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Fantasy Baseball 2017 Positional Preview: Starting Pitcher

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A look at the starting pitcher position for the 2017 Fantasy Baseball season.

The Mets rotation has plenty of fantasy star power. Where do these three, and others, rank?
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Check out my top 250:
Fantasy Baseball 2017 Top 250

It’s time to step on the mound and take a look at starting pitchers. In addition to giving you the top players to draft at the position, I’ll offer up breakout players, sleepers, busts, and an overall strategy of how to go about drafting the position. Let’s get this preview going.

Top 100 Starting Pitchers

Pos Rank Player Team Age PR League
Pos Rank Player Team Age PR League
1 Clayton Kershaw LAD 29 7 NL
2 Max Scherzer WAS 32 4 NL
3 Madison Bumgarner SF 27 10 NL
4 Corey Kluber CLE 30 18 AL
5 Noah Syndergaard NYM 24 40 NL
6 Jake Arrieta CHC 31 32 NL
7 Chris Sale BOS 28 20 AL
8 Jon Lester CHC 33 9 NL
9 Justin Verlander DET 34 11 AL
10 Johnny Cueto SF 31 21 NL
11 Jacob deGrom NYM 28 157 NL
12 Stephen Strasburg WAS 28 77 NL
13 Kyle Hendricks CHC 27 15 NL
14 Chris Archer TB 28 137 AL
15 Yu Darvish TEX 30 192 AL
16 Carlos Martinez STL 25 65 NL
17 Carlos Carrasco CLE 30 117 AL
18 Julio Teheran ATL 26 86 NL
19 Masahiro Tanaka NYY 28 52 AL
20 Kenta Maeda LAD 28 67 NL
21 Aaron Sanchez TOR 24 62 AL
22 Jose Quintana CWS 28 68 AL
23 Gerrit Cole PIT 26 399 NL
24 Cole Hamels TEX 33 92 AL
25 Danny Duffy KC 28 84 AL
26 Zack Greinke ARI 33 225 NL
27 Danny Salazar CLE 27 211 AL
28 John Lackey CHC 38 66 NL
29 David Price BOS 31 70 AL
30 Rick Porcello BOS 28 14 AL
31 Tanner Roark WAS 30 48 NL
32 Michael Fulmer DET 24 101 AL
33 Felix Hernandez SEA 30 238 AL
34 Kevin Gausman BAL 26 168 AL
35 Matt Harvey NYM 28 654 NL
36 Dallas Keuchel HOU 29 283 AL
37 Matt Shoemaker LAA 30 197 AL
38 Steven Matz NYM 25 185 NL
39 Jake Odorizzi TB 27 136 AL
40 Jeff Samardzija SF 32 124 NL
41 Rich Hill LAD 37 74 NL
42 Aaron Nola PHI 23 397 NL
43 Marco Estrada TOR 33 113 AL
44 J.A. Happ TOR 34 49 AL
45 Adam Wainwright STL 35 289 NL
46 Drew Smyly SEA 27 316 AL
47 Marcus Stroman TOR 25 244 AL
48 Jon Gray COL 25 227 NL
49 Matt Moore SF 27 164 NL
50 Raisel Iglesias CIN 27 232 NL
51 Jameson Taillon PIT 25 257 NL
52 Joe Ross WAS 23 292 NL
53 Drew Pomeranz BOS 28 97 AL
54 Carlos Rodon CWS 24 265 AL
55 Vince Velasquez PHI 24 269 NL
56 Gio Gonzalez WAS 31 262 NL
57 Zach Davies MIL 24 200 NL
58 Sean Manaea OAK 25 234 AL
59 Jerad Eickhoff PHI 26 109 NL
60 Taijuan Walker ARI 24 271 NL
61 Collin McHugh HOU 29 243 AL
62 Lance McCullers HOU 23 390 AL
63 Garrett Richards LAA 28 550 AL
64 Jeremy Hellickson PHI 29 116 NL
65 Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 35 179 AL
66 Sonny Gray OAK 27 846 AL
67 Dan Straily MIA 28 104 NL
68 Joe Musgrove HOU 23 452 AL
69 Trevor Bauer CLE 25 208 AL
70 Kendall Graveman OAK 25 279 AL
71 Jason Hammel KC 34 128 AL
72 Tyson Ross TEX 29 973 AL
73 Michael Pineda NYY 28 325 AL
74 James Paxton SEA 27 303 AL
75 Jaime Garcia ATL 30 333 NL
76 Scott Kazmir LAD 32 318 NL
77 Chris Tillman BAL 28 143 AL
78 Brandon Finnegan CIN 23 254 NL
79 Tyler Glasnow PIT 23 774 NL
80 Julio Urias LAD 20 422 NL
81 Ian Kennedy KC 31 123 AL
82 Robbie Ray ARI 25 370 NL
83 Anthony DeSclafani CIN 26 204 NL
84 Ivan Nova PIT 30 205 NL
85 Blake Snell TB 24 482 AL
86 Jordan Zimmermann DET 30 476 AL
87 Dylan Bundy BAL 24 311 AL
88 Lance Lynn STL 29 N/A NL
89 Robert Gsellman NYM 23 412 NL
90 Jharel Cotton OAK 25 428 AL
91 Ervin Santana MIN 34 166 AL
92 Daniel Norris DET 23 449 AL
93 Tyler Skaggs LAA 25 622 AL
94 Alex Cobb TB 28 N/A AL
95 Francisco Liriano TOR 33 430 AL
96 Chris Devenski HOU 26 118 AL
97 Matt Andriese TB 27 282 AL
98 Eduardo Rodriguez BOS 23 500 AL
99 Mike Foltynewicz ATL 25 303 NL
100 Junior Guerra MIL 32 146 NL

