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2019 Fantasy Baseball Rankings (AL)

Expert Consensus Ranking (64 of 67 Experts) -
Rank Player (Team, Position) Overall Notes
1 Chris Sale (BOS - SP) 5 5.0
There are a handful of starting pitchers that stand out above the rest, but Sale and Scherzer may belong in a tier of their own at this point. Sale posted an unfathomable 0.861 WHIP last season and 13.5 K/9. As long as he returns to health, we could be looking at a 340 Ks
2 Justin Verlander (HOU - SP) 10 10.0
Verlander may be turning 36 years old soon, but his velocity is still as impressive as ever and he 2018 was actually his best K% (34.8%, second best 28.1%) of his career while his BB% (4.4%) was his lowest. Don't avoid him because of his age. He is rocking better than ever before
3 Corey Kluber (CLE - SP) 13 12.0 -1.0
Each of the past five years, Kluber has given fantasy owners 200 innings while compiling 1,228 strikeouts. In four of those five seasons, he has provided 18 or more wins. If you draft him in the second round, you can be certain to get a true ace
4 Blake Snell (TB - SP) 14 13.0 -1.0
Snell may have posted the single greatest second half of any pitcher in the last 50 years with a 1.17 ERA, .155 BAA and 12.7 K/9. There is a chance he finishes as the #1 fantasy pitcher this season, but both Scherzer and Sale are safer bets because of their sustained reliability
5 Carlos Carrasco (CLE - SP) 15 16.0 +1.0
Although Cleveland doesn't pay him like it, Carrasco has been a true ace for five straight years, posting a sparkling 3.27 ERA with 193 Ks per season in that time. There is more upside with a pitcher like Syndergaard or Strasburg, but Carrasco's floor makes him one of the top 15 pitchers in this year's fantasy drafts
6 James Paxton (NYY - SP) 24 22.0 -2.0
Paxton has posted back-to-back seasons with an excellent strikeout rate and WHIP, but his ERA grew by nearly a run last year thanks to a spike in his home run rate. Under normal circumstances that could be chalked up to an outlier season, but Paxton is moving to a much more homer-friendly home park this season so it is possible the long ball issue could linger. Last season's 160 1/3 innings also represented a career-high for Paxton, who is not exactly known for his durability. Expect him to be quite good when he's on the mound, but don't expect more than about 150 innings and an ERA in the mid-3.00s.
7 Zack Greinke (HOU - SP) 27 25.0 -2.0
Greinke's age is now 35 and he did have a rough season three years ago, but besides then, he has been phenomenal since 2009. Expect plenty more of the same in 2019 with excellent ratios, about 15 wins and around 200 strikeouts. This makes him a top 20 starting pitcher for 2019 fantasy leagues
8 Mike Clevinger (CLE - SP) 30 26.0 -4.0
After dominating in a smaller 2017 sample size, Clevinger took it up another notch in 2018, this time with 200 innings of proof. He might not win 16 games or strikeout 240 batters like some of the top tier aces, but his ratios and 200 Ks put him firmly in the 6th-8th rounds of this season's drafts
9 Jose Berrios (MIN - SP) 31 30.0 -1.0
Berrios' 2018 season was pretty similar to 2017. He made some strides in strikeout rate and WHIP, but it didn't help his ERA much thanks to a spike in home runs allowed. Berrios is a good but not great strikeout pitcher and his walk rate is just ok, so he'll need to make further improvements to live up to the hype he had as a prospect. That could certainly happen in his age-24 season, but it isn't guaranteed.
10 Luis Severino (NYY - SP) 34 28.0 -6.0
A Cy Young Award contender though June, Severino imploded with a 5.20 ERA over the final three months. That inconsistency is perilous for a staff headliner, but he still finished 2018 with a 3.39 ERA, 2.95 FIP, and 220 strikeouts. Despite his start-by-start inconsistency, he has delivered on a macro level in consecutive seasons. However, he will miss at least all of April with a shoulder injury, Previously a viable top-10 candidate, he's now too risky to draft as a top-25 starter.
11 David Price (BOS - SP) 43 37.0 -6.0
Price isn't going to thrill anyone as a workhorse ace anymore, but he still posts plenty of Ks to go with useful ratios each and every season. With Boston's lineup behind him, we can expect plenty of wins as well, making him one of the most appealing third-tier starting pitchers this year.
