Starting Pitcher Shuffle Up: Jose Berrios makes the leap

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Scott Pianowski
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The Twins hit the jackpot with young ace Jose Berrios
The Twins hit the jackpot with young ace Jose Berrios (AP)

Here’s the big one, the starting pitcher Shuffle Up. It’s going to look absurd in a day or a week because that’s how pitching is. This position is erratic, fickle, humbling, especially in the homer-friendly world of 2017.

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What’s happened to this point is merely an audition. We’re trying to calibrate 5×5 value from here on out. Players at the same price are considered even. And if two guys are a buck apart, it’s not that big a difference, kids. Don’t tackle me, Kershaw Youth. (Mad Max does have the easier division.)

I will not debate the injured pitchers. They’re ranked as a courtesy. If you know something about Syndergaard or Salazar that no one else does, please share it.

I retain the right to tweak this list in 24 hours.

If you have a sharp disagreement (and a reason behind it), catch me on Twitter. And remember the golden rule: no one gains (or loses) extra fantasy value just because you own them.

Game on.

$36 Max Scherzer
$35 Clayton Kershaw
$33 Chris Sale
$31 Corey Kluber
$28 Carlos Martinez
$28 Stephen Strasburg
$26 Zack Greinke
$25 Lance McCullers
$25 Yu Darvish
$24 Robbie Ray
$22 Jacob deGrom
$21 Jose Berrios
$20 Alex Wood
$20 Luis Severino
$20 Carlos Carrasco
$20 Marcus Stroman

The first takeaway from Berrios is that first-lap struggles from a young phenom have to come with a grain of salt. There’s an adjustment period, a learning curve. Don’t obsess over where the numbers land; an ERA of 5, 6, 7, 8, it doesn’t matter. It’s all part of the process.

Every pitch Berrios throws is a plus offering, and the movement on the curve makes you weak in the knees. Right-handers are comically overmatched against him this year (.175/.242/.257), and lefties aren’t doing much better (.218/.307/.356). I wanted to go a buck or two higher on Berrios, but we have to be mindful of a possible innings cap (same thing with McCullers; you know that drill by now, Houston is already thinking about October, justly). Even if the Twins remain cosmetically in the race all year, they’re probably a few years away from being a serious flag contender.

$18 Jimmy Nelson
$18 Jeff Samardzija
$18 Michael Fulmer
$18 Jon Lester
$18 Chris Archer
$17 James Paxton
$17 Jose Quintana
$16 Johnny Cueto
$16 Justin Verlander
$15 J.A. Happ
$15 Jameson Taillon
$14 David Price
$14 Sonny Gray
$13 Jake Arrieta
$13 Dan Straily
$13 Sean Manaea
$12 Zack Godley
$12 Gio Gonzalez
$12 Mike Fiers
$12 Steven Matz
$12 Jason Vargas
$12 Felix Hernandez
$12 Marco Estrada

For all the problems with Verlander this year, it hasn’t been the home-run ball. He’s at 8.5 HR/FB, right around his career mark. The strikeout mark of 22.2 percent could be enough, if he weren’t walking 10.6 percent of the batters.

Verlander’s never allowed this much hard contact, which is probably a residual of being behind in the count more often. His swinging strike rate has dropped 2.6 percent. Perhaps the best reason to stay the course is his FIP — while 4.03 isn’t great, it’s serviceable in today’s environment, and a lot better than his 4.47 ERA at the front door. And there’s still hair on that fastball, checking in at 95 mph.

Vargas has always had a plus change and at times it’s been excellent (see 2010, 2012, 2013). So many it’s not that shocking that he currently stands at the top of the change-up leaderboard. His best work has come at home (1.92 ERA), but he hasn’t been a pumpkin on the road (2.74 ERA, 1.22 WHIP). I expect him to be a start-worthy arm all season.

We’ve talked plenty about Nelson this season, but if you’d like another voice, here’s Derek Carty’s deep dive into the breakout year.

