25 Mar Stromme’s Takes: Fantasy Baseball Rankings, SP 50-26
By: Mike Stromme
Alright, here we go! The top 50 starting hurlers that should be on your radar, counting down from number 50!
50) David Price, Boston Red Sox
49) Vince Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies
48) Sonny Gray, Oakland A’s
47) Matt Moore, San Francisco Giants
46) Michael Pineda, New York Yankees
Price’s spot on my rankings is a borderline-legacy ranking at best. I really don’t trust the issues surrounding his elbow. In hindsight, it kinda explains the not-so-stable 2016. Long story short, don’t draft anyone associated with Dr. James Andrews… Velasquez will be hard-pressed to accumulate wins (if that’s still a relevant category in you league), the ERA, WHIP and general durability is a concern for me as well. But one things for certain, he’ll send batters to the dugout without them making any contact; strikeouts are this guy’s forte… I’m still a believer in Sonny Gray’s physical talent, I think it was more mental for him in 2016 than anything. Plus, that ballpark! He’s a value in 2017… Matt Moore is a full year removed from Tommy John, showed glimpses of his former-self last season and is in a pitcher-friendly ballpark/situation. I’m a believer… Much like Velasquez, Pineda is a strikeout machine. His ERA/WHIP haven’t been there over the last few years, but he’s proven he can hang. Just google “Michael Pineda 2011 first half”.
45) James Paxton, Seattle Mariners
44) J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays
43) Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants
42) Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays
41) Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals
Paxton showed us in 2016 what he really can do. In 2017, he’ll fall into the Velasquez/Pineda crowd, but look for him to step forward this season… Happ might be one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball. Since his time in under Ray Searage in Pittsburgh, he’s been a quality start machine. There’s a reason why he won 20 games last season…
Samardzija is a proven-player off a bad year. I see some value with this guy, he’s a prime bounce-back candidate; especially in San Francisco… Odorizzi’s K/9 has been just under 8.00 the last two seasons, but I think his upside is closer to 9.00; something he sustained over 31 starts in 2014… Last season was the first that the Nationals didn’t yo-yo Roark from the bullpen to the rotation and then back again. A full season of certainty should do this guy wonders.
40) Jon Gray, Colorado Rockies
39) John Lackey, Chicago Cubs
38) Lance McCullers, Houston Astros
37) Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
36) Steven Matz, New York Mets
Understandably so, it’s not normally fruitful to draft pitchers from the Rockies. But, opposing hitter hit just .235 against Gray in Denver last season. This guy has some upside… Feel like Lackey’s been around forever? Well, he practically has; he’s been pitching in the big leagues since 2002. That’s right, Lackey made his debut right around the same time Tobey Maguire did his best Spiderman impression. Over that span, he’s comprised a 3.82 ERA. Last season, his ERA was 3.35. This ol’ man ain’t done yet… McCullers has yet to pull together a full season of starts, but if his career ML stats were to translate over a full season, he’s be a hell of a lot higher than 38th on my list… As a Jays fan, I knew Marcus Stroman had the cajones to bring it when the big the big games came along. Now, everyone South of the border knows that as well! He scuffled for much of 2016, but turned things on when it mattered most; October. Look for Stroman’s momentum from the World Baseball Classic to carry over into April and beyond… Matz is just one of many Met arms with unlimited potential. He’s got a 9.50 K/9-type ceiling.
35) Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers
34) Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers
33) Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
32) Matt Harvey, New York Mets
31) Jamison Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates
Urias is probably the most controversial pitcher in these rankings. There’s no questioning the talent, it’s more or less the availability, and by that, I mean a potential innings cap or trip to the minors. More of a keeper/dynasty pick in my opinion… Fulmer might have pitched a little over his head last season, but there’s no doubt in my mind that this guy’s gunna be something special; great for the ratios… Felix Hernandez is more of a name at this point in his career, but a name to look at nonetheless. He’ll still have a handful of gems in 2017, but you’re fooling yourself if you’re expecting dominance every five days… Matt Harvey is an incredible value, if his velocity returns. Early reports suggest that he’ getting close. I’m not saying, I’m just saying… Taillon has tremendous “stuff”, but it translated to a so-so rookie campaign. I believe he takes a step forward in 2017.
30) Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers
29) Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals
28) Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
27) Rich Hill, Los Angeles Dodgers
26) Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians
Kenta Maeda has a tremendous “rookie” campaign. In 2017, I expect the strikeouts to regress a little bit. But, he’s a
solid option nonetheless… It took a while, but we finally saw the strikeout numbers at the major league level as a starter that we say Duffy produce in the minors for years. At age 28, I fully expect Duffy to use his maturity to turn into the polished ace many of us expected he’s turn into… It feels like Julio Teheran has been around forever, hasn’t it? Well, turns out he’s still just 26 years of ago! Hell, this guy’s still developing! In my opinion, the best is yet to come… To be honest, I chuckled a year ago when Rich Hill took the mound for the Oakland A’s on opening day. Since then, he’s done nothing but prove haters wrong; I’ll double-down on this Cinderella story… With Danny Salazar, it’s never been a question of talent, but one of durability. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be right there with Kluber atop the Cleveland rotation.
That should do it for the middle portion of my 2017 starting pitching rankings! Until next time, cheers!
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