Top 100 Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2020 Fantasy Baseball [UPDATED!]
One of the great things about fantasy baseball is that it changes right along with the real game of baseball. If you’ve played any amount of time you’ve played through an incredible explosion of home runs (and strikeouts) on the offensive side and an accompanying change in the way starters are used on the pitching side. While these changes haven’t really affected the way owners try to build their offense (5-category studs and power, power, power), it has made building a winning pitching staff more complicated than ever. As you’ll see in our 2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings, while there’s plenty of agreement on the top tier of arms, things get shaken up pretty well after that.
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Building a Winning Pitching Staff in 2020
The general consensus heading into 2019 was that the increased reliance on the bullpen at the Major League level meant that elite starting pitchers were more valuable than ever. That was undoubtedly true. The problem was that we weren’t quite as good at identifying just who those elite starting pitchers were going to be. Sure aces like Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom continued their dominance, but the list of disappointing starters we thought were safe has some big names on it. So if you spent an early pick on Chris Sale, Blake Snell, Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Noah Syndergaard or Luis Severino, you were climbing uphill from the get-go.
So what’s the plan for 2020? After all, many of those same names will be ranked relatively high and they all carry a ton of risk. Do you have to spend an early pick attempting to land a fantasy ace? Is there another way to build a winning staff? Our 2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings are a little bit further down the page, but first, let’s meet our analysts and see how they are approaching the starting pitching market this year.
Nathan Dokken – @NathanDokken – Author Archive
The way I’ve drafted Starting Pitching has changed dramatically over recent years. I used to stay away from pitching early, citing their year-over-year volatility and injury risk compared to the stable bats. These days, however, elite pitching is extremely rare. There are fewer than two dozen pitchers I would consider elite, and far fewer I trust at all outside of the top 40 or so.
To get an edge on my opponents, I’m diving into the SP pool very early and coming away with two studs in my first 3-4 rounds. There are plenty of depth options to fall back on in the mid-to-late rounds to complement that strong foundation.
Eric Cross – @EricCross04 – Author Archive
In years past, I usually didn’t start tackling pitching until rounds 4-5. My strategy was to always build my offensive core first and then go after pitching, and that strategy always served me well.
But in 2020 drafts, I’ve found myself taking my first pitcher earlier, usually in round three, due to all the hitting value later on that I really like. The first tier of starters are gone by then, but I’ve found myself living in my second tier and getting one or two of Jack Flaherty, Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, and Stephen Strasburg often.
By round 10, I usually want my top-3 starting pitchers and one reliever. Usually, with pitching, I play it safer than I do with hitting due to the fact that rookie pitchers don’t usually dominate as quickly as hitters do. After my top-3 core, then I’ll go after guys like Jesus Luzardo, Dustin May, etc. Another golden rule for me when approaching pitching is K/BB rate. You will never see me draft a guy that has a K/BB less than 2/1. That means they either don’t strike out many batters or their control isn’t the greatest. Either way, it’s hard for them to produce a ton of value.
Mike Kurland – @Mike_Kurland – Author Archive
My strategy entering this year is sort of a mixed bag. I like to let drafts fall to me and I take the value, or perceived value, as it comes. I’m usually targeting 2-3 inside my top 25-30 at the position. I typically like to start hitter/hitter in the first two rounds and then grab two starters in the next three rounds and take it from there. At the end of the day, I always take what is given to me at the draft. Don’t force it. If pitchers don’t fall, just take the hitter value and take what comes to you later.
Jorge Montanez – @JMontanez90 – Author Archive
Attacking pitching in today’s fantasy baseball landscape is as tricky as ever. With fewer and fewer workhorse pitchers, it’s crucial to find quality volume. I’m going into drafts today with the mindset that I need to land an ace.
To me, that ends at around No. 14 in my starting pitcher rankings. If Patrick Corbin is off the board and I don’t have a pitcher yet, I’m probably in deep trouble.
There is just too much risk in waiting. Ideally, I’m trying to get two of my top 20 by the fourth or fifth round in shallower leagues. Anything deeper than 12 teams and I’m likely securing pitchers in two of the first four rounds. There are just too many question marks surrounding most pitchers as you go deeper into drafts. I’m not making that gamble. Get your ace!
Paul Mammino – @PaulMammino – Author Archive
Last season was one of my first doing a high stakes NFBC league and I fell victim to the groupthink that you needed at least one ace to compete. Several of the top aces didn’t return value and I felt like I waited too long after to fill out my rotation. For this season I plan on trying to execute on several of the mid-round starting pitchers that I love and try to build a rotation with several No. 2/3 options.
I feel there are a few flawed arms in this tier that could turn into a double-ace-like pairing if done properly. I also love to speculate at the back end of drafts on a number of high upside arms hoping at least one or two hit and then churning the rest. I like to be active in streaming and searching for two start weeks during the season but need to careful not to drop guys too quickly. I added and dropped Giolito last season in a 15 team league before he broke out. I am a sucker for strikeouts and will chase them even if the rest of the profile isn’t ideal.
What’s your plan for starting pitching in 2020? Let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the page!
2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings for Mixed Leagues
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