Fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings for week 9

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.

Top starters

Rank

Name

Team

Opp.

ERA

K%

BB%

1

Zack Greinke

LAD

CIN, PIT

2.01

27.4%

5.9%

2

Yu Darvish

TEX

@MIN, @WSH

2.35

28.4%

7.6%

3

Max Scherzer

DET

@OAK, @SEA

2.59

29.3%

8.3%

4

Johnny Cueto

CIN

@LAD, @ARI

1.86

28.4%

6.2%

5

Cole Hamels

PHI

COL, NYM

4.30

24.8%

8.1%

6

Sonny Gray

OAK

DET, LAA

1.99

20.0%

8.4%

7

Yordano Ventura

KC

HOU, @TOR

2.80

24.9%

7.1%

8

Jeff Samardzija

CHC

@SF, @MIL

1.46

19.9%

7.7%

9

Michael Wacha

STL

NYY, SF

2.54

26.4%

6.8%

10

Ervin Santana

ATL

BOS, @MIA

3.42

22.5%

6.6%

11

Clayton Kershaw

LAD

CIN

4.44

29.8%

3.2%

12

Adam Wainwright

STL

SF

1.85

23.6%

5.4%

13

Masahiro Tanaka

NYY

MIN

2.39

29.1%

3.2%

14

Chris Sale

CWS

CLE

1.89

31.7%

5.7%

15

Julio Teheran

ATL

@MIA

1.92

19.7%

6.6%

16

Corey Kluber

CLE

COL

3.42

26.4%

5.4%

17

Madison Bumgarner

SF

@STL

3.37

25.0%

6.5%

18

Hisashi Iwakuma

SEA

DET

1.76

16.5%

1.8%

19

Felix Hernandez

SEA

LAA

2.94

23.6%

4.7%

20

Stephen Strasburg

WSH

TEX

3.38

28.2%

6.1%

21

James Shields

KC

@TOR

2.67

21.2%

4.7%

22

Jordan Zimmermann

WSH

MIA

3.70

20.6%

4.8%

23

Homer Bailey

CIN

@LAD

5.44

20.1%

7.9%

24

David Price

TB

@BOS

4.29

26.6%

2.1%

25

A.J. Burnett

PHI

NYM

3.32

19.3%

11.6%

26

Justin Verlander

DET

@SEA

3.55

17.1%

9.4%

Additional information: Before the season started, I was not buying Zack Greinke. I thought he had a higher risk of injury because he dealt with elbow problems last year and he stopped throwing his slider last year. The slider puts a lot of strain on the elbow, so I inferred that he was hiding an elbow problem. However, it turns out he consciously decided to throw the slider less in an effort to have a long successful career. I no longer believe he is a high risk for injury and is a fantasy ace. Scott Spratt cited recently the Indians are the worst defensive team in baseball. For the year, Corey Kluber has a 3.43 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 2.72 xFIP. The vast majority of the time, I never put much weight into FIP and xFIP because the statistics are both inherently flawed, but I cited it this time to show how good he has been despite the defense. Kluber is a must-start regardless of matchup. Ervin Santana has not looked good in his past two starts as he has allowed 11 earned runs, 19 hits and five walks in 12 innings. The hit type distribution (ground ball, fly ball, etc), WHAV (well hit average) and contact rates are all nearly identical to his first six starts of the year. I’m still a believer.

Backend starters

Rank

Name

Team

Opp.

