The Dynasty Guru’s Top 200 Dynasty Starting Pitchers, Nos. 141-200
It’s the time of the year where we offer congratulations to those of you brave dynasty league owners that survived the offseason. The greatness that 2016 will surely offer is upon us and that means we’ll be spending the next six weeks moving our way through the positional landscape, offering thoughts on the respective values of roughly 700 players throughout the process.
We sincerely hope that you enjoy the countless hours of hard work that went into these rankings and continue to support The Dynasty Guru by showing your appreciation through this link or via the splendid ‘donate’ button located on the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated.
Players are ranked where they played 20 or more games at during the 2015 season at their highest position on the defensive spectrum, e.g. Chris Davis played 30 games in the outfield, meaning he’s an outfielder for our purposes. We can’t assume that a player will have eligibility at a position in the future (so no Hanley Ramirez at 1b for these rankings) or that a player will lose eligibility at a position in the future. This should clear things up for all non-Javier Baez/Jurickson Profar players, and we’ll do our best to explain where those players are ranked when the time comes. All DH types, such as Evan Gattis and David Ortiz, appear on the 1B rankings, as we will not be doing a UTIL rankings list.
Our final grouping of starters is led off by yet another Braves pitching prospect from their exciting stable:
141) Kolby Allard, Atlanta Braves (Age: 18, Previous Rank: NR)
High ceiling alert sirens should be blowing up your headphones right now. This is not a drill. Allard was selected 14th overall in this past June’s draft and would have gone much higher if it weren’t for a back issue. The potential is there for three plus pitches and plus command. Hop on the rocket that is Allard’s name on prospect lists in 2016.
142) Henderson Alvarez, Oakland Athletics (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 89)
A healthy Alvarez is quite a tease. He features an elite groundball rate and a fastball that looks like it should induce more whiffs than it does. A shoulder injury limited him to just four starts and earned him a non-tender in 2015. Entering his age-26 season, Alvarez will attempt to re-establish his value in the American League.
143) Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 76)
Duffy has a big fastball and has mastered the art of inducing infield flyballs. Those two factors paired with the defense behind him in Kansas City will allow him to continue to beat his ERA estimators for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, his command issues will keep him teetering between back-end starter and middle relief.
144) Martin Perez, Texas Rangers (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 94)
If you like Jon Niese, you are going to love the 25-year-old version of him here. There is more upside in Perez, who should be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, as his fastball can be a few ticks better. He doesn’t have the ceiling of many players that appeared on as many top-50 prospect lists as he did, but he will settle in as a league average starter and stay there for the next six or seven years.
145) Matt Garza, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 103)
The 2015 season was a disaster for Garza. It probably can’t get any worse, so a rebound should be expected. Unfortunately, the defense in Milwaukee won’t be good and the team won’t win many games. Solid early performance followed by a mid-season trade is the best case scenario for Garza moving forward.
146) Brett Anderson, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 135)
Anderson amassed 180 innings for the first time in his career in 2015, and led all qualified starters in groundball percentage with an absurd 66.3 percent. For reference, the last time a qualified starting pitcher had a higher groundball rate was 2006. As long as he continues to limit free passes, his floor is an average starting pitcher on a good baseball team.
147) Nick Kingham, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 148)
Kingham had Tommy John surgery in late May and will miss most of, if not all, of his age-24 season. Prior to the injury, he struck out 97 in 119 innings pitched at the Triple-A level. He doesn’t have huge swing and miss stuff, but once he’s on a big league mound, he’s a safe bet to be an effective back-end starting pitcher in the mold of Wade Miley.
148) Mike Foltynewicz, Atlanta Braves (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 151)
Foltynewicz does have 105 MLB innings pitched under his belt, but left-handed hitters have crushed him to the tune of .323/.373/.597. For reference, Josh Donaldson hit .297/.371/.568 in 2015 and almost unanimously won the American League MVP award. Luckily, Atlanta has no reason to not let him work through his struggles. At worst, “Folty” is an impact late inning reliever.
149) Lucas Sims, Atlanta Braves (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 156)
Sims features a big fastball, a plus curveball and below average command. 2016 will be probably be the year that determines his future role. If he can make strides in the command department, he can settle in as a mid-rotation option.
