2021 Projections Review: Starting Pitchers

·23 min read



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Here’s the third and final projections review column, this one focusing on starting pitchers. Included is my entire preseason top 40 and 37 of the 39 ERA-title qualifiers (everyone except Cole Irvin and Jordan Lyles), as well as everyone else I find interesting.

The next column will be the Top 111 Free Agents article, which will be posted soon after the World Series concludes.

1. Jacob deGrom - Mets
Projection: 17-7, 2.56 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 284 K in 200 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 7-2, 1.08 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, 146 K in 92 IP

It wasn’t ever anything to put any stock into, but I used to note when relievers finished with at least twice as many strikeouts as hits allowed. It was a measure of dominance achieved just once prior to 1987 (Ryne Duren in 1958), but starting in the mid-90s, it usually happened a few times per year and even more often lately, with the occasional starter getting into the mix. Now a 3:1 K:H ratio is a thing, achieved 23 times (min. 60 IP) since 1999 (20 of those times coming since 2010). No qualified starter has ever done that, but deGrom likely would have had he stayed healthy. He actually came in at over 3.5:1 in his 92 innings (Craig Kimbrel’s 2012 is the only 4:1 season ever, though Josh Hader came very close in 2018). He wasn’t far off from having his strikeouts triple his total of hits (46) plus walks (11) allowed. His 13.3 K:BB ratio was more than twice as high as anything he’d done previously, and truth be told, he was actually quite good before this year. It’s a huge bummer that we didn’t get to see what he would have achieved had he remained healthy.

2. Shane Bieber - Indians
Projection: 16-8, 2.68 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 288 K in 198 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 7-4, 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 134 K in 96 2/3 IP

3. Gerrit Cole - Yankees
Projection: 17-8, 3.14 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 262 K in 197 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 16-8, 3.23 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 243 K in 181 1/3 IP

4. Walker Buehler - Dodgers
Projection: 15-6, 2.96 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 227 K in 182 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 16-4, 2.47 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 212 K in 207 2/3 IP

5. Max Scherzer - Nationals/Dodgers
Projection: 16-8, 3.32 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 264 K in 198 IP
2021 stats: 15-4, 2.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 236 K in 179 1/3 IP

There’s plenty not to like beyond this point, but putting Buehler and Scherzer in my top five worked out great. Trevor Bauer and Yu Darvish were the No. 4 and 5 starters in ADP this year, with Buehler sixth or seventh (alongside Lucas Giolito) and Scherzer ninth (behind Aaron Nola) in both NFBC and Yahoo. Sure, placing Scherzer fifth wasn’t nearly as bold as ranking Corbin Burnes there would have been, but the difference between drafting Scherzer instead of Darvish in round two could have been a league-decider.

6. Trevor Bauer - Dodgers
Projection: 17-8, 3.39 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 265 K in 201 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 8-5, 2.59 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 137 K in 107 2/3 IP

7. Clayton Kershaw - Dodgers
Projection: 14-5, 2.87 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 176 K in 163 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 10-9, 3.55 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 144 K in 121 2/3 IP

8. Jack Flaherty - Cardinals
Projection: 15-7, 3.18 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 229 K in 187 IP
2021 stats: 9-2, 3.22 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 85 K in78 1/3 IP

Our Edge crew is currently in the middle of a very early mock in which Flaherty was just the 25th SP taken, going late in the seventh round (12-team league). Unfortunately, I missed out by a couple of picks, as I’m drafting 12th-13th. I understand the concern, as he was limited to 78 innings this year by an oblique strain and then a sore shoulder, but no major shoulder issue was discovered and he returned at the end of the season. I’ll take my chances with him at a discount next year.

9. Luis Castillo - Reds
Projection: 15-8, 3.33 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 225 K in 191 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 8-16, 3.98 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 192 K in 187 2/3 IP

10. Aaron Nola - Phillies
Projection: 15-8, 3.53 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 233 K in 193 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 9-9, 4.63 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 223 K in 180 2/3 IP

There were definitely times when Nola struggled this year, but his FIP was 3.37 and he had a dreadful defense behind him. He’ll be a better value next spring.

