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Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Sale-ing Ks for IP

Paul Sporer

Sporer covers pitching for RotoWire. He also writes for Baseball Prospectus and publishes an annual guide on starting pitcher. In his spare time, he roots for the Tigers.

As always, remember that rotations are subject to change, so if you see something that looks incorrect, assume that it was a change that occurred since this was written and feel free to politely bring it up in the comments. I'll let you know where the new arm slots.

For the week May 23-29

AMERICAN LEAGUE

START

RANKPITCHEROPPONENTCOMMENT
1Chris SaleCLE, at KCWhat we're losing in Ks is being made up in IP and Ws; plus, he's still just a huge K game away from being back over 1 per inning
2David PriceCOL, at TORThere goes your buy-low opportunity, yes even as he carries a 5.53 ERA
3Danny SalazarBALElevated BB% might be purposeful change in approach yielding fewer fat pitches and thus fewer HRs aka being effectively wild
4Drew SmylyMIA
5Corey Kluberat CWSBBs way up this month (9%), but still only one bad start out of the four; skills still say 4.10 ERA is too high; buy
6Jordan Zimmermannat OAK
7Masahiro Tanakaat TB
8Felix HernandezMINSwStr dropped every start through his F6 before jumping to 10% in each of his L2; think I'd still buy on a discount
9Kevin Gausmanat CLE
10Cole HamelsPIT
11Jose QuintanaCLE
12Taijuan WalkerOAK, MINGetting hit in BAL is hardly a crime, though he hasn't completed 6 IP all month
13Jake Odorizziat MIA, NYYBack-to-back uninspired starts with too many HR and not enough Ks or IP; monitoring him this week
14Rich Hillat SEA, DET
15Chris Tillmanat HOU, at CLEHad >10% SwStr rate in just 4 games last year; has 5 this year (and two others at 9%); probably more a 3.20ish ERA guy, but this looks like a legit breakout
16Justin VerlanderPHI48% of his ER have come in 2 starts; 1.61 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 30% K in last 3 starts
17Aaron Sanchezat NYYEarly season darling no longer getting love despite continuing to be really good; 57% of season ER have come in two 6 ER starts; TOR's best SP going
18Marco Estradaat NYY
19Chris ArcherNYYHas 4 BBs in 3 of his last 4 and at least 2 BBs in all but one start; hard to feel confident
20Marcus StromanBOS
21Rick Porcelloat TOR
22Nathan EovaldiTOR, at TBBest skills ever marred by worst HR rate ever; inclined to say 17% HR/FB rate has some bad luck in it considerng his GB tendencies (55%) and career 8% HR/FB; buy
23Ian Kennedyat MIN, CWSHR rate still high (1.3 HR/9), but 5 of the 7 have come in two starts; I prefer that to giving HRs almost every single game like last year (at least 1 HR in 77% of his starts)
24Ervin SantanaKC, at SEAWHIP and other skills say 3.13 ERA is too good, but still a mid-3.00s kind of guy who stabilizes any fantasy rotation
25Lance McCullersBAL
26Nate KarnsOAK
27Yu DarvishPITOK, I jumped the gun last week, but now it looks like he could join the rotation late next week if all goes well this weeknd with Frisco
28Steven WrightCOL
29Carlos Rodonat KC
30Hisashi IwakumaOAK
31Trevor BauerBAL
32J.A. HappBOSRegression all came in one fell swoop (not really how it works, but we knew he wasn't a 2.05 ERA guy); modest AL pool keeps him relevant
33Sonny Grayat SEAFirst 4 starts: 29% Hard contact, 60% GB; last 5: 37%, 46%; falling behind, leaving the ball up, not getting same # of whiffs; one silver lining is that velocity has held, offering hope that it's not injury
34Dallas Keuchelat LAAHaving a hard time finding reasons to believe in a rebound that aren't just "he's the reinging Cy Young"
35R.A. Dickeyat NYY, BOSDon't look now, but he has a 2.30 ERA in May, slicing 2.25 runs off of his ERA in the process
36Mike Clevingerat CWS, BALFilthy for 5 IP in debut before a bumpy 6th; the 6th is often the biggest hurdle for young arms; one of my favorite mid-tier prospects, I'm buying here
37Mike Fiersat LAA
38Wade MileyMIN
39Josh Tomlinat CWS
40Michael Pinedaat TBAL's highest HR rate (2.1 HR/9) faces team with 2nd-most HRs hit (60) ... good luck
41Anibal SanchezPHI
42Collin McHughBALOn a frustarting every-other-start pattern, ER in L5: 5, 2, 4, 1, 4, and 2; upside looks like 3.90-4.20 ERA
43CC SabathiaTOR
44Edinson Volquezat MIN, CWS
45Hector Santiagoat TEXOne of the most frustrating SPs out there with Jekyll and Hyde personality; deep leagues only
46Jhoulys Chacinat TEXEarly season swing-and-miss has dissipated: 14% SwStr in F3 starts; 7% in L4
47Jesse HahnDETSurvived one really bad inning in return; not missing enough bats for all-formats viability, but worth watching
48Matt Mooreat MIA, NYYCan't figure this guy out, 23% K and 8% BB are career bests, but 1.6 HR/9 is career worst; more trouble than he's worth for now
49Tyler DuffeyKC
50Doug FisterBAL, at LAA
51Cody Andersonat CWS
52Nick Tropeanoat TEX, HOUToo many base runners and homers to maintain a 3.30 ERA, but enough intriguing skills to cut said base runners and sustain a sub-4.00 mark
53Martin PerezLAAI want to like him (power lefty with big GB%), but I can't explain a 2.67 ERA in L5 starts with 20 Ks and 15 BBs in 30.3 IP
53Matt AndrieseMIASolid arsenal and increased velo make him somewhat interesting, but doesnít miss enough bats and is riding a .167 BABIP to early success; deep leagues only
54Ricky NolascoKC, at SEA

