The surprising decision of Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies ultimately had a major impact on our early starting pitcher rankings. He always was going to be considered one of the better options in the league for 2011, but now he appears to be a borderline Top 5 option. Let’s see where he ultimately falls, as well as all the rest in our updated rankings:
- Roy Halladay – Philadelphia Phillies
- Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
- Tim Lincecum – San Francisco Giants
- Jon Lester – Boston Red Sox
- CC Sabathia – New York Yankees
- Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
- Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
- Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Ubaldo Jimenez – Colorado Rockies
- Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers
- Jered Weaver – Los Angeles Angels
- Francisco Liriano – Minnesota Twins
- Josh Johnson – Florida Marlins
- Chris Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
- Yovani Gallardo – Milwaukee Brewers
- Cole Hamels – Philadelphia Phillies
- Zack Greinke – Kansas City Royals
- Clay Buchholz – Boston Red Sox
- Mat Latos – San Diego Padres
- David Price – Tampa Bay Rays
- Cliff Lee posted strong numbers while a member of the Phillies, with a 3.39 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 8.36 K/9 over 79.2 innings. Over a full season, that would be his best strikeout rate of his career and while he may not match that mark, seeing him approach the 7.8 – 8.0 range now appears realistic. Over 220 innings, that’s at least 190 strikeouts. When coupled with his stellar control and good potential for wins, he becomes one of the best options in the league. Jumping back to the NL, he is a certain SP1 now.
- Injury concerns based on the number of innings he threw in 2010 is why Mat Latos fell a few spots in the rankings, but I am not going to drop him out of the Top 20 because of it. All we have heard since Tim Lincecum emerged was that he was going to miss time due to injury and it still hasn’t really happened yet. There’s always a risk when drafting pitchers, and you don’t want to bypass someone simply because of it. As we progress through the offseason things may change slightly, but he’s certainly going to remain a SP2.
- We all know that Gallardo is a pretty big risk, thus far being unable to put it together for an entire season. Still, he has as much talent as anyone in the league and has the potential to have a breakout campaign. He’s a risk, but one I would love to take.
- Is Dan Haren a Top 20 pitcher while in the AL? He’s certainly right on the cusp, but given his past second half struggles and spending a full year in the AL, I have him just on the outside looking in.
What are your thoughts on these rankings? Whose too high? Whose too low?
Make sure to check out our early 2011 rankings: