Starting Pitcher Barometer, Week 25: John Means Business

September 13, 2019 By Nathan Dokken
Each week Nathan Dokken updates his 2019 Starting Pitcher Rankings, helping to keep you on track as the season winds down.

Each week Nathan Dokken looks anew at the starting rotations across MLB and updates his starting pitcher rankings for the remainder of the season.

With this, the 25th edition of the 2019 Starting Pitcher Barometer, we deduce the end to be nigh. There will be just one more regular-season entry in what has been an insanely fun series to put together for you all. We are far from going out with a whimper, though. There is a ton of interesting pitching news this week.

  • Jesus Luzardo finally, FINALLY made his MLB debut with the A’s. Of course, this late in the season we can’t expect to see him get fully stretched out. He is going to pitch in long relief these final few weeks, mitigating any redraft value. He’ll be another hype pick next spring, no doubt.
  • Michael Pineda was suspended 60 games for PEDs. It’s very unfortunate on multiple levels. First, it sounds like it may have been an honest mistake. The banned substance was blood pressure medication, but it is also a masking agent. His suspension was reduced from 80 to 60 games after an appeal, lending credence to an error on Pineda’s end. It’s additionally unfortunate because he had been really damn good for the Twins. Since June 13th he had put up a 2.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, and 1.9 BB/9. This makes him undraftable in standard mixers for 2020 since he will begin the year on suspension. Incidentally, my pants are also on suspension. I’m bringing back suspenders, baby!
  • Tyler Glasnow is back after missing almost four months with a forearm injury. In his return, he gave up two runs over just two innings with two walks and a tasty five K’s. He won’t have time to get fully stretched out before the season is over, but this is a good sign for his 2020 value.
  • The Dodgers continue to keep me busy. A scant week after getting excited for Julio Urias: Starting Pitcher, they announce that he will him return to the bullpen. Sigh. In other Dodgers news, Rich Hill returned long enough to hurt himself again. Tony Gonsolin should continue to make starts down the stretch.


The Starting Pitcher Barometer

The Risers

  • Homer Bailey, OAK (+23) – We aren’t going crazy with Homeritis here, as he has ascended to just 75 on the list. However, he has been mostly good since being dealt to Oakland. Those who started him for his two blowups (2 IP 9 ER @ HOU, 4.2 IP 7 ER @CHC) aren’t likely to forgive him for those. He hasn’t allowed more than three earned in a single start since that nasty Cubs start on August 7 though, and his next start is very streamable. He gets the lowly Royals at home, followed by either the Angels or Mariners. He’s worth a pickup in deeper streaming leagues.
  • John Means, BAL (+22)John Means business! Over his last 32 innings, Means has a tasty 2.53 ERA / 0.78 WHIP. He has just three walks over that span, which makes up for the modest 7.0 K/9. As with Bailey, it’s not like we are looking at some sort of breakout here. However, Means is on a heater and gets awful Tigers and Mariners lineups over his next two starts. Deep league streamers, take note.

The Fallers

  • Mike Fiers, OAK (-27) – Fiers has been living on the razor’s edge for months. Despite an ERA in the three’s, Fiers has been facing ERA indicators north of five. Those regression chickens came home to roost in his last start in which he allowed nine earned over a single inning of work. He allowed five home runs in that start. Jack Flaherty, for example, has allowed just three earned runs over 71.1 second-half innings. With a 6.14 K/9, he has a bottom-barrel floor that is really hard to trust for your fantasy playoffs.
  • Cal Quantrill, SD (-25) – Boy, that escalated quickly. Quantrill has now put up three consecutive starts of eight earned runs. That’ll leave a mark. His fastball and slider have been solid for him this year, but his highly touted changeup hasn’t been as effective as advertised. It has yielded a .278 BAA and .222 ISO. He’s not this bad, but he’s impossible to start in his next start in Coors, making him droppable everywhere.