11. Tyler Glasnow - Rays
Projection: 12-5, 3.09 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 218 K in 163 IP
2021 stats: 5-2, 2.66 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 123 K in 88 IP

12. Lucas Giolito - White Sox
Projection: 14-8, 3.55 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 239 K in 182 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 11-9, 3.53 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 201 K in 178 2/3 IP

Giolito had a 2.65 ERA after the All-Star break, but his strikeout rate never bounced back. He was at 27.9% this year after coming in at 32.3% in 2019 and 33.7% in 2020. He was just the 19th SP in our early mock, which surprised me. I don’t know if I’ll be any higher on him than that -- I haven’t started my projections yet -- but I figured others would be after the way he was valued going into the year.

13. Yu Darvish - Padres
Projection: 14-7, 3.38 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 211 K in 173 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 8-11, 4.22 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 199 K in 166 1/3 IP

14. Kenta Maeda - Twins
Projection: 14-7, 3.47 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 191 K in 168 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 6-5, 4.66 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 113 K in 106 1/3 IP

15. Blake Snell - Padres
Projection: 13-6, 3.24 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 202 K in 169 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 7-6, 4.20 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 170 K in 128 2/3 IP

16. Chris Paddack - Padres
Projection: 13-7, 3.57 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 185 K in 176 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 7-7, 5.07 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 99 K in 108 1/3 IP

Paddack had a 3.78 FIP, but any time anyone got on base against him, it seemed like a run or two was assured; the league hit .255 against him with none on, .293 with men on and .313 with RISP. His elbow is also quite iffy at this point, so he probably won’t be anything more than an end-game pick next spring.

17. Jose Urquidy - Astros
Projection: 12-9, 3.59 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 176 K in 180 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 8-3, 3.62 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 91 K in 104 2/3 IP

18. Kyle Hendricks - Cubs
Projection: 13-9, 3.50 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 162 K in 185 IP
2021 stats: 14-7, 4.77 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 131 K in 181 IP

Hendricks was his usual self for three months in the middle of the year, but he posted a 6.23 ERA in his first seven starts and a 7.96 ERA in his last nine. Somehow he ended up 14-7 while posting a 4.77 ERA for a bad Cubs team. Teammate Adbert Alzolay went 5-13 with his 4.58 ERA.

19. Brandon Woodruff - Brewers
Projection: 12-8, 3.64 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 207 K in 173 IP
2021 stats: 9-10, 2.56 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 211 K in 179 1/3 IP

20. Dinelson Lamet - Padres
Projection: 10-5, 3.32 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 187 K in 138 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 2-4, 4.40 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 57 K in 47 IP

21. Joe Musgrove - Padres
Projection: 13-7, 3.59 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 187 K in 170 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 11-9, 3.18 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 203 K in 181 1/3 IP

22. Corbin Burnes - Brewers
Projection: 11-7, 3.53 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 200 K in 155 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 11-5, 2.43 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 234 K in 167 IP

Burnes’ 1.63 FIP this year was the second lowest mark for an ERA-title qualifier since 1960, trailing only Pedro Martinez’s 1.39 in 1999. I was worried about him holding up after throwing 107, 71 and 60 innings the previous three seasons, but the Brewers handled him carefully, limiting him to 28 starts even though he was healthy throughout, and he was brilliant.

23. Jesus Luzardo - Athletics/Marlins
Projection: 10-7, 3.45 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 174 K in 159 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 6-9, 6.61 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 98 K in 95 1/3 IP

Yikes. Luzardo still missed bats this year, but the walks popped up out of nowhere -- he had an 11.0% BB rate, up from 6.8% previously in his major league career -- and he started giving up more flyballs, too. I’m not writing him off for the long haul, but I don’t see any reason to recommend him for next year.

24. Jose Berrios - Twins/Blue Jays
Projection: 14-9, 3.78 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 202 K in 190 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 12-9, 3.52 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 204 K in 192 IP

25. Zac Gallen - Diamondbacks
Projection: 9-7, 3.47 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 158 K in 135 IP
2021 stats: 4-10, 4.30 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 139 K in 121 1/3 IP

26. Zack Greinke - Astros
Projection: 13-10, 3.80 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 178 K in 194 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 11-6, 4.16 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 120 K in 171 IP

27. Stephen Strasburg - Nationals
Projection: 13-8, 3.83 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 203 K in 171 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 1-2, 4.57 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 21 K in 21 2/3 IP

28. Kevin Gausman - Giants
Projection: 12-8, 3.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 201 K in 170 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 14-6, 2.81 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 227 K in 192 IP

