Biggest Pitching Movers Since March

I released my July rankings last week, my fourth update of the year. Today, I want to look at the biggest movers since the very first run of rankings back in March when we ran the consensus lists. We’ll look at three groups of pitchers: those in the top 50 who didn’t even make March list and then the biggest risers and fallers for those who did make that original 162.

Let’s get started!

Newbies: Current Top 50 SPs Not in March’s List

Newbs
Name TM July March
Ross Stripling LAD 22 NR
Shane Bieber CLE 39 NR
Zach Eflin PHI 44 NR
Junior Guerra MIL 48 NR
Freddy Peralta MIL 50 NR

I’ve jumped headfirst into the Stripling Experience. I really love what he’s doing on the mound this year, but I didn’t consider that he might be facing an innings limit. I ran a piece on age-25 and younger arms (which covers the injury nexus) and tried to identify those with innings limit concerns for the second half. Stripling didn’t make the list because he’s 28, but as a swingman the last two years he has only amassed 195 total innings, including 78 last year.

I’m not really sure what the Dodgers will do with him, especially with their merry-go-round of starters going from rotation to DL. They might not have the luxury of really limiting him unless they build a huge cushion in the NL West (which is unlikely). Keep a close eye on it, but for now Stripling is a must start stud.

Bieber, Eflin, and Peralta were all in the Innings Limit piece, too. Bieber has managed a solid ERA despite allowing a ton of hits (11.1 H/9), but that .380 BABIP won’t last so I see the hits coming down. He doesn’t walk anyone (4%) so if the hits are more in the 8-9 range, he’ll carry a 1.25 or better WHIP.

Eflin’s velo spike and improved slider have fostered a doubling of his strikeout rate to 24% and while I wouldn’t project his 3.15 ERA/1.08 WHIP to maintain, I like him better than the mid-4.00s ERA/1.30 WHIP projections the rest of the way.

I can’t see any way that Peralta makes it to the finish line after just 120 innings last year, but his brilliant strikeout rate (36%) has made him an all formats option. Start making plans on how you will replace him when the Brewers shut him down.

Would you trade these guys in fear of innings limits or just ride out the “found money” pickups to their end?

Fallers: Top 50 SPs in March with 25+ Spot Drops

Fallers
Name TM July March Diff
Masahiro Tanaka NYY 79 20 -59
Jeff Samardzija SF 79 29 -50
Drew Pomeranz BOS 99 50 -49
Luke Weaver STL 92 45 -47
Aaron Sanchez TOR 79 33 -46
Luis Castillo CIN 68 23 -45
Zack Godley ARI 72 27 -45
Chase Anderson MIL 87 43 -44
Jon Gray COL 79 44 -35
Dallas Keuchel HOU 56 25 -31
Danny Duffy KC 84 53 -31
Michael Fulmer DET 53 28 -25
Jake Arrieta PHI 54 32 -22

*injured guys were given the last rank of their tier when healthy for this exercise

OK, it’s 22 or more spots so I could get Arrieta in there.

None of these names should be too surprising, especially the ones who have been my favorites this year. Tanaka, Sanchez, Castillo, Godley, and Fulmer were guys I was targeting quite heavily in my drafts spring and all have failed to live up to expectations.

  • Tanaka: Injuries and still a home run machine
  • Sanchez: Injuries and an inability to command the ball
  • Castillo: Just not as ready as he looked in ’17; Prospect Growth Isn’t Linear posterboy
  • Godley: Curve hasn’t been as elite, but cutter drop off is even more severe
  • Fulmer: Changeup has fallen off and made third-time-through a major challenge

Until we see any sort of HR suppression from Tanaka (returning tonight, by the way), I can’t see putting him back in the Top 50. I can still see Sanchez developing (he’s just 25), but he just doesn’t miss bats so his fantasy value is too ratio-dependent. I’m still firmly on the Castillo and Fulmer trains, especially in the long-term.

Godley’s a tricky one because he’s a 28-year old non-prospect who has the one big season that didn’t even qualify for the ERA title (155 IP). I can still see him spiking into the top 40 at times, particularly if that cutter gets back on track.

As for the others, I like Weaver most in the long-term, though that’s not saying a lot because he’s 24 and the rest are 29+ years old or pitch half their games in Coors Field. Arrieta and Keuchel just don’t miss enough bats and it really limits their fantasy upside, especially as they push into their 30s.

