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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 200 Starting Pitchers, #91-120

Despite a scorching hot stove (I can’t believe the player you’re thinking of did or did not sign with the team you thought they would!), 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 and February 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. PLUS, this season we’re including a “Where They’d Rank” section, that outlines where we would put multi-positional guys if we ranked them at their secondary positions.

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Without further ado, it’s time to continue our 2019 consensus rankings by looking at our 91-120 dynasty starting pitchers.

91. Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs (Age: 35, Previous Rank: 44)

Lester is on the downside of his career, as his K% and BB% both regressed, but what a career it has been. He has been the epitome of consistency. Since 2008, he has never pitched fewer than 180 innings and averages close to 33 starts a season in that same timeframe. He is very valuable still, especially in roto leagues, and makes a valuable SP 3/4 if you’re contending. His ceiling isn’t sexy, but he’s still quite good. (Kyler Jesanis)

92. Matt Manning, Detroit Tigers (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 112)

Manning had a fantastic 2018, beginning the year in Low-A and finishing in Double-A. Manning is a former first-round pick with huge size and two fantastic pitches. He’s a physical beast with the stuff to dominate. Because of his size, he might never develop the command to live up to the quality of his stuff. He needs his command or his changeup to develop to be a consistent fantasy starter, otherwise he looks to be a potentially dominant reliever. If you want to gamble on athleticism, stuff, and pedigree, Manning is a great target. (Kyler Jesanis)

93. Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 25)

Stroman is an excellent bounce-back candidate and buy low. Last year his K% dipped and his BB% rose, two negative signs. That said, neither decrease was that significant. The main culprit for Stroman were injuries and a significant decrease in LOB%, an appallingly low 60.5%. Stroman is heading into 2019 healthy and a potential trade candidate from the rebuilding Jays. Getting out of Rogers Centre and the AL East, and to a more competitive team, would be a big win for his fantasy value. 2018 was a down year, but it was not as bad as the numbers looked (his FIP was essentially identical in 2017 and 2018). There is plenty of opportunity for a rebound. (Kyler Jesanis)

94. Luiz Gohara, Atlanta Braves (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 43)

2018 was a really bad year for Gohara as he struggled with injuries, securing a stable role, and just poor performance. He has a boatload of competition to earning a starting role, something that cannot be understated. That said, he is one of the most talented lefties on the planet with his elite stuff. He is also clearly motivated to regain his lost status, as he’s lost up to 40 pounds this offseason. Don’t sleep on him, he has the stuff to be a dominant fantasy starter. If you can, keep an eye on him during Spring Training and what is being reported out of Atlanta in terms of roles, and if he is looking good to be in the rotation he’d make for a great buy low. (Kyler Jesanis)

95. Kevin Gausman, Atlanta Braves (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 64)

Gausman had a solid 2018, and got rewarded by being traded from a tanking Orioles squad to a strong Braves squad. His K% dropped for the second year in a row, limiting his upside. But he’s got a spot in the Braves rotation and makes for a solid back-end real life (and fantasy) starter. (Kyler Jesanis)

96. Touki Toussaint, Atlanta Braves (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 164 )

Toussaint had a strong 2018 debut culminating in a good MLB debut. He has the stuff to get a ton of strikeouts, but the depth of the Braves may limit his chances at getting starts. He has long been projected to a relief role by prospect prognosticators, and the Braves situation increases those odds. That said, he has the repertoire (four above average to plus pitches), athleticism and mentality to be a starter. One who will be inconsistent in fantasy, but who can carry a staff when he’s on.  It might take a while, but he should eventually settle into the rotation, whether it be for the Braves or for someone else. (Kyler Jesanis)

97. Marco Gonzalez, Seattle Mariners (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)

Gonzalez had a quietly strong 2018, finally overcoming injuries to live up to his pedigree. His indicators are all incredibly positive and validate the breakout. He’s a good bet for an ERA below 4, a WHIP below 1.25, a 7.5 k/9, and close to 170 total K’s. He looks to be a really good back end option in fantasy, one who is perennially underrated. (Kyler Jesanis)

