These fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings were pulled Friday morning. Please be aware the matchups are subject to change. The data is up to date as of Thursday night. Also, player comments were written Friday morning.
Top 101 starting pitchers for week 13
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In his last six starts, Max Scherzer has a 6.86 ERA and 1.58 WHIP with a 21.3 percent strikeout rate and 5.1 percent walk rate. To put the strikeout rate into perspective, he hasn’t had a strikeout rate that low since 2011. During this stretch, he has a .382 BABIP, which on the surface suggests the bad luck will regress. However, 50 percent of hit balls he’s allowed have been fly balls, which is, by far, higher than his career norms. Scherzer’s track record speaks for itself, but I’m a little worried about him moving forward.
Stream options in 10-team & must-starts in 12-team
Yordano Ventura has looked good in his last three starts since returning from a sore elbow. In the last three starts he has a 2.70 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. What’s most concerning is he only has eight strikeouts in 20 innings (10 percent strikeout rate). It’s only been three starts, and the quality of his stuff is still the same, so I don’t want to overreact, but if he’s only striking out three to four batters per outing, he’s no longer a must-play in 10- and maybe 12-team formats. … After a brutal start to the season, Chris Archer has a 1.06 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 24.3 percent strikeout rate and 11.8 percent walk rate. Any time I see a walk rate and WHIP that high, I know the ERA is unsustainable. I still have serious concerns about his inability to retire left-handed batters consistently and his inability to earn wins, but he still has immense fantasy potential. … I love Marcus Stroman, but left-handed batters are hitting .348 against him. The biggest reason why is he doesn’t throw the change-up enough. Without the change-up, he doesn’t have a pitch that goes away from the batter, which makes him more hittable because the batters are looking for the ball either in the middle or in on the plate. The change-up could be a work in progress, but if he is going to stay in the rotation, he is going to have to utilize it more. … Even if you remove Colin McHugh’s first start, where he struck out 12 in 6.3 innings, he has a 3.07 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 24.3 percent strikeout rate. The ERA will increase, but not more than 3.40; he’s almost reached the level of must start status.
Stream options in 12-team & must-starts in 15-team
When Jake Arrieta was on the verge of making his 2014 debut I was excited about his fantasy value because his raw stuff was on a level of a top-20 starting pitcher. After his debut against the Cardinals, I recommended fantasy owners to pick him up off waivers. There’s no bigger proponent of Arrieta than me. In his last six starts, he has a 1.72 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 29.4 percent strikeout rate and 4.9 percent walk rate. However, look at the teams he’s faced: Marlins twice, Phillies, Mets, Giants and Padres … not exactly the best offenses in the majors. … Andrew Heaney doesn’t have the flash of a Stroman or a Trevor Bauer, but he may have the most fantasy value for the rest of the year. Heaney doesn’t have exploding stuff, but he makes up for that with good command of three pitches that he can throw for strikes at any point in the count. Also, do not forget Heaney pitches in the worst division in baseball, so he is going to have more stream opportunities.
Stream options in 15-team
Bartolo Colon is pitching great of late; he has a 1.53 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in his last five starts. However, you’re playing with fire when you start him. He’s had starts where he has given up six or more earned runs three times this year.
Pitchers to start only in dire circumstances
I wasn’t buying Kyle Gibson’s early numbers because he wasn’t striking out a lot of hitters (only 13 percent) and he was walking too many batters (12 percent). In the last nine starts, he has a 2.67 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 14.6 strikeout rate and 5.2 walk rate. The fact he cut the walk rate in half and increased the strikeout rate suggests he can be streamable. However, during this time frame he has had starts where he has given up six, five and four earned runs. Bottom line is if you start him you’re playing with fire. … When I’ve seen Justin Verlander pitch the biggest problem has been command and not the fastball velocity. Doug Thorburn at Baseball Prospectus builds upon what I’ve been seeing by going in-depth into the mechanical inconsistencies with his delivery. This is a tease from the article, “Yet despite the statistical red flags, the underlying elements of his struggles suggest that he can right the ship with minor adjustments.” He’s a buy low in every format.