29. Zach Plesac - Indians
Projection: 12-9, 3.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 182 K in 178 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 10-6, 4.67 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 100 K in 142 2/3 IP

30. Carlos Carrasco - Mets
Projection: 10-5, 3.59 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 145 K in 128 IP
2021 stats: 1-5, 6.04 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 50 K in 53 2/3 IP

31. Julio Urias - Dodgers
Projection: 9-5, 3.23 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 149 K in 136 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 20-3, 2.96 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 195 K in 185 2/3 IP

It seemed quite possible going in that Urias would finish the season in the bullpen -- I had him projected for a save and four holds -- but the Dodgers never had the chance to go that route with their pitching losses and the Giants battling them for the division. Urias ended up winning three more games than anyone else in the majors.

32. Lance Lynn - White Sox
Projection: 14-10, 3.95 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 201 K in 196 IP
2021 stats: 11-6, 2.69 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 176 K in 157 IP

33. Pablo Lopez - Marlins
Projection: 12-8, 3.56 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 179 K in 172 IP
2021 stats: 5-5, 3.07 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 115 K in 102 2/3 IP

34. Zack Wheeler - Phillies
Projection: 13-9, 3.77 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 191 K in 186 IP
2021 stats: 14-10, 2.78 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 247 K in 213 1.3 IP

This was a bad call -- Wheeler was the 27th SP in ADP in both NFBC and Yahoo -- but I didn’t like the Phillies defense and I didn’t see anything that pointed to a real step forward. Wheeler had a career 22.4% K rate and an 18.4% mark last year before coming in at 29.1% this year.

35. Charlie Morton - Braves
Projection: 11-8, 3.58 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 177 K in 163 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 14-6, 3.34 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 216 K in 185 2/3 IP

36. Sonny Gray - Reds
Projection: 11-7, 3.68 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 196 K in 166 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 7-9, 4.19 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 155 K in 135 1/3 IP

37. Ian Anderson - Braves
Projection: 11-8, 3.55 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 197 K in 164 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 9-5, 3.58 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 124 K in 128 1/3 IP

38. Sandy Alcantara - Marlins
Projection: 12-9, 3.65 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 173 K in 180 IP
2021 stats: 9-15, 3.19 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 201 K in 205 2/3 IP

Top 10 SP next year.

39. Max Fried - Braves
Projection: 12-9, 3.70 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 182 K in 177 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 14-7, 3.04 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 158 K in 165 2/3 IP

Fried is another guy I wasn’t high enough on; he was the 21st starter off the board in NFBC and 24th in Yahoo. While there was no big rise in strikeouts here, he achieved a new low in walks and continued to generate plenty of weak contact. I still might not be as high on him as the consensus next year, but I imagine I’ll have him in the 20-25 range at worst.

40. Hyun Jin Ryu - Blue Jays
Projection: 11-7, 3.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 152 K in 151 IP
2021 stats: 14-10, 4.37 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 143 K in 169 IP

41. Drew Smyly - Braves
Projection: 10-7, 3.62 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 177 K in 149 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 11-4, 4.48 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 117 K in 126 2/3 IP

One of the odder scenes of the season was Smyly getting pulled from the Braves rotation with a month to go even though the team was 12-2 in his previous 14 starts. He was 7-1 with a 3.91 ERA during that span. However, his velocity has taken a real dip in August and it didn’t seem likely that he was going to have much luck in September. Nothing he did this year seems to bode well for 2022.

43. Dylan Bundy - Angels
Projection: 11-9, 4.06 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 200 K in 175 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 2-9, 6.06 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 84 K in 90 2/3 IP

I was a little lower than the consensus on Bundy, but then he went out and showed perhaps the best stuff of his career in his first couple of starts and I got rather excited. What happened afterwards was incredible in a spectacularly bad way.

44. Lance McCullers Jr. - Astros
Projection: 11-8, 3.62 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 164 K in 154 IP
2021 stats: 13-5, 3.16 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 185 K in 162 1/3 IP

46. Chris Bassitt - Athletics
Projection: 12-9, 3.83 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 161 K in 176 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 12-4, 3.15 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 159 K in 157 1/3 IP

47. David Price - Dodgers
Projection: 10-5, 3.69 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 142 K in 129 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 5-2, 4.03 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 58 K in 73 2/3 IP

It’s still bizarre to me that this is all the Dodgers were able to get out of Price, but I’m not sure he had anything more to offer. He wasn’t bad -- he had a 3.60 ERA after getting roughed up in his first two appearances of the season -- but he also never looked like he was ready to step it up.

