STARTERS: Young targets, 2017 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 2017, using a small IP threshold of 20+ IP:

100+ BPV, Age 28 or Under*

Name         Age  Lg  Ctl  Dom   HR/9  GB%  H%/S%   hr/f  FAv   SwK%  FpK%  Ball%  BPV
===========  ===  ==  ===  ====  ====  ===  ======  ====  ====  ====  ====  =====  ===
Synderga, N   24  NL  0.7  10.5   0.0  58%  39/67%    0%  98.7   14%   57%    33%  208
Sale, C       28  AL  1.6  12.8   0.7  36%  31/76%    8%  94.6   16%   66%    31%  200
Wood, A       26  NL  2.7  10.6   0.4  61%  29/79%    9%   n/a   13%   65%    33%  156
Severino, L   23  AL  2.3  10.2   0.9  52%  31/76%   12%  97.3   13%   66%    34%  153
Nelson, J     28  NL  2.2  10.0   1.0  50%  33/76%   14%  94.1   12%   63%    32%  149
McCullers, L  23  AL  2.9  10.2   0.5  63%  34/70%   13%  94.3   12%   56%    37%  147
Archer, C     28  AL  2.9  11.1   0.9  41%  34/72%   11%  95.5   14%   62%    36%  140
Paulino, D    23  AL  2.2  10.6   2.5  30%  37/63%   19%  92.7   11%   59%    38%  139
Tanaka, M     28  AL  2.1   9.2   2.0  50%  33/67%   23%  91.7   15%   63%    34%  136
Strasburg, S  28  NL  2.7  10.4   0.9  44%  30/74%   11%  95.8   13%   62%    33%  136
Paxton, J     28  AL  2.8  10.4   0.4  45%  31/75%    6%  95.6   13%   65%    35%  135
Lamet, D      24  NL  3.5  11.9   1.9  36%  33/60%   18%  94.8   14%   54%    36%  133
Pineda, M     28  AL  2.0   8.6   1.9  51%  32/74%   23%  93.9   12%   65%    34%  131
Delgado, R    27  NL  1.8   8.6   0.7  46%  33/82%   12%  93.9   12%   68%    37%  131
Nola, A       24  NL  2.7   9.7   0.9  49%  31/76%   12%  92.5   10%   63%    35%  127
Bumgarner, M  27  NL  1.6   8.3   1.2  42%  29/74%   11%  91.8    8%   62%    32%  127
Godley, Z     27  NL  2.8   9.3   0.7  56%  26/69%   13%  90.7   15%   62%    37%  126
Salazar, D    27  AL  4.3  12.3   1.7  39%  34/71%   21%  95.2   16%   58%    36%  123
Porcello, R   28  AL  1.7   8.2   1.6  38%  35/73%   13%  92.0    9%   68%    32%  118
Gray, S       27  AL  2.8   8.7   0.7  57%  30/73%   13%  93.5   12%   64%    37%  117
Castillo, L   24  NL  3.8  10.1   1.6  59%  30/76%   21%  97.5   12%   51%    40%  115
Suter, B      27  NL  1.6   7.2   0.7  51%  30/79%    8%  86.3   10%   70%    31%  113
Martinez, C   25  NL  3.3   9.6   1.1  50%  29/75%   16%  96.5   11%   60%    34%  113
Quintana, J   28  NL  3.2   9.8   1.2  42%  31/70%   13%  92.0    9%   68%    38%  110
Cole, G       26  NL  2.2   8.0   1.4  48%  31/73%   17%  96.1    9%   63%    35%  110
Wacha, M      26  NL  2.9   8.9   0.9  46%  33/72%   11%  94.8   10%   63%    35%  108
Corbin, P     27  NL  2.7   8.4   1.4  50%  36/75%   16%  92.5   11%   65%    36%  106
Bauer, T      26  AL  3.8  10.2   1.3  47%  36/65%   16%  94.3    8%   56%    39%  106
Taillon, J    25  NL  3.0   8.6   0.6  42%  36/72%    9%  95.1    9%   62%    37%  105
Ray, R        25  NL  4.4  11.5   1.2  39%  28/80%   14%  94.1   13%   59%    39%  105
Stroman, M    26  AL  2.6   7.5   0.9  62%  30/80%   17%  93.8   10%   60%    36%  104
Skaggs, T     25  AL  2.8   8.9   0.9  40%  32/71%   10%  91.5   10%   65%    33%  103
*min 20 IP

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Jose Berrios (RHP, MIN) has hit a rough patch lately, but his overall skills during his sophomore campaign continue to profile him as a young arm worth owning: 8.4 Dom, 2.7 Ctl, 42% GB%, 98 BPV. Once he pounds the strike zone at a higher rate (37% ball%), Berrios should be able to iron out his ups and downs.

Lance McCullers (RHP, HOU) has become one of the top young SP in the game this season. Check out his nasty combination of strikeouts and groundballs: 10.2 Dom, 2.9 Ctl, 63% GB%, 147 BPV. In fact, McCullers has become one of the most effective RHers in the game against southpaws (5.1 Cmd). The only chink in his armor is some spotty control issues, which have been the result of falling behind hitters (56% FpK%).

