Brian Creagh opened Starting Pitcher week here at Fake Teams with the landscape of the position for fantasy purposes yesterday. Today we bring you the second half of our consensus fantasy starting pitcher rankings for 2016. 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:
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.
Each of the position rankings will be split into two parts. Rankings and player profiles for starting pitchers ranked 1-50 in were published yesterday, and rankings and player profiles for starting pitchers ranked 51-100 are here today.
Digging deeper into the position, run scoring actually went back up last year after a dramatic drop off between 2009 and 2014. In 2009, 22,419 runs were scored, 5,042 HR were hit, and pitchers had an average ERA of 4.32. In 2014, total runs scored fell to 19,761, a drop of 2,658 runs. Total home runs dropped by 856, to 4,186, and average ERA fell to 3.74. In 2009, 11 starting pitchers had an ERA under 3, while in 2014, 22 starting pitchers had an ERA under 3.
In 2015, MLB average ERA for starting pitchers shot up to 4.10, from 3.82 in 2014. Fielding Independent Pitching for starters went up to 4.03, from 3.81 in 2014, and home runs per 9 innings also went up, from 0.91 to 1.06. Strikeout rate and walk rate held steady between 2014 and 2015, at roughly 19.5% and 7.1% each.
There has been some rumbling about adding the DH to the National League in the new CBA discussions, which will begin after the 2016 season ends. That would give a further bump in run scoring, but until it actually happens, it's probably not worth discussing for fantasy purposes. League average ERA for starting pitchers between the AL and NL generally varies from about 0.10 to 0.20 year to year.
51. James Shields
Shields was a popular pick to pitch very well last year moving from the AL to what has been historically one of the NL's most pitcher friendly parks. He had an unexpectedly below average season, though, primarily on the back of a 17% home run to fly ball rate. Lefties crushed him to an .890 OPS, mostly off 2 HR per 9 IP and a 22% HR/FB%. PetCo also played much more hitter friendly, possibly because construction in downtown San Diego changed ballpark wind patterns.
52. Justin Verlander
53. Gio Gonzalez
Gonzalez's 1.42 WHIP was inflated largely because of a massive .341 BABIP against, nearly 50 points higher than it had been in previous seasons. Gonzalez had a .293 BABIP on ground balls, significantly above the MLB average of .250 on ground balls. He generated an average exit velocity on ground balls of about 85.7 mph, which is above average for ground balls. Sounds to me like he was bitten by some baseball randomness on those grounders; he wasn't exactly giving up screaming rockets through the infield. I would be shocked if he doesn't have significant improvements in 2016 on BIP if he maintains the same skill set.
54. Jamie Garcia
55. Collin McHugh
McHugh was a poster boy for spin rate, as the Astros signed him primarily because of a high spin rate on his curve. The Astros then tweaked his repertoire based on analytics, which helped mold him into an above average big league starter.
56. Kyle Hendricks
57. Jason Hammel
Hammel has somewhat quietly been excellent over his last 350 IP. He's generated both an above average ERA (3.61) and K% (23%), and like the other Cubs pitchers, gets the luxury of an explosive offense that should give him a lot of run support. The one knock is that he's been homer prone, allowing 1.19 HR/9 over that span.
58. Clay Buchholz
59. Luis Severino
Severino's mid 90s fastball and vicious slider combo are filthy, and it's easy to see why Brian Cashman refused to include him in any deadline or offseason trades.
60. Joe Ross
I'm a big Joe Ross fan. I was the high guy on him in our rankings, and I think he can become a huge fantasy asset this year based on his ADP. His fastball is mid 90s and flashes bowling ball sink, and his slider is filthy. He will need to get production vs LHB under control before taking the next step, but I believe in his skills. I expect the Nationals offense to rebound in 2016 with better years from Anthony Rendon and a midseason boost from Trea Turner, which will be helpful with win totals.
61. Julio Teheran
62. Aaron Nola
Nola is an impressive young arm in the Phillies rotation. I especially like his curveball, and he generated about an MLB average strikeout rate as a 22 year old. There is a lot of room for growth, and I think he has a realistic shot to produce to an above average ERA this year. The Phillies rancid roster will severely limit his win total, though.
63. Eduardo Rodriguez
The Red Sox are high on Rodriguez and some think he can develop into a front of the rotation starter. My expectations were tempered when he dislocated his kneecap early in spring. Discomfort or a non trust of his knee could lead to problems on the mound, particularly with command and/or mechanics.
64. Andrew Cashner
65. Kenya Maeda
66. Mike Leake
67. Anthony DeSclafani
68. Mike Fiers
69. Andrew Heaney
70. Rick Porcello
71. Ian Kennedy