Here is part 2 of our consensus fantasy starting pitcher rankings for 2015. We published part 1 on Monday, ranking starting pitchers #1-50, located here. To calculate the rankings, we used a points system for each of the 100 starting pitchers ranked by each of the Fake Teams writers who participated in the consensus rankings series.
The writers who participated in this series are:
Ray Guilfoyle (@faketeams)
Jason Hunt (@jasonsbaseball)
Rob Parker (@park_ro)
Brian Creagh (@BrianCreagh)
Daniel Kelley (@danieltkelley)
Nick Doran (@blazingfastball11)
Alex Kantecki (@rotodealer)
Timothy Finnegan (@timfinn521)
We feel that providing you our consensus position rankings, you get an average ranking from the Fake Teams writers, rather than one writers' opinion, which inherently includes some biases. You will see some players ranked higher by one Fake Teams writer than the others, so this helps the reader see both sides of the argument for/against a certain player who might be getting too much love this offseason.
2015 consensus starting pitcher rankings, 51-100
#51. Homer Bailey
Bailey has yet to face live hitters after he recovers from September flexor tendon surgery. I like Bailey, but his ADP in Yahoo leagues is about 150, which is too high for me. There's too much uncertainty with his recovery, and he wasn't particularly good last season, either. ZiPS projects a 3.54 ERA, which is only slightly above NL average.
#52. Francisco Liriano
I'm a fan of Liriano. He's good for high strikeouts, he's difficult to square up, and he pitches in a low run scoring environment in Pittsburgh with a good coaching staff supporting him. The negatives are too many walks. ZiPS projects a 3.24 ERA with 9.46 K/9. I like his ADP of 177.
#53. Danny Salazar
Salazar is a monster talent who had good peripherals last year, but his high pitch counts often forced him to exit games early. Salazar posted a 2.83 FIP in 12 starts after his demotion to the minor leagues, and if he can figure out how to become more efficient, he has the tools to dominate the AL. With an ADP of 236, I think his upside is worth a flier.
#54. Scott Kazmir
Kazmir's 3.35 FIP was 26th best in baseball last season. His above average HR/FB% was likely due to AL West park factors, and he strikes enough batters out to have solid fantasy value. ZiPS is lower on him than me, projecting a 3.69 ERA and 3.70 FIP.
#55. Mat Latos
Latos' velocity, swinging strikes and strikeouts were way down in 2014, but it didn't affect his run prevention. The drop in velocity and missing bats has me concerned about his long term production, and with an ADP inside the top 150, I would avoid him.
#56. Michael Pineda
Pineda has the tools to excel in MLB, but he's always injured. Pineda has thrown just 76 innings since being traded to the Yankees after the 2011 season. If you decide to roll the dice on Pineda, make sure to have a backup plan.
#57. Rick Porcello
Porcello, a ground ball heavy pitcher, was traditionally victimized by a poor Tigers infield, leading to him consistently under-performing his FIP. His run prevention finally caught up to his FIP in 2014 with improvements behind him defensively. Porcello doesn't miss many bats and will rely heavily on his infield defense, making the Red Sox infield play behind him important for his success.
#58. John Lackey
Lackey's velocity dropped significantly about midway through the 2014 season and his performance suffered. Lackey was traded to the Cardinals and made his first start on August 3, and put up a 4.30 ERA and 4.27 FIP in the NL with the Cardinals. Unless Lackey's velocity comes back up in 2015, I would avoid.
#59. Mike Fiers
Fiers was excellent in a small sample in 2014, posting a 2.13 and 2.99 FIP in 71 IP, but his extremely low BABIP of .224 and elevated strand rate is projected to normalize in 2015, leading to a crashing down of results. ZiPS projects 4.05 ERA in 2015. Huge avoid on Fiers for me, let someone else draft him based on his flukey 2014 ERA.
#60. Jake Odorizzi
Odorizzi is an interesting fantasy option because of his above average strikeout percentage, but he is an extreme fly ball pitcher and I'm not sure that plays so well in the AL East. Odorizzi's home/road splits were massive in 2014, and I suspect the fly ball tendencies are the primary reason. Odorizzi is a strong option to stream in the Trop, but I would avoid in most road starts.
#61. Jered Weaver
Weaver consistently out performs his FIP because he's very difficult to square up. He hides the ball during his delivery and hitters can't see the ball well, which makes all of his stuff play up. ZiPS projects a 3.59 ERA with 169 strikeouts in 213 IP.
#62. Kevin Gausman
Gausman has a great fastball/splitter combo, but his third pitch, a breaking ball, is poor, which makes it difficult to have a high level of success in the big leagues. If Gausman can develop an average breaking pitch, he can take off, but until then, I would contain my enthusiasm.
t#63. Jose Fernandez
Fernandez is projected to be back sometime this July. If your league has a DL spot or two, stashing him and getting elite levels of production for the last 2 months is a good plan.
t#63. Drew Hutchison
I think Hutchison would be a strong fantasy option if he were in a different division. He gets a lot of strikeouts and has about an average walk rate, but his extreme fly ball percentage hurts him in the Rogers Centre, Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards where his team will play about 100 games in per year. Hutchison is excellent against right handers, though, so strategic streaming of his starts can be beneficial. Start him against right handed heavy lineups in spacious outfields and you will likely get elite level production for those select days.
