STARTERS: Young targets, 2018 updated

Let's update our list of the most skilled young starting pitchers in the game in order to help you identify stretch-run targets and premium stashes in keeper leagues.

Here are the starting pitchers age 28 or under who have posted the best skills so far in 2018, using a small IP threshold of 20+ IP to give us a larger pool for analysis:

100+ BPV, Age 28 or Under*

Name            Age  Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%/S%   hr/f  FAv   SwK%  FpK%  BPV
==============  ===  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ======  ====  ====  ====  ====  ===
Stripling, R     28  NL  0.9  10.3   1.4  49%  34/84%   17%  91.6  10.9%  69%  190
Corbin, P        28  NL  2.4  11.0   0.8  49%  30/73%   13%  90.5  14.4%  62%  159
Gray, J          26  NL  2.7  11.3   1.0  47%  40/63%   15%  95.0  13.1%  64%  156
Syndergaard, N   25  NL  1.8  10.0   0.6  46%  37/78%    9%  97.6  14.4%  56%  156
Cole, G          27  AL  3.1  12.4   0.9  35%  27/80%   11%  96.4  14.0%  63%  154
Bauer, T         27  AL  3.0  11.7   0.4  44%  34/79%    5%  94.5  13.2%  64%  151
Lugo, S          28  NL  2.4  10.6   1.6  44%  35/77%   17%  93.4   9.9%  63%  149
Pivetta, N       25  NL  2.6  10.8   1.3  45%  36/68%   14%  94.7  12.1%  64%  148
Severino, L      24  AL  2.2  10.3   0.8  43%  30/79%   10%  97.7  12.5%  71%  148
Buehler, W       23  NL  1.9   9.4   0.6  51%  29/75%    9%  95.8   9.1%  64%  147
Eovaldi, N       28  AL  1.3   8.4   1.7  47%  26/64%   18%  96.9  11.0%  64%  141
Bieber, S        23  AL  1.6   8.8   1.2  46%  38/69%   13%  92.5  11.3%  63%  139
Flaherty, J      22  NL  3.2  10.8   1.2  45%  28/78%   16%  93.0  12.6%  57%  132
Berrios, J       24  AL  2.0   9.1   1.1  41%  26/70%   12%  93.3  11.4%  66%  129
Nola, A          25  NL  2.5   9.1   0.5  50%  27/77%    7%  92.7  11.7%  71%  125
Gonzales, M      26  AL  1.7   7.8   0.8  47%  31/73%   12%  87.8   9.3%  67%  119
Taillon, J       26  NL  2.5   8.8   1.0  50%  31/72%   12%  95.2  10.3%  64%  119
Skaggs, T        26  AL  2.7   9.2   0.7  48%  32/81%    9%  91.7  11.2%  63%  118
Ohtani, S        23  AL  3.7  11.1   0.9  38%  29/76%   11%  96.8  15.7%  55%  118
Velasquez, V     26  NL  3.2  10.4   1.2  38%  30/69%   12%  94.2  11.8%  57%  117
Wood, A          27  NL  1.9   7.9   1.0  46%  31/70%   12%   n/a  10.9%  69%  117
Rodriguez, E     25  AL  2.8   9.5   1.0  41%  31/76%   11%  93.3  11.1%  62%  115
Kingham, N       26  NL  2.2   8.5   1.7  42%  26/71%   17%  92.4  11.1%  63%  114
Suarez, A        25  NL  2.2   7.9   1.1  51%  32/71%   15%  92.3   7.3%  60%  112
Ray, R           26  NL  4.7  12.6   2.0  34%  35/71%   21%  93.2  13.5%  61%  112
Eflin, Z         24  NL  2.1   8.6   1.1  36%  30/75%   11%  94.6  10.3%  64%  111
German, D        25  AL  3.4  10.2   1.8  39%  31/56%   17%  94.4  14.6%  61%  110
Peralta, F       22  NL  4.3  12.1   0.5  32%  23/74%    6%  90.9  12.8%  59%  110
Lyles, J         27  NL  2.1   7.7   1.9  50%  32/72%   20%  93.1   8.4%  71%  109
Foltynewicz, M   26  NL  3.8  10.5   0.8  43%  28/79%   10%  96.4  10.5%  63%  108
Snell, B         25  AL  3.6  10.1   0.9  43%  25/84%   11%  95.4  13.5%  54%  108
Lucchesi, J      25  NL  3.1   9.3   1.2  46%  29/78%   16%   n/a   9.7%  57%  108
Bundy, D         25  AL  2.9   9.6   1.9  34%  31/73%   16%  91.5  13.1%  63%  107
Heaney, A        27  AL  2.7   8.8   1.1  40%  29/72%   12%   n/a  11.7%  64%  105
Pena, F          28  AL  3.6   9.7   0.6  49%  31/80%   10%  92.9  12.6%  66%  104
Marquez, G       23  NL  3.3   9.3   1.4  48%  33/69%   18%  95.4  10.2%  61%  104
McCullers, L     24  AL  3.7   9.4   0.9  55%  28/69%   15%  93.5  13.1%  59%  103
Lopez, P         22  NL  2.7   7.8   1.6  57%  25/59%   22%  92.9  10.8%  68%  102
Gaviglio, S      28  AL  2.7   8.2   1.8  48%  30/71%   19%   n/a   9.4%  69%  101
Ramirez, Y       24  AL  3.9  10.4   1.9  40%  28/76%   17%  92.0  13.6%  62%  101
*min 20 IP

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Shane Bieber (RHP, CLE) has endured some blowups during his first batch of starts in the majors. As a pitcher who relies more on command than stuff, that shouldn't be surprising. Still, Bieber has shown some of the best skills in the game among young starters: 8.8 Dom, 1.6 Ctl, 46% GB%, 139 BPV. A high 38% H% has been the primary driver of his mediocre surface stats (4.80 ERA, 1.44 WHIP). His 11.3% SwK%, 63% FpK%, and 33% ball% all confirm that he has the foundation to produce impactful skills.