Who is your favorite in this group to pitch as Top 25 arm the rest of this year?

Risers: Current Top 50 SPs with 25+ Spot Jumps

Risers
Name TM July March Diff
Mike Foltynewicz ATL 25 119 94
Andrew Heaney LAA 37 122 85
Walker Buehler LAD 29 99 70
Eduardo Rodriguez BOS 30 100 70
Jack Flaherty STL 34 104 70
Nick Pivetta PHI 31 94 63
CC Sabathia NYY 47 110 63
Miles Mikolas STL 24 86 62
Tyler Skaggs LAA 32 90 58
Sean Newcomb ATL 28 83 55
Patrick Corbin ARI 19 67 48
Blake Snell TB 14 59 45
J.A. Happ TOR 20 64 44
Kyle Gibson MIN 41 81 40
Mike Clevinger CLE 23 58 35
Rick Porcello BOS 38 68 30
Charlie Morton HOU 13 41 28
Dylan Bundy BAL 29 57 28
Hyun-Jin Ryu LAD 45 73 28
Trevor Bauer CLE 15 42 27
Tanner Roark WAS 46 72 26

*injured guys were given the last rank of their tier when healthy for this exercise

Bundy is already back and Buehler is due back this week, but they were injured at the time of the rankings. Ryu is working his way back.

I really liked Folty coming into the 2017 season, but after an uninspired campaign, I gave up on him. Even though he was just 26 years old coming into the season, I just thought he was destined to be a middling starter or maybe a power reliever. His slider has been amazing this year and driven his success so he scaled the ranks.

Rodriguez was simply about health, especially since it was continually the lower half injuries. Love the talent so I’ve comfortably zoomed him up the rankings. He has a 2.82 ERA and 66 Ks in his last 67 innings.

As funny as it sounds now, I thought 86 was aggressive for Mikolas in the spring and then I ended up be the low man on him. I liked him, but no way did I see him becoming an All-Star and a WHIP god. There’s still some concern in the long-term with a 17% K rate, but he keeps the ball down (50% GB, 0.7 HR/9) and doesn’t walk anyone (4% BB) so it’s all worked out well for him. It’s probably worth investigating trade options as it’s not hard to envision more of a high-3.00s ERA the rest of the way.

Pivetta has pushed his ERA up nearly a run in the last month (+0.86 to 4.62), but I’m still holding. Washington has single-handedly done a ton of damage to his bottom line with 13 earned runs in two starts totaling 2.7 innings of work. The break probably comes at a perfect time for him to get some rest and regroup.

Morton, Snell, and Bauer have been fantasy aces and I buy what they’re doing this year. Corbin has continued to find success despite the velocity drop leading me to wonder if we should be freaking out over said drop.

Maybe I had Roark’s rank right in March. He was really solid through May (3.38 ERA) and I was essentially starting him every time out without much concern, but he’s been a nightmare of late with a 7.41 ERA in his last 38 innings and now I can see cutting him in 10- and 12-team leagues.

Newcomb has me worried a bit and he could be the biggest faller on this list for the rest of the season. He’s still walking the world (12% BB) and not fanning enough to cover it (23%). He also has back-to-back Shellackings, allowing five earned at the Yankees and Brewers (two very strong opponents, mind you) and going just 6.3 innings combined.

I don’t want to overreact to a pair of recent bad starts, but I’m wondering if there’s something to him struggling against good teams. For his career, he has a 2.15 ERA against sub-.500 clubs and a 6.34 ERA against those north of .500 on the season. It’s been this way in both of his MLB seasons, too. Maybe start fielding some offers for the 25-year old southpaw.



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Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. He is the purveyor of the SP Guide (on hiatus for '17). Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer, on Snapchat at psporer, and on Twitch at psporer24.

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Tristan
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Tristan

So, say you’re in a keeper league and you can hang on to one of the following for $10 next year (with eventual salary escalators) while the other two can only be kept at $15 with the same two escalators: Shane Bieber, Freddy Peralta or Eduardo Rodriguez. I think I lean E-Rod but the injury history gives me enough pause to ask…

Slappytheclown
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Slappytheclown

What is the overall budget? $10 seems a little epensive for all of those names honestly. I would flip a coin between peralta and E-Rod, definately not Bieber.