Clayton Kershaw
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Here’s the first look at the 2015 Lester’s Legends Starting Pitcher Rankings.
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1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw remains the best pitcher in baseball as he won his third Cy Young in the past four seasons. In 2014 he went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and 239 strikeouts. Since 2011 Kershaw is 72-26 with 237 strikeouts per season, a 2.11 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.
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2. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
Felix Hernandez went 15-6 in 2014 with 248 strikeouts, a 2.14 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. Since 2009 King Felix is 86-56 with 226.3 strikeouts per season, a 2.73 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
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3. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer is 55-15 over the past three seasons while averaging 241 strikeouts with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. The move to the National League should pay dividends for Scherzer.
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4. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner went 18-10 in 2014 with 219 strikeouts, a 2.98 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. For his career he has a 3.06 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Bumgarner matured before our eyes as he went 4-1 with a 1.03 ERA and a 0.65 WHIP with 45 strikeouts in 52.2 innings en route to a World Series title.
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5. David Price, Detroit Tigers
David Price went 15-12 with a league-high 270 strikeouts, a 3.26 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP in 2014. He’s 86-51 with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP throughout his career.
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6. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
Chris Sale went 12-4 in 2014 with 208 strikeouts, a 2.17 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP in 174 innings. In 674.2 career innings Sale is 44-29 with 737 strikeouts, a 2.76 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.
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7. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
In 2014 Stephen Strasburg went 14-11 with 242 strikeouts, a 3.14 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. For his career Strasburg is 43-30 with 746 strikeouts, a 3.02 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 649.1 innings.
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8. Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
Zack Greinke was 17-8 in 2014 with 207 strikeouts, a 2.71 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. In 2013, his first year with the Dodgers, Greinke was 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
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9.  Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
Yu Darvis was 10-7 with 182 strikeouts, a 3.06 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 2014 in 144.1 innings. In three years Darvish is 39-25 with a 3.27 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 680 strikeouts in 545.1 innings.
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10. Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
Corey Kluber went 18-9 in 2014 with 269 strikeouts, a 2.44 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. He was 11-5 with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 2013.
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11. Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals
Jordan Zimmermann went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 2014. Since 2012 he’s 45-22 with a 3.01 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
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12. Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
Johnny Cueto was 20-9 in 2014 with 242 strikeouts, a 2.25 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. Since 2011 he’s 53-25 with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP.
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13. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels was 9-9 with a 2.46 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 2014. For his career he’s 108-83 with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
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14. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Wainwright was 20-9 in 2014 with a 2.38 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. The past two years he’s 39-18 with a 2.67 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
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15. Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
Jon Lester was 16-11 in 2014 with 220 strikeouts, a 2.46 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. Lifetime he is 116-67 with a 3.58 ERA. Lester should do well in the National League.
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16. Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
Julio Teheran went 14-13 in 2014, but he had a 2.89 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. Over the past two seasons he’s 28-21 with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.
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17. Matt Harvey, New York Mets
Matt Harvey was 12-10 in 2013 with a 2.27 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. For his career he has a 2.39 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and 261 strikeouts in 237.2 innings. He missed the 2014 season following Tommy John surgery, but should be ready to dominate once again.
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18. Jeff Samardzija, Chicago White Sox
Jeff Samardzija went 7-13 in 2014 despite a 2.99 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and 202 strikeouts. He’ll try pitching on the other side of town.
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19. Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners
Hisashi Iwakuma was 15-9 with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in 2014. In three years he’s 38-20 with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.
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20. Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays
Alex Cobb was 10-9 in 2014 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He’s 21-12 in the past two seasons with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
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Here’s a look at the 2014 Lester’s Legends’ Closer Rankings for NL-only fantasy baseball leagues.
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1. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves
Craig Kimbrel had 50 saves last year while posting a 1.21 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP and 98 strikeouts in 67 innings. He has a 1.48 ERA, a 0.57 WHIP, 138 saves and 341 strikeouts in 206.2 innings over the past three seasons. He’s as dominant as they come.
