Staff rankings: Starting pitchers, part one

Phew. Position players are taken care of. What’s next? Logically, starting pitchers, so below, we present the top 35 (more to come tomorrow).

The following writers have ranked their top 70: Josh Shepardson, Ben Pritchett, Brad Johnson and yours truly. We used to create our composite rankings, and if you follow the link provided in our rankings, you can see how ours compared with a slew of other experts’. Assume a 12-team, mixed league with standard 5×5 settings. Click on the links with our names to get to our Twitter accounts, where we’ll happily answer your baseball and fantasy questions year-round.

2012 Starting Pitchers Rankings
Player Name Nick
Expert Consensus
Roy Halladay 2 3 1 1 1 view
Clayton Kershaw 1 2 2 2 2 view
Justin Verlander 3 1 7 3 3 view
Cliff Lee 4 4 3 4 4 view
Tim Lincecum 6 5 5 7 5 view
CC Sabathia 10 7 6 5 6 view
Felix Hernandez 7 6 8 8 7 view
Cole Hamels 8 9 9 6 8 view
Jered Weaver 5 8 14 11 9 view
Zack Greinke 15 12 4 9 10 view
David Price 13 10 12 10 11 view
Dan Haren 9 11 17 14 12 view
Madison Bumgarner 14 18 11 13 13 view
Jon Lester 16 13 15 12 14 view
Stephen Strasburg 12 17 13 18 15 view
Matt Cain 11 14 26 15 16 view
Yovani Gallardo 24 16 10 22 17 view
Matt Moore 18 21 16 17 18 view
Adam Wainwright 19 15 23 20 19 view
James Shields 23 19 20 16 20 view
Ian Kennedy 17 25 25 21 21 view
C.J. Wilson 20 23 22 26 22 view
Yu Darvish 21 24 30 19 23 view
Mat Latos 27 28 18 28 24 view
Michael Pineda 25 27 19 30 25 view
Josh Johnson 32 20 28 23 26 view
Daniel Hudson 22 26 34 27 27 view
Brandon Beachy 28 29 21 34 28 view
Tommy Hanson 26 33 29 31 29 view
Gio Gonzalez 34 30 31 25 30 view
Matt Garza 29 35 24 33 31 view
Josh Beckett 30 32 27 32 32 view
Jordan Zimmermann 35 31 33 24 33 view
Cory Luebke 31 22 39 47 34 view
Anibal Sanchez 33 42 35 29 35 view

Fantasy Baseball Rankings powered by FantasyPros, the leading aggregator of expert fantasy advice.

Tomorrow… Starting pitchers, part two

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  1. Dave Shovein said...

    List looks very solid overall, great work guys!

    If I were to nitpick at all, I’d have Dan Hudson a couple of spots higher, and Tommy Hanson a couple of spots lower.

    I also agree with Ben that I would have Luebke much higher, he’s currently #25 on my list.

  2. Chicago Mark said...

    Thanks for the response Nick.  It’s a good compilation and I’d be picking nits if I had any objections.  I traded Moore on a 2012/2013 contract at $14 for a 2012 Corey Hart at $1.  I’m pretty happy with it but really didn’t expect this kind of positive feedback about Moore. 
    Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  3. Tom said...

    In the spirit of Pitchers & Catchers, Pitchers & Catchers I ranked starters this past weekend and I’m somewhat surprised how closely our lists match. There is one player that I am much higher on than most and I can’t figure out why. Of all the rankings I’ve seen on the web no one considers Ubaldo a top 25-30 starter anymore. Looking at his peripherals compared to C.J. Wilson I can’t help but think they are nearly identical other than team, ballpark and handedness. Over the last 2 years their ERA estimators and batted ball types are very similar. Both strike out batters better than 21% of the time and have K/BB ratios around 2.3. The only discernible differences I see is between their BABIP (.277 CJ, .292 UJ) and LOB% (73% CJ, 70.8% UJ). So what I’m wondering is, has the switch to AL dampened Ubaldo’s value that much even though he’s getting out of Coors?

