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February 28, 2014

Graphical Fantasy Rankings

Starting Pitchers

by Mauricio Rubio

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We’re in the middle of a pitching-dominated era, which is somewhat highlighted by the depth at the position. If we rewind to 10 years ago we likely wouldn’t have any one-star options that would look even moderately appealing. As it stands now there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on toward the bottom. I broke the graphs down into three; let’s take a look at them:

There are a few things to consider with pitchers. Health is a primary concern with all of these guys, as book-version PECOTA is hyper-conservative with the upper limits on innings, which in turn limits the Win and K projections. Still, you do see a clear separation between guys. Kershaw is the best pitcher available as he provides elite production across all four categories (the only pitcher that can boast that claim). Yu Darvish isn’t too far behind, and if he stays healthy this year he might become a legitimate first-round candidate come next season.

Paul Sporer was bullish on Gerrit Cole and while the book was conservative with his IP totals, he’s definitely an option to consider after the elite of the elite are gone. PECOTA likes CC Sabathia, but I’m less optimistic. He’s lost a few ticks off his fastball and there are a lot of high-leverage innings on that arm. Masahiro Tanaka is expected to have a pretty successful debut as the book thinks he’ll provide good production across three categories. I think Ivan Nova is underrated by PECOTA a bit, and he’s a breakout candidate for me.

Jose Quintana remains a bland pitcher who won’t kill you, but he’s not going to be much more than an SP4 in most leagues. PECOTA has a really rosy projection for Yovani Gallardo. I think he might help in ERA and WHIP, but I think the days of top-shelf K production from him are gone. Down among the one-stars, Edwin Jackson is expected to rebound, which should make Bret Sayre very happy. I think Taijuan Walker will pitch all year and outpitch his projections as well; I’d go gray across all four categories for him. And then there’s Ian Kennedy, who was a severe disappointment last year. I think he’s an interesting rebound candidate and there’s a good chance PECOTA has him nailed here.

For the curious here are the stat bins:

W

Tier 1

12+

Tier 2

10-11

Tier 3

9

Tier 4

7-8

Tier 5

6-

K

Tier 1

174+

Tier 2

146-173

Tier 3

118-145

Tier 4

90-117

Tier 5

89-

WHIP

Tier 1

1.44+

Tier 2

1.33-1.43

Tier 3

1.23-1.32

Tier 4

1.10-1.22

Tier 5

1.11-

ERA

Tier 1

4.8+

Tier 2

4.18-4.79

Tier 3

3.59-4.17

Tier 4

2.97-3.58

Tier 5

2.96-

Mauricio Rubio is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mauricio's other articles. You can contact Mauricio by clicking here

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