*PR stands for 'Player Rater' which is a measure of how good a player was in a standard 5x5 roto league

Breakout players – Julio Teheran, Kevin Gausman, Matt Shoemaker
Sleepers – Marco Estrada, Matt Moore, Zach Davies
Busts – David Price, Rich Hill, Marcus Stroman

Position Overview

Starting pitcher is probably the toughest position to rank. You have your sure things, your solid but low ceiling veterans, your high ceiling, low floor younger guys, your strikeout artists, your innings eaters, and the next best thing class who will be frustratingly inconsistent. Take all of that and try to mix it together and you get my top 100 SP.

My draft strategy will depend on how the draft room feels about starting pitching. In my mocks, I’ve had times where I miss out on most elite SP and other times where I have multiple great SP and have to pass on another great SP because I need to address other roster spots. I plan on letting the starting pitching values come to me. If I grab a top 9 SP early, I’ll waiting until past SP #20 unless a bargain comes around. If I miss the elite class, I’ll try to draft two #10-#20 SP to compensate.

If my roster has 8 starting pitching spots, I want to balance out my risk. I don’t want a pitching staff full of high risk pitchers. I want to mix in a John Lackey or Cole Hamels for every Steven Matz or Danny Salazar. In addition to this, I usually will fill my bench with high upside starting pitchers. This will allow me to own a future breakout starter instead of trying to scoop him up off waivers after his big game. Keep in mind that starting pitchers get hurt, a lot. When this happens, minor leaguers get the call or middle relievers get a spot start. Your highest turnover on your roster will be starting pitcher. For AL/NL only leagues, steady veterans are even more reliable. Gio Gonzalez, Marco Estrada, and Jason Hammel might have low ceilings, but they have great track records for consistency which helps a lot when the player pool isn’t quite as deep.

Check back tomorrow as we close out the positional previews with relief pitchers! See you then and thanks for the read.

Other positional previews:
Catchers
First Base
Second Base
Shortstop
Third Base
Outfield
Relief Pitcher