Written by: Ray Butler
The Grandaddy of them all. The grand finale. The moment we’ve all been waiting for.
The LORG positional rankings have been a long and winding road. From passionately discussing Frank’s catchers to blaring Boyz II Men’s “End of the Road” when it was time to rank something of Matt’s, this series has hopefully played a role in setting the table for what should be an enthralling 2017 season for the League of Ruthless Gentlemen.
We wrap it up with perhaps the most important ranking yet: starting pitching. There’s obviously more quantity here than at any other position, so I felt it was only right to create a scale to rank us. Here’s that scale:
Pitchers named Clayton Kershaw: 90 points
2nd starting pitcher – 5th starting pitcher: 80 points
6-10: 75 points
11-15: 70 points
16-20: 65 points
21-25: 60 points
26-30: 55 points
31-35: 50 points
36-40: 45 points
41-45: 40 points
46-50: 35 points
51-55: 30 points
56-60: 25 points
61-65: 20 points
66-70: 15 points
70+: 10 points
Prospects: 1 point
Let’s get it poppin’:
#1. Gregg Morris- Starting Pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale, Stephen Strasburg, Johnny Cueto, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Nola, Rich Hill, Ivan Nova, Luke Weaver, Dakota Hudson, Riley Pint. Starting Pitcher Score: 497
With a cornucopia of star-power, there are two things I’ll be looking for from Gregg’s pitching corps: 1) sustained health of Kershaw, Strasburg, Cole, and Hill and 2) how well Chris Sale adjusts to pitching in Fenway Park . If both work out well in 2017, this should easily be the best pitching staff in the league. I also love the draft-addition of Ivan Nova to complete this stellar group.
#2. Ray Butler- Starting Pitchers: Noah Syndergaard, Justin Verlander, Kyle Hendricks, Carlos Martinez, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Rodon, Matt Moore, Daniel Norris, Anderson Espinoza, Mitch Keller. Starting Pitcher Score: 462
Other than Noah Syndergaard, Ray’s pitchers lack the limelight of Gregg’s staff. With six pitchers ranked in the top-35 at this position, though, this group should be able to compete with anyone in this league (especially if Verlander can prove his ability to be successful while being owned by anyone in this league other than Caleb).
#3. Ben Roach- Starting Pitchers: Yu Darvish, Chris Archer, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Fulmer, Jameson Taillon, Lance McCullers, Sonny Gray, Taijuan Walker. Starting Pitcher Score: 405
Ben’s starting pitchers are chalked full of upside. Archer is a strong bounce-back candidate, and Darvish and McCullers will be studly as long as they can stay healthy. The wild card of this group? Check out Taijuan Walker’s spring training stats. Then check out his quotes on how healthy he feels and how he’s adjusted his approach this offseason. Might this be the year he finally takes off?
#4. John Morrison- Starting Pitchers: Corey Kluber, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, David Price, James Paxton, Matt Shoemaker, Zach Davies, Drew Pomeranz, Lance Lynn, Joe Musgrove, Hunter Harvey. Starting Pitcher Score: 380
Price’s questionable health casts somewhat of a shadow over an otherwise stellar staff. Kluber, Lester, and Quintana should remain consistently solid; Paxton, Shoemaker, and Davies bring nice upside to the table that could perhaps propel this group into the elite of the league.
#5. Caleb Stumpf- Starting Pitchers: Madison Bumgarner, Jacob deGrom, Zach Greinke, Tanner Roark, Jeff Samardzija, Jerad Eickhoff, Francisco Liriano, Blake Snell, Mike Montgomery, Yadier Alvarez. Starting Pitcher Score: 351
Will Zach Greinke’s 2017 performance mimic his numbers from 2014 and 2015, or will it be the second verse of the same song from the 2016 season? The answer to this question might be the difference between Caleb’s pitching staff being good or great. An underrated add that went undrafted? Francisco Liriano.
#6. Zach Gerhart- Starting Pitchers: Danny Salazar, Kenta Maeda, Dallas Keuchel, Jake Odorizzi, J.A. Happ, Vince Velasquez, Garrett Richards, Drew Smyly, Tyler Anderson, Alex Wood, Jose De Leon, Sean Newcomb, Dillon Tate. Starting Pitcher Score: 327
The grand experiment. Last year, Zach was a stream-heavy owner who was capable of making up to 20 waiver wire moves on a weekly basis. This year, Zach has done literally the opposite, hoarding starting pitchers whenever he’s had the chance. Based on preseason rankings, there’s not a true star amongst the group. There is, however, plenty of upside in this staff that could lead to Zach’s staff being ranked much higher in retrospection.
