Fantasy Baseball Preview: Starting pitchers

JOEL COLOMBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:34 PM ET

QMI Agency fantasy columnist Joel Colomby wraps up his five-part baseball preview with a rough ranking of the top 90 starting pitchers for mixed-league drafts. Dollar ratings are a guide for rotisserie-league and head-to-head auctions.

STARTING PITCHERS

$30+

Justin Verlander DET Went 22-2 2.08 after April en route to AL Cy Young

Clayton Kershaw LAD Cy winner has improved every year & still only 24

Roy Halladay PHIL Age, high IPs only things keeping him out of top slot

Cliff Lee PHIL Fanned more than a batter an inning for first time

Felix Hernandez SEA Improved Mariners team around him can only help

Jered Weaver LAA Improved ERA every year since ’08, but likely peaked

Tim Lincecum SF ERA rebounded but K/BB rate trending wrong way

CC Sabathia NYY A 230-inning workhorse backed by a great offence

Madison Bumgarner SF Groundball pitcher with Ks, and he’s just getting started

Stephen Strasburg WAS Ready to resume his quick ascent after 2011 TJ surgery

Cole Hamels PHIL Would be a staff ace almost anywhere else in baseball

David Price TB ERA soared, wins dropped, but everything else was elite

Adam Wainwright STL Should regain his spot among elite SPs after TJ surgery

Zack Greinke MIL Shook off that 2010 post-Cy Young hangover last season.

$20+

Matt Cain SF Not many Ks, but difficult to make solid contact off of

Dan Haren LAA Fewer Ks but more control after scrapping breaking stuff

Yu Darvish TEX Real deal, but too many sure things to risk him too high

Yovani Gallardo MIL You’re paying for his year-to-year consistency

Jon Lester BOS Month-to-month consistency would have helped.

Matt Garza CHC Big jump in groundball rate after exiting AL East

Ian Kennedy ARIZ Cy votes, 21 wins puts draft slot higher than it should be

Daniel Hudson ARIZ Will be drafted after Kennedy, but may put up better stats

James Shields TB Skills say he’ll be closer to ’11 stud stats than his awful ’10

Brandon Beachy ATL Looking to build on an occasionally dominant rookie year

Josh Johnson MIA Limited to 60 IPs, team essentially saved him for 2012

C.J. Wilson LAA Ex-Ranger’s ERA was 1.38 less on the road last season

Mat Latos CIN Away from Petco will mean more HRs, but also more wins

Ricky Romero TOR Asking for another ERA under 3.00 likely being optimistic

Chris Carpenter STL An injury risk at 37 after throwing 273 IPs last season

Jeremy Hellickson TB Defence, low hit rate artificially lowered his ERA.

