Starting Pitcher Consensus Ranks for Second Half

Starting pitchers. Man, there are so many of them. And every week, there’s a no-name that throws a shutout and burns bright for a few days. Those matchstick burns very rarely turn into anything substantial.

And yet we have to wait five days between starts, wondering what the next heaping pile of information will tell us. Imagine if a position player got 30 plate appearances every five days, we’d spend a lot of time thinking about them in between, too. Maybe this is the appeal with fantasy football, eh?

Off-topic. Point is, information about starting pitchers comes in leaps and surges. That makes them particularly tough to rank, but it also provides opportunity.

Jake Peavy, for example, looks great now. But his next start could show reduced velocity and we’d start thinking about how brittle he is once again. Roy Halladay seems like a question mark, for once. But he could come back Tuesday and make us forget he was even gone. Mat Latos looks like he’s got it one start, and then the next, he’s useless again. And then you’ve got Chris Sale and Stephen Strasburg (and Adam Wainwright?) that are putting up great stats every fifth day, but possibly gobbling up more of those precious remaining innings before they are shut down, too. And then there’s Tim Lincecum, and all his whiffs and walks, confounding our rankers as well. Ian Kennedy even.

Remember that different ranks mean the player is rife with opportunity. If we have a hard time deciding what Tim Lincecum is worth, his fantasy owner in your league will be having a hard time deciding what he’s worth. And every pitcher is a buy-low if the price is low enough.

Good luck in the second half!


