Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2019

Alright folks, this is it! My last positional ranking post for 2019! The only thing left to do is to publish my top 300 rankings followed by my projections. If you want to see my positional rankings table, here it is! Back to pitching. The landscape surrounding pitching is changing. The number of pitchers who reached to 200 inning plateau has declined in four of the last five seasons. Here are the number of pitchers to reach 200 IP since 2014:  34, 28, 15, 15, 13.  In my personal projections, I’ve got only three pitchers with over 200 innings pitched this year. Yes, you heard that right. That might be a little conservative, but not that many pitchers average 6.5 innings per start or more. That being said, I have seven pitchers projected between 195 IP and 199.2 IP. I believe they all have a great shot at reaching 200 innings. Then again, there will always be someone like James Shields to reach to the 200 inning plateau that you would not expect (he threw 204 innings last year). I promise you, this is the last you will hear of James Shields in this post. Here we go!

Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2019

1Max ScherzerWASSP1
2Chris SaleBOSSP1
3Jacob deGromNYMSP1
4Justin VerlanderHOUSP2
5Trevor BauerCLESP2
6Gerrit ColeHOUSP2
7Corey KluberCLESP2
8Blake SnellTBSP2
9Aaron NolaPHISP2
10Carlos CarrascoCLESP2
11Walker BuehlerLADSP2
12Noah SyndergaardNYMSP2
13Patrick CorbinWASSP3
14Luis SeverinoNYYSP3
15James PaxtonNYYSP3
16Stephen StrasburgWASSP3
17Zack GreinkeARISP3
18Mike ClevingerCLESP3
19German MarquezCOLSP3
20Zack WheelerNYMSP3
21Jameson TaillonPITSP3
22Jack FlahertySTLSP3
23Clayton KershawLADSP3
24Jose BerriosMINSP3
25David PriceBOSSP3
26Mike MikolasSTLSP4
27Charlie MortonTBSP4
28Masahiro TanakaNYYSP4
29Luis CastilloCINSP4
30Robbie RayARISP4
31Mike FoltynewiczATLSP4
32Chris ArcherPITSP4
33Madison BumgarnerSFSP4
34Yu DarvishCHCSP4
35Nick PivettaPHISP4
36Eduardo RodriguezBOSSP5
37Shane BieberCLESP5
38Kyle HendricksCHCSP5
39Cole HamelsCHCSP5
40Kenta MaedaLADSP5
41Ross StriplingLADSP5
42J.A. HappNYYSP5
43Rich HillLADSP5
44Joe MusgrovePITSP5
45Yusei KikuchiSEASP5
46Nathan EovaldiBOSSP5
47Tyler GlasnowTBSP5
48Kyle FreelandCOLSP5
49Jose QuintanaCHCSP5
50Tyler SkaggsLAASP5
51Alex WoodCINSP5
52Hyun-Jin RyuLADSP5
53Dallas KeuchelFASP6
54Rick PorcelloBOSSP6
55Joey LucchesiSDSP6
56Andrew HeaneyLAASP6
57Josh JamesHOUSP6
58Kevin GausmanATLSP6
59Jesus LuzardoOAKSP6
60Forrest WhitleyHOUSP6
61Jimmy NelsonMILSP6
62Anibal SanchezWASSP6
63Collin McHughHOUSP, RP6
64Alex ReyesSTLSP6
65Matt BoydDETSP6
66Kyle GibsonMINSP6
67Freddy PeraltaMILSP7
68Zach EflinPHISP7
69Steven MatzNYMSP7
70Jon LesterCHCSP7
71Matt StrahmSDRP/SP7
72Jake ArrietaPHISP7
73Carlos MartinezSTLSP7
74Zack GodleyARISP7
75Jon GrayCOLSP7
76Sonny GrayCINSP7
77Michael FulmerDETSP7
78Julio UriasLADSP8
79Derek HollandSFGSP8
80Dylan BundyBALSP8
81Sean NewcombATLSP8
82Mike MinorTEXSP8
83Jeff SamardzijaSFSP8
84Marco GonzalesSEASP8
85Jake JunisKCSP8
86Touki ToussaintATLSP8
87Anthony DeSclafaniCINSP8
88Mike SorokaATLSP8
89Jake OdorizziMINSP8
90Vincent VelasquezPHISP8
91Trevor RichardsMIASP8
92Luke WeaverARISP8
93Trevor WilliamsPITSP9
94Reynaldo LopezCHWSP9
95Marcus StromanTORSP9
96Seth LugoNYMSP9
97Brandon WoodruffMILSP9
98Jose UrenaFLASP9
99Michael WachaSTLSP9
100Danny DuffyKCSP9
101Robbie ErlinSDSP9
102Wade LeBlancSEASP9
103Nick KinghamPITSP10
104Brad PeacockHOUSP10
105Trevor CahillLAASP10
106Domingo GermanNYYSP10
107Ryan YarbroughTBSP10
108Chase AndersonMILSP10
109Chriss PaddackSDSP10
110Justus SheffieldSEASP10
111Luiz GoharaATLSP10
112Michael PinedaMINSP10
113Ryan BoruckiTORSP10
114Jonathan LoaisigaNYYSP10
115Max FriedATLSP11
116Tyler AndersonCOLSP11
117Carlos RodonCWSSP11
118Corbin BurnesMILSP11
119Wade MileyHOUSP11
120Dereck RodriguezSFSP11
121Julio TeheranATLSP11
122Jhoulys ChacinMILSP11
123Tanner RoarkCINSP11
124Mike LeakeSEASP11
125Ivan NovaCHWSP11
126Jaime BarriaLAASP11
127Sean Reid-FoleyTORSP11
128Taijuan WalkerARISP11
129Wei-Yin ChenMIASP11
130CC SabathiaNYYSP11
131Sean ManaeaOAKSP11
132Johnny CuetoSFSP11

Tier 1: No surprises here. There’s one statistic for a pitcher that I believe trumps all others. That’s K-BB%. These fellas were all in the top 4 last year in that statistic, with the other being Verlander. I flip-flopped Sale and deGrom but they are so close. Sale has the most insane metrics but has either worn down at the end of the season or missed time to injury the previous two years. Otherwise, he’d be number one but I have him projected for about 180 innings. Based on Standard Gain Points and my projections, 180 innings of elite-Sale is more valuable than 210 innings of deGrom.

Tier 2: The only reason Verlander is not in tier 1 is because of his age. He just turned 36 and as much of workhorse Verlander has been in his career, his age just concerns me a teeny bit. I love Bauer as I think he’s taken the step into superstardom. The difference between Bauer and Cole is razor thin but I’m going to lean towards the more cerebral pitcher in Bauer. Three Indians in the top nine is pretty interesting but I could not drop Carrasco any lower after digging in. Carrasco was eighth in the league in K-BB% last year and was unlucky in terms of BABIP at .315. His skills took a leap forward last year and now has 180+ innings in three of the last four seasons. I’ll touch on Buehler. He’s the real deal. He could be in the top five as early as next year. His elite fastball is an extremely strong foundation and I see a little Verlander in him. Like, a shorter version of Verlander without the insanely hot wife.

Tier 3: Maybe Corbin regresses a little after his massive breakout in 2018 but then again, his peripherals point to the opposite. His slider is arguably the best in the game and with the addition of his slow-slider, he’s rocking those breaking balls at a 50% clip. Moving to Washington with potentially a better ball club should provide help in terms of his win total, and I don’t see the strikeouts going away. This tier is filled with veterans who are either on the decline or struggle to stay healthy for a full season. It’s also filled with some newcomers whose skills could push them into tier 2 by the end of the season. My favorites in this group include Clevinger, Marquez, Wheeler, Taillon, and Berrios. I’m not as high on Flaherty as some other analysts because of his 9.6% walk rate. He also struggled with the home run ball a bit in 2018. The reason he maintained such solid ratios was his elevated strand rate. I think there is some regression with his ratios and project a slight decrease in strikeout rate. I still like him, but there will be people in the draft room who like him more than I do.

