As you are getting ready for your upcoming fantasy baseball draft or auction, there are a few different ways that can help you determine where there is value or a drop off in talent at each position. One way is by grouping each position into tiers to separate different levels of projected performance. By setting up tiers, it will give you a good idea how many starting pitchers are at each level and what the chances are that someone in said level make it back to you for your next pick if you do not draft that position in the current round
Here is a look at the 2012 fantasy baseball tiers for starting pitchers.
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw
I still like Verlander even though I don’t have him ranked first like most people do. I don’t want to pay for his 2011 stats and when the numbers are close, I always lean toward the National League pitcher. If you don’t think there is still upside to Kershaw, go back and look at his second half stats from last year.
Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia, Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels, Jered Weaver, David Price
Hernande’z biggest challenge is for the Mariners to score a few more runs for him so he could pick up a few more wins. Sabathia misses the top tier because his WHIP is not low enough to compete with the others above him. Price has a better than average shot of duplicating Kershaw’s season from last year.
Dan Haren, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester, Yovani Gallardo, Matt Cain, Ian Kennedy, Madison Bumgarner, C.J. Wilson, Dan Hudson, James Shields, Stephen Strasburg
For those fantasy owners that are considering grabbing starting pitchers in the first couple of rounds, I think there is a lot of solid pitching in tier 3 and tier 4 that you should be looking to draft offense in the first few rounds instead of a stud starter. Strasburg is the one risk in this group since he will be on an innings limit so make sure you have a pitcher ready to go on your reserve at the end of the season that is not going to undo all of the good work he does for your ratios.
Mat Latos, Michael Pineda, Ricky Romero, Josh Beckett, Matt Moore, Yu Darvish, Gio Gonzalez, Brandon Beachy, Matt Garza, Tommy Hanson, Josh Johnson, Adam Wainwright
I am still leery of drafting Johnson and Wainwright and will let someone else take the risk on them in 2012. Moore and Darvish probably have the most upside in the group so if you are looking for someone to end the season ranked a tier or two higher where they are now, those would be my picks. Keep an eye on Pineda’s next couple of starts to see if his velocity picks back up.
Jordan Zimmerman, Chris Carpenter, Jeremy Hellickson, Shaun Marcum, Cory Luebke, Colby Lewis, Anibal Sanchez, Ubaldo Jimenez, Max Scherzer, Wandy Rodriguez, Brandon Morrow, Ervin Santana, Jaime Garcia
Carpenter is a question mark to begin the season with a bulging disc. Marcum has started throwing again after experiencing shoulder stiffness and given how he ended the 2011 season, I would prefer other alternatives in this tier.
Derek Holland, Hiroki Kuroda, Johnny Cueto, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Scott Baker, Tim Hudson, Ted Lilly, Jhoulys Chacin, Neftali Feliz, Ryan Dempster, Vance Worley
I think Danks has value here given how he under performed in 2011 but that was due to injury. Hudson is expected back at the end of April after having back surgery last November. Feliz is the wild card here as he attempts to move into the starting rotation. Given his control struggles and possible innings limit, I think there are better options here.