Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Top 60 Starting Pitchers (SP) - Rankings, Tiers and Projections


Never has starting pitching been so deep; the major league strikeout rate is through the roof and the era of cartoonish offense has subsided. There's little reason you can't put together a staff featuring three high-end pitchers, but the key to getting over the top is rounding out your rotation with young, ascending pitchers, or through a capable veteran or two in line for a rebound. There's no shortage of these options in 2014, so let's hash out some early starting pitcher rankings for 2014 fantasy baseball and get to it.

 

Starting Pitchers (SP) – 2014 Fantasy Baseball Rankings

 

Tier 1 (1-5)

Kershaw, Darvish, Wainwright, Lee, F. Hernandez

By mjl816 on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Clayton Kershaw, the $215-million man, leads the way. His last three seasons have been magnificent, and there's no reason to expect any regression. Yu Darvish strikes out batters at a rate not seen since the days of Pedro and the Big Unit; he wins weeks all on his own. Adam Wainwright returned to his full pre-injury form and is locked in as one of baseball's best starters. Cliff Lee is a pitching machine; you can count on 200 strikeouts and a premium ERA year-in and year-out. Felix Hernandez can be penciled in for 200 IP, 200 K, and an ERA around 3.0 with perennial Cy Young Award upside. Any questions?

 

Tier 2 (6-10)

Scherzer, Strasburg, Price, Fernandez, Verlander

Max Scherzer will face a tall task repeating last season's winning percentage, but he's a strong bet to maintain his overall performance. Stephen Strasburg has all the ability to be fantasy's top starter, he just needs everything to come together in DC; the future is now. David Price was a disappointment to owners that invested a top pick in him last season, but he's in his free agent season and is backed by yet another talented Rays squad. Forget about the team Jose Fernandez pitches for-- he's already one of the game's most dominant hurlers, and his arrow is firmly pointed up.  Justin Verlander was taken near the top of last year's drafts, but produced an uneven (for him) campaign. Still, 200+ strikeouts and a sub-3.50 ERA is more than enough to make him a low-end fantasy SP1.

 

Tier 3 (11-15)

Sale, Greinke, Iwakuma, Minor, Moore

Chris Sale is an elite option easily on the verge of top-ten status. Despite missing time early in the season, Zach Greinke was fantastic in his first season out west; draft him with confidence. Speculation that Hisashi Iwakuma was wearing down a bit last summer was put to rest after a dominant September-- this guy has all the peripherals to keep it up. Mike Minor continues to improve and could also be a top-ten starter this year. Besides an ugly June, Matt Moore showed what he’s capable of last season; if he can shave his walk rate then the sky is the limit.

 

Tier 4 (16-20)

Bumgarner, Zimmermann, Latos, Hamels, Shields

Madison Bumgarner is a highly reliable starter who has put together three consecutive campaigns featuring similar output; he had some luck on his side last year but can be counted on as a top option. Jordan Zimmermann doesn’t have the stuff of Strasburg, but he was Washington’s ace last season and should be the second half of one of baseball’s best one-two punches. Mat Latos is durable and continues to shine two years removed from Petco Park’s pitcher-friendly confines. Much of last season was a disaster for Cole Hamels, but he finished strong and still missed bats; expect a strong bounce-back campaign. The price was high for Kansas City to acquire James Shields, but the Royals got what they paid for-- he’s a legitimate top-of-the-rotation starter.

Tier 5 (21-25)

Sanchez, Gonzalez, Cain, Bailey, Liriano

Anibal Sanchez rediscovered his 2011 strikeout rate and proved he can dominate in the AL. Gio Gonzalez had an up-and-down season but maintained his peripherals and can be relied upon in 2014. Matt Cain disappointed in 2013, and there are legitimate questions about his heavy workload over the years; still, he was a strong option in four of the season’s six months and showed his best form in September. Homer Bailey continues to improve and has the ability to surpass Latos as the top option in Cincy’s rotation. Heading to the NL salvaged Francisco Liriano’s career; a weak September should be ignored in light of his tremendous postseason pitching.

 

Tier 6 (26-30)

Lester, Weaver, Wilson, Medlen, Buchholz

Jon Lester, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson are three veteran starters who present solid, predictable fantasy options. Medlen disappointed owners who were spoiled by his phenomenal run to close out 2012, but he was still a very good pitcher last year. Clay Buchholz was a Cy Young contender prior to getting hurt; if-- and it’s a big "if"-- he can stay healthy for a full season, he easily has the ability to pitch above this tier.

 

Tier 7 (31-40)

Fister, Cole, Cashner, Ryu, Tanaka, Cobb, Cueto, Corbin, Miller, Teheran

A move to the NL should benefit Doug Fister, and Gerrit Cole’s arrow is pointed up after a sterling rookie campaign. Masahiro Tanaka will be a popular guy on draft day and has great stuff, but don’t expect another Yu Darvish. Shelby Miller was terrific as a rookie and probably benefited workload-wise from being buried on the Cardinals’ postseason depth chart; Julio Teheran put it all together last season and should continue to improve.

