MLB free agency: The best remaining free agent starting pitchers

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 12: Starting pitcher Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox pitches during the 2nd inning of Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros at Guaranteed Rate Field on October 12, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 12: Starting pitcher Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox pitches during the 2nd inning of Game 4 of the American League Division Series against the Houston Astros at Guaranteed Rate Field on October 12, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 31: Zack Greinke #21 of the Houston Astros gets a pinch-hit single against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA – OCTOBER 31: Zack Greinke #21 of the Houston Astros gets a pinch-hit single against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning in Game Five of the World Series at Truist Park on October 31, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

Entering this offseason, the top free agents were primarily position players with Carlos Correa and Corey Seager widely considered the two best. Despite not having a true superstar reaching free agency in their prime, the starting pitching class in MLB free agency has done pretty well for itself. Max Scherzer, Robbie Ray, and Kevin Gausman have all managed to secure multi-year deals topping $100 million. Eduardo Rodriguez, Marcus Stroman, Jon Gray, and Justin Verlander all made deals guaranteeing $50 million or more, the latter after only pitching six innings in the last two seasons combined.

With many of the top starters already locked into new contracts, there are only a few options left in MLB free agency.

Any team looking to sign one of the eight best remaining starters will undoubtedly be looking at their recent track record but will likely also be evaluating their predictive stats like xFIP and SIERA.

The Inning-Eaters: Zack Greinke and Tyler Anderson

Of the top free agents that remain, Zack Greinke and Tyler Anderson pitched the most innings with 171 and 167, respectively. In 2021, both had excellent command (2.0 BB/9 or lower), below average strikeout numbers (7.2 K/9 or lower), and trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark (1.5 HR/9 or more). Greinke’s 4.16 ERA topped Anderson’s 4.53 while both saw those numbers rise as they struggled at the end of the season.

For Anderson, 2021 was the second highest innings total of his career. For Greinke, the active leader in innings pitched, it was the 13th time he had pitched at least 170 innings in a season. Advanced stats suggest Anderson was a little unlucky (4.37 FIP) and Greinke was fairly lucky with (4.71 FIP). Greinke has spoken in the past on his desire to keep his FIP as low as possible and he’s likely aware that that good luck cannot be relied on. Predictive stats like SIERA (4.54 for Greinke and 4.57 for Anderson) and xFIP (4.21 for Greinke and 4.60 for Anderson) show that if they pitch at about the same level in 2022 as last season, both are likely back-of-the-rotation pieces.