150) Jeremy Hellickson, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 164)
Hellickson is guaranteed a rotation spot in 2016 on a bad team in a bad ballpark for below-average pitchers. It’s possible he pitches well enough to be traded to a contender in July.
151) Chase Anderson, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 185)
I trust the judgement of the guy that acquired Anderson an awful lot more than the guy that traded him.
152) Dillon Tate, Texas Rangers (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Tate was drafted fourth overall out of UC Santa-Barbara in 2015, where he served as his team’s closer. He will be given every opportunity to start in Texas and his floor is that of an impact reliever. There is a chance he is 75 spots higher on this list next year.
153) Jesse Chavez, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 194)
Start him on the road unless it’s New York or Baltimore.
154) Duane Underwood, Chicago Cubs (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
This is the year he gets his shot at Double-A hitters. The poor Cubs sure could use another prospect to develop into a top-100 guy.
155) Franklyn Kilome, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Not to be confused with the character from Arrested Development, Kilome is tall and lanky. He throws hard and features a filthy curveball. Buy now if you can; when he takes off, it’s going to be hard to catch up.
156) Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 98)
This former top prospect still has a shot to be an above average starter. It’s only a matter of time before the Angels give another veteran $70 million for no reason, though.
157) Chi-Chi Gonzalez, Texas Rangers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 99)
There was virtually nothing encouraging about his MLB debut, starting with his microscopic 4.03 K/9 rate.
158) Carson Fulmer, Chicago White Sox (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Fulmer has a huge ceiling and his floor resides as an elite level closer. Hopefully, Chicago will stick with the starter plan for as long as they can.
159) Kohl Stewart, Minnesota Twins (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 113)
The “stuff” is supposedly there. Stewart struck out less than five batters per nine innings in 129 High-A last year. There may be some name value left.
160) Ubaldo Jimenez, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 182)
Ubaldo is Exhibit A in the case for why the Orioles need to change something in their pitching development department.
161) R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 41, Previous Rank: 112)
There isn’t a whole lot to be optimistic about for the aging Dickey whose 2015 season brought upon his lowest strikeout rate since 2008. Unless his knuckler starts to dance again it may be time for this elder statesman to move on from the show.
162) Joe Kelly, Boston Red Sox (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 172)
Wow! Kelly (and his great stuff) managed to move up the ranks 10 spots despite maintaining an ERA well into the fives for most of the year. The Cy Young hopeful did finish strong with a 3.77 second-half ERA, allowing us to still cling to his potential, yet the award eluded him for another season.
163) Ivan Nova, New York Yankees (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 137)
As it stands right now, Nova is one Tanaka UCL away from a job in the starting rotation. Nova has not enjoyed any real success since 2013 but his relative youth allows gives him a degree of value.
164) Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 62)
Dropping 102 spots on our list from last year is generally a pretty bad sign for any player, but for a player like Weaver there is still the possibility of a rebound. Weaver has never relied on elite velocity to have success and last year he fell victim to an extreme case of gopheritis. If he can cure that ailment and keep the ball in the park he may well outperform this position.
165) Wily Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 81)
After a successful 2014 season, Peralta spent much of his 2015 campaign battling oblique injuries. These factors resulted in a terrible season for a terrible ballclub. With a healthy return, a bounce back campaign is certainly possible, but 2014 could be his ceiling.
166) Jarred Cosart, Miami Marlins (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 131)
While Cosart is likely to maintain a rotation spot among this crop of fairly weak Marlins starters, he is not likely to be much help to you in fantasy. His WHIP is frequently inflated and he doesn’t strike many guys out. However, he manages to hold opponents at bay by limiting hard contact.
167) Tim Lincecum, Free Agent (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 130)
Since his MLB debut in 2007, Lincecum has been a starting pitcher. Up until the start of the 2012 season, he was pretty damn good at it too. At this point, he remains unsigned and I hope that he is able to catch on with a team in a relief capacity–which is likely where is current skillset is best served.
