The Dynasty Guru’s Top 200 Dynasty Starting Pitchers, Nos. 76-125
Congratulations on surviving another off-season. Now that the new year is upon us, it’s time to spend the next month traveling across the positional landscape, labeling players with numbers that correspond to their value. It’s the very definition of freedom. A ton of hard work was put into these rankings, and will continue to be put in as we bring you just an ungodly amount of information over the next month. We hope you enjoy the product we’ve created, and if you’d like to show appreciation for that work you can do so through this link, or via the donate button on in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.
The list continues with a breakout starting pitcher who ran out of gas towards the end of the season.
76) Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals (Age 26, Previous Rank: 141)
In his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, Duffy enjoyed a solid campaign, where he posted a 2.53 ERA. But it was fueled by a .239 BABIP, the third lowest mark by starters with at least 140 IP in 2014. Additionally, his FIP was 130 points higher than his ERA. The assumption here is that he’ll see a regression.
77) Brandon McCarthy, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age 31,Previous Rank: 118)
Everyone’s favorite tweeting athlete threw 200 IP for the first time in his career in 2014. Also for the first time in his career, he eclipsed the 20 percent mark in K rate. Assuming the whopping 16.3 HR/FB rate gets back to his career average (10.3), he’ll rack up strikeouts and post above average rate stats in Chavez Ravine.
78) Robert Stephenson, Cincinnati Reds (Age 21, Previous Rank: 49)
The Reds’ first-round pick in the 2012 draft took a step back in 2014, where he issued nearly five free passes per nine innings and posted a 4.74 ERA in 136.2 IP in Double-A. Clearly, he needs to work on his command to regain his elite prospect status, but even if he fails as a starter, he could be a dominant late-inning guy.
79) Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies (Age 36, Previous Rank: 18)
He would be way up on this list if he were fully healthy. But to assume a guy who missed a grand total of 4 months to a pair of arm injuries last year is fully healthy is bolder than passing from the 1 yard line with 30 seconds left while trailing four points in the Super Bowl.
80) Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 88)
Heaney’s first cup of big league coffee tasted bitter. After a couple of trades in the offseason, he’s set to open 2015 as a member of the Angels’ rotation. He’s expected to be a No. 3 starter with decent enough strikeouts.
81) Wily Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers (Age 25, Previous Rank: 121)
Don’t expect him to put up an ERA nearly six tenths of a run lower than his FIP again. Then you’ll be fine with a worm-killing innings eater.
82) Daniel Norris, Toronto Blue Jays (Age 21, Previous Rank: NR)
The 21-year-old southpaw pitched in four levels, including a brief 6.2-inning stint in the bigs in 2014. Norris underwent minor surgery on his throwing elbow, but he should be ready for spring training. Norris is considered to be a back-end starter or possibly a late-inning reliever this coming season.
83) Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays (Age 22, Previous Rank: 80)
Just like Norris, Sanchez is another fledgling Blue Jay who is expected to take a role in the back-end of rotation or bullpen. Despite his long-term future being a starter, he might rack up a bunch of saves in 2015 if he wins the closer job.
84) Michael Pineda, New York Yankees (Age 26, Previous Rank: 128)
Pineda put up a 1.89 ERA in a limited 76.1 IP. It was driven by a .233 BABIP, so his numbers will drop substantially (no, no, I’m definitely not talking about that stuff on the side of his neck). Although there are questions about his health, he’ll perform decently when he does pitch.
85) Yovani Gallardo, Texas Rangers (Age 29, Previous Rank: 75)
We’ve seen his heyday. His strikeout rate has declined precipitously in the past two seasons and now it’s below league average. Even worse, now his actual home and baseball home are both in Arlington. Yet he’s still blessed with durability as he’s topped 180 IP in six consecutive years.
86) Tyler Glasnow, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age 21, Previous Rank: 100)
Glasnow is a potential front-line starter with strikeout ability, as his career 33.1 strikeout ratethe minors suggests. Although he’s years away from being ready and needs to work on his command, as he’s walked 12.3 percent of batters he’s faced.
