Starting Pitchers do have a lot of value, but with injuries and a statistic they can add no stats to (Saves) I suggest waiting until the best of the 5 Category guys are gone. This is usually in or after the 3rd round.
2009 Starting Pitcher Rankings in 5x5 Leagues
1. Johan Santana - Still the best and even with the drop in K/9 he had a K/BB of 3.27. If he can improve the K/9 he will again have 230+ K's.
2. Tim Lincecum - The Cy Young winner won 18 games in SF, so expect more great things. May be the best value if his team could score more runs since he has the best K potential with a K/9 over 10.
3. CC Sabathia - He has increased his K/BB since his early seasons and is a true ace. Expect a solid season in NY, but my only caution is he has broken 3500 pitches in the past two seasons.
4. Brandon Webb - The most important stat to me is K/BB for pitchers, but the fact that he has a GB% over 60 every season is a sure fire ace pitcher. He might give up a few more homers this year, but still a top 5 starter.
5. Jake Peavy - Peavy's splits took a small step back in 2008, but it was still a very strong year. I do worry about a move out of Petco Park if traded, but he is still a huge value in 2009.
6. Roy Halladay - Halladay is very similar to Webb, but his GB% is not above 60%. He is a very consistent pitcher year in and year out.
7. Dan Haren - Haren was my 2008 Cy Young winner based on underlying Statistics only along with Roy Halladay in the AL. His BB/9 was impressive and with a 5.15 K/BB he was a great get for Arizona.
8. Cole Hamels - I worry about a regression for Hamels in 2009 and his playoff run may overvalue him, but he is still a solid pitcher.
9. Josh Beckett - If Roy Oswalt is a good value then Beckett is a great value. His ERA of 4.03 was very far from his FIP of 3.24. As unlucky as he was Dice-K was lucky. He had a K/BB of 5.06 and was really dominant.
10. James Shields - Probably the true ace of the Rays with a K/BB over 4 the past 2 seasons. A great value and should be very steady.
11. Roy Oswalt - A down year is 17 wins and a 3.54 ERA? His K/BB has been great every year including last year. I predict the same and maybe one of the better values in the top 15 pitchers.
12. Cliff Lee - He's not a 2.54 ERA pitcher even though his FIP was 2.83. His HR/FB was way off the league average at 5.1%. When this returns to 10-12% he will be a 3.5-3.75 ERA pitcher. Still worth a mid round pick.
13. Ervin Santana - I don't think anyone saw this improvement coming. The numbers were for real, but they were such a jump that you can expect a bit of a step back, but still a very good year is still expected.
14. John Lackey - Lackey actually had some bad luck with HR/FB% at 15%, but it didn't hurt him to badly. I wouldn't expect his final numbers to change much as his LOB% will drop and even out the change.
15. AJ Burnett - Has had a very good K/BB for 4 years now, but only 2 of those years did he pitch a full season. It's all risk here, but in NY he'll get plenty of wins when he pitches.
16. Edinson Volquez - He wasn't as good as his numbers showed and Dusty Baker might throw his arm off, but he can still improve. He needs to drop a few walks and he could get into the top 10.
17. Scott Kazmir - His walk rate went up a bit last year, but with that team and his K/9 he still can have a K/BB over 2.50.
18. Carlos Zambrano - How does Zambrano keep his BABIP so low? I am not sure, but he has a career BABIP against of .277. Even though he has a poor K/BB and a career FIP of 3.99 he has a career ERA of 3.56. I can't explain it, but I expect more of the same after 7 years of the same.
19. Chad Billingsley - His BB/9 has improved each season and so has his K/BB. He also has a lowered HR/FB, but that seems to be based on his league and stadium.
20. Daisuke Matsuzaka - No pitcher can keep this up with a 5.05 BB/9. His FIP was 4.03 and unless he improves his BB/9 he will end up at 4.00 ERA in 2009.
21. Jon Lester - Lester's season had a lot of luck and was better than he had been in the majors yet. He should continue to improve his K/BB, but he was not a low 3 ERA pitcher yet. Don't reach for him yet.
22. Felix Heranandez - Why is King Felix so bad at BABIP? His career number is .317 and his K/BB has dropped in 2008. It was probably a blip and he should continue to be successful when healthy.
23. Francisco Liriano - We discussed his drop in speed and K/BB since the injury, but he is still working towards getting fully back and his year-end starts were looking much better. Won't be the pitcher of 2006, but a great risk pick.
24. Adam Wainwright - He has had a good K/BB 2 out of the last 3 seasons and improved his walk rate this year. I like his skills, but should see a bit of an increase in HR/FB.
25. Justin Verlander - Verlander just walked to many batters in 2008. He was up a full walk every 9 innings and that really hurt him. His splits look to make him more of a 4.00 ERA pitcher when things even out.
26. Ryan Dempster - Dempster had a lot of luck last year and is not a sub 3 pitcher by any means. He shouldn't become a bad pitcher, but this was the highest K/BB of his career.