    *As I was writing this I looked at Ubalbo’s PitchFx page and noticed he lost nearly 2 MPH on his fastball last year. Is this the reason for concern more so than the league change?

  4. Daniel said...

    How can you possibly consider Halladay as the number 3 or even number 2 pitcher in the MLB?? Im not at all a Phillies fan, but I’m sold on Doc. Most people would agree that he was the best pitcher coming into 2011, and I think he had the best pitching year in 2011. He had a 2.20 FIP (!!!) a 2.71 xFIP, 2.79 SIERA, 2.46 tERA, and really great standard stats such as a .39 HR/9 and a career best 8.5 K/9 and of course the fabulous amount of 35 walks. He had a better year than Verlander in 2011, (Verlander was only better in wins and strikeouts and maybe a few more things) Kershaw is very close, but again other than strikeouts Halladay edges him in nearly every category. And then, even if you were to think them a little better than Halladay in 2011, still, he’s roy halladay and he IMPROVED off of a Cy young season in 2010 and was already the best pitcher in baseball. He’s older, but not old enough to decline in the next 3-5 years.

  5. Mark Himmelstein said...

    I agree with Ben and Dave on Luebke—He’s Top 25.  I’m also quite a bit higher on Garza—his results were fantastic last season and there’s all kinds of sustainability suggested there, though the drastically increased slider usage comes with some risk.  Am I crazy for thinking he belongs in the back end of the Top 20?  I’m also a bit higher on Hudson and Latos. In the latter’s case, I think people are overreacting to the ballpark shift, and underestimating the quality of the Reds’ defense (between +5 and +9 UZR/150 as a team for three straight seasons) and increased run support.

  6. Bobbo said...

    Fantastic list guys, I always trust you the most when it comes to rankings since you seem to back them up the most soundly.  I’m in an interesting position in a keeper league where I get to keep 3 SP from my roster each year (at no $$ value or anything).  I currently have Felix, Gallardo, and Hanson and was able to acquire Matt Moore at the end of last season.  Am I crazy to bring him in over Hanson even though he’s unproven?  Several years ago I made the mistake of not keeping an unproven “top prospect” in Lincecum and have been kicking myself since.  Thanks in advance for the advice!

  7. Ben Pritchett said...

    Daniel- First of all, I’d like to say that although Halladay is technically 3rd on my list, he is more like a 1C. I think he is a phenomanal pitcher that should still perform amazingly well in 2012. The reason he is not 1A is more so a testament to the what I think about the other two pitchers ranked ahead of him.

    Actually, the more I think about it the more I like Clayton Kershaw as my number 1A since I have concerns about the Tigers defense. I think Halladay could suffer from that a little this year as well. He was luck in his hr/fb rate and is 36 years old! I know the Doc is a beast and will continue to be a great pitcher in 2012. I just like the prime years of Verlander and Kershaw better when projecting for the future. If you want to play it safe, Halladay would probably be your man, but if you like prospecting for the future, Kershaw and Verlander have higher ceilings as displayed in 2011.

    I must also say that I won’t draft any of these three. There’s just too much talent later to waste early picks on these studs.

  8. Jeffrey Gross said...

    I probably wont even rank pitchers in time to use them this year, sigh. Ranking 100 pitchers is not a simple task

  9. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Tentative top 40:

