The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

Starting Pitcher Barometer, Week 8: Faulty Foltynewicz

It’s a rough week to begin with when you lose a guy nicknamed Lasagna. It gets exponentially worse when a guy like Julio Urias, who we’ve been rooting for and waiting on for so long, gets suspended. His alleged conduct makes me want to jump off the train immediately, and for redraft purposes, you can. Dynasty is a trickier beast. If I can find someone who is willing to pay for him as a future top 30-40 starting pitcher, I’d be willing to sell. Of course, the curse heard ’round the world was from every Tyler Glasnow owner staring down the barrel of a potential Tommy John surgery. He’ll miss a month or two with an ominous forearm strain, and we’ll take it from there. The whole thing makes me more uncomfortable than putting my underwear on backward. Moving right along.

Starting Pitcher Barometer

The Risers

  • Brandon Woodruff, MIL (+15) – I wrote up Woodruff here earlier this week in my Fire & Ice. He kept it up in his last start, tossing six shutout, one-hit innings against the Phillies. He’s no ace, but you should pick him up if you still can.
  • Frankie Montas, OAK (+14) – All Beef Ballpark Frankie doesn’t have the eye-popping strikeout rates of names higher up the list. That said, his consistency thus far has been impressive. He has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any outing and has eclipsed six innings in five of his eight starts. He has incorporated a splitter this year, which finally gives him a reliable third pitch. It’s generating 21.3% whiffs with 59% ground balls, helping him achieve a 51.9% overall GB%. Splitters tend to be a very homer-prone pitch, but he has the relative safety net of…whatever the hell they’re calling Oakland’s ballpark these days. It looks like he’s here to stay as a reliable mid-tier starting pitcher.
  • Lucas Giolito, CHW (+32) – Giolito is largely seeing this movement because I had him low to begin with. I’ve been wary to buy in. A 6.13 ERA over a full 32 starts in 2018 had me a little gunshy, so you’ll have to pardon me. He’s made some real changes this year that have my eye, though. He got rid of his sinker in exchange for more changeups, for starters. The change has earned 19% whiffs with a .143 BAA while the slider has also taken a step forward with 23% whiffs and a .087 BAA. The spin rate on his four-seam is up 150 RPM, and while the walk rate is still bad, his F-Strike% is up to 62.8% and his Zone% is up almost 6%. You do have to consider his recent gravy train matchups with the Indians and Jays, but there are plenty of positive signs here. He somehow is still not even 25 years old, so the sky remains the limit.

The Fallers

  • Mike Foltynewicz, ATL (-31) – Folty, your pitching…WOOF! I actually feel like there isn’t a lot of analysis needed here. Folty endured a late start and he simply is not right. His velocity is down two full ticks from 2018, sitting at 94 MPH. He has just 14 strikeouts over his four starts, suffering an 8.02 ERA with a 5.62 SIERA. You simply cannot use him in his next matchup with the Brewers. You can find someone else to stream for now in standard mixed leagues. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he went back to the IL if his next Brewers start indeed goes sideways. I wouldn’t blame deep leaguers for holding him on their bench for a sign of life, but Folty has a long way to go before he can be trusted.
  • Merrill Kelly, ARZ (-24) – I wasn’t high on Kelly coming into the season. Eternally open-minded, however, I jettisoned him into streaming starting pitcher territory after he limited the BoSox to one run over eight innings with nine K’s back in early April. It’s been a roller coaster ride since then, and you’re worse off with his 4.70 ERA over 46 innings than you would have been otherwise. With mediocre strikeout (7.04 K/9) and walk (3.33 BB/9) rates, he’s looking more like the 2019 version of Miles Mikolas than the 2018 version we thought might have been on the table.

