The Dynasty Guru’s Top 200 Starting Pitchers, #121-160
It’s been a slow off-season. Like, a really slow off-season. With the hot stove frigid, fantasy baseball players haven’t had many ways to quench their thirst, unless they’ve thrown themselves head-first into football, basketball, or hockey. January and February can be some of the darkest months of the year (figuratively and literally), but fear not, restless readers. The Dynasty Guru is here to the rescue.
While you were celebrating the holidays and ushering in the New Year, our brave group of writers has been ranking, debating, re-ranking, re-debating, and re-re-ranking over 600 players for dynasty leagues. The fruits of our efforts will be filling January, February, and even some of March with the deepest, most thoroughly and painstakingly selected dynasty baseball rankings on the internet. We have top-50s, top-125s, top-200s, top-500s (of course!), and even ultra-deep prospect rankings.
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Without further ado, it’s time to continue our 2018 consensus rankings by continuing to look at the league’s top starting pitchers in dynasty leagues, kicking it off with one of the better teenage arms in the minor leagues.
121) Adrian Morejon, San Diego Padres, (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 172)
The classic pitcher, not a thrower mold, Morejon’s 4-seam fastball tops at 95 MPH and he also features a two-seam fastball that tends to ride along at 90-92. He has very good command of both pitches and controls his secondary offerings well. He doesn’t have huge build and questions about his ability to remain a starter will stick with him through the minors. He has the potential to top out at a reliable strikeout heavy SP3. (Keaton DeRocher)
122) Jharel Cotton, Oakland Athletics, (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 164)
The curious case of Cotton. Fighting the stereotypes of undersized starters, Cotton excelled in the minors, racking up strikeouts at a rate of 10.13 strikeouts per 9 in 426.1 career minor league innings. In a very small sample in the majors at the end of 2016, Cotton put together 29.1 strong innings to the tune of .185 BAA, 0.85 WHIP and a 2.15 ERA. In his first full season in the majors, Cotton was… well, lit up, so we’ll have to see if he has the ability to adjust back; his slow burn to the majors and pitchers park should help. One more down year, though, and the doubts about his size might push him to the pen. (Keaton DeRocher)
123) Jhoulys Chacin, Milwaukee Brewers, (Age: 30, Previous Rank: NR)
You could do worse than Chacin in the late rounds. Chacin was somehow able to put up an ERA in the mid three’s in Coors and will contribute to strikeouts and WHIP. Chacin has had trouble finishing seasons healthy, but he has been able to put up 140 and 180 IP over the last two seasons respectively. Now with the new-look Brewers, he’s a solid back-end rotation piece. (Keaton DeRocher)
124) Anderson Espinoza, San Diego Padres, (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 53)
A lot of people are down on Espinoza due to prospect fatigue and a lost season Tommy John Surgery. To this, I say: HE’S 20. While prospect fatigue is a very real phenomenon, it usually occurs because said player is 24 in A-Ball (RIP Max Pentecost). But Espinoza is still a guy to hold onto. Give him a chance to come back from surgery and pitch a year or two before deciding he’s a bust. All reports pre-injury were as high as ever. (Keaton DeRocher)
125) Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers, (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
Drafted in the 4th round of the 2016 draft by the Brewers, Burnes has flown onto the radar post draft. Burnes postted an impressive first line in pro ball of a 2.02 ERA 1.15 WHIP, .185 BAA and 41 strikeouts in 35.2 innings, giving up just one home run. He then followed that up with an even more impressive 1.76 ERA, 0.95 WHIP .200 BAA and 140 strikeouts in 145.2 innings between High-A and Double-A . The dude can flat out pitch. He pounds the zone and shows an ability to command his entire arsenal. He’s a guy to get now, before his stock rises higher. (Keaton DeRocher)
126) Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 163)
Santana had a resurgent 2017, pitching over 200 innings and sporting a respectable 7.22 K/9 and 3.28 ERA. Alas, the underlying metrics (4.77 xFIP, career-high 79.5% LOB) aren’t very encouraging. Entering his age 35 season, Santana is already slated to miss at least a month with finger surgery, but will be part of a team that is committed to making a run at the playoffs and has never been too reliant on their bullpen.
Who’s in? 12+ dynasty teams in their window with an average-to-good starting rotation. This is the type of player to carry you through the late season as other SP’s have their turns skipped. Don’t even think about dropping a high prospect to get him in your league, but don’t be hesitant to flip a high-risk, high-reward name. Flags fly forever.