$11 Ervin Santana
$11 Jacob Faria
$11 Jordan Montgomery
$11 Drew Pomeranz
$11 Ivan Nova
$10 Gerrit Cole
$10 Kenta Maeda
$10 Trevor Bauer
$10 Brad Peacock
$10 Mike Montgomery
$10 Taijuan Walker
$10 Alex Cobb
$10 Lance Lynn
$9 Cole Hamels
$9 Aaron Nola
$9 Mike Leake
$9 Michael Pineda
$8 Jeff Hoffman
$8 Luis Castillo
$8 Hyun-Jin Ryu
$8 Mike Foltynewicz
$8 Masahiro Tanaka

Peacock’s juicy strikeout rate is a double-edged sword, because it’s keeping him from working deep into games. But with Houston’s loaded offense and strong bullpen, Peacock still has a chance to get some wins, even if they have to go through the car wash first. Chalk up another post-hype sleeper making good, and give Houston credit for trying Peacock back in the rotation, even after he started to dominate in relief. You’re always better off getting more innings out of your plus arms.

It sounds like the humidor won’t be happing in Arizona this year, which is a pesky thing for Walker owners. He’s a 4.50 ERA man at home, a 2.65 ERA arm on the road (though the home WHIP is actually higher). He even pitched twice at Colorado and lived to tell about it; 11.2 IP, 4 ER.

$7 Sean Newcomb
$7 Alex Meyer
$7 Julio Teheran
$6 Randall Delgado
$6 Ariel Miranda
$6 Seth Lugo
$6 Jaime Garcia
$6 Jake Odorizzi
$5 Mike Clevinger
$5 Jason Hammel
$5 Dylan Bundy
$4 Scott Feldman
$4 Edinson Volquez
$4 Francisco Liriano
3 Jose Urena
$3 Sam Gaviglio
$3 Carlos Rodon
$3 Rich Hill
$3 Dinelson Lamet
$3 Michael Wacha
$2 Adam Wainwright
$2 Tyler Chatwood
$2 Jharel Cotton
$2 Tyson Ross
$2 Joe Ross
$2 Eddie Butler
$2 Tim Adleman
$2 Ben Lively
$1 Mike Pelfrey
$1 David Holmberg
$1 German Marquez
$1 J.C. Ramirez
$1 Jhoulys Chacin
$1 Zach Davies
$1 Ty Blach
$1 David Paulino
$1 R.A. Dickey
$1 Ian Kennedy
$1 Jordan Zimmermann
$1 Homer Bailey
$1 Jeremy Hellickson
$1 Joe Biagini
$1 Tanner Roark
$1 Rick Porcello
$0 Christopher Rusin
$0 Anibal Sanchez
$0 Clayton Richard
$0 Kyle Freeland
$0 Tyler Anderson
$0 Blake Snell
$0 Junior Guerra
$0 Antonio Senzatela
$0 Daniel Norris
$0 Chad Kuhl
$0 Patrick Corbin
$0 Robert Gsellman
$0 John Lackey
$0 Matt Moore
$0 Derek Holland
$0 Kevin Gausman
-$1 James Shields
-$1 Miguel Gonzalez
-$1 Jesse Hahn
-$1 Wade Miley
-$1 Bartolo Colon
-$1 Matt Cain
-$1 Amir Garrett
-$1 Bronson Arroyo
-$1 Chris Tillman

Courtesy Injury Ranks – Not For Debate
$15 *Madison Bumgarner
$11 *Dallas Keuchel
$10 *Aaron Sanchez
$10 *Danny Duffy
$6 *Brandon McCarthy
$6 *Eduardo Rodriguez
$5 *Chase Anderson
$5 *Kyle Hendricks
$5 *Jon Gray
$4 *C.C. Sabathia
$4 *Charlie Morton
$4 *Noah Syndergaard
$4 *Danny Salazar
$2 *Nathan Karns
$2 *Matt Shoemaker
$2 *Trevor Cahill
$1 *Kendall Graveman
$0 *Jerad Eickhoff