The Newcomers

  • Johnny Cueto, SF (SP46) – Cueto came back with a bang! I’ll capitalize the “b” in bang, by the way, if Bang energy wants to sponsor me. Hit me up, guys. I need more of that sweet, delicious heart attack juice. Cueto twirled five one-hit, shutout innings against the (lowly) Pirates in his 2019 debut. As I mentioned during his minor league rehab starts, his velocity was back up over 91 MPH on the fastball. He didn’t miss a ton of bats, but that’s never been his game. He’ll get a much stouter lineup in Boston for his next start, but he’s worth an add in most formats.
  • Drew VerHagen, DET (SP95) – “VerHagen” has a fun thing to shout at kids to confuse them into getting off your lawn, but he has a frustrating role. He has essentially been piggybacking off of Daniel Norris starts every fifth day, placing him in the Ryan Yarbrough mold. Since the start of August, VerHagen has a 2.67 ERA / 1.04 WHIP over 33.2 innings with an 8.6 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9. He’s using his slider just under 30% of the time this year. The pitch has a strong 20.2% whiff rate, and his curveball gives him a solid three-pitch mix. The last time he was given a start was against the Twins – a game in which he racked up 11 strikeouts. He will most likely continue to pitch in relief the rest of the way, nixing any QS possibilities. He can provide some nifty ratios though, which is enough to get him on the ass-end of the top 100.

The Top 100 Starting Pitcher Rankings

RnkNamePrev. Rank
1Jacob DeGrom1
2Max Scherzer2
3Gerrit Cole3
4Justin Verlander4
5Walker Buehler6
6Patrick Corbin5
7Charlie Morton7
8Clayton Kershaw8
9Mike Clevinger9
10Luis Castillo10
11Shane Bieber11
12Jack Flaherty16
13Zack Greinke12
14Aaron Nola13
15Stephen Strasburg14
16Yu Darvish19
17Lance Lynn15
18Hyun-Jin Ryu17
19Mike Soroka18
20Lucas Giolito20
21Noah Syndergaard21
22Sonny Gray22
23Madison Bumgarner24
24Kyle Hendricks25
25Caleb Smith27
26Mike Minor28
27Andrew Heaney29
28Zac Gallen30
29James Paxton33
30Domingo German26
31Jose Berrios31
32Max Fried32
33Trevor Bauer23
34Chris Paddack34
35Steven Matz35
36Jake Odorizzi38
37Sean Manaea45
38Robbie Ray36
39Zack Wheeler37
40Ryan Yarbrough39
41Eduardo Rodriguez40
42Masahiro Tanaka43
43Tyler GlasnowNR
44Jose Quintana44
45Matt Boyd42
46Johnny CuetoNR
47Dallas Keuchel48
48Chris Bassitt49
49Joey Lucchesi50
50Dinelson Lamet51
51Jeff Samardzija52
52Anthony DeSclafani53
53Miles Mikolas54
54Aaron Civale61
55Wade Miley41
56Adrian Houser59
57Dakota Hudson60
58Tanner Roark56
59Reynaldo Lopez57
60Jordan Lyles58
61Cole Hamels46
62Mike Foltynewicz62
63Marcus Stroman63
64Marco Gonzales65
65Vince Velasquez66
66John Means89
67Tony Gonsolin67
68Jon Lester68
69Anibal Sanchez69
70Brad Keller70
71Julio Teheran71
72Brendan McKay72
73Martin Perez86
74Joe Ross73
75Zach Plesac74
76Kolby Allard94
77Homer Bailey100
78Dylan Cease76
79Jakob Junis78
80Brock Burke79
81Ivan Nova80
82Mike Fiers55
83Kyle GibsonNR
84Michael Wacha82
85Chase Anderson83
86Spencer Turnbull84
87Mitch Keller85
88Gio Gonzalez77
89Cal Quantrill64
90Merrill Kelly87
91Framber Valdez88
92Mike Montgomery90
93Adam Plutko91
94Joe Musgrove92
95Drew VerHagenNR
96Drew Smyly95
97Sandy AlcantaraNR
98Jason Vargas97
99Elieser Hernandez98
100Adam Wainwright99

Fell Off The List

Michael Pineda (Suspension), Logan Webb (Performance), Julio Urias (Bullpen), Dillon Peters (Performance), Alex Young (Performance).

The baseball season is winding down, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop! For more great analysis from Nathan check out his full archive.

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

Nathan Dokken :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.