Tier 4: speaking if regression, Folty is due for quite a bit of it and not in a good way. His breakout was fantastic, but there are warning signs everywhere. His swinging strike rate was relatively low compared to his 27%+ strikeout rate. He still struggles with walks and was fortunate to keep his BABIP near .250. Maybe he can keep up a 27% K rate with a league aver SwStr rate, I don’t know? That being said, Atlanta provides a nice floor for Folty and he still possesses high-end skills which is why he remains in my top 30. Yes, that’s Madison Bumgarner down at 33. His fastball has been a train wreck, er, ah dirt bike wreck since 2017. His ratios have been saved by the confines of AT&T Park but now on the last year of his deal the and Giants in rebuild-mode, Bumgarner could be moved before the All-Star Break. Going almost anywhere else will hurt his ratios and his value. Even if he stays, his strikeout rate has gone the way of the Dodo. I didn’t think I was completely in on Pivetta but there he is at 35. There’s too much to like with Pivetta. Remember that K-BB% I was talking about? Pivetta was 16th in the league last year one spot behind teammate Aaron Nola. If Pivetta can suppress BABIP a little bit and increase his strand rate, he’s a top 25 SP.

Tier 5: This is my favorite tier! I absolutely love Heaney and Bieber this year! Bieber had a near-20% K-BB% but a crazy-high BABIP and low LOB% killed his ratios. I expect some moderate regression there (the positive kind). I just hope he doesn’t fall into the Michael Pineda mold where he throws too many strikes and gives in to hitters too often. Here’s my Heany take, I did a deep dive on him and really like what I saw. I would love to grab two aces in the first three rounds and just wait on pitching until much later grabbing Heaney and Bieber back-to-back around picks 130-140. To be honest, I will end up with at least three pitchers from this tier. The best part about this tier is many of these guys are going well after pick 200 in drafts, so you won’t have to reach. The more I look at the pitchers I have ranked 35 (Pivetta) through Skaggs (Tier 6), the more I want to wait on pitching. As I just mentioned , I still want two aces as a strong foundation but feel that there is a ton of value after pick 150 for starting pitching. Josh James and Joe Musgrove are a couple guys I already own in dynasty leagues. James has an extremely high strikeout upside while Musgrove has a chance to put it together this year and finish inside the top 30 for SPs. The Dodgers have a ton of talented pitchers and all of them would be higher if they were guaranteed 175+ innings. I’ll pick and choose, I like Maeda and Ryu (see next tier).

Tier 6: As it turns out I like this tier as well. There’s quite a bit more risk here but it’s a nice combination of upside and floor picks. 59-61 includes three very talented starting pitchers with a lot of questions. Obviously, Whitley and Luzardo are rookies, so there’s a ton of risk there. However, other than maybe Alex Reyes, no other rookie starters have the upside of these two. Nelson missed all of 2018, so how will he respond? I’m cautiously optimistic, but won’t be picking him inside of the top 200. After that, he’s a solid pick.

TIer 7: Earlier this offseason I had buried Joey Lucchesi because of his two-pitch arsenal. However, thanks to Jason Collete’s 2019 Pitch Tracker, I found out he’s adding a cutter to his repertoire! This is more exciting than it sounds. His fastball is not great and his change/curve (churve?) is actually a pretty solid pitch. If he can supplement his fastball with a cutter that he can throw for strikes, that’s a boon to his value. The cutter would move in the opposite direction of the fastball which would play nicely off one another. Anyways, I expect Fulmer to bounce back a bit this year, he still has very good velocity and a solid slider to pair with his four-seamer. Of this entire group, I actually like Matz the best. He doesn’t have a standout pitch but throws four pitches with relative effectiveness. Sometimes four decent pitches are better than two great pitches. He feels like he could be on the verge of a breakout as his strikeout rate jumped to 27% in the second half last year.

Tier 8: This is a big tier, huh? Mike Soroka was shut down for discomfort in his shoulder, so I dropped him to the bottom of this tier. He might end up off the list depending on what happens during spring training. Keep an eye out for any updates on Soroka going forward. I really can’t give up on Bundy. I know he gave up over 40 homers last year but he has two elite level pitches in his slider and changeup. He just needs to throw his fastball less often and possibly get out of Baltimore. I’ve always been a sucker for Velasquez, he threw a career-high 143 innings last year and managed a 25%+ K rate. If you’re surprised to see Derek Holland here, don’t be. He’s back in San Francisco where even Madison Bumgarner can put up solid ratios. That was shot at Bum, you guys. A Bum shot. OK, back at it. Trevor Richards has an insane changeup but that’s it. He’s like the super poor man’s Luis Castillo. He’s got a piece but needs something else. Urias and McHugh are much too talented for this tier but when you play for a team with eight starting pitchers, it’s difficult to lof 150+ innings. Besides, Urias is coming off a devastating injury and the Dodgers have already come out saying his innings will be monitored.

Tier 9: I prefer Woodruff over Corbin Burnes for this year. Woodruff has 85 MLB innings under his belt and has already taken his lumps so to speak. Maybe he’s not the 26% K rate guy we saw last year because as a starter, those numbers won’t translate. I still think he can maintain solid ratios while limiting home runs thanks to an elevated ground ball rate. I like Luke Weaver as a bit of a bounceback in 2019 because his skills remain intact. While he outperformed his strikeout rate in 2017, he still has upside. Urena, Wacha, and Duffy are like super boring. That’s OK when you’re this deep. Sometimes stability is exactly what you need after you’ve taken risks on the likes of Tyler Glasnow and Jesus Luzardo. Oh, then there’s Marcus Stroman. I won’t be drafting him as long as he stays in Toronto with that extremely fast turf and poor infield defense. Get him on some real grass with a few legitimate defenders on the infield to put his ground balls to use and I might be back in.

Tier 10: Touki and Kingham are my favorites of this tier. Is that why they are at the top of the tier, Max? Why, yes it is! Anyways, there are questions as to whether or not both will be in their respective rotations because Atlanta has 12 pitching prospects, all of which are close to the majors. Kingham on the other hand just did not perform well last year. They both have the skills to get strikeouts and the potential to be either a #3 or 4 as early as this year. They just need the opportunity. I might actually move Touki up if Soroka will not be ready for opening day. Same goes for Gohara. I like Cahill, his changeup is gross, but in a good way. The problem is that you’re only going to get about 100 innings out of him. Yarbrough is not getting 16 wins this year, I can tell you that but coming into the game in the 2nd inning has its advantages. I don’t trust Chase Anderson even though he’s outperformed his peripherals for the second straight season. I do not want to be the one holding the bag when the bottom drops out.

Tier 11: This tier is for your 15-team and deeper leagues. It’s pretty ugly down here. I’ve only thrown Manaea in here because he’s “reportedly” ahead of schedule. Originally, it was thought he may miss all of 2019 following shoulder surgery. Reports are now saying it’s possible he returns after the All-Star break. This is like Jimmy Nelson last year but with a later timeline. If the Athletics contend, he could see bullpen action in August and possibly a few starts in September. He’s probably not worth a stash, but we are pretty low in the rankings. The few pitchers I’d take a flier on include Jhoulys Chacin, Jamie Barria, Ryan Borucki, Domingo German, and Corbin Burnes. Chacin has a hell of a slider and with its increased usage, it could carry him throughout stretches of the season. The Triple-Bs and German are young upsidey arms without guaranteed starting roles. Barria has the most experience of the group and he does have a bit of strikeout upside despite what his numbers say.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.

Image credits: Greg Fiume
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Copyright:2018 Getty Images

Top 300 Overall Ranking for Fantasy Baseball

With the month about to turn over to March, we are officially in that glorious time of the year. Fantasy Baseball Draft Season! Throughout February, I’ve thrown out my positional tiered rankings along with breakdowns of each tier. You can find those here. I’ve also done some deep dives on some intriguing players and their outlooks for 2019. Those can be found here. My plan in the next few days is to publish all of my projections for 2019. It will likely be a simple post with a table but the link to my google sheet will be there as well. In March, I’ll spit out some articles with players I like more and less than Yahoo and ESPN to help you find values during your draft.
Last year in my first year submitting expert rankings, I finished 13 overall at FantasyPros. There’s a ton of huge names on that list, so 13th isn’t too bad. I’m hoping I can compete and improve this year. Hopefully, these articles and rankings help you win your league!
Rankings Updated 3/13/19.

With this, my top 300 for 2019 ranking, I’ve included dollar values for both 12-team, $260 budget (yahoo standard 22-man roster) and 15-team leagues $300 budget (NFBC expanded rosters) for our auction league players. The rankings and dollar values are Roto-style scoring. I play in at least one auction league every year and these values help me determine where I can find values relative to other players at different positions. I run the values utilizing what others call, standard gain points similar to what Dr. Tannar Bell and Jeff Zimmerman discuss. Each stat category for each player has a value associated with it relative to other “ownable” players. These values are compiled for each player. I then run through some statistical analysis to come up with dollar values based on league size (12-team and 15-team) used below. I want to be clear, I’m using only 22-man rosters for the 12-team dollar values (Yahoo standard) and NFBC expanded rosters for the 15-team leagues. That’s why the dollar values are lower for the 15-team league. I won’t bore you with the details of the calculations, so let’s get to the rankings and dollar values!

