Fantasy Baseball: Starting Pitchers, 41-80
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Fantasy owners cannot survive on Top-40 pitcher rankings alone.
The key to good drafting (regardless of position), calls for finding value at every turn and the most effective acquisitions—or pennant-defining moves—are often realized in this compilation of the next 40 starters to consider in mixed- and league-specific drafts.
41. Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals
Skinny: It's a shame Zimmermann couldn't crack the Top-40 list. The age-26 pitcher should see a boost in wins and strikeouts.
42. Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees
Skinny: Kuroda has the stuff to be a top-35 asset; plus, he'll likely encounter an uptick in victories with the Yanks. A four-category factor.
43. Doug Fister, Tigers
Skinny: Fister will likely maintain or improve upon last year's numbers in wins (11), strikeouts (146) and WHIP (1.06). But replicating the 2.82 ERA is a long shot.
44. Johnny Cueto, Reds
Skinny: A healthy Cueto may log top-15 numbers in ERA and WHIP this season. Let's hope for 13 victories and 160 strikeouts.
45. Wandy Rodriguez, Astros
Skinny: Say hello to Shaun Marcum's NL Central clone. The remarkably consistent Wandy is a good bet for 12 wins, 180 strikeouts, 3.65 ERA and 1.29 WHIP.
46. Justin Masterson, Indians
Skinny: You won't find a more established pitching asset in Round 15. Targets: 12 wins, 172 Ks, 3.68 ERA, 1.31 WHIP.
47. Ervin Santana, Angels
Skinny: At age 29, Santana is a solid No. 4 pitcher in fantasyland. Let's shoot for 14 wins, 168 strikeouts, 3.97 ERA and 1.29 WHIP
48. Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
Skinny: Garcia should be a four-category factor for the reigning world champs, although a slight regression to 11-12 wins might occur.
49. Scott Baker, Twins
Skinny: The magic number for fantasy owners should be '30'—as in, IF Baker notches 30 starts, he'll post top-35 numbers in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts.
50. Ricky Nolasco, Marlins
Skinny: The days of breathlessly touting Nolasco's physical tools and high fantasy upside have passed. He's simply a good bet for 14 wins, 170 strikeouts and 1.27 WHIP.
51. Ryan Dempster, Cubs
Skinny: A potential top-20 gem in strikeouts and ERA, Dempster needs to pare down his uncomfortably high WHIP.
52. Anibal Sanchez, Marlins
Skinny: Shoulder concerns (as of March 8) have temporarily bumped Sanchez from the early-40 ranks. When healthy, a quiet dynamo in ERA and strikeouts.
53. Colby Lewis, Rangers
Skinny: Lewis can be grabbed somewhere in Round 15 or 16...which should thrill any owner looking for 13 wins, 175 Ks and sub-1.20 WHIP.
54. Gavin Floyd, White Sox
Skinny: Floyd offers modest four-round consistency to owners who believe he'll stay on the good side of a 4.20 ERA.
55. Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies
Skinny: The Rockies' potential ace could be a real find in wins, ERA and strikeouts. But the K-BB ratio is too high to warrant top-50 consideration.
56. Daniel Bard, Red Sox
Skinny: Bard has Stephen Strasburg-like potential in ERA, WHIP and K/9 ratio. But the starter metamorphosis may need a full season or two.
57. Ted Lilly, Dodgers
Skinny: One of the most consistent pitching assets in fantasyland. Grab Lilly with confidence in Round 13...and don't look back!
58. Vance Worley, Phillies
Skinny: The first of three consecutive high-upside assets in this countdown. Worley could realistically notch 12 wins, 3.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP.
59. Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
Skinny: If Buchholz can flirt with 150 strikeouts (and 160 innings), he'll likely post terrific numbers in ERA, WHIP and wins, as well.
60. Neftali Feliz, Rangers
Skinny: Feliz's closer-to-starter transformation will likely require one year of growing pains. But the kid has top-20 potential in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts.
61. Trevor Cahill, Diamondbacks
Skinny: Cahill is good enough to make significant strides in all four categories. But right now, his high walk rate is a tad unsettling.
62. Jair Jurrjens, Braves
Skinny: A potential late-round windfall for the owner who craves stealth production in ERA, WHIP and wins. Durability questions linger.
63. Jonathan Sanchez, Royals
Skinny: An intriguing risk-reward proposition, Sanchez is a healthy lock for 185-190 strikeouts in his first year with the American League.