12 Charlie Morton (TB - SP) 45 45.0
After nearly a decade of mediocrity, the Astros turned Morton into a high-end starter in 2017, and he was even better in 2018. At this point, he feels relatively safe to pencil in for a mid-3.00s ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate, and WHIP in the 1.15-1.20 range. The concerns are his advancing age and durability -- he's never thrown more than 172 innings in a season. The move to Tampa Bay is also a mild concern, less so for the change of division than for the move away from a Houston team that seemingly knew how to get the best out of him.
13 Masahiro Tanaka (NYY - SP) 46 49.0 +3.0
Tanaka was basically the same pitcher last year as he was in 2017, but he shaved a run off of his ERA thanks to slight improvements in BABIP allowed, home runs allowed, and left-on-base percentage. Still, home runs remain an issue for Tanaka, which explains why his ERA generally lags behind his WHIP. He's also never made it to 200 innings, so he's not exactly a workhorse. At this point we should just accept Tanaka for what he is: a solid third or fourth fantasy starter.
14 Shane Bieber (CLE - SP) 55 57.0 +2.0
Bieber is the rare pitcher who may throw too many strikes. His pinpoint control is helpful for his WHIP, and he's shown the ability to strike out close to a batter per inning, but he gave up so many hits as a rookie that his ERA ballooned to 4.55. That is due for quite a bit of positive regression, but Bieber's ERA may always trail behind his WHIP. For now, expect his ERA to settle in the mid-to-high 3s.
15 J.A. Happ (NYY - SP) 60 50.0 -10.0
The undervalued Happ massively out-performed his 2018 draft pick despite posting his highest ERA (3.65) since 2014. He now owns a 3.49 ERA and 8.45 K/9 over those past four seasons, and yet many drafters have scoffed at him going around the pick-150 range. Seems like a reasonable price for someone who accompanied his career-high 193 strikeouts with a career-high 10.3% swinging-strike rate and career-low 78.3% contact rate. He looked comfortable in pinstripes (2.69 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) and could once again reap the rewards of run support to a crooked wins tally. Don't run away just because the southpaw is 36.
16 Eduardo Rodriguez (BOS - SP) 59 58.0 -1.0
An intriguing option when healthy, Rodriguez took another step forward with a 3.82 ERA, 3.65 FIP, and 10.13 K/9 in 2018. Good luck getting a full season out of the lefty. Knee and ankle injuries contained him to 129.2 frames, so he has yet to make 25 starts for more than 137.1 frames in a single season. He flaunted a high ceiling by mixing in fewer four-seamers in favor of a cutter, and he has reportedly spent the offseason working on his slider with help from Chris Sale and Pedro Martinez. Drafters must prepare to make up the lost innings elsewhere, but he's nevertheless the type of high-strikeout hurler worth targeting after locking down sturdier rotation anchors.
17 Nathan Eovaldi (BOS - SP) 66 63.0 -3.0
Always one of baseball's hardest-throwing starters, Eovaldi finally parlayed his high-90s heater to a career-high 22.2 K% supported by a 10.7% swinging-strike rate. He also lowered his walk rate to a career-low 4.4%, leading to a 1.13 WHIP, 3.60 FIP, and 3.23 Deserved Run Average (DRA, per Baseball Prospectus). After re-signing with the Red Sox, he'd be one of the spring's top breakout picks if not for glaring durability and inconsistency concerns. Last year, he went from yielding one run in three combined starts to 21 in his next four. Eovaldi might give investors some headaches on the way to strong SP4 numbers in 150 innings.
18 Tyler Glasnow (TB - SP,RP) 68 65.0 -3.0
A former elite prospect, Glasnow couldn't quite get his act together in Pittsburgh, but things started looking up when he was moved to the Rays. He struggled mightily with the long ball during his brief stint in Tampa, but the much more important thing is that he nearly cut his walk rate in half. Glasnow can miss bats with the best of them, so if he can stop giving away so many free passes we could suddenly be looking at a pitcher who can provide solid ratios to go along with the elite strikeout numbers. He's an exciting breakout candidate.
19 Yusei Kikuchi (SEA - SP) 71 66.0 -5.0
Signed by Seattle this winter, Kikuchi heads to the U.S. with a career 2.77 ERA in eight seasons in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball. The Japanese signee is expected to make his MLB debut in the Tokyo Dome, giving some last-minute drafters a sneak peek that could vastly sway his cost. Since Kikuchi is accustomed to working in a six-man rotation, Seattle plans to limit him to around five innings per start, which jeopardizes his win potential but could help fortify his ratios. He's a bit of an unknown without a sky-high ceiling, but the 27-year-old southpaw could make a solid mid-rotation piece if competitors get scared off by his uncertainty.