    1   Roy Halladay
    2   Clayton Kershaw
    3   Justin Verlander
    4   Tim Lincecum
    5   Cliff Lee
    6   Felix Hernandez
    7   CC Sabathia
    8   Zack Greinke
    9   Jered Weaver
    10   Cole Hamels
    11   Dan Haren
    12   David Price
    13   Madison Bumgardner
    14   Jon Lester
    15   Matt Moore
    16   Mat Latos
    17   Stephen Strasburg
    18   Adam Wainwright
    19   Yu Darvish
    20   Michael Pineda
    21   Brandon Beachy
    22   Anibal Sanchez
    23   James Shields
    24   Max Scherzer
    25   Daniel Hudson
    26   Ian Kennedy
    27   Chris Carpenter
    28   Yovanni Gallardo
    29   Jordan Zimmerman
    30   Josh Beckett
    31   Matt Garza
    32   Cory Luebke
    33   Shaun Marcum
    34   C.J. Wilson
    35   Matt Cain
    36   Josh Johnson
    37   Gio Gonzalez
    38   Tommy Hanson
    39   Ricky Romero
    40   Jeremy Hellickson

  10. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Minor re-rank:

    12   David Price
    13   Madison Bumgardner
    14   Stephen Strasburg
    15   Matt Moore
    16   Jon Lester
    17   Mat Latos

  11. Mark Himmelstein said...


    Scherzer’s a good catch.  I like that ranking.  He was such a popular pick last year, people seem to be overreacting to what really amounted to a superficially poor seasion, when he actually improved his command substantially and just had a HR/FB issue. 

    Also love that Marcum and Wilson are back to back.  I think they’re much closer than people realize too and they’re both likely to regress towards a middle ground vs. their expected performances/last year’s performance. 

    Why so down on Gallardo though?  He’s consistently been a strikeout machine and has improved his command each of the last two years.  He might lose a few wins with less run support, but those losses could be made up for on the defensive end with no Prince and Yuniesky kicking balls around.

  12. Jeffrey gross said...


    Gallardo always seems to bust in the second half. I don’t buy the effect of his control per ae outweighing some luck regression. League bb% has declined as a whole so how much is him improving versus the batting field just being weaker, also changes his relative value weight. That said, I like him but someone undoubtedly will like him more than me. I forgot to rank unaldo in the mix. Probably will need to be near Gallardo

  13. Mark Himmelstein said...

    What luck regression though?  His BABIP was .291, LOB% 74.8%, if anything he’s due some positive regression on his 12.2% HR/FB.  He had a 3.19 xFIP / 3.22 SIERA.  And even if the league’s BB% has declined, he went from 11.9%, 9.3%, 6.8%, which is a pretty huge swing.  I actually agree with you that there are those out there who will probably like him more than I do, but he could wind up on some of my teams in the right situation.

  14. Jeffrey Gross said...


    No rational reason. #35 is the highest I’ve ever ranked him. In my view, the W upside is minimal and the K’s are below the fantasy league average. Ok, so the ERA/WHIP might be there and I am more of a “buyer” than I was before the last 15 months of PU/HR/FB skill talk (though PU% as a skill seemed pretty minimized by Derek Carty’s recent research and it seems to be a Giants-like anomaly).

    If Hiroki Kuroda doesnt crack my top 30….

    Now keep in mind that my top 40 above is just preliminary. I feel like Cain is going to end up closer to 30 than 35 when I finish my diligence. I probably need to rank Cain right behind Garza. Maybe one spot ahead.

  15. Jeffrey Gross said...


    Look at Scherzer’s splits by month. Second half and aug/sept goodness.

    As for Gallardo, even sabermetrics are often the byproduct of some degree of luck. Look at individual year K rates. Pretty stable overall, but you sometimes see spikes. Gut says Gallardo’s surface stats look like 2009 by season end. I’ll try to quantify my reasoning later if I remember to do it.

  16. Nick Fleder said...

    Cains been top 15 for the past three years per Baseball Monster and has been above average in Ks for the same time frame. I just don’t see it.

  17. Ben Pritchett said...

    I don’t either Nick. You can’t justify him in the thirties period. At least not if you are basing your evaluation on talent, age, past stats, and consistency.

  18. Tom said...

    Anyone care to tackle the question I posed earlier about Ubaldo or do I have to wait until the second part of the SP rankings to be posted? I know I kinda answered my own question, but I still don’t see how that could drop him so far in everyone’s ranks.

