Question of the Night: Who Are Your Top 5 Starting Pitchers For 2012?

You would think this is a fairly easy question to answer, but when you start looking at the options it may not be as clear-cut.  From where I sit there are at least 7 players who could be included (in no particular order):

  1. Roy Halladay
  2. Cliff Lee
  3. Justin Verlander
  4. Clayton Kershaw
  5. Felix Hernandez
  6. CC Sabathia
  7. Tim Lincecum

That doesn’t even mention names like Jon Lester, Jered Weaver and a few others that could sneak in.  So, the question for everyone is, as of today, who do you view as the Top 5 Starting Pitchers for next season?


  1. Eddy says:

    If I had to subtract exchange a name it’d be Cole Hamels for CC.

    CC is getting old, and if it weren’t for his 2nd-half antics, he’d be a great not elite pitcher.

    So I’d go:

    1. Kershaw (he just gets better and better each year)
    2. Halladay (age will soon come into question)
    3. Verlander (now completely in his prime)
    4. Cliff Lee
    5. Lincecum
    6. Felix
    7. Hamels

    • Nick Tenaglia says:

      I don’t care how much better Kershaw gets from year-to-year, there is NO WAY he is the current #1 SP. There is no way he beats out BOTH Verlander and Halladay. If you want to make the case that he is better than Cliff Lee, I could see the argument, but definitely not the other two guys.

      Even if you want to call these rankings a “Dynasty Rank”, he still isn’t higher than Verlander

      • Eddy says:

        I understand that Halladay under Kershaw is still a bit of a stretch. Will it happen? I’m 100% positive. When? OK, maybe not for a season or so. The ONLY reason Halladay can be seen as better than Kershaw is his elite control. That’s it.

        Verlander is benefitting from some luck this season (BABIP is .234 compared to .287 career), and he just has a tougher division.

        Kershaw is 23 and Verlander is 28. I simply think Verlander cannot have a better season than 2011. Ever. Kershaw, however, can STILL GET BETTER. I literally drool at the thought of that.

        So, I’ll compromise and flip Kershaw to #2 and Halladay to #1.

      • Eddy says:

        And remember this is for 2012. You said current.

  2. Pat says:

    Kershaw (playing for a crappy team costs him)

    Others just outside the top tier that no one has mentioned: Cain, Haren, Hudson, Beckett

    Wild card: Strasburg

  3. Marky Mark says:

    So if you could only keep 4 of these 5 guys, Kershaw/Hamels/Haren/Cain/Romero….Romero is the odd one out? He plays in the tougher division, but at least his team has an offense.

  4. Rotoprofessor says:

    Mary Mark – I’d call you extremely lucky, but I agree that Romero is the off man out.

    Pat – I’m not sure I put Hamels in the Top 5, but it’s hard to argue.

    Eddy – I have to second Nick’s comments here. I love Kershaw as much as the next guy and think he’s a surefire Top 5 option. However, I can’t put him at the top spot quite yet. Unlike Nick, I can see the argument for Kershaw over Verlander, however. I don’t think the pitcher’s are that much different, while Kershaw has pitching in the NL in his favor. Are wins going to be tougher to come by? Absolutely, but W is not a category that we can really draft on (just see Lincecum, for example).

    Kershaw vs. Verlander could be one of the more interesting debates going forward.

    • Eddy says:

      I agree, Professor. I admit, I go gaga over Kershaw. Ever since I stuck him on my team in April of last year, it’s been love at first sight. The fact that he’s only 23 and is in Cy Young conversations is mind blowing.

      I have no trouble seeing him replicate Lincecum’s 2008 and 2009 seasons on a regular basis in the future.

    • Marky Mark says:

      Fortunate, yes. Lucky, no. Those guys didn’t just land on my roster by accident. And of course, Romero looked pretty decent last night.

      As for Kershaw v. Verlander…I’m not sure which I like better for 2012. But in a keeper league, that 5 year age difference is pretty huge.

  5. Peter Olson says:

    I never try to figure out who the top 5 pitchers are, because they will be gone by the time I draft. I want the guys who are tier 2 & 3 pitchers who are going to have an awesome year in 2012. Such as:

    Johnny Cueto (breakout year in 2012)
    Matt Cain
    Ian Kennedy
    Colby Lewis
    Jair Jurrjens
    Zack Grienke
    Brandon Morrow

    This is just my humble opinion.

    I think the next Question of the Night should be “Who will be the breakout stars of next season for pitchers?”.

  6. Matt says:

    Well Clayton Kershaw now is guaranteed to have more wins and less losses than both Halladay and Lee. He also will finish the year with more strikeouts. I now think it’s a valid argument to say Kershaw is the better choice in 2012 over Halladay and Lee whom are past their prime and could fall apart at any moment.

    Hell Kershaw has a chance at the triple crown. He’s tied for the lead in wins (20) and leads the NL in both ERA and Strikeouts. If Kennedy gets a no decision in his final game Kershaw is guaranteed the a share of the lead in wins. He also has the Strikeout lead locked up and only a poor performance would cost him the ERA title.

    So all eyes will be on Clayton Kershaw in his final game as he has a chance to not only win the Cy Young but also the triple crown. And what’s more impressive is he’s doing this on a bad team.

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