Fantasy Baseball 2013: The Starting Pitchers

verlanderThe 2013 baseball season is weeks away, and for us that means only one thing: it’s time to start drafting. Over the next two weeks the Gunaxin team is going to be putting out our 2013 Fantasy Baseball guides, with rankings for every position and some extra content for hardcore players. We will be breaking down the top fantasy options by position, putting the players in tiers to make your draft day experience easier.

We continue our breakdown with the starting pitchers. Starters make up the biggest pool of players in our breakdown, as the average league will have 60-80 of them on rosters at all times. This also will create much deeper tiers, as it seems silly to split players out individually or in pairs when you need so many of them. Starters make up the backbone of your counting stats, as they will accumulate numbers in Wins and Ks, along with Quality Starts if your league counts them. Remember to check your own league’s roster rules, as the place you take your starters will depend on how deep the free agent pool will be during the season.

We are including players like Shelby Miller, who will open the season with RP eligibility only, but is destined to be a starter.

The Studs

Strasburg1. Justin Verlander

2. Stephen Strasburg

3. Clayton Kershaw

4. David Price

Strasburg is the biggest risk in the group, as he’s yet to throw a full season worth of innings and the Nationals are likely to be ultra cautious with him. That said, he’s got the goods to pile on the numbers as long as he’s in the lineup and could easily be the top player in fantasy over a full, healthy season.

The All-Stars

Medlen5. Felix Hernandez

6. Cliff Lee

7. Cole Hamels

8. Matt Cain

9. CC Sabathia

10. Zack Greinke

11. Jared Weaver

12. Johnny Cueto

13. Kris Medlen

Medlen was last year’s biggest shock, coming in as a reliever before running through a two-month stretch of sub 1.00 ERA pitching. We don’t think he can repeat, but it looks like he is fully recovered from Tommy John and deserves to be in this group.

Young Stars

Parker14. Madison Bumgarner

15. Matt Latos

16. Chris Sale

17. Yu Darvish

18. Jarrod Parker

19. Matt Moore

20. Jordan Zimmermann

21. Brett Anderson

We like the A’s staff, obviously, with two members both appearing in this group. Anderson was considered one of the best under 25 pitchers in baseball two years ago, before injuries derailed his growth. Another year removed and we are counting on a full recovery and return to dominance. Darvish may take a small step back as the league builds a book on him, but he’s still among the best twenty- somethings in the league.

High Risk Stars

Dickey22. RA Dickey

23. Gio Gonzalez

24. Adam Wainwright

25. Roy Halladay

26. Hiroki Kuruda

We like Dickey (stop giggling), but a move to Toronto has us just worried enough to hold off on him in the first few rounds. Age and injury concerns surround the last three players, but the ever-looming threat of suspension with Gonzalez is the biggest problem any of these players face.

New Faces New Places

Johnson27. Dan Haren

28. Josh Johnson

29. Anibal Sanchez

30. James Shields

Moving is always harder on pitchers, especially ones like Johnson who is switching from the NL to the AL (and face deeper lineups). Speaking of lineups, Shields now has an easier path outside of the AL East, but not by much.

The Solid Starters

Garza31. Max Scherzer

32. Doug Fister

33. Yovani Gallardo

34. Ian Kennedy

35. Jake Peavy

36. Tim Lincecum

37. Brandon Morrow

38. Derek Holland

39. Jon Lester

40. Matt Garza

41. Lance Lynn

We have Garza herein part because we think he eventually gets out of Chicago. Holland always seems this close to being great, but still hasn’t put it together over more than a couple of starts. Lincecum and Lester need to show a return to form before we can place them any higher.

The Borderline Starters


42. Tim Hudson

43. Matt Harrison

44. CJ Wilson

45. Mike Minor

46. Jeff Samardjiza

47. Ryan Vogelsong

48. Wade Miley

49. Jonathan Niese

50. Jaime Garcia

These guys should probably start for you most weeks, but definitely shouldn’t be your ace. Vogelsong needs to prove he can repeat last year’s performance before we rate him any higher.

The Spot Starters

beachy51. Jeremy Hellickson

52. Phil Hughes

53. AJ Burnett

54. Edwin Jackson

55. Homer Bailey

56. Brandon McCarthy

57. Tommy Hanson

58. Tommy Milone

59. Josh Beckett

60. Ryan Dempster

Draftable, but best left for matchups if you can help it. We liked Jackson more in DC, where he was the 4th starter with a deep bullpen.

The Unavailable

Kyle Lohse61. Kyle Lohse

62. Brandon Beachy

63. Bartolo Colon

Unsigned, injured, and suspended, respectively. Lohse will eventually sign on with someone and be a valuable fantasy player, but he will likely miss a big chunk of the season first. Beachy was one of baseball’s best before going down to injury last year, so he’s worth stashing until midseason if you have the bench spot.

The Young Guns

Harvey64. Matt Harvey

65. Rick Porcello

66. Trevor Cahill

67. Jacob Turner

68. Randall Delgado

Harvey had an impressive debut for the Mets last season and nothing in his pedigree says that it was an anomaly. Porcello has been around forever, but he’s still 24 and has time to get better. Lots of upside in this group and the next one.

The Rookies

Miller69. Shelby Miller

70. Dan Straily

71. Julio Teheran

72. Trevor Rosenthal

73. Chris Archer

74. Tyler Skaggs

75. Martin Perez

76. Trevor Bauer

77. Danny Hultzen

The will likely be outscored on the season by the players below them, but we prefer every player on this list thanks to their upside. Straily was a K machine in the minors last year, coming out of seemingly nowhere to become one of baseball’s most talked about prospects. Miller and Straily, along with Teheran will open the season at the major league level (we hope), with the others joining throughout the season.

The Desperation Plays

Jason Hammel78. Wei-Yin Chen

79. James McDonald

80. Chris Capuano

81. Shaun Marcum

82. Johan Santana

83. Clay Buchholtz

84. Jason Hammel

85. Dillon Gee

86. Chris Tillman

87. Jason Hammel

88. Jason Vargas

89. Ricky Romero

90. Andrew Cashner

91. Gavin Floyd

92. Alexi Ogando

93. Mike Fiers

94. AJ Griffin

95. Ivan Nova

Draft them if you want, but these guys should be left on the bench except for rare circumstances (two-start weeks against bad teams, stat cramming). Better to stream them (if allowed) or even lesser level players and go for more upside.