168) Tyler Kolek, Miami Marlins (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 149)
Kolek could best be described as “rawer than sashimi.” The 20-year-old flamethrower remains inept at locating any of his pitches and is about as far off as a player his age could be. He remains an intriguing lottery ticket.
169) Jerad Eickhoff, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
Eickhoff was drafted back in 2011 as a little known 15th round pick. He didn’t do much to impress in his first few seasons in the minors, but he was stellar at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and then at the major league level after coming over to the Phillies in the Cole Hamels deal. Eickhoff should have an opportunity to prove his worth as a part of the Phillies 2016 rotation and could jump up next year’s list if he continues his strong finish from 2015.
170) Tyler Beede, San Francisco Giants (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 196)
Coming out of Vanderbilt, Beede possessed a plus-plus fastball that he could locate only about half of the time. Since being drafted by the Giants, they have tried to simplify his delivery, resulting in strides being made with his control. There is still a ways to go but the ceiling here is an SP2.
171) Taylor Guerrieri, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
Character issues aside, Guerrieri has done enough to convince that he is still a prospect to keep tabs on. After his long layoff, he dominated in 2015, posting an ERA of 1.85 across two-levels. Guerrieri will probably not debut until at least September 2016, but he looks to be an impact SP3.
172) Erick Fedde, Washington Nationals (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 200)
Taken 18th overall in 2014, there was plenty to like with Fedde and his raw stuff. The big right-hander only has 64 innings under his belt as a pro, coming back from Tommy John, so it will be a while until we really know what he is. Ranking number 200 last year on our list, Mr. Irrelevant finds himself moving up in the world.
173) Brian Johnson, Boston Red Sox (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
Johnson is safe–but boring–the type of player that every organization wants, but none lust after. This control and command left-hander has the ceiling of a good SP4 with decent strikeout rates but will not blossom into much more than a useful fantasy play.
174) Michael Lorenzen, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)
Similar to Johnson in his fantasy ceiling, Lorenzen is less proficient in the control department and will pitch in an even tougher environment. If you are hoping for more than an SP5, look elsewhere, but if the former college closer returns to the bullpen, he could be a solid back-end option.
175) Max Fried, Atlanta Braves (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 174)
The seventh pick of the 2012 draft has done nothing of consequence–aside from getting injured–since becoming a professional. As part of the Justin Upton deal, the Braves are the latest team to take a chance on the highly talented lefty. The ceiling remains high, and Fried could skyrocket up this list if he flashes the stuff he showed in high school in his return to action in 2016.
176) Chris Heston, San Francisco Giants (Age: 28, Previous Rank: NR)
Are you surprised that a Giants pitcher came out of nowhere to be a good major league player last year? Neither am I! This is what these guys do, however after adding “The Shark” and Johnny Cueto to their rotation this offseason, Heston is currently without a rotation spot.
177) Francelis Montas, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 188)
Montas still finds himself on the track to be a starting pitcher even after his trade from Chicago to Los Angeles. Now wearing Dodger blue, they will continue to stretch him out until it proves futile. The fastball/slider combo here is good enough that his floor is a high leverage reliever, although Montas will start the year on the 60-day DL with a rib injury.
178) Marco Estrada, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 32, Previous Rank: NR)
Always known to outperform his peripherals, last year was an even more extreme example of this skill. Estrada posted a BABIP of .216 on his way to a 3.13 ERA. Estrada’s future is much more clouded since his 4.93 xFIP tells a very different story of what is to come.
179) J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 33, Previous Rank: NR)
Happ is just the latest in a series of Frankenstein-esque experiments by the pitching genius Ray Searage. After arriving in Pittsburgh at the deadline, he pitched to a 2.95 ERA and did enough to convince his old club, the Blue Jays, to sign him to a multi-year deal, which they will likely regret.
180) Erasmo Ramirez, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 26, Previous Rank: NR)
Ramirez is an interesting case of talent making its way to an organization with a great reputation for maximizing starting pitchers. Under the tutelage of the Tampa organization, Ramirez greatly improved his command in 2015, and is young enough to continue to take steps forward in his overall game.
181) John Lamb, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
While his 10.5 K/9 rate in 2015 seems unsustainable, the 25-year old southpaw is not likely to put up an ERA north of five again, either. Despite back surgery this winter, he has a shot to crack Cincinnati’s opening day rotation.
