clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 Pure Starter Rankings: 75% Edition

The best starters in fantasy MINUS wins!

Minnesotoa Twins v Kansas City Royals
How does Danny Duffy rank among the best Pure Starters?
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

June Edition
All Star Break Edition

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 August 22nd):

PLAYER, TEAM POS K W ERA WHIP PR PR Rank PR - Wins Minus Wins Rank Change
Madison Bumgarner, SF SP 3.02 2.31 3.11 2.76 11.2 1 8.89 1 0
Max Scherzer, Wsh SP 3.46 2.57 1.83 3.27 11.13 2 8.56 2 0
Kyle Hendricks, ChC SP 1.66 2.06 2.88 2.58 9.18 8 7.12 3 5
Corey Kluber, Cle SP 2.54 2.57 1.68 2.48 9.27 6 6.7 4 2
Chris Sale, CWS SP 2.42 3.07 1.64 2.62 9.75 3 6.68 5 -2
Justin Verlander, Det SP 2.74 2.57 1.32 2.61 9.24 7 6.67 6 1
Danny Duffy, KC SP 2.06 2.06 2.09 2.41 8.62 12 6.56 7 5
Jake Arrieta, ChC SP 2.16 3.07 2.12 2.17 9.52 4 6.45 8 -4
Jose Fernandez, Mia SP 3.2 2.31 1.59 1.63 8.73 11 6.42 9 2
Johnny Cueto, SF SP 2.16 2.82 2.06 2.12 9.16 9 6.34 10 -1
Jon Lester, ChC SP 2.2 2.82 2.04 2.03 9.09 10 6.27 11 -1
Noah Syndergaard, NYM SP 2.66 2.06 2.26 1.3 8.28 15 6.22 12 3
Julio Teheran, Atl SP 1.6 0.05 1.78 2.54 5.97 31 5.92 13 18
Jose Quintana, CWS SP 1.96 1.81 2.08 1.79 7.64 17 5.83 14 3
Rick Porcello, Bos SP 1.86 3.57 1.51 2.44 9.38 5 5.81 15 -10
John Lackey, ChC SP 2.24 1.56 1.18 2.38 7.36 20 5.8 16 4
Masahiro Tanaka, NYY SP 1.86 1.81 1.45 2.13 7.25 22 5.44 17 5
Jacob deGrom, NYM SP 1.8 1.06 1.99 1.62 6.47 27 5.41 18 9
Stephen Strasburg, Wsh SP 2.7 3.07 0.86 1.72 8.35 14 5.28 19 -5
Drew Pomeranz, Bos SP 2.12 1.81 1.72 1.43 7.08 23 5.27 20 3
Tanner Roark, Wsh RP, SP 1.72 2.57 2.04 1.39 7.72 16 5.15 21 -5
Michael Fulmer, Det SP 1.19 1.81 2.05 1.9 6.95 25 5.14 22 3
Kenta Maeda, LAD SP 1.88 2.31 1.23 1.94 7.36 19 5.05 23 -4
Marco Estrada, Tor SP 1.58 1.06 1.32 2.09 6.05 30 4.99 24 6
J.A. Happ, Tor SP 1.78 3.57 1.65 1.52 8.52 13 4.95 25 -12
Aaron Sanchez, Tor SP 1.76 2.31 1.79 1.39 7.25 21 4.94 26 -5
Cole Hamels, Tex SP 2.3 2.57 2.11 0.41 7.39 18 4.82 27 -9
Carlos Carrasco, Cle SP 1.6 1.56 1.36 1.84 6.36 28 4.8 28 0
Jason Hammel, ChC SP 1.42 2.57 1.53 1.51 7.03 24 4.46 29 -5