98.  Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 125)

Don’t let his 2018 Triple-A numbers get you down; pitching in Colorado Springs is incredibly challenging. When he got his chance in MLB, he delivered for the Brewers out of the bullpen. He has a good chance at getting a crack in the starting rotation, especially with Junior Guerra getting moved to the bullpen. In October, GM Stearns announced he’d be moved back to the rotation. He’s got the stuff to be a quality fantasy starter for a long time. Yes his 2018 did not look great for his fantasy prospects, but do not fall prey to it, use it as a buy low opportunity. (Kyler Jesanis)

99. Jimmy Nelson, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 54)

After a breakout 2017, Nelson missed all of 2018 recovering from his shoulder injury. He is the epitome of a high risk/high reward get. As the potential to be a top 25 starter is still in him, but after a year off and a short track record of success the odds are good that he regresses a good deal. He’s worth taking a gamble on; just make sure you’re not paying for full 2017 rebound value. (Kyler Jesanis)

100. Jon Duplantier, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 127)

Duplantier’s 2018 wasn’t as extensive as we’d like as he struggled through some injuries, only throwing 74 innings. When he did pitch, he pitched well and he should be able to crack the Diamondbacks rotation at some point this year. Last year, Keaton did a great job breaking down Duplantier and it’s still true today. (Jordan Rosenblum)

101) Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves, (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 76)

Teheran had a weird 2018. He performed, with a 3.94 ERA in 175 innings pitched. He also generated a career high 11.2 percent swinging strikes and a career low 73.8% contact rate. His fastball velocity dropped almost two miles per hour, falling below 90 miles per hour for the first time in his career. He reached a career high 4.3 walks per nine and struggled to find the zone. All things considered, the negatives outweighed the positives, as Teheran posted a SIERA and xFIP above 4.65 for the second consecutive season. Moving forward, he’ll give you a ton of innings and a decent strikeout rate, but it’s wise not to expect an ERA below 4.4 again. He’s only 28 though. If he can maintain his career-best ability to limit contact, and reduce his walk rate to career norms, his stock could rise. (Jordan Rosenblum)

102) Cole Hamels, Chicago Cubs, (Age: 35, Previous Rank: 106)

Hamels had a huge bounce-back performance after hitting a career low in 2017. His 4.90 SIERA and 4.83 xFIP were both career worsts in 2017. Both rebounded to ’16 levels in 2018: a 3.99 SIERA and 3.95 xFIP. His strikeouts also returned in 2018, with strong swinging strike and strikeouts per nine rates. Remarkably, he’s maintained most of his velocity into old age, averaging 92.1 miles per hour in 2018, and between 91 and 92 mph each of the past five seasons. Aging captures more than just velocity though, as Hamels is no longer the frontline starter he was a few seasons ago. Notwithstanding, he should be good for around 175 quality innings in 2019, with very solid walk and strikeout rates, and an average groundball rate—all for a strong Cubs team. With stable velocity, he likely has more good years left in the tank than the typical 35-year-old. (Jordan Rosenblum)

103) Dylan Bundy, Baltimore Orioles, (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 53)

A superficial glance at Bundy’s 2018 stat-line is pretty frightening: a 5.45 ERA, 2.15 homeruns per nine innings, 16 losses. Dig deeper, and it’s easy to see 2018 was a big step forward. Bundy put up a career-best strikeout-to-walk ratio, with a career-high 9.65 strikeouts per nine innings. He also put up career bests in xFIP (4.28) and SIERA (3.94). He generated a ton of swings and misses while pounding the zone with ample first-pitch strikes. Expect a much better 2019 than 2018, with an ERA a little north of 4.00, a ton of strikeouts, and limited walks. He could become a trade candidate with three years of control remaining on a noncontending Orioles team. It’d be a boon to his value to get out of the slugging AL East. (Jordan Rosenblum)

104) Trevor Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates, (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 128)

