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2016 Pure Starter Rankings: All-Star Break Edition

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Check out my Pure Reliever Rankings here! In that post, I took away wins and saves from relief pitchers in an effort to show their true value. It was very eye opening to see how many relievers, closers especially, rely almost entirely on saves. In this post I put that same analysis to the test with starting pitchers.

The Formula

'Pure Starter Ranking' is calculated by using a starting pitcher's overall performance MINUS WINS. Similar to the research on relievers, I started with the pitcher's overall performance based on a standard 5 category rotisserie league. I first took away saves, which was really only a way to take away the negative impact it was having on the overall performance. Then, I took away WINS. This made some noticeable changes, which will be discussed further below.

Here are the results (ranking are through July 10th):

PLAYER, TEAM POS K W ERA WHIP PR PR Rank PR - Wins Minus Wins Rank Change
Clayton Kershaw, LAD SP 2.94 2.81 3.28 4.63 13.66 1 10.85 1 0
Madison Bumgarner, SF SP 2.97 2.49 3.21 2.95 11.62 2 9.13 2 0
Max Scherzer, Wsh SP 3.45 2.49 1.66 2.99 10.59 4 8.1 3 1
Jose Fernandez, Mia SP 3.18 2.81 2.11 2.22 10.32 5 7.51 4 1
Johnny Cueto, SF SP 2.14 3.45 2.5 2.7 10.79 3 7.34 5 -2
Stephen Strasburg, Wsh SP 2.59 3.13 1.98 2.23 9.93 6 6.8 6 0
Julio Teheran, Atl SP 1.93 0.26 1.68 2.74 6.61 21 6.35 7 14
Noah Syndergaard, NYM SP 2.49 2.18 2.04 1.76 8.47 9 6.29 8 1
Drew Pomeranz, SD SP 2.14 1.86 2.09 1.85 7.94 10 6.08 9 1
Jake Arrieta, ChC SP 2.3 3.13 2 1.75 9.18 8 6.05 10 -2
Chris Sale, CWS SP 2.35 3.77 1.16 2.28 9.56 7 5.79 11 -4
Marco Estrada, Tor SP 1.71 0.9 1.56 2.37 6.54 22 5.64 12 10
Corey Kluber, Cle SP 2.33 2.18 0.83 2.43 7.77 11 5.59 13 -2
Kyle Hendricks, ChC SP 1.36 1.54 1.94 1.97 6.81 17 5.27 14 3
Jon Lester, ChC SP 1.95 2.18 1.53 1.78 7.44 13 5.26 15 -2
Kenta Maeda, LAD SP 1.93 1.86 1.53 1.66 6.98 14 5.12 16 -2
Danny Salazar, Cle SP 2.22 2.49 1.79 1.08 7.58 12 5.09 17 -5
Jose Quintana, CWS SP 1.87 1.54 1.33 1.64 6.38 24 4.84 18 6
Jacob deGrom, NYM SP 1.5 0.9 1.79 1.42 5.61 33 4.71 19 14
Rich Hill, Oak SP 1.47 2.18 1.88 1.3 6.83 16 4.65 20 -4
John Lackey, ChC SP 2.27 1.54 0.69 1.68 6.18 28 4.64 21 7
Aaron Sanchez, Tor SP 1.82 2.18 1.67 1.05 6.72 18 4.54 22 -4
Masahiro Tanaka, NYY SP 1.55 1.22 1.31 1.65 5.73 32 4.51 23 9
