Top 10 Starting Pitchers for 2018

Top 10 Starting Pitchers for 2018

This is the first of an eight part series on position previews for the 2018 fantasy baseball season. In order to win a fantasy baseball league (standard roto or points scoring), it’s imperative to have at least one of the best starters on your roster. 

Here are my top ten starters (independent of draft order) for standard roto and points leagues in 2018:

Rank Rotisserie Points
10 Jose Quintana (Cubs) Stephen Strasburg (Nationals)
9 Luis Severino (Yankees) Jose Quintana (Cubs)
8 Chris Archer (Rays) Chris Archer (Rays)
7 Jacob deGrom (Mets) Justin Verlander (Astros)
6 Noah Syndergaard (Mets) Noah Syndergaard (Mets)
5 Stephen Strasburg (Nationals) Jacob deGrom (Mets)
4 Corey Kluber (Indians) Corey Kluber (Indians)
3 Chris Sale (Red Sox) Chris Sale (Red Sox)
2 Max Scherzer (Nationals) Max Scherzer (Nationals)
1 Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)

No surprises with the top four in either scoring format, really. Kershaw, Scherzer, Sale and Kluber are in a league of their own, and should be prioritized at the position above the rest if you want a stud pitcher.

The only differences between the lists in terms of names is the appearance of Luis Severino in roto and Justin Verlander in points. They both rank 12th in the respective format they fall outside of the top ten in. The key difference between the two? Projected ERA. Verlander nets out at an expected 3.95 ERA, while Severino projects to be 10.1% better with a 3.55 ERA. Both are viable late third, early fourth round targets based on average draft position, or ADP* (according to NFBC data at time of publication).

Noah Syndergaard re-enters the top ten in both formats despite missing the majority of the 2017 season with a torn right lat muscle. Thor logged a quality start in each of his first four starts last year pre-injury, and looked to be well on his way to another gem of a season. Expect him to be dominant once again if he can avoid another extended stay on the disabled list. It’s early, but right now he has a late third round ADP, which right now looks like the third best bargain at the position.

Chris Archer’s fifth round ADP is the second best bargain on the board for a likely top ten pitcher in both formats. Buyer beware: Archer absolutely fell off a cliff in September of 2017, failing to log more than 5 innings in 4 of his final 5 starts. If this trend continues, Archer may be a guy who will help you reach the fantasy playoffs, but may not necessarily be of value during the playoff slate. Granted, three of those starts came against MLB playoff teams (at Boston, vs. Yankees, vs. Cubs), so there is plenty of reason to remain optimistic about Tampa Bay’s ace.

Jose Quintana will presumably log his first full season in the National League with the Cubs in 2018, and projects to be a phenomenal value at his round 7(!) ADP. He projects to be near the top of MLB in wins with 14, which would be good for the most in his career. Quintana will likely be a favorite target of mine in early mock drafts. He is dramatically mispriced, which means even if his ADP creeps up closer to Opening Day, he may still end up being one of 2018’s best stud bargains.

*ADP in twelve team leagues