FanGraphs Consensus Rankings:
Starting Pitchers
New Last Player Name Eno Sarris Mike Podhorzer Jeff Zimmerman Zach Sanders
1 4 Justin Verlander 1 3 1 2
2 2 Clayton Kershaw 3 1 3 1
3 5 Zack Greinke 2 4 2 3
4 3 Cliff Lee 4 2 5 4
5 6 Felix Hernandez 5 7 4 5
6 7 Cole Hamels 6 6 7 9
7 8 CC Sabathia 9 5 11 6
8 9 Jered Weaver 11 8 14 8
9 15 Matt Cain 8 14 15 7
10 1 Roy Halladay 7 9 16 16
11 14 David Price 12 12 17 15
12 12 Stephen Strasburg 13 10 21 13
13 26 Gio Gonzalez 10 21 10 18
14 11 James Shields 16 11 12 20
15 78 R.A. Dickey 19 22 18 10
16 17 Yu Darvish 18 15 19 23
17 24 Mat Latos 22 24 8 22
18 16 Yovani Gallardo 14 19 9 36
19 51 Chris Sale 20 16 30 14
20 20 Adam Wainwright 17 20 25 19
21 25 Madison Bumgarner 15 18 20 35
22 19 Jon Lester 26 13 22 32
23 23 C.J. Wilson 21 25 32 17
24 13 Tim Lincecum 28 23 6 39
25 22 Matt Garza 23 27 21 34
26 27 Josh Johnson 25 28 42 12
27 39 Max Scherzer 30 30 13 43
28 29 Tommy Hanson 24 34 23 37
29 30 Anibal Sanchez 29 33 29 28
30 10 Dan Haren 31 17 24 49
31 21 Ian Kennedy 44 40 27 11
32 41 Matt Moore 32 26 47 29
33 56 Jake Peavy 39 32 41 38
34 43 Johnny Cueto 36 38 51 31
35 34 Colby Lewis 35 29 26 70
36 54 Edwin Jackson 37 64 37 27
37 65 Johan Santana 27 37 78 25
38 33 Jordan Zimmerman 33 35 59 41
39 47 Ryan Dempster 38 41 44 48
40 37 Josh Beckett 43 31 52 52
41 38 Derek Holland 47 44 62 26
42 84 James McDonald 46 42 63 30
43 40 Wandy Rodriguez 41 62 38 50
44 31 Shaun Marcum 40 39 46 68
45 45 Gavin Floyd 57 48 31 57
46 63 A.J. Burnett 50 46 57 44
47 59 Chad Billingsley 52 63 35 47
48 28 Brandon Morrow 34 81 34 51
49 60 Jonathon Niese 45 49 45 62
50 48 Doug Fister 58 53 70 24
51 42 Bud Norris 42 43 28 96
52 44 Tim Hudson 51 58 84 21
53 66 Chris Capuano 49 55 48 66
54 36 Ricky Romero 56 80 49 40
55 53 Vance Worley 55 71 58 42
56 76 Justin Masterson 67 61 39 61
57 64 Lance Lynn 59 50 77 45
58 62 Hiroki Kuroda 65 54 53 63
59 69 Jason Hammel 60 87 61 33
60 73 Mark Buehrle 54 65 71 58
61 46 Jeremy Hellickson 48 47 100 56
62 72 Ubaldo Jimenez 77 83 40 64
63 50 Jeff Samardzija 66 36 109 54
64 70 Ryan Vogelsong 53 84 76 53
65 88 Trevor Cahill 75 57 60 74
66 49 Brandon McCarthy 79 59 74 55
67 58 Ricky Nolasco 69 94 36 72
68 67 Homer Bailey 81 56 55 80
69 113 Francisco Liriano 64 82 54 76
70 82 Trevor Bauer 62 73 83 60
71 55 Mike Minor 82 95 33 71
72 105 Phil Hughes 91 52 67 93
73 96 Ivan Nova 85 60 65 95
74 81 Matt Harrison 74 85 88 59
75 106 Roy Oswalt 61 45 119 82
76 85 Edinson Volquez 87 70 86 65
77 52 Ervin Santana 63 78 50 118
78 89 Mike Leake 78 86 72 73
79 57 Ted Lilly 80 75 68 89
80 114 Brett Myers 68 51 85 114
81 95 Wei-Yin Chen 72 96 64 99
82 61 John Danks 86 102 73 77
83 91 Tommy Milone 76 89 56 126
84 98 Joe Blanton 97 92 66 101
85 99 Jason Vargas 98 111 69 78
86 94 Kyle Lohse 93 91 114 69
87 68 Erik Bedard 88 69 118 97
88 102 Aaron Harang 108 119 87 67
89 77 Drew Smyly 71 67 146 98
90 111 Jarrod Parker 70 90 129 94
91 N/A Michael Fiers 83 93 106 102
92 109 Marco Estrada 73 76 95 141
93 N/A Felix Doubront 112 79 111 84
94 184 Wade Miley 118 97 126 46
95 92 Carlos Zambrano 96 72 105 123
96 130 J.A. Happ 122 122 81 83
97 93 Bartolo Colon 100 88 104 117
98 115 Bronson Arroyo 110 117 75 107
99 110 Clay Buchholz 94 110 132 75
100 169 Chris Tillman 92 68 170 88
101 107 Luke Hochevar 109 112 79 119
102 116 Travis Wood 101 127 90 104
103 186 Ben Sheets 84 74 116 152
104 N/A Scott Diamond 121 66 160 79
105 100 Randy Wolf 99 116 82 140
106 137 Rick Porcello 103 113 102 124
107 118 Ross Detwiler 113 106 142 81
108 80 Philip Humber 111 101 103 135
109 127 Clayton Richard 117 120 110 105
110 181 Franklin Morales 102 104 163 86
111 121 Derek Lowe 114 109 140 92
112 104 Henderson Alvarez 89 99 130 142
113 139 Kevin Millwood 132 129 117 85
114 125 Carl Pavano 115 107 101 144
115 N/A Jose Quintana 116 77 165 109
116 159 Josh Collmenter 106 179 96 87
117 182 Andrew Cashner 90 105 127 151
118 129 Paul Maholm 133 128 91 125
119 86 Jeff Niemann 105 103 98 174
120 N/A Zach McAllister 144 98 122 122
121 136 Jhoulys Chacin 126 174 89 100
122 124 Randall Delgado 104 160 92 136
123 131 Jake Westbrook 107 130 135 121
124 142 Drew Pomeranz 137 123 143 91
125 103 Jake Arrieta 120 147 97 134
126 135 Jordan Lyles 125 125 108 143
127 149 Bruce Chen 167 135 93 106
128 83 Juan Nicasio 143 154 94 120
129 112 Brett Anderson 95 148 180 90
130 146 Jeremy Guthrie 140 138 113 129
131 128 Joe Saunders 163 121 107 130
132 172 Charlie Furbush 124 167 128 103
133 133 Jerome Williams 127 100 137 161
134 150 Brett Cecil 131 178 112 108
135 N/A Chris Young 124 142
136 74 Neftali Feliz 139 156 123 115
137 119 Josh Tomlin 129 108 124 173
138 152 Jair Jurrjens 119 124 145 148
139 132 Hector Noesi 130 115 139 153
140 153 Kevin Correia 153 131 144 110
141 141 Barry Zito 128 133 152 131
142 140 Hisashi Iwakuma 135 161 99 149
143 147 Jeff Karstens 161 136 136 111
144 144 Alexi Ogando 159 162 80 150
145 N/A Christian Friedrich 134 144 149 127
146 97 Tyler Skaggs 155 149 120 132
147 148 Brian Matusz 145 134 121 158
148 87 Anthony Bass 157 155 133 116
149 71 Tim Stauffer 123 158 154 137
150 161 Wade Davis 175 169 115 113
151 123 Jonathan Sanchez 158 114 148 154
152 156 Jason Marquis 156 139 158 128
153 134 Chris Volstad 162 118 134 169
154 145 Blake Beavan 154 141 141 164
155 154 Alex White 164 126 162 156
156 126 Julio Teheran 168 173 131 138
157 138 Randy Wells 138 164 157 155
158 187 Lucas Harrell 147 151 161 163
159 75 Daniel Bard 170 153 166 133
160 N/A Brian Duensing 146 183 147 147
161 175 Freddy Garcia 177 181 153 112
162 165 Dustin Moseley 165 132 173 -
163 185 Kris Medlen 150 146 155 176
164 162 Jacob Turner 160 142 169 157
165 173 Nathan Eovaldi 172 143 171 146
166 N/A Joe Kelly 149 152 176 162
167 N/A Daisuke Matsuzaka 151 157 167 166
168 117 Brad Peacock 148 175 182 139
169 167 Nick Blackburn 166 137 164 181
170 170 Chien-Ming Wang 176 140 174 159
171 122 Jorge De La Rosa 136 163 189 165
172 143 Charlie Morton 142 165 185 -
173 168 Guillermo Moscoso 182 171 150 160
174 157 Dallas Braden 152 168 179 175
175 N/A Cole DeVries 188 145 172 170
176 183 Jesse Chavez 178 150 168 182
177 160 Livan Hernandez 186 170 151 171
178 166 Zach Britton 141 177 183 179
179 171 John Lannan 174 180 181 145
180 163 Chris Narveson 184 186 138 177
181 90 Dillon Gee 169 159 190 -
182 N/A Kyle Kendrick 185 192 156 168
183 164 Dustin McGowan 173 166 192 172
184 176 Tyler Chatwood 181 172 177 185
185 N/A Aaron Cook 171 191 175 180
186 N/A Kip Wells 189 182 184 167
187 158 Kevin Slowey 179 184 178 183
188 174 Fausto Carmona 180 176 191 184
189 177 Tsuyoshi Wada 183 188 186 -
190 151 Javier Vazquez 187 189 193 -




