Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Sad, Not-So-Fun Ball

Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Sad, Not-So-Fun Ball

This article is part of our Weekly Pitcher Rankings series.

Back in 2019, friend and colleague Jeff Erickson coined the term, "Happy Fun Ball." Fast forward five seasons and we're dealing with the opposite. The flight of the ball this season is dampened. Not only are there fewer homers, but more fly balls staying in the yard are finding pockets of leather. Fewer runs are being scored by way of the home run.

Some treat ground-ball rate as a skill. I see it as a trait. More grounders isn't always better. The advantage of ground balls is fewer homers and more double plays. The downside is the BABIP on grounders is higher than that on fly balls.

The disadvantage of fly balls is more homers, but that's being lessened this season. Furthermore, the already-low fly-ball BABIP is even lower. 

Striking hitters out is clearly always a good thing. Issuing free passes is always dangerous. This season, with less damage done via the long ball, teams need to string together at bats. Pitchers that don't help their cause via walks stand to benefit.

The takeaway is in today's landscape, less dominant pitchers with excellent control are more trustworthy than recent seasons. Examples are Seth Lugo, Jake Irvin, Tanner Houck, Logan Webb, Jose Berrios and Bailey Falter

On Thursday, June 20, the St. Louis Cardinals will face the San Francisco Giants and lined up to pitch at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The venue is considered to be the oldest pro park in the USA. It was

Back in 2019, friend and colleague Jeff Erickson coined the term, "Happy Fun Ball." Fast forward five seasons and we're dealing with the opposite. The flight of the ball this season is dampened. Not only are there fewer homers, but more fly balls staying in the yard are finding pockets of leather. Fewer runs are being scored by way of the home run.

Some treat ground-ball rate as a skill. I see it as a trait. More grounders isn't always better. The advantage of ground balls is fewer homers and more double plays. The downside is the BABIP on grounders is higher than that on fly balls.

The disadvantage of fly balls is more homers, but that's being lessened this season. Furthermore, the already-low fly-ball BABIP is even lower. 

Striking hitters out is clearly always a good thing. Issuing free passes is always dangerous. This season, with less damage done via the long ball, teams need to string together at bats. Pitchers that don't help their cause via walks stand to benefit.

The takeaway is in today's landscape, less dominant pitchers with excellent control are more trustworthy than recent seasons. Examples are Seth Lugo, Jake Irvin, Tanner Houck, Logan Webb, Jose Berrios and Bailey Falter

On Thursday, June 20, the St. Louis Cardinals will face the San Francisco Giants and lined up to pitch at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama. The venue is considered to be the oldest pro park in the USA. It was the home of the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro leagues. The dimensions are vague, but it appears the park with play in a neutral manner.

As always, these rankings are preliminary, based on the current information on the Probable Pitchers page. Please send rotation questions in that direction. I'm always happy to address rankings queries below. 