SIT

RANKPITCHEROPPONENTCOMMENT
55Mike Wrightat HOUA few more missed bats from at least AL-only viability; worth watching
56Ivan NovaTORHasn't logged more than 3 Ks in any of his 3 starts; tough to be too excited
57Michael Fulmerat OAK
58Sean ManaeaDETBest start yet only cut his ERA to 7.91; hoping OAK gives him another handful of starts to build on the success
59Miguel Gonzalezat KC
60Mat LatosCLE, at KCTook 3 starts to go from 1.84 to 4.00 and it's unlikely to stop going up
61Danny DuffyCWS
62Yordano VenturaCWSLast start finally gave him more Ks than BBs, but his 1% K-BB% is worst among 105 qualified SPs; not starting anywhere and cutting in most leagues
63Phil Hughesat SEA
64Joe Kellyat TORDominating his rehab, but this is hardly the softest landing; gotta see something first
65Kendall Gravemanat SEA
66Matt ShoemakerHOU
67Erik JohnsonCLEGetting a spot start for the doubleheader vs. CLE
68Derek HollandLAA, PIT
69Clay BuchholzCOL
70Ubaldo Jimenezat CLE
71Colby LewisLAA
72Tyler Wilsonat HOUJust too much contact to find regular success (12% K rate as SP)
73Dillon Geeat MIN
74Jered WeaverHOUDoes his $20 million salary keep him in the rotation when Lincecum is ready?
75Mike PelfreyPHI, at OAKOoh yipee, two starts ... this Tigers fan is psyched!