Williams put together a magical 2018, somehow finishing with a 3.11 ERA. He’s one of the most textbook luck-based overperformers you’ll find, with an extremely low BABIP and home run per fly ball rate, and an extremely high strand rate. His underlying skills suggest a pitcher with an ERA around 4.5. Projection systems largely pick up on his lucky 2018, forecasting significant regression in 2019 – the BAT projects a 4.35 ERA, Steamer projects a 4.72 ERA. With below average strikeouts, an average groundball rate, and slightly above average control, Williams is a solid streamer and back-end starter, but nothing more. If you can sell Williams to an owner who is excited about his relative youth and strong 2018, jump on it. (Jordan Rosenblum)

105) Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

Canning rapidly ascended through the minors in 2018, his first season as a professional. He dominated High-A and Double-A hitters and then hit a bit of a wall in Triple-A. His peripherals remained solid in Triple-A, though. His peak major league equivalent statistics for 2018* suggest a mid-rotation starter with an ERA around 4.00. His performance and pedigree earned him a spot at the back-end of many top 100 lists this off-season. He’ll push for a starting job in Los Angeles in 2019. He’ll likely need to dominate Triple-A, or else wait for an injury, to receive his chance. Once he reaches the majors, he should make for a solid 4.00 ERA starter, with a good number of strikeouts. (Jordan Rosenblum)

106) Jonathan Loaisiga, New York Yankees, (Age: 24, Previous Rank: NR)

Loaisiga was one of the minor league’s biggest breakouts in 2018, with a dominant performance across High-A and Double-A. He was one of the top performers in the minors, with ten-plus strikeouts and sub-two walks per nine innings at both levels. He was rewarded with a quick call-up to the MLB, where he showed frontline skills across four starts and five relief appearances. He was a bit unlucky, with a 20% homerun per flyball rate, but his peripherals were incredibly strong: 2.95 xFIP, 3.44 SIERA, 12.04 strikeouts and 4.38 walks per nine innings, with an above average groundball rate. The main red-flag with Loaisiga is his health. He has battled shoulder injuries his entire career and has never eclipsed 100 innings in a single season. Accordingly, the Yankees resigned CC Sabathia rather than trust Loaisiga as their fifth starter in 2019. He’ll likely start out in a Chad Green-type swingman role, with ample chances to start if he stays healthy—and this is a major if. Without health concerns, Loaisiga could easily rank at least 50 spots higher. He’s a worthy roll of the dice at his current cost. (Jordan Rosenblum)

107) Steven Matz, New York Mets, (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 91)

Matz was excellent in his first full season in the majors in 2016. Likely for health reasons, he abandoned his slider in 2017 and lost much of his effectiveness. His ERA and peripherals all collapsed. 2018 was a rebound year, as Matz began throwing his slider again, and rediscovering much of his 2016 effectiveness. His peripherals and performance in 2018 all suggest a solid mid-rotation starter, with an ERA around 4.00, and average walk and strikeout rates. At 27, he should be a reliable cog at the mid-to-backend of your fantasy rotation for the foreseeable future. (Jordan Rosenblum)

108) Nate Pearson, Toronto Blue Jays, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 143)

Pearson had a strong debut in 2017, cruising through Low-A Short Season. He missed most of 2018 with a forearm injury before finally returning in the Arizona Fall League. He struggled there, with an ERA over 6, and lacking peripherals. He’s only pitched around 40 innings total in his career, though, so his numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. He garners positive reviews for a big fastball and frequently finds himself at the back-end of top 100 lists this off-season. He’s got the prospect pedigree to move up this list considerably in 2019. His small minor league sample suggests his upside is more average than anything. 2019 will be a big year for his value. (Jordan Rosenblum)

109) Dustin May, Los Angeles Dodgers, (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 138)