20 Andrew Heaney (LAA - SP) 78 75.0 -3.0
Following a rocky return from Tommy John surgery, Heaney made major strides by submitting 180 strikeouts in as many innings last season. Since he also issued just 45 walks, a 3.74 SIERA hints at improvement from last season's 4.15 ERA. The spotty health history and mediocre sinker present concerns, but he flashed ace upside with five double-digit strikeout gems. Don't sleep on Heaney as a borderline top-40 starter with breakout appeal. Early elbow discomfort, however, will push back his 2019 debut.
21 Shohei Ohtani (LAA - SP,DH) 74 70.0 -4.0
It is too bad that we don't get to see Ohtani pitch this season since he was so dominant, but his bat is very nearly on the same level. His full season pace last year had him at 34 homers, 16 steals, 95 RBIs, 92 runs and a .285 BA. That is a second round level season. Granted, he likely won't debut until May since he is recovering from an injury, but remember that he was only 23 last year and will finally get to focus on just hitting for the first time in his life.
22 Brad Peacock (HOU - RP,SP) 92 96.0 +4.0
Peacock has been very effective as both a starter and reliever for the Astros over the last two seasons and looks likely to open the season in Houston's rotation this year. While it's possible he's eventually pushed out by Josh James or Forrest Whitley, Peacock can be nearly as valuable as a reliever, particularly in innings-capped roto leagues. He's well worth drafting.
23 Marco Gonzales (SEA - SP) 96 86.0 -10.0
24 Kyle Gibson (TEX - SP) 98 106.0 +8.0
25 Trevor May (MIN - SP,RP) 94 92.0 -2.0
Plenty are suggesting that Blake Parker was brought in to be the closer for Minnesota, but
26 Josh James (HOU - SP) 105 85.0 -20.0
Josh James went from one of the best sleepers in fantasy baseball this year to a draft and stash when news surfaced that he has a strained quad and is now out of the rotation battle. Chances are that he will start in the minor leagues and be called up the moment a spot in the rotation becomes available. From the moment it happens, he should be a top 30 starter.
27 Michael Pineda (MIN - SP) 102 125.0 +23.0
28 Carlos Rodon (CWS - SP) 106 107.0 +1.0
29 Matthew Boyd (DET - SP) 100 113.0 +13.0
30 Jakob Junis (KC - SP) 118 119.0 +1.0
31 Mike Minor (TEX - SP) 103 122.0 +19.0
32 Jesus Luzardo (OAK - SP) 123 99.0 -24.0
Initially a candidate for an early-season promotion, Luzardo was shut down for four-to-six weeks in late March because of a strained rotator cuff in his left shoulder. The 21-year-old southpaw still has a bright future, and he could conceivably headline Oakland's weak rotation by the summer. This setback, however, lessens the appeal of drafting and stashing him in shallower re-draft formats.
33 Forrest Whitley (HOU - SP) MiLB 115 105.0 -10.0
The Astros replaced Keuchel with Wade Miley and Charlie Morton with rookie Josh James, but now that he is hurt, you'd better believe that as soon as Whitley is ready, the Astros will call him up. Assuming that is before the All-Star break, Whitley is an excellent draft and stash option if you have enough bench spots. He could have a Walker Buehler like impact from the get-go.
34 Trevor Richards (TB - SP) 132 148.0 +16.0
Richards carried a 4.42 ERA with 4 wins last year and formerly played independent baseball after going undrafted. It helps, however, that he has the best changeup in baseball. Richards' changeup is Trevor Hoffman-esque. It carried a 41.2% whiff rate with a .214 xWOBA. It certainly helped his performance when he adjusted by throwing it 38% of the time instead of 23% of the time at the start of the season. In those closing months, hitters were so focused on his filthy change-up that his slider suddenly became even more deadly than the changeup. With two of the most useful pitches in baseball, Richards could breakout this year in Miami much like Jake Peavy did in in 2004 after a rough start to his career.
