Top 45 Starting Pitchers for 2010: Take Two

As I continue to fine-tune my pitching projections, there is a major shakeup in the rankings.  Names like Yovani Gallardo, Ubaldo Jimenez and Javier Vazquez saw a major change in their rankings from the first time around.  Let’s take a look at how things currently stand, but again keep in mind that these still have plenty of room to change as draft day grows closer.

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


  • Wainwright is a solid pitcher and deserves to be in the Top 10 after his big 2009 campaign, but he’s not a pitcher that I’m expecting to have on any of my teams in 2010.  He benefited from a strand rate of over 80% last season and a big fall could be coming in the ERA department.  I just don’t value him enough to justify drafting him where you need to in order to get him.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez has done enough to make me a believer.  His peripheral numbers are just too good to ignore.  An increasing strikeout rate.  A new sense of control.  A groundball rate of better than 52% in each of the past two seasons.  He could be in store for a huge 2010.
  • My projections for Clayton Kershaw really surprised me (which we’ll get to in time), but the numbers make him look like one of the elite in the league.  It’s all about the control, which in turn will allow him to work deeper into games.  If he can get the walks down, he easily could be a Top 10 pitcher by the end of 2010.
  • Who would you rather have, Tommy Hanson or Matt Cain?  That’s going to be a future article for me, but the numbers are extremely close on my projections.  It really comes down to Hanson’s strikeout rate vs. Cain’s continued luck, no?
  • What can we expect from Josh Beckett in 2010?  Who knows, and that’s really the problem.  He has the stuff to be one of the elite, but he has these down years mixed in that really make you wonder.
  • If Jake Peavy is healthy he could be significantly better than a low-end #2/high-end #3 starter.  It’s a risk, but one that’s worth taking.
  • Wandy Rodriguez continues to be a dominant starter at home, while struggling mightily on the road.  It’s hard to imagine him repeating the 2.08 home ERA he posted in 2009, so a regression is in order.  We’ll go further into this in the near future.
  • Javier Vazquez’ value takes a huge hit with the trade to New York, as it is now more likely for his ERA to be near 4.00 than it is for him to come close to his 2.87 from 2009.  He gave up 14 HR to left-handed hitters and walks into a ballpark that’s conducive for lefties to go yard.  Doesn’t seem like a good match, does it?
  • If Brandon Webb is healthy, he’s an absolute steal where he’s going to be available on draft day.  Obviously, after throwing just four innings due to a shoulder injury, he’s a huge gamble.  Still, he’s one worth taking.
  • Max Scherzer has a ton of potential, we all know that, but now being in the AL is going to make it more difficult for him to flourish.  He has a problem going deep into games already, so facing deeper lineups certainly isn’t going to help matters.  Still, the strikeouts are alluring, aren’t they?
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. Brian Graham says:

    Greinke No. 3? I think he should be No. 1 based on his pitcher of the year award, and the fact that he put up the numbers he did in the AL…but Halladay moving to the NL will make him even more dominant, but he is pitching in what I consider a hitter’s park.

  2. Rotoprofessor says:

    Brian, the strikeout advantage and the fact that he’s in the NL (and the NL West) makes it nearly impossible to rank anyone ahead of Tim Lincecum at this point. Greinke is a great option, don’t get me wrong, but at this point Lincecum is a borderline first round pick, something Greinke just isn’t. If he can repeat what he did in 2009, then we can revisit it, but doing it once over a full season just isn’t enough.

  3. Charlie says:

    Brett Anderson is superior to Kazmir, Floyd, Buccholz and Danks among others.

  4. Bill Miller says:

    I think the projections for starting pitching rankings are pretty much spot on. I would, however, rank Beckett a little higher, in the top 20, because he is entering a free agency year. Also, with the pitching depth on the Red Sox, there will be no pressure for him to actually step up and be an ace. I would also rank Nolasco about six places higher. Look for his ERA to drop a full run, perhaps a little more. His K rate will be high as well. He could finish as a top 20-25 pitcher.

  5. Matt says:


    You can’t base projections solely based on what someone did in one year. It’s all about probability for next year.

    There is no way Greinke has a 2.16 era again. If anything Greinke’s 2010 numbers will be like 2008’s numbers but with more wins and more strikeouts. It’s good but it’s still not Lincecum good. I myself would put King Felix over Greinke due to age, talent and improvement. I don’t expect 19 wins from King Felix but I think his overall numbers will be better than Greinke’s.

    And an interesting thing on Kershaw is the fact Kershaw actually improved on his good 2008 numbers. The safe bet with Kershaw would be to say he has a 3.50 era with less walks, more wins and an improvement in overall control.

  6. Kraftwerk says:

    Great article…..I enjoyed the ranking and write ups.

    Cain suffered terribly in previous years due to non existent run support. He was one of the unluckiest SPs in back to back seasons.

    Dude was due a break last season.

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