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2. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
Aroldis Chapman can throw heat like nobody else. He had 38 saves, a 2.54 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 112 strikeouts in 63.2 innings lasts year.
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3. Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kenley Jansen had 28 saves, a 1.88 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 76.2 innings. He throws gas and has a great rotation to give him leads to protect.
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4. Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis Cardinals
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Trevor Rosenthal had a 2.63 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP, 108 strikeouts and three saves in 75.1 innings. He did not allow a run in 11.2 innings during the playoffs while racking up 18 strikeouts and four saves.
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5. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants
Sergio Romo had 38 saves, a 2.54 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and 58 strikeouts. He also has a quality rotation in front of him.
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6. Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh Pirates
Jason Grilli saved 33 games with a 2.70 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and 74 strikeouts in 50 innings. He has 164 Ks in 108.2 innings over the past two seasons.
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7. Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies
Jonathan Papelbon collected 29 saves with a 2.92 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 57 strikeouts. He has averaged 35.8 saves over the past eight seasons.
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8. Rafael Soriano, Washington Nationals
Rafael Soriano saved 43 games last year with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. Soriano has 85 saves over the past two seasons.
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9. Addison Reed, Arizona Diamondbacks
Addison Reed saved 40 games last year with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. He has 69 saves over the past two seasons. He should do well in his first season in the National League.
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10. Huston Street, San Diego Padres
Huston Street saved 33 games last year while posting a 2.70 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He has 234 career saves, a 2.98 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Street is an injury risk, but he’s rock solid when healthy.
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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox
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Here’s a look at the 2014 Lester’s Legends’ Closer Rankings for AL-only fantasy baseball leagues.
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1. Koji Uehara, Boston Red Sox
Koji Uehara was nearly flawless during the Red Sox’s World Series run. He racked up 21 saves, a 1.09 ERA, a 0.57 WHIP and 101 strikeouts in 74.1 innings.
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2. Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals
Greg Holland had 47 saves, a 1.21 ERA, a 0.87 WHIP and 103 strikeouts in 67 innings. He had a ridiculous 0.56 ERA after the All-Star break.
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3. Joe Nathan, Detroit Tigers
Joe Nathan had 43 saves, a 1.39 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP and 73 strikeouts in 64.2 innings. He has 341 saves and a 2.76 ERA throughout his career.
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4. Glen Perkins, Minnesota Twins
Glen Perkins had 36 saves, a 2.30 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP and 77 strikeouts in 62.2 innings. An improved rotation should work in his favor.
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5. David Robertson, New York Yankees
David Robertson has huge shoes to fill, but he’s got the goods. Robertson had a 2.04 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 77 strikeouts in 66.1 innings last year.
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6. Jim Johnson, Oakland A’s
Jim Johnson combined for 101 saves over the past two seasons with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP while pitching his home games in Camden Yards. Moving to Oakland should be a positive.
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7. Ernesto Frieri, Los Angeles Angels
Ernesto Frieri collected 37 saves last year while posting a 3.80 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and 98 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. He should provide a solid saves total and a tremendous K/9 ratio.
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8. Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays
Casey Janssen saved 34 games last year while posting a 2.56 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 52.2 innings. In 2012 he saved 22 with a 2.54 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 63.2 innings.
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9. Grant Balfour, Tampa Bay Rays
Grant Balfour has averaged 31 saves and 72 strikeouts the past two years while posting a 2.56 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. He should do well in his return to Tampa.
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10. Fernando Rodney, Seattle Mariners
Fernando Rodney has averaged 42.5 saves and 79 strikeouts the past two years while posting a 1.91 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. His move to Seattle should be favorable.
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Also check out:

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Clayton Kershaw pitching
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Here’s a look at the 2014 Lester’s Legends’ Starting Pitcher Rankings for NL-only fantasy baseball leagues.
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1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw is 51-23 over the past three years with a 2.21 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. He has averaged 236.3 strikeouts per season over that stretch. He’s the best pitcher in the game. Period.