Who’s out? If you’re not in your window and you own Santana, seek out the manager I described in the league above. Then, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. (Adam Lawler)
127) Jon Duplantier, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
During his initial 2016 run, Duplantier did a “do-face-plant” after being sidelined an inning into the season with an elbow injury. Then, in 2017, his potential was realized and Duplantier’s become an intriguing “out-of-nowhere” prospect. Duplantier was cooking, posting a 10.9 K/9 and a stellar 3.93 K/BB in the minors. We won’t get too excited quite yet, as Duplantier was old for High-A, but he’s an interesting candidate to buy — just don’t be discouraged if his statistics take a hit once he reaches the minor league baseball park equivalent of a zero-gravity chamber in Reno towards the end of the year. Those inevitably ugly numbers could depress his price. Still, if the underlying numbers look strong, pounce. Patrick Magnus did a heck of a job breaking down Duplantier in TDG’s Triple Play feature.
Who’s in? Like the godfather Bret Sayre, I never advocate for buying prospect arms in dynasty leagues. If you’re a savvy owner and can sell high (like right now), I would do so with Duplantier. The odds of him being a productive major leaguer are no worse than hyped prospect Sixto Sanchez, but it’s definitely not any better.
Who’s out? Are you in your window to win a pennant? Sell Duplantier for a productive bench bat. Are you in a shallow prospect bench league? I would move him for other shallow options. Do you like to gamble on risky arms? Duplantier’s your guy. (Adam Lawler)
128) Trevor Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
Williams is getting some pub because he’s a near lock for the Pirates rotation. Everything he offers is average-to-below-average. I like the slider, and the fastball can play up as well. That said, the delivery seems wonky and I think this impacts his fastball command/control. He’s a 4 – 4.3 ERA guy with a below average K/9. There’s a place for those types of arms, just not in my rotations.
Who’s in? Those who buy into the near mythical stature of Ray Searage. Those in search of a future SP4 innings eater. Those who need a streamer when Williams pitches at home against the Reds.
Who’s out? Literally, everyone else. (Adam Lawler)
129) Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 42)
Oh, King Felix. What has happened to you? Your run from 2008 – 2014 was magical. In 2015, the wheels started wobbling. Over the last two seasons, you have posted a 4.00 ERA, 4.77 FIP, and a pedestrian 7.5 K/9. You’re entering your age-32 season but, thankfully, there’s reason to believe you can reinvent yourself. A lot of pitchers can and do. Play it again, Felix.
Who’s in? Those who are thirsting for a healthy dose of nostalgia. Those who are in anything more than a 10+ team deep dynasty looking for a low end SP3 with the potential to be a high end SP3. He’s not late career Jared Weaver after all. If you’re looking to get a pitcher who can guarantee 180 IP, a high three ERA with a palatable K rate for the next three years, then Felix is your guy.
Who’s out? If you’re not in your window, but you want to try and acquire a guy on the cheap that will serve as a nice trade chip in May or June, kick the tires on Hernandez. He’s going to be of value, it’s just a matter of when and if that times up right with owners seeking rotational depth. (Adam Lawler)
130) Yadier Alvarez, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 55)
Alvarez has been consistently listed on top 100 prospect lists for the last two years. Seems like these Dodgers have a knack for developing prospect talent. Pros? The fastball is something to behold. The slider has been a work in progress for the last two years, but flashes plus-plus. Cons? There’s no changeup to be found. He needs the cambio if the rest of his repertoire is going to work. Keep a close eye on him this year. If he’s still wild and not taking a step forward, it might be best to move him before midseason lists come out.
Who’s in? If you already have him, you have already bought into the hype and there’s no reason to move off of him at this point. If you are selling MLB pieces, he’s the 2nd prospect you are asking for in a deal. He could be a high-strikeout SP3 in two years. He could be a late inning reliever who is a handcuff for the eventual Jansen decline.
Who’s out? Those who are wary of the command issues. The concerns are real. Those looking to acquire MLB talent because they are chasing a pennant, as his value may never be higher. (Adam Lawler)
131) James Kaprielian, Oakland Athletics (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 78)
The helium surrounding JK entering 2017 was insane. A kid with a fastball that left flames in its trail. At times, his fastball touched 97 MPH, an impressive feat given that he never pitched about 93 during his college career. When you can throw that fast, a slightly above average changeup and slider can be seen as plus. Unfortunately, when you somehow unlock that type of speed, it seems the injury risk is always a little higher too. That’s exactly what happened during spring training of 2017, when Kaprielian was shut down and went under the knife for TJS. Truthfully, I like him. I would take him before the names listed above. He’s polished and will be pushing for a spot in the majors (when healthy). If he can stay on the field, there’s a chance he’s a low-end number two in the rotation. But, of course, it’s a big if.