182) Brandon Finnegan, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 132)
Another lefty came to the Reds in return for Cueto last summer, Finnegan’s ultimate destination may be in the bullpen, but he could be a dominant left-handed reliever on the shore of Ohio River. Sound familiar?
183) Mark Appel, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 87)
Given the Phillies’ depth, Appel might get a shot at the big league rotation in 2016, barring another terrible start to the season, and the Phillies’ unexpected contention. If that does happen, he could avoid joining Brian Taylor as No.1 overall picks failing to make the show, but you can’t ask for much more than that at this point.
184) Manny Banuelos, Atlanta Braves (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)
If he fails to survive the year in the wasteland that is the rebuilding Braves rotation, we can likely call it the end of his fantasy career.
185) Michael Kopech, Boston Red Sox (Age: 19, Previous Rank: NR)
The Texan flamethrower is ways away, but the stuff is something to dream on as he returns from his PED-suspension.
186) Jorge Lopez, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
After his breakout 2015, the Puerto Rico native could produce at the big league level as a mid-rotation starter as early as opening day 2016. The walks and WHIP can bother you, though.
187) Rob Kaminsky, Cleveland Indians (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Kaminsky’s upside is the guy right below him on this list. While that’s not ideally what you want from a top prospect, it still has value in deep leagues.
188) Mike Minor, Kansas City Royals (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 53)
It’s uncertain if he ever appears in a major league game again. Anything beyond that is an extra piece in your Doritos package.
189) Amir Garrett, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
Even though his time in NCAA basketball delayed his development a bit, the 2015 Futures Game participant has an intriguing arm to keep an eye on.
190) Brandon Morrow, San Diego Padres (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 195)
It’s been five years since the last (and the only) time he qualified for the ERA title. Morrow is still trying to figure out how to stay healthy, and he’s now on the wrong side of 30 with the elite potential he once possessed a distant memory.
191) Doug Fister, Houston Astros (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 51)
The fact that his average fastball velocity has declined each of the last five seasons is cringe worthy, although Houston might be a good place to resurrect a sinkerballer’s career.
192) Miguel Almonte, Kansas City Royals (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 181)
As we predicted last year, he made his big league debut and became the best Almonte in the game.
193) Alex Meyer, Minnesota Twins (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 26)
After being held in the minors for what seemed like forever, Meyer finally made big league debut in 2015. The downside is that he’s coming off the worst season in his career.
194) Drew Hutchison, Toronto Blue Jays (Age 25, Previous Rank: 100)
Bad news: Hutchison had the worst DRA (5.80) and second-worst ERA (5.57) among pitchers who logged at least 150 innings in 2015.
Good news: he can only go uphill from the abysmal low, as his rather solid 103 cFIP and sky-high .343 BABIP suggest.
195) Marco Gonzalez, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 111)
Even before the shoulder injury that sidelined him for the better part of 2015, the Gonzaga product didn’t throw hard. Now he’s probably nothing more than a young Mark Buehrle. That’s not a sexy fantasy profile if that’s the case.
196) Eddie Butler, Colorado Rockies (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 125)
It’s hard to succeed–even with a ground ball rate above 50 percent– if you struggle to miss bats.
197) Tanner Roark, Washington Nationals (Age 29, Previous Rank: 127)
One of my favorite facts from the 2015 season is that Roark faced 51 batters in 12.1 innings in April–but failed to strike out any of them.
198) Nate Karns, Seattle Mariners (Age: 28, Previous Rank: NR)
He might be someone who will benefit from calling Safeco Field home, but in the meantime, he has to be a Mariner.
199) Tyler Duffey, Minnesota Twins (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
While his 2015 numbers look somewhat intriguing, keep in mind that some regression is inevitable– and most importantly–he starts for the Twins.
200) Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)
He is one of the best pitching prospects from Harvard-Westlake High School not named Lucas Giolito, and will look to jump ahead of fellow Wolverine Max Fried on next year’s list.
Commentary by Frank Sides, Jake Devereaux and Kazuto Yamazaki