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2. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Wainwright went 19-9 with a 2.94 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and 219 strikeouts. Yep, he’s all the way back after his Tommy John surgery.
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3. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Stephen Strasburg went 8-9 with a 3.00 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 191 strikeouts in 183 innings. He’s still a bit of an injury risk, but he certainly has the goods if he can stay healthy.
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4. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner has gone 42-33 over the past three years with a 3.12 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and 193.7 strikeouts per season. I expect him to take the next step this year in the elite class.
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5. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
Cliff Lee is just 37-25 over the past three years with Philadelphia, but he has a 2.80 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 222.3 strikeouts per year.
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6. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
Jose Fernandez went 12-6 as a rookie with a 2.19 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and 187 strikeouts in 172.2 innings. He has worked hard on conditioning to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.
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7. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels had a rough season going 8-14 but still managed to post a 3.60 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 202 strikeouts. Over the past four seasons, he’s 51-40 with a 3.13 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 205.8 strikeouts per season.
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8. Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
Zack Greinke went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 177.2 innings. Over the past three years, he’s 46-15 with a 3.32 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 183 strikeouts per season.
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9. Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
Gio Gonzalez shook off the Biogenesis allegation, avoided suspension and posted a 11-8 record with a 3.36 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and 192 strikeouts in 195.2 innings. Over the past three years he’s 48-28 with a 3.12 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and 198.7 strikeouts per season.
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10. Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals
Jordan Zimmermann has averaged just 146 strikeouts over the past three seasons, but he’s 39-28 with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
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11. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
A down year (8-10, 4.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 158 strikeouts) for Cain is still a solid season, aside from the win total. Cain has a lifetime ERA of 3.35 and WHIP of 1.17. He should rebound.
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12. Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds
Homer Bailey went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and 199 strikeouts. He went 6-4 in his final 13 starts with a 3.02 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and 78 strikeouts in 86.1 innings.
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13. Mat Latos, Cincinnati Reds
Mat Latos went 14-7 with a 3.16 ERA, a 1.21 WHIP and 187 strikeouts. Over the past four seasons he’s 51-35 with a3.27 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.
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14. Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates
Gerrit Cole went 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 117.1 innings. Impressive numbers for a rookie.
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15. Mike Minor, Atlanta Braves
Mike Minor went 13-9 with a 3.21 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP and 181 strikeouts. At just 26 he should continue to improve.
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Yu Darvish
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Here’s a look at the 2014 Lester’s Legends’ Starting Pitcher Rankings for AL-only fantasy baseball leagues.
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1. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
Yu Darvish went 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and a league-leading 277 strikeouts. He’s the real deal.
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2. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
King Felix went 12-10 with a 3.04 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 216 strikeouts. Over the past five seasons, he’s 71-50 with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP while averaging 222 strikeouts. The Mariners’ offense should be more potent with Robinson Cano, which could lead to a few more victories for Hernandez.
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3. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
After going 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP and 217 strikeouts, which was easily his worst performance since 2008, Justin Verlander could actually come at a discount this year. Look for Detroit’s true ace to reclaim his title.
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4. Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
Max Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP and 240 strikeouts. Look for a regression because he set the bar so high, but he should still be one of the game’s top pitchers.
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5. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
Chris Sale is 28-22 over the past two seasons with a 3.06 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 418 strikeouts in 406.1 innings.
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6. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
David Price went 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 151 strikeouts in 186.2 innings. Over the past four years, he’s 61-32 with a 3.02 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 190.5 strikeouts per season.
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7. Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers
Anibal Sanchez went 14-8 with a 2.57 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 202 strikeouts in 182 innings. He has also had the stuff, but this is the first time he put it all together. He’s a bit of a regression risk based on how much better he did than his career averages (3.55 ERA, 1.31 WHIP).
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8. James Shields, Kansas City Royals
James Shields went 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and 196 strikeouts. Over the past three years he’s 44-31 with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 214.7 strikeouts per season.