27. Chien-Ming Wang - His K/BB is poor, but he lives on a GB% often over 60%. This means he won't strikeout a ton, but should be a good pitcher with a high win total in NY.
28. Rich Harden - He could be the number one pick if he could throw 200 innings every year. He struck out 11 batters every 9 innings and had a FIP of 2.95. He will surely miss some time and a good season is 120-150 innings for Harden.
29. Joba Chamberlain - It appears a sure thing this year that Joba will start, but things in NY are never settled. They could sign several more starters and put Joba back in the pen. Is similar to Harden at this point until he can prove his health.
30. Ricky Nolasco - Nolasco had a K/BB over 4 last year in 212 innings. He really was a great pitcher and he should do it again, but another injury risk and had a large increase of innings.
31. Jered Weaver - I'm not sure where his bad luck really came in, but his FIP last year was 3.90 and his K/BB was an impressive 2.81. I expect an ERA less than 4.00 next year and a good pick.
32. Josh Johnson - This was his best season statistically, but he only got 87 innings. If he can throw 150+ in 2009 he makes a great pick.
33. Derek Lowe - Consistent guy, but may fall from here if he goes to a bad park for pitchers. He always has a good K/BB and a good GB%. Not flashy, but good ERA and WHIP.
34. Brett Myers - Myers has a real problem with homers and actually has a above normal HR/FB rate, but has had it every year. This will continue to make him a dangerous pitcher and why even with a 2.51 K/BB he was not successful. I do think after a year's adjustment back to starting he can get back to his K/BB over 3 he had as a starter and be successful.
35. Yovani Gallardo - I probably rank him lower than I value him, but he has yet to get more than 110 innings in a season, so we shouldn't put him to high. All of his numbers are great though and should be in the mid 3's in ERA with a good lineup to help with wins. Luckily none of his injuries have been arm or oblique.
36. David Price - Some people say Price's stuff might still be better in the bullpen and we saw how successful he was there last year in the playoffs, but at this point he is slated to start. His numbers are great, but his K/9 in the minors were not overwehlming and will probably be around 7.5.
37. Matt Cain - One of these days he will get the wins he deserves, but be careful if he was ever traded. His HR/FB has been abnormally low and seems based on his park and league. If he went to another team that adjustment could really hurt his value.
38. Aaron Harang - As one of the most consistently underrated pitchers his fall last year was a big surprise. His underlying numbers still looked and he had some bad luck with homers. He should return to an ERA under 4 and a good line.
39. Brandon Morrow - This is a risky pick as the Putz trade could have him back to closing, but he would still have strong value there. He needs to really drop the walks to be a strong pitcher, but is not far from a good K/BB.
40. Erik Bedard - Can he get back to 2007 form? Not likely with his back being possibly degenerative. I wouldn't really put much value in him, but if they can manage his back he could have a good season, but probably not another 3.88 K/BB type season.
41. Max Scherzer - The strikeouts are huge and should have a K/BB around 3, bt will he be a starter or head to the pen to be groomed for closer.
42. Ted Lilly - Slipped back in 2008, but 2007 was a bit of luck so I think 2008 should be more of the expectation. Still has good splits and could break 4.00 ERA again.
43. Mark Buehrle - He is often forgot, but always posts great numbers and 200+ innings. I expect more of the same from him.
44. John Danks - Had a sudden drop in walks and really impressed in 2008. He is again a candidate to step back a bit, but still a solid pick.
45. Zach Greinke - The numbers got even better and is great player to match his 2008, but wins will be low in 2009 for the Royals and he could get moved. May change rank if on a better team.
46. Scott Baker - His numbers are for real and although he won't be a top strikeout guy he is going to keep his solid ERA and be a solid pick.
47. Javier Vazquez - The constant under performer as his splits are always impressive. Unless they can fix something no one else could in Atlanta he will still be a mid level pitcher and might get overvalued in drafts.
48. Matt Garza - His FIP of 4.14 shows he is still not here yet, but his minor league numbers show an ability to get a good K/BB and good ERA. I expect he will grow this year, but might still be another year away to being a really good pitcher.
49. Kevin Slowey - My favorite player going this late as his K/BB was 5.13 and one of the top players. His strikeouts won't be huge, but his ERA will be in the upper 3's.
50. Jair Jurrjens - He had a great season, but with a lot of luck. He does have good minor league splits, so he should improve his K/BB next year.
51. Ubaldo Jimenez - He continues to disappoint in K/BB, but his GB% was impressive in 2008. With a drop in his very high BB/9 you get positive value.
52. Andy Sonnanstine - His LOB% is amazing. I can't believe it will stay that low and when he reaches his FIP of 3.91 he is a positive value here.
53. John Maine - Was really getting his number to improve until everything went wrong last year. He still could get those numbers back, but I would wait and see.
54. Johnny Cueto - Here is a guy right on the edge of great things as long as Dusty doesn't break his arm. His K/BB is borderline good and only needs a small increase. He had a bit of bad luck on homers, but that might stay in Cincy. Should be at least a 4.00 ERA pitcher in his second year.
