Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Living Up to the Hype

Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Living Up to the Hype

This article is part of our Weekly Pitcher Rankings series.

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, and I'll let you know where the new arm slots.

For the week May 18-24

AMERICAN LEAGUE

START

1. Corey Kluber - at CWS, CIN
Note: Hoped you enjoyed the tiny buy-low window, I know some of you took advantage
2. Chris Sale - CLE, MIN
3. Sonny Gray - at HOU, at TB
Note: The slider is driving his K% surge and it's starting to look legitimate
4. Chris Archer - OAK
5. Felix Hernandez - at TOR
Note: Looking to avenge the 4.7 IP/8 R (4 ER) late-Sept. dud from last yr that basically cost him the Cy
6. David Price - HOU
7. Anibal Sanchez - MIL, HOU
Note: MIL regressing back their level: 6th-best wOBA vs. RHP in May after 25th in Apr
8. Jose Quintana - CLE, MIN
9. Michael Pineda - TEX
Note: More inclined to credit KC rather than blast Pineda; he's fine and still really awesome
10. Garrett Richards - at BOS
Note: Seems to be getting sharper with each passing start
11. Dallas Keuchel - OAK
Note: First start in four that isn't against a top 5 in wRC+ vs. LHP; OAK is 27th, went 9 scoreless vs. them
12. Scott Kazmir - at TB
13. Jeff Samardzija - MIN
14.
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, and I'll let you know where the new arm slots.

For the week May 18-24

AMERICAN LEAGUE

START

1. Corey Kluber - at CWS, CIN
Note: Hoped you enjoyed the tiny buy-low window, I know some of you took advantage
2. Chris Sale - CLE, MIN
3. Sonny Gray - at HOU, at TB
Note: The slider is driving his K% surge and it's starting to look legitimate
4. Chris Archer - OAK
5. Felix Hernandez - at TOR
Note: Looking to avenge the 4.7 IP/8 R (4 ER) late-Sept. dud from last yr that basically cost him the Cy
6. David Price - HOU
7. Anibal Sanchez - MIL, HOU
Note: MIL regressing back their level: 6th-best wOBA vs. RHP in May after 25th in Apr
8. Jose Quintana - CLE, MIN
9. Michael Pineda - TEX
Note: More inclined to credit KC rather than blast Pineda; he's fine and still really awesome
10. Garrett Richards - at BOS
Note: Seems to be getting sharper with each passing start
11. Dallas Keuchel - OAK
Note: First start in four that isn't against a top 5 in wRC+ vs. LHP; OAK is 27th, went 9 scoreless vs. them
12. Scott Kazmir - at TB
13. Jeff Samardzija - MIN
14. Trevor Bauer - at CWS, CIN
Note: Could be a top 20 overall SP with some consistency, but still quite good even as we wait for him to find it
15. Collin McHugh - at DET
16. Danny Salazar - at CWS
Note: The HRs still worry me especially as the 0.88 WHIP rises, but loving the K and BB rates
17. Carlos Carrasco - CIN
Note: He's had some inconsistency, but also getting some of the bad luck that bit Kluber; I'd buy
18. Jake Odorizzi - OAK
19. Rick Porcello - LAA
20. Phil Hughes - at CWS
Note: His 4.45 ERA in the last five is a bit deceiving as 7 of the 16 ER have come in 2 of 32.3 IP; better days ahead
21. Nathan Eovaldi - at WAS
22. Jesse Chavez - at TB
23. Drew Hutchison - LAA, SEA
Note: The Drews are going to tease, but the talent keeps you coming back (2.45 ERA, 15 Ks, 2 BBs in last two covering 11 IP)
24. Drew Pomeranz - at HOU, at TB
Note: Outside of both being on the road, AL lefties can't get a much better slate
25. C.J. Wilson - at TOR, at BOS
Note: Not walking anyone (11 BB in 48 IP; 7 of those in two starts); *big* spike in throwing the change for strikes, can it hold?
26. Yovani Gallardo - at BOS, at NYY
27. Nate Karns - at ATL, OAK
Note: First four: 14 BB, 5 HR; last four: 7 BB, 1 HR; I'm intrigued
28. Wei-Yin Chen - SEA
29. Alfredo Simon - HOU
Note: Basically a poor man's Bartolo Colon so not quite the elite command and more volatility, but better than most believe
30. J.A. Happ - at BAL
31. Miguel Gonzalez - SEA
Note: This is first start outside of the division; he's still a 3.50ish ERA arm, but improved GB rate has curbed some of his HR issues
32. Jesse Hahn - at HOU
33. Alex Colome - OAK
Note: Rough one vs. NYY, but I'm still interested in the youngster and his 16.0 K:BB ratio
34. Chris Young - STL
Note: Kind of with the perfect team again this year as they really only need 5-6 IP each time, no need to push him at all
35. Edinson Volquez - STL
36. Clay Buchholz - TEX
Note: I remain ever-terrified of that 9 ER wrecking ball hanging overhead, but he's shown real upside plus AL pitching is kinda lame
37. Ubaldo Jimenez - at MIA
Note: He and Clay share a wrecking ball
38. Ricky Nolasco - at PIT
39. Carlos Rodon - CLE
40. Roenis Elias - at BAL
41. Shane Greene - MIL
Note: Stay tuned for news on the elbow, but at least the command has returned after the three-start downturn
42. Yordano Ventura - CIN
Note: It's not good right now and there are reasons for legitimate concern
43. Wandy Rodriguez - at BOS
44. Trevor May - at CWS
Note: Skills are there for much more, but still too hittable in the zone
45. Kyle Lobstein - MIL, HOU
46. Jered Weaver - at TOR

