Welcome to The List, where I rank the Top 100 SP for Fantasy Baseball every single Monday of the year.
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:
- This is 5×5, 12-teamer, H2H format focused. It generally is the same as roto as well, but make sure you adjust accordingly.
- 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.
- If a player is on the IL or not confirmed inside the rotation, they aren’t on the List. That includes injuries and guys in the minors, but there are exceptions for players who are expected to be in the rotation but are being skipped this week.
- Second is a table of pitchers outside the Top 100 I considered. Please read this if you can’t find your guy.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 year: 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.
Please understand that “70-80” does not guarantee the player will be exactly in that range when they return. Rankings are 100% relative to the landscape and while this table reflects where they would sit in a vacuum, it’s a fluid creature. Sometimes there are oh-so-many options, sometimes I want to see them healthy and stretched out again, and others we’re starving for pitchers and they jump higher than “70-80”. It’s a loose reference point and why it’s called “relative ranking.” I hope it helps!
One last point about that – often times pitchers need an extra week or two to ramp up once they do return to the majors. It’s why Still ILL exists and the “relative rank” you see is when those guys have shaken off their rust. Will they be back to normal in their first start or will they need a few? I have no idea! Those ranks are to show what I’d expect once they are fully back to normal.
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 (Not Ranked In Order)
Lastly, I heavily recommend you follow my daily SP Roundup that outlines all pitcher performances through the season, or if you want a primer on most of these pitchers, you can check out my 40,000 words from the pre-season via my Top 224 Starting Pitchers for 2022 from February. Both will help you get a grasp of my general thoughts on most of these guys (especially the roundup!) as I simply can’t detail everything about 100 pitchers in these notes each week.
- 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.
- As is tradition, I need to tell you about the guys who were removed and added from the Top 60, so you have context for the ranking shifts.
- Added: Max Scherzer (8)
- Removed: Chris Bassitt (21)
- Net Gain Inside Top 60: (Neutral)
- It’s already interesting at the top tier as Shane McClanahan stays at #3. I KNOW Y’ALL I WANT HIM AS #1 TOO. I can’t overlook the track record of Corbin Burnes and Gerrit Cole just because McShane has had a brilliant three months. If Cole falters in the near future and McClanahan does more of the same, then fine, I’ll give in.
- I elected to flip Sandy Alcantara and Zack Wheeler simply because I expected more innings from Sandy. It seemed like the right thing to do.
- I imagine I’ll be placing Max Scherzer into the first tier next week after he gets past his first start back from the IL on Tuesday. Just to be safe, he’s at #8 as we make sure he’s what we remember. Note: It means everyone gets a (-1) because of Scherzer before the Top 20. Keep that in mind.
- I also moved up Joe Musgrove to #7 after shaking off all the rust from COVID in his last start. He’s the man you remember.
- I took a long time deciding what to do with Shohei Ohtani and finally said “it’s the beginning of July and Ohtani has been everything we could have hoped for.” I removed his injury tag (and Carlos Rodón’s, for that matter) given no signs of slowing down, pushing him into the second tier. The lower expected frames hasn’t come to fruition and his slider is just too good.
- Jumping into the third tier is Brandon Woodruff after dominating across his last two outings – carrying the fastball we remember from 2021. Another start like that and he’s back into the second tier once again.
- This week I opened up the third tier a bit to include the likes of Julio Urías, Dylan Cease, and Robbie Ray, a trio of pitchers one start away from earning their AGA labels. They deserve to be with the rest of the crew.
- The fourth tier gets a shake-up. Frankie Montas had his AGA label, but he left Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury and we all hold our breath to hear the results of his MRI. Let’s hope he’s okay.
- I feel as if Shane Baz is going to sit comfortably in Tier 3 before too long, he just needs more time on the hill to earn the spot.
- This was another productive week for Lucas Giolito as he kept his changeups down and four-seamers up. He’s not completely out of the woods, but an AGA tag could arrive before August.
- And yes, Tony Gonsolin keeps rising as he’s shown no signs of slowing down. I’m still a bit skeptical, but if he keeps performing, he’ll keep rising.
- The fifth tier is the usual suspects of “hey, these guys are good, right?” Lance Lynn boasted good ratios, but didn’t overwhelm as we wanted him to and I wonder if we’ll see the same fastball velocity from 2021 return in the second half.
- I’ve pushed Framber Valdez into Tier 5 after improving his sinker and finding his elite curveball once again. I’ve had my questions about his elevated WHIP and hopefully he carries a more digestible one in the second half.
- The sixth tier is where things get wild. I sat there and looked at Spencer Strider and Cristian Javier’s clear stud ceilings and wondered why I wouldn’t rather chase them more than the others in the tier. It was as if I wasn’t allowed to given their track records. But this is how I feel – Strider has held higher strike rates more often than low ones, and Javier is on FIRE. And it’s not like the others in the tier are pristine, you know.
- I had to rectify a mistake from previous weeks as I lowered Zac Gallen twenty spots. This isn’t a move from last week – i.e. I’m not reacting just to last week as a 20 spot fall – it’s something I’ve fought for whatever reason and had my moment of enlightenment today. His repertoire simply isn’t coming together as I hoped and it’s already July 5th. Time to make some changes.
- Hey you, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to read the notes and support Pitcher List. Consider getting a premium subscription including Discord access, my exclusive morning podcast, and an ad-free version of the website at 25% off annually using promo code INOTEDTHENOTES – Head here to sign up for PL+ Yearly for just $70. You rock, y’all.
- Have you noticed the dominance of Jon Gray over the last month? He’s been sitting 96+ mph on his heater paired with his whiff-heavy slider and looked like the man we dreamed of when he left Colorado. He’s displaying the upside we’ve been chasing from everyone else below him.
