We’re just about to the All-Star Break of the 2015 season and what a ride it’s been so far. If the season ended today, the Royals, Twins, Astros and Cubs would all advance to the playoffs – three years ago I would’ve said you’re absolutely crazy.

I thought this would be an appropriate time to nominate the top pitchers in baseball and rank the top 10 for the stretch run of the DFS season.

I pulled the top 20 qualifying pitchers based on their average points per game, Plus/Minus, consistency and upside. As we do here at Fantasy Labs, I’ll be using metrics from the past calendar year.


Quite an impressive class with an average cost of $10,000 and 22.57 average points per game.

Next I took on the formidable task of ranking them from 1-20. To eliminate any bias, I blacked out the players’ names and then sorted according to their upside (as seen below).

I valued average points and Plus/Minus as the most important due to their tangible impact on performance. Consistency and upside played a key role as well, but were looked at more as secondary factors and tie-breakers.

If you’re looking for a stressful time, go ahead and take a crack at your own rankings – I will reveal the names at the end of Part 2.

Here are my rankings:


  1. Felix Hernandez – 23.47 avg pts (6th), 2.35 +/- (19th), 68% consistency (t-7th), 1% upside (20th)

Why He’s Here: 23.47 Average Points

Breakdown: King Felix just managed to crack the list and it was all due to his elite point production. A pitcher who performs at nearly 10 points above the league average and does so with consistency belongs in the top 10. Since Felix costs an average of $12,000 on DraftKings, he struggles to reach the “Upside” threshold of 2x his expected points – however, he has surpassed 30 points in 18 of his 51 starts.

At His Best: Home favorite vs below-.500 opponents


  1. David Price – 23.26 avg pts (7th), 3.21 +/- (11th), 68% consistency (t-7th), 8% upside (11th)

Why He’s Here: 23.26 Average Points

Breakdown: Price is another guy who earned his spot by posting a very appealing average. He also compares to Hernandez in that his 2014 have outshined his 2015 numbers to this point. Price has a track record that you can trust, so an even stronger second half is well within reach.

At His Best: Road favorite vs below-.500 opponents


  1. Carlos Martinez – 20.70 avg pts (16th), 5.67 +/- (3rd), 80% consistency (2nd), 20% upside (3rd)

Why He’s Here: 5.67 Plus/Minus

Breakdown: It was always clear that Martinez had the stuff to be an MLB starter, but few envisioned this level of immediate success. His average points per game falls below the group average, but he makes up for it in the other three categories. Martinez is on the verge of becoming one of the best (and most valuable) pitchers in DFS.

At His Best: Road favorite vs above-.500 opponents


  1. Jacob deGrom – 21.96 avg pts (9th), 5.04 +/- (t-7th), 68% consistency (4th), 21% upside (2nd)

Why He’s Here: Everything (including his hair)

Breakdown: My preliminary research led me to write a featured article dedicated to the deGrominator. While his splits make deGrom a can’t-miss play under certain circumstances, he is a great bet any time he takes the hill. His combination of production, consistency and upside is rare and one that makes for an elite DFS option.

At His Best: Home favorite vs below-.500 opponents


  1. Johnny Cueto – 24.30 avg pts (5th), 5.04 +/- (t-7th), 69% consistency (3rd), 4% upside (15th)

Why He’s Here: 24.30 Average Points

Breakdown: Cueto once again proved his worth this week by taking down the Nationals and ace Max Scherzer with a complete game, two-hit shutout. These days, his value is a trending topic, with Cueto squarely on the trade market. There’s no debating that Cueto is one of the best in the business and he has demonstrated that by averaging better than 24 points per start on DraftKings. His value could climb even higher if he is dealt into a better situation before the deadline.

At His Best: Home favorite vs above-.500 opponents


Stay tuned for Part 2: Pitchers 1-5