Ian Kennedy, KC SP 2.02 1.31 0.89 1.43 5.65 35 4.34 30 5
Steven Wright, Bos SP 1.58 2.57 1.69 1.05 6.89 26 4.32 31 -5
Jeremy Hellickson, Phi SP 1.66 1.81 0.87 1.49 5.83 33 4.02 32 1
David Price, Bos SP 2.7 2.31 0.33 0.89 6.23 29 3.92 33 -4
Carlos Martinez, StL SP 1.5 2.06 1.34 1.05 5.95 32 3.89 34 -2
Junior Guerra, Mil RP, SP 0.91 1.06 1.42 1.49 4.88 40 3.82 35 5
Dan Straily, Cin SP 1.48 1.56 0.69 1.5 5.23 37 3.67 36 1
Steven Matz, NYM SP 1.7 1.56 1.06 0.86 5.18 38 3.62 37 1
Jake Odorizzi, TB SP 1.82 1.31 0.82 0.92 4.87 41 3.56 38 3
Ervin Santana, Min SP 1.29 0.81 1.12 1.01 4.23 46 3.42 39 7
Chris Archer, TB SP 2.84 1.06 0.04 0.37 4.31 45 3.25 40 5
Danny Salazar, Cle SP 1.8 2.06 0.76 0.33 4.95 39 2.89 41 -2
Jerad Eickhoff, Phi SP 1.68 1.31 0.43 0.66 4.08 48 2.77 42 6
Bartolo Colon, NYM SP 1.05 2.06 1.18 0.53 4.82 42 2.76 43 -1
Felix Hernandez, Sea SP 1.03 1.31 1.08 0.65 4.07 47 2.76 44 3
Chris Tillman, Bal SP 1.64 3.07 0.64 0.46 5.81 34 2.74 45 -11
Jameson Taillon, Pit SP 0.31 0.05 1.07 1.34 2.77 67 2.72 46 21
Jeff Samardzija, SF SP 1.5 1.81 0.06 1.09 4.46 44 2.65 47 -3
Yu Darvish, Tex SP 0.63 0.3 1.01 1 2.94 61 2.64 48 13
Hisashi Iwakuma, Sea SP 1.42 2.82 0.63 0.48 5.35 36 2.53 49 -13
Doug Fister, Hou SP 1.13 2.31 0.9 0.41 4.75 43 2.44 50 -7
Trevor Bauer, Cle SP 1.68 1.56 0.45 0.25 3.94 50 2.38 51 -1
Matt Shoemaker, LAA SP 1.74 1.06 0.1 0.49 3.39 53 2.33 52 1
Anthony DeSclafani, Cin SP 0.61 1.06 0.88 0.56 3.11 56 2.05 53 3
Matt Moore, SF SP 1.74 1.06 0.05 0.2 3.05 57 1.99 54 3
Zack Greinke, Ari SP 1.27 2.06 0 0.7 4.03 49 1.97 55 -6
Robbie Ray, Ari SP 2.6 1.06 -0.13 -0.64 2.89 64 1.83 56 8
Kevin Gausman, Bal SP 1.7 0.3 0.12 0.01 2.13 76 1.83 57 19
Marcus Stroman, Tor SP 1.82 1.56 -0.4 0.38 3.36 54 1.8 58 -4
Josh Tomlin, Cle SP 1.13 2.06 -0.25 0.89 3.83 51 1.77 59 -8
Jon Gray, Col SP 1.76 1.31 -0.61 0.55 3.01 59 1.7 60 -1
Gio Gonzalez, Wsh SP 1.86 1.31 -0.13 -0.03 3.01 58 1.7 61 -3
Dallas Keuchel, Hou SP 1.92 1.31 -0.65 0.38 2.96 60 1.65 62 -2
Drew Smyly, TB SP 1.94 0.81 -0.93 0.64 2.46 73 1.65 63 10
Zach Davies, Mil SP 1.11 1.56 0.04 0.47 3.18 55 1.62 64 -9
Jaime Garcia, StL SP 1.44 1.81 0.14 0.03 3.42 52 1.61 65 -13