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


46 Responses to “Starting Pitcher Consensus Ranks for Second Half”

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  1. Jeff Zimmerman says:

    BTW, I will publish an article this afternoon looking at the problems ranking Strasburg. I had him anywhere from #1 to #60. The IP limit he is said to be under and each set of league rules will heavily influence his ranking.

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    • Marge Bouvier says:

      I’ve yet to really hear/see/perceive the same circumstances for Chris Sale, yet his ranking reflects this to a certain extent. I have a hard time looking at Yovani Gallardo and Mat Latos ahead of Sale in terms of what I personally have seen and expect to see. Sale’s schedule alone is worth noting, as he’s probable to start vs KC 4 more times, Minn twice, Oakland and Cleveland. That’s 1/2 his remaining starts, if he pitches through the end of the year. Is this fate a certainty that has just slipped past my gaze?

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  2. Joe says:

    Chris Sale ranked below Darvish and Latos?!?! Hahahaha, wow.

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    • Jeff Zimmerman says:

      Sale, with me, falls because of possible IP limits.

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      • Peter says:

        Jeff,

        You’d really take Bud Norris over Chris Sale for the rest of the season?

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      • Jeff Zimmerman says:

        ZiPS ROS
        Norris: 8.8 K/9, 3.4 BB/9
        Sale: 9.4 K/9, 3.8 BB/9

        They are similar is K and BB, which is all I use in my rankings (actually use BB% and K% so some BABIP valuation can be added). IMO, Sale will be shutdown for a couple of starts at the end of the season. He only pitched 71 innings last season and could have quite a workload by the end of the season. Sale is obviously the better chose for a keeper league, if he doesn’t throw out his arm this year, but they are very close in a 2012 league as seen in the rankings.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Yeah no way Sale finished the season with 180+ IP if you ask me. I bet they start talking about his limits soon. His body type, his injury history, his release point, they should be careful with him, and they will be IMO.

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  3. Matt NW says:

    Tim “I can’t pitch from the stretch this year” Lincecum over Hamels, eh Zim?

    High-larious.

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  4. Ben G. says:

    There hasn’t been any talk of shutting Chris Sale down, instead they push a start back here and there and limit his innings that way. I’m sure if there if it was discussed, either Don Cooper or Chris Sale would have commented on it.

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  5. Chris Young says:

    I have pitched pretty well over the last month and a half…I really think I should be on this list. Did you forget me or am I still that big of an injury risk?

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  6. Mike in NYC says:

    I’m curious: why the unwavering faith in Cliff Lee? Is it just because he’s maintaining a terrific K/BB rate?