SIT

47. Taijuan Walker - at BAL, at TOR
Note: Slowly chiseling his 8.74 ERA down, but this is a rough two-start slate
48. Colby Lewis - at NYY
Note: Too good to be in the 70s anymore, but I'm still skeptical; success feels entirely related to 5% HR/FB which is a career-best
49. Hector Santiago - at TOR
Note: He's been great thus far, but lefty-mashing TOR in their park for guy who's had HR issues before is scary
50. James Paxton - at TOR
Note: Does anyone else call him "Jam Pax" in your head as a nickname? No? Just me? OK, then.
51. Danny Duffy - STL
52. Wade Miley - TEX, LAA
Note: Not missing any bats which is particularly frustrating as last year's K rate looked real
53. Kyle Gibson - at CWS
Note: You just can't hold a sub-3.00 ERA with *this* much contact; 6 Ks at DET were 2 fewer than previous four starts combined
54. Mike Pelfrey - at PIT
55. Matt Shoemaker - at TOR
Note: HRs are killing him (4 multi-HR outings; two 3-HR outings) and he's going to TOR
56. R.A. Dickey - LAA
Note: The volatility of the knuckler: five starts of 4+ ER, three of which have been 6+ ER
57. Marco Estrada - LAA
58. Nick Martinez - at NYY
Note: Slowest regression ever, but it's still coming
59. Joe Kelly - TEX
Note: So much for those Ks: 29% in Apr, 10% in May
60. Lance McCullers Jr. - OAK, at DET
Note: An exciting arm who could deliver an impact, but this is a rough debut slate (2nd & 3rd place teams in wRC+ vs. RHP)
61. Erasmo Ramirez - at ATL
Note: Of course he has a 6.66 ERA; I'm not falling for the 5 IP of 1-hit ball vs. NYY
62. Mark Buehrle - SEA
63. Bud Norris - at MIA
64. Scott Feldman - at DET
65. Adam Warren - at WAS
66. CC Sabathia - TEX
Note: TEX quietly smashing lefties this yr with 113 wRC+ vs. LHP (4th in MLB); their .195 ISO is second-best
67. Chris Capuano - TEX
68. Jeremy Guthrie - CIN
69. John Danks - CLE
70. Ross Detwiler - at BOS
71. Aaron Sanchez - LAA, SEA
Note: He's lucky to have a 4.26 ERA so bail now before it gets worse
72. Roberto Hernandez - OAK, at DET
73. Steven Wright - LAA
74. Bruce Chen - at CWS
Note: This could end up being Shaun Marcum given how Chen has fared in his two starts
75. Chris Tillman - SEA, at MIA
Note: Two starts from him right now is a terrifying proposition

