Previous articles in this series:

We, at Baseball Prospectus, have been talking about starting pitchers for a while now (over a week and change to be exact, depending on when you are reading this) and the party continues to rage on. Yet before we rage, we shall calibrate—since rankings aren’t useful without knowing what you’re reading. The list you are about to read here presupposes a 16-team standard (read: 5×5 roto) dynasty format, in which there are no contracts/salaries, players can be kept forever, and owners have minor-league farm systems in which to hoard prospects. So feel free to adjust this as necessary for your individual league, whether it’s moving non-elite prospects without 2016 ETAs down if you don’t have separate farm teams or moving lower-risk, lower-reward players up in deeper mixed or -only formats.

Making sense of starters as a whole isn’t something that’s worth the internet paper it’s written on—but we can look at this large and amorphous group to determine a few key things. First, there is a big cluster of potential SP2s in baseball these days. In fact, you could argue that all of the pitchers from 15 or 16 overall to the early 40s qualify in that tier. Some, of course, are there now and some have just strongly hinted at that future, but the point remains nonetheless. Secondly, the crop of prospects is weak overall and even a lot of the higher-end ones lack shiny upside. Of course, we all know this is a fallacy because fantasy aces just show up out of nowhere most of the time. I mean, who saw Jake Arrieta, Jacob deGrom, and Corey Kluber as aces just a few years ago? So while having really great pitching prospects like Blake Snell and Jose Berrios helped buoy the overall group, they don’t stand particularly good chances at ace-dom. In fact, there are few arms on this list at all who have that kind of projection, regardless of how risky they might be. Finally, there’s a large cluster of recently very good starters who have completely fallen off the map, and tightly you hold onto them is a real concern. Some recently top-100 (or even higher) names are off the list despite not being injured. Wily Peralta, Jeremy Hellickson, Drew Hutchison, and Chris Tillman have become nothing more than fading sparklers. Jered Weaver and Tim Lincecum can’t crack the list either (or 90mph on their fastball). It’s a cut-throat world on the mound—but be vigilant or be wasteful.

Finally, since I’m putting all 175 names on this single list, and most of these pitchers have all been discussed at some point over the past week, I’m going to be keeping commentary to what has been written above. If you have questions, let’s take ‘em to the comments (as they used to say in the wild west).

So, just like we did on the outfield list, let’s start by not overthinking this:

1) Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
2) Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
3) Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs
4) Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
5) Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates
6) Matt Harvey, New York Mets
7) Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets
8) Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
9) Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
10) Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
11) Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
12) Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks
13) David Price, Boston Red Sox
) Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
15) Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
16) Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers
17) Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
18) Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
19) Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians
20) Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros
21) Sonny Gray, Oakland Athletics
22) Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
23) Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants
24) Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays
25) Lucas Giolito, Washington Nationals
26) Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels
27) Michael Wacha, St Louis Cardinals
28) Tyson Ross, San Diego Padres
29) Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox
30) Danny Salazar, Cleveland Indians
31) Shelby Miller, Arizona Diamondbacks
32) Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
33) Carlos Martinez, St Louis Cardinals
34) Steven Matz, New York Mets
35) Alex Reyes, St Louis Cardinals
36) Adam Wainwright, St Louis Cardinals
37) Jordan Zimmermann, Detroit Tigers
38) Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays
38.5) Lance McCullers, Houston Astros
39) Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays
40) Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates
41) Julio Urias, Los Angeles Dodgers
42) Luis Severino, New York Yankees
43) Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
44) Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays
45) Drew Smyly, Tampa Bay Rays
46) Tyler Glasnow, Pittsburgh Pirates
47) Jose Quintana, Chicago White Sox
48) Joe Ross, Washington Nationals
49) James Shields, San Diego Padres
50) Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
51) Zack Wheeler, New York Mets
52) Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
53) Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels
54) Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins
55) Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles
56) Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco Giants
57) Yordano Ventura, Kansas City Royals
58) Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox
59) Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners
60) Taijuan Walker, Seattle Mariners
61) Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
62) Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds
63) Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles Dodgers
64) Wei-Yin Chen, Miami Marlins
65) Michael Pineda, New York Yankees
66) Jose De Leon, Los Angeles Dodgers
67) Daniel Norris, Detroit Tigers
68) Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
69) Cody Reed, Cincinnati Reds
70) Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
71) John Lackey, Chicago Cubs
72) Sean Newcomb, Los Angeles Angels
73) Sean Manaea, Oakland Athletics
74) Dillon Tate, Texas Rangers
75) Ian Kennedy, Kansas City Royals
76) Jake Thompson, Philadelphia Phillies
77) Kenta Maeda, Los Angeles Dodgers
78) Collin McHugh, Houston Astros
79) Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians
80) Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox
81) Robert Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds
82) Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
83) Jeff Hoffman, Colorado Rockies
84) Grant Holmes, Los Angeles Dodgers
85) Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels
86) Anderson Espinoza, Boston Red Sox
87) Martin Perez, Texas Rangers
88) Mark Appel, Philadelphia Phillies
89) Wade Miley, Seattle Mariners
90) Andrew Cashner, San Diego Padres
91) Carson Fulmer, Chicago White Sox
92) Anthony DeSclafani, Cincinnati Reds
93) James Paxton, Seattle Mariners
94) Frances Martes, Houston Astros
95) Derek Holland, Texas Rangers
96) Franklyn Kilome, Philadelphia Phillies
97) Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox
98) Mike Leake, San Francisco Giants
99) Vincent Velasquez, Philadelphia Phillies
100) Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins
101) Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh Pirates
102) Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks
103) Jaime Garcia, St Louis Cardinals
104) Yadier Alvarez, Los Angeles Dodgers
105) Jason Hammel, Chicago Cubs
106) Brent Honeywell, Tampa Bay Rays
107) Chi Chi Gonzalez, Texas Rangers
108) Matt Wisler, Atlanta Braves
109) Kolby Allard, Atlanta Braves
110) Brady Aiken, Cleveland Indians
111) Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers
112) Henry Owens, Boston Red Sox
113) Aaron Blair, Boston Red Sox
114) Nathan Eovaldi, New York Yankees
115) Braden Shipley, Arizona Diamondbacks
116) Michael Fiers, Houston Astros
117) Luis Ortiz, Texas Rangers
118) Kyle Zimmer, Kansas City Royals
119) Edinson Volquez, Kansas City Royals
120) Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs
121) Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers
122) Lance Lynn, St Louis Cardinals
123) R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays
124) Jonathan Gray, Colorado Rockies
125) Hunter Harvey, Baltimore Orioles
126) Jon Niese, Pittsburgh Pirates
127) Brandon McCarthy, Los Angeles Dodgers
128) Mat Latos, Chicago White Sox
129) Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds
130) Taylor Jungmann, Milwaukee Brewers
131) Hector Santiago, Los Angeles Angels
132) Henderson Alvarez, Oakland Athletics
133) Reynaldo Lopez, Washington Nationals
134) Erick Fedde, Washington Nationals
135) Max Fried, Atlanta Braves
136) Alex Wood, Los Angeles Dodgers
137) C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels
138) Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins
139) Phil Hughes, Minnesota Twins
140) Taylor Guerrieri, Tampa Bay Rays
141) Rich Hill, Oakland Athletics
142) Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers
143) Kohl Stewart, Minnesota Twins
144) Erasmo Ramirez, Tampa Bay Rays
145) Yovani Gallardo, Baltimore Orioles
146) Touki Toussaint, Atlanta Braves
147) Nathan Karns, Seattle Mariners
148) Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers
149) Amir Garrett, Cincinnati Reds
150) Jorge Lopez, Milwaukee Brewers
151) Jesse Hahn, Oakland Athletics
152) Joe Kelly, Boston Red Sox
153) Jerad Eickhoff, Philadelphia Phillies
154) John Lamb, Cincinnati Reds
155) Jack Flaherty, St Louis Cardinals
156) Marco Estrada, Toronto Blue Jays
157) Kris Medlen, Kansas City Royals
158) Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks
159) Michael Kopech, Boston Red Sox
160) Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
161) Spencer Adams, Chicago White Sox
162) Adam Conley, Miami Marlins
163) Brandon Finnegan, Cincinnati Reds
164) Chase Anderson, Milwaukee Brewers
165) Jesse Chavez, Toronto Blue Jays
166) Manny Banuelos, Atlanta Braves
167) Tyler Kolek, Miami Marlins
168) Brett Anderson, Los Angeles Dodgers
169) J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays
170) CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
171) Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angels
172) Rubby De La Rosa, Arizona Diamondbacks
173) Rafael Montero, New York Mets
174) Mike Minor, Kansas City Royals
175) Doug Fister, Houston Astros

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
Just wondering if I'm missing Lance McCullen, or if he was intentionally left off. If he was left off is this because of concerns with him moving to a relief role in the future? Thanks guys
McCullers was a casualty of trying to transfer 175 names from Excel to Word. He should be on the list at #38, just ahead of Jake Odorizzi. Adding him now..
Thank you for these articles. I find them very helpful. I'm surprised the Yordano Ventura is listed so low at 57. I think he should be about 20 spots higher. Is it because of his size (and concerns about his durability) or something else? He's young, has had success in the majors and is viewed as having top of the rotation (#1/2) upside.
Durability and inconsistent performance both played a role. There's also a pretty thick top tier these days among arms.
Jake Peavy seems like someone that should have made this list.
Bret/BP fantasy guys...Would you be willing to pay Fernandez $34 for the next three years in a 12 tm dynasty? It's either that or I have him for this year only at $25 and he becomes FA again at the end of the season. thanks
That seems pretty expensive, but I'd do it if there's at least 20-30% inflation.
Sorry if this is a dumb question...what do you mean by 20-30% inflation, with regards to this scenario?
Geez Bret,

How could you rank so and so above what's his name? Unbelievable!
was this list a collective effort from the BP team, or just Mr Sayre? I know either this or the TDG list was just him.

And was this list [especially as get lower down the line] based more on high-end potential or how likely they were to reach potential?
This list is just Mr Sayre.

And it's a combination of both. It has to be. There's no use in ceiling if a player is extremely unlikely to reach it. I tend to skew a little more towards ceiling than safety at the end, but it's a light skew.
Bret, love your list, and at this time of year it's exciting to see a pitcher we as a bretheren, have had in mothballs for 2 to 3 years come to the fore,but I have to take umbrage with the ranking of Sonny Gray.If he is the 21st best hurler in all of baseball for the next 5 years ,I'll eat your hat.
Aaron Blair is a Red Sox?
Two months in, where does Drew Pomeranz slot in the list?
Any reason Danny Duffy isn't on this list?
Because this is last year's list and we ranked him as a reliever at the time.
Hahaha, wow, my mistake!