Top 300 - Fantasy Baseball 2019

2019 Overall Rankings     
RankPlayerTeamPos12-Team ($)15-Team ($)
1Mike TroutLAAOF$51$44
2Mookie BettsBOSOF$50$43
3Jose RamirezCLE2B/3B$45$37
4J.D. MartinezBOSOF$45$37
5Max ScherzerWASSP$43$37
6Trea TurnerWASSS$42$36
7Christian YelichMILOF$42$36
8Chris SaleBOSSP$40$35
9Nolan ArenadoCOL3B$39$34
10Ronald Acuna Jr.ATLOF$39$34
11Jacob deGromNYMSP$38$33
12Francisco LindorCLESS$37$32
13Manny MachadoSDSS/3B$37$32
14Freddie FreemanATL1B$37$32
15Jose AltuveHOU2B$36$32
16Aaron JudgeNYYOF$36$31
17Bryce HarperPHIOF$35$31
18Trevor StoryCOLSS$33$29
19Alex BregmanHOUSS/3B$33$29
20Paul GoldschmidtARI1B$33$29
21Giancarlo StantonNYYOF$32$28
22Justin VerlanderHOUSP$32$28
23Andrew BenintendiBOSOF$31$27
24Javier BaezCHC2B/SS/3B$31$27
25Trevor BauerCLESP$30$26
26Xander BogaertsBOSSS$30$26
27Anthony RizzoCHC1B$29$26
28Anthony RendonWAS3B$28$25
29Gerrit ColeHOUSP$28$25
30Charlie BlackmonCOLOF$27$25
31Kris BryantCHC3B$26$25
32Corey KluberCLESP$25$24
33Blake SnellTBSP$25$24
34Whit MerrifieldKC2B/OF$25$24
35Aaron NolaPHISP$24$24
36Carlos CarrascoCLESP$24$23
37Khris DavisOAKOF/DH$24$23
38Starling MartePITOF$24$23
39Juan SotoWASOF$23$23
40Marcell OzunaSTLOF$23$23
41Tommy PhamTBOF$23$22
42Walker BuehlerLADSP$23$22
43George SpringerHOUOF$22$22
44Joey VottoCIN1B$22$22
45Rhys HoskinsPHI1B/OF$21$22
46Noah SyndergarrdNYMSP$21$21
47Eugenio SuarezCIN3B$21$21
48Cody BellingerLAD1B/OF$21$21
49Patrick CorbinWASSP$20$21
50Jose AbreuCHW1B$20$21
51Lorenzo CainMILOF$20$21
52Aldberto MondesiKC2B/SS$20$21
53Luis SeverinoNYYSP$19$21
54Edwin DiazNYMRP$19$21
55J.T. RealmutoPHIC/1B$18$20
56Carlos CorreaHOUSS$18$20
57James PaxtonNYYSP$18$20
58Michael ConfortoNYMOF$18$20
59Justin UptonLAAOF$17$20
60Jean SeguraPHISS$17$20
61Nelson CruzMINDH$17$19
62Craig KimbrelFARP$16$19
63Matt OlsonOAK1B$16$19
64Daniel MurphyCOL1B/2B$16$19
65Mitch HanigerSEAOF$16$19
66Blake TreinenOAKRP$15$19
67Vlad Guerrero Jr.TOR3B$15$19
68Stephan StrasburgWASSP$15$18
69Gary SanchezNYYC$15$18
70Robinson CanoNYM1B/2B$15$18
71Joey GalloTEX1B/OF$15$18
72Zach GreinkeARISP$14$18
73Aroldis ChapmanNYYRP$14$18
74Yasiel PuigCINOF$14$18
75Jesus AguilarMIL1B$14$18
76Nick CastellanosDETOF$14$18
77Travis ShawMIL2B/3B$14$18
78Mike ClevingerCLESP$14$17
79Matt CarpenterSTL1B/2B/3B$14$17
80Ozzie AlbiesATL2B$14$17
81Felipe VazquezPITRP$14$17
82Aaron HicksNYYOF$13$17
83Roberto OsunaHOURP$13$17
84German MarquezCOLSP$13$17
85Gleyber TorresNYY2B/SS$13$17
86Jameson TaillonPITSP$13$16
87Max MuncyLAD1B/2B/3B$13$16
88Andrew McCutchenPHIOF$13$16
89Matt ChapmanOAK3B$13$16
90Justin TurnerLAD3B$13$16
91Eddie RosarioMINOF$13$16
92Miguel AndujarNYY3B$13$16
93Zach WheelerNYMSP$13$16
94Kenley JansenLADRP$12$16
95Jonathan VillarBAL2B/SS$12$15
96David PeraltaARIOF$12$15
97Corey SeagerLADSS$12$15
98Jose BerriosMINSP$12$15
99Scooter GennettCIN2B$12$15
100Jack FlahretySTLSP$11$15
101Wil MyersSD3B/OF$11$15
102David DahlCOLOF$11$15
103Brad HandBOSRP$11$14
104Rougned OdorTEX2B$11$14
105Eloy JimenezCHWOF$11$14
106David PriceBOSSP$11$14
107A.J. PollockLADOF$10$14
108Michael BrantleyHOUOF$10$14
109Stephen PiscottyOAKOF$10$14
110Brian DozierWAS2B$10$14
111Ender InciarteATLOF$10$14
112Jose PerazaCINSS$10$14
113Clayton KershawLADSP$10$14
114Victor RoblesWASOF$10$13
115Mallex SmithSEAOF$10$13
116Nomar MazaraTEXOF$9$13
117Edwin EncarnacionSEA1B/DH$9$13
118Sean DoolittleWSHRP$9$13
119Charlie MortonTBSP$9$13
120Ryan BraunMIL1B/OF$9$13
121Mike MikolasSTLSP$9$13
122Mike MoustakasMIL3B$9$13
123Luis CastilloCINSP$9$13
124Josh DonaldsonATL3B$9$13
125Corey KnebelMILRP$9$13
126Masahiro TanakaNYYSP$9$13
127Josh HaderMILRP$9$13
128Mike FoltynewitczATLSP$8$12
129Raisel IglesiasCINRP$8$12
130Robbie RayARISP$8$12
131Yasmani GrandalMILC$8$12
132Yu DarvishCHCSP$8$12
133Kirby YatesSDRP$8$12
134Yadier MolinaSTLC$8$12
135Nick PivettaPHISP$8$12
136Rafael DeversBOS3B$8$12
137Eduardo RodriguezBOSSP$7$12
138Elvis AndrusTEXSS$7$12
139Shohei OhtaniLAADH$7$11
140Dee GordonSEAOF$7$11
141Amed RosarioNYMSS$7$11
142Chris ArcherPITSP$7$11
143Kyle HendricksCHCSP$7$11
144Ken GilesTORRP$7$11
145Jurickson ProfarOAK1B/2B/SS/3B$7$11
146Joe MusgrovePITSP$7$11
147Madison BumgarnerSFSP$7$11
148Jackie Bradley Jr.BOSOF$7$11
149Max KeplerMINOF$7$11
150Jose LeclercTEXRP$7$11
151Wade DavisCOLRP$7$11
152Shane BieberCLESP$6$11
153Ramon LaureanoOAKOF$6$11
154Yuli GurrielHOU1B/2B/3B$6$11
155Cole HamelsCHCSP$6$11
156Corey DickersonPITOF$6$11
157Ross StriplingLADSP$6$11
158Jorge PolancoMINSS$6$10
159Kenta MaedaLADSP$6$10
160Hunter RenfroeSDOF$6$10
161Rich HillLADSP$6$10
162Paul DeJongSTLSS$6$10
163Brandon NimmoNYMOF$6$10
164Harrison BaderSTLOF$6$10
165Domingo SantanaSEAOF$6$10
166Garrett HampsonCOL2B/SS$6$10
167Jesse WinkerCINOF$6$10
168Ian DesmondCOL1B/OF$6$10
169Marcus SemienOAKSS$6$10
170Yusei KikuchiSEASP$5$10
171Cody AllenLAARP$5$10
172Nathan EovaldiBOSSP$5$10
173Tyler SkaggsLAASP$5$10
174Ketel MarteARI2B/SS$5$10
175Kyle FreelandCOLSP$5$10
176Tim AndersonCWSSS$5$10
177Josh BellPIT1B$5$10
178Eric HosmerSD1B$5$10
179Alex WoodCINSP$5$10
180Jose MartinezSTL1B/OF$5$10
181Buster PoseySFC/1B$5$10
182Justin SmoakTOR1B$5$9
183Cesar HernandezPHI2B$4$9
184Andrelton SimmonsLAASS$4$9
185Adam FrazierPIT2B/OF$4$9
186J.A. HappNYYSP$4$9
187Willson ContrerasCHCC$4$9
188Jose QuintanaCHCSP$4$9
189Trey ManciniBAL1B/OF$4$9
190Jimmy NelsonMILSP$4$9
191Chris TaylorLADSS/OF$4$9
192Eduardo EscobarARISS/3B$4$9
193Yoan MoncadaCWS2B$4$9
194Wilson RamosNYMC$4$9
195Nick SenzelCIN3B$4$9
196DJ LeMahieuNYY2B$4$9
197Hyun-Jin RyuLADSP$4$9
198Shin-Soo ChooTEXOF$4$9
199Lourdes Gurriel Jr.TOR2B/SS$4$9
200Anibal SanchezWASSP$4$9
201Jesus LuzardoOAKSP$4$9
202Evan LongoriaSF3B$4$9
203Danny JansenTORC$4$9
204Kevin GausmanATLSP$4$9
205Joey LucchesiSDSP$4$9
206Randal GrichukTOROF$3$8
207Dallas KeuchelFASP$3$8
208Cedric MullinsBALOF$3$8
209David RobertsonPHIRP$3$8
210Austin MeadowsTBOF$3$8
211Andrew HeaneyLAASP$3$8
212Joshua JamesHOUSP$3$8
213Franmil ReyesSDOF$3$8
214Forrest WhitleyHOUSP$3$8
215Jake BauersCLE1B/OF$3$8
216Adam EatonWSHOF$3$8
217Peter AlonsoNYM1B$3$8
218Tyler GlasnowTBSP,RP$3$8
219Freddy PeraltaMILSP$3$8
220Matt BoydDETSP$3$8
221Carlos SantanaCLE1B/3B$3$8
222Jed LowrieNYM2B/3B$3$8
223Nick MarkakisATLOF$3$8
224Marwin GonzalezMIN1B/2B/SS/OF$3$8
225Kyle GibsonMINSP$3$8
226Jordan HicksSTLSP,RP$3$8
227Andrew MillerSTLRP$3$8
228Asdrubal CabreraTEX2B/SS/3B$3$8
229Steven MatzNYMSP$3$8
230Willy AdamesTBSS$3$8
231Kyle SchwarberCHCOF$2$7
232Starlin CastroMIA2B$2$7
233Carlos MartinezSTLSP$2$7
234Manuel MargotSDOF$2$7
235Ryan O'HearnKC1B$2$7
236Jon LesterCHCSP$2$7
237Jeimer CandelarioDET3B$2$7
238Zach EflinPHISP,RP$2$7
239Billy HamiltonKCOF$2$7
240Collin McHughHOUSP/RP$2$7
241Jake LambARI3B$2$7
242Michael FulmerDETSP$2$7
243Jonathan SchoopMIN2B/SS$2$7
244Brian AndersonMIA1B/OF$2$6
245Miguel CabreraDET1B$2$6
246Jake ArrietaPHISP$2$6
247Adam JonesARIOF$2$6
248Luke VoitNYY1B$2$6
249Alex ReyesSTLSP$2$6
250Ian KinslerSD2B$2$6
251Joey WendleTB2B/3B/OF$1$6
252C.J. CronMIN1B$1$6
253Julio UriasLADSP$1$6
254Byron BuxtonMINOF$1$6
255Kevin PillarTOROF$1$6
256Rick PorcelloBOSSP$1$6
257Brandon BeltSF1B$1$6
258Jason KipnisCLE2B/OF$1$6
259Kendrys MoralesTOR1B/DH$1$6
260Gregory PolancoPITOF$1$6
261Tyler WhiteHOU1B/DH$1$6
262Jose AlvaradoTBRP$1$6
263Welington CastilloCWSC$1$6
264Bradley BoxbergerKCRP$1$6
265Dylan BundyBALSP$0$5
266Pedro StropCHCRP$1$5
267Kyle SeagerSEA3B$0$5
268Shane GreeneDETRP$0$5
269Yonder AlonsoCWS1B$0$5
270Steven DuggarSFOF$0$5
271Jay BruceSEA1B/OF$0$5
272Luis UriasSD2B$0$5
273Matt StrahmSDRP/SP$0$5
274Kole CalhounLAAOF$0$5
275Derek HollandSFGSP$0$5
276Tucker BarnhartCINC$0$5
277Brandon CrawfordSFSS$0$5
278Ryan ZimmermanWAS1B$0$5
279Hernan PerezMIL2B/SS/3B/OF$0$5
280Maikel FrancoPHI3B$0$5
281Sean NewcombATLSP$0$5
282Niko GoodrumDET1B/2B/SS/3B/OF$0$5
283Ian HappCHC3B/OF$0$5
284Orlando ArciaMILSS$0$5
285Francisco CervelliPITC$0$5
286Nick AhmedARISS$0$5
287Robinson ChirinosHOUC$0$5
288Colin MoranPIT1B,3B$0$5
289Miguel SanoMIN1B/3B$0$4
290Francisco MejiaSDC$0$4
291Hunter DozierKC1B/3B$0$4
292Will SmithSFRP$0$4
293Odubel HerreraPHIOF$0$4
294Didi GregoriusNYYSS$0$4
295Jon GrayCOLSP$0$4
296Nate LoweTB1B$0$4
297Scott KingeryPHISS/3B$0$4
298Willians AstudilloMINC$0$4
299Keston HiuraMIL2B$0$4
300Fernando Tatis Jr.SDSS$0$4
301Renato NunezBAL3B$0$4
302Enrique HernandezLAD2B/SS/OF$0$3
303Teoscar HernandezTOROF$0$3
304Hunter StricklandSEARP$0$3
305Brandon WoodruffMILSP/RP$0$3
305Chris PaddackSDSP$0$3