ERA

K%

BB%

27

Matt Cain

SF

CHC, @STL

3.66

20.0%

8.7%

28

Lance Lynn

STL

NYY, SF

3.60

22.6%

7.7%

29

Nathan Eovaldi

MIA

@WSH, ATL

3.41

20.2%

5.1%

30

Tyson Ross

SD

@ARI, @CWS

2.64

22.8%

9.7%

31

Jon Lester

BOS

@ATL, TB

3.36

27.8%

6.6%

32

Kyle Lohse

MIL

BAL, CHC

2.67

19.9%

4.8%

33

Jered Weaver

LAA

@SEA, @OAK

2.85

19.2%

7.3%

34

Jon Niese

NYM

PIT, @PHI

2.70

18.6%

6.5%

35

Drew Smyly

DET

@OAK, @SEA

2.98

23.1%

10.0%

36

Tim Hudson

SF

CHC, @STL

2.13

16.0%

2.5%

37

Drew Hutchison

TOR

TB, KC

3.45

23.9%

7.3%

38

Alfredo Simon

CIN

@LAD, @ARI

2.32

15.5%

6.0%

39

Hyun-Jin Ryu

LAD

CIN, PIT

3.00

20.8%

6.3%

40

Gerrit Cole

PIT

@LAD

3.83

21.4%

7.3%

41

Alex Cobb

TB

@TOR

1.40

20.6%

7.2%

42

Mike Minor

ATL

@BOS

3.80

20.8%

5.9%

43

Doug Fister

WSH

TEX

3.93

16.7%

1.3%

44

Garrett Richards

LAA

@OAK

2.90

23.1%

9.2%

45

Dan Haren

LAD

PIT

3.17

17.1%

3.8%

46

Dallas Keuchel

HOU

BAL

2.92

22.7%

5.0%

47

Trevor Bauer

CLE

COL

2.25

26.0%

10.0%

48

Wily Peralta

MIL

CHC

2.18

18.2%

5.8%

49

Jesse Chavez

OAK

DET

2.54

24.7%

6.5%

50

Anibal Sanchez

DET

@OAK

2.89

23.3%

12.1%

51

Rick Porcello

DET

@OAK

2.90

16.3%

3.5%

Additional information: Tyson Ross will always be subject to the random blow-up start because he can lose command of the strike zone randomly, but I have no hesitation in starting him in two-start week in hitter friendly ballparks because he’s striking out 26.4 percent batters in his last four starts and has a 22.8 percent strikeout rate for the year. Also, the White Sox matchup is not as scary as it look as Jose Abreu will not be playing. In his last four starts, Gerrit Cole has a 4.74 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and a 25.2 percent strikeout rate. However, that has come with a .368 BABIP. I’m still a believer in Cole’s ceiling, and he’s still a must-start because the BABIP will regress.

Spot starters

Rank

Name

Team

Opp.

