2013 Starting Pitcher Rankings

Posted: February 12, 2013 in Rankings

By David Kerr

2013 Starting Pitcher Rankings

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Justin Verlander
3. David Price
4. Cole Hamels
5. Stephen Strasburg
6. Felix Hernandez
7. Matt Cain
8. Cliff Lee
9. Gio Gonzalez
10. Madison Bumgarner
11. Adam Wainwright
12. Yu Darvish
13. CC Sabathia
14. Jered Weaver
15. Zack Greinke
16. Mat Latos
17. Matt Moore
18. Chris Sale
19. Jordan Zimmerman
20. Johnny Cueto
21. James Shields
22. Max Scherzer
23. Yovani Gallardo
24. R.A. Dickey
25. Roy Halladay
26. Kris Medlen
27. Josh Johnson
28. Brandon Morrow
29. Brett Anderson
30. Ian Kennedy
31. Dan Haren
32. Doug Fister
33. Jarrod Parker
34. Jeff Samardzija
35. Hiroki Kuroda
36. C.J. Wilson
37. Jonathan Niese
38. Jake Peavy
39. Anibal Sanchez
40. Jon Lester
41. Ryan Vogelsong
42. Matt Harrison
43. Jeremy Hellickson
44. Matt Garza
45. Mike Minor
46. Alexei Ogando
47. Homer Bailey
48. Marco Estrada
49. A.J. Burnett
50. Matt Harvey
51. Shaun Marcum
52. Josh Beckett
53. Tim Lincecum
54. Edwin Jackson
55. Clay Buchholz
56. Bud Norris
57. Lance Lynn
58. Trevor Cahill
59. Ryan Dempster
60. Alex Cobb
61. Wade Miley
62. Jaime Garcia
63. Zack Wheeler
64. Dan Straily
65. Andy Pettitte
66. Mike Fiers
67. Derek Holland
68. Jason Hammel
69. Hisashi Iwakuma
70. Phil Hughes
71. James McDonald
72. Wei-Yin Chen
73. Andrew Cashner
74. Tyler Skaggs
75. Kyle Lohse
76. Tim Hudson
77. Ryu Hyun-Jin
78. Chris Tillman
79. Paul Maholm
80. A.J. Griffin
81. Shelby Miller
82. Julio Teheran
83. Felix Doubrount
84. Jacob Turner
85. Jason Vargas
86. Johan Santana
87. Dillon Gee
88. Trevor Bauer
89. Brandon McCarthy
90. Tommy Milone
91. Brett Myers
92. Tommy Hanson
93. Gavin Floyd
94. Ervin Santana
95. Ivan Nova
96. Wandy Rodriguez
97. Gerrit Cole
98. Justin Masterson
99. Scott Baker
100. Vance Worley

UPDATED 3/20/13:
Stephen Strasburg rises from #6 to #5.
Yu Darvish rises from #13 to #12.
Matt Garza falls from #40 to #44.
Shaun Marcum falls from #44 to #51.
Ryan Vogelsong rises from #45 to #41.
Josh Beckett rises from #57 to #52.
Clay Buchholz rises from #63 to #55.
Kyle Lohse falls from #60 to #75
Alex Cobb rises from #81 to #60.
Johan Santana falls from #78 to #86.
Scott Baker falls from #92 to #99.
Shelby Miller rises from #96 to #81.
Wandy Rodriguez rises from #97 to #96.
Julio Teheran makes the list for the first time at #82.
Gerrit Cole makes the list for the first time at #97.
Francisco Liriano falls off the list.
John Danks falls off the list.

Overall Thoughts

There are a few legitimate Aces in Fantasy Baseball and Clayton Kershaw tops that list. He made a strong case for the NL MVP Award last year, but fell short to R.A. Dickey. Kershaw’s numbers were off slightly from his 2011 Cy Young campaign, but it was more of a year to year fluctuation than any type of change. His Swinging Strike percentage was 11.0%, down from 11.1% in 2011, which means there was basically no change. His WHIP was a stellar 1.02, up ever so slightly from the 0.98 number he had in 2011. His K/9 was down slightly from 9.6 to 9.1, but I’d still attribute that to a year over year variation more than anything else. He has a great lineup hitting in front of him and should win plenty of games. Add those factors to him pitching in the NL West and you have the number one pitcher in Fantasy Baseball for 2013.