Jose Berrios (RHP, MIN) has emerged in 2018 as one of the best young SP in the game. Underneath his strong 3.48 ERA and nifty 1.00 WHIP have been these skills: 9.1 Dom, 2.0 Ctl, 41% GB%, 129 BPV. He is missing more bats than he did last season (11.4% SwK%) and is getting ahead of hitters at a high rate (66% FpK%).

Nathan Eovaldi (RHP, BOS) will get a fresh start with a new organization. While it remains to be seen how long he can stay healthy, Eovaldi has carried forward his excellent spring with an elite collection of skills over 10 starts: 8.4 Dom, 1.3 Ctl, 47% GB%, 141 BPV. He has thrown a higher volume of strikes than any other young SP in the majors (29% ball%). With good raw stuff, it's a combination that gives him plenty of intrigue going into the second half.

Domingo German (RHP, NYY) now is a free agent in many leagues after his recent demotion and bad surface stats with NYY (6.18 ERA). That said, German displayed some very strong skills in the majors: 10.2 Dom, 3.4 Ctl, 39% GB%, 110 BPV. A horrible 56% S% has doomed him, a strand rate that is the second-lowest among all SP age 28 or under. Be aware that he did leave his latest start in Triple-A due to a balky elbow; no additional information is available right now. If it's only a minor setback, he'll enter 2019 with some good profit potential and could even make a positive impact later this season.

Yefry Ramirez (RHP, BAL) could have some appeal in deep leagues over the final two months. His skills over five starts with BAL have featured plenty of strikeouts: 10.4 Dom, 3.9 Ctl, 40% GB%, 101 BPV. While his control risk is real (39% ball%), he has missed tons of bats (13.6% SwK%).

Luis Severino (RHP, NYY) is the most skilled young SP in the game among starting pitchers age 24 or under, proving that his breakout in 2017 was no fluke. His 2.63 ERA and 1.05 WHIP carry nearly full support from his skills: 10.3 Dom, 2.2 Ctl, 43% GB%, 148 BPV. Few pitchers are doing a better job of getting whiffs (12.5% SwK%) while attacking the strike zone early (71% FpK%) and often (31% ball%).
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Jack Flaherty (RHP, STL) has emerged as one of the better young SP in the NL in 2018, both on the surface (3.15 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) and beneath it: 10.8 Dom, 3.2 Ctl, 45% GB%, 132 BPV. While he doesn't carry the upside of disappointing rotation mate Luke Weaver (RHP, STL), Flaherty has the foundation to be an effective mid-rotation starter.

Jon Gray (RHP, COL) had a splendid first start after being recalled from Triple-A. It's another glimpse of his significant upside and reflects our repeated recommendations to buy low on him. His skills prior to that start were some of the best in the game: 11.3 Dom, 2.7 Ctl, 47% GB%, 156 BPV. A 40% H% and 63% S% both have conspired to inflate his surface stats.

Pablo Lopez (RHP, MIA) lacks much of a prospect pedigree, but his ability to throw strikes in the minors has carried over to the majors in his four starts with MIA: 7.8 Dom, 2.7 Ctl, 57% GB%, 102 BPV. Digging deeper, he's also missing bats at a solid rate (10.8% SwK%) and throwing tons of strikes (68% FpK%, 32% ball%). While Lopez doesn't have the upside of many other young starters, he carries some sneaky potential in deep leagues down the stretch.

German Marquez (RHP, COL) is another young SP worthy of an investment, especially in keeper leagues. Underneath the rough stats Marquez has posted in 2018 (5.00 ERA, 1.43 WHIP) have been these intriguing skills: 9.3 Dom, 3.3 Ctl, 48% GB%, 104 BPV. His ability to keep the ball on the ground at a decent clip and miss bats is a formula that will help him develop. At age 23, he has plenty of time to continue his growth.

Nick Pivetta (RHP, PHI) is another skilled pitcher being avoided in many leagues due to his marginal stats (4.74 ERA, 1.33 WHIP). Among young SP, Pivetta has shown some of the best skills of anyone: 10.8 Dom, 2.6 Ctl, 45% GB%, 148 BPV. His collection of command sub-indicators has been very impressive too: 12.1% SwK%, 64% FpK%, 34% ball%.

Vincent Velasquez (RHP, PHI) firmly is in the post-hype stage of his career now. Those who haven't given up on him have been rewarded with more frequent flashes of good results in 2018 (4.09 ERA, 1.18 WHIP). His skills have really emerged too: 10.4 Dom, 3.2 Ctl, 38% GB%, 117 BPV. At age 26, Velasquez will carry some breakout potential heading into 2019 drafts.


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.