NATIONAL LEAGUE

START

RANKPITCHEROPPONENTCOMMENT
1Clayton KershawCIN, at NYMIt is ridiculous that he just keeps getting better; he's markedly better than the rest of the league ... so filthy
2Stephen StrasburgNYM, STL
3Johnny CuetoSD, at COLHas gone 7-plus IP in all but one of his nine starts
4Jake Arrietaat STLIn the span of three starts, he's gone from 7.7 to 9.0 K/9
5Noah SyndergaardLAD
6Max ScherzerSTL
7Jose Fernandezat TBStill walking a lot (4.3 BB/9), but that's less of an issue when you're allowing just 7 hits per nine
8Jon Lesterat PHI
9Jaime Garciaat WAS
10Jacob deGromLADHis 11% SwStr rate says the Ks are coming so if the 16% K rate can offer any sort of discount, take it
11Gerrit ColeARIHasn't quite been his dominant self (20% K, 8% SwStr), but surviving with less-than-best stuff
12Jeff SamardzijaSDHas 1.42 ERA, 29 Ks, and 9.7 K:BB ratio in May (31.7 IP)
13Zack GreinkeSD
14Madison Bumgarnerat COLPedestrian numbers in Coors (4.21 ERA and 1.42 WHIP), but I still can't envision sitting him
15Gio GonzalezNYM, STLTrading Ks for more command and control yielding fewer BBs and more weak contact
16John Lackeyat STL, PHI
17Drew Pomeranzat SF, at ARI
18Vince Velasquezat DET, at CHCDonít want to overstate one week, but this is a big test against 2 top-5 offenses on the road
19Michael WachaCHC, at WAS
20Julio TeheranMIL, MIALefties still an issue (.801 OPS), but these 2 teams start a combined 5 lefties
21Wei-Yin ChenTB, at ATLPitching better than his 4.22 ERA; a couple blah outings inflating the bottom line
22Jason Hammelat STL
23Steven Matzat WAS
24Matt Harveyat WASParticularly rough outing has Collins apparently considering a skip, which seems like an overreaction
25Aaron Nolaat DET
26Tanner RoarkNYMHas allowed more than 1 ER in four starts and it's been one bad inning in all four; skills even better than 2014 breakout
27Kenta Maedaat NYMSpeculation that MLB schedule might be catching up to him, but he denied that
28Adam Conleyat ATL
29Joe RossSTL
30Carlos MartinezCHC
31Jimmy Nelsonat ATL, CINHis 1.2 HR/9 was built up in F4 starts (6 of his 8 HRs allowed), he's been strong in L5: 2.76 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
32Kyle HendricksPHI
33James Shieldsat SF
34Jerad Eickhoffat CHCOnly 3 ER per start over L4, but only 12 Ks, too; lefties owning him
35Francisco LirianoARI, at TEXStrong three of last four (1-2 ER), but fourth of those was 4.7 IP/8 ER at CHC; looks to be emerging from his funk
36Jeremy Hellicksonat DET
37Matt WislerMILBiggest issue coming into '16 was LHB: .595 OPS vs. them and .597 vs. RHB; still wish for more Ks, but induces a lot of weak contact
38Junior Guerraat ATLSuper-filthy splitter carrying him to impressive start to MLB career; has gone 6-plus in all 4 starts
39Brandon Finneganat LAD, at MIL
40Bartolo Colonat WAS, LAD
41Adam WainwrightCHC, at WAS3 QS in L4 = turning point? Maaaaybe, still hasn't fanned more than 5 in a single start
42Juan Nicasioat TEX
43Scott Kazmirat NYMTough to trust with inconsistency; 5 games with 2-plus HR allowed are an MLB-high, too
44Dan Strailyat LADStill hasn't allowed more than 3 ER in a start; 3 BB in each of L3 starts, though; deep-league buy
45Rubby De La Rosaat PIT
46Ross StriplingCIN
47Alex Woodat NYMNot a huge fan, but can't deny quality of L4: 2.59 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 30 Ks in 24.3 IP
48Mike Leakeat WAS
49Patrick Corbinat PIT2 outs away from four straight QS in May, but still allowing way too much hard contact (41% is MLB high)
50Logan VerrettLADUnconfirmed, but he's their swingman and seems like best fit for DH vs. LAD on May 29

SIT

RANKPITCHEROPPONENTCOMMENT
51Shelby Millerat PIT, SD
52Jon Grayat BOSOuch, so much for the road-only viability! I'm kind of kidding, but 3.3 IP/9 ER at StL was tough to take; at BOS not the place to get right, either
53Chad BettisSF
54Colin Reaat ARI
55Tyler ChatwoodSF
56John Lambat MIL
57Eddie Butlerat BOSHe's been sharp home and away, but not trusting him (or any mid-level and below SPs) in BOS
58Cesar Vargasat ARI
59Jon Moscotat LAD
60Chase AndersonCINToo much of a HR machine to consistently be effective (2.3 HR/9)
61Robbie RaySD
62Jon Nieseat TEX
63Tom KoehlerTB, at ATL
64Jake PeavySD
65Adam Morganat CHC
66Wily Peraltaat ATLEven a trip to ATL doesn't really move the needle
67Matt Cainat COL
68Mike FoltynewiczMIL
69Christian Friedrichat SF
70Williams PerezMIA
71Zach DaviesCIN
72Alfredo Simonat MIL
73Casey KellyMIAI thought Aaron Blair was more ready, but he just wasn't; now Kelly gets a crack
74Chris Rusinat BOS, SF
75Jeff LockeARI
76Justin Nicolinoat TBSeems allergic to strikeouts (5% this year; 7% career)

