27 K's: 2011 Fantasy Baseball Weekly Whiff Rankings, Starting Pitcher (SP: 1-25)

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27 K's: 2011 Fantasy Baseball Weekly Whiff Rankings, Starting Pitcher (SP: 1-25)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Doc, in a tier of his own.

Pitchers are ranked for their expected performance from this point forward in standard 5x5 redraft leagues, not for statistics that have already been accrued. These rankings can also be used as a barometer to determine trade value. I wrote an incredibly in-depth review for each guy, but I didn't save...so you'll have to live with just the rankings this week plus a little bit of analysis. This just means you should get reeeeaalllly excited for the updated rankings and a lotta bit of analysis for next week. In the meantime, for more rankings check out:

SP/OF/SS/3B/2B/1B/C

Top 25 Starting Pitchers:

1. Roy Halladay, PHI

2. Tim Lincecum, SF

3. Felix Hernandez, SEA

4. Cliff Lee, PHI

5. Jon Lester, BOS -- Do I think he's pitching like the No 5 SP right now? No. Do I think he could? Certainly. Do I think he will? Maybe. Admittedly, this is more of a gut call than anything else. He's notorious for being a slow starter, so if 5-1 with a 3.28 ERA and a strikeout rate of 9 K/9 is a slow start, then just instruct me to the dotted line so I can sign up! Yes, he is getting somewhat lucky with a low BABIP (.273) and a high LOB% (86.8%), but he's also getting unlucky with his HR/FB% by a long shot (18.4%) -- meaning far too many fly balls are leaving the park that shouldn't be. When all is said and done and his numbers return to the mean -- which they should -- and that Boston lineup heats up with the summer, I fully expect him to be pitching up here with the best of them.

Abelimages/Getty Images
How far will strikeout machine Brandon Morrow rise, or fall, this season?

6. Josh Johnson, FLA

7. Justin Verlander, DET

8. Dan Haren, ANA

9. Jered Weaver, ANA

10. Cole Hamels, PHI

11. Tommy Hanson, ATL -- Last three seasons in order, including this season: ERA (2.89, 3.33, 2.35), FIP (3.50, 3.31, 3.87), xFIP (3.97, 3.87, 2.85). His strikeouts are up to 9 K/9 and his walks are down to 2.35 BB/9. His GB% is up, so is his HR/FB%, and he's not getting lucky with BABIP and LOB%. It's time we say it: Tommy Hanson, or Hommy Tanson (if you read Razzball) is elite.

12. Clayton Kershaw, LAD

13. David Price, TB

14. CC Sabathia, NYY -- He's still a safe play and a fine SP, but he is certainly on the back nine of his Major League career.

15. Jaime Garcia, STL -- Similar case to Tommy Hanson. His strikeouts are up to almost 8 K/9 and his walks are down to almost 2 BB/9. He's not getting lucky with LOB% (75.6%), but he is getting a little bit lucky with BABIP (.268) and HR/FB% (3.9%), so I expect him to regress a bit. Regardless, I am all-in on Garcia, though this may be his ceiling.

16. Zack Greinke, MIL

Who really doesn't belong in the top-25?

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17. Shaun Marcum, MIL -- He is last years Matt Cain. The most to the NL has done wonders. Marcum is legit.

18. Matt Cain, SF -- He is this years Matt Cain. Er, I mean... he is almost exactly in line with his stats from last year, so he's good or whatever.

19. Daniel Hudson, ARI -- He's suffered from an extremely unlucky BABIP (.335) and LOB% (67.8%), which is the reason for his 4.03 ERA. If it sounds like I'm insinuating that the number 4.03 is inflated, it's because I am. And if I am in fact saying that, the next question you may want to ask is: "What might his FIP and xFIP be, good sir?" Excellent question. They would be at... 2.54 and 3.43 respectively. Pair that with his improved 8.4 K/9 and his low 2.7 BB/9 and what do you get? A top 20 pitcher at a top 40 price. Buy. Now. Seriously. This moment. What are you waiting for? Go. Yes, I'm serious, stop reading. No, I'm not sh%$&ing you. Leave. Kthanksbye.

20. Josh Beckett, BOS

21. Ubaldo Jimenez, COL -- He has never cracked my top 15 and he never will. In fact, I'm not certain if he'll ever crack my top 20 again, as even this ranking seemed a bit generous. Only time will tell, I guess, so lets wait and see. Though, now that I said this whole business about him not cracking the top 20, I'm sure he will take a page out of Bautista's new Book, How To Hit Three Home Runs in One Game to Pwn Max In Fantasy Baseball in Order to Exact Revenge for Hurtful Statements He May or May Not Have Made. I hear it's doing quite well. Expect a perfect game from Mr. Jimenez sometime next week.

22. Brett Anderson, OAK

23. Trevor Cahill, OAK

24. Matt Garza, CHC -- I don't know what the eff to make of his start. It seriously hurts my head. Yes, he moved to the NL and yes, he now pitches at Wrigley Field, but is that really enough to attribute his ridiculous 11 K/9, 1.84 FIP and 2.45 xFIP to? Maybe seems to be the correct answer, because honestly, we just don't know at this point. It's too small of a sample size -- hence the ranking. It's good, but not great. However, if this start is for real and he continues to pitch the way he has, then we are seriously looking at a top 10 SP, easy. He's even been getting unlucky up until this point, with a ridiculously inflated .362 BABIP and a rather low 62.2% strand-rate. Imagine what his numbers will be if he keeps this up and those unlucky stats regress to the mean? Sexiness. Buy, fully knowing that this might not totally be legit.

25. Brandon Morrow, TOR -- He's in an incredibly similar situation to Garza. He's sporting an absurd 12.8 K/9, 2.07 FIP and 2.76 xFIP and an equally as absurd .344 BABIP and 62.5% strand-rate. If he could cut down on some of his walks (4.15 BB/9) and pitch deeper into games, then by the time his BABIP and LOB% regress to the mean you are looking at a dirty top 10 SP in the vein of Timmy Lincecum. I actually believe that Morrow is more legit than Garza since he's always been a strikeout pitcher (Garza hasn't), he's pitching in the AL (Garza isn't) and has been his entire career (Garza only had 7 K/9 during his five years pitching in the AL). Buy, while you still can.

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