Like Pearson, May typically finds himself near the backend of this off-season’s top 100 prospect lists. He performed well in Low-A in 2017 and in High-A in 2018, with elite strikeout to walk ratios at both stops. His ERA was strong in Double-A, but his strikeout rate tumbled, and his walk rate rose significantly. In all, May’s peak major league equivalencies* suggest a 3.9 ERA true talent starter, with strong groundball rates and limited walks. He should reach the majors in 2019 or 2020 – if the Dodgers ever have room for him with their incredible depth. (Jordan Rosenblum)

110) Freddy Peralta, Milwaukee Brewers, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: NR)

Peralta was one of 2018’s biggest breakouts in the minors. He’s been dominant in Double-A and Triple-A over the past two seasons, with peak major league equivalencies* suggesting a top 30 starter in the majors and around a 3.50 ERA. His MLB performance was a bit worse but still strong for a 22-year-old, with a 3.99 SIERA and a 4.33 xFIP. He racks up a ton of strikeouts and walks, and will likely be among the league leaders for both in 2019. He’ll have to battle for a rotation spot in 2019, but the Brewers rotation is full of below average starters. The reason many are pessimistic on Peralta is they doubt his ability to succeed with only two pitches, a fastball-curveball mix. He’s been succeeding like this for two years now, though, and is a good bet to breakout in 2019. He could rank much higher in 2020. (Jordan Rosenblum)

*Clay Davenport translates minor league statistics to peak MLB performance, adjusting minor league statistics downward for league difficulty and upward for aging (these are known as peak Davenport translations).

111)  Max Fried, Atlanta Braves (Age: 25; Previous Rank: 151)

Fried, like all of the Brave pitching prospects on this list, could be in the rotation at some point this year… or never. The tall southpaw was drafted 7th overall way back in 2012. After a limited debut in 2017, there was some hope his nasty curveball would help him cut his way into the rotation. It wasn’t meant to be so though and fantasy players were tantalized with another 33 intriguing innings over 5 starts. Fried posted an 11.76 K/9, but a 5.35 BB/9. A 2.94 ERA, but a 3.62 FIP. Stranger yet, these numbers were better than they were in the minors last year, which could be a product of Fried’s sheer boredom. Afterall, he’s been toiling away down there for the better part of a decade. On almost any other team in the majors, Fried would be given a clear shot at the rotation this year. Unfortunately, there are more arms on the Braves than Durga. (Adam Lawler)

112)  Kyle Gibson, Minnesota Twins (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 174)

Gibson is a criminally underrated asset in dynasty formats. Since the second half of 2017, Gibson has posted an ERA at or below 3.7 with the peripherals to back it up. Is he going to strikeout the side? Hell no. Is he going to provide you a high floor and a level of dependability you often need in an SP4? You bet. Speaking of floor, Gibson posted an elite groundball rate, and with an improved defense behind him (additions of plus defenders in a non-PED Jorge Polanco and new addition Johnathan Schoop), Gibson’s ratio stats should actually improve. (Adam Lawler)

113)  Adrian Morejon, San Diego Padres (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 121)

Morejon’s shine should be a little brighter than it was before last season, but he’s being outshined by a number of flashier prospects. The teenager did extremely well in high-A ball last year against players 4 years his senior. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90’s with a nice cambio and a better slider. All the velocity bands for these pitches sit right where you want them to be for ultimate effectiveness, as exemplified by his healthy 10+ K/9 last year. There are caution flags, however, when it comes to dynasty and TINSTAAP is fair play for this lefty. Dings and nagging injuries have hampered a fast track through the minors and he’s a ways off as it is. Still, you could do worse with dynasty arms. (Adam Lawler)

114)  Trevor Cahill, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 192)

Cahill is a bit of a pet project for me and one that I have always admired from a distance. I think it’s because Cahill is the perfect center of a pitcher ven diagram for me.  I’m a lover of semi-broken, groundball and/or strikeout pitchers.  Cahill has that in spades.  In 2018, he posted the 9th best groundball rate in the majors, and he had the 2nd best K rate (8.18/9) and HR/FB rate (10%) among the group.

