Michael Wacha: Top 25 starter in 2014?

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals young starter Michael Wacha has been pretty impressive in the playoffs this season, but let's not go overboard on his 2014 ranking.

As a Dodgers fan, I would have liked nothing more than to see Cardinals starter Michael Wacha get hit around last night, but that was not the case. Instead, the best pitcher in baseball had his worst performance of the season, in the biggest start of his young career. Yes, Wacha was matched up against Clayton Kershaw and put up a Kershaw-like performance, shutting out the Dodgers on two hits, a walk and five strikeouts over seven innings in the Cardinals 9-0 win.

Wacha has been dominant this postseason, as he shut out the Dodgers in game two last Saturday, where he gave up five hits, a walk and struck out eight over 6.2 innings of work in the Cardinals 1-0 win.

As I was reading through my timeline on Twitter I saw one person ask a fellow fantasy writer if Wacha is a top 5 starter in 2014. His response was No, which I agree with. But, he and another writer both stated he could be a top 25 starter next season. Here is where I disagree.

Fantasy owners should not be influenced by the playoff performance of any one player. Ever. Looking at the playoffs, it is just a one month stretch in the baseball season, that is it. Any player can rise to the occasion and perform well over a month. Anyone. The playoffs are too small of a sample size to influence rankings for next season, in my opinion. The fact that a player performs well on the biggest stage can easily influence one to move a player up in their rankings, but don't be that person.

I took a quick glance at what starting pitchers I would rank ahead of Wacha before I went to bed last night, and here is that list, in no particular order:

Rank

Name

Team

1

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers

2

Max Scherzer

Tigers

3

Anibal Sanchez

Tigers

4

Adam Wainwright

Cardinals

5

Matt Harvey

Mets

6

Felix Hernandez

Mariners

7

Justin Verlander

Tigers

8

Cliff Lee

Phillies

9

Chris Sale

White Sox

10

Yu Darvish

Rangers

11

James Shields

Royals

12

Mat Latos

Reds

13

David Price

Rays

14

Jon Lester

Red Sox

15

Hisashi Iwakuma

Mariners

16

Jose Fernandez

Marlins

17

Cole Hamels

Phillies

18

A.J. Burnett

Pirates

19

Hiroki Kuroda

Yankees

20

Homer Bailey

Reds

21

Madison Bumgarner

Giants

22

Jordan Zimmermann

Nationals

23

Mike Minor

Braves

24

Stephen Strasburg

Nationals

25

Francisco Liriano

Pirates

26

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Dodgers

27

Zack Greinke

Dodgers

28

Kris Medlen

Braves

29

Gerrit Cole

Pirates

30

Matt Moore

Rays

31

Matt Cain

Giants

32

Johnny Cueto

Reds

33

Alex Cobb

Rays

33

Zack Wheeler

Mets

This is a list of starting pitchers that I would rank over Wacha right now, and is a list that I put together in 10-15 minutes, so there may be pitchers that I did not consider that are missing from this list, but I would definitely consider taking any one of these starters before Wacha in 2014.

Granted, Wacha did pitch well this season, but he made just nine starts, going 4-1 with a 2.78 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and a 65-19 strikeout to walk rate in 64.2 innings. Once I go through my 2014 starting pitcher rankings in more detail, maybe I will change my tune, but right now, I would draft all of these pitchers ahead of Wacha, which is still saying something.

Let's hear your thoughts on where Wacha should be ranked in 2014 in the comment section below.

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