NATIONAL LEAGUE

START

1. Matt Harvey - STL, at PIT
Note: He's been every bit as good as the hype suggested this spring training
2. Max Scherzer - PHI
3. Gerrit Cole - NYM
4. Clayton Kershaw - at SF
Note: Still not overwhelming the opposition, but also still zero reason to worry about anything
5. Zack Greinke - SD
Note: He's actually kind of underrated to be honest; I'd consider a buy-high even with the MLB-best 1.52 ERA
6. Johnny Cueto - at KC, at CLE
Note: Read that CIN will use a 4-man rotation for the 5-gm wk which puts Iglesias and Lorenzen out
7. James Shields - CHC, at LAD
8. Michael Wacha - at NYM, at KC
Note: His 7-K effort at CLE matches his total from previous three starts
9. Jake Arrieta - at ARI
Note: Even with back-to-back 4 ER outings, he had 13 Ks and 2 BB in the 10.3 IP so the 8 IP, 10-K gem wasn't a shock
10. Lance Lynn - at KC
11. Madison Bumgarner - LAD
12. Andrew Cashner - at LAD
13. Jordan Zimmermann - PHI
Note: I think some of the Strasburg Stink has lingered on JZ, but he's got a 2.53 ERA in his last 5
14. Jon Lester - at ARI
Note: Remember when CIN got him for 6 ER in his second start? He's allowed 10 ER in his last five combined (30 Ks in 31.3 IP)
15. A.J. Burnett - NYM
16. Francisco Liriano - MIN
Note: Absolutely smothering righties this year: .148/.241/.254 line in 137 PA
17. Jason Hammel - at SD, at ARI
Note: Early skills said ERA was way too high at 5.19, last four: 1.86 ERA, 25 Ks, and 5.0 K:BB ratio in 29 IP
18. Jacob deGrom - STL
19. Shelby Miller - MIL
20. Bartolo Colon - STL
Note: Control is never in question, but command isn't elite some nights leaving him open to duds
21. Cole Hamels - at COL, at WAS
Note: I can't get psyched about a two-start week with one in COL given his HR issues; still gotta use him, but not thrilled
22. Julio Teheran - MIL
23. Gio Gonzalez - NYY
Note: It's been really good or really bad with 15 of his 20 ER confined to three starts; this is a buying opportunity
24. Tyson Ross - CHC
25. Chase Anderson - at MIA
26. Stephen Strasburg - PHI
Note: I understand the desire to bench his 6.06 ERA, but this matchup is too good a chance to recoup some of the loss
27. Mike Leake - at CLE
28. Wily Peralta - at ATL
29. Rubby De La Rosa - at MIA, CHC
Note: The first and sixth highest K% vs. RHP teams for Rubby and his 23% K rate
30. Carlos Martinez - at NYM
Note: Young arms are super-fun: 0, 2, 7, 7, 2 ER in his last five good for a 6.00 ERA with 30 Ks in 27 IP
31. Alex Wood - MIL
32. Anthony DeSclafani - at CLE
Note: I think he will remain capable, but unspectacular the rest of the way (3.60ish ERA?)
33. Mat Latos - ARI
Note: Has a 2.94 ERA with 28 Ks in last six (33.7 IP) since that 0.7 IP/7 ER vs. ATL; I'm sure ATL will smash him now on Saturday
34. Archie Bradley - at MIA
Note: Eager to see how he fares Saturday in return from the liner
35. Noah Syndergaard - at PIT
Note: Impressive debut despite the crooked numbers; stick with him
36. Carlos Frias - at SF, SD
37. Jimmy Nelson - at DET, at ATL
38. Dan Haren - ARI, BAL
39. Kyle Lohse - at DET
Note: Looks like the Lohse we expected in last five: 3.66 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 28 Ks in 32 IP; tough matchup, but start him
40. Brett Anderson - at SF
41. Jon Niese - STL, at PIT
Note: The ERA will continue to rise a bit, but he's capable enough, especially in a two-start week
42. Aaron Harang - at COL, at WAS
43. Mike Fiers - at DET, at ATL
44. Tim Hudson - LAD, at COL
45. Ian Kennedy - at LAD
Note: Much better than his 5.92 ERA, but it might not shine through in this matchup; LAD has become terrifying for non-aces
46. Kyle Hendricks - at SD
47. Travis Wood - at SD
48. Jorge De La Rosa - PHI
Note: He's got some nasty stuff working, but he isn't commanding it just yet
49. A.J. Cole - NYY
Note: Looks he'll be Fister's fill-in and not Tanner Roark
50. Matt Garza - at ATL
51. David Phelps - ARI
52. Jarred Cosart - ARI, BAL
Note: Meh, he's whatever
53. Vance Worley - MIN
54. Mike Foltynewicz - TB, MIL
Note: The strikeouts alone are worth it in a two-start week, but temper your ERA expectations

