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Top 25 starting pitcher rankings for 2021 MLB season

Brian Murphy shares his list of top starters for the 2021 season with updates week-to-week.

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob DeGrom pitches during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

There’s never a bad time for fantasy baseball rankings! Make sure to bookmark this article as I will be providing weekly updates to these top-25 starting pitcher ranks throughout the 2021 MLB season. These rankings assume head-to-head categories settings.


If you’re expecting massive changes to these ranks after about a week of games, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Some didn’t have the best debut — Max Scherzer got hit hard by the Atlanta Braves — but a good rule of thumb in fantasy baseball is to not make drastic moves within the season’s first month, much less the first week. One or two average outings in April shouldn’t really change your mind on these star pitchers from how you viewed them on draft day. A few of these guys are still building up arm strength. At the very least, everyone who was in my final preseason top 20 is healthy. That’s not something to take for granted, even this early in the season, considering how injuries are wreaking havoc across baseball.

With that said, here are a few of the more notable moves I have made to this top-25 after eight days of games:

Sonny Gray is the only member of the previous top 25 who has been removed. The Phillies’ Zack Wheeler replaces him at No. 23.

Corbin Burnes got the biggest bump up, from No. 21 to No. 16. It’s hard not to be impressed with how he handled the Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals in his first two starts — 12.1 innings, two hits, no walks, 20 strikeouts. The Twins’ Jose Berrios also moved up a couple of spots, from No. 16 to. No. 14.

I’m sticking with Walker Buehler at No. 4 for now. I have really high expectations for him this year (clearly), but that first start at Colorado was a little alarming. He was fortunate to get out of there with only four hits and two runs through six innings. The Rockies hit a bunch of balls on the button.

In-Season Starting Pitcher Rankings 2021

Rank Player Team
Rank Player Team
1 Jacob deGrom New York Mets
2 Gerrit Cole New York Yankees
3 Shane Bieber Cleveland Indians
4 Walker Buehler Los Angeles Dodgers
5 Trevor Bauer Los Angeles Dodgers
6 Lucas Giolito Chicago White Sox
7 Yu Darvish San Diego Padres
8 Luis Castillo Cincinnati Reds
9 Aaron Nola Philadelphia Phillies
10 Brandon Woodruff Milwaukee Brewers
11 Jack Flaherty St. Louis Cardinals
12 Max Scherzer Washington Nationals
13 Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers
14 Jose Berrios Minnesota Twins
15 Lance Lynn Chicago White Sox
16 Corbin Burnes Milwaukee Brewers
17 Blake Snell San Diego Padres
18 Kenta Maeda Minnesota Twins
19 Tyler Glasnow Tampa Bay Rays
20 Kyle Hendricks Chicago Cubs
21 Hyun-jin Ryu Toronto Blue Jays
22 Zack Wheeler Philadelphia Phillies
23 Stephen Strasburg Washington Nationals
24 Max Fried Atlanta Braves
25 Zach Plesac Cleveland Indians