87) Mark Appel, Houston Astros (Age 23, Previous Rank: 56)
All the first pick in the 2013 draft did in the first half of 2014 was post a stratospheric 9.74 ERA in High-A, driving his fantasy owners insane. He got much better after getting promoted to Double-A, escaping from the extremely hitter-friendly California League. His rough stint at High-A didn’t drastically alter his ultimate ceiling, which still rests as a No. 2 fantasy starter.
88) John Lackey, St. Louis Cardinals (Age 36, Previous Rank: 112)
Pick him up and he’ll get you sufficient enough counting stats and league average-ish ERA. The downside is that he’s been in his 30s for a while and has a funky injury history. It’s fair to expect only a couple more good years from him.
89) Henderson Alvarez, Miami Marlins (Age 24, Previous Rank: 170)
Alvarez won’t turn 25 until two weeks into the 2015 season, but we’ve seen him hitting his ceiling. He’ll post solid rate numbers and eat innings in a pitcher’s park, but never have enough strikeouts to be a true fantasy asset.
90) Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros (Age 27, Previous Rank: NR)
Keuchel enjoyed a breakout 2014 season, where he reached the 200-IP threshold and made everyone confused with the pronunciation of his last name. The former Razorback should have a long MLB career, as he had a league-leading 63.5 percent ground ball rate last year. It’s just hard to imagine him piling up strikeouts.
91) Collin McHugh, Houston Astros (Age 27, Previous Rank: NR)
Another Astro who took a huge step forward in 2014. Unlike Keuchel, McHugh punched out a lot of hitters, more than a batter in an inning. Throughout his career in the minors, the strikeouts have always been there. So while it’s unfair to expect him to repeat his 2014 campaign, he could continue to be a good fantasy asset.
92) Wade Miley, Boston Red Sox (Age 27, Previous Rank: 85)
In 2014, Miley saw his ERA drop by nearly eight tenths of a run, but his FIP stayed exactly the same at 3.98. He struck out more batters (21 percent to 17 percent), but also walked more (7.8 percent to 8.7 percent). Being shipped up to Boston (if I made that Dropkick Murphy’s song stuck in your head, sorry) this winter, he’ll face tougher offense in the AL east.
93) Henry Owens, Boston Red Sox (Age 22, Previous Rank: 99)
The owner of one of the most awesome Twitter handles around struck out 170 while walking 59 in 159.0 IP between Double- and Triple-A. He’s probably a year away from contributing at the MLB level, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him getting a shot in 2015 with all the concerning factors with the Boston’s starting pitching.
94) Martin Perez, Texas Rangers (Age 23, Previous Rank: 60)
It seems like the former five-time BA top-100 prospect has been around forever, but the fact is that we won’t turn 24 until just after opening day. Perez still has long-term value as a mid-rotation starter if you ignore the first half of 2015 he’ll miss.
95) Braden Shipley, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age 23, Previous Rank: 160)
The uncertainty of Shipley is that he’s been a full-time pitcher for only 3 years, so he’s less polished than most of college products. Still, it’s hard not to fall in love with a guy who posses 3 potential plus pitches. There’s a shot for him to turn into a solid No. 2 starter.
96) Alex Meyer, Minnesota Twins (Age 25, Previous Rank: 71)
The right-hander with a golem-esque body and blazing heater spent all 2014 at Triple-A, striking out 27.1 percent of batters he faced in 130.1 IP. He has a shot to be a mid-rotation starter. Even if he keeps having problems with his command and ends up in the bullpen, he’ll notch a plethora of saves. Don’t forget the fact that he’s already 25 and has yet to see a time in the big leagues, though.
97) Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins (Age 32, Previous Rank: 67)
The Braves’ last-minute signing after injuries took down all of their starters, Santana put up decent numbers in Atlanta. He had a K/9 of 8.22, his highest mark since 2008, but considering the fact that it was sub-7 in the previous 2 years, it’s easy to think he’ll see it regress.
98) Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Age 23, Previous Rank: 70)
Skaggs was one of the bazillion victims of the TJ pandemic that struck the baseball world last year. He’ll miss most of 2015 after repairing UCL in last August. Let’s hope he’ll fully recover and lives up to his potential.
99) Chi-Chi Gonzalez, Texas Rangers (Age 23, Previous 175)
In his first full season in pro ball, the Oral Roberts product cemented his prospect status, as he posted a 2.67 ERA, 19.3 K percent, and 7.0 BB percent in 138.0 IP between high-A and AA. While he won’t be a true No.1 starter, Gonzalez is one of the safest prospects to bet on.