Steven Wright, Bos SP 1.58 2.49 1.99 0.88 6.94 15 4.45 24 -9
Carlos Martinez, StL SP 1.5 1.86 1.7 1.24 6.3 26 4.44 25 1
Tanner Roark, Wsh SP 1.77 1.86 1.59 0.98 6.2 27 4.34 26 1
Michael Fulmer, Det SP 0.99 2.18 2.02 1.29 6.48 23 4.3 27 -4
Danny Duffy, KC SP 1.58 0.58 1.15 1.53 4.84 40 4.26 28 12
Justin Verlander, Det SP 2.27 1.86 0.21 1.48 5.82 31 3.96 29 2
Carlos Carrasco, Cle SP 0.99 0.9 1.62 1.24 4.75 41 3.85 30 11
David Price, Bos SP 2.81 2.18 -0.16 1.1 5.93 30 3.75 31 -1
Junior Guerra, Mil SP 0.99 1.22 1.18 1.52 4.91 38 3.69 32 6
Rick Porcello, Bos SP 1.66 2.81 0.72 1.19 6.38 25 3.57 33 -8
Trevor Bauer, Cle SP 1.5 1.54 1.1 0.9 5.04 37 3.5 34 3
Chris Tillman, Bal SP 1.69 3.14 1.04 0.76 6.63 19 3.49 35 -16
J.A. Happ, Tor SP 1.45 3.14 1.1 0.94 6.63 20 3.49 36 -16
Zack Greinke, Ari SP 1.5 2.49 0.76 1.21 5.96 29 3.47 37 -8
Jason Hammel, ChC SP 1.18 1.54 0.88 1.3 4.9 39 3.36 38 1
Cole Hamels, Tex SP 1.98 2.18 1.29 0 5.45 34 3.27 39 -5
Josh Tomlin, Cle SP 0.88 2.18 0.84 1.41 5.31 35 3.13 40 -5
Steven Matz, NYM SP 1.47 1.54 0.97 0.66 4.64 42 3.1 41 1
Ian Kennedy, KC SP 1.82 1.22 0.3 0.91 4.25 44 3.03 42 2
Jeff Samardzija, SF SP 1.47 2.18 0.41 1.1 5.16 36 2.98 43 -7
Taijuan Walker, Sea SP 1.2 0.58 0.59 1.14 3.51 53 2.93 44 9
Jeremy Hellickson, Phi SP 1.55 1.22 0.38 0.9 4.05 47 2.83 45 2
Vince Velasquez, Phi SP 1.55 1.86 0.89 0.33 4.63 43 2.77 46 -3
Bartolo Colon, NYM SP 0.8 1.54 1.09 0.76 4.19 45 2.65 47 -2
Jerad Eickhoff, Phi SP 1.58 1.22 0.53 0.53 3.86 49 2.64 48 1
Adam Conley, Mia SP 1.58 1.22 0.7 0.21 3.71 52 2.49 49 3
Joe Ross, Wsh SP 1.18 1.54 0.83 0.47 4.02 48 2.48 50 -2
Doug Fister, Hou SP 0.83 1.86 0.82 0.63 4.14 46 2.28 51 -5
Mike Leake, StL SP 1.1 1.22 0.12 0.89 3.33 56 2.11 52 4
Jon Gray, Col SP 1.61 0.9 -0.47 0.97 3.01 58 2.11 53 5
Tyler Chatwood, Col SP 0.64 1.86 1.06 0.29 3.85 50 1.99 54 -4
R.A. Dickey, Tor SP 1.28 1.54 0.38 0.27 3.47 54 1.93 55 -1
Jake Odorizzi, TB SP 1.69 0.26 -0.3 0.42 2.07 68 1.81 56 12
Dan Straily, Cin SP 1.2 0.58 -0.15 0.72 2.35 65 1.77 57 8
Aaron Nola, Phi SP 1.9 0.9 -0.52 0.32 2.6 62 1.7 58 4
Scott Kazmir, LAD SP 1.9 1.54 -0.33 0.06 3.17 57 1.63 59 -2
Jaime Garcia, StL SP 1.39 1.22 0.26 -0.11 2.76 60 1.54 60 0
Jordan Zimmermann, Det SP 0.67 2.18 0.31 0.56 3.72 51 1.54 61 -10
Zach Davies, Mil SP 0.96 1.22 0.14 0.42 2.74 61 1.52 62 -1
Kevin Gausman, Bal SP 1.26 -0.38 0.08 0.16 1.12 89 1.5 63 26
Jimmy Nelson, Mil SP 1.1 0.9 0.75 -0.37 2.38 63 1.48 64 -1
Matt Shoemaker, LAA SP 1.66 0.58 -0.26 0.07 2.05 69 1.47 65 4
