2011 Player Rankings: NL Starting Pitchers

All offseason long, we here at RotoGraphs have been polling each other and coming out with final rankings for each position. Today I will introduce pitchers currently starting in the National League, also known as a group of terrible hitters.

The Wainwright Memorial Tier
Roy Halladay
Cliff Lee
Tim Lincecum
Josh Johnson

Roy Halladay was the first pitcher on each of the seven ballots collected, but it was a mixed bag after that. I have to say, it feels weird to see two teammates atop rankings of any sort; unless, of course, you’re a Miami Heat fan. Lincecum actually ranked 2nd on five of the seven ballots, but two other votes weighed him down enough for Lee to step in and claim the number two spot on our big board. You really can’t go wrong with any of these guys, though.

The Young and the Dominant
Clayton Kershaw
Cole Hamels
Ubaldo Jimenez
Mat Latos
Zack Greinke
Tommy Hanson

Even though Greinke will miss a little bit of time at the start of the year, he still makes it into our second tier. All of these guys will rack up plenty of strikeouts, and all but one of them play on pretty good teams who will be fighting for playoff births. Having any of these six as your top starter is fine and dandy, if you ask me.

Third Tier’s the Charm
Matt Cain
Chris Carpenter
Roy Oswalt
Yovanni Gallardo
Shaun Marcum

Carpenter and Oswalt are the veterans of this group, and they probably are the riskiest of the five. Marcum should do well after a move out of Toronto and into the NL, and Cain should continue to slay the luck dragon on a regular basis.

I am Jack’s Starting Pitcher
Chad Billingsley
Ted Lilly
Tim Hudson
Matt Garza
Jamie Garcia
Ricky Nolasco
Ryan Dempster
Madison Bumgarner

All of these guys have a flaw of some sort. Whether it be staying healthy, giving up too many homers or simply not putting up great numbers across the board, this rag tag bunch of misfits isn’t nearly perfect.

Golden Globe Voters
Edinson Volquez
Wandy Rodriguez
Daniel Hudson
Bronson Arroyo
Jonathan Sanchez
Hiroki Kuroda

There isn’t much to say about this group, other than there are a lot of strikeouts floating around at the Golden Globes. Volquez is a big question mark, but he might be worth the risk should you grab two starters ahead of him.

Risky Business
Jordan Zimmerman
Brett Myers
Jorge De La Rosa

Zimmerman has loads of upside, and De La Rosa could be a nice source of strikeouts should he stay healthy. Myers is a bit of a wild card, given his history and team situation.

Jair Jurrjens
Anibal Sanchez
Carlos Zambrano
Derek Lowe
Johnny Cueto
Ian Kennedy
Randy Wolf
Randy Wells

If I’m you, I’d stay away from as many of these guys as possible. Cueto is the safest bet of the group, and he currently is suffering from a stiff arm. Lowe and Wolf could be a cheap source of wins, and Wells isn’t bad if he can win a spot in the rotation.

Interesting, to Say the Least
Javier Vazquez
Clayton Richard
Jhoulys Chacin
Johan Santana

Chacin deserved better than this, but some of my fellow writers didn’t think so. Vazquez is being drafted on a hope and a prayer, and Santana will miss significant time this season. Richard is solid, but doesn’t do anything extremely well.

I Heart Hammel
R.A. Dickey
Jonathon Niese
Travis Wood
James McDonald
Aaron Harang
Mike Pelfrey
Jason Hammel
Joe Blanton
J.A. Happ
Mike Minor

Minor, Wood and McDonald all have nice upside as guys you can use to fill out your rotations. I suppose Dickey and Harang do as well, if you look at things in a certain light.

When the Goin’ Gets Rough
Jake Westbrook
Bud Norris
Mike Leake
Chris Narveson
Jon Garland

If you need strikeouts, Bud Norris is your man. If you need below average production in every other category, Bud Norris is still your man.

Print This Post

Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

17 Responses to “2011 Player Rankings: NL Starting Pitchers”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Metsox says:

    I wish this had come out before my draft…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Matt says:

    No Tim Stauffer? Had an ERA under 2 last year in over 80 IP

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Mike Podhorzer says:

      We had him ranked 64th among NL SPs. For me personally, it was an innings thing and I would guess the same issue for the others. Pretty solid skills, but he only threw about 100 innings last year and 115 in 2009. If I knew he would pitch 180-200 innings, he’d be much higher in the rankings.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Kyle says:

    I like Billingsley A tier higher than that, ahead of marcum.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. The_Beard says:

    Chacin seems awful low…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. fothead says:

    Wandy belongs up a tier despite his team switched with Garcia. I’d wait another year before I put Garcia in a tier of pitchers with track records.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. parsec says:

    No, Felix Hernandez?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Chris R says:

    So I guess this isn’t gonna be Homer Bailey’s year either…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. parsec says:

    Sorry, forgot it was NL only

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. hamandcheese says:

    Jamie Garcia should switch tiers with Wandy Rodriguez.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Dscott says:

    Did Jorge De La Rosa get traded to an American league team, or did i miss him, or did you purposely exclude him??? He will get you decent strikeouts in an innings limit league, and shouldn’t hurt you in other areas. THe WHIP is concerning, but he has one heck of a fastball.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. davisnc says:

    “All of these guys will rack up plenty of strikeouts, and all but one of them play on pretty good teams who will be fighting for playoff births. Having any of these six as your top starter is fine and dandy, if you ask me.”

    Which one? I don’t think any of those teams is bad enough that you can say in March that they won’t be fighting for a playoff berth.

    Last year’s win totals for those pitchers’ teams: 97, 90, 83, 80, 77. All contenders, if you ask me.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. hunter says:


    I was trying to figure which of the Padres and Dodgers were getting the benefit of the doubt as being a contender.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • davisnc says:

      I’m guessing the Padres is the team he’s talking about as not being a contender, and I guess that’s mostly fair. But it seemed a little presumptuous to just assume that everyone would agree with that assessment without needing to make it explicit.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. vandelay12 says:

    Jaime Garcia not Jamie

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>