There you have it! I know, it’s 302 players, I can’t count. Thanks for checking out the rankings. I will have the projections out in the next couple of days.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.




Relief Pitchers Rankings for 2019

Well, here we are well into February and spring training is about to start. There are still some big free agents that haven’t signed and many teams have not made their decisions on their closers. That’s the reason I held off on these rankings but a man can only wait so long. Drafting and owning closers and relievers can be absolutely frustrating as all get out. I for one, try to grab one solid closer followed by a few of the best setup options with elite ratios and swing and miss skills. With the volatility of closers, this method seems to work fairly well. Between scouring the waiver wire and one of those setup men grabbing the closer’s role at some point, I end up with three closers. Awesome! Let’s get to the rankings!

Rankings Updated 3/13/19.

Relief Pitcher Rankings 2019

1Edwin DiazNYMRP1
2Craig KimbrelFARP1
3Blake TreinenOAKRP1
4Aroldis ChapmanNYYRP1
5Felipe VazquezPITRP2
6Roberto OsunaHOURP2
7Kenley JansenLADRP2
8Brad HandCLERP2
9Kirby YatesSDRP2
10Sean DoolittleWSHRP2
11Corey KnebelMILRP2
12Josh HaderMILRP3
13Raisel IglesiasCINRP3
14Jose LeclercTEXRP3
15Ken GilesTORRP3
16Cody AllenLAARP3
17Wade DavisCOLRP3
18David RobertsonPHIRP3
19Tyler GlasnowTBSP,RP4
20Jose AlvaradoTBRP4
21Arodys VizcainoATLRP4
22Will SmithSFRP4
23Matt BarnesBOSRP4
24Shane GreeneDETRP4
25Collin McHughHOUSP,RP4
26Pedro StropCHCRP4
27Mychal Antonio GivensBALRP4
28Jordan HicksSTLSP,RP5
29Andrew MillerSTLRP5
30Matthew StrahmSDSP,RP5
31Alex ColomeCHWRP5
32Hunter StricklandSEARP5
33Trevor MayMINRP5
34Brandon WoodruffMILSP,RP5
35Seranthony DominguezPHIRP5
36Bradley BoxbergerKCRP5
37Greg HollandARIRP5
38Drew SteckenriderMIARP5
39A.J. MinterATLRP5
40Ryan PresslyHOURP6
41Dellin BetancesNYYRP6
42Blake ParkerMINRP6
43Zach EflinPHISP,RP6
44Wily PeraltaKCSP,RP6
45Jeremy JeffressMILRP6
46Domingo GermanNYYSP,RP 6
47Trevor CahillLAASP,RP6
48Archie BradleyARIRP6
49Sergio RomoMIARP6
50Adam ConleyMIARP6
51Mark MelanconSFRP6
52Zach BrittonNYYRP6
53Chad GreenNYYRP6
54Paul FryBALRP6
55Brandon MorrowCHCRP6
56Ryan TeperaTORRP6
57Ty ButteryLAARP6
58Amir GarrettCINRP7
59Ryan BasierBOSRP7
60Mark MelanconSFRP7
61Jeurys FamiliaNYMRP7
62Keone KelaPITRP7
63Diego CastilloTBRP7
64Lou TrivinoOAKRP7
65Tanner ScottBALRP7