100) Drew Hutchison, Toronto Blue Jays (Age 24, Previous Rank: 192)
Hutchison struck out 23.4 percent of batters he faced, which was the 20th best mark among qualified starters. If he can cut down his 7.6 percent walk rate, he could climb up this ranking. At the age of 24, he has the room to accomplish the feat.
101) Hunter Harvey, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 114)
The 20-year-old Harvey had a great year in Sally League last year posting respectable ERA and WHIP marks but more importantly he was striking out well over a batter per inning. Harvey’s fastball, curveball, and change-up all flash plus to plus plus giving him the stuff of a frontline starter. He was shut down with a shoulder issue that’s worth monitoring, but not of great concern right now.
102) Sean Manaea, Kansas City Royals (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
At times Manaea looks incredible, when his fastball and slider are working like they are supposed to, the young lefty has some of the best stuff in all of the minors. The downside is that his control leaves a lot to be desired, caused by his mechanics and release point being inconsistent and he carries with him an injury history from his time at Indiana State.
103) Matt Garza, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 64)
Even though Garza is only 31-years-old it feels like he has been around forever. Garza has not pitched 200 innings or more since 2010 and last season he posted his worst SIERA of the last four seasons. Being in a hitter’s park is not going to help this declining starter.
104) Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 135)
Look! Another productive first round pick of the Cincinnati Reds! Leake has been a very solid yet unspectacular starter and despite his ERA going up last season his stuff was actually better. Leake is a great bet to produce a mid-three ERA with around 150 strikeouts for a long time.
105) Matt Wisler, San Diego Padres (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 93)
After starting off 2014 thriving in the Texas League, Wisler moved to the Pacific Coast League and struggled mightily to keep his ERA down. He isn’t the first prospect to get beat down in the PCL and he will look to rebound in 2015. He was still able to keep his walks to a minimum and strike batters out despite his struggles. There is still solid number three starter potential here.
106) Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Jim Callis recently broke down the best tools in the minor leagues and he cited Nola’s control as the best. The 21-year-old Nola was drafted seventh overall and advanced all the way to AA in just 48 innings of minor league work. His impeccable control and above average stuff give him a very high floor.
107) Eduardo Rodriguez, Boston Red Sox (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 151)
Rodriguez was the substantial prize claimed by the Red Sox for trading the Orioles half a year of Andrew Miller. Once Rodriguez got to the Red Sox he dominated over his final 37.1 innings pitched with a 0.96 ERA. He attributes the success to a hard change-up that the Red Sox have allowed him to throw. He could develop into a number two starter and is arguably the best arm in the system.
108) Jarrod Parker, Oakland Athletics (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 42)
Last March the oft injured Parker underwent his second Tommy John surgery since he was drafted ninth overall in 2007. Parker who was known as a hard thrower will have to work his way back slowly this season and prove he is healthy before we can know what type of potential this current version of Parker has.
109) Jon Niese, New York Mets (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 94)
Since the 2008 season when Niese made his Mets debut, the 6-foot-3 lefty has cracked the 200 innings pitched mark zero times. Durability aside when Niese does throw he is a solid option posting ERA’s in the mid-threes each of the last three seasons and striking out around 17 percent of batters. He should make for a solid back of your rotation starter for years to come.
110) Kyle Zimmer, Kansas City Royals (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 59)
Maybe the most infuriating pitcher on the list, Zimmer simply cannot stay healthy long enough to advance through the minors. When he does pitch his stuff is unquestionably front line material. Unfortunately nagging shoulder problems may end up derailing his promising career before it even starts.
111) Marco Gonzales, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Yet another young talented lefty, Gonzales has had no trouble staying healthy and has shown excellent control and command through every level of the minors. Since the Cardinals rotation is full the Gonzales will likely pitch out of the bullpen where he excellent change-up should prove to be just as effective as it is when he starts.
112) R.A. Dickey, New York Mets (Age: 40, Previous Rank: 69)
Old man Dickey will continue to rack up the strikeouts but his ERA and start by start record will continue to be trick or treat for as long as he is in baseball. As with all knuckle ball pitchers he will have some outings that leave hitters befuddled and some where he will leave in the second inning… lucky for the fans they serve beer into the seventh.