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  7. TheTinDoor says:

    Strangest outlier I see near the top is Madison Bumgardner, mostly driven by Zach’s rank of 35 (!)

    Season-to-date, he’s been the 10th-best starter (10th ESPN player rater, 10th Razzball player rater, 10th ranked in Yahoo! standard leagues). A little bit of luck w/ BABIP so far, but not the profile of a player who will regress much, especially taking into account last season.

    Even if you think he drops off a LITTLE, that’s still a top-15 starter. There’s a few guys who you can reasonable project to pass him (Halladay, Gallardo maybe), but others who will drop from their top ranking (Dickey, perhaps)? Than you have the set that just don’t make sense – Shields & Darvish, primarily.

    Zach’s list of guys ahead of Mad-Bum truly baffles me. Tim Hudson? E-Jax? Hammel? Fister? Kennedy?
    What am I missing here?

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    • Pdiddy31 says:

      I’m still struggling with the Shields infatuation. FAR too hittable. I have 8 SPs in an 11 team league and I’m actually considering dropping him.

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  8. Dane says:

    Do you still believe Grienke should be as high as he is after today?

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  9. Clifford says:

    certainly interesting. not here to bash anyone for their rankings, but itd be nice to hear some perspective as to why this guy or that guy was ranked where they were..

    personally, i cant see how you could at all justify ranking latos, darvish, or shields anywhere near the top 10.

    latos has been the pinacle of inconsistency and his splits/peripherals are not indiciative of someone who will have a 2nd half of a top 10 SP. he had a stretch of 4 outta 5 great starts, but look who he was facing…Milwaukee, SD, SF, and Cleveland…not exactly the best offenses in the league. hes been awful on the road, which is somewhat surprising since GA Ballpark is such a hitters haven…while most people think of him as a 2nd half guy, his career numbers post AS break are actually worse than his 1st half numbers…his xFIP is 3.75, so i suspect his ERA will come down some, but his HR/9 is way way up…which can best be explained as a direct result of moving away from PETCO park.

    darvish was nasty to start the season, but i think hes A.) not loving the heat of pitching in Texas, B.) starting to feel the pressure of a penant race, C.) not used to the speed and intensity of a full MLB season, and IMO most importantly D.) hes throwing too many different pitches…might sound crazy to say that a guy is actually hurting himself by throwing 6-7 different pitches, but i think he gets too caught up in trying to trick hitters when in all likelihood, he could dominate utilizing only 3-5 pitches. dice-K saw similar success early on his first year, before fading somewhat. everything seems to point to darvish following that path. he will still have great outings facing the likes of OAK, SEA, TB, and MIN, but overall i think ranking him anywhere inside the top 25 is crazy.

    shields is a tiny bit more understandable as his peripherals are all very close to that of last year, with the major difference being his BABIP. i think his future this year is highly dependent on whether or not the rays continue their free fall and become sellers…if he ended up somewhere like Atlanta, LAD, Pittsburgh, or even Texas, i think his stock would go up quite a bit to the point where he might approach top 15 SP.

    few other guys i think are ranked too high…

    Cliff Lee…im a Phillies fan and named my dog after Cliff Lee, so clearly hes one of, if not my favorite players in baseball. i just dont see how you could possibly rank him ahead of Hamels, Weaver, Cain, or Strasburg, among others…last year he was insanely good in 75-85% of his starts, average in about 15-20% and poor in about 5-10%…this year?…its more like 30-40%, 40-50%, 10-20%…love the guy, but dont see him as a top 10 option

    Zack Grienke…been hit real hard his last 3 starts and while hes been really good for a lot of the season, giving up 2 or fewer runs 13 times, hes also given up 5 or more 4 different times, including 7 ER and 8 ER in 2 games…top 3 SP dont have games like that. his home/road splits are atrocious, and his overall numbers of 3.57 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and .261 BAA just arent elite numbers. especially compared to a guy like Jered Weaver, who even after getting rocked by the Yanks yesterday, still sits at 2.26 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, and .202 BAA…those are big differences. hes top 10-15, but not even close to top 3-5.

    honorable mention: Lester, Lincecum(cant understand why anyone can have any faith whatsoever in this guy…hes just flat out sucked. been hit often and hard in 75% of his starts…in the NL WEST!!), Garza, Scherzer, Derek Holland, Edwin Jackson, Gavin Floyd, Mike Minor, Collmenter, Wolf, Delgado, Chacin, and Guthrie

    here are some guys that i think you have ranked ridiculously low…not going to go into details about them cause ive already written too much…

    -Hamels, Weaver(still blows my mind how hes not the clear cut #3, maybe even #2 considering Kershaw hasnt exactly been 2011-esque), Strasburg, Sale, Bumgarner(this one SHOCKED me…hes top 10-12. period), Zimmerman, Peavy, McDonald, Vogelsong, Harrison, Vargas, and Lohse, among several others…honestly, how do you have Brett Myers ranked ahead of Jair, Neftali, and about every other guy on this list?…more importantly, why is he even on here?