55. Andy Pettitte - Here is another pitcher who was quite unlucky in 2008 and will get undervalued no matter what team he signs with. He had a FIP of 3.71 and got unlucky with BABIP and LOB%. I see a return to an ERA in the high 3's or 4.00 next year.
56. Clayton Kershaw - Kershaw's curveball is devastating, but his control is weak here in the majors. As he adjusts to walking less hitters he will be a dominant pitcher, but it will take some time.
57. Phil Hughes - He will be a top pitcher if he can ever get healthy. He has yet to show his stuff and his luster is starting to fade as he misses more time. Bill James, as many have discussed, have put his ERA at 3.35 this year and although that is a stretch for me I expect good things.
58. Hiroki Kuroda - Kuroda was considered a bit of a disappointment in 2008 coming to the US, but that is largely on his wins and losses, which he doesn't fully control. He was actually a bit unlucky and should have been closer to his FIP of 3.59. It's tough to say how well he will do in 2009 since his ratios from Japan are harder to obtain, but he should be fine to stay under a 4.00 ERA and win 12 games.
59. Chris Young - Was 2008 injuries or a regression. Young has an obvious skill in decreasing BABIP, but his 4.1% HR/FB rate in 2007 was not repeatable even in Petco. Now that his HR/FB is regressing you can expect more of a 3.50-4.00 ERA pitcher with a good WHIP.
60. Joe Saunders - Saunders did have a good K/BB in the minors, but in 2008 he only had a 4.68 K/9 and his K/BB was a poor 1.94. Unless he can improve his K/9 to 6.00 as it was previously you can expect a large regression in 2009.
61. Gavin Floyd - We have discussed Floyd here way to much and I feel he can beat his FIP somewhat if he avoids left handed hitters or improves his BB/9 against them. He will end up at 4.00 ERA again next year.
62. Jon Garland - We are talking about a pure average pitcher, but a move to the NL could help his K/BB return to good levels. I wouldn't look for another 18-win season again though.
63. Chris Carpenter - We really didn't learn anything about Carpenter in his 3 starts in 2008 and don't value him to high. Even if he does become a positive value he is a huge injury risk.
64. Fausto Carmona - Carmona was never as good as his 2007 season made him look. He had luck that year and although 2008 was mostly injuries he should continue to pitch above 4 in ERA.
65. Mike Pelfrey - Here is a clear warning for low HR/FB. He should begin to regress in that and his ERA will go up, but he has improved his BB/9 and with a bit more improvement he could be a back end pitcher.
66. Jeff Francis - If you have never read what Dustin Pedroia said about Francis I suggest reading this article. He was unable to repeat his solid K/BB from 2007, but he suffered injuries too. He could still only get a 4.22 ERA with thos good numbers though. Probably considered a good bet to finish above 4 in ERA.
67. Randy Johnson - I would take another 180+ innings if he can do it as he is still getting good K/BB rates and holding an ERA under 3.50. Still a risk, but could be a huge payoff.
68. John Smoltz - Smoltz is similar to Johnson except his lost season was last year. He has been reported to be working very hard this offseason and a move to a true contender for his final year would be worth a shot.
69. Brad Penny - Penny had injuries last year, but his HR/FB of 4.1% in 2007 will not be repeated even in another pitchers park. He will regress and must also be healthy. Expect him around a 4.00 ERA this season and limited innings.
70. Gil Meche - Meche had no signs before going to the Royals that he could have a K/BB of 2.5, but both season there he has done it. I don't know if they are smart or lucky, but I expect more of the same and continued success although wins are tough there.
71. Justin Duchscherer - I was concerned if he could continue his positive splits over to starting, but he was able to do it. He ended 2008 with injury questions though so 2009 maybe rocky as he set injury records for his major league career.
72. Aaron Cook - He is not my normal guy with no chance of a K/BB over 2.5, but he was able to show strong control and get it to 2 last year. With a GB% approaching 60% he can have good years with ERA's under 4.00, but very little strikeouts.
73. Jeremy Guthrie - Took a step back as his K/BB dropped, but seems to be another pitcher who can control his BABIP as 2 years at .277 or less. Until I see it again though I don't trust it yet and if he goes back to a .300 BABIP and that drops his LOB% he is a 4.00 or worse pitcher.
74. Oliver Perez - Perez has been declining in K/9 since 2004 and has not lowered his walks at all. Unless he works on his control and walks a lot less he will be nothing more than a 4.50 pitcher, but if the Mets sign him you could see a few extra wins.
Removed - Ben Sheets - Surgery out until August.
2009 Catcher Rankings
2009 First Base Rankings
2009 Second Base Rankings
2009 Shortstop Rankings
2009 Third Base Rankings
2009 Outfielder Rankings
2009 DH Rankings
2009 Starting Pitcher Rankings
2009 Closer Rankings
2009 Draft Cheat Sheet 1-100
2009 Draft Sleepers
2009 Draft Busts