A look at the top 120, also broken down into tiers:
And to think we called outfield a goldmine of buying opportunities! There is so much disparity between our rankings and average draft position that we could just about analyze every single pitcher as either overrated or underrated.
Utilizing tiers when drafting starting pitchers is extra important, because you want to make sure you don’t overload on aces with so many bargains available later, or way too long and miss out on some of the elite studs you’ll need to anchor your staff.
The first tier, though clearly headed by Felix Hernandez, Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum, is loaded with enough 200-strikeout, Cy Young contender types that you can afford to sit back and focus on hitters with your first three or four picks. The second tier has some more elite strikeout artists before you get into the extremely deep third tier filled with guys with a few more flaws and risks then those above. The fourth tier still has plenty of potential, but the ceilings are more limited before reaching a fifth tier loaded mostly with former aces recovering from surgeries (Johan Santana, Erik Bedard, Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Brandon Webb) and a few other enigmas. The sixth and seventh tiers are basically just bottom of the rotation options, with a few diamonds in the rough to be sure.
So let’s see if we can help you determine where to find the best values at the juggernaut that is starting pitchers. Since this list is so long, we’ll keep comments as short as possible.
The seventh in the RotoAce.com series of fantasy baseball position rankings is starting pitchers, so let’s look at how they all fit together and where you might find some potential bargains or pitfalls in your fantasy baseball draft or auction.
2011 Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher Rankings and Projections
|1. Felix Hernandez, Mariners||24||231||2.63||15||0||216||1.12|
|2. Roy Halladay, Phillies||33||235||2.84||17||0||194||1.08|
|3. Tim Lincecum, Giants||26||209||2.83||15||0||228||1.17|
|4. Cliff Lee, Phillies||32||224||3.15||16||0||189||1.12|
|5. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers||23||209||3.09||14||0||224||1.19|
|6. Jered Weaver, Angels||28||213||3.22||14||0||211||1.15|
|7. Mat Latos, Padres||23||195||3.05||14||0||193||1.14|
|8. CC Sabathia, Yankees||30||231||3.29||17||0||196||1.19|
|9. Justin Verlander, Tigers||28||219||3.33||16||0||213||1.21|
|10. Josh Johnson, Marlins||27||199||3.08||15||0||196||1.19|
|11. Jon Lester, Red Sox||27||208||3.28||16||0||211||1.21|
|12. Dan Haren, Angels||30||213||3.26||15||0||201||1.19|
|13. Cole Hamels, Phillies||27||201||3.39||14||0||196||1.19|
|14. David Price, Rays||25||211||3.25||15||0||193||1.23|
|15. Francisco Liriano, Twins||27||192||3.54||14||0||202||1.25|
|16. Tommy Hanson, Braves||24||195||3.28||14||0||179||1.19|
|17. Matt Cain, Giants||26||213||3.29||14||0||171||1.19|
|18. Roy Oswalt, Phillies||33||206||3.41||14||0||176||1.17|
|19. Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies||27||209||3.43||15||0||201||1.25|
|20. Max Scherzer, Tigers||26||204||3.51||14||0||205||1.26|
|21. Zack Greinke, Brewers||27||185||3.34||14||0||180||1.21|
|22. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals||35||192||3.22||14||0||148||1.19|