MLB TOP 100

RANKPITCHEROPPONENTCOMMENT
1Clayton KershawCIN, at NYMIt is ridiculous that he just keeps getting better; he's markedly better than the rest of the league ... so filthy
2Stephen StrasburgNYM, STL
3Johnny CuetoSD, at COLHas gone 7-plus IP in all but one of his nine starts
4Chris SaleCLE, at KCWhat we're losing in Ks is being made up in IP and Ws; plus, he's still just a huge K game away from being back over 1 per inning
5David PriceCOL, at TORThere goes your buy-low opportunity, yes even as he carries a 5.53 ERA
6Jake Arrietaat STLIn the span of three starts, he's gone from 7.7 to 9.0 K/9
7Noah SyndergaardLAD
8Max ScherzerSTL
9Jose Fernandezat TBStill walking a lot (4.3 BB/9), but that's less of an issue when you're allowing just 7 hits per nine
10Jon Lesterat PHI
11Danny SalazarBALElevated BB% might be purposeful change in approach yielding fewer fat pitches and thus fewer HRs aka being effectively wild
12Drew SmylyMIA
13Jaime Garciaat WAS
14Jacob deGromLADHis 11% SwStr rate says the Ks are coming so if the 16% K rate can offer any sort of discount, take it
15Corey Kluberat CWSBBs way up this month (9%), but still only one bad start out of the four; skills still say 4.10 ERA is too high; buy
16Jordan Zimmermannat OAK
17Gerrit ColeARIHasn't quite been his dominant self (20% K, 8% SwStr), but surviving with less-than-best stuff
18Jeff SamardzijaSDHas 1.42 ERA, 29 Ks, and 9.7 K:BB ratio in May (31.7 IP)
19Zack GreinkeSD
20Masahiro Tanakaat TB
21Felix HernandezMINSwStr dropped every start through his F6 before jumping to 10% in each of his L2; think I'd still buy on a discount
22Kevin Gausmanat CLE
23Cole HamelsPIT
24Jose QuintanaCLE
25Madison Bumgarnerat COLPedestrian numbers in Coors (4.21 ERA and 1.42 WHIP), but I still can't envision sitting him
26Taijuan WalkerOAK, MINGetting hit in BAL is hardly a crime, though he hasn't completed 6 IP all month
27Jake Odorizziat MIA, NYYBack-to-back uninspired starts with too many HR and not enough Ks or IP; monitoring him this week
28Gio GonzalezNYM, STLTrading Ks for more command and control yielding fewer BBs and more weak contact
29John Lackeyat STL, PHI
30Drew Pomeranzat SF, at ARI
31Vince Velasquezat DET, at CHCDonít want to overstate one week, but this is a big test against 2 top-5 offenses on the road
32Rich Hillat SEA, DET
33Chris Tillmanat HOU, at CLEHad >10% SwStr rate in just 4 games last year; has 5 this year (and two others at 9%); probably more a 3.20ish ERA guy, but this looks like a legit breakout
34Michael WachaCHC, at WAS
35Julio TeheranMIL, MIALefties still an issue (.801 OPS), but these 2 teams start a combined 5 lefties
36Wei-Yin ChenTB, at ATLPitching better than his 4.22 ERA; a couple blah outings inflating the bottom line
37Jason Hammelat STL
38Justin VerlanderPHI48% of his ER have come in 2 starts; 1.61 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 30% K in last 3 starts
39Steven Matzat WAS
40Matt Harveyat WASParticularly rough outing has Collins apparently considering a skip, which seems like an overreaction
41Aaron Nolaat DET
42Aaron Sanchezat NYYEarly season darling no longer getting love despite continuing to be really good; 57% of season ER have come in two 6 ER starts; TOR's best SP going
43Marco Estradaat NYY
44Tanner RoarkNYMHas allowed more than 1 ER in four starts and it's been one bad inning in all four; skills even better than 2014 breakout
45Chris ArcherNYYHas 4 BBs in 3 of his last 4 and at least 2 BBs in all but one start; hard to feel confident
46Marcus StromanBOS
47Kenta Maedaat NYMSpeculation that MLB schedule might be catching up to him, but he denied that
48Adam Conleyat ATL
49Rick Porcelloat TOR
50Joe RossSTL
51Carlos MartinezCHC
52Nathan EovaldiTOR, at TBBest skills ever marred by worst HR rate ever; inclined to say 17% HR/FB rate has some bad luck in it considerng his GB tendencies (55%) and career 8% HR/FB; buy