  19. Ben Pritchett said...

    Tom- I tend to agree with you about Ubaldo. He’s prime for a return to norms. Read my tidbit about him in this article:

    Ubaldo Jimenez SP CLE – Oh, I don’t think anybody’s had the fall from grace as quickly as Jimenez. His trade to Cleveland only intensified an already disappointing 2011 season. Jimenez pitched one of the best half-seasons in baseball history in early 2010. Since then, his ERA has fluctuated more than the housing market. There are, however, some very interesting positives underlying Jimenez’ awful stat lines.

    First of all, only Fausto “Roberto Hernandez Heredia” Carmona had a worse strand rate than Jimenez in 2011. At 65 percent, Jimenez couldn’t keep anybody from scoring. That’s a positive, because unbelievably bad strand rates in talented pitchers tend to correct themselves over time. His BABIP against was a hefty .314, good for twelfth-unluckiest starter in the game.

    I’d say pretty much all of Jimenez’s 2011 advanced stats were similar to his career averages. He’ll walk batters and strike out just under nine a game. He’s still filthy and only saw a slight velocity decrease (-2.6 mph) that probably was linked to some health issues Jimenez battled while playing with the Rockies.

    Pay attention to his stock come draft day. Jimenez definitely will have his detractors, and there’s really nothing to detract. Live with the dicey WHIP and draft the skills of this 28-year-old hurler. He’ll likely deliver profit in the middle rounds of drafts. I see him as a No. 3 starter on a fantasy team.

    As he pertains to CJ, I think while CJ doesn’t have the arm of Ubaldo, he is a far safer play in anaheim against those those offenses in those spacious parks. I love Ubaldo’s skill/draft price, I didn’t have the stones to rank him in the top 35.

  20. MH said...


    The other difference, which is much easier to discern for Ubaldo than CJ, is command.  Ubaldo’s pretty much a lock for iffy command, while CJ actually had decent command last year, and while projection systems expect him to regress, they still think he’ll be better.  Ubaldo’s SwStrike% at 7.5% is also pretty concerning, the first time he’s been below average in that regard, especially tied to the dip in velocity.  I’m also just not that high on CJ either, tending to agree more with Jeff on CJ’s rankings than the other guys.  His plate discipline numbers are also pedestrian across the board.  I think he’ll be decent, but there are quite a few guys going for a similar price that I’d prefer. 

    Otherwise, I agree, they’re very similar.  Solid K%, plenty of grounders, averagish to below average command.  They both look like 3.75ish FIP guys, but CJ gets the edge in recent performance, run support, and command, so while I’d probably have him in the low 30s, Ubaldo would probably fall outside my Top 35.  On the flipside, that’s much closer to the price Ubaldo is going for, so he’s probably more likely to be on my teams.

    Part of it his is also just a testament to how many good pitchers there are, 3.70ish FIP guys just don’t have all that much value anymore.  They can be useful complimentary pieces if their skills match your team needs and the price is right, but they’re not going to be make-or-break guys unless they either improve dramatically or get pretty lucky. 

    Max Scherzer is another guy who looks similar, but his plate discpline marks are superior, indicating perhaps a bit more upside.  His strikeout and walk rates have also been superior, though he doesn’t get the grounders.

  21. Tom said...

    Thanks for the great analysis guys. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing some known injury tied to last years velocity drop. I’ll probably move him down in my ranks since, like you said, the upside for him to command the strike zone and limit walks is almost non-existent.

    Scherzer is another guy I think I will have higher than most people as well (read the other day he’s adding a two-seamer). Looking forward to see where everyone ranks him in part 2.

  22. Jeffrey Gross said...

    On further analysis, diligence and consideration, here are my new #20-50. Still subject to revision upon good argument.