Tier 1: Shut down, lock down closers with elite level skills. These closers have the ability to strikeout 100+ batters in just 65-70 innings with elite ratios. All of these pitchers had a swinging strike rate over 16% last season and thus strikeout rates north of 31%. For reference, the league-average strikeout rate is just under 21% and the league-average SwStr% is 10.6%. Of course, as relievers, these numbers tend to be elevated. That being said, the final piece to this puzzle is the saves total. Kimbrel is yet to sign but Boston needs a closer. I could see each of these guys getting 40+ saves (no, I’m not projecting 40) but 35+ seems like a lock.

Tier 2: Closers and relievers are too damn volatile and that’s why I won’t be reaching for one. I’m waiting for a closer run and grabbing one of these guys in tier 2. Likely one near the end of the run, either Brad Hand, Sean Doolittle, or Kirby Yates. I understand Josh Hader isn’t a closer but his stuff is arguably the best in the business. Corey Knebel may struggle a bit and Hader could see 6-10 saves along with several multi-inning outings where he earns the win. I’ll take 5-8 wins and 6-10 saves with 130 strikeouts from Hader. Hell, that’s more strikeouts than Mike Leake will get with the ratios of Chris Sale (probably better actually). Given those numbers and my values, that’s a top 100 player. NOTE: I move Iglesias down a tier with the news that the Reds may be playing matchups and potentially use Iglesias in multi-inning roles if the situation warrants. He’s still the most highly skilled reliever the Reds have, so I’d still expect him to get more than 50% of the save opportunities. He may end up with more innings and strikeouts but his value takes a small hit.

Tier 3: OK, these guys are fine, they are solid but how confident are you they will keep their job all year? I think Kirby Yates and Jose Leclerc have the best skills of the bunch but also are hurt by the quality of their ball clubs. Corey Knebel seems like his job is safe because of how the Brewers deploy Josh Hader. He will lose some saves to Hader but because of the high number of opportunities, he should still reach the 30 save plateau. Ken Giles is the guy in Toronto, but he’s very risky. His projections are all over the map because he does have electric stuff. You just never know when he’s going to have multiple blow-ups and beat himself up about it.  Wade Davis pitching in Colorado will really hurt his ratios as we saw last year. Despite the 4.13 ERA last year, Davis compiled 43 saves. I’ll bet the under on that save total this year and a push on a 4.00 ERA.

Tier 4: Now I’m mixing in starters and middle relievers, what’s going on? Of this tier, only five of these guys are currently named the closer of their team. All of the pitchers below this tier are in some kind of twisted committee or limbo. Hopefully, in the next couple weeks, some of this gets cleared up. Hicks is a guy I’m very interested in grabbing. He’s essentially a unicorn in terms of his velocity and movement. He certainly has a shot at finishing inside the top 10 for closers in 2019. Outside of Hicks, if you’re looking for closers on terrible teams, this is your tier. Smith, Greene, Strickland, and Givens should at minimum be given most of the save opportunities from their respective teams (however few there might be). My favorite of this group in the lefty, Will Smith. I believe he has the best stuff and the most upside of this group. Keep an eye on Colin McHugh, he could be anything from a starter to a middle reliever, to an occasional closer and have sneaky value.

Tier 5: Well friends, I just hope you have at least two solid options at closer by the time you reach this tier if that’s the route you want to go. Pedro Strop should take over the closer’s role in Chicago until Morrow returns. The nice thing about drafting Strop is Morrow is about as reliable as a politician. Strop could be a dark horse to reach 25+ saves this year. Steckenrider, Hildenberger, and Boxberger (is this the berger tier or the long AF last name tier?) should see the majority of the save opportunities for their clubs. Note: The Marlins signed Sergio Romo who likely has the best shot to receive save opportunities over Steckenrider. Then again, outside of Minnesota, their teams are bad and there’s risk of a committee brewing with all of them. A.J. Minter is super talented and has a shot to overtake Vizcaino, so make sure you handcuff him with Minter if you go that route. I’m really hoping Strahm gets a shot to start for the Padres, he’s an interesting option late in drafts.

Tier 6: This tier is essentially the handcuff tier with some starters who have RP eligibility. I have a feeling the Red Sox will have to re-sign Kimbrel, so Barnes ends up in the setup role. This is a huge group but my favorites of this tier for potential saves include Peralta, Romo, Dominguez, Conely, Melancon, Parker and Garrett. I think the Marlins are going to turn to Romo for early save opportunities due to his past experience and the fact that they would like to flip him to a contender for prospect mid-season (aka raise his trade value). That being said, I like  Adam Conely as the darkhorse for saves in Miami, but we are talking about a low quantity of opportunities. Dominguez is talented but when the Phillies signed Robertson, it told me that Dominguez isn’t quite ready. As far as German and Cahill, we may only see 100 innings from each of these pitchers but I think there will be some value here. I threw Amir Garrett in the mix because of the Reds shake-up. I don’t believe Hernandez or Hughes are as talented as Garett. I could see Garrett end up with a valuable multi-inning role that fills in at closer a few times.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.

AP Photo: LM Otero



Outfielder Rankings for 2019

I’ve decided to go 106 deep with my outfielder rankings. Here’s why. In standard 15-team roto leagues with five outfield slots, leagues start 75 outfielders. Every team will have one to two additional OF eligible players at minimum totaling 105. Oh, and I guess one for good measure.  OK, enough about that. The two best fantasy players in baseball are outfielders and personally, there are five first-round players (in a 15-team league) that play the outfield. The position is deep in terms of potential but as you go through my rankings, you’ll see many of the players after tier six might not play every day. Make sure you scroll down to see the blurbs for each tier where I highlight players from each tier. To see the rest of my rankings, click here.

Rankings Updated 3/13/19.