53Ian Kennedyat MIN, CWSHR rate still high (1.3 HR/9), but 5 of the 7 have come in two starts; I prefer that to giving HRs almost every single game like last year (at least 1 HR in 77% of his starts)
54Ervin SantanaKC, at SEAWHIP and other skills say 3.13 ERA is too good, but still a mid-3.00s kind of guy who stabilizes any fantasy rotation
55Lance McCullersBAL
56Jimmy Nelsonat ATL, CINHis 1.2 HR/9 was built up in F4 starts (6 of his 8 HRs allowed), he's been strong in L5: 2.76 ERA, 1.13 WHIP
57Kyle HendricksPHI
58Nate KarnsOAK
59Yu DarvishPITOK, I jumped the gun last week, but now it looks like he could join the rotation late next week if all goes well this weeknd with Frisco
60Steven WrightCOL
61Carlos Rodonat KC
62Hisashi IwakumaOAK
63James Shieldsat SF
64Jerad Eickhoffat CHCOnly 3 ER per start over L4, but only 12 Ks, too; lefties owning him
65Francisco LirianoARI, at TEXStrong three of last four (1-2 ER), but fourth of those was 4.7 IP/8 ER at CHC; looks to be emerging from his funk
66Trevor BauerBAL
67J.A. HappBOSRegression all came in one fell swoop (not really how it works, but we knew he wasn't a 2.05 ERA guy); modest AL pool keeps him relevant
68Sonny Grayat SEAFirst 4 starts: 29% Hard contact, 60% GB; last 5: 37%, 46%; falling behind, leaving the ball up, not getting same # of whiffs; one silver lining is that velocity has held, offering hope that it's not injury
69Dallas Keuchelat LAAHaving a hard time finding reasons to believe in a rebound that aren't just "he's the reinging Cy Young"
70R.A. Dickeyat NYY, BOSDon't look now, but he has a 2.30 ERA in May, slicing 2.25 runs off of his ERA in the process
71Jeremy Hellicksonat DET
72Matt WislerMILBiggest issue coming into '16 was LHB: .595 OPS vs. them and .597 vs. RHB; still wish for more Ks, but induces a lot of weak contact
73Junior Guerraat ATLSuper-filthy splitter carrying him to impressive start to MLB career; has gone 6-plus in all 4 starts
74Mike Clevingerat CWS, BALFilthy for 5 IP in debut before a bumpy 6th; the 6th is often the biggest hurdle for young arms; one of my favorite mid-tier prospects, I'm buying here
75Brandon Finneganat LAD, at MIL
76Bartolo Colonat WAS, LAD
77Adam WainwrightCHC, at WAS3 QS in L4 = turning point? Maaaaybe, still hasn't fanned more than 5 in a single start
78Mike Fiersat LAA
79Wade MileyMIN
80Josh Tomlinat CWS
81Michael Pinedaat TBAL's highest HR rate (2.1 HR/9) faces team with 2nd-most HRs hit (60) ... good luck
82Anibal SanchezPHI
83Collin McHughBALOn a frustarting every-other-start pattern, ER in L5: 5, 2, 4, 1, 4, and 2; upside looks like 3.90-4.20 ERA
84CC SabathiaTOR
85Juan Nicasioat TEX
85Scott Kazmirat NYMTough to trust with inconsistency; 5 games with 2-plus HR allowed are an MLB-high, too
86Dan Strailyat LADStill hasn't allowed more than 3 ER in a start; 3 BB in each of L3 starts, though; deep-league buy
87Rubby De La Rosaat PIT
88Edinson Volquezat MIN, CWS
89Hector Santiagoat TEXOne of the most frustrating SPs out there with Jekyll and Hyde personality; deep leagues only
90Jhoulys Chacinat TEXEarly season swing-and-miss has dissipated: 14% SwStr in F3 starts; 7% in L4
91Jesse HahnDETSurvived one really bad inning in return; not missing enough bats for all-formats viability, but worth watching
92Matt Mooreat MIA, NYYCan't figure this guy out, 23% K and 8% BB are career bests, but 1.6 HR/9 is career worst; more trouble than he's worth for now
93Ross StriplingCIN
94Alex Woodat NYMNot a huge fan, but can't deny quality of L4: 2.59 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 30 Ks in 24.3 IP
96Mike Leakeat WAS
97Patrick Corbinat PIT2 outs away from four straight QS in May, but still allowing way too much hard contact (41% is MLB-high)
98Tyler DuffeyKC
99Doug FisterBAL, at LAA
100Logan VerrettLADUnconfirmed, but he's their swingman and seems like best fit for DH vs. LAD on May 29