SIT

55. John Lackey - at NYM, at KC
Note: Awful on the road (5.82 ERA) and the skills don't suggest much improvement (0.9 K:BB ratio)
56. Chris Heston - at COL
Note: Pitching brilliantly most times out, but this was the site of his first shellacking of the year
57. Tim Lincecum - LAD
Note: The 2.43 ERA is a mirage, perhaps by as much as two full runs
58. Mike Bolsinger - SD
59. Jeff Locke - NYM
60. Josh Collmenter - CHC
61. Tom Koehler - BAL
62. Odrisamer Despaigne - CHC
63. Jason Marquis - at KC
64. Tyler Lyons - at NYM
65. Jeremy Hellickson - at MIA, CHC
Note: He has allowed 3+ ER in six of seven starts; made it through 6+ IP just twice
66. Eric Stults - TB
67. Ryan Vogelsong - at COL
68. Chad Billingsley - at COL
69. Christian Bergman - SF
Note: They need someone for Fri DH vs. SF; he's my guess, but does it really matter?
70. Eddie Butler - PHI
71. Jordan Lyles - PHI, SF
72. Kyle Kendrick - SF
73. Jerome Williams - at COL
74. Sean O'Sullivan - at WAS
75. Chad Bettis - PHI, SF
Note: Two starts in COL for the career 6.90 ERA (in 74 MLB IP)? This'll go well

