FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball


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  1. Maybe it’s just me but I’d take Verlander over anyone except Halladay in all major league baseball.

    Comment by jpbusta — July 7, 2011 @ 8:21 am

  2. Thoughts on Andrew Miller or Tim Wakefield? Neither of them are first-choice options, obviously, but if you’re going to include John Lackey…

    Comment by John G. — July 7, 2011 @ 8:23 am

  3. Don’t understand how John Danks, Edwin Jackson and Brandon Morrow are in the same tier as Ricky Romero.

    Comment by dfghjk — July 7, 2011 @ 8:40 am

  4. Ah man I really like the Black Keys but I don’t like anyone in that tier, especially Fausto Carmona… but especially the other Fausto Carmona

    Comment by David — July 7, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  5. Lester (recently injured) in the top tier and Verlander in the 2nd tier makes no sense to me.

    Comment by Todd — July 7, 2011 @ 9:20 am

  6. Verlander and Felix are tops.

    Comment by G — July 7, 2011 @ 9:22 am

  7. It’s quite simple and obvious. He only took the time to look up all those numbers on Verlander.

    Comment by Tom B — July 7, 2011 @ 9:29 am

  8. verlanders “great luck” has been going on all season. could just be the new norm

    Comment by rofl — July 7, 2011 @ 9:30 am

  9. Fausto is a bit schizoid, but I didn’t really think there were two of him.

    Comment by rbt — July 7, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  10. Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball not nicknamed Doc. I am flabbergasted he is not tier one, and I do not use that word often.

    Comment by Must-See J.V. — July 7, 2011 @ 10:24 am

  11. Al much as I like advanced statistics, watching nearly every Verlander start and most Yankee games, it seems pretty obvious that Verlander is a better pitcher than CC.

    Comment by Heavy Consumption — July 7, 2011 @ 10:36 am

  12. On Verlander- the idea here is to look beyond his ERA to project what he will do in the future. Besides the lower walk rate, which I argued I don’t think is sustainable, how has he improved to make everyone believe he is suddenly a top 3 pitcher in baseball?

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — July 7, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  13. I think Bedard is lower than he should be, but I understand why he’s there (injury risk). I put him in the ‘Chipper Jones’ from the mid-2000s class; when he’s healthy, he’ll perform. But be prepared to stash him on the DL.

    Comment by V — July 7, 2011 @ 10:50 am

  14. Verlander showed pretty similar control in 2009, though. It wasn’t sub 2, but it was pretty close. Verlander since he got really good in 2009 was a guy whose FIP was always better than his ERA because he didn’t seem to pitch well with men on base. He’d have big innings of two or three runs. Those of us who watched him thought he’d get frustrated and try to throw his fastball past everyone every pitch when he was in trouble, and it usually got him into more trouble. This was especially true in 2009, when he threw his fastball 67% of the time. Now, his pitch selection has totally changed, he’s down to 50% fastballs. So that could be one reason strand percentage has improved, though I agree that 80% is unsustainable.

    Another thing to look at is the dogma about BABIP being .300 every year. It’s not this year. Offense is down. Most of the BABIPs I’m looking at are around .285. So maybe it’s time to recalculate. It wouldn’t be the first time league average BABIP has fallen, either. FIP was developed during a time of unprecedented offense, and no one has taken a look into it to see if the model still works with the reduced offense we’ve been dealing with the last three years.

    Verlander’s been a sub 3.00 FIP pitcher since 2009. Lester has never had a sub 3.00 FIP. Verlander has thrown 50 more IP since the beginning of 2009. Verlander’s walk rate has been almost 1 per 9 lower since then. Verlander’s strikeout rate is a shade lower, which he compensates for in fantasy terms by throwing more innings.

    I do not see how Verlander can be ranked lower than Lester. You can’t argue wins. You can’t argue FIP. You can’t argue control. You can’t argue wins. You could argue strikeout rate, but those are neutralized by gross strikeouts. Your entire argument comes down to ERA. Even if Verlander’s ERA matched his FIP (or his xFIP, or his tERA), he’s still basically a half-run better than Lester with more innings, more strikeouts, more walks, and if the past is to be relied on for this, equal or more wins.

    I mean, I don’t even understand how this is an argument. If you have people clamoring that Verlander is underrated here, it’s because he is underrated here. I just showed you why with regard to Lester. And without getting too deep into it, if you give Sabathia anything resembling his normal HR/FB%, I could show you why Verlander’s better than him, too.

