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2013 Fantasy Starting Pitcher Rankings

Written By on 21st March, 2013

Stephen Strasburg

This is the conclusion of our 2013 Fantasy Rankings. For our previous rankings, you can find rankings for relief pitcherscatchersfirst basesecond baseshortstopthird base,outfield 51-101, and outfield top 50

As is true with a real-life baseball team, starting pitching often represents the backbone of a strong fantasy contender.  However, a strong starting rotation and little else will lead you to a comfortable low-middle finish.  While the bulk of your rotation can be filled out after round six or seven in most drafts, if a player seems too cheap or is still there in the very early rounds that has good value, grab him and don’t look back.

The key to filling out a rotation for fantasy involves finding a balance between ratio and counting stats.  Innings are critical to accumulating strikeouts and starters with a tendency to stay in the game longer are more likely to win games.  However, if starters wreck your ratios, no amount of innings will save you.  A standard public Yahoo! League uses two SP, two RP and four P.  I like to carry three or four RP, four fixture SP and have a spot for streaming a starter — especially in weekly leagues where a two-start starter is very valuable.

With all this in mind, my top 100 SP ( for standard 5×5 mixed- league roto and redraft leagues) for 2013 are presented:

Player Club Rank
Stephen Strasburg WAS 1
Justin Verlander DET 2
Clayton Kershaw LAD 3
David Price TB 4
Felix Hernandez SEA 5
Cliff Lee PHI 6
Cole Hamels PHI 7
Zack Greinke* LAD 8
Yu Darvish TEX 9
CC Sabathia NYY 10
Chris Sale CWS 11
Matt Cain SF 12
Gio Gonzalez WAS 13
Jered Weaver LAA 14
Yovani Gallardo MIL 15
Jordan Zimmermann WAS 16
Johnny Cueto CIN 17
Mat Latos CIN 18
Max Scherzer DET 19
Madison Bumgarner SF 20
Brandon Morrow TOR 21
Jake Peavy CWS 22
Adam Wainwright STL 23
R.A. Dickey TOR 24
Josh Johnson TOR 27
Roy Halladay PHI 28
Anibal Sanchez DET 29
Kris Medlen ATL 30
James Shields KC 31
Jarrod Parker OAK 32
Jon Lester BOS 33
Hiroki Kuroda NYY 34
Doug Fister DET 35
Clay Buchholz BOS 36
Tim Hudson ATL 37
Jeff Samardzija CHC 38
Matt Moore TB 39
Edwin Jackson CHC 40
Tim Lincecum SF 41
Ryan Vogelsong SF 42
Dan Haren WAS 43
Matt Harrison TEX 44
Matt Garza CHC 45
C.J. Wilson LAA 46
John Danks CWS 47
Bud Norris HOU 48
Alexi Ogando TEX 49
Derek Holland TEX 50
Brandon McCarthy ARI 51
Mike Minor ATL 52
Andrew Cashner SD 53
Jason Hammel BAL 54
Chris Tillman BAL 55
Ian Kennedy ARI 56
Gavin Floyd CWS 57
Jeremy Hellickson TB 58
Jon Niese NYM 59
Homer Bailey CIN 60
Daniel Straily OAK 61
Matt Harvey NYM 62
A.J. Burnett PIT 63
Michael Fiers MIL 64
Marco Estrada MIL 65
Lance Lynn STL 66
Trevor Cahill ARI 67
Wandy Rodriguez PIT 68
Erasmo Ramirez SEA 69
Vance Worley MIN 70
Jeff Niemann TB 71
Ricky Romero TOR 72
Ervin Santana KC 73
Felix Doubront BOS 74
Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 75
A. J. Griffin OAK 76
Josh Beckett LAD 77
Ryu-Huyn Jin LAD 78
Edinson Volquez SD 79
Joe Blanton LAA 80
Brett Anderson OAK 81
Wei-Yin Chen BAL 82
Shelby Miller STL 83
Clayton Richard SD 84
Tyler Skaggs ARI 85
Wade Miley ARI 86
Rick Porcello DET 87
Ryan Dempster BOS 88
Trevor Bauer CLE 89
Andy Pettitte NYY 90
Paul Maholm ATL 91
Alex Cobb TB 92
Julio Teheran ATL 93
Scott Diamond MIN 94
Scott Baker CHC 95
Zach McAllister CLE 96
Mark Buehrle TOR 97
Johan Santana NYM 98
Brett Myers CLE 99
Chad Billingsley LAD 100
Martin Perez TEX 101
Aaron Harang LAD 102
Phil Hughes NYY 103
Jaime Garcia STL 104
Shaun Marcum NYM 105
Brandon Beachy ATL DL
RHP Cory Luebke SD DL