    20   Michael Pineda
    21   Brandon Beachy
    22   Anibal Sanchez
    23   James Shields
    24   Max Scherzer
    25   Yovanni Gallardo
    26   Daniel Hudson
    27   Ian Kennedy
    28   Josh Beckett
    29   Jordan Zimmerman
    30   Matt Cain
    31   Chris Carpenter
    32   Matt Garza
    33   Cory Luebke
    34   Shaun Marcum
    35   Ubaldo Jimenez
    36   C.J. Wilson
    37   Josh Johnson
    38   Gio Gonzalez
    39   Tommy Hanson
    40   Ricky Romero
    41   Jeremy Hellickson
    42   Jaime Garcia
    43   Jhoulys Chacin
    44   Colby Lewis
    45   A.J. Burnett
    46   Hiroki Kuroda
    47   Justin Masterson
    48   Ryan Dempster
    49   Ricky Nolasco
    50   Brandon Morrow

  23. Jeffrey Gross said...

    OK. I give. Im putting Cain in the top 20-25

    19   Yu Darvish
    20   Michael Pineda
    21   Matt Cain
    22   Brandon Beachy
    23   Anibal Sanchez

  24. Chicago Mark said...

    If he stays healthy, do you see Wainright moving back into the top 10/5 for 2013? 
    What do you use as indicators to rank Darvish?
    Where do you see Moore moving to in the future.  If he’s top 20 as a rookie could he be a top 5/10 next year?  Some/most projection systems have Moore at about a 3.30 ERA with 10+ k/9 for 2012.  Are you guys buying into this?

  25. Nick Fleder said...

    Chicago: Quick hits, and it’s early, but 1) I don’t think Wainwright throws as many curveballs, but I could be wrong… I think he’s at least a year away from top 10 but he could be a bargain. Not for the risk-averse, but you already knew that. 2) Darvish has a wide range of projections on him, but check this out: 3) Moore most definitely has top 5/10 upside; I doubt anyone will debate that. It’s a matter of when, so long as he stays healthy (and a number of other, obvious variables I won’t get into)… I buy into the projections more than most. I think people freak when they see 10+ K/9, especially in one’s first full year of major league ball, but the kid is filthy and absolutely dominated the competition wherever he went, including his brief stint in the majors. His ERA will have a boost from the K’s and solid defense behind him. I’m buying him.

  26. Ben Pritchett said...

    Looks like I like Verlander, King Felix, Wainwright, and Josh Johnson more than the room…. And apparently I’m the founder of the Cory Luebke Fan Club. I love me some Luebke! I guess that needs to be my next article.

    Also surprising me, I thought I would like Darvish more than everybody, but I actually have him third lowest of the group. However something tells me in a draft I would pull the trigger before both you guys. Yeah, that’s me calling you out Nick and Brad…

  27. Josh Shepardson said...

    Hi guys,

    I’ll be updating my starting pitcher ranks by the weekend (hopefully).  I’ve ranked Verlander too low, and that was silly.  I do like him less than others, but my preliminary rankings (which these were) didn’t properly account for win potential and volume.  I made up most of my initial pitcher rankings with an eye at rate stats (i.e. BB/9, K/9) without as much concern for the number of innings a guy would throw (hence my man crush on Greinke… who I like a lot, but not more than Verlander when I factor in the difference in innings pitched).

    As far as Cain goes, I like him, but I don’t love him as much as others.  He has consistently crushed his xFIP, so I’m thinking there is probably some skill there (namely the HR prevention that has been often discussed with Giants starters, his FIP and ERA are much closer).  That said he has NEEDED to best xFIP in order to have big value.  His strikeout rate has been roughly league average the last three years, so the total looks pretty, and it’s fine in H2H, but in leagues that have restrictive IP caps, that’s a knock against him.  I also question his wins ceiling.  I’m a Giants fan, so I’ll get that out of the way.  Being as objective as I can, I’m expecting (maybe partly hoping for) a league average offense.  Maybe the offense decides it would like to go bananas when Cain is on the hill, and disappear for others in the rotation.  The point being, this isn’t an offensive juggernaut that can be expected to help Cain put up a gaudy wins total.  So that leaves owners relying on Cain putting up pristine ERA and WHIP totals for value.  Even a slight bit of slippage and he goes from really good, to merely good.  That’s a tight rope I’m not all that comfortable walking.  At least with the strikeout guys (i.e. Gallardo), they are a “safer,” bet in that they have more control over racking up punchouts than racking up wins or having batted balls find gloves (hopefully this last sentence makes some semblance of sense).