49. Frankie Montas - Athletics
Projection: 11-8, 3.85 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 178 K in 170 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 13-9, 3.37 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 207 K in 187 IP

52. Yusei Kikuchi - Mariners
Projection: 12-9, 3.98 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 175 K in 172 IP
2021 stats: 7-9, 4.41 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 163 K in 157 IP

53. Zach Eflin - Phillies
Projection: 11-9, 4.09 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 173 K in 176 IP
2021 stats: 4-7, 4.17 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 99 K in 105 2/3 IP

54. Sean Manaea - Athletics
Projection: 10-8, 3.89 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 141 K in 157 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 11-10, 3.91 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 194 K in 179 1/3 IP

55. Logan Webb - Giants
Projection: 11-8, 3.82 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 149 K in 157 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 11-3, 3.03 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 158 K in 148 1/3 IP

I wish I had gone higher, but Webb was essentially the Giants’ sixth starter to begin the season. He should be somewhere in the top 20 of these rankings next year.

56. Aaron Civale - Indians
Projection: 11-9, 4.12 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 164 K in 168 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 12-5, 3.84 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 99 K in 124 1/3 IP

60. Freddy Peralta - Brewers
Projection: 7-6, 3.78 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 160 K in 116 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 10-5, 2.81 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 195 K in 144 1/3 IP

62. Marcus Stroman - Mets
Projection: 12-10, 3.92 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 169 K in 188 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 10-13, 3.02 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 158 K in 179 IP

63. Tarik Skubal - Tigers
Projection: 9-8, 4.13 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 177 K in 152 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 8-12, 4.34 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 164 K in 149 1/3 IP

65. Nathan Eovaldi - Indians
Projection: 10-8, 4.12 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 161 K in 157 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 11-9, 3.75 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 195 K in 182 1/3 IP

Simply an amazing season, given the state of the Red Sox defense. Eovaldi’s .326 BABIP was the highest in the league among ERA-title qualifiers. Luis Castillo and Sean Manaea, both at .318, were the only others over .310. His 2.79 FIP was the best in the American League. He deserves some Cy Young consideration.

73. Tyler Mahle - Reds
Projection: 11-9, 4.39 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 185 K in 166 IP
2021 stats: 13-6, 3.75 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 210 K in 180 IP

78. Anthony DeSclafani - Giants
Projection: 10-9, 4.19 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 160 K in 159 IP
2021 stats: 13-7, 3.17 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 152 K in 167 2/3 IP

79. German Marquez - Rockies
Projection: 12-9, 4.37 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 172 K in 173 IP
2021 stats: 12-11, 4.40 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 176 K in 180 IP

80. Shohei Ohtani - Angels
Projection: 7-4, 3.81 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 140 K in 111 IP
2021 stats: 9-2, 3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 156 K in 130 1/3 IP

Ohtani’s walk rate was all of the way down to 4.7% in the first four months. He was at 10.4% in his MLB debut season and 16.9% in his first seven starts this year. If he can keep that up, there’s really no stopping him.

82. Patrick Corbin - Nationals
Projection: 12-10, 4.20 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 188 K in 186 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 9-16, 5.82 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 143 K in 171 2/3 IP

Corbin was the 41st SP off the board in both NFBC and Yahoo. The interesting thing is that his velocity returned this year -- he averaged 92.5 mph on his fastball after coming in at 91.9 mph in 2019 and 90.2 mph in 2020 -- and had I known that would happen, I would have had him ranked up there, too. Alas, he never did get his slider back.

87. Casey Mize - Pirates
Projection: 9-8, 4.16 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 143 K in 142 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 7-9, 3.71 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 118 K in 150 1/3 IP

90. Taijuan Walker - Mets
Projection: 9-7, 4.17 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 127 K in 138 IP
2021 stats: 7-11, 4.47 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 146 K in 159 IP

100. Jameson Taillon - Yankees
Projection: 9-8, 4.27 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 131 K in 145 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 8-6, 4.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 140 K in 144 1/3 IP

My best pitching projection. Unfortunately, it looks like Taillon is going to miss at least the first month of next season after ankle surgery.

