There has been some significant movement in our starting pitcher rankings since we originally checked in on them. The most glaring change was due to Zack Greinke’s trade to the Brewers, but that’s certainly not all. Let’s take a look at how things currently look:
- Roy Halladay – Philadelphia Phillies
- Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
- Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants
- Jon Lester – Boston Red Sox
- Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
- CC Sabathia – New York Yankees
- Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
- Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Zack Greinke – Milwaukee Brewers
- Jered Weaver – Los Angeles Angels
- Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers
- Ubaldo Jimenez – Colorado Rockies
- Josh Johnson – Florida Marlins
- Francisco Liriano – Minnesota Twins
- Chris Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
- Yovani Gallardo – Milwaukee Brewers
- Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies
- Clay Buccholz – Boston Red Sox
- Mat Latos – San Diego Padres
- Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves
- Dan Haren – Los Angeles Angels
- Roy Oswalt – Philadelphia Phillies
- Colby Lewis – Texas Rangers
- David Price – Tampa Bay Rays
- Ricky Nolasco – Florida Marlins
- Brett Anderson – Oakland Athletics
- Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants
- Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers
- Matt Garza – Chicago Cubs
- Josh Beckett – Boston Red Sox
- I know seeing Colby Lewis over David Price seems odd, but I took a detailed look into why I prefer him earlier this week. Check it out by clicking here.
- Some people are going to be higher than I am on Matt Cain. I fear a regression in his BABIP (.260) and control (2.46 BB/9 compared to a 3.37 career BB/9), meaning a rather sizable jump in his WHIP (1.08) could be in store for him. Yes, he has improved his control for three straight years, but sooner or later the trend is going to stop. It’s not to say that he’s a bad option, I just prefer the other options more. I’ll be taking a look at my projection for Cain in the near future.
- Since the last time we looked at the rankings Zack Greinke has been dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers, significantly helping his value. You have to think that he’ll have a higher win upside, while also potentially seeing a bump in strikeouts and a decrease in ERA and WHIP thanks to leaving the DH behind (and facing generally easier lineups). The former Cy Young Award winner was a Top 20 option prior to the deal but now cracks the Top 10. For more on the deal click here.
- Adam Wainwright or CC Sabathia? It’s virtually a coin flip and, despite pitching for the Yankees, Sabathia does call the harder division home. When pitchers are as close as they are, I’d generally side with the NL option.
- Josh Beckett’s inclusion may be a bit of a surprise given how poorly he pitched in 2010. However, he struggled with luck (.349 BABIP) and we all know how good he has the potential to be. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him perform like a Top 15 pitcher at year’s end, would it? (For more on his 2010 struggles, click here)
- I know some people want to consider Felix Hernandez the top starting pitcher in the league, but I just can’t do it. Halladay has an edge in both wins and WHIP, while the two will likely be close in the ERA department. While Hernandez may strikeout a few more, is it enough to overcome Halladay’s other advantages? I don’t think so. (For a more detailed comparison, click here)
- I know people are worried about Latos’ workload in 2010, but any pitcher carries a bit of a risk with him. No one knows for sure how his body will respond, as it’s the same question we’ve had with Tim Lincecum since he entered the league (and how has that turned out). With his strikeout rate (9.21 K/9 in ’10 vs. 10.55 over his minor league career), control (2.44 B/9 in ’10 vs. 2.30 over his minor league career) and the benefit of pitching in Petco Park, you have to like his potential to excel once again.
- Josh Johnson certainly is one of the best starting pitcher options in the league, but he falls just short of the Top 12 for me. Don’t overlook the fact that he benefitted from a 79.2% strand rate and increased his strikeout rate be nearly one K per nine innings (8.22 vs. 9.11). I know he’s certainly improved since his minor league days, but his K/9 coming up was just 7.41. There’s a good chance he regresses there, which certainly will hurt his potential value. I wouldn’t suggest a return to his minor league numbers, but potentially back to the low-to-mid 8.0 range.
What are your thoughts on the rankings? Whose too high? Whose too low?
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Make sure to check out our 2011 rankings: