Fantasy Baseball 2012: AL-Only & NL-Only Starting Pitcher Rankings

We're winding up our league-specific rankings at Fake Teams, and today we present the starting pitchers for each league. Before jumping in, why not check out the other AL & NL Only ranks?

Catcher

First Base

Second Base

Third Base

Shortstop

Outfield

We also have some other iterations of starting pitcher ranks, if you came here looking for that:

Mixed League 1-25 (with profiles)

Mixed League 26-50 (with profiles)

Points league ranks will be posted later today.

AL-Only Starting Pitchers

1. Justin Verlander, DET

2. Felix Hernandez, SEA

3. CC Sabathia, NYY

4. Jered Weaver, LAA

5. Dan Haren, LAA

More league-specific ranks after the jump:

6. David Price, TB

7. Jon Lester, BOS

8. James Shields, TB

9. Josh Beckett, BOS

10. C.J. Wilson, LAA

11. Matt Moore, LAA

12. Yu Darvish, TEX

13. Michael Pineda, NYY

14. Ricky Romero, TOR

15. Derek Holland, TEX

16. Brandon Morrow, TOR

17. Max Scherzer, DET

18. Ubaldo Jimenez, CLE

19. Scott Baker, MIN

20. Neftali Feliz, TEX

21. Chris Sale, CWS

22. Ervin Santana, LAA

23. Jeremy Hellickson, TB

24. Ivan Nova, NYY

25. John Danks, CWS

26. Colby Lewis, TEX

27. Brandon McCarthy, OAK

28. Hiroki Kuroda, NYY

29. Justin Masterson, CLE

30. Gavin Floyd, CWS

31. Clay Buchholz, BOS

32. Doug Fister, DET

33. Matt Harrison, TEX

34. Francisco Liriano, MIN

35. Wade Davis, TB

36. Jonathan Sanchez, KC

37. Jake Peavy, CWS

38. Josh Tomlin, CLE

39. Henderson Alvarez, TOR

40. Aaron Crow, KC

41. Alfredo Aceves, BOS

42. Guillermo Moscoso, OAK Traded to Colorado - loses value

43. Philip Humber, CWS

44. Jacob Turner, DET

45. Brad Peacock, OAK

46. Derek Lowe, CLE

47. Brett Cecil, TOR

48. Jason Vargas, SEA

49. A.J. Burnett, NYY

50. Alexi Ogando, TEX

The American League list is loaded with talent on the front end before completely falling off the table at around 35 or 40, depending on your taste. There are plenty of upside picks at the back, but since potential isn't a category yet, I recommend aggressively pursuing pitching in the early rounds. A few notes on player placement:

  • Matt Moore moved up my list after the Rays announced his extension, essentially guaranteeing him playing time. The comparison to Darvish based on AAA/NPB statistics is one I just can't shake, so they'll likely always be closely linked on any lists I post this offseason. I give the advantage to Moore based on Major League experience and home ballpark.
  • I bumped Michael Pineda down after his trade to New York. Sure, he might pick up an extra win or two, but a low ground ball percentage (36.3) worries me in that park. Don't penalize him too much, though.
  • Alexi Ogando's value plummets as he seems to be on the outside looking in for a rotation spot. To be truthful, I've only listed he and A.J. Burnett (who will likely battle Freddy Garcia and some other fringe candidates for the #5 spot) because they have potential to produce if they're given the chance. Also, there was nobody else I liked. The guys who just missed my list: Jeremy Guthrie, Luke Hochevar, Rick Porcello, Zach Britton, and Carl Pavano, in some order.

NL-Only Starting Pitchers

1. Roy Halladay, PHI

2. Clayton Kershaw, LAD

3. Tim Lincecum, SF

4. Cliff Lee, PHI

5. Cole Hamels, PHI

6. Zack Greinke, MIL

7. Ian Kennedy, ARI

8. Matt Cain, SF

9. Stephen Strasburg, WAS

10. Madison Bumgarner, SF

11. Yovani Gallardo, MIL

12. Tommy Hanson, ATL

13. Matt Garza, CHC

14. Adam Wainwright, STL

15. Mat Latos, CIN

16. Brandon Beachy, ATL

17. Cory Luebke, SD

18. Jordan Zimmermann, WAS

19. Daniel Hudson, ARI

20. Gio Gonzalez, WAS

21. Chris Carpenter, STL

22. Josh Johnson, MIA

23. Anibal Sanchez, MIA

24. Shaun Marcum, MIL

25. Jaime Garcia, STL

26. Wandy Rodriguez, HOU

27. Ted Lilly, LAD

28. Johnny Cueto, CIN

29. Tim Hudson, ATL

30. Vance Worley, PHI

31. Trevor Cahill, ARI

32. Jhoulys Chacin, COL

33. Chad Billingsley, LAD

34. Mike Minor, ATL

35. Bud Norris, HOU

36. Erik Bedard, PIT

37. Chris Capuano, LAD

38. Ryan Vogelsong, SF

39. Tim Stauffer, SD

40. Ricky Nolasco, MIA

41. Jon Niese, NYM

42. Juan Nicasio, COL

43. Josh Collmenter, ARI

44. Mike Leake, CIN

45. James McDonald, PIT

46. Julio Teheran, ATL

47. Johan Santana, NYM

48. Homer Bailey, CIN

49. Carlos Zambrano, MIA

50. Edinson Volquez, SD

The outlook for the Senior Circuit is much more rosy, as you might expect. Given the dearth of quality position players on this side of the majors, I would feel very comfortable about waiting to fill out my rotation in the name of building a quality lineup in an NL-Only league. That said, there are some risky upside plays at the end of this list, and it goes without saying that if you find yourself calling some of those names, you'd better have some insurance already in place. A few notes about player placement:

  • I thought about dropping Mat Latos even further in light of his move to The Great American Ballpark, but I was already lower on him than most, and I actually think the way folks in mock drafts have adjusted to the news is about right. He's still a strikeout pitcher wherever he goes, after all.
  • Josh Johnson is just now getting around to throwing off a mound. That wouldn't bother me so much if he hadn't missed so much time in 2011. If he shows up at spring training good as new, I'll adjust his ranking to match his talent level, but for now, I'm not touching that shoulder problem with a 20-foot pole.
  • Juan Nicasio, on the other hand, has been throwing behind a L-screen and should face live hitting soon. It's amazing how far he's come already. If he can return and show some mental toughness, he's a nice pitcher who can really bring you some value at this point in the draft. Monitor this situation closely.
  • Before you ask: No, I don't like Jair Jurrjens as a fantasy pitcher very much. He's part of my just missed list, along with Kyle Lohse, Brett Myers, and Randy Wolf, in some order. Do feel free to ask questions and leave your comments and criticisms in the comments section. I'll do my best to address all of them. Shameless self-plug: I've started a Twitter account that will focus on fantasy baseball: @BishopSBN. I'm happy to respond on there as well. While you're at it, make sure you're following @faketeams.

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