Dylan Bundy, Bal SP 0.59 1.06 0.78 0.21 2.64 70 1.58 66 4
Gerrit Cole, Pit SP 0.93 1.06 1.03 -0.39 2.63 71 1.57 67 4
Taijuan Walker, Sea SP 0.71 0.3 0.11 0.75 1.87 80 1.57 68 12
Tyler Anderson, Col SP 0.45 0.3 0.45 0.53 1.73 84 1.43 69 15
Vince Velasquez, Phi SP 1.86 1.31 -0.12 -0.31 2.74 68 1.43 70 -2
Tom Koehler, Mia SP 1.29 1.56 0.53 -0.49 2.89 63 1.33 71 -8
Adam Conley, Mia SP 1.56 1.31 0.35 -0.64 2.58 72 1.27 72 0
Mike Leake, StL SP 1.27 1.56 -0.51 0.45 2.77 66 1.21 73 -7
James Paxton, Sea SP 0.57 0.3 0.62 0.01 1.5 86 1.2 74 12
Kendall Graveman, Oak SP 0.81 1.56 0.16 0.13 2.66 69 1.1 75 -6
Scott Kazmir, LAD SP 1.8 1.81 -0.5 -0.21 2.9 62 1.09 76 -14
Michael Pineda, NYY SP 2.32 0.81 -1.11 -0.18 1.84 81 1.03 77 4
Lance McCullers, Hou SP 1.23 0.81 0.88 -1.11 1.81 82 1 78 4
Tyler Chatwood, Col SP 0.87 1.81 0.59 -0.47 2.8 65 0.99 79 -14
Matt Boyd, Det SP 0.25 0.3 0.22 0.45 1.22 92 0.92 80 12
Yordano Ventura, KC SP 1.27 1.31 -0.34 -0.08 2.16 75 0.85 81 -6
Miguel Gonzalez, CWS SP 0.67 -0.2 0.18 -0.03 0.62 98 0.82 82 16
Mike Fiers, Hou SP 1.17 1.56 -0.35 -0.02 2.36 74 0.8 83 -9
Brandon Finnegan, Cin SP 1.23 1.31 -0.15 -0.35 2.04 78 0.73 84 -6
R.A. Dickey, Tor SP 1.29 1.31 -0.43 -0.18 1.99 79 0.68 85 -6
Ross Stripling, LAD SP 0.17 0.05 0.14 0.35 0.71 97 0.66 86 11
Adam Wainwright, StL SP 1.5 1.56 -0.72 -0.27 2.07 77 0.51 87 -10
Sean Manaea, Oak SP 0.95 0.3 -0.6 0.13 0.78 95 0.48 88 7
CC Sabathia, NYY SP 1.31 1.06 -0.36 -0.53 1.48 87 0.42 89 -2
Mike Foltynewicz, Atl SP 0.77 0.81 -0.34 -0.01 1.23 91 0.42 90 1
Michael Wacha, StL SP 1.29 1.06 -0.32 -0.73 1.3 89 0.24 91 -2
A.J. Griffin, Tex SP 0.65 0.56 -0.46 0.04 0.79 96 0.23 92 4
Jordan Zimmermann, Det SP 0.31 1.56 -0.24 0.12 1.75 83 0.19 93 -10
Jimmy Nelson, Mil SP 1.44 1.06 -0.07 -1.24 1.19 93 0.13 94 -1
Bud Norris, LAD RP, SP 1.01 0.81 -0.52 -0.46 0.84 94 0.03 95 -1
Ivan Nova, Pit SP 0.85 1.56 -0.73 -0.14 1.54 85 -0.02 96 -11
Martin Perez, Tex SP 0.73 1.31 -0.09 -0.68 1.27 90 -0.04 97 -7
Hector Santiago, Min SP 1.5 1.81 -1.29 -0.61 1.41 88 -0.4 98 -10
Collin McHugh, Hou SP 1.86 1.06 -1.05 -1.47 0.4 100 -0.66 99 1
Edinson Volquez, KC SP 1.36 1.56 -1.2 -1.14 0.58 99 -0.98 100 -1

