Just think, Thursday of this week is Opening Day for the 2018 MLB season! How fast time has flown from the Astros winning the World Series last year. Now that we have covered all the position players for this upcoming season, it is finally time to come down to pitchers. Now for their stat lines, I am going to state the pitchers win and loss record, their ERA and their strikeout number. Remember a win is a gain of 5 points and a loss is a loss of 5 points. Runs allowed loses points, and outs can count as points as well. Let’s say a pitcher throws a 2 hit complete game shutout with 5 strikeouts. Well 27 outs is 27 points, then you add 5 strikeouts and a 5 point win. That is a 37 point game and that is rather impressive. Basically, here you are looking for the perfect pitcher!
So let’s start with number 20
20. Gerrit Cole- Houston Astros
2017: 12-12 4.26 ERA 196 Ks
Cole is looking to be in between Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton to start off the season, placing him 4th in the rotation. Through his 5 year career, Cole has been hampered by injuries and well being stuck in a Pirates organization that hasn’t been the same since losing to the Cubs in the 2015 Wild Card. A change of scenery will do him good in this case, since he is going to be a supporting member in this dynamite pitching staff. With an average fastball speed of 95 and a good slew of breaking pitches, I personally expect Gerrit Cole to get his career back on track. Knowing the rotation around him, expect at least some improvement, he’s worthy for a Round 3-5 pick
19. Jake Arrieta- Philadelphia Phillies
2017: 14-10 3.53 ERA 163 Ks
Is it insulting to put Arrieta so far down? Am I mad because he left my favorite team to go to Philadelphia of all places? The answer to both questions is no. I’m happy for Jake the Snake and I believe he will have a successful year, but there are some problems lingering. One of those problems is control. Can he limit walks and limit the amount of baserunners? Also he faces a challenge that he didn’t face in Chicago and that is run support. Will this young Phillies team consistently put up runs and be able to win ball games at the expense of a bad day at the mound? Is the signing of Carlos Santana going to do enough for their offense that has been weak in recent years? Those questions directly surround Arrieta’s year end fantasy performance. Personally, there’s too many of these questions and that’s why he is at 19 compared to say 12 or 11. He will have a good year, but it won’t be 2015 or 2016 all over again.
18. Chris Archer- Tampa Bay Rays
2017: 10-12 4.07 ERA 249 K’s
There is a good chance that Chris Archer could be traded from the Rays in the mid-season. Where he will be traded as of right now is uncertain, but that place would probably have a lot of run support because that record is poor because of it. Sure you could also point out his ERA being rather high and the division he plays in has gotten a lot stronger over the years, but look at the strikeouts! He was 3rd in the AL in strikeouts last year and he is in his prime at the age of 29. He is durable as well and is capable of posting consistent quality starts. I’d look to draft Archer at the same time that Gerrit Cole might be drafted.
17. Jose Quintana- Chicago Cubs
2017: 11-11 4.15 ERA 207 K’s
Before his big trade to the Cubs, Quintana was looking like he was about to fizzle out. Like he was about to face a rough patch in what has been to this point a pretty solid career. But then he was traded, and in the rest of the season with the Cubs, Quintana went on to win 7 games. Now he is going to be at least 4th in a stacked rotation and with the run support of the Chicago Cubs, expect Quintana’s numbers to improve this upcoming season.
16. Aaron Nola- Philadelphia Phillies
2017: 12-11 3.54 ERA 184 K’s
My only concern with Nola is his possible ceiling. He has not thrown over 200 innings in his 3 years of pitching thus far. So my only worry is near the end of the season. Will he start at the end of the season? Will his ceiling be raised due to good health or good performance? These are questions you got to ask, especially if you are in the playoffs of your fantasy league. Other than that he is a great pickup, he is the ace for the Phillies and he will start on Opening Day, he has a low ERA so just in case the offense doesn’t perform, he can pull away with at least a no decision. Lastly, he has maximized his ability to miss bats, making a big breakthrough in the strikeout department, which he will look to improve on as the season goes on.
15. Robbie Ray- Arizona Diamondbacks
2017: 15-5 2.89 ERA 218 K’s
To call last year a breakout year for Robbie Ray would be an understatement. He was 4th in the NL in ERA, 3rd in strikeouts and 6th in wins in the NL. Clearly he was dominant, but I wouldn’t run at him too hard based upon his past stats. He is in arguably the toughest division in the major leagues in terms of hitting, I mean even the Padres got a good hitter that can challenge Ray. Expect some regression, but also expect at least a solid season from Ray.