UPDATED: Monday June 17 2:55 AM ET

Week of June 17 - June 23

Mixed

RankPitcherTMOPPCommentsMIX12MIX15
1Sonny GraySTL@MIA, SFSporting a 33.0% K% and 25.7% K-BB%, both career highs.  
2Max FriedATLDET, @NYY   
3Tyler GlasnowLADLAA   
4Paul SkenesPITCIN, TBExtra rest spared him from Coors and gave him this two-step.  
5Pablo LopezMINTB, @OAK3.45 xFIP says be patient. Great pair to get back on track.  
6Framber ValdezHOU@CWS, BAL   
7Bryce MillerSEA@CLE, @MIA   
8Cole RagansKC@OAK   
9Nick PivettaBOS@TOR, @CIN   
10Logan WebbSF@CHC, @STL   
11Zack WheelerPHIARI   
12Tanner HouckBOS@TOR   
13Tarik SkubalDET@ATL   
14Joe RyanMINTB   
15Garrett CrochetCWSHOU   
16Logan GilbertSEA@MIA   
17Seth LugoKC@OAKPerfect example of benefiting from the landscape  
18Michael KingSD@PHI, MIL   
19Jack FlahertyDETCWS   
20Nick LodoloCIN@PIT   
21Corbin BurnesBAL@HOU   
22Chris SaleATL@NYY   
23George KirbySEA@MIA   
24Luis CastilloSEA@CLE   
25Reynaldo LopezATLDET   
26Bailey OberMIN@OAK   
27Luis GilNYYBALDominance continues to mitigate wildness  
28Gerrit ColeNYYBALWelcome back  
29Ranger SuarezPHISD   
30Bryan WooSEA@CLETentative, experiencing forearm issues  
31Freddy PeraltaMIL@LAA   
32Dylan CeaseSDMIL   
33Tanner BibeeCLESEA   
34Hunter GreeneCIN@PIT   
35Kutter CrawfordBOS@CIN   
36Zac GallenARI@PHI   
37Braxton GarrettMIASTL, SEA   
38Grayson RodriguezBAL@HOU   
39Mitch KellerPITCIN   
40Jesus LuzardoMIASEAUgly 7.88 ERA and 1.56 WHIP over last 3 GS with just 10 K in 16 IP  
41Triston McKenzieCLESEA, TOR   
42Justin SteeleCHCSF   
43Zach EflinTB@PIT   
44Ronel BlancoHOUBAL   
45Kevin GausmanTORBOS   
46Nathan EovaldiTEXKC   
47Jordan HicksSF@CHC, @STL   
48Ryan PepiotTB@PIT   
49Aaron NolaPHISD   
50Yusei KikuchiTORBOS, @CLE   
51Erick FeddeCWS@DET   
52Shota ImanagaCHCNYM   
53Jake IrvinWASARI, @COL   
54Jose BerriosTOR@CLE   
55Nestor CortesNYYBAL, ATL   
56Carlos RodonNYYATL   
57Drew ThorpeCWS@DET 0%7%
58Jon GrayTEXNYM   
59Miles MikolasSTLSF 25% 
60Justin VerlanderHOU@CWS   
61Hunter BrownHOU@CWS1.42 ERA, .89 WHIP with 23K over last 19 IP  
62Jared JonesPITTB   
63Brandon PfaadtARI@WAS   
64Javier AssadCHCSF, NYM   
65Bobby MillerLAD@COL   
66Simeon Woods RichardsonMINTB   
67Aaron CivaleTB@MIN, @PIT   
68Max ScherzerTEXKC   
69Michael LorenzenTEXNYM 47% 
70David PetersonNYM@TEX, @CHC 43% 
71Andrew AbbottCINBOS   
72Kyle GibsonSTL@MIA 33% 
73Michael WachaKC@TEX 29% 
74Hogan HarrisOAKKC, MIN 0%25%
75Cristopher SanchezPHISD, ARI   
76Mix 12 Reliever     
77Yu DarvishSDMIL   
78Kenta MaedaDETCWS 10% 
79Ben LivelyCLETOR   
80Matt WaldronSD@PHI   
81Marcus StromanNYYATL   
82Alec MarshKC@OAK, @TEX   
83Mix 15 Reliever     
84Taj BradleyTB@MIN   
85Tyler AndersonLAAMIL   
86Chris PaddackMIN@OAK   
87Jose SorianoLAAMIL   
88Reese OlsonDET@ATL, CWS   
89Dane DunningTEXKC   
90Keaton WinnSF@STL 7% 
91Chris BassittTORBOS   
92Bailey FalterPITCIN 12% 
93Charlie MortonATL@NYY   
94Lance LynnSTL@MIA   
95Huascar BrazobanMIASTL 0%0%
96Landon KnackLADLAA 0%7%
97Brady SingerKC@TEX   
98Jameson TaillonCHCNYM   
99Sean ManaeaNYM@TEX   
100Cooper CriswellBOS@CIN 24% 
101Luis SeverinoNYM@TEX   
102Mitch SpenceOAKKC 0%32%
103Logan AllenCLESEA 0%0%
104Trevor RogersMIASEA 4%28%
105MacKenzie GoreWASARI   
106Tylor MegillNYM@CHC   
107Jose QuintanaNYM@CHC 8%16%
108Andrew HeaneyTEXNYM 16% 
109Griffin CanningLAAMIL 6% 
110Brayan BelloBOS@TOR   
111Spencer SchwellenbachATLDET 22% 
112Taijuan WalkerPHIARI 4%47%
113Luis OrtizPITTB 0%7%
114Spencer HowardSF@CHC 0%14%
115JP SearsOAKMIN   
116Cal QuantrillCOLLAD, WAS 5% 
117Colin ReaMIL@SD 10% 
118Tobias MyersMIL@LAA, @SD 3% 
119Walker BuehlerLAD@COL   
120Frankie MontasCINBOS   
121Cole IrvinBAL@NYY   
122Albert SuarezBAL@NYY, @HOU 43% 
123Gavin StoneLAD@COL   
124Mitchell ParkerWAS@COL   
125Jakob JunisMIL@SD 0%5%
126Carlos RodriguezMIL@LAA 0%0%
127Jordan MontgomeryARI@PHI   
128Chase SilsethLAA@LAD 4%49%
129Yariel RodriguezTOR@CLE 5%9%
130Zack LittellTB@MIN   
131Spencer ArrighettiHOUBAL   
132Cade PovichBAL@NYY 22% 
133Casey MizeDET@ATL 22% 
134DJ HerzWAS@COL 0%4%
135Roddery MunozMIASTL 0%0%
136Luis MedinaOAKKC 2%18%
137Randy VasquezSD@PHI, MIL 1%47%
138Jonathan CannonCWSHOU, @DET 0%2%
139Carson SpiersCIN@PIT, BOS 0%2%
140Andre PallanteSTLSF 0%5%
141Kyle HendricksCHCSF 0%0%
142Bryse WilsonMIL@SD 7%35%
143Joey EstesOAKMIN 26% 
144Carlos CarrascoCLETOR 0%2%
145Dakota HudsonCOLWAS 0%0%
146Ryne NelsonARI@WAS 2% 
147Patrick SandovalLAA@LAD 22% 
148James PaxtonLAD@COL   
149Slade CecconiARI@WAS, @PHI 1%26%
150Ryan FeltnerCOLLAD 0%5%
151Kyle FreelandCOLWAS 0%0%
152Chris FlexenCWSHOU 0%2%
153Austin GomberCOLLAD 7%21%
154Patrick CorbinWASARI 0%4%
155Ty BlachCOLLAD 0%2%

