Fantasy Baseball: 2011 Top 35 Starting Pitcher Rankings

Jan 25, 2011

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Here’s an updated and expanded look at the 2011 Starting Pitcher rankings.
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1.  Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies:  Led the Majors in wins (21), ranked 3rd in WHIP (1.04), 4th in ERA (2.44), and tied for 5th in strikeouts (219). He’s the complete package.
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2.  Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants:  Lincecum was 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 231 Ks. That was during an off year. He was untouchable in the playoffs.
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3.  Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners:  He was a beast last year, leading the league in ERA (2.27) while ranking 2nd in Ks (232) and 5th in WHIP (1.06). His only downside was the lack of wins (13), a problem that could easily resurface in 2011. It’s not a worrisome enough of a problem to keep him out of the top three.
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4.  Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox:  Lester continued to perform at a high level setting a career high in wins (19) and WHIP (1.20) while matching his career high with 225 Ks. His solid 3.25 ERA rounded out his dominance, which should continue with an even better offense backing him.
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5.  C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees:  The wins will be there as he’s averaged 20 the past two years for New York. He has had identical 197 K seasons as well, which is not elite, but solid. Low 3.00 ERA and a sub-1.20 WHIP round out his excellence.
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6.  Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies:  I still can’t believe Lee joined the Phillies to form one of the best rotations in recent memory. He shouldn’t have a problem increasing that win total, especially since he won’t be facing as many aces. He should post a microscopic WHIP and a low ERA. He doesn’t strike out a ton of batters, which is the only thing that keeps him from ranking higher.
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7.  Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers:  Verlander followed up his 19-9, 3.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 269 K season with a 18-9, 3.37, 1.16, 219 one. Aside from a blip in 2008, he’s been one of the best in the game since 2006.
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8.  Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies:  Jimenez had one of the most dominating first halves in history. He finished 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 214 Ks. He has filthy stuff and is a tireless worker.
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9.  Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers:  Kershaw was brilliant last year going 13-10 with a 2.91 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP, and 212 Ks. I believe this year he’ll add more wins to the outstanding peripheral numbers.
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10.  Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:  It’s possible the best three pitchers in the American League last year (King Felix – 13, Lee – 12, and Weaver – 13) combined for just 38 wins. Weaver led the bigs in Ks (233), posted the 6th best WHIP (1.07), and the 16th best ERA (3.01).
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11.  Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins:  Johnson posted the second lowest ERA (2.30) in the league last year while sporting an 11-6 record, 1.11 WHIP, and 186 strikeouts in 183-2/3 innings.
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12.  Clay Buccholz, Boston Red Sox:  Buccholz went 17-7 last year with a 2.33 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He only had 120 Ks in 173-2/3 innings. If he can improve that total, he also top ten potential.
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13.  Mat Latos, San Diego Padres:  Latos went 14-10 last year with a 2.92 ERA (13th in the league), a 1.08 WHIP (tied for 7th) and 189 Ks (19th).
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14.  Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins:  Liriano successfully bounced back last year posting a 14-10 record with a 3.62 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP, and 201 Ks in 191-2/3 innings. He was 8-3 with a 3.31 ERA, and a 1.24 WHIP in the second half.
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15.  Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers:  I think a change of scenery will do Greinke good as he’ll actually have some run support. He stayed in a small market, which is probably good for his psyche. I don’t think he’ll bounce back to his Cy Young numbers, but he could certainly be a top ten fantasy pitcher.  ***Update***  Greinke will start the year on the D.L. because of fractured ribs, which moves him down a few slots from 12 to 15.
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16.  Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels:  Haren’s overall numbers were somewhat disappointing (12-12, 3.91 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 216 Ks), but he was rock solid after joining the Angeles going 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 75 Ks in 94 innings. He’s topped 200 strikeouts the past three seasons and he has a 3.55 ERA and 1.17 WHIP since 2005.
