The List 4/25: Top 100 Starting Pitchers For 2022 – Week 3


Welcome to the first in-season edition of The List, where I rank the Top 100 SP for Fantasy Baseball every single Monday of the year. It’s the List the site is named after.

Want an earlier update to The List? Join me on Mondays at 1:00pm ET as I live-stream its creation each week!

Have questions? My “office hours” are on Twitch 9:00 am – 11:00 am ET Monday – Friday + the aforementioned stream of The List.

For each edition of The List, I have a set of rules to outline my thought process and how to best use these rankings. Please take note:

  1. This is 5×5, 12-teamer, H2H format focused. It generally is the same as roto as well, but make sure you adjust accordingly.
  2. We have two tables to review before the notes and rankings. First is an injury table that outlines where players would be relatively ranked if fully healthy. It’s the best way to tackle how to value players on the IL.
  3. Second is a table of pitchers outside the Top 100 I considered. Please read this if you can’t find your guy.
  4. Since this is a 12-teamer, I heavily weigh upside in the back-half of the rankings. Tier 10 is likely going to underperform those in Tier 11 across a full season, but it’s in your best interest to chase Tier 10’s ceiling vs. settling for Tier 11’s floor.
  5. I’ve made a decision to remove all the labels that I struggle to maintain through the season to instead give each player just one label at a time. It streamlines the process much better and hopefully gives you a more targeted understanding of the player.
  6. I’ve also made the decision to not mention Trevor Bauer. There’s too much of a headache for many reasons. Just don’t do it.
  7. The notes outline oh-so-much to help your team. Please read the notes if you can instead of just scrolling to the bottom.

 

Let’s get to the tables. First are all of our injured compatriots:

 

 

I made a decision this week: I’ve removed the “Preseason tiers” and changed “tiers” to “Relative Rank” as it’ll be more consistent week-to-week — Tiers change while their relative rank does not.

Now let’s take a look at the pitchers I considered for the Top 100 but didn’t quite make the cut:

 

Other Pitchers I Considered

 

Lastly, I heavily recommend you read my 40,000 words on all the Top 224 Starting Pitchers for 2022 that I released in February for more info about these players or just follow my daily SP Roundup that outlines all pitcher performances through the season. About 95% of it still applies and will do so much to help you understand the skill sets of everyone ranked here. Seriously, it will answer all your questions and it took months of work to put together. Read it.

 

 

Ranking Notes

 

  • This is your reminder to please read these notes as they’ll tell you plenty about why “someone moved up” or “why is he at #X?!”
  • Seriously. Read the notes.

 

  • Hey, you’re seeing a lot of “-1” in the 20s and 30s. Why? Because Lucas Giolito returned to The List at #12. Please remember how this affects all the rankings and don’t think I actively moved guys down when they stayed the same. Cool? Cool.

 

  • I did a thing this week. I not only placed Corbin Burnes above Gerrit ColeI also shortened the first tier to just three players. It made sense given the struggles of Brandon Woodruff and Walker Buehler to push them into the second tier. I doubt you’d disagree.
  • In the second tier, not much changes except for Kevin Gausman sliding into the #9 spot. He’s been awfully consistent with his splitter thus far and the concerns we had about the AL Beast seem to have been a bit overblown.

 

  • Part of raising Gausman was lowering Logan Webb to Tier 2. Is his still an ace? Yes, but I’m seeing a guy who doesn’t have quite the same ceiling as the Top 10 arms and needed to be moved to reflect that. Don’t worry about the AGA label for him and not for others in this tier – I expect all of them to get their label in the next few weeks and have them ranked as such.
  • As mentioned above, Lucas Giolito returned from the IL this weekend and tosses just under 80 pitches. He featured impressive CSW numbers and a slight dip in velocity and I imagine he’ll be right as rain after another start or two.

 

  • Otherwise, the third tier doesn’t change a whole lot as we’re seeing these stable pitchers look like…stable pitchers. I added Frankie Montas to the crew as well as he’s looked strong following his opening day troubles.
  • I also elected to move Charlie Morton into the middle of the fourth tier. Do I believe he’ll recover? Absolutely. It did take him until the middle of May last year to be a proper SP #2, though, and this may take a moment, just like Zack Wheeler above him.

 

  • Speaking of Wheeler, I was thrilled to see him at 96 mph on Saturday, but he’s not quite back to his Top 5 SP self yet. I elected to keep him where he is and closely monitor the next few starts.
  • The entire Twitch chat demanded I raise Shane McClanahan into the third tier, but I’m hesitant to put him up after just two starts of 6+ frames. As long as his fastball doesn’t get continually crushed and his changeup is the #1 CSW changeup among starters with more than 15 thrown, he’ll get an “AGA” label soon enough.