American League

RankPitcherTMOPPComment
1Pablo LopezMINTB, @OAK3.45 xFIP says be patient. Great pair to get back on track.
2Framber ValdezHOU@CWS, BAL 
3Bryce MillerSEA@CLE, @MIA 
4Cole RagansKC@OAK 
5Nick PivettaBOS@TOR, @CIN 
6Tanner HouckBOS@TOR 
7Tarik SkubalDET@ATL 
8Joe RyanMINTB 
9Garrett CrochetCWSHOU 
10Logan GilbertSEA@MIA 
11Seth LugoKC@OAKPerfect example of benefiting from the landscape
12Jack FlahertyDETCWS 
13Corbin BurnesBAL@HOU 
14George KirbySEA@MIA 
15Luis CastilloSEA@CLE 
16Bailey OberMIN@OAK 
17Luis GilNYYBALDominance continues to mitigate wildness
18Gerrit ColeNYYBALWelcome back
19Bryan WooSEA@CLETentative, experiencing forearm issues
20Tanner BibeeCLESEA 
21Kutter CrawfordBOS@CIN 
22Grayson RodriguezBAL@HOU 
23Triston McKenzieCLESEA, TOR 
24Zach EflinTB@PIT 
25Ronel BlancoHOUBAL 
26Kevin GausmanTORBOS 
27Nathan EovaldiTEXKC 
28Ryan PepiotTB@PIT 
29Yusei KikuchiTORBOS, @CLE 
30Erick FeddeCWS@DET 
31Jose BerriosTOR@CLE 
32Nestor CortesNYYBAL, ATL 
33Carlos RodonNYYATL 
34Drew ThorpeCWS@DET 
35Jon GrayTEXNYM 
36Justin VerlanderHOU@CWS 
37Hunter BrownHOU@CWS1.42 ERA, .89 WHIP with 23K over last 19 IP
38Simeon Woods RichardsonMINTB 
39Aaron CivaleTB@MIN, @PIT 
40Max ScherzerTEXKC 
41Michael LorenzenTEXNYM 
42Michael WachaKC@TEX 
43Hogan HarrisOAKKC, MIN 
44Kenta MaedaDETCWS 
45Ben LivelyCLETOR 
46Marcus StromanNYYATL 
47Alec MarshKC@OAK, @TEX 
48Taj BradleyTB@MIN 
49Tyler AndersonLAAMIL 
50Chris PaddackMIN@OAK 
51Jose SorianoLAAMIL 
52Reese OlsonDET@ATL, CWS 
53Dane DunningTEXKC 
54Chris BassittTORBOS 
55Brady SingerKC@TEX 
56AL Reliever   
57Cooper CriswellBOS@CIN 
58Mitch SpenceOAKKC 
59Logan AllenCLESEA 
60Andrew HeaneyTEXNYM 
61Griffin CanningLAAMIL 
62Brayan BelloBOS@TOR 
63JP SearsOAKMIN 
64Cole IrvinBAL@NYY 
65Albert SuarezBAL@NYY, @HOU
66Chase SilsethLAA@LAD 
67Yariel RodriguezTOR@CLE 
68Zack LittellTB@MIN 
69Spencer ArrighettiHOUBAL 
70Cade PovichBAL@NYY 
71Casey MizeDET@ATL 
72Luis MedinaOAKKC 
73Jonathan CannonCWSHOU, @DET 
74Joey EstesOAKMIN 
75Carlos CarrascoCLETOR 
76Patrick SandovalLAA@LAD 
77Chris FlexenCWSHOU 