  28. Jerry said...

    Specifically on Daniel’s man crush for Halladay, how can you say he will have no decline in the next 3-5 years? He would be 38-40 years old during those seasons. I expect to see a slight decline this season when he will be 35 for most of it. Also, since when is Philly considered a pitcher friendly park? It certainly doesn’t compare with Detroit or LA. Having said these things, I still think Halladay will be a great pitcher this season, though I would rank him third behind Kershaw and Verlander.

  29. Jerry said...

    Wow! that Grienke rating is high in my opinion. I think he should come in at around #16, and I could see him being ranked lower than that. I think wins for Grienke is always a questionable category and while he’s always at least pretty good in ERA and Whip, he does tend to fluctuate from very good to just pretty good from year to year. I think to rank Grienke #8 you would need his best output with a 16+ win season. I don’t think he’s reliable enough to count on that.

  30. Will H. said...

    As a Nats fan, interested in one of the earlier divergences between you guys on Stras. Is it innings-cap, injury risk, or talent that informed the difference.

    As for the other Nat, I think the majority needs to reconsider not having him top-30, but hey, more for me if that is what becomes the conventional wisdom!

  31. Daniel said...

    He will be 37-39 in the next 3-5 years. do the math. 2012=next year, 2013 equals 2 years from now (aka 36 years old) and so on. anyway, I understand you’re reasoning on that. It does seem a little scary to bet on someone like him to stay as good as he is in his later 30s, but, he’s roy halladay. As of today, if you’re going to give someone a 5 year contract, go with kershaw or verlander, and that’s fine. Still, until we see a decline instead of IMPROVEMENT from halladay, there’s no reason not to rank him number 1. I understand these are keeper fantasy league rankings, but really the ranking should just depend on you’re definition.

  32. Bobbo said...

    @Jeffrey Gross: You seem to have Anibal Sanchez ranked higher than most.  Care to walk through the rationale?  Thanks!

  33. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Sure. A look at Sanchez’s overall numbers indicates elite potential. +9 K/9, sub-3 BB/9, 63+% First pitch strikes, and a robust swing and miss rate. Sanchez’s chase rate has spiked and remained high the last two years. His slider percentage is a little high and worrisome for a guy with an injury history, but , but he’s got a good multi-pitch mix that minimizes “L/R split” issues (3.08 xFIP vrsus LHB, 3.43 xFIP vs RHB). Although Sanchez had a rough Aug/Sept, he really bounced back in Sept. Overall, his xFIP by month: 3.34, 3.24, 2.73, 3.27, 3.75, 3.24. I expect “Matt Cain” ish numbers, but with Strikeouts and a better shot at wins. I only have sanchez ranked lower due to slider-injury risk and less of a track record, reflecting a greater risk (rather than reward potential) in the move.

    Does that help?

    Honestly, I th

  34. Bobbo said...

    Thanks a lot, it really does help!  I like being able to rationalize my choices and talking with someone who knows and understands the numbers behind the scenes is awesome.  Like I said earlier, I’m in an interesting situation where I get to keep 3 SP’s and have Felix, Gallardo, Hanson, Matt Moore, and Anibal Sanchez to choose from.  I’ve been trying to work the trade market, but assuming no moves what do you see as the best mix of starters from that group for a long-term keeper roto (we keep 3SP each year, no limit or cap).