MLB TOP 100

1. Matt Harvey - STL, at PIT
Note: He's been every bit as good as the hype suggested this spring training
2. Corey Kluber - at CWS, CIN
Note: Hoped you enjoyed the tiny buy-low window, I know some of you took advantage
3. Chris Sale - CLE, MIN
4. Sonny Gray - at HOU, at TB
Note: The slider is driving his K% surge and it's starting to look legitimate
5. Max Scherzer - PHI
6. Gerrit Cole - NYM
7. Clayton Kershaw - at SF
Note: Still not overwhelming the opposition, but also still zero reason to worry about anything
8. Zack Greinke - SD
Note: He's actually kind of underrated to be honest; I'd consider a buy-high even with the MLB-best 1.52 ERA
9. Chris Archer - OAK
10. Felix Hernandez - at TOR
Note: Looking to avenge the 4.7 IP/8 R (4 ER) late-Sept. dud from last yr that basically cost him the Cy
11. David Price - HOU
12. Johnny Cueto - at KC, at CLE
Note: Read that CIN will use a 4-man rotation for the 5-gm wk which puts Iglesias and Lorenzen out
13. James Shields - CHC, at LAD
14. Michael Wacha - at NYM, at KC
Note: His 7-K effort at CLE matches his total from previous three starts
15. Jake Arrieta - at ARI
Note: Even with back-to-back 4 ER outings, he had 13 Ks and 2 BB in the 10.3 IP so the 8 IP, 10-K gem wasn't a shock
16. Anibal Sanchez - MIL, HOU
Note: MIL regressing back their level: 6th-best wOBA vs. RHP in May after 25th in Apr
17. Jose Quintana - CLE, MIN
18. Michael Pineda - TEX
Note: More inclined to credit KC rather than blast Pineda; he's fine and still really awesome
19. Garrett Richards - at BOS
Note: Seems to be getting sharper with each passing start
20. Dallas Keuchel - OAK
Note: First start in four that isn't against a top 5 in wRC+ vs. LHP; OAK is 27th, went 9 scoreless vs. them
21. Scott Kazmir - at TB
22. Jeff Samardzija - MIN
23. Trevor Bauer - at CWS, CIN
Note: Could be a top 20 overall SP with some consistency, but still quite good even as we wait for him to find it
24. Collin McHugh - at DET
25. Danny Salazar - at CWS
Note: The HRs still worry me especially as the 0.88 WHIP rises, but loving the K and BB rates
26. Carlos Carrasco - CIN
Note: He's had some inconsistency, but also getting some of the bad luck that bit Kluber; I'd buy
27. Lance Lynn - at KC
28. Madison Bumgarner - LAD
29. Andrew Cashner - at LAD
30. Jordan Zimmermann - PHI
Note: I think some of the Strasburg Stink has lingered on JZ, but he's got a 2.53 ERA in his last 5
31. Jon Lester - at ARI
Note: Remember when CIN got him for 6 ER in his second start? He's allowed 10 ER in his last five combined (30 Ks in 31.3 IP)
32. A.J. Burnett - NYM
33. Francisco Liriano - MIN
Note: Absolutely smothering righties this year: .148/.241/.254 line in 137 PA
34. Jason Hammel - at SD, at ARI
Note: Early skills said ERA was way too high at 5.19, last four: 1.86 ERA, 25 Ks, and 5.0 K:BB ratio in 29 IP
35. Jacob deGrom - STL
36. Shelby Miller - MIL
37. Bartolo Colon - STL
Note: Control is never in question, but command isn't elite some nights leaving him open to duds
38. Jake Odorizzi - OAK
39. Rick Porcello - LAA
40. Phil Hughes - at CWS
Note: His 4.45 ERA in the last five is a bit deceiving as 7 of the 16 ER have come in 2 of 32.3 IP; better days ahead
41. Cole Hamels - at COL, at WAS
Note: I can't get psyched about a two-start week with one in COL given his HR issues; still gotta use him, but not thrilled
42. Julio Teheran - MIL
43. Gio Gonzalez - NYY
Note: It's been really good or really bad with 15 of his 20 ER confined to three starts; this is a buying opportunity
44. Tyson Ross - CHC
45. Chase Anderson - at MIA
46. Stephen Strasburg - PHI
Note: I understand the desire to bench his 6.06 ERA, but this matchup is too good a chance to recoup some of the loss
47. Mike Leake - at CLE
48. Wily Peralta - at ATL
49. Rubby De La Rosa - at MIA, CHC
Note: The first and sixth highest K% vs. RHP teams for Rubby and his 23% K rate
50. Carlos Martinez - at NYM
