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Early 2016 Top 50 Starting Pitcher Rankings

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Ray publishes his early 2016 top 50 starting pitcher rankings. Check out who he ranks at #1, and there are a few surprises in the top 10 as well.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago, maybe a month ago, I published my early Top 100 Hitter Rankings for 2016. I expected to follow that up with my Top 50 Starting Pitcher Rankings soon after, but that didn't happen. So, here they are today.

There is no surprise at the top three or four spots, but after that, I tossed in a few surprises, I think. I didn't do that just for the sake of the surprise affect. I don't publish rankings for the wow factor. I publish them based on my beliefs at the time. Don't get me wrong, these rankings WILL change between now and Opening Day 2016.

Astros ace Dallas Keuchel and Cubs ace Jake Arrieta make my top 10 based on their follow through performance after breakouts in 2014. Keuchel comes in at # 6 in my rankings as he not only showed that his 2014 breakout was for real, he is striking out more batters this season. Like Keuchel, Arrieta has become the ace of the Cubs rotation, striking out more than a batter per innings, minimizing the free pass, inducing grounders at a 51% clip and limiting hard contact as well.

I might have Felix Hernandez too low in these rankings, but reserve the right to change that as we get into the offseason. I just found it difficult to rank him ahead of the pitchers I ranked ahead of him. All are younger with less mileage on their arms.

In case you didn't notice, the Cardinals have five starters ranked in my top 31 pitchers for next season. That said, John Lackey is a free agent and more than likely will sign with another team in the offseason.

The Mets have three starters in my top 25 with Jacob deGrom making my top 10 for 2016. Right now, he is the ace of the Mets rotation and it will be interesting to see who starts the Mets first game in the playoffs should they make it.

Here are my early Top 50 Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2016:

Rank

Name

W

L

IP

K/9

BB/9

GB%

ERA

FIP

xFIP

WAR

1

Clayton Kershaw

9

6

154

11.51

1.75

52.30%

2.51

2.24

2.08

5.1

2

Max Scherzer

11

8

156

10.44

1.27

35.60%

2.31

2.36

2.90

5.2

3

Chris Sale

9

7

143

11.71

1.76

43.10%

3.52

2.51

2.49

4.6

4

David Price

11

4

161

8.72

1.90

39.90%

2.35

2.98

3.31

4.1

5

Jose Fernandez

4

0

43

11.09

2.09

40.00%

2.30

1,71

2.43

1.7

6

Dallas Keuchel

13

6

164.2

7.82

2.13

63.70%

2.40

2.80

2.72

4.4

7

Zack Greinke

11

2

152.1

8.04

1.60

48.30%

1.71

2.63

3.15

4.2

8

Jacob deGrom

10

6

139.2

9.15

1.55

43.00%

2.13

2.65

2.96

3.9

9

Corey Kluber

6

12

162.2

9.74

1.77

44.00%

3.60

2.62

2.89

4.7

10

Jake Arrieta

12

6

147.2

9.26

2.26

51.70%

2.50

2.65

2.80

3.9

11

Gerrit Cole

14

5

143.1

8.98

2.01

50.80%

2.39

2.69

3.00

3.5

12

Johnny Cueto

7

7

143.2

8.08

2.07

43.10%

2.69

3.12

3.50

3.3

13

Sonny Gray

12

4

161.2

7.57

2.23

53.60%

2.06

2.92

3.43

4.0

14

Felix Hernandez

13

6

143.2

8.77

2.57

56.00%

3.13

3.29

3.08

2.7

15

Madison Bumgarner

12

6

145.1

9.17

1.61

40.60%

3.28

3.16

3.13

2.7

16

Chris Archer

10

8

148.2

10.90

2.06

45.50%

2.54

2.56

2.56

4.2

17

Cole Hamels

6

8

142.1

9.48

2.66

48.40%

3.86

3.56

3.23

2.5

18

Matt Harvey

10

7

140

8.42

1.99

44.40%

2.76

3.47

3.46

2.5

19

Adam Wainwright

20

Lance Lynn

9

6

127.1

9.61

3.11

41.10%

2.76

2.99

3.46

2.9

21

Michael Wacha

13

4

132.1

7.62

2.18

46.90%

2.92

3.18

3.52

2.7

22

Scott Kazmir

6

6

130

7.89

2.84

44.60%

2.08

3.16

3.72

2.6

23

Carlos Martinez

11

3

124.1

9.27

3.33

55.50%

2.61

3.42

3.22

1.9

24

Carlos Carrasco

11

8

136.1

9.70

1.85

51.70%

3.76

2.82

2.76

3.4

25

Noah Syndergaard

6

6

98.2

9.67

2.01

44.80%

3.01

2.87

2.98

2.5

26

Marcus Stroman

27

Francisco Liriano

7

6

129.1

10.02

3.06

53.40%

3.13

3.07

2.87

2.5

28

Masahiro Tanaka

8

4

93.2

8.36

1.83

45.30%

3.84

4.07

3.28

1.2

29

Jon Lester

7

8

139.2

8.96

2.19

49.70%

3.22

2.95

3.06

3.1

30

Stephen Strasburg

6

5

68

9.93

2.38

42.30%

4.76

3.35

3.18

1.2

31

John Lackey

9

7

145.1

6.63

2.17

45.40%

2.85

3.42

3.97

2.5

32

Garrett Richards

11

9

136

7.21

2.98

53.10%

3.51

3.80

3.84

1.7

33

Jordan Zimmermann

8

7

141.1

6.69

1.59

40.30%

3.44

3.33

3.87

2.6

34

Yu Darvish

35

Alex Cobb

36

Hyun-Jin Ryu

37

Danny Salazar

9

6

125.1

10.27

2.51

45.00%

3.38

3.46

3.10

2.2

38

Tyson Ross

8

9

140.2

9.60

4.09

63.60%

3.39

2.81

3.05

3.2

39

Michael Pineda

9

7

118

8.92

1.14

50.90%

3.97

2.98

2.78

3.0

40

Shelby Miller

5

8

140

7.33

2.89

49.90%

2.44

3.27

3.83

2.4

41

Gio Gonzalez

8

4

115.1

8.19

3.43

57.20%

3.75

3.09

3.49

2.1

42

Jake Odorizzi

6

6

110.1

7.59

2.28

40.60%

2.77

3.32

3.84

2.1

43

Alex Wood

7

7

125.2

7.02

2.72

45.80%

3.65

3.32

3.83

2.2

44

Erasmo Ramirez

8

4

91.1

7.00

2.66

45.70%

3.45

3.80

4.06

1.3

45

Lance McCullers

5

4

76.2

9.27

3.29

48.80%

3.17

2.97

3.48

2.0

46

Jason Hammel

6

5

122

8.85

1.92

37.70%

3.17

3.36

3.41

2.0

47

Clay Buchholz

7

7

113.1

8.50

1.83

48.30%

3.26

2.64

3.22

3.1

48

Trevor Bauer

9

8

137.1

8.91

3.60

39.00%

4.06

4.38

4.00

1.2

49

James Shields

8

4

146.1

9.84

3.08

45.50%

3.75

4.22

3.35

1.0

50

Chris Heston

11

6

134.2

6.82

2.61

55.20%

3.48

3.38

3.65

1.9

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