- They stand out as some of the few red names in the tier, but Jordan Montgomery and Patrick Sandoval aren’t any different than last week in my eye. In fact, I’m a little encouraged by Sandoval as he earned 15 whiffs between changeups and sliders in his 5 ER outing against the Astros.
- The seventh tier is a collection of arms who could excel into the Top 40, but are currently stationed in purgatory. George Kirby is the safest of the lot with the lowest ceiling (blame the mediocre secondaries), while MacKenzie Gore and Michael Kopech have been all over the place. I hope all of these arms are their best selves moving forward.
- As for the large drop for Sean Manaea, his velocity has fluctuated more than I’d like, making me skeptical that he can go on a phenomenal run in the second half.
- Now is the part of The List where I alternate between “Meh but safe” and “Take a chance, make it happen” tiers. Even = safe, Odd = chasing upside. It’s incredibly important that you take that into account as you’re sure to like guys at lower ranks more than higher ranks at times because of the groupings. Shift from one safe tier to another can me a rise/drop of 10 spots – it’s about the groupings, not the individual number y’all.
- Okay, with that out of the way (thanks for reading the notes!) Tier 8 is filled with the guys who have helped y’all through the year but could easily stop being Mr. Dependable by the second half and don’t carry the ceiling of those above them. Taijuan Walker has certainly flirted with higher strikeout totals, though I’m not as much of a believer in that lasting throughout the year, sadly.
- Once again, I’m dropping Martín Pérez as he’s begun his descent back to Earth. I’m hoping he can recover this week, but it may be a fall to Tier 10 next week.
- Tier 9. Ohhhh Tier 9. You’re going to see someone in here and get upset at me and I completely get it. Give me two moments to explain every arm in here so I don’t get angry tweets/comments again.
- Aaron Ashby – Returned from the IL and now gets another proper chance in the rotation. He could blossom into a legit starter this season.
- Eric Lauer – He just earned 21 whiffs on only his four-seamer. I wanted to raise him more, but it could be a Dennis.
- Tarik Skubal – He gets a massive drop as it’s awfully reminiscent of Matthew Boyd’s 2019 season of early success and getting into a rut he can’t escape. I hope he turns it around.
- Tyler Mahle – The strikeouts are great and maybe he gets dealt somewhere to make his home/road splits more digestible. Still too much of a Cherry Bomb to raise higher.
- Blake Snell – Just fanned 12 Dodgers hitters…while boasting a 1.60 WHIP across five frames. Is he ever going to be consistently productive?
- Nick Lodolo – Returns from the IL Tuesday night. Love his slider/four-seamer/change approach, but it may take a few starts to soar.
- Brayan Bello – Makes his MLB debut on Wednesday and I have no idea what happens after. Do the Red Sox keep him up? Does he dominate? I’d pick him up and see.
- José Urquidy – He’s produced across his last three starts on the back of his four-seamer and it’s not an approach I want to bank on moving forward.
- Alex Cobb / Alex Wood – Take your pick here. Both are pitching better than their numbers have been, but the luck is so dang frustrating.
- Hunter Greene – The man is capable of ridiculous strikeout numbers, but is so dang volatile with his fastball/slider arsenal. Up to you if you want to chase it.
- Okay, back to normal notes. Tier 10 is another boring tier with David Peterson mixed in as someone I want to go after in the short term with his slider working, but doesn’t carry the absolute ceilings of the Tier 9 arms. He was lost in purgatory so I stuck him in here.
- There really isn’t much to report on in here. You know all these guys (hey, welcome back Drew Rasmussen!) and you’ve debated either picking them up or swapping them out constantly this year. I feel you.
- Tier 11 is back to intriguing stuff and the major falls are a product of the innate volatility of The List being The List (it’s mostly stable in the Top 50/60, then fluctuates a ton as guys become either adds or drops in 12-teamers). For example, Josiah Gray looked to be trending in the right direction with his breakers, then took a major step back last time out. I hope it returns this week.
- I gave a massive hit to others as well. Roansy Contreras fell as we’ve all become irritated with his wonky command. Graham Ashcraft’s cutter/slider approach was punished hard, and now he faces the Mets instead of the Pirates. Michael Lorenzen could have the best week ahead as he faces the Orioles and you may want to consider that even with the drop in ranking.
- I’ve added Kyle Hendricks back to The List as he’s upped his changeup usage lately, leading to a string of successful outings. It may be fool’s gold, but I need to acknowledge it here.
- Don’t count out Trevor Rogers just yet. He’s shown signs of improvement lately and there may be something to latch onto with the Angels and Pirates in his next two starts. I’m curious as he’s often the cost of free in leagues these days.
- Sorry Ian Anderson, I simply can’t trust that your command will be there on a given day. Even if he performs well for a start or two, at what point will I actually be able to trust him?
- The Guardians teammates Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale are interesting once again. Plesac has his slider earning whiffs + a changeup that finds strikes constantly, while Civale’s curveball is doing great work. They each get the Royals next and could produce.
- The final tier is a crew of options if you’re truly searching for something. I’ve added Patrick Corbin and Yusei Kikuchi this week as Corbin may have tweaked his sinker command in the right direction, while Kikuchi gets the Athletics after a dominant start against the Reds.
- Justin Steele returns to The List as he’s miraculously earned strikeouts lately. It’s more of a next week streaming option with the Dodgers next, though.
- I also added Josh Winckowski this week as he’s produced Wins for the Red Sox as of late. Avoid this week against the Yankees, but he could be of interest against the Rays after.
- Finally, Mitch White lands the final spot as he gets Rockie Road on Tuesday. I wonder if his breakers will be enough to secure a Win for trusting managers.
YOU SHOULD READ THE NOTES
Aces Gonna Ace
Playing Time Question
Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)