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9. Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners
Hisashi Iwakuma went 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 185 strikeouts. In 345 career innings he’s 23-11 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
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10. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels
Jered Weaver went 11-8 with a 3.27 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 117 strikeouts. For his career he has .653 winning percentage, a 3.24 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
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11. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
Masahiro Tanaka is a wildcard as we can’t predict how he will perform in the big leagues. He went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
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12. Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays
Alex Cobb went 11-3 with a 2.76 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 134 strikeouts in 143.1 innings. He was 6-0 combined against the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays with a 1.26 ERA.
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13. Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
Matt Moore backed up the hype with a 17-4 season. He posted a 3.29 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 150.1 innings. His WHIP (1.30 last year, 1.32 career) keeps him from being elite.
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14. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester rebounded to go 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and 177 strikeouts. He won’t wow you in any categories, but he’ll provide solid numbers across the board.
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15. C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees
C.C. Sabathia had a down year going 14-13 with a 4.78 ERA, a 1.37 WHIP and 177 strikeouts. Given his track record, a rebound is in order.
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Clayton Kershaw pitching
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Here’s the first look at the 2014 Lester’s Legends’ Starting Pitcher Rankings.
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Pitchers, perhaps even more than hitters, can be a bit of a gamble due to potential arm injuries and innings caps. Do your research so you’re not going blind into the MLB Futures betting.
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1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw is 51-23 over the past three years with a 2.21 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. He has averaged 236.3 strikeouts per season over that stretch. He’s the best pitcher in the game. Period.
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2. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
Yu Darvish went 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and a league-leading 277 strikeouts. He’s the real deal.
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3. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
King Felix went 12-10 with a 3.04 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 216 strikeouts. Over the past five seasons he’s 71-50 with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP while averaging 222 strikeouts. The Mariners’ offense should be more potent with Robinson Cano, which could lead to a few more victories for Hernandez.
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4. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Wainwright went 19-9 with a 2.94 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and 219 strikeouts. Yep, he’s all the way back after his Tommy John surgery.
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5. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Stephen Strasburg went 8-9 with a 3.00 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 191 strikeouts in 183 innings. He’s still a bit of an injury risk, but he certainly has the goods if he can stay healthy.
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6. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
After going 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP and 217 strikeouts, which was easily his worst performance since 2008, Justin Verlander could actually come at a discount this year. Look for Detroit’s true ace to reclaim his title.
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7. Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
Max Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP and 240 strikeouts. Look for a regression because he set the bar so high, but he should still be one of the game’s top pitchers.
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8. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner has gone 42-33 over the past three years with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP and 193.7 strikeouts per season. I expect him to take the next step this year in the elite class.
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9. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
Cliff Lee is just 37-25 over the past three years with Philadelphia, but he has a 2.80 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 222.3 strikeouts per year.
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10. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
Jose Fernandez went 12-6 as a rookie with a 2.19 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and 187 strikeouts in 172.2 innings. He has worked hard on conditioning to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.
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11. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels had a rough season going 8-14, but still managed to post a 3.60 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 202 strikeouts. Over the past four seasons he’s 51-40 with a 3.13 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 205.8 strikeouts per season.
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12. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
Chris Sale is 28-22 over the past two seasons with a 3.06 ERA and 1.10 WHIP and 418 strikeouts in 406.1 innings.
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13. David Price, Tampa Bay Ray
David Price went 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 151 strikeouts in 186.2 innings. Over the past four years he’s 61-32 with a 3.02 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 190.5 strikeouts per season.
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14. Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
Zack Greinke went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 177.2 innings. Over the past three years he’s 46-15 with a 3.32 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 183 strikeouts per season.
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15. Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
Gio Gonzalez shook off the Biogenesis allegation, avoided suspension, and posted a 11-8 record with a 3.36 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and 192 strikeouts in 195.2 innings. Over the past three years he’s 48-28 with a 3.12 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and 198.7 strikeouts per season.
