For the past few weeks, we’ve been ranking all of the positions, and sharing some sleepers, busts and breakouts — and now, we’re finally wrapping up the three-part monster that is the 2015 Starting Pitcher rankings!
Don’t look at these players as also-rans, or guys you end up with.
But rather, a lot of these players hold great promise in their ability to help many Fantasy Baseball owners avoid drafting great pitchers early. Rather than load up on three or four starting pitchers among the top 35 SPs, which is nice — but obviously, it’s a detraction from their hitting.
So now, here’s the conclusion of the 2015 starting pitcher rankings and tiers trilogy for your consideration.
These are guys you might want to round out your rotation with in 12- or 15-team leagues.
2015 Starting Pitcher Rankings: 37-72
Tier No. 4 — Starting Pitchers
37. Anibal Sanchez, Detroit tigers
Anibal’s 2014 season was marred by injuries resulting in a depressed innings total, his lowest since 2009.
Scherzer defected from Detroit by signing with Washington in free agency and the Tigers now more then ever need a healthy Sanchez on the mound every 5th day in 2015.
38.Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals
Yordano’s asking price for the upcoming season should be quite reasonable. Expectations of high strikeout totals did not come to fruition last year, though CTM believes that’s on the horizon.
Also of note is that Ventura like with most young pitchers still needs to harness and improve both command and control of his pitches. The maturation process of honing one’s craft should provide an exciting arm with a very profitable future.
39. Brandon McCarthy, Los Angeles, Dodgers
The Dodgers rewarded McCarthy handsomely in free agency [4 years @ $48M], even the most optimistic prognosticator has to be somewhat skeptical given Brandon’s injury riddled career and the glaring fact that only once has he eclipsed 150 IP [2011/170.2/OAK] during his 9 year career.
40. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
I’m still holding out hope that a healthy, rejuvenated and cunning Verlander makes the necessary adjustments with regards to the current state of his game.
41. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels
It’s being reported that Jered has bulked up, adding 25 lbs. this offseason in order to go deeper into games for this upcoming season for what it’s worth. This does not move the needle for me but to his credit, the Halos veteran is a PITCHER who utilizes the mastery of his craft to attain advantages and velocity isn’t everything but something everyone desires.
42. Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates
Francisco’s Post All-Star break reversal exhibited his immense talent and the frustration that has surrounded him throughout his career. Liriano should be targeted but at the correct price because of who, what, and why owning him consists of. Who doesn’t like strikeouts and groundballs? What are realistic expectations entering the 2015 season? Why is this starting pitcher so frustrating?
43. Jose Quintana, Chicago White Sox
Quintana is often overlooked but if you follow his progression one would discover a profitable starting pitcher. People are starting to take notice of this South Side Sleeper but he should still come @ a cost effective price. Once again substance over style but Jose has added some sex appeal to his game, can he hold on to the gains? Lastly, Quintana will attempt to reach the 200 IP plateau for the third consecutive season.
44. Lance Lynn, St. Louis Cardinals
Through the looking glass, Lynn’s 2 year avg 2012+2013: 31 GS 189 IP 16-8 3.88 ERA 1.316 WHIP 189 K
45. Phil Hughes, Minnesota Twins
The popular narrative was that Target Field transformed Phil Hughes and revitalized his career, not so fast! Hughes tweaked his repertoire and was the owner of some very interesting home versus away splits in 2014.
46. Doug Fister, Washington Nationals
CTM’s public service announcement for 2015, Fister will be the poster child for the word regression in the upcoming starting pitching market. Yes, CTM is well aware of his ERA indictors and peripherals, but doesn’t envision an implosion or a repeat of last year either. Fister is a solid starting pitcher who pitches to contact, induces tons of ground balls, but lacks strikeouts.
47. James Paxton, Seattle Mariners
Paying for potential could be a problematic proposition, but in Paxton’s limited MLB exposure he has exhibited a superb GB% that is accompanied by a mid 90’s fastball. There is still work to be done with regards to this promising pitcher’s game, improvement with control [typical characteristics of young starting pitchers] combined with an uptick in strikeouts will pay a significant dividend in the 2015 starting pitcher market.
48. Michael Pineda, New York Yankees
Where do we go from here? Pineda was a talented but injured starting pitcher prior to last season but once again found himself on the DL and in the midst of controversy. Michaels shortened but successful season was aided low BABIP, high LOB% and low HR/FB% and I do foresees a correction coming.
That said, Pineda should not be discarded but expectations require a recalibration and allowing only 7 BB in 76.1 IP resulting in 0.83 BB/9 is damn impressive.
Tier No. 5 — Starting Pitchers
49. Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles
Are you buying the Gausman breakout for the 2015 season? My advice is to allocate shares of this young arm for your starting pitcher portfolio. Kevin is the Orioles arm to own in 2015.
50. Drew Hutchison, Toronto Blue Jays
Hutchison on the surface will turn off the casual consumer but the sophisticated investor will categorize this Jays starting pitcher as an emerging market and allocate according.
51. Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians
Salazar did offer an abundance of upside heading into last season, especially with his tremendous strikeout potential. Yes, there were warning signs and a track record that offered a small sample size but risk vs. reward. Salazar remains an upside play once again for 2015, but the Indians signing of Gavin Floyd has clouded the back end of Cleveland’s rotation. Salazar does have options left and will battle the effective T.J. House in Spring Training for the Indians fifth starter job.
52. Collin McHugh, Houston Astros
If one wishes to truly comprehend McHugh’s metamorphosis one MUST examine the changes he made in terms of usage and output with his pitch selection and it’s distribution. The curiosity factor here is why wasn’t the curveball utilization maximized?
53. Mike Fiers, Milwaukee Brewers
Fiers returned to relevance in 2014 and the fantasy baseball community took notice.
54. Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays
Odorizzi is the perfect complementary piece when completing your rotation. Jake’s low cost and strikeout potential scream upside.
55. Drew Smyly, Tampa Bay Rays
Smyly was an interesting arm heading into last season and will surely draw more attention in 2015.
I have declared repeatedly my admiration for the Rays rotation and Smyly’s addition is a crucial component of the equation. Drew’s commanding performance post-trade left quite the impression but KIM the small sample size was highlighted by .184 BABIP & 88.8 LOB%. That said, I will be targeting this upside arm in drafts and bidding confidently on him in auctions.
*News of shoulder tendinitis has Smyly’s stock plummeting, but monitor closely.
56. Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds
Bailey’s breakout went boom! Shell shocked best describes Homer’s hellish month of April. What went wrong? Simple arithmetic is often the solution APRIL STATS:
[26.1 IP 39 H .418 BABIP + 29.2 HR/FB 7 HR].
I bought into the breakout heading into last season, and if healthy, you will be securing a discounted Bailey in 2015.
*News that Homer is behind schedule is not what Fantasy owners want to hear.
57. Derek Holland, Texas Rangers
Holland’s successful return to the rotation was a Silver Lining in the Rangers’ injury ravaged 2014 season. The Dutch Oven is a crucial component of the Rangers rotation, sliding in after Darvish and ahead of newly acquired Gallardo.
58. Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals
If you examine Duffy’s advanced metrics you will scream regression, but this is talented pitcher who’s major hurdle is staying healthy.
59. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
There seems to be two strong opinions regarding Cain’s status entering the 2015 season, which side are you on? Do you believe in the big righty’s revival or the continuation of the downward spiral?
60. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
What are realistic expectations for this Uber talented starting pitcher in 2015? In a perfect world, a fully recovered Fernandez could return sometime in June but CTM is circling the All-Star Break as his return date. An educated estimate would be circa 100 IP with 130 IP as a ceiling, the timeframe dictates this forecast. The Marlins will obviously exercise extreme caution with regards to their franchise pitcher.
Tier No. 6 — Starting Pitchers
61. Ian Kennedy, San Diego Padres
Kennedy’s 2014 results reestablished & revived his status in Starting Pitcher Market but is he in the circle of trust?
62. Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros
The ground ball machine posted an astounding 63.5 GB% and reached the 200 IP plateau with solid peripherals.
63. Scott Kazmir, Oakland Athletics
|2015 Fantasy Rankings & Tiers|
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Reasons for Kazmir’s catastrophic 2014 second half are detailed in the numbers.
Regression was inevitable but another key factor was his workload. In his improbable 2013 return, he totaled 163.0 IP, he hadn’t cracked the 150 IP barrier since 2010 with the Angels @ 156.1 IP.
He pitched for a minute in 2011 and was out of baseball in 2012.
The 190.1 IP accumulated in 2014 ranks second most for his career and not far off his 2007 total of 206.2 IP with the Devil Rays.
64. Shelby Miller, Atlanta Braves
Shelby did display improvement in the second half of 2014, which culminated with a six-pack of game starts [8/29 – 9/23] that generated a mild buzz. A comprehensive overview suggests his supported skills remained shaky. There is optimism on the horizon with a new year and a new team providing a new hope but I will be taking the show me stance on Miller for 2015.
65. Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angeles
Shoemaker shined in 2014 but somewhat skeptical if he’s a long-term solution.
66. Kyle Lohse, Milwaukee Brewers
Kyle is the perfect asset for the risk adverse player and a valuable component for every portfolio.
Who doesn’t love upside? But Lohse is a solid foundation piece that levels off speculative ventures.
67. Wily Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers
Will Wily ever reach Ace status in Milwaukee or is he destined for a complimentary role in their rotation.
68. Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers
An Emerging Market. Nice foundation plus skills weren’t luck based.
69. Jesse Hahn, Oakland Athletics
I’m intrigued by Hahn’s 2014 audition are you?
70. Drew Pomeranz, Oakland Athletics
Pomeranz is a 2-pitch pitcher and should be a staple in the new look Athletics rotation. As a starter he posted above league average K% & K-BB%, two stats I’m very hawkish with and pitching in O.co Stadium versus Coors Field equals game changer for Drew’s career.
71. Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds
Is there another level to Leake’s game? Probably not but this a guy to target in the end game. FWIW he has averaged 28 GS & 178 IP over his 5 year career.
72. A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates
Back in Black! I’m buying the swan song in Pittsburgh.
*Revised starting pitcher rankings will be available in the Starting Pitcher Index @ ctmbaseball.com on March 17th.