Outfielder Rankings for 2019

Pos RankPlayerTeamPosTier
1Mike TroutLAAOF1
2Mookie BettsBOSOF1
3J.D. MartinezBOSOF2
4Christian YelichMILOF2
5Ronald Acuna Jr.ATLOF2
6Aaron JudgeNYYOF2
7Bryce HarperPHIOF2
8Giancarlo StantonNYYOF2
9Andrew BenintendiBOSOF2
10Charlie BlackmonCOLOF2
11Whit MerrifieldKC2B/OF2
12Khris DavisOAKOF/DH3
13Starling MartePITOF3
14Juan SotoWASOF3
15Tommy PhamTBOF3
16Rhys HoskinsPHI1B/OF3
17Cody BellingerLAD1B/OF3
18George SpringerHOUOF3
19Lorenzo CainMILOF3
20Marcell OzunaSTLOF3
21Michael ConfortoNYMOF4
22Justin UptonLAAOF4
23Aaron HicksNYYOF4
24Yasiel PuigCINOF4
25Mitch HanigerSEAOF4
26Joey GalloTEX1B/OF4
27Nick CastellanosDETOF4
28Andrew McCutchenPHIOF4
29David PeraltaARIOF4
30Eddie RosarioMINOF4
31Wil MyersSD3B/OF4
32David DahlCOLOF5
33Eloy JimenezCHWOF5
34Stephen PiscottyOAKOF5
35Mallex SmithSEAOF5
36Michael BrantleyHOUOF5
37Victor RoblesWASOF5
38A.J. PollockLADOF5
39Ender InciarteATLOF5
40Nomar MazaraTEXOF5
41Ryan BraunMIL1B/OF5
42Jackie Bradley Jr.BOSOF6
43Ramon LaureanoOAKOF6
44Max KeplerMINOF6
45Dee GordonSEAOF6
46Domingo SantanaSEAOF6
47Harrison BaderSTLOF6
48Corey DickersonPITOF6
49Hunter RenfroeSDOF6
50Brandon NimmoNYMOF6
51Jesse WinkerCINOF6
52Ian DesmondCOL1B/OF6
53Adam FrazierPIT2B/OF6
54Trey ManciniBAL1B/OF7
55Jose MartinezSTL1B/OF7
56Chris TaylorLADSS/OF7
57Shin-Soo ChooTEXOF7
58Randal GrichukTOROF7
59Cedric MullinsBALOF7
60Austin MeadowsTBOF7
61Nick MarkakisATLOF7
62Jake BauersCLE1B/OF7
63Adam EatonWSHOF7
64Franmil ReyesSDOF7
65Billy HamiltonKCOF7
66Brian AndersonMIA1B/OF7
67Manuel MargotSDOF7
68Kyle SchwarberCHCOF7
69Adam JonesARIOF8
70Joey WendleTB2B/3B/OF8
71Kevin PillarTOROF8
72Marwin GonzalezMIN1B/2B/SS/OF8
73Jason KipnisCLE2B/OF8
74Gregory PolancoPITOF8
75Kole CalhounLAAOF8
76Steven DuggarSFOF8
77Hernan PerezMIL2B/SS/3B/OF8
78Niko GoodrumDET1B/2B/SS/3B/OF8
79Ian HappCHC3B/OF8
80Lewis BrinsonMIAOF8
81Odubel HerreraPHIOF8
82Enrique HernandezLAD2B/SS/OF9
83Teoscar HernandezTOROF9
84Avisail GarciaTBOF9
85Mark TrumboBALOF9
86Jorge SolerKCOF9
87Jay BruceSEA1B/OF9
88Kyle TuckerHOUOF9
89Daniel PalkaCWSOF9
90Alex VerdugoLADOF9
91Jake CaveMINOF9
92Brett GardnerNYYOF9
93Kevin KiermaierTBOF10
94Leonys MartinCLEOF10
95Delino DeShieldsTEXOF10
96Greg AllenCLEOF10
97Jason HeywardCHCOF10
98Matt KempCINOF10
99Steve PearceBOS1B/OF10
100Tyler O'NeilSTLOF10
101Eric ThamesMIL1B/OF10
102Ben ZobristCHC2B/OF10
103Joc PedersonLADOF10
104Steven SouzaARIOF10
105Alex GordonKANOF10
106Jo AdellLAAOF10
107Yoenis CespedesNYMOF10

Tier 1: Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. These guys get their own tier. No other outfielder in the game could have realistic projections around .325-35-30 with 225 R+RBI. Both players have such high floors where they could finish inside of the top 10 for hitters. These are your clear-cut top to fantasy options in all formats. Nuff said!

Tier 2: I’ve expanded this tier to include Andrew Benintendi and Whit Merrifield because Merrifield will strongly contribute in four categories and isn’t a zero in home runs. It doesn’t hurt that he’s eligible at second base either. I feel like the 24-year-old Benintendi is being undervalued because of his 16 home runs in 2018. Benintendi actually increased his barrel rate by barreling up five more balls in 2018 than in 2017. Let me put it to you this way, in 2017 Benintendi had 47 extra base hits but in 2018 he had 63 extra base hits (41 doubles, 6 triples). I’m betting on 20-23 homers to go with 20 steals in 2018 and could lead the league in runs hitting in front of Betts, Just Dong, and Bogaerts. Christian Yelich won’t repeat his power output from 2018 but 25-27 homers with 20 steals and a .300 average is first round talent. I’ve seen Ronald Acuna Jr. go third after Trout and Betts. I don’t have him that high, but he’s a first rounder. This is the last year he won’t be a unanimous top three pick for the next seven to eight years. Judge, Harper, and Stanton all lack about 1.5 categories but could all lead the league in home runs and RBI.

Tier 3: The 2018 home run leader Khris Davis kicks of tier 3. Believe it or not, I have Davis hitting under .247 in 2019 at .242. That’s bold because Davis has hit .247 the last four years. Davis increased his fly ball rate by 6.5% while decreasing his HR/FB rate. He still maintains extremely strong power statistics, but fly balls that are not home runs are outs nearly 86% of the time. He’s still going to hit 40+ homers but with a slight decrease in average and no steals, give me Whit over Davis. I love Juan Soto, but he’s overvalued in fantasy for 2019. He will just be 20 and will be an absolute beast for the next decade plus, but I’m not projecting 30 home runs or much speed at all. He should combine for plenty of runs + RBI and batting average but for my money, he’s not going to be a top 30 fantasy asset.

Tier 4: I might be higher on Michael Conforto than anyone. I’m projecting a breakout in a big way and believe he has a 35-40 homer season under his belt. I like the improved Mets lineup and Conforto should be primed to drive in runs in bunches. Justin Upton and Mitch Haniger are steady contributors in all categories (Upton less in batting average, Haniger less in speed) but I don’t think either provide the upside of Conforto. I have Upton over Haniger because he’s in the same lineup as Mike Trout. I am not projecting a huge bump in batting average from Gallo, my projections are in line with other systems but there’s value in that. Just make sure you have some other hitters with high batting average floors. The rest of the tier is filled with high risk/high reward players like Puig, Hicks, and Myers but also some floor guys I’ll be targeting like McCutchen, Peralta, and Inciarte.

Tier 5: Eddie “Money” Rosario is who he is at this point. I don’t love his approach or his power metrics. He could fall off similar to Jonathan Schoop in 2018, but I think he’s a bit safer. I’m not buying into David Dahl given his injury history. Earlier this offseason, he was going around pick 150, I was all in on that pick. Now that he’s cracked the top 100, I’m taking a step back. Eloy Jimenez is a beast, he will hit right away once he gets the call from the White Sox. Guaranteed Rate Field in mid-summer is a great place to hit. It all depends on how quickly Jimenez gets the call. Stephen Piscotty had been through a lot in his personal life the last year and a half but really showed some skill improvements in the second half of 2018 where he hit .272 with 15 home runs in just 63 games. The Statcast metrics back it up as his barrel rate jumped three percent along with his hard contact. I like Nomar Mazara to finally approach 30 homers. I think he falls short but 25-28 is not out of the question. If there’s anyone in this tier that could jump two tiers, it’s Victor Robles. The uber-prospect, overshadowed last year by Ronald Acuna and teammate Juan Soto and now by Vlad and Eloy, should see everyday at-bats provided Harper doesn’t resign with the Nationals. I could see 12-15 HR with 25+ SB this year from Robles.

Tier 6: I love this tier and will probably grab one or two guys from this group on all my teams. I’ve touched on most of these guys in recent posts, so check out Jose Martinez, JBJ, & Ramon Laureano here Check out Max Kepler Jesse Winker & Harrison Bader here.  Check out Hunter Renfroe here.

Tier 7: Markakis through Mancini are solid floor players who should contribute in two to 2.5 categories. They are safe plays. Randal Grichuk has 35 homer upside but he needs to see more than 550 plate appearances with Toronto. Cedric Mullins is an interesting sleeper who is getting some publicity because he has a solid combination of power and speed. I have former top prospect Austin Meadows with similar power/speed projections to Mullins but think Meadows could provide more upside if he’s given a chance to get everyday at-bats. Jake Bauers has all the tools to be a 25+ homer, 12-15 SB player but he may be a year away from that. I think he needs to prove he can hit lefties first. Given the Indians lineup is not all that deep after their top few players, he should see 450+ PA.

Tier 8: As it turns out 10 tiers is A LOT! I’ll keep it short from here on out. I like Steven Duggar’s upside with high-end speed and potential double-digit pop. Given to poor depth in SF, Duggar could be a quiet 10-12 HR, 20 SB player this year. Lewis Brinson is interesting because his numbers were so bad last year, but the metrics actually contradict his performance (in a good way). He ranks inside the top 30 for sprint speed (although, his burst isn’t great) and his hard contact was well above average. His 8.7% barrel per batted ball event (BRL/BBE) ranked right in between Robinson Cano and Mike Moustakas last year. If Brinson puts it together this year, we might be looking at a 20-20 type player after all, but I wouldn’t count on it just yet.

Tier 9: If you’re this deep, I suggest going with upside. Of course Statcast Hero Teoscar Hernandez is another Blue Jay outfielder along with Grichuk that could hit 30+ homers given the opportunity. He also has a little bit of speed that could provide 8-10 stolen bases. His contact issues are so bad though that he might see the bench more often than not. Kyle Tucker‘s debut did not go well in 2018 but a talented power/speed prospect still lies within. He doesn’t have a spot on the big league roster just yet but is a player to target on your bench of reserves to start the season.