113) Kohl Stewart, Minnesota Twins (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 102)
Minnesota’s 2013 first-round prep arm has held his own thus far in the minors but has failed to show a single dominant pitch or attribute that hints at frontline potential. Stewart represents a safe option, though unspectacular, and is likely to end up as a three or four starter.
114) Steven Matz, New York Mets (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
The Mets do seem to have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to young pitching and Matz adds to the treasure hoard. The left handed starter dominated across High-A and Double-A last year and has the look of a number two/three starter if he can stay healthy.
115) Jake Thompson, Texas Rangers (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, the big righty Thompson has the look of a 200 -lus innings pitched work horse who could soon be a factor in the Texas rotation. Thompson will likely start the year in Double-A and has proven an ability to miss bats at every level so far.
116) Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 187)
Perhaps no player in baseball did more to enhance their prospect stock than Berrios last season as he climbed three levels advancing from high-A all the way to Triple-A by the years end. Berrios has an electric fastball and superb command and will work on refining his secondary options further in 2015. The stuff is there for Berrios to be a four-pitch impact starter in the big leagues.
117) Kyle Lohse, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 36, Previous Rank: 179)
Lohse may be a boring pitcher but he has not posted an ERA above 3.54 since the 2010 season. While Lohse doesn’t dominate anyone with velocity his pin point control with his sinker and slider combo has made him effective well into his 30’s.
118) Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 28, Previous Rank: NR)
Shoemaker broke out in a big way for the Angels last year pitching in 136 innings with a 3.04 ERA striking out nearly a batter per inning. His split finger fastball was the third most effective offering of its kind trailing only Hiroki Kuroda and Mashiro Tanaka. If you are looking for someone who could rocket up this list next year the 28-year-old Shoemaker is your man.
119) Jeff Hoffman, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Last year’s first-round pick, Hoffman went under the knife getting Tommy John surgery but flashed enough skill that they Jays felt strongly enough to take him even with the delayed timetable. If Hoffman can recover his pre-surgery stuff then the Jays may have landed a future front of the rotation arm.
120) Jason Hammel, Chicago Cubs (Age: 32, Previous Rank: NR)
Hammel, like the recently retired Josh Beckett seems to alternate years of being really effective and years of being unusable to fantasy owners. Last year he was very usable posting a 3.47 ERA while striking out 158 batters. The Cubs hope he will look the part of a number three starter over the next couple of seasons.
121) Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)
In his second year as a big league starter, the 6-foot-6” Gibson held his own while being relatively worthless to fantasy owners. With a middling strikeout rate and a 50-plus percent ground ball rate, Gibson will make for a better real life starter than a fantasy option.
122) Nathan Eovaldi, New York Yankees (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 115)
With one of the best fastballs in baseball, Eovaldi can look like a future ace at times, before he implodes and looks like a fringe starter. He falls in love with his heater so much that he fails to mix in his slider and curveball to achieve the best results. Maybe he can figure out the how to sequence in New York, because the raw skills are here.
123) A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 38, Previous Rank: 152)
After posting one of the best seasons of his career in 2013, Burnett decided to go pitch in Philly. That didn’t work out so well for him. He realized this error and decided he is going back to PNC Park. This bodes extremely well for him in 2015, but at his age it could be his last year.
124) Wei-Yin Chen, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 167)
The 29-year-old Chen proved smart enough to adapt to Camden Yards last year by throwing more two-seam fastballs at the expense of his four-seamer. As a result he brought up his ground ball percentage by 6.6 percent and lowered his ERA by half a run. He is a good bet to keep it up.
125) Eddie Butler, Colorado Rockies (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 103)
Upon reaching the majors, Butler promptly headed to the DL with rotator cuff inflammation which cost him time and effectiveness. Still, with a stellar sinking fastball and strikeout offerings in both his slider and change-up, Butler has what it takes to succeed in the unfriendly confines of Coors Field. His ground ball rate at Double-A was 50.9 percent and if his other offerings work as well as they did in the minors we could be looking at a 180 strikeout pitcher.
Commentary by Kazuta Yamazaki and Jake Devereaux