Jordan Montgomery (LHP, NYY) remains a young unheralded SP worth owning. His sub-4 ERA and 1.22 WHIP come with the support of a solid skill foundation: 8.3 Dom, 2.8 Ctl, 41% GB%, 93 BPV. And Montgomery's 13% SwK% gives strong backing to his strikeout rate and suggests there could be more to come.

Joe Musgrove (RHP, HOU) might have been bumped from the HOU rotation, but his skills as a SP so far in 2017 certainly have been rotation-worthy: 7.7 Dom, 2.7 Ctl, 43% GB%, 88 BPV. And his command sub-indicators give his skills even more upside: 11% SwK%, 63% FpK%, 32% ball%. He'll likely enter 2018 as one of the better end-game targets around.

David Paulino (RHP, HOU) has been suspended for 80 games due to PED use, which puts into question everything we've seen from him. While that issue and his 6.52 ERA/1.48 WHIP as a SP certainly will keep him undrafted in most leagues in 2018, note that he actually posted near-elite skills as a starter this season: 10.6 Dom, 2.2 Ctl, 30% GB%, 139 BPV.

Luis Severino (RHP, NYY) is in the midst of a full breakout in 2017 (3.03 ERA, 1.09 WHIP). And don't expect it to be a one-year blip. His skills have been off the charts: 10.2 Dom, 2.3 Ctl, 52% GB%, 153 BPV. His ability to elevate his upper-90s fastball and also spot his stuff low in the zone has driven his surge, one that has been supported by a 13% SwK%, 66% FpK%, and 34% ball%. At age 23, Severino is a premium young SP building block.
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Tyler Anderson (LHP, COL) likely will be out until at least the end of August due to a knee issue. That said, if he can come back healthy late in the season, Anderson's skills suggest he can show dramatic improvement from his early struggles: 8.7 Dom, 3.2 Ctl, 44% GB%, 92 BPV. His 12% SwK%, 64% FpK%, and 35% ball% support more skill growth too.

Luis Castillo (RHP, CIN) has emerged as one of the more intriguing young SP targets in the game. His skills after seven starts in the CIN rotation have been very good: 10.1 Dom, 3.8 Ctl, 59% GB%, 115 BPV. His upper-90s fastball, solid 12% SwK%, and extreme groundball rate give him an attractive foundation of skills.

Randall Delgado (RHP, ARI) has hit the DL due to some elbow soreness. Before that, he made some huge gains in 2017 out of the bullpen, and looked like an impact SP over five starts too, both on the surface (2.52 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) and beneath it: 8.6 Dom, 1.8 Ctl, 46% GB%, 131 BPV. His top-tier command was backed by an excellent 12% SwK% and 68% FpK% combo. If his elbow injury proves to be minor, Delgado could have some sneaky value down the stretch and be an attractive cheap keeper heading into 2018.

Zack Godley (RHP, ARI) owns the best swinging strike rate (15% SwK%) of any SP in the NL age 28 or under. It's a mark that gives full support to his 9+ Dom, along with his very good 126 BPV. And he's another peak-age pitcher whose groundball rate (56% GB%) gives him a higher floor than most.

Jon Gray (RHP, COL) has put up an ugly 7+ ERA over four starts in July, causing many owners to leave him on the waiver wire. But his skills actually have been very good (105 BPV). If he can rediscover the swing-and-miss stuff that he flashed late in 2016, Gray is a young SP who could finish strong and reach his breakout potential in 2018.

Dinelson Lamet (RHP, SD) isn't someone you'd think would be on a list of the most skilled young SP, but his skills confirm that he's been a much better pitcher than he shows on the surface (5.92 ERA): 11.9 Dom, 3.5 Ctl, 36% GB%, 133 BPV. His 14% SwK% backs up his excellent strikeout rate. Getting ahead of hitters at a higher clip (54% FpK%) would help his skills growth become more noticeable.

Jimmy Nelson (RHP, MIL) seemingly has been around for a while, but at age 28, he remains an arm in his peak. And his peak certainly has occurred so far in 2017: 10.0 Dom, 2.2 Ctl, 50% GB%, 149 BPV. His command sub-indicators fully support his growth too: 12% SwK%, 63% FpK%, 32% ball%.

Brent Suter (LHP, MIL) is a soft-tossing lefty who isn't owned in many leagues, but if you're looking for a pitching flyer, this is a decent place to target. Suter has a 22/4 K/BB over his last 24 IP, good for a 137 BPV. And in spite of sub-par velocity, his varied pitch mix and pinpoint control have helped him generate a strong 10% SwK%, 70% FpK%, and 31% ball%.

Alex Wood (LHP, LA) has turned into one of the most skilled SP in the game. In fact, no young SP in the NL has better skills than Wood does: 10.6 Dom, 2.7 Ctl, 61% GB%, 200 BPV. With an elite groundball tilt and excellent command sub-indicators (13% SwK%, 65% FpK%, 33% ball%), Wood is a premium age-26 target if you can stomach his injury risk.


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