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 14
Jake Arrieta has pitched like an ace, and if you followed my advice and rostered him after he made his 2014 debut, you are very happy at the moment. On the surface, the start at Boston looks like it could be a scary proposition, but the Red Sox have been average this year. For the year, the Red Sox are 17th in the majors in wOBA, and if you adjust for the home ballpark, they’re in the bottom third of the league. If I own Arrieta (and I do), I am starting him in every format.
Stream options in 10-team & must-starts in 12-team
Lance Lynn has been really good so far this year, but eventually his ERA is going to regress. He’s striking out few batters and the hit distribution is exactly the same as the previous two years. The major differences is his BABIP is 30 points lower than his career and he has been lucky with the HR/FB rate. I like him against the Marlins, but he is someone I would try to sell high on. … In the month of June Ian Kennedy has been brutal; he has a 5.46 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. The underlying statistics (strikeout rate and walk rate) have been stable in June, but the biggest change has been the increase in fly ball rate. In June the fly ball rate is 43.5 percent and during the first two months of the season it was only 34.8 percent. I was a big believer in Kennedy a few weeks ago because he was missing a lot of bats and it appeared he made an adjustment to induce more ground balls. The Reds are 24th in the majors in wOBA for the year, so I’m starting him in all formats, but the following week he pitches in Colorado and I’m finding other options — especially if he continues to allow more fly balls. … Prior to his Sunday start against the Mariners, where he struck out six in seven innings (June 22), Yordano Ventura, in his previous five starts, stopped striking out batters (only 14 strikeouts in 29 innings). His last start was good enough that I’m confident in starting him in a brutal matchup against the Indians who have the fifth best wOBA in the majors against righties.
Stream options in 12-team & must-starts in 15-team
I wasn’t buying Josh Beckett the day before and after the no-hitter, and it looks like I was wrong because all the numbers suggest what he is doing is legitimate. However, if you play in weekly formats, I would try to find another option. It’s also important to mention he has a career 3.82 ERA (in five starts) at Coors. … In 16 starts, Jarred Cosart has given up more than three runs twice (not a misprint). If it wasn’t for the disaster seven-earned-run appearance in Oakland in April, he would have a 2.94 ERA. In general, when I see pitchers with a nine percent walk rate and 1.31 WHIP, I tend to shy away from streaming them, but he has improved in the three most important factors I look at with starting pitchers. The strikeout out rate is up, the walk rate is down and he’s generating more ground balls. He’s a must-start in weekly quality start leagues and is a stream option in 12-team mixed leagues.
Stream options in 15-team
Chase Anderson may not have a lot of fantasy upside because he lacks the arsenal that makes fantasy owners go “wow” when they see him pitch, but he throws four pitches and can throw them all for strikes, which makes him a very important real-life player. His start against the Pirates is not ideal but, the following week, he is a two-start pitcher (home to the Marlins then at the Giants). If you play with quality starts, he is someone worth looking at in 14-team mixed leagues. … Despite Chase Whitley’s success prior to Monday’s start in Toronto (June 23), I did not rank him because his profile suggested he would not do well against that offense. Prior to his disaster start in Toronto, he had a 2.56 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 2.5 percent walk rate. Those are peripherals I can stand behind, especially against a mediocre offense in a cavernous ballpark.
Pitchers to start only in dire circumstances
In May, I loved Brandon McCarthy because he was striking out batters at a 20 percent clip and only walked 2-3 percent of batters, but in the month of June, the strikeout rate is only 15.6 percent (hopefully, the strikeout rate increases after his Friday start against the Padres). The start in Pittsburgh looks like a good stream option, but the Pirates have the fifth best wOBA at home in the majors. Also, with the addition of Gregory Polanco, the offense is even better.