National League

RankPitcherTMOPPComment
1Sonny GraySTL@MIA, SFSporting a 33.0% K% and 25.7% K-BB%, both career highs.
2Max FriedATLDET, @NYY 
3Tyler GlasnowLADLAA 
4Paul SkenesPITCIN, TBExtra rest spared him from Coors and gave him this two-step.
5Logan WebbSF@CHC, @STL 
6Zack WheelerPHIARI 
7Michael KingSD@PHI, MIL 
8Nick LodoloCIN@PIT 
9Chris SaleATL@NYY 
10Reynaldo LopezATLDET 
11Ranger SuarezPHISD 
12Freddy PeraltaMIL@LAA 
13Dylan CeaseSDMIL 
14Hunter GreeneCIN@PIT 
15Zac GallenARI@PHI 
16Braxton GarrettMIASTL, SEA 
17Mitch KellerPITCIN 
18Jesus LuzardoMIASEAUgly 7.88 ERA and 1.56 WHIP over last 3 GS with just 10 K in 16 IP
19Justin SteeleCHCSF 
20Jordan HicksSF@CHC, @STL 
21Aaron NolaPHISD 
22Shota ImanagaCHCNYM 
23Jake IrvinWASARI, @COL 
24Miles MikolasSTLSF 
25Jared JonesPITTB 
26Brandon PfaadtARI@WAS 
27Javier AssadCHCSF, NYM 
28Bobby MillerLAD@COL 
29David PetersonNYM@TEX, @CHC 
30Andrew AbbottCINBOS 
31Kyle GibsonSTL@MIA 
32Cristopher SanchezPHISD, ARI 
33Yu DarvishSDMIL 
34Matt WaldronSD@PHI 
35Keaton WinnSF@STL 
36Bailey FalterPITCIN 
37Charlie MortonATL@NYY 
38Lance LynnSTL@MIA 
39Huascar BrazobanMIASTL 
40Landon KnackLADLAA 
41Jameson TaillonCHCNYM 
42Sean ManaeaNYM@TEX 
43NL Reliever   
44Luis SeverinoNYM@TEX 
45Trevor RogersMIASEA 
46MacKenzie GoreWASARI 
47Tylor MegillNYM@CHC 
48Jose QuintanaNYM@CHC 
49Spencer SchwellenbachATLDET 
50Taijuan WalkerPHIARI 
51Luis OrtizPITTB 
52Spencer HowardSF@CHC 
53Cal QuantrillCOLLAD, WAS 
54Colin ReaMIL@SD 
55Tobias MyersMIL@LAA, @SD 
56Walker BuehlerLAD@COL 
57Frankie MontasCINBOS 
58Gavin StoneLAD@COL 
59Mitchell ParkerWAS@COL 
60Jakob JunisMIL@SD 
61Carlos RodriguezMIL@LAA 
62Jordan MontgomeryARI@PHI 
63DJ HerzWAS@COL 
64Roddery MunozMIASTL 
65Randy VasquezSD@PHI, MIL 
66Carson SpiersCIN@PIT, BOS 
67Andre PallanteSTLSF 
68Kyle HendricksCHCSF 
69Bryse WilsonMIL@SD 
70Dakota HudsonCOLWAS 
71Ryne NelsonARI@WAS 
72James PaxtonLAD@COL 
73Slade CecconiARI@WAS, @PHI 
74Ryan FeltnerCOLLAD 
75Kyle FreelandCOLWAS 
76Austin GomberCOLLAD 
77Patrick CorbinWASARI 
78Ty BlachCOLLAD 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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