|23. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers||25||191||3.58||14||0||204||1.29|
|24. Ricky Nolasco, Marlins||28||192||3.93||14||0||191||1.24|
|25. Chad Billingsley, Dodgers||26||198||3.52||13||0||180||1.24|
|26. Ted Lilly, Dodgers||35||187||3.63||12||0||155||1.18|
|27. Colby Lewis, Rangers||31||202||3.85||13||0||184||1.24|
|28. Phil Hughes, Yankees||24||190||3.89||15||0||169||1.24|
|29. Jeremy Hellickson, Rays||23||165||3.53||12||0||151||1.21|
|30. Wandy Rodriguez, Astros||32||195||3.71||12||0||175||1.27|
|31. Brett Anderson, A’s||23||187||3.48||12||0||151||1.24|
|32. Tim Hudson, Braves||35||208||3.37||14||0||129||1.24|
|33. Hiroki Kuroda, Dodgers||36||181||3.55||11||0||136||1.21|
|34. Shaun Marcum, Blue Jays||29||181||3.76||12||0||158||1.22|
|35. Josh Beckett, Red Sox||30||187||3.95||13||0||172||1.26|
|36. Clay Buchholz, Red Sox||26||186||3.51||15||0||148||1.28|
|37. Jonathan Sanchez, Giants||28||182||3.75||12||0||189||1.32|
|38. Javier Vazquez, Marlins||34||188||3.98||12||0||169||1.27|
|39. Ryan Dempster, Cubs||33||206||3.93||13||0||190||1.32|
|40. Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays||26||175||3.99||12||0||190||1.36|
|41. Gio Gonzalez, A’s||25||198||3.76||13||0||187||1.37|
|42. Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks||24||180||3.68||12||0||165||1.25|
|43. John Danks, White Sox||25||211||3.84||14||0||167||1.27|
|44. C.J. Wilson, Rangers||30||198||3.72||14||0||172||1.34|
|45. James Shields, Rays||29||208||4.05||13||0||175||1.27|
|46. Brett Myers, Astros||30||201||3.92||12||0||165||1.29|
|47. Matt Garza, Cubs||27||194||3.97||13||0||158||1.29|
|48. Brian Matusz, Orioles||24||194||3.95||12||0||166||1.31|
|49. Madison Bumgarner, Giants||21||177||3.64||12||0||138||1.27|
|50. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks||26||193||3.87||11||0||164||1.29|
|51. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays||26||203||3.95||13||0||170||1.33|
|52. Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies||23||176||3.88||11||0||166||1.29|
|53. Edinson Volquez, Reds||27||165||3.95||11||0||171||1.37|
|54. Carlos Zambrano, Cubs||29||184||3.79||12||0||161||1.38|
|55. Jaime Garcia, Cardinals||24||176||3.79||12||0||142||1.34|
|56. Scott Baker, Twins||29||172||3.98||12||0||144||1.27|
|57. Jordan Zimmerman, Nationals||24||164||3.98||11||0||147||1.28|
|58. Trevor Cahill, A’s||23||204||3.69||13||0||128||1.28|
|59. Dallas Braden, A’s||27||190||3.73||12||0||122||1.27|
|60. Ervin Santana, Angels||28||198||3.96||13||0||157||1.31|
|61. Gavin Floyd, White Sox||28||198||4.03||12||0||158||1.31|
|62. John Lackey, Red Sox||32||201||4.03||14||0||154||1.32|
|63. Travis Wood, Reds||24||166||3.89||11||0||134||1.26|
|64. Edwin Jackson, White Sox||27||206||4.29||12||0||180||1.37|
|65. Wade Davis, Rays||25||182||4.01||12||0||142||1.34|
|66. Jeff Niemann, Rays||28||181||4.05||11||0||134||1.31|
|67. Jorge de la Rosa, Rockies||29||174||4.27||11||0||166||1.38|
|68. Jair Jurrjens, Braves||25||176||3.96||11||0||127||1.33|
|69. Derek Holland, Rangers||24||170||4.23||11||0||143||1.34|
|70. James McDonald, Pirates||26||177||4.11||11||0||158||1.32|
|71. Jonathon Niese, Mets||24||180||4.09||11||0||152||1.37|
|72. Anibal Sanchez, Marlins||27||181||3.97||12||0||149||1.37|
|73. Clayton Richard, Padres||27||196||3.98||12||0||143||1.39|
|74. Brandon Beachy, Braves||23||139||3.97||9||0||136||1.31|