Tier 10: Tyler O’Neil could hit 40 home runs at some point in his career but he seemed overmatched at the dish too frequently in 2018. I don’t believe he’s a 40% K rate player but does need to improve his contact and find a spot to play in St Louis before I completely buy in. 2020 might be the year for O’Neil to bust out. If Joc Pederson gets traded and finds a starting role, he jumps at least two tiers. He has a solid .842 OPS against right-handed pitching but cannot figure out lefties slashing just .181/.266/.317 in his career. Jo Adell could be this year’s Juan Soto. That statement is both bold and unlikely to happen, because how often does 19 or 20-year-old talent come out of nowhere to dominate in the Majors? Adell is a bit different in that he saw 17 games at Double-A in 2018. Adell is more of a 20 HR/30 SB type player at his peak, so if he gets the call at some point, he’s an immediate grab. Thanks for reading, your input is always welcome and look for the rest of my rankings coming out next week.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.

image via USAToday


Player Profile – Max Kepler 2019 Outlook

Max Kepler (MIN – OF) – FantasyPros Consensus ADP 298; NFBC ADP 247

Wait I thought Kepler retired? Oh, we aren’t talking about the spacecraft that discovered thousands of planets? Hey, shut up NERD! Anyways, Kepler really underperformed in 2018 and I don’t believe he will be on many owner’s radars going into 2019 (pun intended). Sure, Kepler hit 20 homers but he hit a gross .224 with just four steals and 58 RBI. I’ll be upfront with you, I don’t think Kepler should be drafted in shallow 10-team leagues, but there is value here in deeper formats.

First off, Kepler managed just a .236 BABIP for the season, down from .276 in 2017. Part of the reason behind that is he increased his launch angle from 12.9 degrees to 16.1 degrees. The results were not pretty because while he did improve his high drive percentage (link), his popups also went up and the line drives went down.  Of course, line drives are a major factor in batting average. Kepler needs to adjust in terms of batted ball profile if he is going to hit for a high average. Kepler did improve his barrel rate and exit velocity of fly balls and line drives in 2018, but I still believe he needs to take another step forward if he’s going to become a 25+ home run hitter. His pulled fly balls went down from 34% in 2017 to 24% ion 2018. Kepler’s moderate power will play up more if he can generate more pulled fly balls.

He also struggled against right-handed pitching which is odd because Kepler hits from the left side. Including last year’s poor performance against righties, Kepler has a .448 SLG and a .204 ISO against them in his career. In 2018, Kepler went .403 and .187 in terms of SLG and ISO. That’s more a function of BABIP though with a .218 BABIP against righties. I expect regression to mean against RHP in 2019.

Enough with the negatives, let’s turn this rig around! Kepler was more selective at the plate as he chased pitches outside the zone nearly four percent less (28.5% to 24.9%) resulting in a swinging strike decrease from 9.1% to 7.1%. For most of 2018, Kepler was able to cut is swings outside the zone (O-Swing) and increase contact on pitches inside the zone (Z-Contact).

Those are near elite rates. The results are encouraging because his strikeout rate dipped to a career-best 15.7% and his walk rate jumped to a career-high 11.6%! While improving his plate discipline, As I mentioned earlier, Kepler managed to increase his exit velocity and maintain above average quality contact. Kepler is on the verge of a breakout, he just needs to adjust his percentage of fly balls and yank more of the fly balls he does hit to right field.

Take a look at the graph above. Much of Kepler’s struggles after game 55 came when his fly ball rate was elevated. Kepler closed out the season poorly and was hitting everything in the air with a very low hard contact rate. He may have been harboring an injury or he was pressing. Kepler is not going to be an elite power bat but his contact rates, plate discipline, and moderate power make him an interesting late-round target, especially in OBP formats. His well above-average defense should keep him the lineup and he will turn the prime age of 26 in 2019.

I’m expecting a line around .255/.338 with 23 HR, 5 SB, 85 runs and 77 RBI.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.

Featured Image by:Jim Mone


Player Profile – German Marquez 2019 Outlook

German Marquez (SP – COL): FantasyPros Consensus ADP 91; NFBC ADP 85

German Marquez is going off the board inside the top 100 overall as the 25th starting pitcher selected. There’s plenty to like about the soon to be 24-year-old Marquez. Yes, some may be surprised to find out that he is so young and has nearly 400 innings under his belt at the Major League level. In a year where only 13 pitchers reached the 200 inning plateau, an all-time low, Marquez finished 16th with 196 innings pitched in 2018. His 230 strikeouts finished seventh in all of baseball, and strikeouts are sexy! His ratios were solid and his peripherals stated that he underperformed. So why isn’t Marquez a top 12 pitcher in 2019? We all know the answer to that question, Coors Field.

Let’s get down to the nitty and find out if Marquez can tame Coors Field this year. The first thing that catches my attention is the first half/second half splits.

German Marquez - 1st Half / 2nd Half

1st Half4.811.3923.5%8.2%1.494.44
2nd Half2.611.0033.9%5.5%0.682.25

While just about everything was going wrong for Marquez in the first half, he completely pulled a 180 in the second half. The ERA estimators show that his second-half numbers were legit, in fact, he should have been even better! There doesn’t appear to be much regression one way or the other in terms of BABIP either (.310 first half, .313 second half). The league average BABIP in 2018 was just .293 and Coors typically inflates BABIP by about 20-30 points. The one concern I have with Marquez is the home run rate. He cut the home run per fly ball rate by nearly six percent while increasing hard contact against. Per BaseballSavant, other than the month of April, Marquez never had a barrel rate of under five percent in the remaining five months. Given the fact that he calls Coors home, I think the home run rate jumps up closer to 1.1 or 1.2 HR/9 for Marquez in 2019.

Flipping over to the pitch splits, prior to 2018, Marquez had already had an elite curveball. I understand that the pitch value of the curve was just 3.3 (0 being average), but check out the metrics. Marquez got batters to chase the pitch 41.2% of the time and induced swings and misses on 20.4% of the time he threw the curve. If that doesn’t excite you, how does a 54.1% strikeout rate with a .151 batting average and 23 wRC+ against sound? That’s fantastic! What Marquez added to his arsenal in 2018 was his slider. He increased the usage of the slider from 4% in 2017 to 18% in 2018. Remember the great numbers against the curve, well the slider got more swings outside the zone, more swinging strikes while being thrown in the zone more often. The results against the slider were even better. Marquez allowed just a 17 wRC+ and a .183 wOBA against. It’s safe to say that Marquez has two elite breaking pitches and he throws them nearly 40% of the time.

Now the negative. His fourseam fastball was not good last year. Marquez throws hard, 95+ mph, but batters do not seem to have issues catching up with it. Marquez was punished with a .385 wOBA and a 145 wRC+ against his fastball. The good news is, he decreased its usage in favor of his far superior breaking pitches in the second half. That’s part of what vaulted his success in the second half. What’s less known about Marquez was his fastball placement. Since the introduction of the slider, Marquez now had hitters off balance with breaking balls low in the zone. In order to counter, he needed to throw his fastball up in zone changing the eye level of the batter. In the first half, he did not do that. Take a look at the location of the fastballs while ahead in the count from the start of the season through 8/8/18.

Notice how Marquez was throwing the fastball middle-middle far too often while ahead in the count. Now let’s take a look at the fastball locations from 8/14 through the end of the season.

He elevated much more frequently! It also helps that Marquez bumped his velocity from 95 mph early in the season to nearly 97 mph in September. Throwing a 97 mph fastball up in the one has the effective velocity of around 100 mph, while his breaking balls were diving below the zone between 80 and 85 mph. That’s just unfair to the hitters. I’m a big believer in the skills of Marquez and at age 24 I’m confident he will continue to be successful. My hesitation in putting him in my top 15 overall for starters due to Coors Field. There will be the occasional blow up if his breaking balls aren’t as sharp. I also don’t believe Marquez has a first half as bad as it was in 2018. His stuff is nasty and he’s a lock for 200+ strikeouts. Coors will keep his ERA above 3.50 but Marquez is quickly turning into a power pitching workhorse. My projections for Marquez in 2019 are:

194 IP, 14 Wins, 3.66 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 223 Strikeouts

For your viewing pleasure, please check out this GIF of Marquez elevating his fourseasm fastball against Ronald Acuna Jr. courtesy of PitcherList.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.

Featured Image Courtesy of John Leyba/The Denver Post


Third Base Rankings for 2019

It’s February already! I need to get moving on my rankings. This post completes my infield rankings and I plan on getting the outfielder rankings out early next week. If you want to see all my other rankings, CLICK HERE! 