Interesting Finds

Here was the top 10 Pure Starters in my first post back in June: Clayton Kershaw, Noah Syndergaard, Madison Bumgarner, Jake Arrieta, Johnny Cueto, Jon Lester, Jose Fernandez, John Lackey, Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer
Of that group, 8 repeated top 10 at my All Star break update: Kershaw, Bumgarner, Scherzer, Fernandez, Cueto, Strasburg, Syndergaard, Arrieta
And only 5 of those relievers made it into this edition's top 10: Bumgarner, Scherzer, Arrieta, Fernandez, Cueto

Kershaw would have been #2 had I included him in this list. I exclude pitchers who have missed a month leading up to the rankings. Those pitchers sometimes benefit by having a low win total. The point of this research is to only give that benefit to those who actually pitch. Therefore, that is why the Dodgers ace is not included this month.

Bumgarner moves up another spot this month to claim his 1st reign as the top Pure Starter. He has been the only pitcher to rank inside the top 3 in every edition of these rankings. He is also the #1 overall SP in standard scoring as well. Even when wins don’t matter, the Giants ace is still the best. His teammate, Johnny Cueto, is also 1 of the 5 pitchers to place inside the top 10 in each edition. Cueto’s numbers back up his case as he has been incredibly consistent all season.

Take a look at these stats since the All Star break:
Player A - 1.33ERA 0.93WHIP 41K 4.56K/BB
Player B - 2.05ERA 0.93WHIP 53K 4.42K/BB
Player C - 2.97ERA 0.97WHIP 31K 1.94K/BB

Player A is #3 Pure Reliever Kyle Hendricks. Player B is #7 Danny Duffy. Player C is Jake Arrieta. Arrieta, who lands at #8, has had a rough stretch of games. In fact, he walked 7 in his most recent outing. His numbers are still incredible, just not what fantasy owners have come accustom too. Rick Porcello takes the biggest fall of any top 10 standard SP. He drops 10 spots from #5 to #15. 17 wins give him a ton of value. He has been pitching great since the All Star break though with a 2.25ERA and 0.77WHIP. His strikeout numbers keep him from being an ELITE Pure Starter. This data simply shows he is more of a top 20 pitcher than a top 5 guy.

The Julio Teheran Class

Teheran has been a huge part of this column since its first edition back in June. His 3 wins overshadow what has been a fantastic season. This class of pitchers are those whose value increases the most when wins are out of the equation. In Teheran’s case, most owners see him as the 31st best SP this year. I see him 18 spots higher as the #13 Pure Starting Pitcher.

Ervin Santana and Robbie Ray rose 7 and 8 spots respectively this edition. They are very different pitchers. Santana has been solid across the board. He is not great at any one category, he is just good in them all. He has posted a 2.08ERA 1.01WHIP and 5.13K/BB since the break. Ray has 90% of his value tied into his strikeouts! His season ERA of 4.31 isn’t great but he does have a 3.16ERA since the break. More importantly, he has 59K over 42.2 innings! Good for a 12.45K/9!

Others whose value is much higher without factoring in wins include:

Jacob deGrom #27 to #18
Jameson Taillon #67 to #46
Yu Darvish #61 to #48
Kevin Gausman #76 to #57
Tyler Anderson #84 to #69

The Jordan Zimmermann class

Zimmermann was who I picked on back in June for having too many undeserving wins. This proved to be true, and although injuries have helped, he now lands as the #83 overall SP and #93 overall Pure Starter. Even when healthy, there isn’t much of a case to use him the remainder of this season.

A career ERA of 3.99 and a career high at 12 wins, I can’t really explain J.A. Happ’s miracle of a season. Pitching in the AL East and calling Toronto home puzzles this even more. Last month, I said Happ was more of a top 40 than top 20 SP... I may have spoke too soon. Although his incredible run (he’s won every decision since June 11th with only 1 no decision) is bound to end at some point, Happ has pitched incredibly well and is certainly deserving of most of those wins. He’s also increased his K rate throughout the season further showing he may actually be a top 20 SP!

Others whose value is tied heavily into wins included:

Chris Tillman #34 to #45
Hisashi Iwakuma #36 to #49
Josh Tomlin #51 to #59
Jamie Garcia #52 to #65
Scott Kazmir #62 to #76
Tyler Chatwood #65 to #79

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. Michael Pineda's 160Ks are great, his 5.02ERA and 1.35WHIP 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 Ervin Santana) benefited from this formula and those in better situations (Chris Tillman and Josh Tomlin) 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!