Who’s in? I would take a chance on him in any current team situation for leagues with 12+ teams.
Who’s out? Those who get worried about injuries related to TJS. If you’re that guy, good luck playing fantasy baseball without a quart of pepto next to your laptop. (Adam Lawler)
132) Carson Fulmer, Chicago White Sox (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 156)
I was a huge fanboy of Fulmer and disagreed with the “haters” who claimed he was a future closer. The former Vanderbilt product is an arm I still find to be intriguing and worth consideration if you are seeking to build out a young staff, but I am afraid the critics may have underestimated Fulmer’s floor.
The delivery is violent and pretty unwieldy. Optics wise, it’s fun and makes the ‘reliever’ projection perfectly understandable. However, the concern about walk rates persist. His 2017 K-BB% hovers around 5.8 % and that’s largely hindered by a 5 BB/9 ratio, which is… actually an improvement from 2016’s 5.4 BB/9. For reference, there were only two pitchers (Wade Miley, Sean Newcomb) in 2017 that threw 100 innings or more and walked more than five per nine innings, and they at least had a higher than league average K rate.
Who’s in? Fantasy managers who are willing to take a risk on a project pitcher. If Fulmer improves, there are going to be some major growing pains which you’ll need to endure with the patience of a parent with a toddler learning to potty train.
Who’s out? Almost anyone who doesn’t have a strong stomach for long-term development. Those seeking a guaranteed starter. (Adam Lawler)
133) Zack Davies, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 102)
Do you or someone you love pitch in Miller Park and have a majority of their starts against NL Central opponents? Do you or someone you love buy into pitchers who have a “breakout” season defined as a 3.90 ERA with a sub-6 K/9? Do you or someone you love endorse the “breakout” to include an above-average contact/pitch recognition rate?
If you answered yes, then Zack Davies is your guy. He’s a fine SP4/SP5 to buoy your backend rotation, but don’t expect too much growth beyond this year. He’s a control artist and that’s nice and all, but he’s not Greg Maddux.
Who’s in? Those looking for an arm that won’t actively hurt them, but certainly won’t help. If you can pair him with a low end pitcher that offers something tangible by way of ERA or K’s, you can meld them together to give you a little something.
Who’s out? Anyone who can find this type of player on their waiver wire with regularity. Those seeking someone with more upside. Those seeking a strikeout pitcher. (Adam Lawler)
134) Jake Odorizzi, Minnesota Twins (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 47)
The Ray-turned-Twin is my favorite write-up on this list. The venerable Travis Sawchik at Fangraphs did a phenomenal write up on Odorizzi last week. Anything I say here would pale in comparison to his breakdown.
Last year, Odorizzi fell off; declining in several areas including ERA-, FIP-, and WAR. This was almost entirely due to his inability to stop balls from leaving the park… an issue most MLB pitchers dealt with in 2017. As Sawchik explains in great detail, that can be attributed to his penchant for leaving balls up in the zone. I assume this – with the rankings being completed while he was still a Ray – contributed to the low ranking.
PECOTA projects Odorizzi to pitch 160 innings and a 4.80 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP and a meager K/9 ratio. I don’t buy it. He’s capable of pitching 180+ innings and a providing a mid-to-low 3 ERA that will be boosted by a pitcher-friendly home park with a good defense to boot. He’s still talented and surprisingly young — a change in strategy could do wonders. Buy.
Who’s in? Everyone in the know and willing to buy low.
Who’s out? Everyone who is foolishly tied to recency bias. (Adam Lawler)
135) Chad Kuhl, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
Kuhl’s tombstone might read: Unheralded, durable, backend rotation starter.
He’s not electric. He won’t miss a lot of bats, but his control & command of pitches combined with the innings-eater tag will be worth a buy in most leagues. This makes him undervalued, given the makeup and high floor. I’ll take him any day as my SP4.
Who’s in? For those that stuck their neck out on a high-risk/high-reward pitcher or a stop-gap until your younger prospects develop and are looking for safe harbor, do not look any farther than my guy Chad. He will come at a reasonable price too.
