2018 Fantasy Baseball: Starting Pitchers 13-24
Ranking pitchers is the most difficult task for any fantasy player. You have to juggle multiple platforms, past performance, future expectations, and the quality of the fielding, run support, and bullpen around the starting pitcher. What comes is our best guess as to the group of pitchers that would be second starters in most mixed fantasy leagues. We will present all of the relevant data so you can decide. That includes the five-year averages for the traditional four statistics, quality starts (as the fifth category) and total points.
Total points is the primary tool for daily fantasy baseball, but is also growing in season long formats. We will balance all of these concerns with their career per 162 data and Steamer projections for next season. Every website has their own formula, so we are using our own. Our formula for starting pitchers is as listed below.
Total points= (3) Wins + (2) Innings + SO – (3) Losses – Walks – Hits – ER
Yu Darvish—Free Agent
Aggregate: 10 Wins, 3.29 ERA, 1.153 WHIP, 200 SO, 16 QS 4 Category: 15
Per 162: 15 Wins, 3.42 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 265 SO, 21 QS 5 Category: 21
Steamer: 12 Wins, 3.82 ERA, 1.201 WHIP, 203 SO, —– DRS: -2
It’s hard to get the nasty vision of Game 3 and 7 out of the minds of fantasy baseball owners, but the secret wasn’t injury but pitch tipping. That’s a relatively easy fix. Darvish is a hard one to pinpoint in value because we don’t know where he will land yet. If he lands with the Cubs or Brewers this is a good spot for him. If he lands elsewhere it could drop him a few pegs.
Rich Hill—Los Angeles Dodgers
Aggregate: 12 Wins, 2.72 ERA, 1.044 WHIP, 148 SO, 11 QS 4 Category: 8
Per 162: 9 Wins, 3.97 ERA, 1.251 WHIP, 146 SO, 11 QS 5 Category: 7
Steamer: 10 Wins, 3.64 ERA, 1.213 WHIP. 159 SO, —– DRS: -2
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Hill’s is a case of the tale of two careers. The first saw him as a journeyman swing man that rarely ever flashed brilliance. Then, when he reached his mid-thirties he discovered something. Hill is durability away from being a fantasy force. The fantasy player that picks him must be content to get what he can out of 20 to 25 starts. Yet, what he gives you there is superior to almost every starter out there.
Jon Lester—Chicago Cubs
Aggregate: 15 Wins, 3.26 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 196 SO, 22 QS 4 Category: 9
Per 162: 16 Wins, 3.51 ERA, 1.242 WHIP, 199 SO, 23 QS 5 Category: 10
Steamer: 13 Wins, 3.89 ERA, 1.251 WHIP, 187 SO, —– DRS: -1
Lester has been consistently inconsistent over the years. It’s an even numbered season, so it must be a good one. In all seriousness, he has been as durable as you can find over the past five seasons, so he has a place in someone’s fantasy rotation. Steamer is projecting a bounce back season from him, so we will be optimistic and place him here.
Cole Hamels—Texas Rangers
Aggregate: 11 Wins, 3.45 ERA, 1.201 WHIP, 184 SO, 21 QS 4 Category: 24
Per 162: 14 Wins, 3.37 ERA, 1.164 WHIP, 209 SO, 23 QS 5 Category: 18
Steamer: 12 Wins, 4.69 ERA, 1.423 WHIP, 168 SO, —– DRS: +2
Sometimes a season just doesn’t go your way. The Rangers had one of those seasons and Hamels had one of those seasons as well. Steamer seems to be predicting another down season for him. I’m not sure I agree with those projections. Last season was an injury riddled campaign that isn’t likely to happen again. The Rangers can still produce runs, so he should be good for some wins at the very least.
Noah Syndergaard—New York Mets
Aggregate: 8 Wins, 2.94 ERA, 1.084 WHIP, 139 SO, 13 QS 4 Category: 18
Per 162: 13 Wins, 2.89 ERA, 1.099 WHIP, 231 SO, 22 QS 5 Category: 24
Steamer: 13 Wins, 3.13 ERA, 1.093 WHIP, 220 SO, —– DRS: +1
Syndergaard would be more effective if he were more like Achilles than Thor. Injuries have been his only nemesis in the first three seasons. Steamer is projecting a healthy season and if he is able to pull that off he will be a fantasy ace. All fantasy winners must undergo some risk if they are going to win the whole thing. Syndergaard is the perfect risk/reward candidate.
