Bobby Sylvester’s 2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings (Fantasy Baseball)
With the shortened season, everything is thrown into a funk with starting pitchers. The schedules have changed drastically so that now NL East pitchers have much more challenging schedules while NL Central pitchers have a much easier go. Likewise, some teams are more likely to call up their rookies from the get-go while others move to six-man rotations and virtually all innings limits will be removed. I’ll get to how that impacts my full starting pitcher rankings in a moment but first, let me tell you about my favorite targets. I’d like to escape every draft with at least five of them.
Tyler Glasnow (TB): 6th Round Target
Inning for inning last year, Glasnow was as good as anyone, posting a 1.78 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP with 76 Ks in just 61 innings. While there is some risk, he has more upside than anyone being selected outside the first three rounds.
Corey Kluber (TEX): 8th Round Target
Kluber got off to a slow start in 2018 before his freak injury but he has historically been one to start slow. Before those 36 rough innings, he went five consecutive seasons with 220+ Ks, sparkling ratios and four times won 18+ games. He is more than likely going to put up ace numbers once again this year but now he is at a supreme discount.
James Paxton (NYY): 11th Round Target
Much like Glasnow above, Paxton has some risk but is dynamite when he takes the mound. Now that Paxton is fully healthy, it isn’t crazy to think he could contend for the AL Cy Young award if he can stay healthy for 12 starts. He is an absolute strikeout machine who consistently posts solid ratios, plus he has perhaps the best lineup in baseball to help him win games.
Julio Urias (LAD): 12th Round Target
You might be noticing a theme here as I’m diving full on into the efficient starting pitchers who once has inning limitations in store for 2020. Urias finally joins the Dodgers’ rotation this summer and his stuff is about as good as you’ll find, as evidenced by his 2.49 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 85 Ks in 80 innings last year. Let’s keep in mind that he is still just 23 years old and a former top pitching prospect.
Kenta Maeda (MIN): 13th Round Target
Although his ERA was north of 4.00 last season, Maeda was once again one of the best pitchers in baseball according to underlying metrics. His WHIP sat at a glowing 1.07 and he struck out batters at a much higher rate than most. Now that won’t be limited in his innings, Maeda should return plenty of value above the draft capital required to grab him.
Carlos Martinez (STL): 14th Round Target
Martinez was moved to the bullpen last year because of conditioning with his shoulder but he is back healthy this season and has looked excellent in both spring trainings. It seems likely that fantasy owners will have that low-end ace once again who provided 50 wins with a 3.22 ERA in the four seasons he started full-time.
Lance McCullers (HOU): 15th Round Target
Here we have another beastly inning for innings pitcher who just hasn’t been able to stay on the field long enough to put together that dominant season we’ve all been waiting for. Prior to his 2018 injury, however, McCullers may have been the front-runner to win the AL Cy Young Award. That is the type of potential we are talking about towards the back half of your fantasy drafts.
Rich Hill (MIN): 18th Round Target
You may have trouble believing this, but Rich Hill has been one of only six starting pitchers in baseball to post a cumulative ERA south of 3.00 since he joined the rotation a handful of years ago. In fact, he joins only Max Scherzer as the only name from that list to also place top six in K/9 during that time. Now that Hill is healthy to begin the season, you can get a bonafide ace super late in your drafts.
ADP – Average Draft Position