Here are the 2013 Lester’s Legends fantasy baseball starting pitcher rankings.
1. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
Verlander wasn't quite as dominant as he was in 2011, but it's hard to be upset about a 17-8, 2.64 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 239-strikeout season.
2. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw also took a slight step back, but like Verlander it was because he set the bar so high. Kershaw was 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and 229 strikeouts.
3. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Strasburg was forced to shut down last year, but he still managed to go 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 197 strikeouts. The sky is the limit.
4. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
Price went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 205 strikeouts.
5. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
The lefty turned in another strong performance going 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, and 216 strikeouts. His ERA has been below 3.40 in five of the past six seasons.
6. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
King Felix got paid, but I don't expect him to rest on his laurels. He had a 3.06 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 223 strikeouts. He's been brilliant over the past three seasons, but only has 40 wins to show for it.
7. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
Lee was a hard-luck case last year, winning just six games despite a 3.16 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 207 strikeouts. Luck should be more on his side.
8. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
Speaking of hard luck, Cain was the poster boy prior to last year. Cain has a 3.27 lifetime ERA, but reached 15 wins for the first time. Cain went 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP and 193 strikeouts.
9. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels
Weaver was 20-5 with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He only recorded 142 strikeouts, but had averaged 215.5 the previous two seasons.
10. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Wainwright was a solid 7-5 with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in the second half last year. He recorded 184 strikeouts on the year. He's two year removed from his Tommy John surgery. It should be all systems go.
11. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
Halladay was off his game (11-8, 4.49 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) and will turn 36 this year. He's a slight risk given those factors, but his ERA was south of 2.80 in his previous four years.
12. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Bumgarner was 16-11 with a 3.37 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 191 strikeouts. His season basically mirrored his 2011 campaign. Look for another step forward for the youngster.
13. Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
Greinke went 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP and 200 strikeouts. Dodger Stadium should serve him well.
14. Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds
Cueto was 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 170 strikeouts. He's been great the past couple of years. He just doesn't deliver the strikeouts to be a top-tier guy.
15. Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
Gonzalez was an impressive 21-8 with a 2.89 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 207 strikeouts last year. He has a cloud of PED suspicion, which makes me a little nervous. Still he should remain at least a No. 2 fantasy starter.
16. R.A. Dickey, Toronto Blue Jays
Dickey was amazing last year for the Mets, going 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 230 strikeouts. I'm a little afraid of what the move to Toronto will do to his numbers.
17. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
Darvish went 16-9 and recorded 221 strikeouts, but his 3.90 ERA and 1.28 WHIP weren't elite. He started and ended the season on fire. In his second season in the majors, Darvish should have more consistency.
18. Kris Medlen, Atlanta Braves
Medlen was nearly untouchable last year, going 10-1 with a 1.50 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 138 innings.
19. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
Sale was 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 192 strikeouts. He had a 2.30 ERA at home last year. I'm afraid he'll regress there, but he should still be a quality No. 2 fantasy starter.
20. CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
The Yankees don't appear to be quite the powerhouse that they've been in the past as age seems to be catching up with them. Sabathia is trying to come back from an elbow injury, but he's a workhorse.
As you prepare for your fantasy baseball drafts, check out:
2013 Fantasy Baseball First Base Rankings
2013 Fantasy Baseball Second Base Rankings
2013 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings
2013 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Rankings
2013 Fantasy Baseball Outfielder Rankings