#7. Matt Smith- Starting Pitchers: Carlos Carrasco, Cole Hamels, Danny Duffy, Kevin Gausman, Michael Pineda, Robert Gsellman, Cody Reed, Jason Groome, Adrian Morejon. Starting Pitcher Score: 267
The emergence of Danny Duffy and Kevin Gausman was huge for Matt last season. This year, they’ll need to just as good or better (and Carrasco has to stay healthy) for this group to be great in 2017. I also think Cody Reed will prove to be a viable pitching option by season’s end.
#8. Frank Selesky- Starting Pitchers: Julio Teheran, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, Jon Gray, Sean Manaea, Dylan Bundy, Zack Wheeler, Josh Hader, Reynaldo Lopez, A.J. Puk. Starting Pitcher Score: 262
For a team who’s clearly in win-later mode, Frank sure has an intriguing pitching staff. Matz, Harvey, Gray, Manaea, Bundy, and Wheeler are ALL guys who easily could be ranked higher at the end of the regular season than they are now. Hader and Lopez are two other promising young arms that should factor into their big league club’s success sometime in 2017.
#9. Adam Stumpf- Starting Pitchers: Jake Arrieta, Felix Hernandez, Marco Estrada, Joe Ross, Robbie Ray, Mike Foltynewicz, Tyler Skaggs, Brent Honeywell. Starting Pitcher Score: 231
Adam has an almost-even mixture of veteran arms and promising young guns on his pitching staff. This group will get a nice bump if both Arrieta and Hernandez return to their pre-2016 selves. Ray and Foltynewicz are two major-upside guys that could really burst onto the scene in 2017.
#10. Bobby Morrison- Starting Pitchers: Max Scherzer, Rich Porcello, John Lackey, Adam Wainwright, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ian Kennedy. Starting Pitcher Score: 215
What if I told you that Bobby owns BOTH 2016 Cy Young Award winners? You’d probably think the guy has an earth-shattering pitching staff, right? Not exactly. Along with Scherzer and Porcello, John Lackey should remain a reliable option in 2017. Ian Kennedy shouldn’t be too bad, either. But Bobby needs both Wainwright and Iwakuma to have bounce-back campaigns in order for this group to finish in the top half of the league.
#11. McKinnon Ray- Starting Pitchers: Anthony DeSclafani, Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Bauer, Shelby Miller, Luis Severino, Jose Berrios, Alex Reyes. Starting Pitcher Score: 96
2017 will be a streaming season for McKinnon, who tore down his pitching staff from last season to bolster his offense. Miller, Severino and Berrios are three high-upside options whose stocks are down after disappointing 2016 seasons, but only Miller is a lock to make the Opening Day rotation for the trio’s respective teams. McKinnon is a current -800 favorite to make the most LORG waiver wire moves in 2017 (according to the Pearl River Resort, which is Vegas with sweet tea).
#12. Van Moore- Starting Pitchers: Julio Urias, Junior Guerra, Jharel Cotton, Tyler Glasnow, Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech, Francis Martes, Kolby Allard. Starting Pitcher Score: 83
Van should ascend up this list each season for the next three or four seasons, if not more. But with Urias perhaps not being on the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster, Glasnow and Giolito perhaps starting on the farm, and little roster room to spare, the question remains: How will Van get to the 35 IP threshold this season?
On Deck: We’ve got several smaller projects coming up, including ranking each starting lineup and LORG’s 2017 Bold Predictions
Link to LORG 2017 Catcher Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/01/lorg-2017-catcher-rankings/?frame-nonce=6f3eacd168
Link to LORG 2017 First Base Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/03/lorg-2017-first-baseman-ranks/
Link to LORG 2017 Second Base Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/05/lorg-2017-second-base-rankings/
Link to LORG 2017 Third Base Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/09/lorg-2017-third-base-rankings/
Link to LORG 2017 Shortstop Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/11/lorg-2017-shortstop-ranks/
Link to LORG 2017 Outfielder Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/14/lorg-2017-outfield-rankings/
Link to LORG 2017 Relief Pitcher Rankings: https://sidelinesandheadlines.com/2017/03/18/lorg-2017-relief-pitcher-rankings/
*None of the photos used in this article (or any article in this series) are my own, nor do I have any interest in accepting credit for them. Full credit and thanks goes out to each and every photographer and website/blog that published the photos originally.*