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16. Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals
Jordan Zimmermann has averaged just 146 strikeouts over the past three seasons, but he’s 39-28 with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
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17. Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers
Anibal Sanchez went 14-8 with a 2.57 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 202 strikeouts in 182 innings. He has also had the stuff, but this is the first time he put it all together. He’s a bit of a regression risk based on how much better he did than his career averages (3.55 ERA, 1.31 WHIP).
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18. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
A down year (8-10, 4.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 158 strikeouts) for Cain is still a solid season, aside from the win total. Cain has a lifetime ERA of 3.35 and WHIP of 1.17. He should rebound.
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19. James Shields, Kansas City Royals
James Shields went 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and 196 strikeouts. Over the past three years he’s 44-31 with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 214.7 strikeouts per season.
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20. Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds
Homer Bailey went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and 199 strikeouts. He went 6-4 in his final 13 starts with a 3.02 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP and 78 strikeouts in 86.1 innings.
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Here’s the 2013 LestersLegends Starting Pitcher Rankings for NL-Only Leagues.
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1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw was 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and 229 strikeouts. He’s one of the most dominating pitchers in all of baseball.
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 2. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Strasburg was forced to shut down last year, but he still managed to go 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 197 strikeouts. The sky is the limit.
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3. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
The lefty turned in another strong performance going 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, and 216 strikeouts. His ERA has been below 3.40 in five of the past six seasons.
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4. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
Lee was a hard luck case last year, winning just six games despite a 3.16 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 207 strikeouts. Luck should be more on his side.
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5. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
Speaking of hard luck, Cain was the poster boy prior to last year. Cain has a 3.27 lifetime ERA, but reached 15 wins for the first time. Cain went 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 193 strikeouts.
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6. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Wainwright was a solid 7-5 with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in the second half last year. He recorded 184 strikeouts on the year. He’s two year removed from his Tommy John surgery. It should be all systems go.
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7. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
Halladay was off his game (11-8, 4.49 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) and will turn 36 this year. He’s a slight risk given those factors, but his ERA was south of 2.80 in his previous four years.
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8. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Bumgarner was 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 191 strikeouts. His season basically mirrored his 2011 campaign. Look for another step forward for the youngster.
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9. Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
Greinke went 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 200 strikeouts. Dodger Stadium should serve him well.
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10. Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
Cueto was 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 170 strikeouts. He’s been great the past couple of years. He just doesn’t deliver the strikeouts to be a top tier guy.
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11. Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
Gonzalez was an impressive 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, and 207 strikeouts last year. He has a cloud of PED suspicion, which makes me a little nervous. Still he should remain at least a number one NL-Only fantasy starter.
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12. Kris Medlen, Atlanta Braves
Medlen was nearly untouchable last year going 10-1 with a 1.50 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 138 innings.
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13. Mat Latos, Cincinnati Reds
Latos went 14-4 with a 3.48 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP and 185 strikeouts. He was 7-2 with a 2.84 ERA after the All-Star Break.
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14. Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers
His WHIP (1.29 lifetime) keeps him out of the elite company, but he’s near the top of the next tier. Gallardo went 16-9 with a 3.66 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP and 204 strikeouts. It was his fourth straight year with 200 strikeouts. Plus, his ERA has always been below 3.90.
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15. Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals
Zimmerman went 12-8 with a 2.94 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 153 strikeouts. He’s a second NL-Only fantasy starter.
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16. Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks
Kennedy took a major step back last year, but still posted a solid 15-12 record with 187 strikeouts, a 4.02 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
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17. Mike Minor, Atlanta Braves
Minor figured things out and posted a 2.16 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP after the All-Star Break.
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18. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
The wheels fell off for Lincecum, who went 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. He got his form back during the postseason, posting a 2.55 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in 17-2/3 innings. He’s a slight risk, but there is a strong chance that last year was a fluke.
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19. Daren Haren, Washington Nationals
Haren struggled last year going 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. He’s much better than that and should bounce back in Washington
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20. Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs
He’ll likely miss the first month of the season, but could be a nice boost when he returns. Garza should give you a solid amount of strikeouts to go with a decent ERA and WHIP. His win total will struggle being on the Cubs, but if he’s traded things could improve.
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