Who’s out? Those that need their fix on more rewarding gambles. (Adam Lawler)
136) Jerad Eickhoff, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 79)
After a very interesting 2015 debut and a great first full season campaign, Eickhoff struggled mightily in 2017. There are individuals who pointed towards a late-season decrease in velocity to sell off any shares you might have had. I think this was a bit premature, as Eickhoff alluded to an injury plaguing his 2017 campaign.
Do I think he’ll ever match the 2015 debut? Nope. However, I do believe he can get back to his 2016 form if he’s healthy. A 24-year old who can produce nearly 200 quality innings and 8 K/9? Sure, I could do worse. Comparisons to Jason Hammel and Mike Leake seem fair.
Who’s in? Those looking to take some marginal risks on building up a formative a rotation. He’s not going to win your league or place into the Cy Young voting, but he might have a couple of seasons where he gives you high-level SP3 production.
Who’s out? Those burned by the 2017 campaign. (Adam Lawler)
137) Hunter Harvey, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 185)
Oh look, a Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect who is perpetually hurt but seems to have some tantalizing stuff. How unusual.
I legitimately don’t know what to tell you here. He hasn’t thrown more than 20 innings since 2014. I don’t understand why we placed him as high as we did. I guess he has pedigree and he’s only 22. I can’t look at the laundry list of injuries and in good conscious tell you he’s worth a shot, unless you’re in the deepest of leagues. Leave a comment to explain why I should believe.
Who’s in? Those who like to put money on the Powerball Lottery.
Who’s out? People with common sense. (Adam Lawler)
138) Dustin May, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 20, Previous Rank: NR)
The hype surrounding May will only increase after his 2017 campaign, where he sported a strong 2.36 DRA in Low-A. He has a nice velocity band between the fastball and slider, but the changeup isn’t anywhere to be found and that should throw some cold water on the May hot takes.
May is probably another two years away from the majors. There is a lot of projection in people’s assumptions of him and, I get it. He’s the redheaded version of Noah Syndergaard (well, aesthetically) in a system known for getting the best out of their prospects. Just be ready and willing to flip him for more desirable assets, because there’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding where he will end up.
Who’s in? Those who love high-upside pitching prospects, pedigree, and investments in systems that seem to perennially churn out highly rated prospects.
Who’s out? Those who believe that a 21-year-old dominating Low-A should be the norm and that the lack of a third pitch should be concerning. (Adam Lawler)
139) Joe Musgrove, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 110)
To be honest, I like Musgrove in Pittsburgh. This just seems like the type of place where he will have the support and leash to develop. Yes, the bullpen tag looms large, but there is no reason to believe what happened in Houston will be mimicked in Pittsburgh. Do you really believe the Pirates traded Cole for a bullpen arm? I don’t.
He’ll never be a top-of-the-rotation arm in real-life or in fantasy, but he’s going to give you a whole lot in the way of quality. Don’t be surprised if he gives you a sub-4.00 ERA with an 8.2 K/9 over the next five years. That’s a long term staple that people will get bored with and sell to chase something sexier, but the wise man will see value in what Musgrove is and buy for a reasonable price.
Who’s in? Someone more electric than Chad Kuhl (#135) but less enticing that Jerad Eickhoff (#136).
Who’s out? Those in search of the “next best thing”. (Adam Lawler)
140) J.B. Bukauskas, Houston Astros (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
The 2017 amateur draft quizzically overlooked this arm. Maybe it’s because he’s only six feet tall or his stuff is a little wild due to a high delivery effort. The lstter can easily change with adjustments as he develops. Personally, I like the slider and the fastball velocity. He reminds me a lot of Carson Fulmer. I would take a flier on him and probably elect Bukauskas over Carson Fulmer if asked. Why? Because Fulmer’s shown he can’t do it — at least not yet — but there’s still hope in Bukauskas.
Who’s in? Those that bet and lost on Carson Fulmer.
