Top 35 Fantasy Starting Pitchers for 2010: An Early Look

It’s time to wrap up our early 2010 rankings with the starting pitchers.  There’s an extremely fine line between many of these pitchers, so look for things to really move around as we get closer and closer to draft day.  With that said, let’s take a look at how things stack up so far:

  1. Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants
  2. Roy Halladay – Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
  4. Zack Greinke – Kansas City Royals
  5. CC Sabathia – New York Yankees
  6. Johan Santana – New York Mets
  7. Dan Haren – Arizona Cardinals
  8. Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers
  9. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
  10. Javier Vazquez – Atlanta Braves
  11. Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
  12. Chris Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
  13. Jon Lester – Boston Red Sox
  14. Josh Johnson – Florida Marlins
  15. Yovani Gallardo – Milwaukee Brewers
  16. Josh Beckett – Boston Red Sox
  17. Ubaldo Jimenez – Colorado Rockies
  18. Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies
  19. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
  20. Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants
  21. Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves
  22. John Lackey – Los Angeles Angels
  23. Wandy Rodriguez – Houston Astros
  24. Roy Oswalt – Houston Astros
  25. Matt Garza – Tampa Bay Rays
  26. Chad Billingsley – Los Angeles Dodgers
  27. Jair Jurrjens – Atlanta Braves
  28. A.J. Burnett – New York Yankees
  29. Jake Peavy – Chicago White Sox
  30. James Shields – Tampa Bay Rays
  31. John Danks – Chicago White Sox
  32. Scott Baker – Minnesota Twins
  33. Ricky Nolasco – Florida Marlins
  34. Max Scherzer – Arizona Diamondbacks
  35. Ted Lilly – Chicago Cubs


  • Is there any question as to who the best pitcher in baseball is? Not too many pitchers bring with them an almost guarantee to strikeout 250 batters in a season, giving Lincecum a huge lead over the field. I’ve already said that I believe he is a first round pick this season, despite many people’s beliefs that starting pitchers should not be drafted early. He’s just too good to ignore.
  • Who should be #3, Hernandez or Greinke? It is a hell of a decision to make, isn’t it? We’ll really dive into this soon enough, but it seems almost impossible for Greinke to repeat his miraculous 2009 campaign.
  • For all the talk of avoiding AL pitchers, how amazing is it that four of the top five in this ranking call the American League home?
  • Haren’s second half was certainly disappointing, posting a 4.62 ERA, but you can’t discount how good he’s been. Having posted at least 14 wins in each of the past five seasons and 200 Ks in each of his two seasons since joining the Diamondbacks, there aren’t too many better options available.
  • How far does Johan Santana fall due to his injury? He certainly looked like the Santana of old in the early going, so assuming he can come back healthy he should once again return to being one of the best pitchers in the game. I just can’t discount him too far.
  • Assuming Javier Vazquez remains with the Braves, he proved last season that he is a fantasy ace. If he gets traded, however, all bets are off.
  • Many were expecting a huge regression from Cliff Lee, but boy did he show them wrong, huh? He has established himself as one of the best in the league at this point.
  • Peavy may not have shown much during 2009, but his 2.25 ERA in two starts for the White Sox in September at least shows that he still has the ability to thrive in the major leagues. He’s a gamble, for sure, but one that is worth taking as a low-end #2 or high-end #3 starter.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez has converted me into a believer. I’ll talk about him in much more detail soon to explain why.
  • Beckett is a pitcher who seems to trade off between good and bad years. If that stays true, 2010 could be a long season for him. Still, is that really a valid reason to shy away from a pitcher who should get ample opportunities for victories? I would say no.
  • I have John Lackey slated outside the Top 20 for now, but where he ultimately signs is going to play a huge role in his value. Also, the concern of him actually staying healthy for a full season takes away from his perceived value.
  • Oswalt is coming off a season where he posted a career worst strand rate.  A rebound there back to his career norm would certainly go a long way in bringing him back to among the better pitchers in the league.
What are your thoughts on the early rankings?  Who is too high?  Who is too low?  Who was omitted that shouldn’t have been?

Previous Early Rankings:

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.


  1. Matt says:

    These early 2010 SP rankings look better than others I’ve seen. Found one ranking Price ahead of both Kershaw and Hanson. Both out performed him last year and both are younger than him. Kershaw is even more talented than him.

    I think this is the only list that isn’t judging by past mistakes and ranking a player higher because he failed to meet last year’s expectations and they don’t want to admit the player isn’t as good as originally thought to be.

    Very nice list. I’d like to see a list for dynasty leagues sometime.

  2. Andrew says:

    I think this is a very good list. Well done.

    My only criticism would be Peavy is too low.

  3. Andrew, I considered moving Peavy higher on the list, but a few things/thoughts kept him a little lower. One is the time he missed last season, has to be slightly concerning. The second is his move to the AL, away from Petco Park. I know he pitched well in his two starts, but over the long haul, you’d have to think there would be an impact. Those two things combined would give me reservations on drafting him as my #2 pitcher, which is why he is ranked where he is.

    Matt, my plan is to start with some dynasty rankings within the next week and continue to update them as well, so keep checking back for those!

  4. Jimmy says:

    Pretty good list. It’s funny how Wainwright moved up on so many rankings this year. I think Jurrjens could be moved up a few spots, but other than that I think the list is spot on.

  5. jv says:

    no Jered Weaver??

    I think he should be on the list ahead of guys like Scherzer, Billingsley and Shields.

  6. fiji.siv says:

    I hate the Yankees as much as the next guy but I think the way Sabathia has dominated the past 4 years should bump him into the top three ahead of the guys that posted WHIPs -0.20 better than last year.

    I’m not sold on Greinke. Then again, I said the same thing about Cliff Lee heading into this year.

    Lackey is a bargain at #22 IF he stays healthy or moves to the NL.

  7. Ewan says:

    I think Lester is possibly a little too low. He got off to a poor (read unlucky) start to 2009, but in his last 24 starts he had a 13-4 record, 9.84 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 2.48 ERA & 1.11 WHIP.

    I would have him in the same bracket as Vazquez, ahead of Wainright and Carp (who should rank lower due to having fewer Ks)

  8. Rotoprofessor says:

    jv, Weaver just missed out on the list at this point. I think as I do more research and projections he’s likely to move into the range of the other pitchers you mention, but for now he fell just a little bit short.

    As for Lester, him ahead of Carpenter and Wainwright is an interesting debate. It’s a comparison that I certainly will look at going forward, but I’m curious what does everyone else think?

  9. John Galbraith says:

    Zero faith in Webb returning to form?

  10. Cody says:

    how is cole hamels ahead of matt cain?

  11. Joey says:

    Tommy Hanson is going to be sick in 2010.

  12. Randy says:

    Come on now….atleast post a picture of Timmy with his Shaggy long stoner hair-do! That’s his identity!!

    Good list. Timmy is GOD.

    Only change I’d make is Hanson should be a bit higher. I like him over guys like Josh Johnson and Ubaldo. But that’s just me…a Dynasty freak.

  13. JR says:

    Where is 17 game winner Scott Feldman at?

  14. Rotoprofessor says:

    Feldman had a solid season, but wins is not a reason to consider him a Top 35 SP. There certainly is a good chance for a regression from his 4.08 ERA and 1.28 WHIP (.275 BABIP? Can he maintain a 5.36 K/9 after being under 4.50 the previous two seasons?).

    The low Ks alone is a good enough regression not to consider him a top option.

  15. winner says:

    where is dallas braden

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