We’ve now covered every offensive position there is in these dynasty rankings. All that’s left is starting pitchers and relievers.
There’s an old saying, “Pitching wins championships.” That might be the case in real life baseball, but in fantasy it’s more about offense. That’s not to say that pitching isn’t important, because it is. The starting pitcher position is incredibly deep and talented. You can still build a solid staff even without aces.
Below are the top 100 arms to own right now in dynasty and keeper leagues. There were a lot of hard pitchers to rank. Especially a lot of floundering top prospects like Julio Urias and Lucas Giolito. There will be a lot of differing opinions but that’s what makes fantasy sports so great.
If you missed any of the other rankings, they can be found below.
Reminder: The below rankings are a blend of recent performance, current performance, and future potential.
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#1 Clayton Kershaw – I’d be lying to you if I said that Kershaw’s troublesome back didn’t worry me. He worked on strengthening his back this offseason but another flare up has landed him on the disabled list. Such a shame. Year in and year out Kershaw puts up seasons that aren’t even achievable in video games. Through 284 career starts, Kershaw’s ERA is 2.34. You can rub your eyes all you want, that number isn’t going to change.
It’s looking like this DL stint is going to be minor but it’s certainly worrisome that this keeps popping up most seasons. However, Kershaw is still the best pitcher on the planet and should be treated as such until he starts proving us otherwise.
#2 Chris Sale – There are still two months left to play this season and Sale already has racked up 211 strikeouts. Once a batter gets to two strikes against him, they might as well go sit their butt down on the bench and save themselves the embarrassment. If you were to create a perfect pitcher on a baseball video game, it would probably turn out a lot like Sale.
Out of all the great seasons he’s had in his career, this year has been his best. In addition to the strikeouts mentioned above, he has 13 wins, a 2.37 ERA, and a 0.88 WHIP. All of those stats either lead the American League or are tied for the league lead. With injuries hampering a lot of tier one fantasy pitchers, Sale is arguably the most valuable arm to own right now.
#3 Noah Syndergaard – With his combination of production, talent, and youth, Syndergaard might be the most valuable pitcher in dynasty leagues. However, he might not contribute again this season as the Mets have no reason to rush him back from his strained lat injury. If this injury has created any type of buy low window, don’t hesitate to pounce. Syndergaard is a stud and could be the number one guy on this list before too long. He’s that good.
#4 Max Scherzer – Ho hum. It’s just been another dominant season for the ace with the multicolored eyes. Through 145 1/3 innings, Scherzer has dominated hitters to the tune of a 2.23 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, and a majestic 12.4 K/9. Is there anything this guy can’t do on a mound? It sure doesn’t look like it. It helps that he’s also one of the most durable elite arms out there. There should be no worries about him going forward as a bonafide top five option.
#5 Madison Bumgarner – As long as he stays away from dirt bikes, “MadBum” is still one of the best pitchers in the game. During his first six full major league seasons, Bumgarner pitched over 200 innings each year and never had an ERA above 3.37 or lower than 191 strikeouts. The lengthy disabled list stint will end a few of those streaks but it doesn’t hurt his value one bit.
#6 Corey Kluber – Since the start of the 2014 season, Kluber has racked up 902 strikeouts in 787 1/3 innings pitched. That’s good for a 10.3 K/9. This season has been even more of a whiff party for Kluber as he’s striking out helpless hitters at a 12.6 K/9 clip. Throw in a 2.90 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and solid control, and you have an elite dynasty league ace that’s smack dab in the middle of his prime.
#7 Jacob deGrom – He’s yet to pitch 200-plus innings, but deGrom has shown that he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball over his first four seasons. Through 97 starts, he has a 2.86 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 2.3 BB/9, and 9.5 K/9. Some might shy away from deGrom due to the durability concerns but he’s been just as good or even better than Strasburg when he’s been on the field.
#8 Carlos Martinez – His ERA has risen half a run this season but there’s no doubting that Martinez is a long-term fantasy ace. He’s only 25 and has pitched very well during his young career with a 3.37 ERA and 8.7 K/9. Each year, Martinez’s WHIP and H/9 has gone down, which is very encouraging for a young pitcher.
#9 Stephen Strasburg – Would it kill you to stay healthy for a full season, Stephen? Actually, yes it probably would. Strasburg is basically the Giancarlo Stanton of pitchers. He’s dominant when he’s on the field but how many starts he’ll make each season is anyone’s guess. The arrow isn’t pointing up anymore. Sell high if you can.
