CCO Fantasy Baseball: Starting Pitcher Tiers
Starting pitchers are similar to the outfield as you need to be selecting pitchers throughout the draft. Some like to grab a few elite arms early and then round out the rotation later and some like to wait on pitching and grab a lot from the middle, where others like to grab one every two or three rounds and try to evenly spread out the picks. To me, tiers are extremely important when drafting pitchers as you need to know if you can wait until the next round and get similar type of production and still add a better bat or if you need to grab the best player left in the tier as by the time it is your next turn, it will be into the next tier.
When looking at each position, I will divide the players into tiers. In theory, each tier should be filled with similar players. The ultimate goal would be to get the last player in each tier as that would mean you waited the perfect amount of time to draft that position and didn’t have to reach in the draft. Of course even within a tier we can have our favorites and preferences which are hard to ignore. Sometimes I have to force myself to take a player I don’t like or usually want on my team when they are the last player in a tier and they are clearly the best pick.
When doing your own tiers you should always ask yourself if you would be good with the next player, if not, that player goes into the next tier. Keep in mind that when deciding between players from different positions, if you set your tiers up correctly, you should not have any Super-Stars left to draft before going on to the All-Star tier, no more All-Star tier players before moving on to the Solid players, etc., etc. Within each tier names are listed in alphabetical order with their 2016 projected point totals from the CCO leagues on ESPN.
Clayton Kershaw (782), Max Scherzer (707)
These two are in a class by themselves. Yes a few will join these guys at the top of the points list from one of the next tiers, maybe even have better years, but which one is the question. These guys are the surest things to be at the top of the starting pitcher class in 2016.
Chris Archer (582), Jake Arrieta (643), Madison Bumgarner (632), Gerrit Cole (594), Jacob deGrom (585), Zack Greinke (585), Matt Harvey (606), Dallas Keuchel (583), Corey Kluber (618), David Price (630), Chris Sale (646)
Nothing but ACES here and can’t say I have a preference (except for one guy) out of this group and would be happy to get one starting pitcher out of the first two tiers.
No. 1/No. 2 Starting Pitchers
Carlos Carrasco (577), Johnny Cueto (560), Jose Fernandez (538), Sonny Gray (566), Felix Hernandez (547), Jon Lester (550), Stephen Strasburg (558), Noah Syndergaard (546)
We are in a good timeframe for pitching as we are now 20 deep and still lots of great arms.
No. 2 Starting Pitchers
Cole Hamels (517), Garrett Richards (520), Danny Salazar (528), Jeff Samardzija (514)
Small tier for Starting Pitchers but couldn’t put these guys in the No. 1/No. 2 tier and think they stand out from the next group.
No. 2/No. 3 Starting Pitchers
John Lackey (473), Francisco Liriano (489), Carlos Martinez (497), Jose Quintana (489), Tyson Ross (496), Marcus Stroman (495), Michael Wacha (470), Adam Wainwright (451), Jordan Zimmermann (490)
You would prefer that one of these guys is your second guy in the rotation, but anyone of these guys could lead your fantasy rotation.
No. 3 Starting Pitchers
Wei-Yin Chen (462), R.A. Dickey (439), Mike Fiers (473), Gio Gonzalez (426), Raisel Iglesias (442), Hisashi Iwakuma (433), Scott Kazmir (454), Mike Leake (411), Collin McHugh (452), Shelby Miller (448), Jake Odorizzi (429), Michael Pineda (443), James Shields (448), Drew Smyly (438), Masahiro Tanaka (445), Julio Teheran (472), Yordano Ventura (450), Justin Verlander (492), Alex Wood (422)
Beginning of large groups of pitchers you can expect to produce good but not great results for what should be the middle of your rotation. You should get solid seasons from this group with minimal risk.
No. 3/No. 4 Starting Pitchers
Andrew Cashner (385), Patrick Corbin (386), Jorge De La Rosa (371), Anthony DeSclafani (408), Danny Duffy (372), Marco Estrada (392), Kevin Gausman (377), Jason Hammel (379), Kyle Hendricks (386), Andrew Heaney (398), Phil Hughes (390), Ubaldo Jimenez (376), Ian Kennedy (388), Steven Matz (408), Lance McCullers (379), Wade Miley (402), Rick Porcello (402), Anibal Sanchez (408), Luis Severino (385), Edinson Volquez (393), Taijuan Walker (411)
Still lots of good pitchers here, just a larger risk of not putting up enough points.
