Everyone likes choices. This week, we had some fun grouping three pitchers, and asking for a preference from each set. Take a moment to come up with your answers, then see if the Touts agree.
For the rest of the season, would you rather have Sandy Alcantara, Aaron Nola or Joe Ryan? Corbin Burnes, Zac Gallen or Kevin Gausman? Alek Manoah, Chris Sale or Bryce Miller? Mitch Keller, Eduardo Rodriguez or Nathan Eovaldi?
Fred Zinkie (Yahoo/Rotowire, @FredZinkieMLB): Nola, Gausman, Miller, Keller. I would love it if someone tallied all of these answers and posted them!
Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): Nola/Ryan/Alcantara; Gausman/Gallen/Burnes; Sale/Miller/Manoah; Eovaldi/M.Keller/E.Rodriguez. I tried to tell y’all during AFL not to pay extra for “that dog” in Manoah!! 🙂
Brad Johnson (Patreon BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): Sandy A., Gallen, uhh… Sale?, and Keller. That third group is tough because I’m averse to all three. As far as I can tell, Sandy is having a normal season but with a bad strand rate. Seems like noise to me. Can’t really go wrong with the second group, though I can’t believe I prefer Burnes least.
Matt Williams (The Game Day, @MattWi77iams): Joe Ryan, Zac Gallen, Chris Sale, and Mitch Keller. My love for Joe Ryan runs too deep.
Michael Govier (FTN Fantasy, @mjgovier): Sandy is my guy and though he has let me down so far, the best of his season is yet to come. Gallen is the easy call for me in group two. Burnes was a guy I was completely out on coming into this year because of some unsubstantiated worries I heard about. Chris Sale is back baby! Though Manoah will improve from here on out, Sale is my choice. The last group is the most challenging because I know that Eduardo can’t be as dominant as he has been, but he also can still be really good. Plus the trade deadline factor may be playing a motivating factor as well. I’ve never been a part of Keller’s Krazies, but outside of his 1st start of the year where he gave up 4 ER, he has only surrendered 3 or less since in every start! Eovaldi has gone off lately, but can he stay healthy? I will go with the guy with the lowest SIERA of the three: Keller.
Rick Graham (Pitcher List, @IAmRickGraham): Alcantara/Gallen/Sale/Keller. I think Sandy was dealing with some bad luck early on, the stuff is still there. Gallen’s the real deal and Sale’s been great 5 of his last 6 starts.
Tim McLeod (PattonandCo, @RunTMcP361): Joe Ryan, Zac Gallen, Bryce Miller, and Mitch Keller.
Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): Joe Ryan (best combo of home park and team context) > Sandy Alcantara > Aaron Nola; Gallen (most consistent; improving team context) > Gausman > Burnes; Sale (crapshoot) > Miller > Manoah; Keller (recency bias) > Eovaldi > Rodriguez
Ariel Cohen (CBS Sports, @ATCNY): Aaron Nola. This is a close one – but Nola takes the nod with a higher propensity to win, plenty of strikeouts and a nice floor of ratio production. The next set is also really close … even closer. I’ll go with Gausman, who has the highest likelihood of the three to hold down wins. If ratios were they key though, I’d take Burnes. The next question is Sale … I just see downside and lack of Ks with Manoah, and rookie card for Miller. Sale should be good if healthy. Finally, Eovaldi is an easy call here. Projections have him quite a bit higher, plays for a power offense team, lots of Ks, and high floor. Eovaldi easy.
Brad Johnson (Patreon BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): Something maybe everyone hasn’t noticed… since a mid-season adjustment last year, Keller now has a 2.59 ERA (3.21 FIP, 3.47 xFIP) over his last 25 starts. 9.21 K/9, 2.59 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9. Also limiting hard contact about as well as an SP can hope. Those are traits that make both arguments – it looks sustainable, or it could all regress.
Frank Stampfl (SportsGrid, RotoExperts, @Roto_Frank): I had Sandy Alcantara as a bust coming into the season but can’t help but think much better days are coming based on a career-high 14% swinging strike rate and an extremely unlucky 59% strand rate. This next group is very close, but I prefer Zac Gallen. He has the best control of his career and is throwing the curve and cutter more this season, which has led to more whiffs. Chris Sale leads this next group for me. Over his last six starts he has. 3.05 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 43 strikeouts over 38.1 innings. It’s very close between Mitch Keller and Nathan Eovaldi but give me Keller. He’s less of an injury risk and has finally put everything together thanks to this new cutter.
Chris Towers (CBS Fantasy, @CTowersCBS): I’m still at the point in the season where, absent truly compelling evidence, I’m not going to change my opinion about an elite Fantasy player yet, so I’m taking Alcantara and Nola ahead of Ryan, and I’m taking Burnes over Gallen and Gausman. Of course, the latter is closer, with Gallen and Gausman cracking my top 12 at SP, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say Gallen or Gausman have caught him. Sale vs. Manoah is incredibly close for me the rest of the way, though Manoah has certainly given us plenty of reason to change our opinions about him and has fallen considerably as a result. I’m still pretty skeptical of Miller, so that helps make that decision. The latter group is probably the toughest to choose from, but I’ll go with Keller, who deserves a ton of credit for tinkering his way to what looks like a true breakout.
Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotoBuzzGuy): Aaron Nola — close with Ryan but I think Nola rights the ship and has a strong rest of the way; Zac Gallen — Save for one bad outing vs PIT, he’s been everything I though he would be before the forearm injury two years ago; Bryce Miller — probably good trade bair because he’ll probably have his innings capped, but I just can’t get behind the other two; Eduardo Rodriguez — here’s hoping he gets dealt to a winning team soon.
Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): I’ll take: Ryan, who I think will be a Cy Young frontrunner (then Alcantara, Nola); Gausman, whose track record makes him the choice in the toughest of the four sets (Gallen, Burnes); Sale, whose clunker-gem pattern in the early going has eased into a gem-gem-gem-gem pattern, with a 2.30/0.70 line and 3 wins (Miller, Manoah, who looks lost); and Keller, whose cutter has been part of a comprehensive pitch-mix overhaul that has transformed his performance (Rodriguez, Eovaldi).
Vlad Sedler (FTN Fantasy, @rotogut): Nola, Gallen, Miller, Eovaldi. Should be close between Nola and Ryan from now until the end of the season. Same with Burnes, Gallen and Gausman. I’m not quite ready to put a pin in Burnes’ fantasy value.
Michael A. Stein (Fantasy Judgment, @FantasyJudgment): Alcantara/Gallen/Miller/Keller. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner will right the ship as the Marlins contend for a wild card spot. Gallen has always been one of my favorite pitchers and he is someone I trust to be consistent. Manoah and Sale concern me, so I am going with rookie Bryce Miller. He has been tremendous thus far, and the Mariners have had a lot of success recently from their young starters that get called up (i.e., Gilbert and Kirby). Finally, Keller is my choice out of attrition because I do not have a lot of faith in Rodriguez or Eovaldi long-term.
Frank Ammirante (The GameDayHQ, @FAmmiranteTFJ): Ryan, Gausman, Sale, Keller. Ryan has taken his game to new heights and looks like an ace. Gausman is showing what he can do with a normalized BABIP. Sale has righted the ship and ahead of Miller due to likely more innings. Keller is the top choice due to improvements in K% and strong Stuff+.
Dave Adler (BaseballHQ, @daveadler01): trying not to project injuries…I see the following as the most likely to come out on top of these troikas – Nola, Gausman, Sale, Eovaldi.
Eric Samulski (Rotoballer, @SamskiNYC): I think the innings and poor defense behind Alcantara are catching up to him and I love Joe Ryan’s new pitch mix, so Ryan for me. Gausman seems the best bet of the next group, but I kinda like all of them. Sale for me in the third group. I’m benching Manoah everywhere now, and I like Bryce Miller but, come on, it’s a rookie with an 80% fastball usage or Chris Sale. And then I’ll take Keller in the last group. The cutter has been a game-changer for dealing with LHH and the sweeper he introduced mid-way through last year has been tremendous
Erik Halterman (Rotowire, @erik_halterman): Ryan is pitching like an ace; his 28.9 K% and 4.1 BB% look much more like Good Nola than the current version of Nola does. Gallen edges out Gausman on tiebreakers such as being five years younger and not pitching in the toughest division in MLB. Sale understandably needed a month but now close enough to himself, but if Miller handles a few stronger lineups like he handled Oakland’s, he could pass Sale and many more. I’m buying that Keller has finally arrived — he’s still top-5 in K-BB% even after a bad outing Friday — but I’m very encouraged by the other two as well.
Lauren Auerbach (Fantrax, @lkauerbach): Joe Ryan, Kevin Gausman, Chris Sale and Mitch Keller. All have K-BB% above 22% and the ERA estimators support their strong starts to the season. Given the unsteady pitching landscape this season, I’d happily roster any of these pitchers rest of season.
Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): Joe Ryan MIN, Kevin Gausman TOR, Bryce Miller SEA, and Nathan Eovaldi TEX – SP. I like to spot trends using stat splits at various time increments for the entire season, last 30 days, last 14 days, and last 7 days. Eovaldi has been the best pitcher of the group to date, and he continues to show stat split consistency. I like Kevin Gausman for the strikeouts (85), Bryce Miller for the WHIP (0.51), and Joe Ryan for the wins (7).
Glenn Colton (SiriusXM, @GlennColton1): Nola, Burnes, and Eovaldi are my picks largely because I believe in sticking with the guys with talent and track record. I break away from this pattern for Bryce Miller who just flat out has me convinced. 1.15 ERA and .51 WHIP are too lofty to ignore.
