The voices from on high have heard your plea for updated NL pitcher ranks and I shall deliver them to you. The tiers are sorted by how great it would be to have one of these things in your town.
The Pyramids of Giza
These guys have given you a strong season from first pitch on and they don’t show signs of breaking down anytime soon. While Phillies fans are obviously rooting for their team to win the NL East by as many games as possible, owners who are relying on one or more of Halladay, Hamels, and Lee might quietly root for the Braves to keep the division close. A large lead increases the likelihood that the top of the rotation will be rested down the stretch.
The Eiffel Tower
You could make an argument for Cueto in the top tier and I would listen. 14 quality starts out of 16 speaks for itself; he’s never killing your team, even when he has a relative off day. The only thing that keeps him from rising is a relatively low strikeout rate, 5.5 per 9, the lowest of any of the top 30 pitchers. Hudson has been good, and none of his peripherals portend regression, but he’s already way past his previous MLB innings and they’re only getting more intense from here, just something to keep an eye on.
The Space Needle
Greinke appears to have conquered the big inning issues that plagued his first half, but his home run rate is still far too high to push him higher than this. Nevertheless, he’s the type of pitcher who can give you double-digit Ks and won’t kill your WHIP even if his ERA is higher than owners might want.
The Millennium Bridge
Nolasco’s dropped less because of his recent disaster start and more because of concerns regarding his falling strikeout rate. If he shows that his last three starts were blips rather than the new norm, he could jump up to the tier above.
The Expansive Suburban Mall
Gallardo hasn’t been bad, but he has been disappointing for owners. The good news is that, like Greinke, he isn’t likely to be skipped down the stretch with the Brewers in the heat of a pennant chase. Zimmermann has been better than this ranking would indicate, but he’s rapidly approaching his inning cap, which makes him less valuable.
The Adequate Hospital
The hope with Oswalt is that his extended layoff will bring back the pitcher who made Oswalt’s first nine starts of the season and banish the imposter who made his last four starts to the land of wind and ghosts, but there’s no guarantee that will be the case. Jurrjens is seeing regression come in a brutal way, and he still has a BABIP of just .263. This rollercoaster isn’t done yet.
The Well-Loved Pub
Latos has settled into a rhythm in his last few starts, but it isn’t particularly encouraging. Three earned over six or so innings pitched is technically a quality start, but it’s not going to win any beauty contests. I’d gladly put Worley above him on performance, but I have some concerns over how the Phillies’ rotation is going to settle out, especially as they set up for the playoffs.
The Park Without a Playground
With Ubaldo Jimenez gone and Jorge de la Rosa on the DL, Chacin is the ace of the Rockies staff. If he’s the ace of your staff as well, I’d give you the same shot as the Rockies of making the playoffs, which is to say, virtually nil. Collmenter has been solid, but a minuscule strikeout rate and some uncertainty in the Diamondbacks rotation lowers his value for now.
Rodriguez might be a little better than this ranking indicates, but it’s close, and the fact that he’s going to have a hard time winning games — unless he’s traded or claimed off waivers — means he’s the king of this level. Vazquez has been a decent option since the middle of June, but has been even better since the All-Star break. He’s still a mediocre option, but the beginning of the season was particularly unkind to him.
The Abandoned Factory
If you’re in dire straits, Sanchez is still getting a ton of strikeouts, but will do terrible things to your WHIP. He could be an interesting handcuff to someone like Collmenter, who isn’t racking up strikeouts, but who isn’t allowing baserunners either. Marquis and Hernandez are a game of Russian roulette: typically they won’t kill your team, but every so often they just might. Such are the ways of BABIP, vengeful god of the groundball pitchers!
The Unkempt Lean-to
If you’re digging this deep, you’re better off going by match up than settling on one starter. There are more than just these seven at the bottom of the barrel, so be creative, because, seriously, it’s unlikely they’ll do much worse.
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