CC Sabathia, NYY SP 0.99 0.9 0.49 -0.03 2.35 64 1.45 66 -2
Matt Moore, TB SP 1.66 0.9 -0.29 0 2.27 67 1.37 67 0
Bud Norris, LAD SP 1.02 0.58 0.24 0.09 1.93 72 1.35 68 4
Ervin Santana, Min SP 0.88 0.26 0.18 0.26 1.58 82 1.32 69 13
Matt Wisler, Atl SP 1.26 0.58 -0.3 0.33 1.87 75 1.29 70 5
Chris Archer, TB SP 2.54 0.58 -0.55 -0.76 1.81 77 1.23 71 6
Albert Suarez, SF SP -0.03 0.26 0.37 0.87 1.47 83 1.21 72 11
Hisashi Iwakuma, Sea SP 1.28 2.18 -0.03 -0.06 3.37 55 1.19 73 -18
Nick Tropeano, LAA SP 0.83 0.26 0.94 -0.64 1.39 84 1.13 74 10
Hector Santiago, LAA SP 1.36 1.22 -0.4 0.12 2.3 66 1.08 75 -9
Adam Wainwright, StL SP 1.36 1.86 -0.33 0.05 2.94 59 1.08 76 -17
Mike Foltynewicz, Atl SP 0.27 0.26 0.37 0.4 1.3 86 1.04 77 9
Michael Wacha, StL SP 1.55 0.9 -0.16 -0.39 1.9 74 1 78 -4
Anthony DeSclafani, Cin SP -0.16 0.26 1.03 0.11 1.24 88 0.98 79 9
Wei-Yin Chen, Mia SP 1.18 0.9 -0.7 0.42 1.8 78 0.9 80 -2
Dallas Keuchel, Hou SP 1.85 1.22 -0.76 -0.27 2.04 70 0.82 81 -11
A.J. Griffin, Tex SP 0.35 0.26 0.29 0.17 1.07 90 0.81 82 8
Gio Gonzalez, Wsh SP 1.85 0.9 -0.57 -0.5 1.68 81 0.78 83 -2
Drew Smyly, TB SP 1.95 -0.06 -1.46 0.1 0.53 97 0.59 84 13
Nathan Karns, Sea SP 1.61 1.22 -0.36 -0.69 1.78 79 0.56 85 -6
Michael Pineda, NYY SP 2.09 0.26 -1.31 -0.28 0.76 93 0.5 86 7
Mike Fiers, Hou SP 0.78 1.22 -0.14 -0.15 1.71 80 0.49 87 -7
Marcus Stroman, Tor SP 1.28 1.54 -0.86 0.02 1.98 71 0.44 88 -17
Collin McHugh, Hou SP 1.58 0.9 -0.32 -0.88 1.28 87 0.38 89 -2
Martin Perez, Tex SP 0.46 1.54 0.47 -0.64 1.83 76 0.29 90 -14
Archie Bradley, Ari SP 0.83 0.26 -0.34 -0.36 0.39 103 0.13 91 12
Edinson Volquez, KC SP 1.34 1.86 -0.79 -0.51 1.9 73 0.04 92 -19
Robbie Ray, Ari SP 2.14 0.58 -0.67 -1.52 0.53 96 -0.05 93 3
Lance McCullers, Hou SP 0.99 0.58 0.33 -1.37 0.53 98 -0.05 94 4
Kendall Graveman, Oak SP 0.7 0.9 -0.16 -0.61 0.83 92 -0.07 95 -3
Brandon Finnegan, Cin SP 1.02 0.58 -0.57 -0.54 0.49 100 -0.09 96 4
Nathan Eovaldi, NYY SP 1.2 1.54 -1.09 -0.3 1.35 85 -0.19 97 -12
Ivan Nova, NYY SP 0.7 1.22 -0.94 -0.11 0.87 91 -0.35 98 -7
Tyler Duffey, Min SP 0.88 0.9 -0.96 -0.28 0.54 95 -0.36 99 -4
Colin Rea, SD SP 0.94 0.9 -0.76 -0.61 0.47 102 -0.43 100 2
Yordano Ventura, KC SP 0.91 1.22 -1.04 -0.58 0.51 99 -0.71 101 -2
Jake Peavy, SF SP 0.99 0.9 -0.97 -0.77 0.15 105 -0.75 102 3
Tom Koehler, Mia SP 1.07 1.22 -0.31 -1.51 0.47 101 -0.75 103 -2
Jeff Locke, Pit SP 0.48 1.86 -1.22 -0.57 0.55 94 -1.31 104 -10
Jered Weaver, LAA SP 0.64 1.54 -1.23 -0.74 0.21 104 -1.33 105 -1