    What really gets to me is the lack of respect some of these guys get from the so-called “experts”, yet guys like Lincecum, Garza, Latos, Hanson, Lester, Haren, Kennedy, etc. all get free passes for sub-par at best seasons…why is it that you guys have such a hard time believing that older guys/necomers to the party can maintain their success, yet you believe some of those aforementioned busts will turn it around no questions asked. You’re right in saying that Peavy could blow up at any point…but guess what?….he hasnt. every expert has been saying that since his first start and hes proved everyone wrong start after start after start.

    the same could be said about vogelsong. it kills me how little respect he gets. so what if he doesnt strike a ton of guys out?…or have great “peripherals?”…or that he had a nothing career before last year?…his numbers this year(and last year for that matter) speak for themselves…hes gone 7-4, 2.36 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and .221 BAA…13 straight QS and 15 out of 16 QS overall this year…i dont see why more people arent talking about him…his consistency has been incredible so far(knock on wood…he’ll prolly go 3.1 IP, 7 ER next time out thanks to me)…hes gone at least 7 innings in 12 out of his last 13, allowing less than 3 ER in all of them…has allowed 1 ER or fewer in 7 of those starts…and you guys have him ranked behind Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, Ubaldo, Masterson, Fister, Billingsley, Norris, Derek Holland, Gavin Floyd, and several others…all of which will be lucky to finish the season with 13-15 QS…its honestly a joke IMO

    honestly, if you dont respond to anything else in this entire post, please give me just 1 good reason why on Earth you could justify ranking him 76th!…i honestly cant get over that….i mean come on man…mike minor, trevor cahill, brandon mccarthy, ricky nolasco, joe blanton, john danks, wei-yin chen, vargas, and worst of all…BRONSON ARROYO….all guys youve got ranked ahead of vogelsong. i know you’re gonna say his BABIP and LOB% are not sustainable, yada, yada, yada…i get all that…but you guys have all been saying that since May of last year, yet he still seems to go out and get the job done…same could be said about CJ Wilson.

    anyone ever considered that maybe, just maybe, there are some guys that simply dont fit the standard form of evaluating pitchers based on BABIP and LOB%?…and sorry, but to me it would make sense that the more dominant SP would have the more dominant BABIP and LOB% because its harder to make good contact against them as they keep hitters off balance and guessing constantly.

    ok, thats all. not tryna bash you, but come on, bronson arroyo?…mike minor?…honestly, how do you have a guy who is 5-6 with 5.97 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and .263 BAA…with horrific peripherals like almost 4 BB/9 and 2 HR/9….and a BABIP of only .279…ranked 33rd??? that just seems…well…not all that smart to be totally honest. anyways, i do appreciate the rankings and find them very interesting as evident by my lengthy novel here. thanks.

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    • Ryan Volgelsong says:

      Dude, I’m really just not that great a pitcher. I’ve been getting lucky. Quit trying to build me up so much.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Yeah I hear you with some of the struggling veterans, even if I don’t think that Latos, Lincecum and the like are so old that they have already lost it, but I don’t get the Vogelsong love. He’s in a nice park, but he has a below-average swinging strike rate, a bad strikeout rate, an average-ish walk rate, and an average-ish ground-ball rate. He’s averageish! And if you look at his stuff, there isn’t one pitch that’s really a stand out. Okay slider. And he’s older than the guys you want us to tank for being old…

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    • Peter says:

      Clifford –

      Solid rant.

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  10. max says:

    where is jamie garcia?

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  11. Jason says:

    Zimmerman ranks Lincecum 6th!! I knew you guys wouldn’t fail to amuse me. I am somewhat disappointed he wasn’t top 10 by everyone though.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      If Lincecum is this bad true-talent, it will be one of the worst falls from graces in the history of baseball. Seriously. He’s putting up one of the worst pitching seasons in baseball history and he was maybe the first- or second-best pitcher like two years ago. So, it makes sense to bet against something happening for the first time in the history of baseball, and to bet on him regressing to his career numbers going forward.

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      • Peter says:

        Honest question for Zimmerman,

        In how many fantasy baseball leagues do you play, and how many do you currently own Lincecum in? If you really think he’ll be the 6th most effective pitcher for the ROS, you should surely have acquired him via trade in nearly all of your leagues.