    Comment by Eric Cioe — July 7, 2011 @ 10:59 am

  15. I can make a good argument that Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball.
    In fact, I recently wrote about it here:

    The short version: Go look at pitcher WAR leaders on this site from 2009 to present, and then take into account league disparity. I’ll certainly take Verlander over Lester.

    Comment by Eric Dykstra — July 7, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  16. the most alarming thing about this list is that you consider the Black Keys only 1 tier above Miley Cyrus, and just 2 above Justin Bieber.

    Comment by brendan — July 7, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  17. Here’s the link to the WAR chart for pitchers from 2009-now:

    When you factor in that Halladay has faced pitchers much more often, it’s not that hard to see Verlander’s been the best pitcher since 2009.

    Comment by Eric Dykstra — July 7, 2011 @ 11:26 am

  18. Make a case for Lester over Verlander…

    Have you watched any Verlander starts this year?

    Comment by Biff — July 7, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  19. LOL at you sticking with your silly placement of EJax so high. Hey look, he STILL has a 4.30 ERA and 1.44 WHIP!

    He is and always will be a mediocre fantasy starter, FIP be damned.

    Can you please justify how EJax could be ahead of CJ and Gio, two guys who have similar or better FIP numbers and MASSIVELY better “real world” numbers? Both Gio and CJ were significantly better fantasy pitchers last year, and have been significantly better fantasy pitchers this year. Why would EJax rank ahead of both of them? Is this some silly, stubborn need to stick to the preseason “EJax is primed for a breakout” predictions because of a couple of good months at the end of last season under Cooper?

    Comment by batpig — July 7, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

  20. seriously, can you please justify Lester being a full tier up from Verlander? Verlander has significantly better FIP/xFIP numbers, he has a track record of studliness as long as Lester’s, and he piles up Wins like Lester too (one of Lester’s biggest strengths).

    Lester is not an elite ERA/WHIP guy — I still can’t understand how he is a full tier up from Verlander, Weaver, and Haren.

    Comment by batpig — July 7, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

  21. also, on that same note, Brandon Morrow isn’t that good. In fantasy FIP means diddly, and Morrow has yet to be anything but a mediocre fantasy pitcher.

    again, is this just a stubborn need to stick to preseason breakout predictions? How’s Ricky Nolasco’s impending ERA breakout looking these days?

    it’s amusing to see you use FIP/xFIP to justify some unjustifiable rankings like Morrow or EJax, and then also apply it inconsistently (e.g. Lester being above Verlander or Weaver). It may be time for some self examination about your methodology.

    Comment by batpig — July 7, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  22. Max Scherzer as well, he’s been pretty awful this year despite a wondrous second half last year.

    Comment by JWTP — July 7, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  23. Where would you rank Rich Harden? Also, Andrew Miller if he sticks in the rotation.

    Comment by Sean — July 7, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

  24. I feel insulted. I’m better than Lester, Verlander, and Weaver.

    Comment by Dan Haren — July 7, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

  25. that’s a pretty tough argument to sustain.

    I mean, take your teammate Weaver: better ERA, better WHIP, better strikout rate, more wins. So it’s objectively factual that Weaver has been a better fantasy pitcher so far in 2011. And Weaver has better in in 2010 as well.

    Weaver has a better FIP, Haren has a better xFIP. I think at best you can say they are neck-and-neck.

    It’s hardly an “insult”.

    Comment by batpig — July 7, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

  26. Danks is at the bottom of the tier, and Romero is at the top, and both Jackson and Morrow have significantly better xFIP than Romero. Here at Fangraphs, people don’t look at just wins and ERA. In fact, I would say we hardly do.

    Comment by Phillie697 — July 7, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  27. What’s the point of ranking Harden? By the time the author finishes writing he’ll be back on the DL.

    Comment by Phillie697 — July 7, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  28. Pearl Jam is overrated and should not be in the top tier. Once their unsustainable .210 BABIP normalizes, they will be down to the 2nd or 3rd tier, where they belong.

    Pink Floyd is the real Felix Hernandez of music. As for the Halladay-only tier of the NL rankings, I would say Ludwig van Beethoven fits nicely.