64. Derek Holland, Rangers
Skinny: There's plenty to love about The Dutch Oven's long-term potential. But he'll likely have a small regression from last year's 16 wins.
65. John Danks, White Sox
Skinny: I'd happily accept a reasonable facsimile of Danks' numbers from 2010: 15 wins, 162 strikeouts, 3.72 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.
66. Brandon McCarthy, Athletics
Skinny: Oakland's de facto ace would be a solid No. 5 or 6 starter in 12-team leagues. A two-category stalwart with ERA and WHIP.
67. Mike Minor, Braves
Skinny: Minor has top-50 stuff...but there's no guarantee he'll secure a season-long spot in the Braves' deep and talented rotation.
68. Chris Sale, White Sox
Skinny: A poor man's Daniel Bard, Sale could become his club's greatest pitching asset by season's end: Targets: 10 wins, 168 Ks, 3.80 ERA, 1.21 WHIP.
69. Tim Hudson, Braves
Skinny: The sooner Hudson returns to Atlanta's rotation from injury...the more substantial rise in this countdown. He's a top-35 asset, when healthy.
70. Jonathon Niese, Mets
Skinny: A uninspiring WHIP track record above 1.40 stands as Niese's greatest deterrent for not cracking the top 50. He's certainly one to watch, though.
71. Ryan Vogelsong, Giants
Skinny: On 2011 stats alone, this ranking is way too low for a pitcher with rock-solid numbers in wins, ERA and WHIP. But Vogelsong will have to prove it once more this season.
72. Philip Humber, White Sox
Skinny: One of my favorite prospects for the latter half of this countdown. Fingers crossed for 11 wins, 165 strikeouts, 3.91 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.
73. Homer Bailey, Reds
Skinny: Bailey has the physical tools, and enough MLB experience, to encounter a breakout in 2012. Targets: 14 wins, 160 strikeouts and 1.29 WHIP.
74. Edwin Jackson, Nationals
Skinny: Jackson has always had immense strikeout potential, but he's a flight risk for ERA and WHIP in mixed leagues. Let's hope for 13-15 wins in D.C.
75. Tim Stauffer, Padres
Skinny: San Diego's early-season ace better resembles a solid No. 3 pitcher in real-world ball. A modest three-category factor for teams seeking quality wins, ERA and WHIP.
76. Bud Norris, Astros
Skinny: Norris's fantasy beauty rests in the eye of his beholder. Thinking conservatively, this Astro may yield 190 Ks, 3.95 ERA and 1.30 WHIP.
77. Edinson Volquez, Padres
Skinny: A change of scenery to spacious Petco Park may do wonders for Volquez's fantasy potential. His high walk rates with the Reds were deflating.
78. Aroldis Chapman, Reds
Skinny: A high-upside pick at Round 24 or 25, Chapman could be a sneaky-good source for strikeouts, ERA, WHIP and yes...even saves!
79. Jake Peavy, White Sox
Skinny: The oft-injured Peavy is a Grade-A talent who probably deserves a better fate than the high-70s. Let's hope for 25 starts, 12 wins and 165 strikeouts.
80. Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
Skinny: Billingsley had a pedestrian showing in all four categories last year. On the positive side, he's an ideal last-round flier for mixed leagues.
80a. Mark Buehrle, Marlins
Skinny: This steady lefty has a knack for generating respectable numbers—13 wins/3.60 ERA/1.31 WHIP—with little fantasy fanfare. Move to Senior Circuit should be fun.
80b. Francisco Liriano, Twins
Skinny: You can't have a pitching countdown without recognizing Liriano's potential for wild swings from year to year. He's a good last-round buy.
80c. Johan Santana, Mets
Skinny: Ditto for one of the most dominant lefties of our time—when healthy.
Jarrod Parker/Brad Peacock, Athletics
Zach Britton/Jake Arrieta/Brian Matusz, Orioles
Brett Cecil/Henderson Alvarez, Blue Jays
Randall Delgado/Julio Teheran, Braves
Drew Pomeranz/Juan Nicasio/Alex White, Rockies
Jacob Turner/Drew Smyly, Tigers
Wade Davis/Jeff Niemann, Rays
Mike Pelfrey/Zack Wheeler, Mets
Josh Collmenter, Diamondbacks
Shelby Miller, Cardinals
Danny Hultzen, Mariners
Danny Duffy, Royals
Jordan Lyles, Astros
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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