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      • Ian says:

        Those aren’t the only two options. Why couldn’t he end up somewhere in the middle? Even if he gets back up to say, 80% of what he used to be, that’s still not a top ten pitcher. Ranking Lincecum 6th basically says he is 100% guaranteed to be 100% of his former self, instantly.

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    • Jason says:

      Another Zimmerman gem is Mike Minor at 33. JMac is 30 spots below him. Can you imagine a league where you could trade Mike friggin Minor for James McDonald or Jake Peavy?

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  12. Jason says:

    Another lulz one is James McDonald- currently sandwiched between the mighty Derek Holland and Wandy Rodriguez in the ranks. Yep.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I ranked him lower because I believe a heavy walk rate regression is coming.

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      • Jason says:

        Isn’t it possible he has just improved his control this season? Why does his walk rate have to regress. He is young, has always had plus stuff, has added a slider this year and improved his control. Pitcher breakouts happen and your staring at one. He has 60 or so career starts, why is it hard to believe his control could improve big time in his second full year as a starter?

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        I did some research on pitcher peripherals and his zone peripherals do not suggest a guy with above-average control. His F-Strike is below average, his o-swing is below average, and his contact rate is about average. F-Strike % alone suggests a regression is coming, that’s tied really closely to BB%. And it’s not just MLB starts… you have to go back to 2007 to find 50+ innings where he showed an above-average walk rate, and he’s thrown over 650 innings since then.

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    • DEE MARCUS says:

      What’s wrong with Holland? Talented kid, strike out stuff is apparent. Did it last year over the 2nd half. I’m buying him for the rest of the year.

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  13. James says:

    Yeah, I’d say Norris over Sale is pretty abhorrent. I seriously doubt the first-place White Sox will suddenly cut the cord on Sale as a starter with what’s likely to be a difficult playoff race between now and October. He did begin the year in the pen, so his innings shouldn’t get too out of hand. Norris’ fantasy prospects are dysmal. His velocity has declined for a fourth consecutive season, so he’s not able to get away with the same location mistakes that he could make earlier in his career. He’s also issued 9 walks over his past two starts and even if he were pitching well, wins would still be difficult to come by since he’s with the last-place Astros. I’m sure it’s a pain to have to churn out rankings for every meaningful player in fantasy baseball, but this, quite frankly, is an example of half-assed work, only made worse by a refusal to own you own mistake.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I didn’t do it, one writer who uses ZiPs RoS as 99.9% of his method did, and of course a projection system will project Sale to pitch few innings going forward given his historical innings. And while I put Sale in the top 20, I disagree strongly that Sale will make it through the season. If the team doesn’t shut him down, his elbow will bark at the increased innings and force the issue. Research has shown that his arm slot leads to increased injury, and he’s an extreme body-type outlier… dude’s like 6’6″, 150 pounds soaking weight skinny. I loved Sale going into the season, love the production I’ve gotten out of him, and am extremely nervous about the rest of the season.

      And the whole point of these rankings is that you can see how different reasonable people might be thinking about a player. I think it’s absolutely representative of the thinking in fantasy baseball that some value Sale as a top-20 starter and some think he won’t make it past 160 innings, which is the most common number I’ve heard, which means he’s about half as valuable as a full-time starter in the second half.

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  14. Luke says:

    Ugh James Shields… When are his results going to accurate reflect his DIPS? He and Dan Haren are absolutely killing my ERA and WHIP every week. Not to mention early season Max Sherzer. I really need to convince my commish to change ERA to SIERA…

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  15. bigsmooth says:

    What about Alex Cobb? Not even ranked ahead of injured guys?

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  16. Clifford says:

    Has anyone else given thought to the idea that we’ve all become so obsessed with this stat and that peripheral and another percentage or ratio, that we have stopped actually watching guys play, ignored the factual results that are their stats, and relied completely on computer-generated projections based on stats that most people didnt even know existed 8-10 years ago?

    Why is it so hard to believe that a guy like Ryan Vogelsong or James McDonald can’t just be good without having great peripherals?…Vogelsong did essentially the exact same thing last year, and all you guys said the exact same things…he doesnt have a great out pitch, his swinging strike rate isnt great, he pitches in a great ballpark, etc., etc….yet you dont hold the ballpark against Lincecum and Cain?…I mean I understand that the skyrocketing of interest in fantasy baseball has led to the increased popularity of websites such as this one….and it would be no fun if you simply copied and pasted from ESPN’s player rater…but some of these rankings honestly appear to be almost done on purpose as to encite people like yours truly to react and engage in the website’s material.

    But come on, each one of you guys has at least 1, more like 5-6 rankings that cant be serious.