No. 4 Starting Pitchers
Trevor Bauer (363), Bartolo Colon (369), Yovani Gallardo (366), Jaime Garcia (359), Kyle Gibson (365), Jesse Hahn (349), J.A. Happ (361), Derek Holland (350), Taylor Jungmann (338), Tom Koehler (363), Kenta Maeda (343), Jimmy Nelson (371), Aaron Nola (358), Erasmo Ramirez (357), Robbie Ray (349), Carlos Rodon (369), Eduardo Rodriquez (352), Joe Ross (351), Matt Shoemaker (371), Chris Tillman (336), Vincent Velasquez (361)
Tough call once you get to this group as you can go for more upside or more likely to reach the projected point totals. This choice is likely dependent on whom you already have in your rotation.
No. 4/No. 5 Starting Pitchers
Clay Buchholz (295), John Danks (290), Nathan Eovaldi (322), Doug Fister (295), Miquel Gonzalez (284), Rich Hill (307), Joe Kelly (292), Mat Latos (267), Colby Lewis (308), Jeff Locke (322), Tommy Milone (329), Matt Moore (283), Jonathon Niese (320), Mike Pelfrey (303), Martin Perez (322), Tanner Roark (317), C.C. Sabathia (286), Ervin Santana (330), Josh Tomlin (317), Jered Weaver (295), C.J. Wilson (317)
The last of the guys you can feel decent about. Still some upside left while not increasing the risk factor from the previous tier.
No. 5 Starting Pitchers
Chase Anderson (252), Chris Bassitt (324), Chad Bettis (290), Matt Cain (143), Rubby De La Rosa (273), Jerad Eickhoff (285), Matt Garza (224), Kendall Graveman (220), Jeremy Hellickson (282), Charlie Morton (278), Bud Norris (244), Daniel Norris (260), Jake Peavy (242), Wily Peralta (284), William Perez (173), Matt Wisler (236), Ryan Vogelsong (218), Chris Young (238)
Not that much here as these guys are all pretty safe to get their starts, just not sure they are worth having on a fantasy roster.
- Cincinnati Reds – Jon Moscot vs. Brandon Finnegan
- Colorado Rockies – Jordan Lyles vs. Tyler Chatwood vs. Chris Rusin vs. Jon Gray vs. Eddie Butler
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Mike Bolsinger vs. injuries
- Miami Marlins – Adam Conley, Edwin Jackson, Brad Hand, David Phelps, Justin Nicolino, Jarred Cosart
- Philadelphia Phillies – Brett Oberholtzer vs. Aaron Harang vs. injuries
- San Diego Padres – Brandon Maurer vs. Robbie Erlin vs. Colin Rea vs. Brandon Morrow
- San Francisco Giants – Chris Heston vs. injuries
- Boston Red Sox – Henry Owens vs. injuries or ineffectiveness
- Detroit Tigers – Alfredo Simon vs. full rotation
- Kansas City Royals – Kris Medlen vs. full rotation
- Los Angeles Angels – Hector Santiago vs. full rotation
- Minnesota Twins – Ricky Nolasco vs. Tyler Duffey vs. Jose Berrios
- New York Yankees – Ivan Nova vs. full/injured rotation
- Seattle Mariners – James Paxton vs. Nathan Karns
- Texas Rangers – Chi Chi Gonzalez vs. injuries
- Toronto Blue Jays – Drew Hutchison vs. Aaron Sanchez vs. Jesse Chavez
Some names here that could have some fantasy value, but either they are competing for a spot, have full rotations or are the fall back option if someone can’t get ready for the season.
Henderson Alvarez (299), Brett Anderson (97), Homer Bailey (264), Manny Banuelos (216), Alex Cobb (205), Yu Darvish (380), Mike Foltynewicz (135), John Lamb (255), Brandon McCarthy (188), Jarrod Parker (39), Hyun-Jin Ryu (176), Zach Wheeler (169)
Yu Darvish is the best of the bunch but there are some names here that can help your team this year, if you want to use a draft pick on them and roster them until they are ready to go.
I have usually waited on pitching, preferring to load up on four, five or even six bats before going all in on starting pitching, but in larger leagues I like the idea of getting one or two elite arms to mix in with one or two elite bats.
Next up is a look at the Cubs players!
CCO fantasy baseball leagues are on ESPN and we will fill up to 20 teams in each league. This year we will have two different styles of leagues.
- Weekly H2H with daily lineups, rules on pitching.
- Weekly H2H with daily lineups, rules on pitching, auction draft and keepers.
If you are interested in playing in one of these leagues, please send your email information to Neil at this link and he will forward it to me. Also include which league you are interested in playing. We have three leagues right now. The style we used the last two years is option one and we have two different leagues that are full but I will take more names for a waiting list or even to create another league. Option 2 is the auction/keeper league and it is almost full.