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2018 Starting Pitcher Rankings: Is It A Deep Position Or Not?

starting pitcher rankings
Photo Credit: Erik Drost

When compiling starting pitcher rankings, I definitely had an epiphany. When comparing positions in Fantasy Baseball, the size/format of your league will affect the starting pitchers more than any other position.

What I am saying is that if you are in a smaller, 5X5 category league with normal starting pitching requirements, I would classify it as the second deepest position after shortstop. I am in an 8-team keeper league and you can build your whole staff in the mid-to-late rounds. When you can get guys like Rick Porcello and Cole Hamels in the last few rounds of your draft then that is some serious depth.

I am also in a 14-team, 40-man roster dynasty league. It is also a points setup. Even with a newly instituted weekly innings limit, starting pitching is BY FAR the shallowest position. It is a very active league with trade block/requests every day. Every day, the vast majority are requesting solid starting pitching in return.

What I am getting at is the steep drop-off in the starting pitcher rankings. What I am also warning is that the drop-off is really hard to ascertain. Once again, your league setup affects the starting pitcher rankings more than any other position. Some guys are great in points league while being terrible in category setups. It goes both ways.

So with all that said, I would be the trendsetter or the zig-zagger. If you are in a huge league with lots of roster spots, be the guy to start the starting pitcher run. Normally I am not an advocate for reaching, but the pool can dry up quickly. In a smaller league, wait. When the starting pitcher run begins, shore up the other spots on your roster. There will be guys available late that can get you what you need.

These starting pitcher rankings are for mixed leagues. The Average Draft Position and Expert Consensus Rankings (both overall and by position) are relative to as of March 1.

2018 Starting Pitcher Rankings

Rk.Player, TeamADPECRECR (Pos.)
1Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers5101
2Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals11122
3Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox13163
4Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians14174
5Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets30337
6Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants25296
7Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals27265
8Jacob deGrom, New York Mets35348
9Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians32379
10Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks404811
11Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers394912
12Luis Severino, New York Yankees374410
13Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays555614
14Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals515815
15Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks506216
16Yu Darvish, Chicago Cubs485113
17Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies707017
18Jose Quintana, Chicago Cubs727720
19James Paxton, Seattle Mariners777118
20Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros597619
21Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels739023
22Gerrit Cole, Houston Astros798221
23Rich Hill, Los Angeles Dodgers10911329
24Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs9810828
25Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs10110026
26Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees858322
27Lance McCullers, Houston Astros12710627
28Jake Arrieta, Free Agent879725
29David Price, Boston Red Sox1109424
30Alex Wood, Los Angeles Dodgers9711530
31Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians16315941
32Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants13912433
33Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds14812131
34Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins9612232
35Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays11112934
36Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants15014638
37Luke Weaver, St. Louis Cardinals11513636
38Sonny Gray, New York Yankees12614437
39Zack Godley, Arizona Diamondbacks12513435
40Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals13216442
41Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers19518348
42Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals15915239
43Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians13716843
44Drew Pomeranz, Boston Red Sox16818146
45Jonathan Gray, Colorado Rockies15616240
46Charlie Morton, Houston Astros18218849
47Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates18917545
48Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels17118447
49Taijuan Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks19721055
50Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays21320252
51Lance Lynn, Free Agent19622257
52Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox21722959
53Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers19020656
54Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles18620053
55Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers16417244
56J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays25924762
57Chase Anderson, Milwaukee Brewers17219350
58Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles17719551
59Sean Manaea, Oakland Athletics25023860
60Dinelson Lamet, San Diego Padres22120854
61Michael Wacha, St. Louis Cardinals25125664
62Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals25826065
63Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves21123663
64Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks25527371
65Jacob Faria, Tampa Bay Rays21823158
66Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins22425766
67Michael Clevinger, Cleveland Indians21424561
68Brad Peacock, Houston Astros22226170
69Marco Estrada, Toronto Blue Jays33128774
70Alexander Reyes, St. Louis Cardinals26728476
71Alex Cobb, Free Agent20725969
72Jake Odorizzi, Minnesota Twins27627572
73Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners24929777
74Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays21025867
75Jordan Montgomery, New York Yankees26226968
76Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox23527673
77Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox38730681
78Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers35927275
79Zach Davies, Milwaukee Brewers26830080
80Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox38828078
81C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees27834297
82Luiz Gohara, Atlanta Braves30329579
83Matt Harvey, New York Mets31239691
84Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles329580173
85Steven Matz, New York Mets33837293
86Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox360433104
87Mike Leake, Seattle Mariners36534089
88Sean Newcomb, Atlanta Braves38536194
89Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers390495162
90Jhoulys Chacin, Milwaukee Brewers399468112


  • You’ll notice there are still some quality players in the starting pitcher rankings that are free agents. Keep an eye on where they end up as their ranking could be affected.
  • I am a little bit lower on Yu Darvish than the consensus. We will need to see that he has overcome that disastrous World Series performance.
  • I am also higher on Danny Salazar. I know he is dealing with an injury now, but he posted a 12.7 K/9 last season. Efficient strikeouts are my jam when it comes to roster construction.
  • My favorite late-round starting pitcher: Chris Tillman. First off, do you realize he is only 29? I thought he was closer to 40, but he broke into the Bigs when he was just 21. Yes, I know last year was quite awful for the Oriole. But four of the previous five years he had a sub-3.78 ERA. He had also pitched at least 172 innings in four straight seasons. I see him bouncing back into a solid starter. A solid starter you can get at pick 580.
  • Patrick Corbin is another guy that I like more in my starting pitcher rankings. He bounced back himself last year after a terrible 2016. And you know, humidor and stuff.
  • Garion Thorne brought me around on both Blake Snell and J.A. Happ.
  • In non-dynasty leagues with late-round keepers, Michael Kopech will be a guy to stash late. He has rookie of the year potential.


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