These pitchers do a lot of things right and will be reliable SP2s.
Trevor Bauer, CIN
Bauer has just one good season in his six full seasons. He looked good in the first half with the Indians but he unraveled in the second half with the Reds. In his final 10 starts, he posted a 6.39 ERA, 1.349 WHIP, 10.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. Bauer will be with the Reds for the full season, unless he’s traded again. He pitched well in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark with a 3.55 ERA and 0.970 WHIP in five starts. He will have decent ratios with 200-plus strikeouts.
Tyler Glasnow, TB
Glasnow looked good but only pitched in 60 innings. He missed three and a half months of action. In those innings, though, he posted a 1.78 ERA, 0.890 WHIP, 11.3 K/9 and a 6-1 record. The big improvements were the walk and HR/FB rates. With a full season scheduled for Glasnow, he should be able to repeat that performance. There may be some injury risk, but the reward could be a top-15 starting pitcher.
Noah Syndergaard, NYM
Syndergaard pitched in his first full season since 2016 but did not look good in the process. He posted a 4.28 ERA, 1.234 WHIP and 10-8 record. The fly ball and HR/FB rates regressed as Thor relied on his fastball more than the previous season. The NL East is a dangerous division to pitch in, so Syndergaard could be in some trouble again. The floor may be a bit lower compared to other pitchers in this tier.
Mike Clevinger, CLE
Clevinger pitched in a shortened season last year, making 21 starts. Despite that, he was a great fantasy asset. He finished with a 2.71 ERA, 1.056 WHIP, 12.1 K/9 and a 13-4 record. Clevinger underwent surgery for a partial medial meniscus tear and is expected to be back on the mound in May. The missed time pushes him down the rankings a little but as we saw last year, he can still be valuable.
Zack Greinke, HOU
In his 16th year, Greinke had another good season. His ERA was under 3.00 and WHIP under 1.00 with an 18-5 record. Looking at his second-half stats with the Astros, he had a 3.02 ERA and a 1.069 WHIP. Overall, his strikeout rate has been on a steady decline. The offense is good enough to give him run support. Just be aware that 200 strikeouts may not happen if you draft Greinke.
Yu Darvish, CHC
Darvish bounced back nicely in 2019. He made 31 starts with a 3.98 ERA, 1.097 WHIP, 11.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. His season could be broken into two halves. He had a 5.01 ERA in the first and a 2.76 ERA in the second half. Darvish had just seven total walks in his final 13 starts. He isn’t the same pitcher we saw in 2012 and 2013 but he won’t let you down like he did in the first half of last season.
Aaron Nola, PHI
Nola is just one of the two Phillies starting pitchers I’d want to draft this season. While his ERA went up over a run from 2018 to 2019, he had a career-high 229 strikeouts. The downside was the huge increase his hard-hit and HR/FB rates. If you draft based on previous seasons, Nola is not worth it at his current ADP. But, if you draft based on what they can do, he may not be worth it for that either. Nola will get 200 strikeouts but he hasn’t perfected his ratios.
Lucas Giolito, CWS
Giolito had a roller coaster first three seasons, posting an ERA over 6.00 in two of the seasons but made over 30 starts in one of them. In his second full season, he finished with a 3.41 ERA, 10.64 WHIP, 11.6 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. Giolito was able to limit opposing contact, 77.3% of contact on pitches in the strike zone. With an improved offense, he could finish with a few more wins as well as another 210 strikeouts.