Top 30 Starting Pitchers For 2011

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:

  1. Roy Halladay – Philadelphia Phillies
  2. Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
  3. Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants
  4. Jon Lester – Boston Red Sox
  5. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
  6. CC Sabathia – New York Yankees
  7. Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
  8. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
  9. Zack Greinke – Milwaukee Brewers
  10. Jered Weaver – Los Angeles Angels
  11. Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers
  12. Ubaldo Jimenez – Colorado Rockies
  13. Josh Johnson – Florida Marlins
  14. Francisco Liriano – Minnesota Twins
  15. Chris Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
  16. Yovani Gallardo – Milwaukee Brewers
  17. Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies
  18. Clay Buccholz – Boston Red Sox
  19. Mat Latos – San Diego Padres
  20. Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves
  21. Dan Haren – Los Angeles Angels
  22. Roy Oswalt – Philadelphia Phillies
  23. Colby Lewis – Texas Rangers
  24. David Price – Tampa Bay Rays
  25. Ricky Nolasco – Florida Marlins
  26. Brett Anderson – Oakland Athletics
  27. Matt Cain – San Francisco Giants
  28. Max Scherzer – Detroit Tigers
  29. Matt Garza – Chicago Cubs
  30. Josh Beckett – Boston Red Sox

Thoughts:

  • 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:

17 comments

  1. big o says:

    seems that you’re a casualty of your own hype:

    In reality I don’t have to select Lewis before Price, and I wouldn’t. I simply would let Price go off the board and get Lewis several rounds later.)

  2. Chris F says:

    This David Price hate is just silly. Dude was a highly thought of lefty since day one who throws in the upper 90’s and dominated more than half the pitchers ahead of him in this list.

    Even if you expect some regression and maybe a few less wins to have him this low is ridiculous.

    Id take him ahead of Lewis (of course), Gallardo, Liriano, Hamels, Latos, Buccholz, Haren…you get the point.

  3. carlito says:

    cahill or anderson??? ive always been a anderson guy.

  4. carlito says:

    also jamie garcia or brandon morrow??? need to choose.

  5. GT says:

    This seems like the deepest SP class in some time. With the upgraded outlooks of Greinke, Lee, Oswalt, Hanson, and Haren in addition to the talent at the top, every team in a 12-team league will have an ace. Sheeit, every team in my NL-only league will have an ace.

  6. Francisco Liriano says:

    The only pitcher that had a better xFIP than me in ’10 was Roy Hallady, I also had the third best FIP in baseball. I have over a strikeout per inning and my ground ball rate was an excellent 53% last year. I’m only 27 and have already dominated in ’06. Why oh why don’t I belong in the top ten?

  7. Rotoprofessor says:

    big o – I wouldn’t have to draft Lewis before Price, but I actually do still prefer him.

    carlito – I’d 100% go Anderson and I don’t think it is even close. Morrow and Garcia are back-to-back on my rankings, so that is a lot closer. Morrow has a much higher strikeout rate, but Garcia could have the better ERA and WHIP? Is it enough? Probably not. I’d go Morrow.

    GT – Starting pitcher is certainly as deep this year as it has been in some time. There’s little to complain about when drafting pitchers and it really becomes a preference in many cases.

    As far as Liriano goes, the depth of the position is tremendous this season. We have one person saying they would take Price ahead of him and another saying Liriano belongs in the Top 10. It really is that fine of a line from about #10 through #25 that the rankings came be shuffled in an infinite number of ways.

  8. Will says:

    Props for your Colby Lewis ranking. I feel like a lot of people are taking the lazy way out on him, chalking up ’10 to a career year that cannot be repeated, but I think all the numbers and metrics seem to say that his season was certainly within his means. The fact that he showed the big bad Yanks the door in the playoffs doesnt hurt. Colby for pres.

  9. Gallardo should not be ahead of Hamels.

  10. mark says:

    what are your thoughts on jorge de a rosa and chacin on colorado. i think both are due for breakout yrs. and with the changes in atlanta hanson should have on heck of a great yr. i might even take him first
    mark

  11. Jack says:

    Thoughts on Josh Johnson’s injury; I’ve offered him for Utley and am waiting to hear back from owner. I’m more likely to take the hitter and Utley is the stud here.

  12. Rotoprofessor says:

    Jack, I agree that I would rather have Utley, but I think it’s a stretch that your leaguemate will accept this one. I’d be surprised if they did it one-for-one.

    As for Johnson, the reports I’ve seen is that he is going to be good to go so at this point I am not concerned.

  13. Jack says:

    Thoughts on where Daniel Hudson falls on this list?

  14. Rotoprofessor says:

    Just outside the Top 30. I currently have him slotted at #35, though he certainly has the potential to move up. He just needs to back up last year’s success considering it was buoyed by an unrealistic .221 BABIP and 91.5% strand rate.

  15. Matt says:

    Ok first off most people hyping Price only focus on his 19 wins. If they looked at other factors they wouldn’t be so in love with Price.

    Price’s WHIP in 2010 was high for his age. A guy like Kershaw produced the same WHIP and is 2 years younger.

    Price’s home/road ERA was a difference of over 1.00. Price was dominant at home but average away from home.

    Also Price’s monthly ERA was very inconsistent. One month he would be dominant and the next abysmal.

    The fact is a lot of those 19 wins Price got in 2010 will end up losses in 2011. This is because he won’t get the run support he got in 2010 due to all the players the Rays lost.

    So you remove some wins and add some losses then Price isn’t even a top 25 SP in 2010. Also add in the fact his strikeout rate wasn’t amazing. Kershaw struck out more in less innings than Price in 2010.

    As for why Lewis could be better than Price in 2011. Price and Lewis’s WHIP won’t be much difference, Price will prolly end up with a better ERA and little more strikeouts. But Lewis will win more games than Price and will lose less than Price because Lewis will have more run support than Price will have in 2011.

    So those who are Pro Price, I suggest doing further research on Price rather than base everything on what he did in 2010. Because his 2011 numbers will resemble 2009s more so than 2010s.

  16. Jason says:

    I think where your missing the boat on the Cain ranking is his reliability. You’re really going to value the likes of Nolasco & B.Anderson ahead of a rock-solid workhorse like Cain? Also consider Cain’s team/ballpark/division factors.. all need to be taken into account when looking at his BPI stats. I have him ranked in my top 20 all day.

    I like the rest of the list though, although I probably would have left Beckett and Garza off and included any 2 of (Morrow, D.Hudson, W.Rodriguez)..

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