Fantasy Baseball draft season is finally here, which means I have to get my rankings together. Normally, I’d start from catchers and go forward in the rankings posts through the infielders and outfielders, before getting to the pitchers. But this season, I’m starting with the top 70 Starting Pitcher rankings for 2015 Fantasy Baseball!
Normal order of things be damned!
Well, the real reason I’m doing it this way is because it just plain seems like a better place to start. Everyone already has a great idea of the top catchers, first basemen, etc., but knowing the best options for your third or fourth starting pitchers? That’s a little trickier.
Top 75 Starting Pitcher Rankings for 2015!
These rankings are based on Rotisserie Fantasy leagues, which means pitchers with lower ERAs on bad MLB teams might be ranked a little higher because losses aren’t as big of a negative attribute.
Before we get into the Starting Pitcher rankings, I thought it would be good to discuss a couple things Fantasy owners should keep in mind.
Make sure when you’re looking at Average Draft Position for starting pitchers, you keep in mind the dates that those drafts were held. For instance, any set of ADP before Max Scherzer signed with the Nationals is probably not indicative of his current value.
Scherzer was a beast in Detroit, and now he joins an excellent pitching staff with a better bullpen in Washington (not as good as last year’s Nats bullpen, but still). He also gets to pitch in an above-average pitching park in Nationals Park, and he’ll be an American League pitcher moving to the National League.
Remember Doug Fister? He blazed the trail for Scherzer last season, going from Detroit to Washington, and we predicted his breakout last year, too. Fister improved his record from 14-9 in 2013 to 16-6 in Washington in 2014 (despite seven fewer starts). He also dropped his ERA from 3.67 down to 2.42 last season.
Scherzer will be facing pitchers instead of designated hitters, and has moved into my top five pitchers overall with this switch. RotoWire.com’s Chris Liss has talked about Scherzer being a late-first round pick at the turn in 15-team drafts. I don’t see that happening, but I can definitely get on board with taking him at the turn of Round 2 and 3. Can you imagine picking Mike Trout with the No. 1 overall pick and pairing him with Scherzer?
Speaking of free agents on the go, James Shields similarly leaves Kansas City to join a completely rebuilt Padres team in one of the best pitching parks in the majors. Shields also moves to the NL for the first time, and while he loses a great bullpen and a better offense, Shields moves up about 10 spots for me, into the top 20 in my 2015 Starting Pitcher rankings.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to take these top 75 Starting Pitcher rankings and go out and put together a stellar Fantasy Baseball squad! Good luck!
Felix Hernandez & Max Scherzer Photo Credits: Keith Allison
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.