I almost wish I could have done this article a day later this week. Instead, it will be next week when we discuss our familiar faces in new places. The trade deadline has already provoked a few deals, including Taijuan Walker taking flight and chugging buffalo sauce for the Jays. I’ll discuss him in a moment. A moment, I said! Don’t scroll down yet! Jeez, the attention span on people these days. I have more intro left before Taijuan time.

I finally dropped Zach Plesac off the list as it seems that Cleveland is actually committed to manipulating his service clock punishing him for his dumbassery. However, if they do send away Mike Clevinger, as is rumored, he could be back up shortly. Adam Plutko is not the answer. I considered leaving Walker Buehler off the list since he’s on the IL, but it sounds like the blister won’t keep him out long. Notably vacating the list, however, is Jon Gray. He isn’t hurt, but he just isn’t missing bats anymore. It’s hard enough to trust any Rockies pitcher (hence my Senzatela ranking despite his 3.32 ERA) let alone a starter with a sub-6.00 K/9 (hey, Senzatela fits again). Gray’s velo is down two ticks and I just can’t fathom starting him unless we’re talking 18+ team mixers.

The Starting Pitcher Barometer

The Risers

  • Taijuan Walker, BUF (+21) – Walker’s peripherals still aren’t great (4.63 SIERA, .225 BABIP, .315 xwOBA vs current .279 wOBA) but he has been getting it done so far with a 3.27 ERA. His average exit velocity is a career-best 87.1 MPH and he has limited the barrels to 5.3%. His cutter/slider usage has been bumped up to 23% on the year and has been excellent, earning a .186 xwOBA. Despite that, his SwStr% is just 7.2%. Without a high strikeout upside, it’s hard to have confidence starting him. He gets a moderate boost on the list but is still on the outside of where I prefer to pull my streamers from. Moving to the AL East isn’t going to help, either. At least he’s got a cool name.

  • Tyler Mahle, CIN (+30) – I’ve dropped plenty of acid in my day, but today I’m hooked on Mahle! Drug puns are good, right? People love them. Although drugs themselves are still quite bad. In any case, the only candy I want to snort up my nose is Mahle’s sweet, sweet 12.52 K/9 and 3.91 ERA over 23 IP. His last start was a head-turner, in particular, carving up the Cubs for 11 K’s. As you can see in his pitch mix chart, Mahle has switched it up a lot as he tries to find the right mix of breaking balls. This year he has opted for a four-seam/slider/splitter approach. His slider nets 2,687 RPM this year with a tasty 46.3% Whiff%. He’ll continue to be homer-prone and hasn’t had the control he displayed during his time in the minors. That said, the K% bump has him deserving of a parallel bump on the list.

  • Corbin Burnes, MIL (+20) – It burns when I pee, but nothing stings when I start Burnes! Coming off an absolute disrobing of the Pirates in which he struck out 10 over six shutout frames, Burnes gets a bump up the tiki pole. His role was in relative flux to open the season, but he has made three straight strong starts (16.1 IP, 2.20 ERA, 12.1 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.98 WHIP, 1.55 FIP). His control is still a question, and there will still be blow-ups. Still, his swing-and-miss stuff is truly elite. The addition of a new cutter has helped keep batters off-balance, although by results (.362 xwOBA) the pitch itself isn’t great. Still, the spin rates and velocity are incredible. It’s enough to push him into the top 40.

The Fallers

You know what, there are a lot of fun Risers this week. There are also a lot of intriguing Newcomers. This week’s Fallers aren’t super fantasy-relevant, so let’s just go full steam ahead on the U.S.S. Positivity this week! AVAST!!!

 

The Newcomers

  • Dane Dunning, CHW (SP51) – Dunning debuted a week ago but I wasn’t sure he’d stick around. After his latest start (in which he posted five shutout frames against the Royales With Cheese, walking one with seven K’s) it’s hard to imagine him not sticking around. Dylan Cease has been far more volatile in that same rotation, and Dunning is a former first-rounder himself. Dunning had a strong 48% CSW on his slider – easily his best secondary – and has been able to locate his fastball as well, helping it play up from mediocre velocity (91 MPH). He enters the Streaming Zone along with these next four Newcomers.
  • Ian Anderson, ATL (SP55) – The third overall pick in 2016, Anderson debuted against a stout Yankees lineup. He kept their bats silent, however, lasting six innings with just one run allowed, one walk, and six K’s. The Bombers didn’t even land a hit until the sixth inning. His changeup has great movement, and he was able to locate it well below the zone. When the mid-90’s heater and changeup are working, he doesn’t really even need the curve, but it can miss bats as well. He will have frustrating starts where his control fails him, but he is immediately stream-worthy.