The Newcomers

  • Corbin Martin, HOU (SP55) – Most of the early season call-ups have been on the hitting side. Martin finally makes for a nice addition to the player pool on the pitching side. He had a stellar debut against the Rangers, limiting them to two runs over 5.1 innings with one walk and nine punchies. He has a starter’s repertoire with his fastball/curveball/changeup mix, along with a sturdy frame and average control. He doesn’t generally pitch deep into games but has the stuff to put up strong numbers in modest workloads. He’s immediately relevant in all formats as a possible SP3 and could hang onto a rotation spot all season if he performs.
  • Felix Pena, LAA (SP84) – Pena has made the most of a .220 BABIP, using it to help him achieve a 3.49 ERA over his first 38.2 innings. He’s still primarily a two-pitch pitcher, tossing fastballs and curves well over 90% of the time. What has changed, however, is his preference to throw his sinker instead of his four-seam over his last four games. Overall he has been able to avoid more contact, dropping his contact rate from 76.5% to 70.4%. As long as he can continue to limit the walks (1.86 BB/9) he won’t get crushed by his propensity to yield homers (career 1.44 HR/9).
  • Gio Gonzalez, MIL (SP100) – I didn’t want or intend to rank Gio Gonzalez on the list all year. I don’t like that I have to do this. I’m ranking him at 100 and don’t plan to move him higher, ever, no matter what he does. He isn’t very good. If he has a repeat of his improbable 2017 season (2.96 ERA, 4.41 SIERA) I am just going to snap…into a Slim Jim. That’s right folks, turn that bout of temporary rage-induced insanity into delicious beef jerky.

The Top 100 Starting Pitcher Rankings

RnkNamePrev. Rnk
1Max Scherzer1
2Jacob DeGrom2
3Justin Verlander4
4Gerrit Cole3
5Blake Snell5
6Patrick Corbin7
7Trevor Bauer6
8Chris Sale14
9Luis Castillo9
10Stephen Strasburg11
11Carlos Carrasco10
12Jose Berrios8
13Zack Greinke19
14Clayton Kershaw16
15Noah Syndergaard12
16Aaron Nola13
17Charlie Morton21
18Shane Bieber17
19Madison Bumgarner22
20German Marquez18
21David PriceNR
22Zack Wheeler15
23Matt Boyd23
24Caleb Smith24
25Chris Paddack26
26Jack Flaherty20
27Mike Soroka30
28Joe Musgrove25
29Domingo German32
30Masahiro Tanaka28
31Walker Buehler29
32Hyun-Jin Ryu34
33Cole Hamels33
34Kyle Hendricks35
35Jon Lester36
36Jose Quintana31
37Luke Weaver47
38Eduardo Rodriguez37
39Robbie Ray38
40Max Fried56
41Rich Hill39
42Sonny Gray40
43Brandon Woodruff58
44Marcus Stroman41
45Kyle Gibson42
46Matt Strahm43
47Griffin Canning44
48Marco Gonzales45
49Rick Porcello46
50Jon Gray48
51Mike Minor49
52Yu Darvish61
53Frankie Montas67
54Jake Odorizzi57
55Corbin MartinNR
56Chris ArcherNR
57Spencer Turnbull50
58Martin Perez51
59Yusei Kikuchi66
60Zach Eflin55
61Kenta Maeda74
62Trevor Williams68
63Joey Lucchesi59
64Lucas Giolito96
65Kevin Gausman63
66Jake Arrieta65
67Tyler Skaggs54
68Jordan Lyles95
69Miles Mikolas72
70Jeff Samardzija53
71Jerad Eickhoff71
72Reynaldo Lopez80
73Chris Bassitt81
74Wade Miley89
75Steven Matz70
76Pablo Lopez64
77J.A. Happ60
78Anthony DeSclafani78
79Kyle Freeland73
80Tanner Roark75
81Tyler Mahle83
82Michael Pineda76
83Mike Foltynewicz52
84Felix PenaNR
85Trevor Richards82
86Merrill Kelly62
87Danny DuffyNR
88CC Sabathia84
89Nick Margevicius85
90Aaron Sanchez86
91Brad Peacock87
92Yonny Chirinos88
93Dereck Rodriguez90
94Michael Wacha94
95Zach Davies97
96Julio Teheran98
97Trent Thornton99
98Mike Leake100
99Lance LynnNR
100Gio GonzalezNR

Fell Off The List

Tyler Glasnow (Injury), Collin McHugh (Bullpen), Derek Holland (Bullpen), Vince Velasquez (Injury), Brad Keller (Performance), Jonathan Loaisiga (Injury).

Nathan Dokken is a member of the FSWA and has had his work featured in numerous books and magazines. He has also appeared on many podcasts and radio shows and hosts the Nasty Cast and Fantrax Dynasty Baseball podcasts. His written work can be found exclusively at Fantrax HQ, and his personal thoughts and opinions can be found on Twitter @NathanDokken.

Fantrax was one of the fastest growing fantasy sites of 2018 and things are only getting better! With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.