Who’s out? Those that bet and lost on Carson Fulmer. (Adam Lawler)
141. Joe Ross, Washington Nationals (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 50)
Joe Ross continued to be injury prone: at this point he is out until August of this year recovering from Tommy John. Before the injury, his numbers looked awful as he gave up significantly more hard contact and more home runs (almost two for every nine innings pitched). However, his strikeout and walk rates were stable from 2015-16, and he’s still younger than you’d think. If he comes back healthy and gets his home run problem under control, he’ll move up this list next year. (Kyler Jesanis)
142. Gabriel Ynoa, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)
There’s a lot of opportunity in Baltimore, and on the surface Ynoa has some good stuff. He has a fastball that sits 94-95, and he has a slider that gets whiffs at a good rate. Problem is, those are the only two pitches he has, and his fastball is straight. He has a changeup that he shows occasionally, but it has similar velocity and movement to his slider. If he is able to find a competent third pitch, he could be a guy. (Kyler Jesanis)
143. Nate Pearson, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Pearson was drafted at the end of the first round, and had an explosive (but short) start to his pro career. He’s a large 6’6″ with a good fastball with which he attacks hitters on a downward plane. He sits in the mid 90s, but can reportedly reach triple digits. He needs to develop his secondaries, but they do show promise (especially his slider). He’s a bit of a pop up prospect: someone out of a small Florida Junior College who has recently found this strong velocity. While his track record is small, his upside is immense and he could be a strikeout-heavy SP2. This might be the last time he’s this cheap to acquire in fantasy leagues…or this might be the last time you hear his name. (Kyler Jesanis)
144. Seth Romero, Washington Nationals (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
One of the most talented pitchers in the 2017 draft, he fell due to character concerns. The Nationals snagged him at the end of the first round, and he pitched well in a few innings post draft. He locates a mid-90s fastball well, and has a strong slider showing plus. Like many minor league pitchers, he has a below average changeup that shows promise. The development of that pitch will tell if he’s a strikeout heavy SP3/4 or a late inning reliever. (Kyler Jesanis)
145. Jaime Garcia, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 134)
Garcia signed a contract with the Blue Jays this off-season; not a great landing spot, but probably not a bad one. Toronto should have a pretty decent offense. He’s still the same solid-across-the-board contributor when he’s healthy. He’s still got a few years of being a viable SP 5/6 when he’s on the mound. (Kyler Jesanis)
146. Brad Peacock, Houston Astros (Age: 30, Previous Rank: NR)
Peacock had a heck of a 2017, strutting around showing off his tail feathers like his namesake. As a swing starter with the Astros he’s still likely to get 12+ starts and finish around 120 innings with close to 150 punchouts, good ratios, and low double digit wins. He won’t be a starter for you in the conventional sense, but he’ll still provide more value than you’d think a swing starter could. As crazy as it seems, Peacock was a top 20 starter last year. It’s entirely possible he keeps it going as a top 40/50 starter even in his weird role. (Kyler Jesanis)
147. Jorge Guzman, Miami Marlins (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Guzman is a really fun prospect. He’s been traded twice in some big deals: from the Astros to the Yankees in the Brian McCann trade, and most recently from the Yankees to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton. Even though he hasn’t pitched above short season ball yet, he’s a really intriguing prospect. His heater sits in the high 90s (and has touched 102), has a plus secondary and a slider that flashes plus plus. In short: he has immense upside. If he can develop a third pitch, he could be a strong strikeout heavy SP2/3. His floor is a late inning reliever with his dominant fastball slider combo. He has a long way to go for a 22-year-old, but boy oh boy the upside is impressive. (Kyler Jesanis)
148. Sandy Alcantara, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Another pitching prospect the Marlins acquired this offseason, Alcantara is similar in that he has premium arm strength. He can hit triple digits with his heater. Unfortunately, he doesn’t command it well and the pitch is straighter than you’d like to see. He has a curveball, slider, and changeup that all show as above average on a good day, but the good days are few and far between. If he can harness his fastball, and at least get two of his secondaries to average (with the third being a show me pitch), he could be a quality SP4. He’s likely a reliever long term, but he’ll have plenty of opportunity to work on his game at the big league level as a starter for the rebuilding Marlins. (Kyler Jesanis)
149. Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 176)
Cease is another high upside prospect in the low minors. He throws a strong, naturally sinking mid-90s fastball that can touch upper-90s. He also has a promising curveball that could become a strike-out pitch in the future. Like most young pitchers, his changeup and command lag behind his heat. If both of those become average with more reps, he could be an elite fantasy starter. He’s probably a late inning reliever long term, but follow him closely. (Kyler Jesanis)
150. Mitch White, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