#65. Yu Darvish
Darvish may have TJ surgery after an MRI showed damage to his UCL. Best case scenario is a 4 month rehab, and that doesn't guarantee his elbow won't blow out because the ligament will still remain damaged. Avoid like the plague in re-drafts. If you can scoop him cheap in a keeper league and stash him on a DL slot all year, it could pay off next season if he does get the surgery.
#66. Derek Holland
I think Holland is a better real life pitcher than fantasy pitcher. Arlington is a tough place to pitch half of your games in: Holland has a career ERA almost a full run better on the road than at home. That said, he still holds plenty of fantasy value and has been terrific in his last two seasons. In exactly 250 innings from 2013-14, Holland has a 3.13 ERA, a 3.25 FIP, and 214 strikeouts. He's good, and his ADP of 257 is very low. He does come with some injury risk, though, and was scratched from his most recent spring start with a sore shoulder, which the Rangers say is precautionary. Keep an eye out for how his shoulder holds up this spring before investing.
#67. Shelby Miller
I was a huge Miller fan dating back to my pre 2013 draft, but Miller declined significantly last season, enough for the Cardinals to trade 4 years of control of him for 1 year of Jason Heyward. Miller's swinging strike% dropped to alarmingly low levels and opposing hitters had much better production against his off speed pitches. His FIP also fell to a very poor 4.54, nearly a full run higher than average NL FIP. Miller is just 24, so a turnaround wouldn't be unexpected, but drafting him carries a lot of risk.
#68. Ervin Santana
Santana has been good his last two seasons with the Royals and Braves, but the projection systems are very down on him this year. ZiPS projects a 4.64 ERA with a 4.36 FIP. Santana is an enigma and has traded good seasons with terrible seasons throughout his career, so who knows what you're going to get with this guy. I'm avoiding him because I'm not really sure what I'm getting.
#69. Matt Cain
With an ADP over 200, I think Cain will be the steal of many drafts. He had bone chips removed from his elbow that I think caused most of his problems in 2013-14. I wrote about Cain here, read that for a more detailed argument for why I like him this year.
#70. Henderson Alvarez
I got to watch Alvarez pitch last week in Jupiter, and he was in vintage midseason form, getting most of his outs via weak ground balls. Alvarez has an excellent hard sinking fastball, but his fantasy value is limited because he doesn't strike many batters out. A lot of his ERA value is reliant on batted ball placement and defense behind him.
#71. James Paxton
Paxton is a big time arm with a high ceiling, but he comes with injury risk. In about 100 career innings in the big leagues, Paxton has a 2.66 ERA and 3.27 FIP. I love his talent, but there are question marks about his durability and ability to handle large workloads.
t#72. Wily Peralta
Peralta's positives are a strong ground ball percentage and a big time fastball. His average fastball velocity last year was 95.6 mph, third highest in baseball for starters. He is only about average at missing bats, though, and his FIP over his last 370 innings is in the 4s. He's turning 26 this season, so there may be some untapped potential still left, but it's not a great bet. ZiPS projects a 4.21 ERA and 4.34 FIP.
t#72. Carlos Martinez
I'm a huge fan of Martinez. He combines a massive fastball with lots of swings and misses, and his career FIP is 3.15 in 117 IP. He's a guy who can have a breakout season this year if he can stick in the rotation, and you can get him late in drafts. I love the upside.
#74. Taijuan Walker
Like teammate James Paxton, Walker is a high upside arm with injury risk. He's only 22 and carries significantly more value in keeper/dynasty leagues. I don't know what his workload will be like this year, how his shoulder will hold up, or if he'll even make the rotation out of spring, but he's someone to take a flier on late in drafts if he makes the team because of the high ceiling.
#75. Matt Garza
Garza's strikeout rate has declined in each of the last 2 seasons. With a normalization of his BABIP and strand rate, I expect his ERA to rise in 2015. ZiPS projects a 3.82 ERA and 3.91 FIP.
t#76. Danny Duffy
Duffy outperformed his FIP by over a run in 2014, and his xFIP was nearly 2 runs higher than his ERA. His performance last year was not sustainable long term, and unless something changes this year in his process, his results are going to significantly regress.
t#76. Wade Miley
Miley getting out of Chase Field is positive for his fantasy numbers. His career road ERA is a run better than his career ERA at Chase Field, where the thin air makes it rough on pitchers. Fenway Park isn't exactly a soft landing for a LHP, but it's an upgrade over Arizona.
#78. Jason Hammel
Hammel was a different pitcher with the Cubs than he was with the A's. Look at this split:
Cubs: 2.98 ERA, 3.19 FIP
A's: 4.26 ERA, 5.10 FIP
Hammel is now back with the Cubs and could provide some value in deep leagues.