 

  • I also decided to give some love to Pablo López who has had a fantastic start to the season. I’m a little skeptical he can be consistently fantastic with just a changeup and four-seamer (the cutter and curveball are not proper #3 pitches) but he’s a bit more deserving than those below him.
  • And hey, Aaron Nola looked great* (with some fortunate calls) against the Brewers and could be breaking out from 14-month spell. Let’s give him another start or two to prove it.

 

  • In Tier 5, I didn’t adjust anyone save for raising PabLó and adding Lucas Giolitosave for bringing Shohei Ohtani into the group. I’m still worried he won’t go more than 130 frames for the full year, but with a tweak in his delivery, his slider was as good as I’ve ever seen it during his start against the Astros. He’s looking like a Top 10 arm at the moment.
  • I also removed Tyler Mahle from the fifth tier and brought him far down to Tier 7. It seems more dramatic than it actually is – Mahle should help your fantasy teams across the full year – but he’s not looking like his sturdy self at the moment and with so many talented arms out there, Mahle’s value is diminished.

 

  • Once again, I haven’t done a whole lot to Tier 6 – these guys were good last week and are still good now! I did move Michael Kopech up as he overwhelmed with heaters in his last start. The secondaries weren’t polished, but if Kopech has the heater in check, it makes for a great foundation.
  • It’s weird keeping Logan Gilbert ranked where he is, but he’s been performing well regardless of his secondaries failing to come through. I’m not exactly sure how to analyze that – should I be lowering him with the anticipation of the results to come down to Earth without a proper slider & changeup, or should I raise him in excitement for his ability once the secondaries arrive? It’s a tough call…so I left him where he is.

 

  • Tier 7, now this is the best time. We already talked about Mahle and everyone else is a whole lot of fun. Kyle Wright is the poster child today as he rises fourteen spots. It’s getting difficult to deny his improved command with the breaking ball is making batters look silly. There’s absolutely a chance it falls apart with more outings – as it is with everyone here – but we gotta latch on now.
  • Eric Lauer rose a ton after his incredible pair of outings last week, the latter of which coming against the Phillies. Sure, the “unknown” umpire behind the plate helped Lauer get to thirteen strikeouts, but to see his four-seamer not only come with increased velocity, but a swinging strike rate comfortably above 15% is bliss.

 

  • There’s no denying Nestor Cortes Jr. as he continues to cruise through outings with his four-seamer and cutter. It may not last the whole year, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed watching Jesús Luzardo rebound after a tough second start of the year and while it came with four walks, his command issues are being nullified by a 97 mph heater and an emphasis on curveballs via 40%+ usage. You love to see it.

 

  • Tier 8 begins with Eduardo Rodriguezwho I constantly go back and forth about. On one hand, he’s destined to get every opportunity this season for the Tigers, racking up Wins and strikeouts galore. On the other, I’m not sure where he’ll land in the ratios department. I want to think the ceiling for a 3.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP is still there, making him a safer play than the others in the tier.
  • I had to give a drop to Matt Brash as our concerns from his debut have been confirmed in his following pair of outings. I still believe he’s destined to not consistently walk 4/5 batters a game and the strikeout ceiling + ability to limit hard contact with his breaker will carry him through the year.

 

  • I gave a rise to both Nick Lodolo and Luis García this week. Lodolo’s heater has become a strong offering up in the zone and while there’s another step to reach once he fully harnesses his slider down-and-gloveside, his three-pitch-mix will make him worthwhile as a hold for any 12-teamer.
  • Meanwhile, García has revamped how he pitches as he’s increased velocity on his four-seamer, raising its usage, and shelving his secondaries plenty. It’s worked so far (save for a three-run shot in the sixth against the Jays) and I’m inclined to think he can soar if the cutter & slider flourish once again with the new heat.

 

  • After Hunter Greene sat 96 mph following his bombardment of 100+ mph pitches, I needed to give him a worthy tumble this week. It’s possible this was just an off day and he flirts again with triple digits moving forward, but it’s awfully concerning right now – especially when he allowed hard contact with the high velocity prior.
  • I gave a small dip to Triston McKenzie as well after he lost feel for all his pitches last time out. Command has always been the question for Triston and while I imagine it’ll improve with more time, I’m acknowledging the development that’s still to come.

 

  • Tier 9 is the tier of “solid” arms that don’t carry the same ceiling as Tier 8. Framber Valdez falls down here as he’s been unable to hold off hard contact with his sinker as the walks have piled up. He’s sure to bounce back through the year and should be rostered on your squads, it’s just going to come with these bumps along the way.
  • Ian Anderson had a wonderful outing last week only to lose the precision in his follow-up. I still see a ton of potential here in the changeup and tweaks will continue to be made through the season. We’re watching development on the fly.