Jordan Zimmermann WAS Two years removed from TJ surgery, with excellent control

$10+

Gio Gonzalez WAS Wins, Ks won’t suffer in NL, but high WHIP hurts value

Michael Pineda NYY From one of the best pitchers parks to one of the worst

Matt Moore TB Great future, but will be over-valued on hype alone

Clay Buchholz BOS May come cheaper after losing half of ’11 to back injury

Roy Oswalt F/A Unsigned, he’ll likely join a contender by mid-season

Tommy Hanson ATL Concussion and shoulder concerns red-flag huge upside

Josh Beckett BOS Most of last year’s strong stats built up in the first half

Shaun Marcum MIL Brutal finish to 2011 could scare off some owners

Hiroki Kuroda NYY Yankee Stadium and AL East won’t help rising HR rate

Jaime Garcia STL Ride him in the first half, then trade him

Max Scherzer DET Bats guarantee plenty of Ws, but that 4.42 ERA troubling

Cory Luebke SD Converted reliever’s high K total a pleasant surprise

Edwin Jackson WAS Opposing BRs went 22-for-23 stealing second on him

Anibal Sanchez MIA K rate improved by 2.1 per nine innings

Ted Lilly LAD Still remarkably consistent at age 36

R.A. Dickey NYM No more sleeper, has good control for a knuckeballer

Ubaldo Jimenez CLE Definite drop in velocity in follow-up to Cy Young year

Jhoulys Chacin COL Batters adjusted to him in 2nd year, now it’s up to him

Brandon Morrow TOR Huge K upside, but a different pitcher out of the stretch

Derek Holland TEX Went 16-5 in 2nd half despite troubles with RH batters

Brandon McCarthy OAK Unlikely ace of rotation, you’ll get ERA but little else

Johnny Cueto CIN Durability has been an issue through his four seasons

Ricky Nolasco MIA Strikeout rate has sunk back to his rookie level in 2006

John Danks CHW Owners hoped he’d be dealt to a better pitchers park

Wandy Rodriguez HOU Pretty safe later-round bet, despite dipping K/BB rate

Mark Buehrle MIA Skill set has been remarkably uniform over his 13 years

Ervin Santana LAA May just be the best No. 4 starter in the majors.

Scott Baker MIN Elbow acting up after landing him on DL twice in ’11

Mike Minor ATL Late-round sleeper threw 14 runless IPs to open spring

Colby Lewis TEX His durability may be a curse in Texas with 45% FB rate

Bud Norris HOU Still developing, but fastball, slider among best in majors

Gavin Floyd CHW Low WHIP (1.16), high ERA (4.38) somewhat perplexing

Justin Masterson CLE Had a 2.97 ERA between awesome April & sad Sept.

Neftali Feliz TEX Transition from closer to starter meeting with skepticism

Chad Billingsley LAD 12-11, 12-11, 11-11 since ’08, but ERA all over the place

Doug Fister DET Last year’s AL Cinderella story. Is it pumpkin time?

Vance Worley PHIL Surprisingly high K rate hints 11-3 record could be legit

Ryan Vogelsong SF Rags-to-riches tale will make first two starts in triple-A

Henderson Alvarez TOR Posted a 40-8 K-BB last year at just 21 years of age

Chris Sale CHW Innings likely to be limited after two years in the bullpen

Tim Hudson ATL Back surgery a concern for 36-year-old. Starts on DL

$5-9

Jon Niese NYM Actually pitched better than his 4.40 ERA suggests

Ryan Dempster CHC ERA jumped 95 points, but peripherals stayed constant

Trevor Cahill ARIZ Eye-opening 2010, start to ’11 was just a mirage

Francisco Liriano MIN Two DL stints mean either a red flag or a sleeper tag

Mike Leake CIN Strong finish may keep him out of the bullpen for good

Homer Bailey CIN You’re gambling that his wonky shoulder holds up

Erik Bedard PIT Good source of cheap Ks but can’t seem to stay healthy

Johan Santana NYM Coming off shoulder surgery, Cy Youngs a long time ago

Joe Blanton PHIL If he can avoid DL, strong spring tags him as a sleeper

Randy Wolf MIL Durable, though rather unspectacular.

Rick Porcello DET Suspect infield D could hurt this groundball pitcher

Tim Stauffer SD Bad 2nd half, but home park says decent late-rounder

Jake Peavy CHW Simply hasn’t been the same pitcher since he left NL

Jair Jurrjens ATL Had a 1.87 ERA before the break, 5.88 after it.

A.J. Burnett PIT The NL Central will be a lot kinder to him after DL stint

Luke Hochevar KC Vast potential peaked through, just needs consistency

Edinson Volquez SD Simply too wild to be trusted, even at Petco.

Ivan Nova NYY Stuff only average at best, but N.Y. bats will get him Ws

BEST OF THE REST — Josh Collmenter ARIZ, Bronson Arroyo CIN, Derek Lowe CLEV, Carlos Zambrano MIA, Carl Pavano MIN, Dillon Gee NYM, Bartolo Colon OAK, James McDonald PIT, Jeff Niemann TB

END GAMERS WITH UPSIDE — Randall Delgado ATL, Homer Bailey CIN, Drew Pomeranz COL, Andrew Oliver DET, Danny Duffy KC, Phil Hughes NYY, Tom Milone OAK, Hector Noesi SEA, Lance Lynn STL, Kyle Drabek

RELIEVERS WHO MAY START — Alfredo Aceves BOS, Aroldis Chapman CIN, Zach Stewart CHW, Alex White COL, Freddy Garcia NYY, Alexi Ogando TEX

MINOR LEAGUE WATCH — Julio Teheran ATL, Jacob Turner DET, Nathan Eovaldi LAD, Jarrod Parker Oak, Brad Peacock OAK, Chris Archer TB


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