Midseason Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Rankings
- Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) – Scherzer has been as steady as they come and is on a historic strikeout pace. As the Nationals continue to get healthier, the offense should give him even better run support in the future.
- Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox) – Sale has been able to keep his elite numbers while pitching at the hitter-friendly ball parks of the AL East. The early concern that Boston had him on an innings limit seems to be false, but he has been known to slump a little in the second half of the season.
- Corey Kluber (Cleveland Indians) – Kluber continues the trend of elite strikeout numbers on high powered teams. He is as consistent as they come and leads the majors in wins.
- Luis Severino (New York Yankees) – Severino is sometimes overlooked when talking about the elite pitchers in the majors. He is putting together another awesome year and might be pitching his way to his first Cy Young. The triple-digit fastball is truly nasty.
- Justin Verlander (Houston Astros) – Verlander has revamped his career after many left him for dead. He is leading the majors in many categories, but questions of him being able to put together a full season still linger, especially given his age.
- Jacob deGrom (New York Mets) – The injury concerns seem to be in the rear-view mirror, and coming off a down year by his standards (3.53), deGrom has been dominant. His stats would look even better if Jeurys Familia hadn’t blown so many saves.
- Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Kershaw comes in at seventh due to the second injury. Given his track record and position as the consensus top pitcher taken in most drafts, he won’t fall any lower unless the injury gets worse. Kershaw owners might be nervous about the DL stints adding up, but he is just too good to rank any lower.
- Steven Strasburg (Washington Nationals) (DL) – A number two pitcher on the Nationals that would be a staff ace on any other team (thanks, Scherzer). Strasburg normally has an ERA that floats around low-to-mid 3’s, but the strikeout numbers are elite, giving him tons of fantasy upside. The injury is unfortunate, as it is unclear just how much longer he will be out.
- Noah Syndergaard (New York Mets) (DL) – The strikeout numbers are there and the stuff is nasty as ever, but Syndergaard is having trouble with keeping runners off the basepaths. Relying heavily on strikes for outs is great for fantasy, but it is not allowing him to get very deep into ball games due to his pitch counts. Hopefully this is just a bump in the road — once figured out, Syndergaard should easily climb into the top ten.
- James Paxton (Seattle Mariners) – With solid strikeout numbers on a good team, Paxton has been solid for most of the season with a mid-3 ERA and over a strikeout an inning.
- Gerrit Cole (Houston Astros) – Cole is one of my biggest ‘sell high’ candidates — he has been solid throughout the season, but is trending in the wrong directions. His numbers have still been elite during his current slump, but owners should monitor him closely.
- Madison Bumgarner (San Franciso Giants) – Bumgarner is finally back from that pinky injury and all signs point to him returning to his regular self. The strikeout numbers are a little concerning, but once he gets back into the swing of things his production should return.
- Aaron Nola (Philadelphia Phillies) – Nola has always had the stuff and is a good upside pitcher. Now that the Phillies are playing competitive baseball, it seems like he has put it all together. Owners who bought a little lower on draft day are looking like geniuses at this point.
- Blake Snell (Tampa Bay Rays) – It’s all upside with Snell, as he has taken a major step forward this season. He is pitching like a true ace and if he is traded, would be even more valuable. If he maintains his level of play he will continue to rise on this list.
- Charlie Morton (Houston Astros) – One has to wonder what Charlie Morton has done to turn his career around. He was a focal point in the Astros World Series win last year and has carried it over to a very impressive beginning to this season. The only concerns would have to be his age and the lack of a solid track record.
- Trevor Bauer (Cleveland Indians) – Overlooked in a deep Indians rotation, Bauer is quietly putting together his best season to date. Utilizing his slider more and his fastball less has worked wonders.
- Carlos Martinez (St. Louis Cardinals) – Martinez’ return from the DL has not been overly positive. He has struggled with his command, which can be expected coming back from injury. It is something worth monitoring, but it’s likely he puts it all together shortly.
- Carlos Carrasco (Cleveland Indians) – When at his best, few have better stuff then Carrasco. The issue this year has been his consistency. Carrasco had a complete game with 14 strikeouts, but has also put up a couple stinkers. However, given his track record, few are worried about him going forward. We will see how he does after being out for close to a month with an injury.
- Lance McCullers Jr (Houston Astros) – McCullers has arguably the best curveball in baseball, and although he has not used it as much as in the past, the development of his changeup has made him all the more dangerous. The issue remains in his average innings per year, as he has never pitched more than 125 in a year.
- Jose Berrios (Minnesota Twins) – Berrios is here simply because of his upside. At times, he seems almost unhittable. Other times, he looks average at best. We’ll attribute this to his youth and hope that he continues to take steps forward to become that elite arm the Twins desperately need.
- Patrick Corbin (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Corbin has been effective and his breaking ball is looking better then ever. His fastball velocity is down and he doesn’t have the track record to warrant what he is doing, but owners might as well ride the hot streak while it lasts and hope he turns into a front-line starter.
- Zack Greinke (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Greinke’s fastball velocity is way down, although he has never been known to overpower batters with his arm. His first season in Arizona did not go as planned, but he bounced back nicely in 2017, so we are hoping that 2016 was more an outlier than anything else.
- Miles Mikolas (St Louis Cardinals) – Mikolas is one of the few groundball pitchers that serves fantasy value, just because of how well he is doing it. His numbers are solid across the board save strikeouts, which are few and far between.
- Robbie Ray (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Ray moved down the rankings because of his injury, but he put up elite strikeout numbers both last year and during the beginning of this season. His control has always been alarming, but as one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball, he is someone to be excited about moving forward.
- Ross Stripling (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Stripling seems to have truly turned a corner in his game. After starting the season as a reliever, the Dodgers were forced to put him back in the rotation because of injuries. The move is paying off for both sides as Stripling is striking out over a batter per inning and has an ERA in the mid two’s.
Just missed the cut: Jon Lester (Cubs), Mike Foltynewicz (Braves), Sean Newcomb (Braves), Mike Clevinger (Indians), Nick Pivetta (Phillies), J.A Happ (Blue Jays)
Dark Horse: Junior Guerra (SP) Milwaukee Brewers – Guerra seems like a player that is always floating around the waiver wire. If he’s available as a free agent in your league, pick him up. Guerra is giving owners a strikeout an inning while sporting a sub-three ERA. He plays for a good Brewers team and should continue to be a decent arm going forward.
- Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)
- Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)
- Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)
- Sean Doolittle (Washington Nationals)
- Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)
- Blake Treinen (Oakland Athletics)
- Brad Hand (San Diego Padres)
- Brandon Morrow (Chicago Cubs)
- Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians)
- Raisel Iglasias (Cincinnati Reds)
Not much is surprising about the relief pitcher rankings other then the fact that Kenley Jansen is relatively low. We haven’t seen the same velocity from him this year, and his strikeout numbers are down, which is the primary difference between him and the top four relievers.
Sean Doolittle has arguably been the best of the bunch, but his injury history keeps him from being higher. The same can be said for Brandon Morrow. The combination of Trienen, Hand and Iglasias might be traded by the deadline, which in most circumstances diminishes their fantasy value almost entirely (think Kelvin Herrera).
Dark Horse: Josh Hader (RP) Milwaukee Brewers – The Josh Hader hype train has slowed down a fair bit, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a valuable fantasy option. His strikeout numbers are elite and the Brewers have shown they like to use him in long save opportunities when he is pitching well. With Knebel back from injury, Haders doesn’t have as much value, but he can still be a contributor.