    Mike P–you honestly believe that Cliff Lee will be better over the rest of the year than Verlander?…since you guys dont really take into account actual stats a lot of the time, what peripherals suggest that Lee is going to be better than Verlander?

    Eno–you really think Grienke is going to be better than Kershaw?…have you seen Grienke’s last 3 starts?…or his home/road splits?…what if he gets traded somewhere thats a hitters park?…overall, Grieke’s ranking might have been the most shocking to me…to put him ahead of the likes of Cain, Weaver, Hamels, Felix, Strasburg, and Price?…that blows my mind….i dunno the criminally low ranking of Bumgarner is pretty awful as well.

    Jeff–your rankings seem to be the outliers a lot of the time….but you really believe that there are 13 SP better than Jered Weaver?…and 14 better than Matt Cain?….and that Max Scherzer is ahead of them both?…what exactly gives you this projection other than that Scherzer can strike a lot of guys out and might get a few extra wins playing for DET?

    As I said in my first post, im not here to bash anyone, because A.) I know if I tried to do this, people would be saying the exact same thing I am right now…B.) i really like all the work thats done on this website. just really started visiting over the last year and its got some of the better fantasy material out there. theres a lot of junk websites, so its always good to find one that consistently puts out legit material…do i think some of the stuff is crazy and wrong?…of course, thats natural…but thats also what you have to do to have a succesful fantasy site….think outside the box, make bold predictions, and buck the trend…if not, you become just another fantasy site….and C.) because everyone has the right to their own opinion, and who am I to question that…

    With that said, I just wanna mention 2 other things and then I promise Im done writing novels.

    1.) There seems to be an overall feeling that there is a lot of contradiction within these rankings….certain guys you rank highly or lowly based solely off peripherals and secondary stats, while seemingly ignoring the stats that actually matter when it comes to fantasy….however, others such as Lincecum, Mat Latos, Yu Darvish, Lester, Shields, and Haren are simply given blind faith that they will recover to be the pitcher they were last year or 2 years ago or 3 years ago.

    Lincecum has always been known to have a delivery and mechanics that would be condusive to a rapid decline…in other words, his arm would fall off to put it in simple terms. Im not saying it wouldnt be an incredible fall from grace(although i dont think he was the #1 or 2 SP at any point in his career…when he won his Cy Youngs, the SP in the NL was very very weak…his numbers dont sniff those of Halladay and Kershaw the last 2 years…he didnt have to deal with Cliff Lee, Halladay, Grienke, Kershaw, Cain, Bumgarner, etc.)

    Similar with a guy like Lester…guess how many times his ERA has been under 3.25 in his career?…once….guess what his WHIP is over the last 5 years total?…1.254….i wouldnt exactly call that ace-like stats…is he a really good SP that id take any day?…yeah, no doubt….is he better than Matt Cain?…or Madison Bumgarner?…just dont see the argument there.

    2.) Maybe im totally off on this one, but have any of you guys ever thought that maybe you cant rank guys like vogelsong or mcdonald or CJ Wilson as highly as their actual stats indicate they should be placed?…because it would essentially undermine the purpose of the site?…if you started ranking guys that had bad peripherals really highly, ahead of other guys with good peripherals and poor W-L, ERA, WHIP, BAA, you would basically be saying that all the stats you write about and promote and study are meaningless and dont affect how you value a player?…just a thought.

    again, appreciate all the hard work and great writing. sorry if i came off as being harsh or judgemental. its acually just really interesting to me.

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    • Matt Hunter says:

      “since you guys dont really take into account actual stats a lot of the time, what peripherals suggest that Lee is going to be better than Verlander”

      Peripherals are actual stats. They aren’t the stats that fans have traditionally used, but they are very real. For example:

      Verlander: K%: 25.0, BB%: 5.9, GB%: 41.0
      Lee: K%: 24.4, BB%: 5.0, GB%: 45.8

      Now you can reasonably argue that there are other aspects at play here that make Verlander better. However, the are very REAL stats, stats that have historically predicted future ERA better than ERA itself, that say that Cliff Lee will be as good as, or better than, Justin Verlander going forward.

      I understand why you are frustrated by the use of peripherals in these rankings when it is ERA and wins that count in fantasy, but the fact is, those peripheral stats are often, NOT ALWAYS, but often, better predictors of future ERA than ERA itself.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      A basic fact is that we are trying to predict the future, and ranking them based on what they’ve done, especially using ERA, would not be as effective as ranking them based on what we think they’ll do, based on the type of peripherals Matt has pointed out. Because it’s been shown that those peripherals are more predictive than the player’s in-season ERA.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        and no I’ve missed Greinke’s last couple of starts but by chance I’ve seen Kershaw twice in the past month, and both times he labored to find the zone and didn’t look as impressive as he had before. It’s just two starts out of the many he’s made, though, and I didn’t put a ton of weight on them. I tend to think of players in tiers. There may be a functional difference between Greinke and Kershaw over the rest of the season, but it won’t be easy to predict, and it won’t be a large difference.