Of course, Justin Verlander is right behind Kershaw and an there are plenty of arguments for him to be number one. Heck, maybe my personal bias of Kershaw swayed my opinion a bit, but there is no denying that Verlander is an absolute beast. I’m probably nitpicking here, but Verlander’s workload over the past five seasons along with his slight decline in strikeouts and minor uptick in walks give Verlander my number two slot. Realistically, it is Kershaw #1 and Verlander #1a.

David Price is coming off of a well deserved Cy Young season. He’s gotten better each season that he’s been in the Majors and there is reason to believe that trend will continue. He had the highest Ground ball percentage (GB%) of his career at 53.1% and lowered his Fly ball percentage (FB%) to a career low 27.0%. He kept the ball in the park last season surrendering only 16 long balls in 211 innings pitched. Price is entering the prime of his career and I expect more of the same as he continues to grow and mature as a Starting Pitcher.

I don’t believe that Stephen Strasburg will have any innings limitations in 2013, but there’s no way to really be sure. He was cut off at 159.1 last season, so to amass 200 innings he’ll be making a 40 inning jump. He’ll likely hit that number, but don’t be surprised if he tires a bit down the stretch. The Strasburg number that sticks out to me the most is his 2012 K/9 number of 11.1. That just shows how filthy his repertoire is and how high his ceiling is. The sky is the limit for Strasburg and he’s a cornerstone of the Washington Nationals. They’re going to do everything in their power to keep him durable and healthy for the longevity of his career. Draft him like an Ace because that’s exactly what he is.

A guy that isn’t as “sexy” as Verlander or Kershaw is Cole Hamels. He’s in his prime and is a virtual lock for 200 IP and 200 Strikeouts plus he’ll win you at least 15 games every year.

There was concerning news out of Seattle this past weekend as an MRI showed a possible elbow injury in the right elbow of Felix Hernandez. There have been no further details to date, but the news is most definitely troubling. It was reported late last week that King Felix would be signing a contract extension worth $175 million dollars, but that signing is on hold. Proceed with caution at this point and if you’re drafting within the next few days, I have to advise avoiding Hernandez. I would have ranked Felix number four overall, but this news bumped him down a spot. If in fact there is a major issue with his elbow, he’ll likely fall rapidly down draft boards.

Madison Bumgarner had a very good season that seems to have gone overlooked because of his rather terrible September. He’ll be 23 for most of this season and will continue to mature as a pitcher. He’s a strong target in all leagues.

I expect Adam Wainwright to return to pre-Tommy John form this year. He had his highest K/9 since becoming a starter for the Cardinals and that was just one year removed from his surgery. I expect a return to his Ace-like numbers now that his arm should be back to full strength.

So, on August 7 of last year, I wrote an article telling owners to avoid Yu Darvish for the remainder of the season. In turn, he made me look foolish as he posted a 2.35 ERA along with 67 strikeouts in 57.1 innings pitched. His overall line last year was solid. He had some rough patches, but when it was all said and done he very good rookie campaign. He walked too many batters last year, but on the plus side he had a 10.4 K/9 and only gave up 14 home runs in 196 innings pitched. Hopefully he cuts down on the walks in 2013. If so, his 1.28 WHIP from a year ago will likely fall. I’m a believer and I see better overall numbers for his sophomore season.

Roy Halladay‘s best days are behind him, but that doesn’t mean he still isn’t a solid pitcher. His 2012 was marred by injury, but I expect a nice rebound this season. He will probably fall in a lot of drafts and definitely fits the bill as a nice value pick.