Where were we? Oh, right, third base rankings. Third base is pretty deep this year. However, there’s a shit-ton of guys that are eligible at other positions (especially if you play in Yahoo leagues). If I’m being honest, in Yahoo leagues, I just draft the player with the best value and worry about positions later. The chances are, you can fill out a roster in Yahoo formats without worrying about positions. For the rest of us, I’ve put out my rankings with tiers to make things a little bit easier. The tiers are based on my projections and standard gain points. I write a blurb on each tier below the rankings. Here we go!

Rankings Updated 3/13/19.

Third Base Rankings for 2019

Pos RankPlayerTeamPositionsTier
1Jose RamirezCLE2B/3B1
2Nolan ArenadoCOL3B1
3Manny MachadoSDSS/3B1
4Alex BregmanHOUSS/3B1
5Javier BaezCHC2B/SS/3B2
6Anthony RendonWAS3B2
7Kris BryantCHC3B2
8Eugenio SuarezCIN3B2
9Vlad Guerrero Jr.TOR3B2
10Travis ShawMIL2B/3B2
11Matt CarpenterSTL1B/2B/3B3
12Miguel AndujarNYY3B3
13Matt ChapmanOAK3B3
14Justin TurnerLAD3B3
15Max MuncyLAD1B/2B/3B3
16Wil MyersSD3B/OF4
17Mike MoustakasMIL3B4
18Josh DonaldsonATL3B4
19Rafael DeversBOS3B4
20Jurickson ProfarOAK1B/2B/SS/3B4
21Eduardo EscobarARISS/3B4
22Yuli GurrielHOU1B/2B/3B4
23Evan LongoriaSF3B4
24Kyle SeagerSEA3B4
25Carlos SantanaCLE1B/3B5
26Nick SenzelCIN3B5
27Jed LowrieNYM2B/3B5
28Asdrubal CabreraTEX2B/SS/3B5
29Jeimer CandelarioDET3B5
30Jake LambARI3B5
31Joey WendleTB2B/3B/OF5
32Maikel FrancoPHI3B5
33Colin MoranPIT3B5
34Niko GoodrumDET1B/2B/SS/3B/OF6
35Ian HappCHC3B/OF6
36Hernan PerezMIL2B/SS/3B/OF6
37Miguel SanoMIN1B/3B6
38Hunter DozierKC1B/3B6
39Renato NunezBAL3B6
40Scott KingeryPHISS/3B6
41Zack CozartLAA2B/SS/3B6
42Jedd GyorkoSTL2B/3B6
43Aledmys DiazHOUSS/3B6
44Johan CamargoATLSS/3B7
45Matt DavidsonTEX1B/3B7
46Matthew DuffyTB3B7
47Tim BeckhamSEASS/3B7
48Eduardo NunezBOS2B/3B7
49Todd FrazierNYM3B7
50Alen HansonSF3B7
51Miguel RojasMIASS/3B7
52Yangervis SolarteFA2B/3B7
53Austin RileyATL3B7
54Isiah Kiner-FalefaTEXC/2B/3B7

TIER 1: I’ve discussed Ramirez (2B Rankings), Bregman (SS Rankings), and Baez (both 2B and SS Rankings). Nolan Arenado is the only player in tier 1 I have not discussed. Arenado is still just 27 years old and has averaged 40 home runs and 125 RBI the last four seasons while never hitting below .287 in that span. That’s incredible, bankable production, he’s great. However, his production did dip a little bit in 2018. His barrel rate was just 7.4% in 2018 behind hitters such as Kike Hernandez, Starling Marte, and Lewis Brinson. His previous elite level strikeout rate dipped three percent to 18.1%. Calling Colorado home, I still see Arenado around .290 with 35 homers and 100 RBI, but without any speed, I no longer feel comfortable grabbing him inside the top 10 (he’s 11 for me).

TIER 2: Rendon is criminally underrated every single year. His injury history past is far behind him as he’s averaged 616 plate appearances a year the last three seasons. I discussed Rendon in my HR/BRL under-performers, so you know I love him going into 2019. Bryant is due for a bounce back after suffering from injuries all year in 2018. That being said, I don’t see the MVP caliber season we saw in 2016 from Bryant. I think his numbers will be similar to Rendon’s with about 10-15 points lower in terms of batting average. Then there’s Vlad. It’s amazing that he’s in the second tier without playing a single game in the Majors. He profiles as a .300 hitter with good power. That’s why he’s here. His numbers could be as good or better than Rendon’s or similar to Andujar’s (on the low side).

TIER 3: This tier is filled with injury concerns and breakouts. Basically, I don’t anticipate that any of these players play enough games or perform at their peak level. For instance, Carpenter is 33 years old and is coming off a season where he hit 36 home runs, eight more than his previous career high. I know he’s a Statcast hero, but with a rising strikeout rate, a lower batting average and a home run total closer to 26-28, I’m not comfortable putting him inside the top 75. I’ll touch on Chapman because, at age-25, he has the power potential to hit 35+ homers. I still think he’s a year away from a monster season but still, think he’s worth a top 100 pick given the Athletics lineup and his improvements from 2018.

TIER 4: Josh Donaldson still harnesses power and solid plate discipline. That’s about where the positives end. He’s 33 years old, hasn’t had more 496 plate appearances since 2016, and his contact rates have plummeted the last three seasons. His strikeout rate is trending in the wrong direction, since 2016, and it looks like this: 17%, 22.4%, 24.7%. Donaldson is a .250 hitter with 25-30 homer power, IF (big if there) he can stay healthy for 140 games. Wil Myers is in the same boat as Donaldson because he can’t stay healthy. Myers is intriguing because he has speed. A 25-20 season is in the possible outcomes for Myers. It’s a good time to buy Rafael Devers after he flopped last year. He’s only 22 years old and hasn’t yet reached his raw power potential. 2019 may be the cheapest Devers will be for the next 10 years.

TIER 5: Nick Senzel has the talent to jump two tiers right now but he’s dealt with injuries and bouts of vertigo over the last season plus. Basically, he’s a high risk/high reward player in 2019. The Reds are giving Senzel a shot at Centerfield with Suarez and Gennett blocking him at 3B and 2B, respectively. If he struggles defensively in center during spring training, he may be in the minors to start the season. I could see anywhere from .285-22-12 to .250-10-5 given injuries, minors, etc. Seager seems like a major average drain similar to Carlos Santana. Seager’s 30 homer potential is now gone and the lineup around him in Seattle is not exciting. He’s the epitome of a boring, everyday veteran. He still has value in 15-team leagues, but I won’t be reaching for him. Jake Lamb is interesting because he’s moving to 1B with the departure of Goldy. Still, on the right side of 30, Lamb could still hit 25 homers while sitting against lefties.

TIER 6: This is truly the swiss-army knife tier. I’ve touched on most of these guys at other positions but should discuss Ian Happ. Happ was someone I was high on coming into 2018 but he completely flopped as his strikeout rate went through the roof after an elevated 31% K rate his rookie year. The positives include youth, improved O-swing, and extremely valuable contact (when he actually does make contact). The bad, while he offered at pitches outside the zone less often, his zone contact rate dropped over 7%! He does run some and could pop 25+ homers given improvements in contact rate, but still remains very risky in Chicago where he doesn’t have an avenue to play every day. The other guy that no one is talking about is Renato Nunez, Baltimore’s third baseman. He should play every day and has shown 30 homer power in the minors. There’s a lot of holes to his offensive game and will be some slumps but Baltimore is a great park to hit in for power and given the lack of depth on the Orioles, he could hit fourth or fifth in the lineup if he’s successful.

Tier 7: is cringeworthy. There’s a combination of over-the-hill veterans and a few young players without a starting job. Personally, I’m hoping Frazier doesn’t reach 300 at-bats this year with Alonso coming up and McNeil getting more playing time. Matt Davidson has power but no starting role. Austin Riley was a favorite prospect of mine last year, but he took a step back. That’s the reason the Braves gave Josh Donaldson a one-year deal. Not only that, Johan Camargo had a solid year in 2018 and can fill in at short as well. In my opinion, Riley requires more seasoning and even if Donaldson gets injured, Riley will stay in Triple-A with Camargo filling in at third base. Riley will be called up this year but it won’t be until August or later. What happened to Eduardo Nunez? I’ll give you one word, SPEED! His steals went from 40 in 2016 to 24 in 2017, to just 7 in 2018. He actually had more plate appearances in 2018 than in 2017. Sure, he can play all over the field, but 2B is likely where he sees the most playing time. His speed is on the severe decline and I can’t bump him up at all.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.

Cover Image by: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images