*These rankings were written before Greinke’s elbow was a concern.

Players to Grab: Brandon Beachy/Cory Luebke
Beachy and Luebke (not an accounting firm) are two promising pitchers who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012.  Beachy should be back around the All-Star break (or shortly thereafter), while Luebke may return in June.

Beachy is the high upside member of the pair as he has shown the ability to rack up strikeout in his limited (237.2 IP) big league time.  Beachy got a three-start cameo in 2010 and entered the rotation full time in 2011.  He logged 141.2 IP of 28.6 K% ball, while walking only 7.8%.  He was on pace for ~190 IP, which would have earned him 226 strikeouts, but his season was truncated by an oblique injury that cost him 39 days (35 games/7 starts).  His 2012 season featured a 3.8% year-over-year drop in swinging strike rate and a K/9 drop of over 3.  His pitch velocity dropped 1-2 MPH and his walk rate spiked by 0.3 BB/9.  Something appeared amiss, and there was.  Beachy was listed as day-to-day with elbow soreness on June 12, before being placed on the DL June 16 and undergoing Tommy John surgery a few weeks afterward.

Command is typically the last skill to return upon recovery from any type of arm surgery and it is likely Beachy will not be fully effective until 2014.  However, two months of Beachy’s strikeout potential is too strong to ignore, even at just a tick above 8 K/9 (Steamer projection).  If you participate in a league with multiple DL-spots, he is a must grab in the last round of a draft, as that spot would typically otherwise go to a fungible piece anyway.

Luebke is another Tommy John patient, who should return about a month earlier than Beachy.  He has less of a potential in strikeout rate, but the extra month should cover at least part (if not all) of the bulk gap.  Playing in (now somewhat less but still-) cavernous PETCO Park should also serve to partially alleviate command shortcomings, as he exhibits fly-ball tendencies (40.0 GB% as SP).  Luebke should be treated similar to Beachy, but is likely the safer, lower upside play.  Since Luebke was essentially a non-factor last year (five starts), snagging him in the draft isn’t as critical (he is more likely to be present on the wire upon return), although for the mere cost of a DL spot, why not?

 Players to Pass – Rockies SP
Scanning this list, one will have likely noticed that two clubs are not represented: the Colorado Rockies and the Miami Marlins.  The Marlins, having gutted the club (see what I did there?), have a rotation made out of prospects, and non-factor retreads.  The Rockies also have a rotation with two potentially useful pieces in Jorge De La Rosa and Jhoulys Chacin.  However, they are strictly stream options (road only), since they aren’t worthy of pitching in Coors Field.  Coors Field is a nightmare, where the dimensions and environment produce many extra base hits.  A game in Coors can spiral out of control and damage your ratios severely.  That said, I am sitting all but the top tier of pitchers at Coors, and even if someone wanted to play it safe and sit an ace, I would see no problem with that, especially down the stretch.

Alex Hume
About Alex Hume

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One Comment on "2013 Fantasy Starting Pitcher Rankings"

  1. Profile Photo
    Alex Hume March 28, 2013 at 9:55 pm -

    UPDATE: Johan Santana apeears to have torn the shoulder caspuleand is out for the year. No fantasy value now.