#79. Nathan Eovaldi
Eovaldi has one of the best fastballs in baseball, but he lacks a strong breaking pitch. Eovaldi pitched a lot better last year than his ERA indicates. His FIP was exactly one run better than his ERA last year, largely because of unlucky sequencing. I expect his home run to fly ball ratio to go up significantly in Yankee Stadium and the AL East.
#80. Mike Minor
Minor will start the season on the DL with shoulder inflammation. The good news is that he has no structural damage, but he dealt with shoulder problems last year too, making any type of investment in him in 2015 very risky.
#81. C.C. Sabathia
Sabathia put weight back on this offseason in hopes of increasing his durability. His velocity has been trending down since 2012, and his career path reminds me a lot of Johan Santana. CC will need to figure out how to pitch with below average velocity to have any fantasy value.
#82. Wei-Yin Chen
Chen is an OK back end fantasy starter in deep leagues, but his 4.10 ERA projection from ZiPS doesn't inspire much confidence and there isn't much upside here.
#83. Chris Tillman
Tillman has outperformed his FIP throughout his career, especially in his last 3 seasons, so I wonder if FIP underrates him. That said, he doesn't miss many bats and won't have high strikeout totals, so his fantasy value is limited.
t#84. R.A. Dickey
Dickey had a better year in 2014 after a rough first year with the Blue Jays, but he's 40 years old and relies on a hard knuckleball that requires full effort. He isn't like Tim Wakefield, who used little effort in his delivery. You have to wonder how much longer Dickey's body can hold up.
t#84. Shane Greene
Greene was traded to the Tigers as part of a 3 team deal that sent Didi Gregorius to the Yankees. He has a good fastball, misses a solid amount of bat, and looked good pitching last year for the Yankees. His below average home run to fly ball ratio will likely drop in spacious Comerica Park. I think there's some upside to Greene in 2015, and he's going late in drafts.
#86. Clay Buchholz
Buchholz has been getting some hype early in Red Sox camp, impressing with his stuff and command. Reports say that he looks similar to how he looked in 2013, where he was excellent before an injury shut him down. Buchholz is unreliable and very risky, but he does have some upside in deep leagues.
#87. A.J. Burnett
Burnett is back with the Pirates after a poor year in Philadelphia. The Pirates organization helped refine Burnett's control, leading to two strong seasons with them in 2012 and 2013. Burnett is now 38, so a return to 2012-13 levels of production is unlikely, but I expect him to be better in 2015 than he was in 2014 with the help of the Pirates staff.
#88. Jon Niese
Niese's velocity is back up after healing a shoulder injury that he pitched through last year. Niese said he felt like he had knives in his throwing shoulder last season, but said that he feels great this year. His arm slot has improved early in camp, and the Mets are happy with his performance. I expect a bounce back year from Niese.
#89. Mike Leake
Leake is projected by ZiPS to have a 3.94 ERA with 139 strikeouts in 194 innings. Outside of deep leagues, I don't see any appeal.
t#90. Kyle Lohse
Deep league option only. Doesn't miss bats and is 36 years old.
t#90. Yovani Gallardo
Gallardo's strikeout rate has dropped off significantly in the last 2 years. He's now pitching half of his games in Arlington in the AL, which will make run prevention more difficult. The positives are that he has a strong ground ball rate and keeps the ball out of the air, which limits the chances that his home park will burn him with home runs. ZiPS projects a 4.07 ERA.
#92. Jesse Hahn
If Hahn can make the A's rotation, he might have some late round fantasy value. His strikeout rate is above average, he gets a lot of ground balls, and he pitches in a very pitcher friendly home park.
#92. Tanner Roark
Roark is currently a member of the Nationals bullpen because he was the odd man out in a stacked rotation. Pitchers break all of the time, so it won't be surprising for Roark to log significant innings as a starter in 2015.
#94. Andrew Heaney
Heaney is projected to be an above average starter when he hits his ceiling. He turns 24 this season and has some upside if he can make the Angels rotation.
t#95. Bartolo Colon
Colon throws essentially one pitch the majority of the time, a fastball. He throws a few different types of fastballs that move differently and pounds the strike zone with it. He has some fantasy value as a member of the Mets pitching in the large Citi Field, but if he's traded to the a less pitcher friendly park during the season, his value will take a hit.
t#95. Mark Buehrle
Buehrle has appeal only in deep leagues. Too few strikeouts and limited upside. ZiPS projects a 4.10 ERA.
#97. Jake Peavy
Peavy had a strong increase in results as a member of the Giants. AT&T Park will help reduce a home run to fly ball ratio, so I like him for home starts, but would generally avoid on the road.
#98. Carlos Villanueva
Villanueva is on a minor league deal, so it's unclear what his playing time situation will be like in 2015. He has good strikeout and walk rates, and could have some value in deep leagues if he can find his way into the rotation.
#99. Trevor Bauer
Bauer just turned 24, and with his hard fastball and nasty curve, he has a lot of upside. He will need to iron out his command issues before reaching it, but his high ceiling is worth a late round pick.
#100. Kyle Hendricks
Hendricks' ZiPS projection is worth some attention: 165 IP, 3.54 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 115 strikeouts, 1.22 WHIP.