 

  • Tier 10 is the hopeful tier as I can see each of these pitchers rise into the Top 50 through the year, but there are simply better options at the moment. Reid Detmers has a fantastic curveball that limits hard contact, but his slider isn’t doing its part and failing to earn chases out of the zone. It may take a moment before he’s polished – the kid is just 22-years-old, after all.
  • The Brewers are making it hard on Aaron Ashbyputting him in the rotation proper every-other turn at the moment. If he ever gets a clear-cut slot, Ashby could speed up the ranks, but for now, he’s a decent start through the week as we wait patiently.

 

  • It’s about dang time the Astros allowed Cristian Javier to get a legit start for the squad and while his first start shouldn’t be very long, it may dictate a long period (or permanent?) inside the Houston rotation. I don’t think he carries Top 30 upside, but he could be a strong play moving forward.
  • I wonder how many more starts we’ll see of MacKenzie Gore go for the Padres. It seems like Blake Snell and Mike Clevinger will both return next week, making Gore get pushed back to the minors. Still, he’s worth it against the Reds this week and who knows, maybe they find a way to keep him starting.

 

  • The 11th tier is when it starts to become less fun. Marcus Stroman and Adam Wainwright were higher on the list given their “high floors” yet they’ve struggled as much as anyone in the early weeks. They aren’t highly regarded for their ceilings, so they’ve taken a tumble. Hopefully they can force their way back up the list quickly.
  • I get a sense that Nick Martinez will find his groove in the next few weeks and begin to knock on the door of the Top 50, but he’s had a rough go of it so far. As long as he gets his velocity around 93 mph again and doesn’t have to face the toughest opponents, Martinez should get there.

 

  • Tier 12 is the tier of the Toby arms I expect to sit here for a whole lot of the year. Zach Eflin and Cal Quantrill are the guys we were expecting them to be, Miles Mikolas has rebounded from a poor first weekend, and Marco Gonzales is even showcasing some strikeout ability against two tough teams in the Astros and Rangers. You can absolutely do worse.
  • I gave a small dip to Steven Matz simply because there were other guys I wanted to promote ahead of him, less because he’s anything different than who we think he is.

 

  • Tier 13 is where we’re hoping to find some hidden treasure deep on the waiver wire. Guys who could be more than just a Toby and demand a pickup in your leagues. For example, Glenn Otto has gotten the call for the Rangers and could impress with his fantastic slider. Or maybe Tony Gonsolin can earn more than 65% strikes with his slider – he earned whiffs last time but was wildly inconsistent with the pitch.
  • And yes, there’s a chance Dylan Bundy’s stellar marks are a hint of what’s to come in 2022. His fastball does little to impress, but it hasn’t induced much hard contact, while he did raise his elite slider usage to 30% last start. Hey, it could happen.

 

  • We have to talk about Bruce Zimmermann for a moment. His changeup holds the #2 CSW among all starters in the majors and could keep earning whiffs on his breakers. There’s a chance it’s real, y’all.
  • While Garrett Whitlock is only getting a second start because unvaccinated Tanner Houck couldn’t travel to Toronto, he may perform so well that he forces himself into the rotation. Something to consider.

 

  • I gave a drop to both Drew Rasmussen and Elieser Hernandez this week. Rasmussen simply isn’t doing a whole lot so far this year to make me think he’s anything be a hopeful low BABIP arm, while Hernandez has a few tough matchups in the short term that I’d prefer to avoid. Keep an eye on both, though, as they could be strong pickups later this week.
  • I wonder if Jordan Hicks will actually prosper as a starting pitcher when all is said and done. He’s still a few outings away from being stretched out and be ready to grab him off the wire if he does miraculous work on the bump.

 

  • In the final tier, we’re just looking for decent arms to supplement our teams when we have nothing else to turn to. Tyler Anderson is now in the Dodgers rotation with Andrew Heaney on the IL and while he was a solid Toby last year, that’s all we’re chasing here. That’s not the best reward to chase.
  • Joining Anderson this week are Chris Flexen, Cole Irvin, Dakota Hudson, Ross Striplingand Josh FlemingThe first three are all trying to go six frames without damage, while Stripling holds a touch more upside as he takes over for Hyun Jin Ryu in the Jay’s rotation – if he had better matchups and was stretched out a touch more, he’d be at least one tier higher.

 

  • As for Josh Fleminghe’s only tossed 10 frames but currently carries a 67% groundball rate and a near 30% strikeout rate. I have little faith that the Rays will allow him to go a steady 5/6 frames consistently, but hey, why not.
  • Oh, and Fleming has an 18% SwStr rate on his sinker that is absolutely not going to last.

 

YOU SHOULD READ THE NOTES

 

Labels Legend

Aces Gonna Ace

Ace Potential

Injury Risk

Strikeout Upside

Low IPS

Quality Starts

Playing Time Question

Cherry Bomb

Toby

Ratio Focused

Streaming Option

Stash Option

 

Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)



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