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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.

Doubt
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.