The fantasy baseball season ends this coming Monday, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start game-planning for next season. At the end of any season, recency bias begins to creep in. This year, maybe more than any other, it’s important to try and tune that out. After such a shortened season the ups and downs of starting pitchers seem magnified. To create these starting pitcher rankings, I looked at a larger sample size of data to try and capture an accurate picture of who these players really are heading into 2021. If you have any questions about my rankings, hit me up on Twitter @devjake.
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Top-100 Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2021 Redraft Leagues
Notes on player rankings:
- Shane Bieber is my new number one even though I like Jacob deGrom’s stuff a bit more. This really has more to do with age than anything, at 25 Bieber is a horse that has led all starters in innings pitched over the last two seasons combined. I worry that with deGrom’s increased velocity and age that injury could creep in.
- There is probably nothing to worry about with Gerrit Cole as evidenced by his ERA now being under 3.00, his strikeout to walk ratio being elite, and his pedigree being impeccable. He has also closed out 2020 with three elite starts. He did struggle with his hard-hit rate, especially on his fastball, but I am not worried.
- Walker Buehler and Jack Flaherty are lower on my list due to injury and inconsistency. Both of these players have immense ceilings, Buehler with his elite fastball and Flaherty with the devastating slider. Both represent tremendously high-risk high-reward profiles for next year as I expect their ADP to far outpace their performance from 2020. They will not be cheap, that being said there is still room for both to return immense value.
- Zach Plesac will be a target of mine in every draft next year because I fully believe in his breakout. His slider was one of the best pitches in all of baseball and he never went fewer than six innings pitched in any of his eight starts. Plesac is elite.
- I have Corbin Burnes at 23 thanks to his incredible season but there are a few regression red flags. His 2.6% HR/FB rate is unsustainably low as is his .268 BABIP albeit his stuff should allow his BABIP to remain low. However, he still walks more batters than I’d like him to and his track record as a successful starter is very limited. I’m buying in, but with caution.
- Pablo Lopez is another player I will be targeting in drafts in 2021. Lopez has an incredible fastball/changeup combo to go along with a sinker, cutter, and curveball. He carried a 12.6% SwStr rate in 2020 along with a groundball rate of nearly 50%. This is a safe player with some ceiling to boot.
- Don’t reach for Dustin May in 2021 because his strikeout rate still needs to improve for him to join the ranks of the elite. With that being said it wouldn’t surprise me at all of he came into camp throwing one of his current secondaries more often or using a new pitch. May has just 86.2 innings at the MLB level so far, but he induces ground balls, limits hard contact, and posts extremely strong ratios. He is one tweak away from top 15 status if he can learn to lean on his sinker a little less.
- Don’t forget about Chris Sale. Sale should return sometime in late June or early July and given a clean bill of health he will dominate. His stuff is so good that before his surgery he was in the running for best starting pitcher in fantasy. I have faith.
- Luis Severino and Noah Syndergaard, among other injured players, are also great ways to sneak some value on draft day provided you have the roster space to stash them. Both should play important roles on their respective teams in 2021.
If you have any questions about the list don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter @devjake. Thanks for reading!
|29||Hyun Jin Ryu||33|
|61||Lance McCullers Jr.||27|
|71||Kwang Hyun Kim||32|
If you’re on board with these starting pitcher rankings, you should also check out Jake’s Top 100 Starting Pitchers for Dynasty Leagues.
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WALKER BUEHLER AT 20 ON A “KEEPER/DYNASTY” LIST IS INEXCUSABLE. IM APPALLED.
No MadBum in top 100?
I’m heavily into baseball, and of course Fantasy Baseball. These starting pitcher rankings for 2021 are excellent. I feel great because they validate a lot of my thoughts and rankings. Some notable examples of excellent rankings are the following…. Aaron Nola # 6. He was elite in 2018 but slipped a bit in 2019, but at 27 years old he was elite again this year. His K’s continue to grow.
Zach Plesac at # 19. Your comments are spot on. Pablo Lopez and Framber Valdez at 38 & 39. Both young and all signs point to them being “for real”. Kevin Gausman (as you noted) was NOT a 1 year wonder. He has clearly turned the corner. And on the flip side, some of your lower rankings are good, in that others put them way too high. Tyler Glasnow is a strikeout machine, but those walks concern me. I would never take him top 10. And Tanaka at # 70 is accurate. As a Yankee fan I love what he has done for the team, but he is just not as good as most think. Great job. Love it.
Thanks so much for the kind words, much appreciated!
Thanks for the rankings. Why so low on Glasnow?
Two pitches aren’t enough for me to be confident in him three times through the order.
Where is David Peterson in this mix? Im trying to pick two between: David Peterson, Ian Anderson, Sixto Sanchez and Sandy Alcantara. Any of these will hold 14th and 15th round draft picks for 2021 season. Its a 14 team deep league with minor league slots and such
Surprised to not see Pearson and Singer among the top 100.
I was looking to see specifically where Civale and Pearson stood in the list for a keeper league. This helps. I noticed Civale’s string of bad WHIPS started when he eclipsed his innings pitched from last season. I will chalk it up to that