ERA

K%

BB%

52

C.J. Wilson

LAA

@SEA

3.16

24.6%

8.5%

53

Jose Quintana

CWS

CLE, SD

3.67

19.2%

6.3%

54

Brandon McCarthy

ARI

SD, CIN

4.67

21.2%

4.6%

55

Wade Miley

ARI

SD, CIN

4.85

18.1%

8.7%

56

Tanner Roark

WSH

MIA, TEX

3.42

18.4%

6.6%

57

Tyler Skaggs

LAA

@SEA, @OAK

4.14

16.4%

5.9%

58

Travis Wood

CHC

@MIL

4.61

21.2%

7.5%

59

Hiroki Kuroda

NYY

@STL

4.61

18.7%

3.9%

60

Scott Kazmir

OAK

DET

2.39

20.4%

5.7%

61

Chris Archer

TB

@TOR

4.59

18.6%

9.0%

62

John Lackey

BOS

ATL

4.01

22.9%

5.3%

63

Yovani Gallardo

MIL

CHC

3.51

16.4%

7.6%

64

Jason Hammel

CHC

@MIL

2.91

21.7%

5.8%

65

Jordan Lyles

COL

@PHI

3.50

15.7%

9.0%

66

Jake Arrieta

CHC

@SF

2.33

23.5%

10.6%

67

Edwin Jackson

CHC

@SF

3.98

21.4%

8.7%

68

Shelby Miller

STL

NYY

2.79

18.2%

13.2%

69

Mike Leake

CIN

@ARI

2.91

14.8%

4.7%

70

Josh Beckett

LAD

PIT

2.89

23.8%

8.8%

71

Chris Tillman

BAL

@MIL, @HOU

4.21

17.3%

9.0%

72

Henderson Alvarez

MIA

@WSH

3.21

14.5%

6.1%

73

Tony Cingrani

CIN

@ARI

3.76

23.9%

12.3%

74

Phil Hughes

MIN

TEX, @NYY

3.15

20.9%

2.7%

Additional information: After a brutal start to the season, Phil Hughes has quietly been one of the best pitchers in baseball (in terms of ERA) in his last five starts. In those starts, he has a 21 percent strikeout rate and has not allowed a walk (not a misprint). His next start is home to the Rangers, which, before the season began, looked like a start you should stay away from. However, this is not the same Rangers offense of the past four to five years; the Rangers are only 13th in the majors in wOBA. The start in New York scares me, which is why he is ranked this low. Chris Tillman is dealing with a mild groin injury, and the early grumblings Friday morning could have his Monday start pushed back. The latest reports are he’ll pitch on Monday, but be warned. The groin issue was reported on May 13, but following that report, he went ahead and threw shut out against the Royals. After the start, I didn’t think much of the injury, but it was obvious there was something wrong on Wednesday; his fastball velocity was 88-90 mph, and he had no command of any of his pitches and the pitches he threw for strikes were basically batting practice fastballs. I have no idea what Tillman we’re getting next week. I’m huge believer in Jake Arrieta’s stuff and his ultimate fantasy ceiling as a top 20-25 starting pitcher. He looked fantastic in his last start in San Diego (who doesn’t have a good starts against the Padres?) and, most importantly, he threw season high 94 pitches. In his previous three starts, he only threw 81-82 pitches. If he can throw 95-plus pitches, he’ll pitch deep enough into games to earn wins. His next starts are: at the Giants, home to the Mets, home to the Marlins, at the Phillies and then at the Marlins. Go add him now because all of those starts are stream-worthy in leagues as shallow as 12-team mixed leagues.

Proceed with caution

Rank

Name

Team

Opp.

ERA

K%

BB%

75

Miguel Gonzalez

BAL

@HOU

4.53

21.0%

7.5%

76

Jacob deGrom

NYM

PIT, @PHI

2.77

20.8%

10.4%

77

Mark Buehrle

TOR

TB, KC

2.16

14.7%

6.6%

78

Collin McHugh

HOU

@KC, BAL

3.32

27.0%

7.9%

79

Danny Duffy

KC

HOU

1.42

19.0%

10.0%

80

Drew Pomeranz

OAK

LAA

0.94

24.3%

9.0%

81

Tom Koehler

MIA

@WSH

2.25

16.2%

10.5%

82

Ian Kennedy

SD

@CWS

3.79

25.9%

5.5%

83

Justin Masterson

CLE

@CWS

5.32

18.9%

10.7%

84

Marco Estrada

MIL

BAL

3.65

22.9%

7.3%

85

Chase Whitley

NYY

@STL, MIN

1.00

18.4%

7.9%

Additional Information: If you remove the first outlier, starter Collin McHugh has a 4.02 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 22.3 percent strikeout rate and 9.2 percent walk rate. With those peripherals, the ERA should be in the 3.50-3.80 range, and those are the numbers I expect from him the rest of the year. The Orioles matchup is not ideal, but I love the Royals matchup as they are 25th in the majors in wOBA. Eventually, the walks are going to come back to haunt Drew Pomeranz.

Avoid

Rank

Name

Team

Opp.

ERA

K%

BB%

86

Brandon Cumpton

PIT

@NYM, @LAD

4.25

17.3%

1.9%

87

Francisco Liriano

PIT

@LAD

4.86

22.3%

10.1%

88

Zack Wheeler

NYM

@PHI

4.53

20.9%

11.8%

89

David Phelps

NYY

@STL

3.18

22.0%

10.0%

90

Roenis Elias

SEA

LAA, DET

3.68

21.1%

10.2%

91

Jake Odorizzi

TB

@BOS

4.99

26.7%

11.8%

92

Chase Anderson

ARI

SD

5.05

19.0%

7.1%

93

Bartolo Colon

NYM

PIT

5.34

17.3%

2.4%

94

Brad Peacock

HOU

@KC

5.20

21.5%

14.6%

95

Ubaldo Jimenez

BAL

@HOU

4.50

21.1%

10.1%

96

R.A. Dickey

TOR

KC

4.20

18.9%

11.3%

97

Matt Garza

MIL

BAL

4.93

17.9%

8.4%

98

Clay Buchholz

BOS

@ATL, TB

6.32

15.4%

7.0%

99

Ricky Nolasco

MIN

TEX

5.49

15.2%

6.2%

100

Aaron Harang

ATL

BOS, @MIA

3.32

25.9%

7.3%

101

Gavin Floyd

ATL

@BOS

2.41

21.0%

6.2%

Additional information: Chase Anderson has suffered from some bad luck due to the long ball and doesn’t have elite upside, but this is a guy who will get batters out fairly consistently. Also, when in doubt, I’ll take pitchers who pitch against the Padres. Brandon Cumpton is my favorite player in this tier because he doesn’t walk hitters and throws strikes.

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