    Comment by Max — July 7, 2011 @ 5:26 pm

  29. I would like to clamor for an R.E.M. tier – almost 30 years now and still going strong. Guys like James Shields would fit perfectly in the R.E.M. tier, or anybody on the Braves (forget about the AL/NL dichotomy, don’t most people play in mixed leagues anyway?)…

    Comment by JKB — July 7, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  30. especially with CCs Ks dropping for another year… although a couple straight 11K starts have begun changing that…

    Comment by phoenix2042 — July 7, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

  31. honestly, id like to see combined AL and NL rankings. i mean if im in an AL or NL only league, ill just pay attention to the guys in that league on that list. as in if im in an NL or AL only and see mixed rankings, i just adjust. if i see them in segregated rankings, and i play in a mixed league (which most people do), there is nothing i can do but guess where guys stack up.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — July 7, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

  32. Combined AL / NL rankings would be more useful to me too. The way I would do it is assume a standard 12 team mixed league with 5 SP per team, or 60 total SP. Then do something like 10 tiers, with 6 or so per tier, that way Mike P. could work in the Pink Floyd and R.E.M. tiers, which should be mandatory in a list like this.

    Actually, a better option for naming the tiers would be to use the lineup for the Rays after-game weekend concert series (past performers include The Beach Boys, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, M.C. Hammer, REO Speedwagan, The Wiggles, Avril Lavigne, Jimmy Buffett, **.countrywesternband.**, **.guyfromamericanidol.**)… Does every team have these things or just the Rays?

    Comment by JKB — July 7, 2011 @ 11:21 pm

  33. “Besides the lower walk rate, which I argued I don’t think is sustainable, how has he improved to make everyone believe he is suddenly a top 3 pitcher in baseball?”

    Well according to fangraphs he’s been one of the top 3 pitchers in baseball for a few years now. For the past 3 seasons only Halladay has produced more WAR(and even that’s by only .1) and since he debuted in 06 I believe he’s in the top 5. So maybe he hasn’t made any improvements, maybe his bad fortune is finally becoming good fortune since his fielding dependent stats have shown that he should’ve been better than what his regular stats have been the past few years.

    Comment by Matt — July 8, 2011 @ 12:12 am

  34. i agree that segregated rankings are really useless to most people.
    and mixed rankings would be useful for everyone… so i fail to see why they are split.
    any reason?

    its just the Rays, since they are the only team that has the seating capacity to host a concert while their team is playing

    Comment by cs3 — July 8, 2011 @ 4:36 am

  35. The title of this section should be: “n” Responses to “Justin Verlander being in the 2nd Tier”

    Comment by David — July 8, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  36. CS3 – the Rays have the 3rd highest attendance in the AL East, for what it’s worth. Toronto and Baltimore wish they had TB’s fan base (and Toronto wishes they had our bullpen, but that’s another story). More than that, they wish they had the Wiggles performing after last Sunday’s game.

    Comment by JKB — July 8, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  37. David – I disagree. The title should be “Now Please Help Me (Re)Name My Ranking Tiers.”

    Let’s start with the most obvious: Why does the naming convention suddenly break down when we hit the Injured Players and Players Demoted to the Minor Leagues? There is gold to be mined there. Some suggestions:

    The Minutemen or Wasted Youth = Demoted to Minor Leagues
    Tom Waits, The Beach Boys, Circle Jerks, or Morphine = Injured Players

    Comment by JKB — July 8, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

  38. Its not just you. Verlander has gotta be in the top tier.

    Comment by Adam — July 8, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  39. WAR uses FIP, correct? I use xFIP, I always ignore FIP. xFIP has been shown to be a better predictor of future ERA than FIP, so why use FIP? Verlander has kept his FIP lower coz of below league average HR/FB ratios. How much of that is luck, the park, or skill, I don’t know. We prob need a larger sample size to be sure.

    Comment by Mike Podhorzer — July 8, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

  40. Yeah, if it was me, I’d flip the rankings, and put the second Fausto Carmona ahead of the first one.

    Comment by Mike P — July 9, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  41. Agreed. Verlander is one of the top 3 pitchers in baseball. In fact he may have the best arsenal of stuff in baseball. The author loves stats. He also thinks luck has a lot to do with Verlander…. I suggest this guy take a look at what kind of stuff Verlander has and re-evaluate his “luck” theory.

    Comment by upfootball — July 11, 2011 @ 12:53 pm

  42. Actually, I can’t get past the idea that he has Pearl Jam one step above The Who.

    Trying to ignore that, I’d flip Verlander and Lester.

    Comment by RobMer — July 13, 2011 @ 5:12 pm

  43. Searching for Jimmy Buffett is The Greatest Parrot Head Book Ever!!!!

    Comment by War Humor — November 16, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

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