  35. Jeffrey Gross said...


    I’d keep Felix, Moore and Sanchez. Gallardo’s a close 4th, and the departure of Fielder/Bentacout and lack of Braun for 50 days should improve the defense behind him (albeit limiting wins upside).

    FWIW, here is my most up to date top 75, still subject to plenty of tinkering before I release my analysis articles:

    Rank   Player Name
    1   Roy Halladay
    2   Clayton Kershaw
    3   Justin Verlander

    4   Tim Lincecum
    5   Cliff Lee
    6   Felix Hernandez
    7   CC Sabathia
    8   Zack Greinke
    9   Jered Weaver
    10   Cole Hamels
    11   Dan Haren
    12   David Price
    13   Madison Bumgardner

    14   Stephen Strasburg
    15   Matt Moore

    16   Jon Lester
    17   Mat Latos
    18   Adam Wainwright
    19   Yu Darvish
    20   Michael Pineda
    21   Matt Cain
    22   Brandon Beachy
    23   Anibal Sanchez
    24   James Shields
    25   Max Scherzer

    26   Yovanni Gallardo
    27   Daniel Hudson
    28   Ian Kennedy
    29   Josh Beckett
    30   Jordan Zimmerman
    31   Chris Carpenter
    32   Matt Garza
    33   Cory Luebke
    34   Shaun Marcum
    35   Gio Gonzalez

    36   Ubaldo Jimenez
    37   C.J. Wilson
    38   Josh Johnson
    39   Scott Baker
    40   Tommy Hanson
    41   Alexi Ogando

    42   Ricky Romero
    43   Jeremy Hellickson
    44   Jaime Garcia
    45   Jhoulys Chacin
    46   Colby Lewis
    47   A.J. Burnett
    48   Hiroki Kuroda
    49   Mike Minor
    50   Ryan Dempster
    51   Ricky Nolasco

    52   Brandon Morrow
    53   Bud Norris
    54   Ryan Vogelsong
    55   Gavin Floyd
    56   Justin Masterson
    57   Ted Lilly
    58   Tim Hudson
    59   John Danks
    60   Wandy Rodriguez
    61   Brandon McCarthy
    62   Johnny Cueto
    63   Edwin Jackson

    64   Doug Fister
    65   Roy Oswalt
    66   Erik Bedard
    67   Clay Buchholz
    68   Carlos Zambrano
    69   Tim Stauffer
    70   Ervin Santana
    71   Chad Billingsley
    72   Bartolo Colon
    73   Jake Peavy
    74   Chris Volstad
    75   Derek Holland

  36. Will said...

    I’m still wondering why Doug Fister isn’t on anyone’s top 25.

    His 2011 WAR (5.6) was the same as Jared Weaver’s & higher than Felix Hernandez, Matt Cain, & James Shields. 

    His K/9 for the year wasn’t so hot (6.07), but it improved in the last third of the season after being traded.  His Walk Rate was top-5 (1.54 BB/9), and his ERA was top-10 (2.83) for the year.  That might have been driven by his ridiculously low and typically quirky HR/FB% (5.1%), but even when that’s corrected for in xFIP (3.61), he’s still #30 for the entire 2011. 

    AND, that doesn’t reflect that 1/3 of his innings were with Chicago after being traded, where he showed improvement in nearly all mention-worthy stats (7.29 K/9;  76.2% LOB;  1.79 ERA; 2.75 xFIP). 

    Some of that may be BABIP-related (.245 after the trade), but do we REALLY think he’s going to regress so much he doesn’t make it into the top-25?  Has he really lost so much run support & defense that the 2012 Tigers will be worse than the 2011 Mariners?

    What am I not seeing here?  Thanks!

  37. Nick Fleder said...

    Will: to the point in your fourth paragraph… yes. An excellent look by Mike Axisa. I love him before the Fielder signing but have really tempered my expectations a whole lot. His regressed ERA (xFIP) is 3.61—meh, I’d say—his strikeout rate may not even stay above 6 (which is pretty pathetic) and his WHIP might end up in very respectable territory but will no way be 1.06 next year (with more balls falling into play). As an endgame pick, I like Fister. But he’s not a top 25 starter.