  • Sandy Alcantara, MIA (SP59) – Whereas Ian Anderson shined in his debut, Alcantara looked rough in his return from the COVID IL. He gave up eight runs (five earned) in just four innings with two walks and as many strikeouts. Frankly, it was foolish of me (and, assumedly, a few others out there in Fantasy Land) to have little trepidation after a month-plus layoff. Still, I’d expect much better results moving forward. With a heater that sits around 97 MPH on average as well as some strong offspeed stuff, he’s a guy I’m hanging on to in deeper mixed leagues.
  • Zach Eflin, PHI (SP65) – I didn’t imagine there was any Eflin way I’d be ranking this guy inside the 2020 Top 100. Yet, after a 26.1% K-BB% through five starts (26.1 IP), here we are. Even without overpowering raw stuff, Eflin has earned a 90th percentile xwOBA, and 91st percentile xERA and xBA. He’s dropped his four-seam usage in lieu of more sinkers, which is earning him plenty of ground balls (three degree LA). If his defense can help him out a bit more (.365 BABIP) he can continue inching closer to his 3.17 SIERA from his current 4.10 ERA.

 

The Top 100 Starting Pitchers

RnkNamePrevious Rank
RnkNamePrevious Rank
1Gerrit Cole1
2Jacob DeGrom2
3Shane Bieber3
4Max Scherzer4
5Aaron Nola5
6Yu Darvish6
7Trevor Bauer7
8Luis Castillo8
9Clayton Kershaw9
10Sonny Gray10
11Walker Buehler11
12Lucas Giolito19
13Mike Clevinger12
14Chris Paddack13
15Brandon Woodruff14
16Lance Lynn16
17Blake Snell17
18Zac Gallen20
19Jack Flaherty27
20Max Fried18
21Patrick Corbin15
22Kenta Maeda21
23Aaron Civale22
24Dylan Bundy23
25Zack Wheeler25
26Zack Greinke26
27Dinelson Lamet24
28Jose Berrios32
29Hyun-Jin Ryu33
30Carlos Carrasco36
31Kyle Hendricks29
32Tyler Glasnow34
33Lance McCullers, Jr30
34German Marquez31
35Sixto Sanchez43
36Dustin May35
37Pablo Lopez49
38Jesus Luzardo41
39Corbin Burnes59
40Frankie Montas28
41Kevin Gausman46
42Spencer Turnbull39
43Dallas Keuchel45
44Framber Valdez53
45Brad Keller47
46Zach Davies54
47Merrill Kelly38
48Yusei Kikuchi48
49Garrett Richards40
50Yusei Kikuchi51
51Dane DunningNR
52Tyler Chatwood55
53Adrian Houser56
54Elieser Hernandez57
55Ian AndersonNR
56Chris Bassitt44
57Casey Mize42
58Tommy Milone76
59Sandy AlcantaraNR
60Randy Dobnak58
61Triston McKenzie50
62Robbie Ray60
63Julio Urias61
64Nathan Eovaldi62
65Zach EflinNR
66Ross Stripling52
67Andrew Heaney65
68Tyler Mahle98
69Dakota Hudson67
70Ryan Yarbrough78
71Christian Javier68
72Rich Hill69
73Jordan Montgomery70
74Antonio Senzatela73
75Johnny Cueto72
76Taijuan Walker97
77Chad Kuhl74
78Adam Wainwright93
79Justus Sheffield71
80Josh Lindblom64
81Masahiro Tanaka77
82Matt Boyd88
83Luke Weaver63
84Griffin Canning79
85Anthony DeSclafani80
86Mike Minor81
87Touki Toussaint82
88Kyle Freeland84
89Dylan Cease75
90Mike Fiers86
91Sean Manaea87
92Kyle Gibson89
93Josh FlemingNR
94Logan Webb90
95Danny Duffy91
96Marco Gonzales92
97John Means94
98Kris Bubic95
99Asher Wojciechowski96
100Tarik Skubal66

 

Fell Off The List

Zach Plesac (optioned), Alex Cobb (performance), Brady Singer (performance), Alec Mills (performance), Jon Gray (performance).