Interesting Finds

The gap between Clayton Kershaw and the field is narrowing! Last month he had a 4.58 lead. It has now been trimmed down to 1.72. A lot of this is because of his injury that prevented him from the 2-3 more starts he would have had before the break. His June 26 outing didn't help either.

Take a look at these stats:
A - 3.42ERA 1.06WHIP 10.25K/9
B - 3.38ERA 1.08WHIP 8.86K/9
Player B is Chris Sale so far this season. Player A is Madison Bumgarner in LOSING DECISIONS! So in short, when Bumgarner is bad, he's Chris Sale... let that sink in. Bumgarner has been one of the most consistent starters in recent years and has often been at the back of the 'Top Tier" of SP. That may have been a mistake by fantasy owners. He lands at #2 in the Pure Starter Rankings... just as he does in standard scoring.

Speaking of Sale, losing his league leading 14 wins makes him the only top 10 standard scoring starters to fall outside of that class. He still only slips 4 spots to #11. The big stand out is who replaces him! Julio Teheran! I praised Teheran in last month's edition of these rankings for being overlooked for his poor win-loss record. He was a big reason for this list, to show win-loss record can really overshadow how productive certain starters actually are. Teheran moves up 14 spots in the ranking and is the #7 overall Pure Starter! Since last month, Teheran has done much of the same. He sits at 107Ks, 2.96 ERA, and 0.97 WHIP. This comes even after giving up 5 runs in each of his last two starts. Like Teheran, their are several other SP whose value increases greatly when wins are not factored in.

The Julio Teheran Class

Marco Estrada can contribute his high rank to his incredible first half numbers. 99Ks, 2.93 ERA, and 0.99 WHIP justify him moving up 10 spots to #12. The WHIP and ERA shouldn't come as a surprise. He posted a 3.13 ERA and 1.04 WHIP last season. His K/9 however, is up to 8.5. It was only 6.5 last season, but he is a career 8.0 K/9 pitcher so this may continue around that level. Beware of the 4.14 FIP but keep in mind last season (4.40 FIP) he out performed it by a wide margin as well.

Danny Duffy, who only has 11 starts on the year, sees an increase of 12 spots making him a top 30 Pure Starter. Not only do the first half number speak to this (94K/3.09ERA/1.07WHIP), what he has done recently begs mentioning. Since June, which is 8 GS for Duffy, he has posted a 3.00 ERA, 1.04 ERA, and, most impressively, a 10.6 K/9. This has been a welcoming surprise for fantasy owners as Duffy has posted K/9 below 7 the past two seasons.

Others whose value is much higher without factoring in wins include:
Jacob deGrom #33 to #19
Masahiro Tanaka #32 to #23
Carlos Carrasco #41 to #30
Tajuan Walker #53 to #44

Jake Odorizzi #68 to #56
Kevin Gausman #89 to #63
Ervin Santana #82 to #69

The Jordan Zimmermann class

Last month, Zimmermann was a top 40 standard scoring starter, but his Pure Ranking exposed him for some undeserving wins and he dropped to #57. This month, Zimmerman performance drops him outside of the top 50 in standard and outside of the top 60 in Pure Starters! He has been trending in the wrong direction for some time now and his early season wins are no longer camouflaging his poor performance.

Chris Tillman and J.A. Happ have both been top 20 starters in standard scoring (Tillman#19 and Happ#20). They are both outperforming their numbers and have 12 wins each. Without those wins they both fall 16 spots to #35 and #36. They both have posted fine numbers this season, especially considering their division and home ballparks, but around top 40 as opposed to top 20 seems much more realistic to expect in the second half for them.

Others whose value is tied heavily into wins included:

Hisashi Iwakuma #55 to #73
Adam Wainwright #59 to #76

Marcus Stroman #71 to #88
Edison Volquez #73 to #92
Nathan Eovaldi #85 to #97
Jeff Locke #94 to #104

Conclusion

Now this formula is not foolproof. Some pitchers increased their values because they missed time due to injuries. This resulted in a lower win total, thus overemphasizing their value. I attempted to filter scenarios like this as best I could. I also tried to remove pitchers who had moved in and out of a relief role which seems to skew their stats. Others contributed greatly if they had high strikeout total. Jake Odorizzi's 98 Ks are great, his 4.47 ERA and 1.27 WHIP are not. The inverse is also true. Some pitchers with higher wins totals and solid ERA and WHIP numbers could not regain as much of their value due to low strikeout totals.

As expected, a number of pitchers from poor performing teams (Julio Teheran and Dan Straily) benefited from this formula and those in better situations (Steven Wright and Rick Porcello) were exposed. This purpose of this data is to give you a better idea of pitchers who made be overrated and those who are having great seasons under the radar. I hope you enjoyed!

Please leave comments if you have any further questions and feel free to let me know what you found most interesting in this research. Thanks for the read!

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