White is someone I personally love, and have owned him in a deep league since he was drafted. He’s been hard to get a read on, as some days he looks like a dominant SP2 and others he looks like a swing starter, and that’s when he’s healthy. There is a good deal of risk with White, and the ceiling is debatable, but gimme more Mitch. He has a fastball that can sit in the mid-90s that has arm aide run and sink, as well as a strong cutter that plays off his fastball well. He has a slider that can show plus, and a curveball and changeup that could be average to above average. The depth of his repertoire is impressive and the pitches sequence well and play off one another. He’s realistically an oft-injured SP4 or a set up reliever, but with health I think he could exceed that projection. (Kyler Jesanis)
151. Max Fried, Atlanta Braves (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 199)
Fried restored his stock in a big way, starting in Double-A and finishing the year in the majors, before going on to the Arizona Fall League and dominating. At his best, he shows a strong fastball with an elite curveball. He has a potentially average changeup, and Baseball America had a good piece comparing Fried to James Paxton. There is plenty of upside here. That said, he does have an extensive injury history, his command is below average at the moment, and his changeup isn’t consistent. He has a good chance of being in the Opening Day Rotation, and like Nate Pearson, this could again be the last chance to get in on the player…or it could be the last time he’s ranked here. (Kyler Jesanis)
152. Albert Abreu, New York Yankees (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Sensing a theme? Abreu is another high upside pitcher in the low minors. He was traded with Guzman to the Yankees in the Brian McCann deal. He has absolutely electric stuff combined with an ideal pitcher’s build. He has a fastball that can sit in the mid to high 90s, and a curveball and changeup that show potential. He could potentially be a SP2. That said, he’s only thrown more than 70 innings once, and his command isn’t where you’d want to see it. He has a wide variety of outcomes, but his upside is worth investing in. (Kyler Jesanis)
153. Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)
Woodruff bucks the trend of high upside, low minors guys as a high floor guy whose made his major league debut. Woodruff has an above average fastball, curveball, changeup, and command, but nothing that’s plus. He seems like a solid SP5 for the foreseeable future. (Kyler Jesanis)
154. Anthony Desclafani, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 62)
Desclafani missed all of 2017 with an elbow injury, and thus has fallen almost 100 spots. Reports going into the season are positive, and with health he’ll go back to being a strong SP4. He’s fallen off the radar in fantasy leagues, but I think he’s worthy of gambling on. (Kyler Jesanis)
155. Brandon Finnegan, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 108)
Finnegan had an injury plagued 2017. He only threw 13 innings and suffered injuries to both shoulders. The Reds are committed to him in the rotation, so he’ll get a chance to rebuild his value just like Descalfani. Because of his lack of control, Finnegan is not as strong a bet as Descalfani, as his ratios are likely to be higher. Finnegan is three years younger which could be a reason to prefer him to Desclafani, but both are good bets to move up this list next year. (Kyler Jesanis)
156. Mike Foltynewicz, Atlantsa Braves (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 90)
Foltynewicz is who he is at this point, a decent bet for good strikeout totals and ratios that won’t kill you…but certainly won’t be good. He enters the year with a starting spot in the Braves rotation. There’s a decent chance he gets moved to the bullpen, like has been long speculated, to make room for all of the pitching prospects the Braves have on the way. (Kyler Jesanis)
157. Miles Mikolas, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 29, Previous Rank: NR)
Miles Mikolas is back after spending a few seasons over in Japan, where he pitched incredibly well. Last year he pitched 188 innings, with 188 strikeouts, a 2.25 ERA, and a .98 WHIP. For reference, in Yu Darvish’s seven year career in Japan he averaged just under a strikeout an inning, a 1.99 ERA, a .99 WHIP. That’s not to say Mikolas will equal Darvish, but he is a lot better than you think he is. Alex Chamberlain at Fangraphs wrote a great piece searching for a Mikolas comp, and he seems like a good bet to be a SP4 on a good Cardinals team for the next several seasons. (Kyler Jesanis)
158. Franklyn Kilome, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Kilome got to Double-A last year. He has a fastball that sits mid-90s and can touch the upper 90s, an above average curveball, and a slider and changeup that need further development. When he’s right, he looks like an SP2. He’s just not right that often as he struggles with command and consistency. He’s likely an SP4/5 you wish was more, but he has plenty of time to develop his pitches and reach his ceiling. (Kyler Jesanis)
159. Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 92)
Heaney spent most of 2017 recovering from his shoulder injury, but made it back in time for five starts. This year, he will be part of the starting 6 (isn’t that fun?) and will be pitching in front of a much-improved defense. The former top prospect has fallen off the radar, but he still has upside to be a pretty good fantasy starter in a good situation. (Kyler Jesanis)
160. Tyler Mahle, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
Mahle is a high-floor prospect. He has a good heater that sits low 90s, but he’s been rumored to hit close to 100 before. He has incredible command of it already, and that command allowed him to dominate the minors. His secondaries are fringe to average, but they play off the fastball well. He should be a quality back-end starter for the foreseeable future. If only he wasn’t in Great American Smallpark… (Kyler Jesanis)