Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2012: AL-Only Starting Pitchers

Ryan Lester@LestersLegendsSenior Writer IMarch 22, 2012

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 13:  Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 13, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Here are the 2012 LestersLegends Starting Pitcher Rankings for AL-Only leagues.


1. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers 

Coming off one of the finest seasons a pitcher has ever thrown (24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and 250 Ks). He was unhittable.


2. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners 

Unfortunately, the wins could be hard to come by, but expect his ERA (3.47) and WHIP (1.22) to come down and his strikeouts (222) to go up.


3. C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees 

Turned in a typically solid 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 230 Ks season.


4. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels 

Could see his wins increase, which would be impressive, considering the 18-8, 2.41 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 198 Ks he produced last year.


5. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox 

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 28: Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches to a Baltimore Orioles batter during the fifth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 28, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

I expect the Red Sox to be a much more disciplined team. Lester should be better than the 15-9, 3.47 ERA, 1.26 WHIP and 182 Ks he produced last year.


6. Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels 

Haren and Weaver form a nasty one-two punch. His 16-10, 3.17 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 192 Ks can be bettered.


7. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays 

Anchors perhaps the deepest rotation in the league. He was only 12-13, but he still posted solid peripherals (3.49 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 218 Ks), so a bounce back should be in order.


8. James Shields, Tampa Bay Rays 

Returned to form with a 16-12, 2.82 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 225 Ks season.


9. Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays 

He could see his innings monitored down the stretch, but he has no fear and very few peers at his age.


10. C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels 

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 29:  Matt Moore #55 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait at the Charlotte Sports Park on February 29, 2012 in Port Charlotte, Florida  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Escapes Texas, where he put up a 16-7, 2.94 ERA, 1.19 ERA, 206 Ks season. His road ERA last year was 2.31.


11. Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox 

Health is a concern, but he made 30 starts last year and was highly effective (13-7, 2.89 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 175 Ks).


12.  Ricky Romero, Toronto Blue Jays 

He continues to improve. Last year he set career highs in wins (15), ERA (2.92), WHIP (1.14) and strikeouts (178).

I’m not sure he can post another sub-3.00 ERA, but he’s definitely a solid third fantasy starting pitcher.


13.  Micael Pineda, New York Yankees 

I don’t love his move to the Yankees, at least for his peripherals (3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP), but his win total (nine) should increase.


14.  Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers 

He comes in with a ton of anticipation and excitement. He was nearly unhittable in Japan. There is little reason to believe he won’t be sensational over here.

GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 13:  Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch in the second inning of a spring training baseball game against the Cleveland Indians on March 13, 2012 in Goodyear, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images


15.  Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays 

It’s easy to overlook Hellickson, considering he’s in the same staff with David Price, James Shields and Matt Moore. Try not to overlook the 13-10, 2.95, 1.15, 117 season he posted.


16.  Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers 

Verlander was insane, but Scherzer (15-9, 4.43, 1.35, 174) also turned in a solid year for the Tigers.  


17.  Ubaldo Jimenez, Cleveland Indians 

He actually pitched worse when he was dealt by Colorado. He’s too good not to bounce back.


18.  Ervin Santana, Los Angeles Angels 

He easily (11-12, 3.38, 1.22, 178) is one of the game’s best No. 4 starters


19.  Doug Fister, Detroit Tigers 

He won’t be as good as he was after coming over to Detroit (8-1, 1.79, 0.84), but he should be a decent option.


20.  Brandon Morrow, Toronto Blue Jays 

He can rack up the strikeouts (207 Ks), but he is an ERA threat.


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