Shuffle Up: Starting pitchers, the fool's errand

Dallas Keuchel used to be near-unbeatable at home, but not in 2018 (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Dallas Keuchel used to be near-unbeatable at home, but not in 2018 (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

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 2018.

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 or two apart, it’s not that big a difference, kids.

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I will not debate the injured pitchers. Assume a 5×5 scoring format, as always. I’ll tweak some rankings on Monday, write up a few pitchers in detail.

Game on.

$40 Max Scherzer
$39 Chris Sale
$38 Corey Kluber
$35 Justin Verlander
$35 Jacob deGrom
$34 Clayton Kershaw
$32 Luis Severino
$29 Aaron Nola
$27 Gerrit Cole
$27 Jose Berrios
$27 Madison Bumgarner
$25 Zack Greinke
$25 Trevor Bauer
$24 James Paxton
$17 Jack Flaherty
$17 Patrick Corbin
$17 Jon Lester
$17 Blake Snell

If you need the case against Lester, it’s all over the Internet. Fred Zinkie pitched it, Dalton Del Don tackled it, Jason Collette talked about it, and all the projection systems on Fangraphs are bearish.

Cole’s ERA by month: 1.73, 2.45, 3.77. Walks and home runs have increased every month, too. Still, his strikeout rate is juicy and he has the Astros supporting him, he’s a strong option for anyone. But he’s probably not going to win the Cy Young Award, either, unless he bamboozles the voters with some silly win/loss record . . . Kershaw’s injury issues from the past three seasons push him out of the top tier . . . I can understand the Paxton supporters chiming in; his FIP (3.09) is substantially lower than the front-door 3.72. But he’s also someone who’s never pitched more than 136 innings in any MLB season. I basically have him as a high-end SP2 or a low-end SP1. That’s not a slap in the face.

$16 Charlie Morton
$16 Ross Stripling
$15 Miles Mikolas
$15 Mike Clevinger
$15 Dylan Bundy
$14 David Price
$14 Lance McCullers
$14 J.A. Happ
$12 Sean Newcomb
$12 Jose Quintana
$11 Jameson Taillon
$11 Jake Arrieta
$11 Carlos Martinez
$10 Nick Pivetta
$10 Eduardo Rodriguez
$10 Marco Gonzales
$10 Rich Hill

I’d love to go higher on Stripling, who’s been heaven sent, the No. 2 starter over the past month and a half. But how many innings can we reasonably expect? Snell also has to be taken with innings suspicion, given the Rays aren’t going anywhere this year, and he’s a major piece of their future . . . Morton is good, but he’s not this good. His FIP checks in a full run higher than his 2.74 ERA, and he’s benefited from an unsustainable 84.4 percent strand rate. He’s on pace for 180 innings, which would be a career high. I’d take that shiny 2.74 to market and see how the crowd feels . . . Martinez is one of my long-time favorites, so it pains me to rank him this low, but he’s been so terrible since his return from the DL, you have to wonder if he’s still pitching hurt . . . Bundy’s blowup against the Royals in early May pushed him off the radar, but he’s been superb in his last eight turns: 55.1 IP, 36 H, 16 ER, 16 BB, 60 K. That’s a 2.60 ERA, a WHIP under 1. There’s always been a pedigree here, maybe he’s finally making good on it. His swinging-strike rate and chase rate are both moving in the right direction.

$9 Tyler Skaggs
$9 Cole Hamels
$9 Kyle Gibson
$8 Andrew Heaney
$8 Freddy Peralta
$8 Lance Lynn
$8 Kyle Hendricks
$8 Rick Porcello
$7 Seth Lugo
$7 Clayton Richard
$7 Shane Bieber
$7 Junior Guerra
$7 Sonny Gray
$7 Dallas Keuchel
$7 Tyson Ross
$6 Brent Suter
$6 Mike Leake
$6 Mike Montgomery
$6 Jaime Barria
$6 Jhoulys Chacin
$6 Zach Eflin
$6 Gio Gonzalez

Keuchel’s skills aren’t that different from last year, he’s just getting less luck out of them. Walks and strikeouts are down, slightly. His ground-ball rate is still strong at 54.3 percent, though that’s a major dip from last year’s 66.8 percent. His ERA estimators are similar. Last year he enjoyed a .256 BABIP, this year it’s a more reasonable .299. Hard-hit contact is also up against Keuchel, to the point that his current ratios are how I’d bet going forward.

$5 Michael Fulmer
$5 Clay Buchholz
$5 Anibal Sanchez
$5 Marcus Stroman
$5 Dylan Covey
$5 Kenta Maeda
$5 Steven Matz
$5 Alex Wood
$5 Jon Gray
$4 Ivan Nova
$4 Frankie Montas
$4 Blaine Hardy
$4 Kyle Freeland
$4 Vincent Velasquez
$4 Steven Wright
$4 Jonathan Loaisiga
$4 Luis Castillo
$4 Sean Manaea
$4 Luke Weaver
$4 Domingo German
$3 Wade LeBlanc
$3 Derek Holland
$3 Carlos Rodon
$3 Marco Estrada
$3 Chase Anderson
$3 Joe Musgrove
$3 Joey Lucchesi
$3 Julio Teheran
$3 Brandon McCarthy
$3 Zack Godley
$3 Tanner Roark
$2 Nathan Eovaldi
$2 Anthony DeSclafani
$2 Dereck Rodriguez
$2 Adam Plutko
$2 Tyler Mahle
$2 Dan Straily
$2 Mike Minor
$2 Trevor Williams
$2 C.C. Sabathia
$2 Felix Hernandez
$2 Andrew Suarez
$2 Jake Junis
$2 Kevin Gausman
$1 Matt Harvey
$1 Mike Fiers
$1 Chris Stratton
$1 James Shields
$1 Reynaldo Lopez
$1 Chad Kuhl
$1 Danny Duffy
$1 Jake Odorizzi
$0 Jordan Zimmermann
$0 Erick Fedde
$0 Matt Boyd
$0 Zack Wheeler
$0 Paul Blackburn
$0 Tyler Chatwood
$0 Alex Cobb
$0 Bartolo Colon
$0 Lucas Giolito
$0 Jason Hammel
$0 Ian Kennedy
$0 Chad Bettis

No Debating the Injured
Shohei Ohtani
Mike Foltynewicz
Michael Wacha
Walker Buehler
Noah Syndergaard
Yu Darvish
Stephen Strasburg
Jeremy Hellickson
Chris Archer
Carlos Carrasco
Trevor Cahill
Mike Soroka
Garrett Richards
Masahiro Tanaka
Jose Urena
Adam Wainwright
Caleb Smith
Daniel Mengden
Jordan Lyles
Jeff Samardzija
Doug Fister
Nick Tropeano
Jacob Faria
Aaron Sanchez
Drew Pomeranz

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