#10 Chris Archer – If only he could lower his ERA into the low 3’s. Archer is one of the most dominant pitchers around when it comes to strikeouts, but his ERA and WHIP always leave a little to be desired. If he can lower his ERA, he’d move up near the top five on this list.
#16 Luis Severino – The New York Yankees had been lacking an ace for a few years now. Not anymore. This season has been the year Severino has taken over that role in the Bronx. His average fastball velocity is the highest in baseball for starters and he has an elite changeup that he gets plenty of strikeouts with. Severino is still only 23-years-old and could still get even better with the arsenal he has.
#20 Michael Fulmer – The main reason Fulmer isn’t considered an elite option is his pedestrian 6.4 K/9 rate. His career 3.19 ERA and 1.11 WHIP are great but until he can start generating more whiffs, his value is going to remain capped as a #2 or #3 fantasy starter.
#21 Robbie Ray – The Ray breakout everyone was predicting happened in a big way this season. Unfortunately, that breakout came to a screeching halt when a 108-mph comebacker hit Ray in the head last week. Assuming it’s not a long-term absence, Ray is one of hottest pitchers to own in dynasty leagues. The strikeouts are elite and now he has a low ERA to go with it.
#23 David Price – Just when he was starting to show signs of life, Price hits the disabled list again with more elbow/forearm discomfort. Both Price and Boston have deemed it minor, but I’ll believe that when I see it. For what he gives you now, Price isn’t even worth the price tag.
#25 Gerrit Cole – It wasn’t too long ago that Cole was a top-10 dynasty arm. He had everything you wanted out of your fantasy ace. He’s big, throws hard, and has plus off-speed stuff. However, that just hasn’t translated into consistent production. The ace potential is still there but he’s going to have to start showing it.
#27 Jose Quintana – It seems a change of scenery has helped Quintana turn his season around. Well, not much of a change, he just went to the other side of Chicago. But it can’t be ignored that he went to a better team in the easier league to pitch in.
#28 Alex Reyes – I feel like the words “Tommy John surgery” are going to pop up quite a bit in this article. The expectations surrounding Reyes entering this season were very high. He has a solid debut in 2016 and it’s hard not to get excited about a pitcher with this kind of arsenal. A high-90’s fastball and plus-plus breaking ball are the positives. However, those come with spotty control. Monitor his recovery closely over the winter.
#30 Aaron Nola – Nola has been a personal favorite of mine since he was drafted out of LSU. His fastball only sits in the low-90’s, but his pinpoint control and overall arsenal help him strikeout more than a batter per inning.
#48 Hunter Greene – One of the liveliest arms to be in the draft in a while, Greene has the potential to be a top of the rotation arm or an elite bullpen piece. His heater sits in the high-90’s and can touch triple digits. How much the rest of his arsenal develops will determine just how good he can really be.
#49 Tyler Glasnow – I’ll keep this one short. He’s got ace stuff but pathetic control.
#54 Julio Urias – What a difference a year can make. About 12 months ago, the two top pitching prospects in the game were Urias and Lucas Giolito. Neither one has been able to be effective in the majors and are sliding down these rankings in a hurry. Watch out below.
#57 Josh Hader – See the sentence about Glasnow above. The only difference is that Hader is a lefty.
#58 Michael Pineda – Tommy John surgery claims another victim. Pineda will be out until late-2018 or even 2019 recovering.
#65 Sixto Sanchez – Can I just say that Sixto is an awesome name? His game is pretty awesome too. Electric stuff and could vault up these rankings in the spring.
#69 Felix Hernandez – There have just been so many innings on Hernandez’s throwing arm. King Felix has been a well-oiled pitching machine over the past decade but even the best the most reliable cars can’t go forever. He’s still got some gas in the tank but he’s a shell of his former Cy Young self.
#91 Carlos Rodon – Throw Rodon in the same boat as Glasnow and Hader, but he’s had a few years to work on his control and it hasn’t improved. You can tell I’m not a fan of guys with wild control.
Thank you for reading another edition of Dynasty Dugout on Fantrax. I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Check back tomorrow for relief pitcher rankings. Got a question about a player not covered here? Ask in the comments below or follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there.