Roto Riteup: Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Last season, the first five pitchers off the board were Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee and Jon Lester. But what will 2012 look like? Let’s take a guess.

1. Roy Halladay. Nothing has changed here. Halladay is consistently brilliant and he will be the first pitcher drafted because of his long track record of dominance and his placement in the NL.

2. Justin Verlander. I hesitate to say he’ll be the first pitcher off the board, but he will be in some leagues. Most owners won’t bet on him winning 24 games again, so they’ll just revert back to Halladay. Verlander wasn’t even one of the first ten pitchers taken according to, so this is quite the jump in value for a pitcher who’s been a fantasy Ace for a long time.

3. Clayton Kershaw. The lefty has managed to win 20 games despite playing for a non-playoff team, and owners will pay for that kind of production next year.

4. Cliff Lee. I almost slotted Lee ahead of Kershaw because he’s still a more well known name, but I have a feeling that Kershaw will get the nod because of his age.

5. Jered Weaver. A second straight season of 200-plus strikeouts will push him into the top five.

Two thoughts on the rankings as a whole:

– If this projected top-5 is to be believed, studs like Tim Lincecum, Felix Hernandez, Jon Lester, Zack Greinke and C.C. Sabathia will be easier to come by next year. If you ask me, that’s a good thing, because smart owners (like you!) won’t be forced to pay for a front-line Ace.

– If you disagree with this top-5, please tell me why in the comments. Do you think these will be the first five pitchers drafted, but they will be in a different order? Or will another pitcher sneak into the fifth spot ahead of Jered Weaver because they’re a bigger name?

A Pitcher for Today: Phillip Humber at CLE
Humber effectively shut down the Indians last time out, striking out seven batters in six innings while allowing two runs. And, if you need him to, Humber can slot in at RP for you.

A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Drew Pomeranz at HOU
His innings may be a bit limited, so be forewarned. But, since he’s facing off against Brett Myers, at least the Pomeranian will pull out a win for you.

PickSix Lock of the Day: Curtis Granderson ($37.50) vs TBR (Jeff Niemann)
Niemann can be a bit homer happy at times, and I’m willing to pay for Granderson at home.
Prediction: 1-3, BB, HR; 15 points
Last Week’s Results: 4 players (2 SP), $34.50, 52.50 points

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

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I agree with these rankings. I do believe that Grienke is better than Jered Weaver because of his track record and that Grienke missed a lot of time in the beginning of the year due to injury so his performance this year is understated. If Milwaukee can replace Fielder with a big bat more wins are in line for the Brewers next year than the Angels (unless they get Fielder). I actually like Madison Bummgarner going forward in 2013 to make this list. Do you know he is only 21?