Here’s a look at the 2014 Lester’s Legends’ starting pitcher rankings for AL-only fantasy baseball leagues.
1. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
Yu Darvish went 13-9 with a 2.83 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and a league-leading 277 strikeouts. He’s the real deal.
2. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
King Felix went 12-10 with a 3.04 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 216 strikeouts. Over the past five seasons, he’s 71-50 with a 2.85 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP while averaging 222 strikeouts. The Mariners offense should be more potent with Robinson Cano, which could lead to a few more victories for Hernandez.
3. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
After going 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP and 217 strikeouts, which was easily his worst performance since 2008, Justin Verlander could actually come at a discount this year. Look for Detroit’s true ace to reclaim his title.
4. Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers
Max Scherzer went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP and 240 strikeouts. Because he set the bar so high, look for a regression, but he should still be one of the game’s top pitchers.
5. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
Chris Sale is 28-22 over the past two seasons with a 3.06 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 418 strikeouts in 406.1 innings.
6. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
David Price went 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 151 strikeouts in 186.2 innings. Over the past four years, he’s 61-32 with a 3.02 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 190.5 strikeouts per season.
7. Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers
Anibal Sanchez went 14-8 with a 2.57 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 202 strikeouts in 182 innings. He has had the stuff, but this is the first time he put it all together. He’s a bit of a regression risk based on how much better he did than his career averages (3.55 ERA, 1.31 WHIP).
8. James Shields, Kansas City Royals
James Shields went 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and 196 strikeouts. Over the past three years, he’s 44-31 with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 214.7 strikeouts per season.
9. Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners
Hisashi Iwakuma went 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP and 185 strikeouts. In 345 career innings, he's 23-11 with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
10. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels
Jered Weaver went 11-8 with a 3.27 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 117 strikeouts. For his career, he has .653 winning percentage, a 3.24 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
11. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
Masahiro Tanaka is a wild card, as we can't predict how he will perform in the big leagues. He went 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.
12. Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays
Alex Cobb went 11-3 with a 2.76 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 134 strikeouts in 143.1 innings. He had a 1.26 ERA and was 6-0 combined against the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays.
13. Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
Matt Moore backed up the hype with a 17-4 season. He posted a 3.29 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 150.1 innings. His WHIP (1.30 last year, 1.32 career) keeps him from being elite.
14. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester rebounded to go 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and 177 strikeouts. He won't wow you in any one category, but he'll provide solid numbers across the board.
15. C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees
C.C. Sabathia had a down year, going 14-13 with a 4.78 ERA, a 1.37 WHIP and 177 strikeouts. Given his track record, a rebound is in order.
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