  38. Daniel said...

    @Ben from waaaay back near the beginning about Halladay-Verlander-Kershaw. Halladay is 34, not 36 (turns 35 in May). Still, I understand your reasoning. I just think it’s crazy that he is still getting better, and as you say the HR/FB might be a little lucky, theres no reason to believe it’ll double back to normal in 2012. He is in a great pitchers’  park, but so are verlander and kershaw. I’d say it depends on the contract and the league on who you draft. still, as far as today and the next several years go, there is just no way to give the title of best pitcher to verlander and kershaw after only one good year, that still didn’t quite match up to Halladay. If you’re thinking similar money for 5 years or so, yea probably go with verlander or kershaw. Still, HALLADAY IS A BEAST

  39. Daniel said...

    Derek holland at 75…Behind chris volstad, bartolo colon, chad billingsley, tim stauffer, carlos zambrano, bedard, oswalt, cueto, mccarthy, danks, lilly, folyd, vogelsong,norris, morrow, nolasco, dempster, kuroda, burnett, lewis, chacin, garcia, hellickson, ogando, hanson, baker, jimenez and beachy, Don’t you find that a bit strange. This guy was the best pitcher on his team in the second half of ‘11, without any apparently significant source of luck; in fact his fastball’s velocity went up. There’s no reason to believe he won’t be in that form in 2012. This guy was a huge prospect that people outside of texas seemed to forget the potential of after a slow breaking-in process. I can maybe understand a few of the listed players being ahead of him if you want to be really sceptical, but Colon?? Zambrano?? Oswalt?? Norris? Dempster?? Lewis?? Ogando?? ridiculous. Colon had a good year in 2011, at least im comparison to expectations. Still, it was not as good as Holland even with some early inconsistency from holland. Carlos Zambrano may benefit from a change of scenery and ozzie guillen, but lets face it; he’s carlos zambrano and hasn’t had a good year in several years. Roy oswalt is a former ace and star, but is in his later years and shouldn’t improve from his very holland-liike season in 2011. He will likely continue trending downward in 2012, but even if he doesn’t, if you hand him a 3-5 year contract you are not likely to get more from him than a up-and-coming holland. Bud Norris cut down on his ERA by more than a whole run, but other than that his numbers did not greatly improve. His strikeouts decreased, while is walks got better, and his home run rate increased a little. He also managed a not-so-productive 1.8 WAR compared to holland’s 3.6. There is no more reason to believe norris will get better than holland, and as of 2011 Holland is the better pitcher. ryan dempster had a great year in 2008. But, since then his war had decreased constantly, and his walks and home runs have gone up. Still, he had a good year in 2011, posting a nearly identical tERA, SIERA, and xFIP to holland. He is, though, 35 while holland is ten years younger. Who would you prefer: An upward trending young fireballer or a 35 year old who has decreased in value consistency since turning 30. Colby Lewis, a fellow pitcher in texas, Raised eyebrows with his year in 2010 when he got off running after a trip to Japan. He became the clear #2 on the staff, but in 2011 suffered the worst season on the rangers. The only pitcher with an era over 4, he allowed the most home runs in the american league. He also lost 30 strikeouts in nearly the same amount of innings. I’m not saying that 2010 was a fluke, but if you compare the seasons of Holland and Lewis in 2011, the only excuse for ranking lewis 30 places higher is that you think Holland will suffer collapse in 2012. Alexi ogando is another pitcher on the rangers staff. This is the craziest of all of the rankings, as I won’t even go into how Holland had a better 2011 season, but the fact is…he is very likely going to a relief pitcher for years to come! You don’t rank a relief pitcher in the top 50 starting pitchers. I have objections to more players being ranked ahead of Holland, but those are the most substantial. At least move the guy a couple of tiers up, will ya Jeff?

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