35 Reynaldo Lopez (CWS - SP) 119 110.0 -9.0
36 Domingo German (NYY - SP,RP) RST 145 156.0 +11.0
37 Chase Anderson (TOR - SP) 133 145.0 +12.0
38 Dylan Bundy (LAA - SP) 122 108.0 -14.0
39 Alex Cobb (BAL - SP) 161 197.0 +36.0
40 Danny Duffy (KC - SP) 125 169.0 +44.0
41 Jake Odorizzi (MIN - SP) 156 157.0 +1.0
42 Jonathan Loaisiga (NYY - SP) 150 154.0 +4.0
43 Matt Shoemaker (TOR - SP) 164 167.0 +3.0
44 Jaime Barria (LAA - SP) 180 170.0 -10.0
45 Brad Keller (KC - SP,RP) 175 153.0 -22.0
46 Mike Fiers (OAK - SP) 163 134.0 -29.0
47 Yonny Chirinos (TB - SP,RP) 171 152.0 -19.0
48 Lance Lynn (TEX - SP) 176 175.0 -1.0
49 Nick Kingham (TOR - SP) FA 200 208.0 +8.0
50 Felix Pena (LAA - SP) 174 236.0 +62.0
51 Brent Honeywell Jr. (TB - SP) 185 172.0 -13.0
Honeywell was ready for the MLB rotation last year before he was shut down for the season. There is a chance he breaks camp with the big league club in Tampa, but more likely, he will get more seasoning in the minors before making the jump. When he does, we are probably looking at a top 60 fantasy starting pitcher.
52 Ryan Yarbrough (TB - SP,RP) 205 126.0 -79.0
53 Framber Valdez (HOU - SP) 210 194.0 -16.0
54 Logan Allen (CLE - SP) 190 240.0 +50.0
55 David Paulino (TOR - SP,RP) FA 338 317.0 -21.0
56 Spencer Turnbull (DET - SP) 182 302.0 +120.0
57 Frankie Montas (OAK - SP) 258 241.0 -17.0
58 Justus Sheffield (SEA - SP,RP) 202 174.0 -28.0
59 A.J. Puk (OAK - SP) 234 238.0 +4.0
60 Dylan Cease (CWS - SP) 310 207.0 -103.0
61 Marco Estrada (OAK - SP) FA 173 233.0 +60.0
62 Jordan Zimmermann (DET - SP) 264 182.0 -82.0
63 Jalen Beeks (BOS - SP) MiLB      
64 Nate Karns (BAL - SP) MiLB 237 288.0 +51.0
65 Sean Manaea (OAK - SP) 294 149.0 -145.0
66 Daniel Mengden (OAK - SP) 224 205.0 -19.0
67 Hector Velazquez (BOS - SP,RP) 226 222.0 -4.0
68 Ian Kennedy (KC - SP,RP) 227 278.0 +51.0
69 Ty Blach (BAL - SP,RP) MiLB 233 320.0 +87.0
70 Jordan Montgomery (NYY - SP) 285 218.0 -67.0
71 Fernando Romero (MIN - SP,RP) 245 215.0 -30.0
72 Carson Fulmer (CWS - SP) 236 389.0 +153.0
73 Erik Swanson (SEA - SP) 272 333.0 +61.0
74 Luis Cessa (NYY - SP,RP) 243 186.0 -57.0
75 Ryan Borucki (TOR - SP,RP) 235 223.0 -12.0
76 Mike Montgomery (KC - SP,RP) 228 212.0 -16.0
77 Matt Wisler (MIN - SP,RP) 230    
78 Jordan Lyles (TEX - SP,RP) 304 277.0 -27.0
79 Sean Reid-Foley (TOR - SP) 241 193.0 -48.0
80 Wilmer Font (TOR - SP,RP) 301    
81 Chris Bassitt (OAK - SP) 259 322.0 +63.0
82 Rogelio Armenteros (HOU - SP) 316    
83 Adalberto Mejia (LAA - SP) 260 295.0 +35.0
84 Daniel Norris (DET - SP) 273 259.0 -14.0
85 Blaine Hardy (MIN - SP,RP) MiLB 283    
86 Brian Johnson (BOS - SP,RP) MiLB 284 398.0 +114.0
87 Tanner Scott (BAL - SP,RP) 349 309.0 -40.0
88 Sam Gaviglio (TOR - SP,RP) 268 367.0 +99.0
89 Kyle Zimmer (KC - SP,RP) 328 270.0 -58.0
90 David Hess (BAL - SP,RP) 293 248.0 -45.0
91 Francis Martes (HOU - SP,RP) 343    
92 Yohander Mendez (TEX - SP) 399 359.0 -40.0
93 Triston McKenzie (CLE - SP) MiLB 358 274.0 -84.0
94 Casey Mize (DET - SP) MiLB   231.0  
95 Luis Ortiz (BAL - SP) MiLB 405    
96 Kolby Allard (TEX - SP) 334 331.0 -3.0
97 Ryan Weber (BOS - SP,RP) 314    
98 Adam Plutko (CLE - SP,RP) 340 355.0 +15.0
99 Lewis Thorpe (MIN - SP) 317 382.0 +65.0
100 Josh Rogers (BAL - SP) MiLB 357    
101 Dane Dunning (CWS - SP) 309 371.0 +62.0
102 Thomas Pannone (TOR - SP,RP) 321 216.0 -105.0
103 Dillon Peters (LAA - SP) 356    
104 Steven Wright (BOS - SP,RP) FA 337 243.0 -94.0
105 Griffin Canning (LAA - SP)   296.0  
106 Grant Holmes (OAK - SP) 319    
107 Joe Biagini (HOU - SP,RP) 389 343.0 -46.0
108 Brock Stewart (TOR - SP,RP) MiLB 362 337.0 -25.0
109 Joe Palumbo (TEX - SP,RP) 326    
110 Daniel Gossett (OAK - SP) 325    
111 Chance Adams (NYY - SP) 400 356.0 -44.0
