5 Best Aces Still Available in MLB Free Agency

David Kaestle
Gerrit Cole walks off the mound during World Series against Washington Nationals.
Gerrit Cole walks off the mound during World Series against Washington Nationals. / Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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With baseball's offseason already heating up ahead of the MLB Winter Meetings, set to begin on Dec. 8, there are plenty of free agents still searching for new homes.

While last winter was dominated by two big-name hitters in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, this offseason is headlined by top-tier starting pitchers. With that in mind, let's take a look at the five best aces still available on the free-agent market.

5. Dallas Keuchel

Dallas Keuchel pitches in Divisional Series against St Louis Cardinals.
Dallas Keuchel pitches in Divisional Series against St Louis Cardinals. / Scott Kane/Getty Images

Dallas Keuchel got a late start to last season, signing a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves in June after failing to agree to a multi-year offer before the season. Keuchel had a decent year in Atlanta, finishing with an 8-8 record, 3.75 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 112 2/3 innings pitched. He might not have been the ace he once was with the Astros, but he can certainly still be a productive and effective piece of a good rotation.

4. Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu pitches in the Divisional Series against the Washington Nationals.
Hyun-Jin Ryu pitches in the Divisional Series against the Washington Nationals. / Will Newton/Getty Images

Hyun-Jin Ryu was a leader in the conversation around the NL Cy Young award for much of last season. Jacob deGrom ultimately won, but Ryu proved he is still a top-line starter. He ended the year with a 14-5 record, 2.32 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 182 2/3 innings pitched. He might not be the ace of the Dodgers' staff, but if he can replicate his 2019 performance again in 2020, there are definitely plenty of MLB teams where he could qualify for that designation.

3. Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner pitches in game against San Diego Padres.
Madison Bumgarner pitches in game against San Diego Padres. / Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Madison Bumgarner became known for his greatness in the postseason, but that's not to say he still can't be the ace of a staff as he has been in San Francisco for much of his career. He recorded a 9-9 record, 3.90 ERA and 203 strikeouts in 207 2/3 innings pitched in 2019. That might have been a down year by his standards, but there are a large number of teams who have expressed interest in the 30-year-old lefty in hopes he can become the ace of their staff.

2. Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg pitches in the World Series against the Astros.
Stephen Strasburg pitches in the World Series against the Astros. / Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Stephen Strasburg is coming off a World Series MVP in 2019. Thought of almost unanimously as the second-best pitcher available, Strasburg would headline most pitching staffs in the majors. If that's something he's interested in, he might walk away from Washington (where he sits behind Max Scherzer in the rotation), the team that drafted him, for a chance to do that. He closed the 2019 regular season with a 18-6 record, 3.32 ERA and 251 strikeouts in just 209 innings pitched.

1. Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole pitches in World Series against the Washington Nationals.
Gerrit Cole pitches in World Series against the Washington Nationals. / Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Gerrit Cole put together one of the better seasons for a pitcher in recent memory, right in line with his teammate Justin Verlander, who took home the 2019 AL Cy Young. Cole had a 20-5 record, with a 2.50 ERA and an impressive 326 strikeouts in 212 1/3 innings pitched. Still only 29 years old, the right hander is believed to have a handful of suitors, headlined by the New York Yankees, Anaheim Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers. There is an argument Cole is the best pitcher in baseball, so wherever he goes, you can pretty much mark him down as the ace of the staff.


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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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