Earlier this week I released the 2011 Pitcher Capsules in a wonderful collaborative effort with PaulSporer.com. Unlike hitters where I broke down everything you need to know in my 2011 Hitter Capsules, I didn't have any input in terms of pitchers in the above linked guide. Therefore, I thought I would share with you my personal rankings for starting pitchers.
Pitchers in bold are hurlers I would target. I'll also give some general thoughts at the end of the rankings.
1 Roy Halladay 2 Felix Hernandez 3 Tim Lincecum 4 CC Sabathia 5 Cliff Lee 6 Jon Lester 7 Clayton Kershaw 8 Josh Johnson 9 Justin Verlander 10 Dan Haren 11 Cole Hamels 12 Jered Weaver 13 Roy Oswalt 14 Tommy Hanson 15 Mat Latos 16 Ubaldo Jimenez 17 Yovani Gallardo 18 Chad Billingsley 19 Max Scherzer 20 David Price 21 Wandy Rodriguez 22 Zack Greinke 23 Francisco Liriano 24 James Shields 25 Ryan Dempster 26 Josh Beckett 27 Matt Cain 28 Chris Carpenter 29 Ricky Nolasco 30 Brett Anderson 31 Jonathan Sanchez 32 Ricky Romero 33 Brandon Morrow 34 Ted Lilly 35 Shaun Marcum 36 Matt Garza 37 C.J. Wilson 38 Colby Lewis 39 John Danks 40 Hiroki Kuroda 41 Tim Hudson 42 John Lackey 43 Johnny Cueto 44 Phil Hughes 45 Daniel Hudson 46 Madison Bumgarner 47 Gavin Floyd 48 Edinson Volquez 49 Brett Myers 50 Trevor Cahill 51 Jaime Garcia 52 Clay Buchholz 53 Scott Baker 54 Jordan Zimmerman 55 Ian Kennedy 56 Jake Peavy 57 Brian Matusz 58 Jonathan Niese 59 James McDonald 60 Ervin Santana 61 Gio Gonzalez 62 Carlos Zambrano 63 Jhouyls Chacin 64 Jeremy Hellickson 65 Clayton Richard 66 Jorge De La Rosa 67 Jair Jurrjens 68 Carl Pavano 69 A.J. Burnett 70 Edwin Jackson 71 Javier Vazquez 72 Bud Norris 73 Brett Cecil 74 Mike Pelfrey 75 Fausto Carmona 76 Justin Masterson 77 Anibal Sanchez 78 Tim Stauffer 79 Jake Westbrook 80 Travis Wood 81 Bronson Arroyo 82 Aaron Harang 83 Jeff Neimann 84 J.A. Happ 85 Wade Davis 86 Dallas Braden 87 Mark Buehrle 88 Randy Wolf 89 Randy Wells 90 Homer Bailey 91 Joe Blanton 92 Barry Zito 93 Kyle Drabek 94 Rick Porcello 95 Michael Peneda 96 Daisuke Matsuzaka 97 Carl Pavano 98 R.A. Dickey 99 Mike Minor 100 Derek Lowe
* I see a lot of talent in the 25 to 40 range on this list which leads me to think that you don't have to reach for starting pitching this year. Wait, I say that all the time. Trust me, if you go into a standard mixed league with a staff of Beckett, Nolasco, Anderson and Lilly - your going to have a darn solid pitching staff.
* I have Clay Buchholz at #52, and I know many will disagree with that. I see a guy who had an ERA of 2.33 last year though he likely should have had a mark at least a run higher. He gets grounders at a nice clip, but he doesn't strike many out, walks batters at the big league average, and was exceedingly lucky with both his LOB% (79.0) and his HR/9 mark (0.47). When those numbers normalize, and they will, I'd be be shocked if his ERA was below 3.70.
* Gio Gonzalez at #61? Though successful last season his K/9, while still strong at 7.67, was a about batter below his career rate. He also walked more than four batters per nine, and that was a three year best. Like Buchholz, he also has little chance of keeping his ERA within a run of his mark from last season (3.23) given his LOB% (78.1) and HR/9 mark (0.67).
* The 60's are the land of the young (Jhouyls Chacin, Jeremy Hellickson) and the old (Carl Pavano, A.J. Burnett).
* I'd take a shot on the potential upside dominance of Bud Norris (72) over the steady but boring Bronson Arroyo (77), Derek Lowe (78) and Jake Westbrook (79).
* Tim Stauffer (78) - All you need to know about this righty can be found in 2011 Player Profile: Tim Stauffer.
* The 80's are populated with veterans you know but might overlook. Mark Buehrle (81) has issues striking out batters, but he throws 200 innings, wins in the double-digits, and rarely kills your ratios. Aaron Harang (82) was actually a lot better than you think the past three years despite outwardly looking lost (7.40 K/9, 2.88 K/BB). If healthy, Petco could be a huge boost for him.
* The 90's have tons of unproven talent.
Homer Bailey (93) - See Which Pitchers Should I Target?
Kyle Drabek (94) - Likely to open the year in the Blue Jays rotation. He has an advanced understanding of pitching.
Michael Pineda (95) - I'd be surprised if he was up before June, but he will be a strikeout force when the Mariners finally turn to him.
Mike Minor (99) - Battling Brandon Beachy for the 5th spot in the Braves' rotation. Minor wore down at the end of last season, but he has the stuff to be a top of the rotation arm.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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