This article is part of our The Z Files series.
Last week, I reviewed my Early Top 15 Hitters. In the spirit of the midterm elections, both sides deserve to be heard, so today, I'll reveal my initial top 15 pitchers. In the words of Bill Parcells, I reserve the right to change my mind. A new team, reporting of an injury or simply a closer inspection under the hood may perpetuate a change. That said, to provide a jumping-off point for discussion, let's take a look.
15. Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers
Before thumb-nailing Buehler, it should be noted the Dodgers soon-to-be sophomore is mere pennies ahead of Zack Greinke, Stephen Strasburg and James Paxton in terms of auction pricing. Also keep in mind that the backbone of my rankings is converting projections to a dollar amount, so I'm not as prone to recency bias, at least on paper. Players like Buehler will incur a playoff bump as well as a shiny new toy tax. This doesn't mean I won't fall prey to the same influences come draft or auction time, but hopefully my objective rank keeps me grounded. That said, my sense is Buehler will be ranked higher than this by the market, enabling me to grab one of the other trio, likely Greinke, at a more favorable cost.
Hopefully you don't need convincing Buehler has ace skills, though last season's 2.62 ERA was buoyed by a low .248 BABIP (batting average on balls in play), and hurlers possessing a ground ball rate 50 percent