I have never been a huge fan of Yovani Gallardo mostly due to career 1.29 WHIP. He is a strong starter to own though because of strikeout numbers. He’s reached or eclipsed 200 K’s in each of the past four years. If you can stomach the WHIP numbers, he’s a solid number 2-3 starter. I tend to look for pitcher’s that don’t allow so many base runners, so Gallardo doesn’t appeal as much to me, but I can’t deny his value.

Kris Medlan is a huge target for many owner’s on draft day and rightfully so based on his stretch run last year. In 12 starts down the stretch he went 9-0 and posted a 0.97 ERA with just over a strikeout per inning. He’s going to get over drafted this year and I’d be more confident with a proven veteran such as James Shields or Max Scherzer.

I expect solid bounce back season’s from Dan Haren and Ian Kennedy. Haren will have a nice change of scenery back to the National League and Kennedy should have a better luck in BABIP department. I think he’ll settle in somewhere in between his 2011 line and his 2012 line.

A pitcher that I like to take a step forward in 2013 is Jeff Samardzija. He posted a solid 3.81 ERA and 1.22 WHIP to go along with 180 strikeouts in 174.2 innings. I expect him to improve across the board and he should make for a nice value pick in the middle rounds.

Who is the better bet to bounce back in 2013, Jon Lester or C.J. Wilson? I expect it to be Wilson. He had off season surgery to remove bone spurs in his left elbow and it’s safe to say that they contributed to his poor second half. As long as he is healthy, his 2013 will look more like his first half from 2012 rather than his miserable finish. At this point, I don’t really know what to think about Jon Lester. The talent is there, but there are warning signs that he’s regressing. His K/9 has fallen in each of the past three seasons, he gave up the most home runs of his career last season, and his H/9 increased from 7.8 to 9.5 from 2011 to 2012. I believe in Jon Lester, but he needs a serious rebound this year and I’m just not that confident that is going to happen.

Does Tim Lincecum return to form? It’s hard to say, but I’m not drafting him to find out.

Does Andy Pettitte still have “it?” He has something or he wouldn’t be pitching for the Yankees. You could do a lot worse for a 5th-6th starter.

Don’t forget about Scott Baker who is coming off of Tommy John surgery and should be ready to go by Opening Day. He had a very good 2011 for Minnesota before elbow injuries derailed his season. He has value in 12-team mixed leagues and deeper.

2013 Sleeper picks: Brett Anderson, Shaun Marcum, Marco Estrada, Zack Wheeler, Hishasi Iwakuma, Andrew Cashner, Chris Tillman, Ryu Hyun-Jin and Dillon Gee.

2013 Bust picks: Lance Lynn, Ryan Dempster, Wade Miley, A.J. Burnett, Edwin Jackson, and Kyle Lohse.

Thanks for reading! Agree with my Rankings? Disagree? Please leave a comment. I’d love to interact with you. Look for my Relief Pitcher Rankings tomorrow. Click below to follow me on Twitter where you can ask me your Fantasy Baseball question’s and receive instant answers!


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Comments
  1. Jim says:

    Hi
    Thanks for the list. You confirmed a lot of what I was thinking and shed new light on several things. Please tell me why you think Burnett is a bust.

    • David Kerr says:

      His BB/9 was at its lowest level (2.76) since 2006 a season in which he only started 21 games. That numbers is likely to go up closer to his career number of 3.70 . If he’s walking more batters, his WHIP is going to go up as well. His WHIP over four seasons before joining the Pirates was 1.42. Not pretty. He definitely benefits from the National League, but based on his track record, he isn’t going to repeat. A.J. will get his strikeouts, no doubt, but he’s also going to allow more base runners. Unless he has very good luck, he’s regressing.

  2. Uncle Jesse says:

    Wily Peralta and Casey Kelly- where would you rank them if they win rotation spots?

  3. David Kerr says:

    Good question. I toyed with putting Kelly in my Top 100, so he’s just on the outside looking in. Wily Peralta I’m not quite as high on. Nice K #’s in the minors, but he had a 4.8 BB/9 last year in AAA. He’d fall into the 115-125 range.

  4. Jim says:

    Hi
    What #s do you expect from Hyun-Jin??

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