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  17. Matt Hunter says:

    Halladay’s ranking seems pretty pessimistic to me. He’s back from injury, so he should get the same number of innings as everyone else, and he’s been the best pitcher in baseball for so long, I just have a hard to believing he’s now that much lower. I would honestly be surprised if he didn’t put up a sub-3 ERA going forward.

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  18. KCExile says:

    Cueto might be the most underrated pitcher in baseball the last two years. Especially when you consider he does it at Great American Ballpark. You watch him pitch and look up and all of a sudden it’s the 7th inning he’s given up 1 or 2 runs with 6k’s, man just knows how to get outs. Something clicked before last season.

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    • Clifford says:

      really? you think hes the most underrated?…just curious. i think you could maybe argue that, but i also think Bumgarner, Cain, Jon Niese, CJ Wilson, and Ryan Vogelsong can be thrown into that mix. the problem with Cueto and also guys like CJ Wilson and Vogelsong, is that they dont fit the mold of success in certain peripherals that a successful pitcher must have according to these guys, which they then use to rank SP, hence the low ranking for some of these guys…they dont have crazy high K rates, they have really low BABIP, high LOB%, mediocre K/BB ratios etc…and supposedly thats a better indicator of future ERA…which must be based on past seasons, but i think theres a failure to account for 2 things…

      1.) not every pitcher fits the mold…some guys just get people out and no one can really figure out how they do it..

      2.) most of their data was prolly from the past 10-15 years im guessing?…the majority of those years made up the heart of the steroid era…i dont see how you can use any of those stats for SP or hitting and justify them as having equal importance/value in 2012.

      I did some calculations of 6 different SP…the first group consists of SP that I feel are underrated and underappreciated, especially in these rankings…the other group are guys that appear to be slighty overranked and given a free pass, despite not so stellar years..i took all the stats for the last 2 years and combined them for each group, averaging out ERA, WHIP, and BAA, while totalling W-L, QS, and Ks

      Group 1–CJ Wilson, Cueto, and Vogelsong

      Totals: 65-33, 105 QS, 2.55 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, .228 BAA, 715 Ks

      Group 2–King Felix, Mat Latos, and Jon Lester

      Totals: 57-51, 91 QS, 3.63 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .245 BAA, 930 Ks

      As you can see, the first group has been substantially better than the 2nd group, yet all 3 are ranked below the 3 in Group 2. Overall, the worst 2-year stats of group 1 were from Vogelsong, while the best in group 2 were from King Felix

      Vogelsong: 20-11, 34 QS, 2.57 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, .237 BAA, 216 Ks

      Felix: 21-19, 34 QS, 3.26 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .245 BAA, 362 Ks

      Clearly, Felix dominates the strikeout category…but he also made 8 more starts than Vogelsong, pitching over 75 more innings…therefore, his lead in that is not nearly as large…and considering Vogelsong has 34 QS in only 44 total starts, while Felix has 34 in 52 starts, strikeouts are the only thing Felix bests Vogelsong in over the last 2 years. Yet, 2 of these guys have him ranked 84th and 76th, while Felix is Top 5….hmm…interesting.

      All im saying is that I think over the last couple years, there has been this extreme movement to analyze every little tiny stat to the Nth degree…no SP is going to be dominant in every category and stat that ever existed. You can always find weaknesses, even in the best of the best…what I dont understand is that no fantasy leagues I’ve ever heard of use BABIP or LOB% or GB/FB or HR/FB as scoring categories, while nearly every one i’ve ever heard of and/or played in over the last 10-12 years has used some combination of Wins, QS, ERA, Ks, WHIP, and BAA…as well as a few other randoms…yet even knowing that, there appears to be a total lack of focus on these pertinent stats, and instead we’ve all focused on these peripheral stats, some of which are not even really controlled by the SP such as BABIP, and started using them as a way to justify projections and predictions about future success and/or failure…and in seemingly every instance, they are either used to explain why a certain SP will either have a great 2nd half, or will regress considerably. I think Ive hearad the word regress more times in the last year than the 9 previous years combined haha.

      just my 2 cents.

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  19. TBone says:

    Yep, there are 58 pitchers I’d rather own than Jordan Zimmermann…he’s been so “bad” he moved down 5 spots.

    I guess Matt Moore should be one of those 58…. he’s been so dominant he moves up 9 spots.

    Nailed it guys.

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