|75. Joel Pineiro, Angels||32||175||3.82||11||0||102||1.25|
|76. Bronson Arroyo, Reds||34||205||4.27||13||0||117||1.28|
|77. Aroldis Chapman, Reds||23||104||3.16||6||4||129||1.19|
|78. Johnny Cueto, Reds||25||172||4.14||11||0||139||1.33|
|79. Johan Santana, Mets||32||106||3.14||8||0||84||1.19|
|80. Erik Bedard, Mariners||32||111||3.26||7||0||110||1.25|
|81. Jake Peavy, White Sox||29||127||3.73||9||0||117||1.23|
|82. Chris Young, Mets||31||111||3.68||8||0||90||1.27|
|83. Brandon Webb, Rangers||32||101||3.96||7||0||73||1.31|
|84. Justin Masterson, Indians||26||183||4.18||11||0||149||1.39|
|85. A.J. Burnett, Yankees||34||184||4.47||12||0||162||1.4|
|86. Michael Pineda, Mariners||22||135||3.49||10||0||113||1.27|
|87. Phil Coke, Tigers||28||147||3.91||10||0||115||1.33|
|88. Derek Lowe, Braves||37||196||4.08||13||0||132||1.37|
|89. Jason Vargas, Mariners||28||186||3.99||11||0||120||1.29|
|90. Carl Pavano, Twins||35||196||4.21||12||0||112||1.29|
|91. Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles||31||202||4.22||11||0||119||1.29|
|92. R.A. Dickey, Mets||36||189||3.88||12||0||111||1.31|
|93. Brett Cecil, Blue Jays||24||181||4.15||12||0||133||1.35|
|94. Aaron Harang, Padres||32||160||4.16||10||0||132||1.36|
|95. Jason Hammel, Rockies||28||181||4.44||10||0||145||1.37|
|96. Randy Wells, Cubs||28||185||4.28||10||0||138||1.37|
|97. Randy Wolf, Brewers||34||193||4.27||11||0||133||1.36|
|98. Bud Norris, Astros||26||177||4.49||10||0||172||1.44|
|99. Mike Pelfrey, Mets||27||203||3.98||13||0||112||1.39|
|100. Tim Stauffer, Padres||28||149||3.64||10||0||102||1.32|
|101. Justin Duchscherer, A’s||33||94||3.59||7||0||65||1.26|
|102. Rich Harden, A’s||29||105||3.84||7||0||105||1.32|
|103. Joe Blanton, Phillies||30||188||4.38||10||0||132||1.36|
|104. Mark Buehrle, White Sox||32||211||4.28||13||0||109||1.34|
|105. Rick Porcello, Tigers||22||186||4.19||11||0||105||1.33|
|106. Chris Capuano, Mets||32||122||4.11||9||0||89||1.33|
|107. Brian Duensing, Twins||28||160||4.09||10||0||98||1.31|
|108. Doug Fister, Mariners||27||169||4.24||10||0||98||1.31|
|109. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox||30||156||4.29||11||0||139||1.39|
|110. Homer Bailey, Reds||24||161||4.29||10||0||136||1.38|
|111. Barry Zito, Giants||32||185||4.24||10||0||134||1.38|
|112. J.A. Happ, Astros||28||158||4.06||10||0||127||1.38|
|113. Carlos Carrasco, Indians||24||162||4.45||9||0||131||1.39|
|114. Jake Westbrook, Cardinals||33||183||4.14||11||0||111||1.36|
|115. Kyle Drabek, Blue Jays||23||158||4.27||10||0||115||1.36|
|116. Jon Garland, Dodgers||31||180||4.27||11||0||116||1.37|
|117. Fausto Carmona, Indians||27||190||4.18||11||0||117||1.39|
|118. Mike Leake, Reds||23||135||4.12||8||0||94||1.37|
|119. Luke Hochevar, Royals||27||158||4.51||9||0||114||1.39|
|120. Ivan Nova, Yankees||24||135||4.37||9||0||83||1.39|
Ubaldo Jimenez (ADP #10, RotoAce #19) is being drafted high for his 15-1 first half last year, but don’t forget the second half where he went 4-7 with a 3.80 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.
Tommy Hanson (ADP #11, RotoAce #16) has a career 4.03 xFIP which belies his 3.16 ERA, so it may be a bit much to expect him to anchor a fantasy staff.
Chris Carpenter (ADP #12, RotoAce #22) is getting up there in years at 35 and has a checkered injury history, so he fits better as a No. 2 or 3 guy, especially without big strikeout totals.
