a franchise. Rodon is a pick that would be based on spec. He has the right stuff to be an ace, but he hasn’t shown it yet. Rank: 17th

 

Danny Salazar—Cleveland Indians (10.3 wins, 3.86 ERA, 1.284 WHIP, 158.7 SO, 11.7 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 12

3 Year 5 Category- 12

5 Year 4 Category- 10

5 Year 5 Category- 11

 

Salazar is long on talent and short on results. So, do you make you draft based on talent or do you make it based on results? That’s the age old question. The Indians are the defending champions of the AL and they are arguably better. If he reaches his full potential they could end up repeating as pennant winners. Rank: 10th

 

Chris Sale—Boston Red Sox (14.0 wins, 2.97 ERA, 1.030 WHIP, 238.3 SO, 22.3 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 1

3 Year 5 Category- 1

5 Year 4 Category- 1

5 Year 5 Category- 1

 

It’s easy to get carried away when a player goes from a bad team to a contending team. To be honest, there probably aren’t that many more wins out there for Sale. The best thing about the trade is the cumulative effect of adding him to the rotation and subtracting a lesser pitcher. It’s hard to imagine a team more setup for the postseason than the Red Sox. Rank: 1st

 

Aaron Sanchez—Toronto Blue Jays (11.0 wins, 3.11 ERA, 1.223 WHIP, 111.0 SO, 14.0 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 9

3 Year 5 Category- 10

5 Year 4 Category- 7

5 Year 5 Category- 8

 

The Blue Jays have a very underrated rotation and Sanchez is a big part of that group. They may not have a hammer, but they have a deep group that are all capable of winning. Sanchez led the AL in winning percentage and ERA last season. The fact that he led the league with a 3.00 ERA demonstrates how difficult it is to dominate in the AL. Like with J.A. Happ, it is not likely that he will repeat that performance. Rank: 9th

 

Ervin Santana—Minnesota Twins (9.3 wins, 3.78 ERA, 1.274 WHIP, 136.7 SO, 15.7 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 16

3 Year 5 Category- 16

5 Year 4 Category- 16

5 Year 5 Category- 15

 

Teams are getting smarter and smarter these days. One of the things they have figured out is that you are either in the playoff hunt or you aren’t. The Twins really aren’t. That’s one of the reasons why so many rumors have been surrounding guys like Santana and Brian Dozier. They are worth more to the Twins in potential prospects than spelling the different between 70 and 75 wins. Rank: 16th

 

Hector Santiago—Minnesota Twins (9.3 wins, 4.01 ERA, 1.326 WHIP, 138.0 SO, 11.0 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 18

3 Year 5 Category- 18

5 Year 4 Category- 18

5 Year 5 Category- 18

 

If you are in the cellar, you can respond by replacing incompetent performers with competent ones. That will get you out of the cellar, but it won’t get you into the playoff hunt. If you want that then you have to roll the dice on some guys. Santiago was terrible following the trade to Minnesota, but the hope is that he can rediscover what he had between 2013 and 2015. He led the league in walks last season, so any revival would probably start there. Rank: 18th

 

Marcus Stroman—Toronto Blue Jays (8.0 wins, 3.23 ERA, 1.141 WHIP, 98.3 SO, 11.7 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 13

3 Year 5 Category- 15

5 Year 4 Category- 12

5 Year 5 Category- 12

 

Stroman turned in a full season for the first time in his career last season, but the rest of the numbers took a dip. He has 35 career quality starts in 56 career starts. If that carries over to a typical 34 start season then you are looking at more than 20 quality starts in a season. So, he may not be an elite starter, but he is probably better than where he is ranked here. Rank: 12th

 

Masahiro Tanaka—New York Yankees (13.0 wins, 3.12 ERA, 1.042 WHIP, 148.3 SO, 17.3 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 3

3 Year 5 Category- 3

5 Year 4 Category- 3

5 Year 5 Category- 4

 

It takes Japanese pitchers awhile to fully adjust to the rigors of the big leagues. They are used to pitching once a week, so pitching twice a week can be overwhelming at first. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that he took a step forward in year three and that should continue this next season. The only difference between Tanaka and the legitimate aces is a slightly lower strikeout rate. Otherwise, he is right there. Rank: 3rd

 

Chris Tillman—Baltimore Orioles (13.0 wins, 3.75 ERA, 1.234 WHIP, 131.0 SO, 16.2 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 15

3 Year 5 Category- 13

5 Year 4 Category- 9

5 Year 5 Category- 9

 

Tillman is a steady performer that would look great on any fantasy staff in the fifth or sixth slot. He has started 30 or more starts four seasons in a row and carried an ERA+ over 100 over that span (meaning he is better than the league average). So, durability plus league average performance equals a solid bottom of the rotation arm. Rank: 15th

 

Yordano Ventura—Kansas City Royals (12.7 wins, 3.91 ERA, 1.345 WHIP, 153.0 SO, 17.0 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 14

3 Year 5 Category- 11

5 Year 4 Category- 15

5 Year 5 Category- 10

 

Ventura got off to a great start in 2014 and has gone backwards in each of the past two seasons. He has stuff that is simply better than most of the pitchers in the league, but harnessing it has been an issue. He might a good value play at this spot as he has as good a chance of being a frontline starter as anyone in this value area. Rank: 14th

 

Justin Verlander—Detroit Tigers (13.2 wins, 3.41 ERA, 1.172 WHIP, 196.4 SO, 21.2 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 4

3 Year 5 Category- 4

5 Year 4 Category- 4

5 Year 5 Category- 3

 

Verlander might be well-known for dating Kate Upton. He had fallen on harder times until a resurgence after the all-star break this past season. He finished as the runner up for the Cy Young award, so he is a trendy pick to be a fantasy number one starter again. He was on the trade block for awhile, so that is a situation to watch. Rank: 4th

 

Jordan Zimmermann—Detroit Tigers (13.4 wins, 3.48 ERA, 1.180 WHIP, 145.2 SO, 19.8 QS)

 

3 Year 4 Category- 10

3 Year 5 Category- 8

5 Year 4 Category- 5

5 Year 5 Category5

 

Zimmermann was on a terrific pace last season before nagging injuries derailed his season. He eventually came back, but simply wasn’t the same. He signed a five year 110 million dollar contract prior to the season. Fantasy players often make the mistake of treating players like him as fantasy aces because they are paid like them. He’s more like a fantasy third starter even when healthy. Rank: 8th

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