 

Tier 8 (41-50)

Samardzija, Gray, Sabathia, Masterson, Wacha, Kuroda, Lackey, Beachy, Garza, Nova

Sonny Gray was sensational after his call-up and could dominate in Oakland. This is an important season for C.C. Sabathia-- has he truly entered the decline phase? Brandon Beachy offers great value this late and is far enough removed from Tommy John surgery that he should be counted on. Ivan Nova was fantastic after a first-half demotion; it's not far-fetched to think he may surpass Sabathia in the Yankees’ pecking order.

 

Tier 9 (51-60)

Dickey, Lincecum, Salazar, Gee, Tillman, Archer, Ross, Cingrani, Parker, Gallardo

R.A. Dickey and Tim Lincecum were disappointments, but they’re still worth taking upside fliers on. Dillon Gee was horrendous in April and May but rebounded to post four consecutive solid months of pitching. Danny Salazar, Tyson Ross and Tony Cingrani are on the ascent; they represent the types of value selections that can put you over the top.

 




More Recent Articles

 

2019 RotoBaller NFL Challenge - And The RT Sports Winner Is...

What a season, RotoBallers. Fantasy football is always a fun, interesting, and long season - filled with injuries, breakout players, and different strategies. It takes stamina and endurance to win the marathon, and we're here today to recognize those who pulled it off. With 156 teams competing to be crowned champ of the 2019 Fantasy Football RotoBaller... Read More


WR Target Share and Impact (AFC South & West): 2019 Review

With the season over and April's NFL draft ahead of us, it's time to look at how each team shared their targets among their available receivers last season. Not every team splits up the targets in the passing game in the same way, and that has a great impact on the fantasy points any given... Read More


Best Waiver Wire Pickups from 2019

Each and every year we see an incredible number of players step foot on the NFL gridiron. Just in 2019, using Pro-Football-Reference.com Play Index, a total of 2,025 players took part in at least one game while one (Emmanuel Sanders) did the impossible and played 17 (!) games in the regular season as he was... Read More


Tight End VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The 2019 fantasy football season is over. That is not something we like to say considering the empty path we have ahead of us until we reach draft season again in eight months. The good thing about it, though, is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few weeks... Read More


Biggest Surprises of 2019: Running Back

The 2019 NFL season was an interesting year for the running back position. Christian McCaffrey was the overall RB1, but some of the other top players fell below expectations. That led to some interesting final results when the final season standings came around. And while some of those -- Dalvin Cook as the RB3, Leonard... Read More


Quarterback VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The 2019 fantasy football season is over. That is not something we like to say considering the empty path we have ahead of us until we reach draft season again in eight months. The good thing about it, though, is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few weeks... Read More


2019 RotoBaller NFL Challenge - And The @Fleaflicker Winner Is...

What a season, RotoBallers. Fantasy football is always a fun, interesting, and long season - filled with injuries, breakout players, and different strategies. It takes stamina and endurance to win the marathon, and we're here today to recognize those who pulled it off. With 343 teams - across two divisions - competing to be crowned champ... Read More


Introducing the 2020 Rookie Tight End Class

Out of all the skill positions, tight end is the one where rookies have the most issue making an immediate impact. But there's still always some value at every position in every NFL Draft, and the 2020 one is no exception, even if people are very down on this year's crop of tight ends. Let's... Read More


Can a New Coach Fix Baker Mayfield in 2020?

Another season has passed and another disappointment by Browns fans has been realized. Baker Mayfield got the head coach he wanted in Freddie Kitchens in 2019. In 2020, hopefully he's got the one he needs in Kevin Stefanski. Last season, under Kitchens, Mayfield had a coach he could control and manipulate. He did just that... Read More


Wide Receiver VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The one (and only) good thing about fantasy football season ending is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few months and put performances into context to prepare for next season. As football is an ever-evolving game, though, it makes sense to assess how good players were in fantasy... Read More


The King's Keeper Corner: NFL Postseason Impacts on Player Outlooks

With a break in the postseason NFL action, it is time to reflect on what we have seen in the playoffs so far and how certain performances will affect fantasy football outlooks in keeper and dynasty formats. How players respond and what they deliver at the most intense and critical times of the season can... Read More


Introducing Value Over Starter Football Metrics

When it comes to fantasy sports, we're always looking for the highest possible Return On Investment or ROI. This concept is easy to understand: in both Daily Fantasy and re-draft/fantasy leagues, ROI would come down to how many points a player returns relative to his salary, or the price you paid (given his ADP on... Read More


Biggest Breakouts of 2019: Quarterback

2019 was a very interesting season of fantasy football, to say the least. It's safe to say no one was banking on the season that we saw from Lamar Jackson but he wasn't the only one to stand out. At the quarterback position, we saw some really exciting players start to shine and some older... Read More


Goodbye Runners, Hello Pass-Catching RBs: 2019 Season Trends

As the 2019 summer kept going we all had two things in our minds with regard to September's fantasy drafts and both of them were related to running backs: Where in the world are Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon and when will they be back? It made sense back then (and it still does now,... Read More


Where Does 2019 Rank Historically Among ADP Movers?

I have worked on a season-review series of articles in which I have analyzed the biggest winners and losers in terms of ADP entering draft season compared to the end of the year final results. It was plenty of fun looking back at the gambles most of us took which ultimately paid off, but also... Read More