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Top 50 NL-Only Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2016

Ray ranks his top 50 starting pitchers for NL-only leagues with Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke atop the rankings.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you who play in mono or "only" leagues, I will be publishing my Top 50 NL-only starting pitcher rankings today and my Top 50 AL-only starting pitcher rankings tomorrow. Ranking players at each position for an "only" league is highly recommended, as drafts are unpredictable and can take a turn that you did not expect, so it is smart to be prepared prior to your drafts.

The NL-only starting pitcher landscape contains up to twelve fantasy aces, and several others who could jump into that club this season. Of National League starters with 70 or more innings pitched last season, a total of 17 struck out more than a batter per inning. Expanding that search, there were 31 starters who struck more than eight batters per nine innings last season, with 20 of those 31 starters pitching 150 innings or more.

There were twelve NL starters who pitched 200 or more innings, and of those twelve, seven put up an ERA under 3.00, and two others pitched to an ERA of 3.50 or lower. Very strange stat - the top seven starters in innings pitched all had an ERA under 3.00 last season.

Those of us in 5 x 5 leagues want that starting pitcher who struck out 200 or more batters on draft day. Last season, twelve NL starters struck out 200 or more, with Clayton Kershaw leading the way with 301 strikeouts.

Looking for a starter with a low WHIP? The National League produced 23 starters with a WHIP of 1.20 or lower. Of the 23, 17 put up a WHIP of 1.15 or lower, 12 with a WHIP of 1.10 or lower, and six of those starters put up a sub-1.00 WHIP.

Wins are so hard to predict, but here is a look at the NL starters who have won the most games over the last three seasons:

Name

Team

W

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers

53

Zack Greinke

Diamondbacks

51

Madison Bumgarner

Giants

49

Jordan Zimmermann

Nationals

46

Lance Lynn

Cardinals

42

Adam Wainwright

Cardinals

41

Gerrit Cole

Pirates

40

Julio Teheran

Braves

39

Jorge de la Rosa

Rockies

39

Jake Arrieta

Cubs

36

Mike Leake

Cardinals

36

Francisco Liriano

Pirates

35

Dan Haren

Retired

34

Stephen Strasburg

Nationals

33

Wily Peralta

Brewers

33

Gio Gonzalez

Nationals

32

Johnny Cueto

Reds

32

Shelby Miller

Diamondbacks

31

The above table just goes to show that you cannot predict wins. No one is drafting Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa in most mixed or even 12 team NL only leagues, but there he is in the top ten in wins over the last three seasons. Cardinals starter Mike Leake also appears on the list, and he has won more games than Stephen Strasburg and Johnny Cueto, among others. Drink that in for a moment. And how about that Wily Peralta making the list? He won't be drafted in most NL only leagues this year either.

Top 50 NL-only Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2016

Rank

$ Value

Name

Team

1

$38

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers

2

$32

Max Scherzer

Nationals

3

$26

Zack Greinke

Diamondbacks

4

$30

Jake Arrieta

Cubs

5

$24

Jose Fernandez

Marlins

6

$25

Jacob deGrom

Mets

7

$24

Madison Bumgarner

Giants

8

$22

Gerrit Cole

Pirates

9

$18

Adam Wainwright

Cardinals

10

$22

Matt Harvey

Mets

11

$19

Noah Syndergaard

Mets

12

$19

Stephen Strasburg

Nationals

13

$13

Johnny Cueto

Giants

14

$13

Jon Lester

Cubs

15

$12

Carlos Martinez

Cardinals

16

$11

Michael Wacha

Cardinals

17

$7

Scott Kazmir

Dodgers

18

$8

Tyson Ross

Padres

19

$9

Francisco Liriano

Pirates

20

$7

John Lackey

Cubs

21

$6

Shelby Miller

Diamondbacks

22

$7

Raisel Iglesias

Reds

23

$5

Gio Gonzalez

Nationals

24

$8

Steven Matz

Mets

25

$3

Jason Hammel

Cubs

26

$3

Kyle Hendricks

Cubs

27

$3

Jaime Garcia

Cardinals

28

$3

Kenta Maeda

Dodgers

29

$3

Wei-Yin Chen

Marlins

30

$2

Aaron Nola

Phillies

31

$5

Jeff Samardzija

Giants

32

$3

Alex Wood

Dodgers

33

$3

Patrick Corbin

Diamondbacks

34

$2

Mike Leake

Cardinals

35

$3

Julio Teheran

Braves

36

$3

Joe Ross

Nationals

37

$2

James Shields

Padres

38

$2

Jon Niese

Phillies

39

$2

Anthony DeSclafani

Reds

40

$1

Andrew Cashner

Padres

41

$1

Jerad Eickhoff

Phillies

42

$1

Chase Anderson

Brewers

43

$1

Chris Heston

Giants

44

$1

Lucas Giolito

Nationals

45

$1

Tanner Roark

Marlins

46

$1

Jimmy Nelson

Brewers

47

$1

Rubby de la Rosa

Padres

48

$1

Jake Peavy

Giants

49

$1

John Lamb

Reds

50

$1

Vincent Velasquez

Phillies

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