Note: Young arms are super-fun: 0, 2, 7, 7, 2 ER in his last five good for a 6.00 ERA with 30 Ks in 27 IP
51. Nathan Eovaldi - at WAS
52. Jesse Chavez - at TB
53. Alex Wood - MIL
54. Anthony DeSclafani - at CLE
Note: I think he will remain capable, but unspectacular the rest of the way (3.60ish ERA?)
55. Mat Latos - ARI
Note: Has a 2.94 ERA with 28 Ks in last six (33.7 IP) since that 0.7 IP/7 ER vs. ATL; I'm sure ATL will smash him now on Saturday
56. Archie Bradley - at MIA
Note: Eager to see how he fares Saturday in return from the liner
57. Noah Syndergaard - at PIT
Note: Impressive debut despite the crooked numbers; stick with him
58. Drew Hutchison - LAA, SEA
Note: The Drews are going to tease, but the talent keeps you coming back (2.45 ERA, 15 Ks, 2 BBs in last two covering 11 IP)
59. Drew Pomeranz - at HOU, at TB
Note: Outside of both being on the road, AL lefties can't get a much better slate
60. C.J. Wilson - at TOR, at BOS
Note: Not walking anyone (11 BB in 48 IP; 7 of those in two starts); *big* spike in throwing the change for strikes, can it hold?
61. Yovani Gallardo - at BOS, at NYY
62. Nate Karns - at ATL, OAK
Note: First four: 14 BB, 5 HR; last four: 7 BB, 1 HR; I'm intrigued
63. Carlos Frias - at SF, SD
64. Jimmy Nelson - at DET, at ATL
65. Dan Haren - ARI, BAL
66. Kyle Lohse - at DET
Note: Looks like the Lohse we expected in last five: 3.66 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 28 Ks in 32 IP; tough matchup, but start him
67. Brett Anderson - at SF
Note:
68. Wei-Yin Chen - SEA
69. Alfredo Simon - HOU
Note: Basically a poor man's Bartolo Colon so not quite the elite command and more volatility, but better than most believe
70. J.A. Happ - at BAL
71. Miguel Gonzalez - SEA
Note: This is first start outside of the division; he's still a 3.50ish ERA arm, but improved GB rate has curbed some of his HR issues
72. Jesse Hahn - at HOU
73. Alex Colome - OAK
Note: Rough one vs. NYY, but I'm still interested in the youngster and his 16.0 K:BB ratio
74. Chris Young - STL
Note: Kind of with the perfect team again this year as they really only need 5-6 IP each time, no need to push him at all
75. Edinson Volquez - STL
76. Clay Buchholz - TEX
Note: I remain ever-terrified of that 9 ER wrecking ball hanging overhead, but he's shown real upside plus AL pitching is kinda lame
77. Ubaldo Jimenez - at MIA
Note: He and Clay share a wrecking ball
78. Carlos Rodon - CLE
79. Ricky Nolasco - at PIT
80. Roenis Elias - at BAL
81. Shane Greene - MIL
Note: Stay tuned for news on the elbow, but at least the command has returned after the three-start downturn
82. Jon Niese - STL, at PIT
Note: The ERA will continue to rise a bit, but he's capable enough, especially in a two-start week
83. Aaron Harang - at COL, at WAS
84. Mike Fiers - at DET, at ATL
85. Tim Hudson - LAD, at COL
86. Ian Kennedy - at LAD
Note: Much better than his 5.92 ERA, but it might not shine through in this matchup; LAD has become terrifying for non-aces
87. Kyle Hendricks - at SD
88. Travis Wood - at SD
89. Jorge De La Rosa - PHI
Note: He's got some nasty stuff working, but he isn't commanding it just yet
90. A.J. Cole - NYY
Note: Looks he'll be Fister's fill-in and not Tanner Roark
91. Matt Garza - at ATL
92. David Phelps - ARI
93. Jarred Cosart - ARI, BAL
Note: Meh, he's whatever
94. Vance Worley - MIN
95. Mike Foltynewicz - TB, MIL
Note: The strikeouts alone are worth it in a two-start week, but temper your ERA expectations
96. John Lackey - at NYM, at KC
Note: Awful on the road (5.82 ERA) and the skills don't suggest much improvement (0.9 K:BB ratio)
97. Chris Heston - at COL
Note: Pitching brilliantly most times out, but this was the site of his first shellacking of the year
98. Tim Lincecum - LAD
Note: The 2.43 ERA is a mirage, perhaps by as much as two full runs
99. Mike Bolsinger - SD
100. Jeff Locke - NYM
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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