Clay Buchholz (ADP #26, RotoAce #36) has red flags galore, with his 2.33 ERA last season being almost two full runs below his 4.20 xFIP as a result of relatively “lucky” .261 BABIP and 5.6 HR/FB numbers to go with a pedestrian 1.8 K/BB rate.
Johnny Cueto (ADP #47, RotoAce #78) has nasty stuff, but his strikeout rate has fallen in his second and third seasons, so the 4.26 xFIP last year seems more indicative of his mediocre fantasy impact.
Derek Lowe (ADP #55, RotoAce #88) returned from missing the first start of his career with a sore elbow and looked like a different pitcher (5-0 with 1.17 ERA and 9.1 K/9), and it appears fantasy owners are choosing to remember that more than a 37-year-old who had appeared to be in steep decline before that.
Jake Peavy (ADP #54, RotoAce #81) is a big question mark coming back from surgery to repair a detached muscle in his shoulder, not to mention that he was struggling in homer-friendly U.S. Cellular Field after years benefitting from pitching in Petco.
Ivan Nova (ADP #98, RotoAce #120) appears to have won a spot in the Yankees rotation, but Kevin Millwood and Freddy Garcia are waiting in the wings in case he trips up.
Trevor Cahill (ADP #43, RotoAce #58) benefitted greatly from a .236 BABIP last season and doesn’t get enough strikeouts to believe in a repeat of the 2.97 ERA with a 4.11 xFIP looming.
Matt Garza (ADP #29, RotoAce #47) has a chance for a breakout moving to the NL, but he’s being drafted as if that’s a foregone conclusion and the declining GB and K/9 rates are troubling.
Tim Wakefield (ADP #103, RotoAce NR) is just an insurance policy for the Red Sox, so the 44-year-old coming off a 5.34 ERA should go undrafted even in deep leagues.
Carl Pavano (ADP #65, RotoAce #90) is coming off just his second sub-4.00 ERA season in the past decade and had a paltry 4.8 K/9, so don’t overpay for the 17 wins.
Brad Penny (ADP #106, RotoAce NR) can’t stay healthy and is returning to the AL, where he had a 5.61 ERA with the Red Sox in 2009, so leave him for the waiver wire.
Fausto Carmona (ADP #92, RotoAce #117) just doesn’t get enough strikeouts and has been far too inconsistent to hope for a return to his 2007 form.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (ADP #88, RotoAce #109) flat out walks too many guys and hasn’t been healthy since his anomaly of a 2008 season, so the career 4.58 xFIP shows just how overrated he has been.
J.A. Happ (ADP #82, RotoAce #112) is beginning to look like one of the rare pitchers with a knack for forcing poor contact as his career .266 BABIP would indicate, but the career 4.61 xFIP can’t be ignored.
Randy Wolf (ADP #76, RotoAce #97) bailed out a disappointing season with a 1.47 ERA in September, but his declining strikeout rate doesn’t leave much of a ceiling.
Jon Garland (ADP #75, RotoAce #116) was already being overrated because of his Petco-influenced stats of last season (ERA was a full run higher on the road), but now he’s out with a strained oblique, so let him fall.
Rick Porcello (ADP #63, RotoAce #105) was an elite prospect who posted 14 wins as a 20-year-old, but a tiny 4.7 K/9 doesn’t leave much room for error and he’s coming off a 4.92 ERA.
A.J. Burnett (ADP #56, RotoAce #85) suffered through a miserable season (5.26 ERA) and saw his strikeout rate dive to 7.0 K/9 while his average velocity dipped to 93.2 mph, so there aren’t many good signs here, especially it not being a contract year.
Mat Latos (ADP #15, RotoAce #7) should have built up enough of an innings load to be able to avoid the poor finishes (career 5.68 ERA in final month) that have plagued him, but the 2.21 ERA he had on Sept. 7 last season shows that he is a Cy Young candidate and worthy of being considered a No. 1 fantasy starter.