102. Robbie Ray - Blue Jays
Projection: 9-8, 4.51 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 199 K in 151 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 13-7, 2.84 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 248 K in 193 1/3 IP

Not my best pitching projection. I actually moved Ray up some in the spring to get to this point. Ray ended up walking 53 in 193 innings. Last year, he walked 45 in 52 innings. The giant leap forward had a cascade effect, too, allowing him to work deeper into games that he ever had before.

135. Cal Quantrill - Indians
Projection: 6-5, 4.29 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 105 K in 105 IP
2021 stats: 8-3, 2.89 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 121 K in 149 2/3 IP

138. Adam Wainwright - Cardinals
Projection: 9-9, 4.39 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 139 K in 155 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 17-7, 3.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 174 K in 206 1/3 IP

139. Steven Matz - Blue Jays
Projection: 8-9, 4.65 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 147 K in 143 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 14-7, 3.82 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 144 K in 150 2/3 IP

140. Carlos Rodon - White Sox
Projection: 7-7, 4.45 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 129 K in 125 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 13-5, 2.37 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 185 K in 132 2/3 IP

142. Trevor Rogers - Marlins
Projection: 7-8, 4.30 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 138 K in 127 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 7-8, 2.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 157 K in 133 IP

Look at that win-loss record, though.

151. Jon Gray - Rockies
Projection: 8-10, 4.72 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 152 K in 154 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 8-12, 4.59 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 157 K in 149 IP

161. Tyler Anderson - Pirates/Mariners
Projection: 7-10, 4.54 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 130 K in 144 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 7-11, 4.53 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 134 K in 167 IP

165. Dallas Keuchel - White Sox
Projection: 10-10, 4.51 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 118 K in 173 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 9-9, 5.28 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 95 K in 162 IP

167. Wade Miley - Reds
Projection: 8-11, 4.68 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 143 K in 165 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 12-7, 3.37 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 125 K in 163 IP

170. Chris Flexen - Mariners
Projection: 9-12, 4.68 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 155 K in 169 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 14-6, 3.61 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 125 K in 179 2/3 IP

This is mostly “greatly exceeded expectations” territory down here. Flexen was terrific in spite of the lack of strikeouts; he came in at just 16.9%. He finished at 28.0% in his big season in Korea in 2020, and I had him projected at 21.1%.

184. Ranger Suarez - Phillies
Projection: 4-5, 4.15 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 66 K in 78 IP
2021 stats: 8-5, 1.36 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 107 K in 106 IP

I kind of liked Suarez as a fifth starter-type coming into the season, but I wasn’t actually expecting him to get a real chance to start. It was very impressive the way he held on to his velocity gains after being pulled out of the bullpen, and I think he’ll remain a quality pitcher next year. I’m thinking I’ll have him 40th or so among SPs, but, again, I haven’t started my projections.

188. Kyle Gibson - Rangers/Phillies
Projection: 9-12, 4.68 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 156 K in 173 IP
2021 stats: 10-9, 3.71 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 155 K in 182 IP

189. Shane McClanahan - Rays
Projection: 2-2, 3.81 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 56 K in 52 IP
2021 stats: 10-6, 3.43 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 141 K in 123 1/3 IP

192. Dylan Cease - White Sox
Projection: 7-8, 4.75 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 133 K in 130 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 13-7, 3.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 226 K in 165 2/3 IP

Cease had a 4.01 ERA and a 6.36 FIP in 2020. He had a 3.91 ERA and a 3.40 FIP this year. His strikeout rate went from 24.8% as a rookie in 2019 to 17.3% in the short 2020 to 31.9% this year. I’m sold on the strikeout ability, but since he’s become a rather extreme flyball pitcher and still has issue with walks, I probably won’t be as high on him as some next year.

212. Luis Garcia - Astros
Projection: 4-5, 4.65 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 95 K in 89 IP
2021 stats: 11-8, 3.48 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 167 K in 155 1/3 IP

219. Jon Lester - Nationals/Cardinals
Projection: 8-11, 4.93 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 135 K in 164 1/3 IP
2021 stats: 7-6, 4.71 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 91 K in 141 1/3 IP

310. Matt Harvey - Orioles
Projection: 5-9, 5.46 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 104 K in 123 2/3 IP
2021 stats: 6-14, 6.27 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 95 K in 127 2/3 IP