Here’s a look at the 2014 Lester’s Legends’ Starting Pitcher Rankings for NL-only fantasy baseball leagues:
1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw is 51-23 over the past three years with a 2.21 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. He has also averaged 236.3 strikeouts per season over that stretch. He’s the best pitcher in the game, period.
2. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
Adam Wainwright went 19-9 with a 2.94 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 219 strikeouts in 2013. Yep, he’s all the way back after his Tommy John surgery.
3. Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals
Stephen Strasburg went 8-9 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 191 strikeouts in 183 innings last season. He’s still a bit of an injury risk, but he certainly has the goods if he can stay healthy.
4. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Madison Bumgarner has gone 42-33 over the past three years with a 3.12 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 193.7 strikeouts per season. I expect him to take the next step this year in the elite class.
5. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies
Cliff Lee is just 37-25 over the past three years with Philadelphia, but he has a 2.80 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and an average of 222.3 strikeouts per year.
6. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins
Jose Fernandez went 12-6 as a rookie in 2013 with a 2.19 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 187 strikeouts in 172.2 innings. He has worked hard on conditioning this offseason to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.
7. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies
Cole Hamels had a rough season last year, going 8-14, but he still managed to post a 3.60 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 202 strikeouts. Over the past four seasons, he’s 51-40 with a 3.13 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and an average of 205.8 strikeouts per season.
8. Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers
Zack Greinke went 15-4 with a 2.63 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 177.2 innings in 2013. Over the past three years, he’s 46-15 with a 3.32 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and an average of 183 strikeouts per season.
9. Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals
Last year, Gio Gonzalez shook off the Biogenesis allegation, avoided suspension and posted a 11-8 record with a 3.36 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 192 strikeouts in 195.2 innings. Over the past three years, he’s gone 48-28 with a 3.12 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 198.7 strikeouts per season.
10. Jordan Zimmermann, Washington Nationals
Jordan Zimmermann has averaged just 146 strikeouts over the past three seasons, but he’s 39-28 with a 3.12 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.
11. Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants
A down year (8-10, 4.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 158 K) for Cain is still a solid season, aside from the win total. Cain has a lifetime ERA of 3.35 and a WHIP of 1.17, so he should rebound in 2014.
12. Homer Bailey, Cincinnati Reds
Homer Bailey went 11-12 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 199 strikeouts in 2013. In fact, he went 6-4 over his final 13 starts with a 3.02 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 78 strikeouts in 86.1 innings.
13. Mat Latos, Cincinnati Reds
In 2013, Mat Latos went 14-7 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 187 strikeouts. Over the past four seasons, he’s gone 51-35 with a 3.27 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.
14. Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh Pirates
Gerrit Cole went 10-7 with a 3.22 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 117.1 innings as a rookie last season, which is quite impressive.
15. Mike Minor, Atlanta Braves
Mike Minor went 13-9 with a 3.21 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 181 strikeouts in 2013. At just 26 years old, he should continue to improve.
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