Jered Weaver (ADP #17, RotoAce #6) led the majors in strikeouts and had a sparkling 1.07 WHIP last season, so he deserves to be drafted as a staff anchor.
Josh Johnson (ADP #16, RotoAce #10) is a major health risk coming off shoulder and back problems that cut short his spectacular 2010 season, but the reward would be more than worth it if he can come close to repeating the 2.30 ERA and 1.11 WHIP of last season.
Francisco Liriano (ADP #22, RotoAce #15) got his fastball back last season (93.7 mph) and with it came his mojo in the form of sky-high strikeout (9.4 K/9) and GB (53.6%) rates that returned him to the status of fantasy ace.
Ricky Nolasco (ADP #42, RotoAce #24) is a sabermetric favorite who has been undone by high BABIPs and HR/FB rates the past two years, but the solid strikeout (8.4 K/9) and walk (1.9 BB/9) rates give you a chance to score a fantasy ace in the middle rounds.
Javier Vazquez (ADP #72, RotoAce #38) returns to the NL, where he finished fourth in the Cy Young voting just two years ago, so overlook another failure in pinstripes and hope he returns to being an inning-eating strikeout artist.
Gio Gonzalez (ADP #57, RotoAce #41) had a glittering second half (8-3, 2.59 ERA) and his strikeout (7.7 K/9) and GB (49.3%) rates remained high, so you can put up with the high walk rate (4.1 BB/9).
James Shields (ADP #53, RotoAce #45) suffered through a down season with a 5.18 ERA with a .341 BABIP as a major culprit, but his strikeout rate (8.3 K/9) and average fastball (91.5 mph) were career highs so a recovery is likely.
Carlos Zambrano (ADP #62, RotoAce #54) has still had a sub-4.00 ERA every year of his career after a 1.58 ERA after the break bailed out a season on the brink, so ignore the temper problems and draft the inning-eating strikeout artist with confidence.
Dallas Braden (ADP #85, RotoAce #59) had a sparkling 1.16 WHIP and a perfect game last season, so the control specialist should make a solid back-of-the-rotation option despite the lack of strikeouts.
Scott Baker (ADP #90, RotoAce #56) was undone by a .325 BABIP and elbow problems last season, but the 3.4 K/BB ratio remained intact for a third straight year, so should be able to provide a nice return on a small investment.
Jeff Niemann (ADP #105, RotoAce #66) is a major injury risk after battling shoulder and back problems last year that contributed to his post-break 7.69 ERA, but don’t forget the glittering first half (7-2, 2.77 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) and just hope the 6-foot-10 giant stays healthy.
Chris Young (ADP #107, RotoAce #82) is trying to put shoulder problems that have plagued him for two years behind him and his strikeout and fly-ball ways should play well in spacious Citi Field.
Clayton Richard (ADP #101, RotoAce #74) has solid strikeout (6.8 K/9) and GB (46.1%) rates and a forgiving ballpark in Petco Field to make him a solid back-of-the-rotation guy.
Jonathan Niese (ADP #101, RotoAce #73) is another pitcher with strong strikeout (7.7 K/9) and GB (47.7%) rates with a spacious ballpark in Citi Field to help him out.
Justin Masterson (ADP #145, RotoAce #84) recovered from a slow start last season to post a 2.91 ERA over the final two months and still has the strong strikeout (7.0 K/9) and GB (59.9%) rates that drew Brandon Webb comparisons a few years ago, so the long-anticipated breakout could be here.
Jason Hammel (ADP #125, RotoAce #95) has posted consecutive seasons with 3.81 xFIPs to go with solid K/9, BB/9 and GB rates, so the flame-thrower (averaged 93.1 mph last year) could be on the verge of a breakout.
Aaron Harang (ADP #114, RotoAce #94) is this year’s winner of the Petco sweepstakes (Jon Garland benefitted last season) and his fly-ball tendencies should play well moving from Cincinnati to San Diego.
Gavin Floyd (ADP #78, RotoAce #61) had a very up-and-down season that finished with a 4.08 ERA, but a .325 BABIP may have been partly responsible and his strikeout-groundball style should mean better results this year.