112 Beau Burrows (DET - SP) MiLB 412    
113 Julian Merryweather (TOR - SP) 330    
114 Andrew Moore (SEA - SP,RP) MiLB 332    
115 Jake Jewell (LAA - SP,RP) 376    
116 Paul Blackburn (OAK - SP) 341 391.0 +50.0
117 Eric Skoglund (KC - SP)      
118 Jen-Ho Tseng (TEX - SP,RP) MiLB 336    
119 Kodi Medeiros (CWS - SP,RP) 352    
120 Chase De Jong (MIN - SP) MiLB 354    
121 Taylor Hearn (TEX - SP,RP) 355    
122 Jonathan Hernandez (TEX - SP)      
123 Heath Fillmyer (KC - SP) 379    
124 Adam McCreery (LAA - SP,RP) MiLB 381    
125 Jefry Rodriguez (CLE - SP,RP) 360    
126 Max Povse (SEA - SP,RP) MiLB 384    
127 Chris Ellis (KC - SP) MiLB 385    
128 Brandon Cumpton (TOR - SP,RP) MiLB 410    
129 Scott Barlow (KC - SP,RP) 415    
130 Miguel Almonte (LAA - SP,RP) MiLB      
131 Jeremy Bleich (BOS - SP,RP) MiLB 420    
132 Ryan Carpenter (DET - SP,RP) FA 407    
133 Colten Brewer (BOS - SP,RP) 408    
134 Andrew Kittredge (TB - SP,RP) 424    
135 Marcus Walden (BOS - SP,RP) 428    
136 Zack Littell (MIN - SP) 435    
137 Parker Bridwell (OAK - SP) MiLB 436    
138 Glenn Sparkman (KC - SP,RP) 443    
139 Josh Staumont (KC - SP) 447    
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2Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
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4Nick Chubb (CLE)RB
5Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
6Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
7Aaron Jones (GB)RB
8Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
9Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
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17Mike Evans (TB)WR
18DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
19Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
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21Chris Godwin (TB)WR
22Phillip Lindsay (DEN)RB
23D.J. Moore (CAR)WR
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25Cooper Kupp (LAR)WR
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27Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
28Julio Jones (ATL)WR
29Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE)WR
30Stefon Diggs (MIN)WR
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4J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
5Trevor Story (COL)SS
6Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
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12Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
13Gerrit Cole (FA)SP
14Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B
15Javier Baez (CHC)2B,3B
16Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
17Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
18Juan Soto (WSH)LF
19Anthony Rendon (FA)3B
20Bryce Harper (PHI)CF,RF
21Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
22Xander Bogaerts (BOS)SS
23Starling Marte (PIT)CF
24Walker Buehler (LAD)SP
25Manny Machado (SD)3B,SS
26Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B
27Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
28Whit Merrifield (KC)1B,2B
29George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
30Paul Goldschmidt (STL)1B
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16Jimmy Butler (MIA)SG,SF
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18Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
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22Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
23John Wall (WAS)PG
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25Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
26Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
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30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C