Sadly, it seems like every year he goes on some tear through 9 games or so of elite pitching. Unfortunately, it usually ends in some crash and burn fashion after an injury presents itself. Last year was no different, as Cahill only posted a glorious 110 innings pitched after having a few injury plagued seasons prior to that.

Cahill has upside. There’s no doubt. But you’ll have to bet on 15 really good starts and a bunch of time on your DL if you want to be happy with him. (Adam Lawler)

115) Michel Baez, San Diego Padres (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 83)

It wasn’t a good year for our friend, Michel.  Back issues likely hampered his pitching mechanics, which is a reasonable excuse for declined velocity.  On the other hand, it’s been reported through various scouting outlets that Baez’s issues with consistency are the only thing consistent about him. Still, you might look a 2.91 ERA and point to progress. The 4.01 DRA scares me a bit and the lack of a developing 3rd pitch make it seem as if he’s destined for a bullpen role given the number of arms available at San Diego’s disposal. (Adam Lawler)

116)  Bryse Wilson, Atlanta Braves (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)

There were few events more surprising than when Wilson got the call to start for the Braves last year as a 20 year old. Wilson has a developing repertoire of 3 plus pitches (fastball, slider, change) that are very intriguing. Even without the call up, it’s clear the Braves have confidence in him given his promotion from high A to triple A within the same year.  More interesting, is that he seemingly got better with each promotion, increasing his K/9, decreasing his BB/9, managing his HR/9, and keeping a reasonable pitching ratio.  Wilson will likely get another majority of a season at Triple A to hone his craft, but he’s nearing the big leagues and he’s my favorite pitching prospect of the bunch.  (Adam Lawler)

117)  Kolby Allard, Atlanta Braves (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 109)

Oh, Kolby. What happened to you man?  You were supposed to be my guy! The velocity reportedly dipped and he lost a feel for his curve. It all fell apart for him, especially when he reached the show and became a sheep to slaughter. You can’t sit at 91 and lose your command of your curveball. He’s never been a strikeout pitcher, so the leash is incredibly tight on this prospect. He has all the makings for a backend starter.  A year ago, I wouldn’t have thought it was possible to write in Allard’s profile. (Adam Lawler)

118)  Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 148)

Last year, I wrote about Alcantara for the TDG Miami Triple Play. A lot of what I wrote there is still applicable. In short, the prize piece from the Ozuna trade has some stupidly filthy stuff. He can ramp up his fastball into triple digits and the slider can draw blood it cuts so hard.  More exciting is the velocity band differential between the two pitches. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of control and he needs to get there if he wants to be German Marquez 2.0.  (Adam Lawler)

119)  Tanner Roark, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 119)

Ewww. Please don’t make me write about old, bad, and broken Cincinnati Reds pitchers. I don’t know. If 4+ ERA, non-strikeout pitchers with a penchant for giving up the long ball even before going to GABP is your thing…sure try Roark. If it were me, I’d much rather take a flyer on another name farther down the list. Alternatively, there are relievers who are growing to be more valuable and rosterable than Roark. (Adam Lawler)

120)  Brendan McKay, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 70)

(Writer throws rose pedals in the air and makes a path down the aisle. Fixes tuxedo tie of editor. Queues music. Editor becomes misty eyed. We hug. Enter a beautiful Brendan McKay walks down the aisle.)

The beautiful hunk of a two way player is about to take the world by storm. A lefty with a low-to-mid 90s fastball with plus command and a plus curveball as a secondary offering? Oh lala. Now, you want to tell me that his cutter and changeup are flashing plus? That’s some serious husband material. In 2018, he carved up the low minor’s over 78 innings, posting a 2.41 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and a healthy 11.8 K/9.  Granted, he’s not playing over his head and against older talent, but he’s holding serve and that’s important. He may be ready to be up at the end of 2019 – though Rays gonna Rays – and it will likely be 2046 before we see him. I like him as high end SP3. Couple that with the bat and you have a bonafide plus value player on your team for years to come. (Adam Lawler)

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Adam Lawler

Adam Lawler

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