Chris Archer—Tampa Bay Rays
Aggregate: 10 Wins, 3.57 ERA, 1.209 WHIP, 202 SO, 18 QS 4 Category: 23
Per 162: 11 Wins, 3.63 ERA, 1.214 WHIP, 220 SO, 20 QS 5 Category: 24
Steamer: 13 Wins, 3.47 ERA, 1.153 WHIP, 222 SO, —– DRS: -3
You can only hope but feel for Archer at this point. He is a better pitcher than his numbers show and he certainly gets no favors from the Rays’ hitters. Steamer is predicting better things and that will only play up if he ends up getting dealt to a contender. At the very least, he is a good bet to give you three of the four major categories and a fourth if you throw in quality starts.
Masahiro Tanaka—New York Yankees
Aggregate: 13 Wins, 3.52 ERA, 1.092 WHIP, 160 SO, 17 QS 4 Category: 16
Per 162: 17 Wins, 3.56 ERA, 1.097 WHIP, 207 SO, 22 QS 5 Category: 20
Steamer: 12 Wins, 3.99 ERA, 1.205 WHIP, 168 SO, —– DRS: +2
Often we see a divergence between real baseball and fantasy baseball. Tanaka is an above average pitcher in real life, but when we apply the standards of fantasy baseball he plays up. The Yankees have a great lineup. The Yankees have the best bullpen in the game. That translates to more wins. Steamer is projecting a bit of a bounce back as well. All of that adds up to being a top 20 starter.
Johnny Cueto— San Francisco Giants
Aggregate: 12 Wins, 3.16 ERA, 1.137 WHIP, 161 SO, 18 QS 4 Category: 14
Per 162: 15 Wins, 3.33 ERA, 1.192 WHIP, 181 SO, 22 QS 5 Category: 19
Steamer: 11 Wins, 3.88 ERA, 1.268 WHIP, 151 SO, —– DRS: +1
We’ve seen this a lot throughout the league. Serendipity tends to be a two-way street. Champions see it on the positive end, but sometimes things just seem to go wrong and it all happens at the same time. It is important not to get too wrapped up into single season performance. It can mean that there is serious slippage or it can just be one of those years. Here is guessing that it was just one of those years.
Kyle Hendricks—Chicago Cubs
Aggregate: 10 Wins, 2.89 ERA, 1.103 WHIP, 127 SO, 13 QS 4 Category: 21
Per 162: 13 Wins, 2.94 ERA, 1.098 WHIP, 173 SO, 17 QS 5 Category: 26
Steamer: 12 Wins, 4.04 ERA, 1.283 WHIP, 144 SO, —– DRS: +2
I suppose Steamer’s projection makes some sense in light of his career .274 BABIP. The law of averages would dictate that a regression to the mean is probable. That being said, when someone has beaten the odds four years in a row it becomes easier to assume they will do it again. With the projections he slips into third starter territory, but we are betting he outperforms the projections a little.
Jose Quintana—Chicago Cubs
Aggregate: 10 Wins, 3.51 ERA, 1.224 WHIP, 181 SO, 21 QS 4 Category: 28
Per 162: 11 Wins, 3.53 ERA, 1.239 WHIP, 182 SO, 22 QS 5 Category: 23
Steamer: 14 Wins, 3.47 ERA, 1.189 WHIP, 199 SO, —– DRS: +1
The numbers don’t justify this ranking, but he has spent most of his career playing for mediocre or subpar teams. Steamer is projecting more success almost exclusively because he is now on one of the two or three best teams in the National League. That means better run support, better fielding support, and better bullpen support. All told, he is ready to take the next step as a fantasy pitcher.
Kenta Maeda—Los Angeles Dodgers
Aggregate: 15 Wins, 3.85 ERA, 1.147 WHIP, 160 SO, 10 QS 4 Category: 22
Per 162: 17 Wins, 3.80 ERA, 1.145 WHIP, 184 SO, 11 QS 5 Category: 27
Steamer: 9 Wins, 4.18 ERA, 1.230 WHIP, 132 SO, —— DRS: +2
Steamer saw what happened at the end of last season and assumes it will happen again. Yet, the Dodgers already dealt Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir to make more room for everyone. Even still, the Dodgers have six or seven viable starters. Things always look crowded in the offseason, but they have a way or working themselves out during the season. He’s been a big winner before, so there is no reason to expect him to stop doing that now.
Lance Lynn—Free Agent
Aggregate: 13 Wins, 3.29 ERA, 1.294 WHIP, 175 SO, 20 QS 4 Category: 20
Per 162: 14 Wins, 3.38 ERA, 1.288 WHIP, 182 SO, 20 QS 5 Category: 17
Steamer: 8 Wins, 4.67 ERA, 1.420 WHIP, 126 SO, —– DRS: +1
It’s hard to say what exactly Steamer is thinking here. Usually pitchers don’t get all the way back from major surgery until their second season. Of course, his free agency makes everything murky, but there is no reason why his numbers should tumble that much. Also, he has four seasons in a row (not counting 2016) where he has 30 or more starts. Why should he suddenly have less?