Joe Gallina (Fantasy Alarm, @joegallina): Joe Ryan, Zac Gallen, Bryce Miller and Nathan Eovaldi. I currently roster all four on my Tout squad. I drafted Ryan, Gallen and Eovaldi but the 30 plus percent of my FAAB budget that I spent on Miller has been well worth it and I love his ROS outlook. Miller’s ability to throw strikes, limit walks allowed and avoid giving up home runs has carried over to the major leagues. He pitches his home games in a pitchers ballpark and since he pitched 133 plus innings last season the Mariners aren’t likely to put any limits on his innings pitched this season.
Dylan White (Baseball America, @the__arrival): I think that Chris Sale over Bryce Miller is probably the correct play – who knows how many innings the M’s will let Miller throw this year. (And with respect to Manoah, his command is so shaky right now, it seems like he’s in a position where even if he were to right the ship, he might approach Sale and Miller’s per start production…and that’s only if he rights the ship. I had Eovaldi as a sleeper candidate this year so in the interest of confirmation bias, I continue to choose him over E Rod and Mitch Keller.
Peter Kreutzer (Rotoman.substack.com, @kroyte): I have Alcantara, Gausman, none, and Rodriguez on teams this year, and wish I had Bryce Miller, and that would be a fine foursome. But I have to give the edge to Aaron Nola in the first group, and will stick with Gausman (over Burnes, who I had rated higher in the preseason but who is not right), Miller, and Rodriguez in the other three.
Rudy Gamble (Razzball, @RudyGamble): Joe Ryan, Kevin Gausman, Bryce Miller, Nathan Eovaldi
Chris Clegg (Pitcher List, @RotoClegg): Joe Ryan, Zac Gallen, Chris Sale, Mitch Keller. Joe Ryan has taken his game to another level this season with the splitter and sweeper. Zac Gallen is as steady as they come and we have seen inconsistencies from Corbin Burnes. I would love to say Bryce Miller, but I have concerns about his innings this season, which makes me lean Chris Sale here. Mitch Keller looks like a pitcher I can finally buy into with his decreased four-seam usage and the addition of a cutter and sweeper.
Scott Chu (Pitcher List, @ifthechufits): I was getting a little worried about the limited strikeouts for Nola, but 17 over his last two starts gives me enough hope that this ship is being righted. Nola has been a high-level fantasy starter for four of the last six seasons, and while I really like what Joe Ryan is doing, it’s not easy for young starters to find consistency for extended periods. He struggled through the summer last season after a strong start, and though I don’t think that’s going to happen again, the fact we haven’t had much opportunity to see him string three or four consecutive strong months together has me leaning slightly towards Nola.
Zach Steinhorn (Steinhorn’s Universe on Substack, @zachsteinhorn): Nola, Gausman, Sale, Keller. Manoah was dropped in one of my 12-team mixed leagues and I couldn’t even bring myself to bid on him.
Shelly Verougstraete (NBC Sports EDGE Baseball, @ShellyV_643): 1) Joe Ryan – He has gone from highly deceptive fastball only guy to adding a wicked sweeper while keeping that wicked fastball pitcher. My love for Sandy runs deep but I think both Skip Schuamker and Sandy are thinking this is 2022 instead of 2023. Maybe it is okay if he doesn’t throw eight or nine innings? I have Nola on many fantasy teams and it seems like it one of “those” years for him. 2) Kevin Gausman – Gausman was my pick to win the AL Cy Young and he is helping me not look like idiot. Burnes seems to have lost that ‘edge’ and while I love Gallen…give me Gausman please. 3) Bryce Miller – Just watch all three of these pitchers and the answer is clear. It is amazing how great the Mariners pitching development system is. Sale has looked great but I trust that Miller will be more consistent. And…we don’t talk about Manoah (sadly it doesn’t have the same groove as the Encanto song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”.) 4) Mitch Keller – This matchup was pretty hard for me to pick but Keller just beat Eovaldi in this matchup. I love how deep Eovaldi is going into games but where are those strikeouts? Keller seems to be the pitcher we all thought we were drafted in previous seasons. I also like what E-Rod is doing but he seems like he is walking on a tightrope at this point.
Phil Hertz (Baseball HQ, @prhz50): Ryan, Gausman, Sale, Keller. Keller was the easiest for me. He’s been excellent since last August. Only caveat is that wins might be elusive if the Buccos revert to pre-2023 form.
Alex Fast (Pitcher List, @AlexFast8): Ryan, Gausman, Miller, Keller. Some difficult (Alcantara / Nola / Ryan). Some easy (Keller / E-Rod / Eovaldi). I think Ryan still has some potential upside if he can figure out the potential slider/sweeper combo while I’m worried about Alcantara and the new shift rules and Nola’s odd year curse (half kidding). Miller has the best four-seamers of any of those guys with fewer injury concerns at the moment and a not-as-scary floor. Keller’s tweaks have proved sustainable and while Eovaldi is a close second, the injury bug is always looming
Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Nola, Gausman, Sale, Keller
Hi – Todd Z. here. Chances are by now you’ve figured out I put this thing together. As part of the piece, I posted each poll on my Twitter account (@ToddZola). Here are the results, side by side with the Touts picks.