Fantasy baseball 2020 tiered starting pitcher rankings

TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the first inning during the spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Steinbrenner Field on February 24, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 24: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch in the first inning during the spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Steinbrenner Field on February 24, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The pitchers here finish the top 10 and a little after that. They are all top-10 worthy.

Chris Paddack, SD

Paddack was a great pitcher last season but he could have been even better without the innings limit. He posted a 3.33 ERA, 0.981 WHIP and 153 strikeouts in 140.2 innings. He should be able to pitch close to 200 innings this season. Paddack has a 94 MPH fastball and a great change-up. If he can work in his curveball, Paddack has the skills to finish as a top-10 starting pitcher.

Charlie Morton, TB

In his first 11 years in the league, Morton was a middle-of-the-road pitcher with limited starting experience. It wasn’t until his second year with the Astros in 2018 that he put up top-15 fantasy numbers. Things got even better in his first season with Tampa Bay. Morton finished third in Cy Young voting. With an effective fastball and dangerous curveball, Morton just misses bats. He’s worth a fourth-round pick, despite pitching in the AL East.

Patrick Corbin, WSH

Corbin posted back-to-back seasons with 200-plus innings, at least 230 strikeouts and a sub-3.30 ERA. The only stats that regressed were his walks and strikeouts per nine innings, not usually a good thing. Even at his floor, Corbin is still better than 90 percent of the starting pitchers. The NL East is a tough division to pitch in but he did a good job in his first season with the Nationals. As a fourth-round pick, he’ll be a solid SP1 in 12-team leagues.

Luis Castillo, CIN

Castillo struggled in 2018 but bounced back nicely last season. The main stats, ERA and WHIP, were good for fantasy owners but there are some concerns with the underlying numbers, mainly his walk rate going up three percent. However, the decrease in his fly ball rate, especially when pitching in Great American Ballpark, is important. Castillo is just 27 years old, entering the prime of his career. He will help you with wins, good ratios and at least 200 strikeouts.

Clayton Kershaw, LAD

Kershaw posted good ratios over the last few seasons but he wasn’t pitching a full season. He hasn’t made 30 starts since 2015. However, he still looks good when he’s on the mound. Kershaw finished with a 3.03 ERA, 1.043 WHIP, 189 strikeouts, 2.1 BB/9 and a 16-5 record. His batted ball profile led to his ERA reaching over 3.00 for the first time since 2008. He isn’t the ace he was at the beginning of last decade but Kershaw won’t hurt your team as an SP2.

Blake Snell, TB

In his first season after signing a new contract, coming off his Cy Young season, Snell disappointed fantasy owners. He posted a 4.29 ERA, 1.271 WHIP, 3.4 BB/9 and a 6-8 record in just 23 starts. Everything that could go wrong, did. There is some upside with his strikeout rate and FIP being a run lower than his ERA. Many owners will likely stay away from Snell, which opens up a window for you to draft him in the fourth round.

Shane Bieber, CLE

In his second season, Bieber posted an amazing stat line. In 214.1 innings, he finished with a 3.28 ERA, 1.054 WHIP, 10.9 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9. The downside is that he had an increase in his fly ball and HR/FB rates last year. Pitching against the Twins and White Sox this season could result in some crooked numbers. However, the ratios won’t be outrageous while he gives you 220 strikeouts and limits opposing base runners.

Jack Flaherty, STL

Flaherty was the poster boy for starting pitchers with two different halves. In the first half, he posted a 4.64 ERA and 1.227 WHIP in 18 starts. In the next 15 starts, Flaherty pitched to a ridiculous 0.91 ERA and 0.715 WHIP. There is no way of knowing which Flaherty you are going to draft but I think he’s going to finish in the middle with an ERA in the 3.00’s, a WHIP just over 1.00 and 215 strikeouts. He’s a top-10 pitcher.

Stephen Strasburg, WSH

Strasburg has not been the healthiest of starting pitchers throughout his career. Last season was the first time he pitched over 200 innings since 2014. He had a 3.32 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, 10.8 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 33 starts. As long as he can stay healthy again, Strasburg will be once again near-elite. The division is tough, with the Mets, Phillies and Braves, but his ERA won’t reach 3.50.

Walker Buehler, LAD

After a horrible April, 5.22 ERA, Buehler settled down and posted a 2.88 ERA and 1.013 WHIP. He had good control of his pitches, not walking many batters and limiting contact. Pitching in the NL West does help as most of the offenses shouldn’t scare you. He’ll have one of the best offenses in the league to support him. He is a top-five pitcher that will help in four of the five main pitching categories.