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17.  Roy Oswalt, Philadelphia Phillies:  It’s almost embarrassing how stacked the Phillies rotation is. Oswalt was 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA and 0.90 WHIP with the Phillies. He finished 13-13 with a 2.76 ERA (8th in the league), 1.03 WHIP (2nd), and 193 Ks (18th). Like Lee, he won’t be facing many aces this year for the Phillies.
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18.  Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies:  Hamels bounced back in a big way last year going 12-11 with a 3.06 ERA (17th in the league), 1.18 WHIP (tied for 21st), and 211 Ks (11th). With the studs ahead of him in the rotation, he should have plenty of favorable matchups.
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19.  Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers:  Gallardo was 14-7 with a 3.84 ERA, a 1.37 WHIP, and 200 Ks in 185 innings. He and Greinke form a solid 1-2 punch.
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20.  David Price, Tampa Bay Rays:  Price went 19-9 (tied for 4th most wins) with a 2.72 ERA (7th), 1.19 WHIP (tied for 25th), and 188 Ks (20th). He was 10-2 with a 2.12 ERA against the AL East last year. I think he has a hard time coming close to those numbers, which takes a hit on his overall production.
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21.  Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals:  He’ll turn 36 early in the year, but after going 16-9 with a 3.22 ERA (23rd), a 1.18 WHIP (tied for 21st) and 179 K (28th) season it’s hard not to imagine Carpenter as a solid number two fantasy pitcher.
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22.  Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics:  He’ll have to stay healthy, but when he is, he can be downright nasty. He finished 7-6 with a 2.80 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP and 75 Ks in 112-1/3 innings. He was 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in September and October.
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23.  Tommy Hanson, Atlanta Braves:  Hanson had an odd year sporting a solid 3.33 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP with 173 Ks, but finished 10-11. In 55 starts he has a 3.16 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
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24.  Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants:  Cain went 13-11 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 177 Ks. In 170 starts he has a 3.45 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. He still unlucky posting a 57-62 career mark despite those solid numbers.
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25.  Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs:  Garza escapes from the brutal AL East and lands in the National League. The past three years he’s been very consistent posting ERAs between 3.70 and 3.95 and WHIPs between 1.24 and 1.26. His strikeouts were down to 150 last year, but he won a career high 15 games.
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26.  Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers:  Scherzer’s 2.47 ERA and 1.14 WHIP after the All-Star Break give him considerable promise. With 184 strikeout in 195-2/3 innings, he’s a strong bet to record 200+ strikeouts in 2011.
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27.  Colby Lewis, Texas Rangers:  He went 12-13, but his 3.72 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 196 strikeouts make him a great option.
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28.  Chad Billingsley, Los Angeles Dodgers:  His WHIP (lifetime 1.35) keeps him from being an elite option, but he gives you double-digit wins, a mid-3.00 ERA, and 170+ strikeouts.
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29.  Wandy Rodriguez, Houston Astros:  After a terrible start, Wandy rebounded going 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA in the second half.
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30.  Brett Myers, Houston Astros:  Myers went 14-8 with a 3.14 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP, and 180 strikeouts. He was 8-2 with a 2.81 ERA in the second half.
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31.  Daniel Hudson, Arizona Diamondbacks:  Hudson was brilliant coming over in a trade to the D-backs going 7-1 with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP.
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32.  Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays:  Hellickson was outstanding in his cup of coffee going 4-0 with a 3.47 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts in 36-1/3 innings.
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33.  John Danks, Chicago White Sox:  Not a sexy pick, but Danks has three straight seasons with 12+ wins, a sub-4.00 ERA, and a sub-1.30 WHIP.
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34.  Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays:  Morrow struck out 178 batters in 146-1/3 innings. He was 5-1 with a 3.69 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP after the All-Star Break.
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35.  Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants:  Bumgarner went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA during the regular season. He upped his game in the playoffs going 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA.
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